Mrs. Grey had been the happy mother of seven children; they all lived to grow up and marry, and to rise up and call her blessed, with the exception of her youngest daughter, Maud. People said it was a wise and kind thing on the part of Providence, that Maud was not one of the marrying sort. Her mother needed one child to help her down the declivity of life, and it was delightful to see them together. Some who were not acquainted with them, and who only knew them by sight, at church, contrived to see, out of the backs of their heads, that these twain could not live without each other. Maud shared in this opinion to the extent of firmly believing that she could not survive her mother. She was a good, dutiful, devoted child, whose sunny temper made her life like a song in the maternal ear. "How good God is to me," was Mrs. Grey's frequent thought, "in giving and in sparing to me this darling child! How strange and how sad it would be to live alone in this large house! And Maud fits in to every crack and crevice there is in me as very few girls could. And she is so thoroughly and genially happy that it is not selfish in me to rejoice that she does not care to fly out of the nest!"