Page:That Lass o' Lowrie's.djvu/118

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CHAPTER XIII.
JOAN AND THE PICTURE.


Notwithstanding Anice's interference in his behalf, Paul did not find his labors become very much lighter. And then after all his labor, the prospect before him was not promising. Instead of appearing easier to cope with as he learned more of it and its inhabitants, Riggan seemed still more baffling. His "district" lay in the lower end of the town among ugly back streets, and alleys; among dirt and ignorance and obstinacy. He spent his days in laboring among people upon whom he sometimes fancied he had obtained no hold. It really seemed that they did not want him—these people; and occasionally a more distressing view of the case presented itself to his troubled mind,—namely, that to those who might chance to want him he had little to offer.

He had his temporal thorn too. He found it difficult to read, hard to fix his mind on his modest sermons; occasionally he even accused himself of forgetting his duty. This had come since the night when he stood at the door and listened to his friend's warning concerning the Rector's daughter. Derrick's words were simple enough in themselves, but they had fallen upon the young Curate's ears with startling significance. He had given this significance to them himself,—in spite of himself,—and then all at once he had fallen to wondering why it was that he