AUTHOR OF "THE LEAVENWORTH CASE," "A STRANGE DISAPPEARANCE," ETC.
A wind was blowing through the city. Not a gentle and balmy zephyr, stirring the locks on gentle ladies' foreheads and rustling the curtains in elegant boudoirs, but a chill and bitter gale that rushed with a swoop through narrow alleys and forsaken courtyards, biting the cheeks of the few solitary wanderers that still lingered abroad in the darkened streets.
In front of a cathedral that reared its lofty steeple in the midst of the squalid houses and worse than squalid saloons of one of the dreariest portions of the East Side, stood the form of a woman. She had paused in her rush down the narrow street to listen to the music, perhaps, or to catch a glimpse of the light that now and then burst from the widely swinging doors as they opened and shut upon some tardy worshipper.
She was tall and fearful looking; her face, when the light struck it, was seared and desperate; gloom and desolation were written on all the lines of her rigid but wasted form, and when she shuddered under the gale, it was with that force and abandon to which passion lends its aid, and in which the soul proclaims its doom.
Suddenly the doors before her swung wide and the preacher's voice was heard: "Love God and you will love your fellow-men. Love your fellow-men and you best show your love to God."
She heard, started, and the charm was broken. "Love!" she echoed with a horrible laugh; "there is no love in heaven or on earth!..........