Monica Madden 22

“How old are you, Monica?”

“Two-and-twenty.”

“Well, I am two-and-thirty – and I don’t call myself old. When you have reached my age I prophesy you will smile at your despair of ten years ago. At your age one talks readily of “wrecked life” and “hopeless future,” and all that kind of thing. My dear girl, you may live to be one of the most contented and most useful women in England. Your life isn’t wrecked at all – nonsense! You have gone through a storm, that’s true; but more likely than not you will be all the better for it. Don’t talk about sins; simply make up your mind that you won’t be beaten by trials and hardships. There cannot – can there? – be the least doubt as to how you ought to live through these next coming months. Your duty is perfectly clear. Strengthen yourself in body and mind. You have a mind, which is more than can be said of a great many women. Think bravely and nobly of yourself! Say to yourself: This and that it is in me to do, and I will do it!”

Monica bent suddenly forward and took one of her friend’s hands and clung to it.