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  II. The Reward of Virtue Henry van Dyke

Section IV.

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It was late in the following summer when I came back again to St. Gerome. The golden-rods and the asters were all in bloom along the village street; and as I walked down it the broad golden sunlight of the short afternoon seemed to glorify the open road and the plain square houses with a careless, homely rapture of peace. The air was softly fragrant with the odour of balm of Gilead. A yellow warbler sang from a little clump of elder-bushes, tinkling out his contented song like a chime of tiny bells, "Sweet--sweet--sweet--sweeter-- sweeter--sweetest!"

There was the new house, a little farther back from the road than the old one; and in the place where the heap of ashes had lain, a primitive garden, with marigolds and lupines and zinnias all abloom. And there was Patrick, sitting on the door-step, smoking his pipe in the cool of the day. Yes; and there, on a many-coloured counterpane spread beside him, an infant joy of the house of Mullarkey was sucking her thumb, while her father was humming the words of an old slumber-song:

Sainte Marguerite, Veillez ma petite! Endormez ma p'tite enfant Jusqu'a l'age de quinze ans! Quand elle aura quinze ans passe Il faudra la marier Avec un p'tit bonhomme Que viendra de Rome.

"Hola! Patrick," I cried; "good luck to you! Is it a girl or a boy?"

"SALUT! m'sieu'," he answered, jumping up and waving his pipe. "It is a girl AND a boy!"

Sure enough, as I entered the door, I beheld Angelique rocking the other half of the reward of virtue in the new cradle.

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The Ruling Passion
Henry van Dyke

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