« PreviousContinue »
"Indeed!" rejoined Ida, putting the “ It is because I love you that I raise last flower into water, and averting her these doubts." face from me. “I can not think what “Why should we ask his consent or any that can be."
one's? It will be time enough when we “ Your heart.” I saw her hand tremble, can marry.” but she was silent, and I continued : 6 And must we live in deceit for so “You know how very deeply I loved you many years ? O Hans! that would be long ago when we were quite children; dreadful !" well, that love has grown up and strength- " Why? I do not understand your ened in me; it is a passion now, Ida, a scruples.” strong, manly passion. Tell me from “ Í feel sure they are just, because it your heart if you could ever love me? pains me to make them.” Bid me hope, and I shall go to college “And is the right always painful ?” happy and fight my way in the world asked I mockingly, for I was vexed with the joyful assurance that one day, with her. when I have earned the right, I may look “Do not be angry, Hans,” she said, forward to the inexpressible blessing of looking up at me with her bewitching your love. Do not turn away, Ida ; you eyes. “Let us ask our parents now; if make me tremble for fear that I have been they refuse to permit our engagement, mistaken.”
we can still love each other." At first she made a movement as if to “ And be parted, or else use deceit ? run from me, then checking herself, she No, Ida, you are in the wrong now; turned suddenly round and gazed at me better never speak of our engagement timidly, as she said: “I do love you, than go contrary to their wishes after Hans; but I am so very young, I am only asking their consent.” just sixteen."
“ But perhaps I was wrong when I “We are both young, but as we were thought there would be any objection not too young to love each other at six made," mused Ida, irresolutely, and turnyears old, we can not be too young now. ing from me. I could not leave Weimar without the I caught at that doubt, and said reassurance of your attachment.”
proachfully : “It is you who shrink from a “I am afraid you will forget me, Hans,” | long engagement; you do not love me said she, sorrowfully. “You have seen suficiently to bear the tedium of it.” but little of the world, you will meet those I had gone too far; she burst into who will please you far more than I, and tears, and said she had not deserved this then you will regret having said all this of me. My conscience was pricked, I to me."
tried to soothe her, said I would do any I took both her hands in mine, and thing she wished if only she would smile. looked full into her face. “ Can you not “I do not wish to lead you, Hans; I trust me ?"
wish you to follow your own judgment; “Oh! yes, if I thought you knew the only think before you decide.” full meaning of what you say."
“I have thought, and it is the result of “You believe in my love; what doubt, that which brings me here to-day. I then, can possibly remain ?»
could not leave home without telling you “A great one, Hans; we can not marry all, for I wanted strength to enable me for many years to come. Is it right to to leave you. You have given me this, enter into such a long engagement ? Will by the assurance of your love; our enour parents permit us to do so ?”
gagement is now inevitable. You surely Ida was far more thoughtful and experi- will not torture both yourself and me by enced than I; I could think of nothing but refusing to become my promised wife ?" love, and it galled me to have truths set “No,” said Ida; “I do but wish our before me-truths which I could not set parents told.” aside except by vehemence, not argument. My father will refuse his consent now;
“ Your father would not hear of your we must wait, and when I return from taking so imprudent a step," said 'she, college with my doctor's diploma, we will with provoking composure.
ask for it, and all will go well." “Ida, you will drive me wild; you can Ida smiled when I mentioned the diplonot love me if you persist in putting forth ma, but the smile had faded in a moment doubts where none exist."
from her lips, and she said gravely:" You ask me to hear of your success in life Hope every thing,” said Ida, hurriwithout a proud smile. You ask me to edly. “I would bear it all, and a thouappear outwardly to regard you with no sand times more, if it be really necessary.” more interest than if I had no right to “ It is,” I said slowly, and I felt I spoke share in your joy, whilst inwardly I feel the truth, though it cost me a pang as the the greatest right of all—that of being thought of my selfishness came before your promised wife.”
me, more especially when I held my little “What do you mean, Ida ? You promised bride in my arms, and she puzzle me,” I said; but she continued whispered: without appearing to have heard me: “I am yours, Hans.”
“ Yes, and when I hear of your being Was I destined always to lead her in sorrow, I must weep alone, and feel astray? No, no, the great fault of our that I have no right to make known my lives was committed then, and it was I grief when I did not suffer any one to who led her wrong, and many a bitter, share my joy. Wherever I go, the secret lonely hour she must have spent, whilst I, of my heart will make me lonely. I may buoyed up with hope, stormed out into want consolation, support, and sympathy, the world of manhood, and, save for a but I shall have no one to fly to-no one, few brief moments of self-reproach, our and yet so many."
engagement was joy to me, and never Why not fly to me ?»
cost me an instant's perplexity or pain, “How ? You will be away; we shall till the unforeseen consequences of my meet very seldom.”
hasty step burst upon me, bringing dis“And can not you bear all this for my tress and sorrow on the head of him who sake ?” I asked mournfully. “I ought most deserved to suffer. That head was not to ask you to do it, but still I did mine. hope
From the Leisure Hour.
AN INCIDENT IN OUR HONEYMOON.
I do not know if any one else will think gave one the idea of perfect happiness and the story I am going to try to write down peace. He asked us to drink tea with as interesting as we—that is, John and I him in his vicarage, to which we gladly -did. I will try to tell it in the simple agreed; and he led us through paths in words in which it was told to us. But, the forest, all bordered with primroses and first, I must say that we heard it during bluebells, to a small house covered with our honeymoon, which we were spending creepers and in front having a garden as at a cottage in the beautiful park of Lord neat as you can imagine a garden to be,
-; I shall call him Dimdale. The cot- and full of old-fashioned flowers, such as tage was situated in a wild and lonely crown imperials, starch hyacinths, and part of it; and the deer used to come up polyanthus, and sweet with southernwood, close to the door, and lie under the fine etc. On entering the house, I perceived old oaks, through whose branches the sun that the parlor was full of children's toys glimmered on the soft warm turf and and work-baskets, and I expected every clumps of young fern. And how the moment that a whole flock of grandchildbirds sang ! for it was the beginning of ren would come rushing in; but none apMay, and fine hot weather. But to come peared. at once to the story.
I suppose Mr. Morton observed my In one of our walks, we had made ac- surprise, for while we were at tea, before quaintance with the clergyman, Mr. Mor- the open window, he said: “Mrs. Fairton, an old man, with a placid sweet smile, field, I see you looking at those toys, and and long snow-white hair, who somehow I wondering what little children come here
to enliven an old man's loneliness; but noin that sunshine, and tended those flowers child comes here. The little girl whose with him. busy fingers last dressed that wooden “ One evening,” he went on,“ I was at baby, would have been an old woman liberty, and we took the children out, letnow, and the merry boys who laughed and ting the breeze, what there was of it, blow shouted at play with those horses, would from us to the village. We went to a hill, have been elderly, care-worn men. Yes, from whence we could see the silent vilthey were mine ; and in one week they all lage afar off. The boys ran about and left me."
shouted in their glee, but little Ellen came I uttered some exclamation of pity, and and laid her golden head on my knee, and he went on in a dreamy voice, as if more looked in my face, with her deep sweet to himself than to us, looking from the eyes. She said : “Papa, there must be a window all the time :
great many people sorrowful down there “Yes, thank you, my dear young lady. in the village. I would like to help them. In one week, wife and children were I wish we could comfort them. I should taken, and I became the solitary man I like so much. I told her how we could have been ever since.
It help them, by asking Him who sends us was in a fever,” he continued, after a all our troubles to help us to bear them pause—"a fever brought here by some patiently, knowing that they are sent in wanderers, who came one night to a barn love and pity. Then we walked home, near the village, where one died, and from for the sun was setting like a red ball of whom the infection spread. The weather fire. The children gathered great nosewas very
bad for it-burning hot and very gays of roses and honeysuckles, which they dry; there was no rain or dew, so that put in water when we got home. The the flowers drooped and the leaves with smell of a honeysuckle always brings that ered with the summer sun beating down evening again before me. all day long. There were deaths around “My darling laid her doll to sleep just me every day, and the bell was always as it lies now, and wished it and myself tolling for the passing of a soul or a fu- good-night; the boys arranged all their neral. They brought the coffins that playthings, and then their mother took way,” and he pointed to a green path out them to bed, and I sat here, where I am of the forest, " in the evening, when one now, looking into the darkening night. I could hardly see them and their attend- heard them sing the evening hymn-Ellen ants against the dark green foliage in the and her mother, softly and clearly—the dusk.
boys with loud, eager, joyous voices—and I went to the sick as much as possible; my heart was very thankful for the many but I took every possible precaution blessings vouchsafed to me. against infection to my wife and children. “ That night there was a great cry in We would have sent our darlings away, our house, as in Egypt of old, for our but we had no one to send them to, and first-born was to die. The fever had bewe were a mile and a half away from any gun. Our frighted servants ran from the infected house. We had three children: house at midnight, and we were left alone Ellen, about eight years old, a thoughtful, with our stricken child. The morning quiet, loving little thing, older than her dawned. The boys awoke, and we bid years. How she used to trot about the them dress themselves, and go and play in house after her mother, trying to help her, the forest. Meanwbile I went to Marston, and looking up at her, with calm deep the nearest town, for the doctor and a blue eyes. Then there were Hugh and nurse, resolved on their arrival, that I Harry, rosy boisterous boys, and their would take the boys away to the wood. mother-Ellen, Ellen. All that your bride man's wife, Annice; I knew she would can be to you, Mr. Fairfield, my wife was take care of them. But neither nurse nor to me."
doctor could be spared from Marston; and He was silent, and looked from the lat- all that burning July day we watched by tice window into the sweet spring evening, our darling's bed, listening to the distant at the swallows darting about in the sun- sound of the boys at play in the forest, shine, the young green leaves and the commingling with her ravings. Hardly flowers, whose scent floated through the ravings either, for there was nothing open window, thinking of the dear com- frightful; all was happiness and peace, as panion who had once walked by his side her young life had been. She talked of Harry and Hugh, of her birds and flowers, Harry left us. He was so strong and so and of appearing in the presence of her healthy, that he struggled hard to live. dear Saviour.
He wanted to be out in the forest at play, “At last the long, dreadful day was he said, to feel the fresh air, and to cool wearing away. The sun was lowering, his burning hands in the sparkling brook. and we saw the struggle was nearly over. No vision of glory calmed his last hour, Those who had that fever rarely lived and we were thankful when the end had more than twenty-four hours, even the come. strong, much less one like our darling. “ Then Hugh woke up from the deadly About sunset I heard a voice under the stupor in which he had lain. He saw his window. It was Annice, who had heard brother lie still and quiet in his little crib; of our trouble and had come to help us. and when his mother took him on her lap, I went down to speak to her, and she told he said in his own sweet lisping voice : me we were to part with our merry Harry is better now ; I'll be better soon, healthy boys. I had not dared to go near mamma.' them all day; but we had heard their “His mother told him Harry would voices within an hour. But Annice had never be ill any more, and never sorry ; found them, and recognized the ghastly but, taken to his Saviour, would rest and signs too well. I knew, too, as soon as I be happy for evermore. saw them. I went back to tell their “I'll rest, too, till morning, mamma ;' mother, and we sent Annice to be with and so, clasping his little hands round her them, and staid with the one from whom neck, he went to his eternal rest; and we we were first to part.
were childless! “It was dark now, and the stars came “ After the little coffins had been laid out, and a red glow on the horizon showed by the first we had followed there, Ellen, where the moon was to rise by and by: my only Ellen, and I sat together on that Ellen was talking of walking as we had seat in the twilight. Well do I rememdone last night. Papa, I am very tired; ber the night. The air was heavy with do carry me home; we are coming very the scent of hay and flowering bean-fields; near home now, aren't we, very near bats wheeled round our heads, and great home?' Then we were in church. You white moths and cockchaffers flitted
past have seen how the sunset light shines on us. We talked of our darlings, and how the monument to the Lady Dimdale, light- perhaps even then their angel spirits were ing up the sweet pure face that is raised near us; and we felt that it was well. We to heaven? She thought she saw it. It had laid them in the dark bosom of the is growing dark; I want to see the glory earth for a time; but it would soon pass on the monument. Ah! there it is; the away-oh! very, very soon, and then how head is all bright and shining. It is look- light the present bitterness! ing at me. I am coming. Such a glory is " • And, dear heart, I said to my beall around. I am coming. Wait till the loved one, we have still each other; we hymn is sung, or papa and mamma will be will not be desolate.' And we felt peace vexed. And she raised herself, and in our hearts, even the peace of God, that stretched out her arms; and, as loud and the world can not give. But the pestisweet as last night she had sung in health lence that walketh in darkness had not yet and reason, she now sung the evening done its mission. hymn :
“My dearest,' my wife said to me one
day, 'I am going to leave you too; you "Glory to thee, my God, this night, For all the blessings of the light;
will then be alone, but do not let your Keep me, oh! keep me
heart break. A little while—a few years —and then we shall all
meet together beAnd so singing, the angel of Death, that fore the throne of the Lamb! had come so gently to her, took her home. “I watched one day by my wife's dy. We stood by her grave that night under ing-bed, with Annice, and I remember no the solemn stars, and, grief-stricken, more. A long frightful dream, a deep thanked the chastening Father for the stupor succeeded. When I awoke it was child he had given and taken away. evening, and the golden sunshine was in
“But a great horror fell on me when my room. From the window I could see we went back to our remaining dear ones. into the forest; I saw that rain had fallen, It was in bitter anguish that our little I and the grass and leaves were green again. The lurid mist had cleared away, and the eighty-five years of age; and it can not sky was soft and blue. All looked joyous be long ere the changes and chances of and glad ; but I knew there was no more this mortal life are over for me.
A long earthly gladness for me: the blessed rain life have I had, and rest will be sweet after had fallen on the graves of all I loved, and the burden and heat of the day. I never the grass grew green upon them. see the sunset light on the Lady Dimdale's
“ I need not tell of all I suffered; it has sweet face, without thinking of the shining long gone by. When I first came down glory round that angelic head, that seemed here from my chamber, all was as I had to call my little Ellen home, and longing left it the night that sorrow first fell upon for the time when I too shall go home to us. The very flowers, gathered by the her, and her gentle mother, and her two little hands that were stilled forever, were happy brothers.” there, but dry and dead. I would not let And when Mr. Morton was silent, we any thing be moved. So they have been rose up gently, and bade him good-night, for fifty years, and so they will be till I and walked home through the quiet forest. join those who left them there. And in The influence of his calm resigned spirit the quiet evening I can see them unaltered seemed to us to pervade all things; and I before me.
Ellen, my wife, with her earnestly prayed that when our day, dark quiet eyes and smile, in the wicker-work or sunshiny as it may be, is over, and the chair; and little Ellen deftly working by golden evening falls, that the wondrous her side, with a sedate womanly look on peace which is his, may be ours also. her sweet face; and the boys at noisy play John and I, as we walked along, talked around them. And then I feel that I am seriously of our future life, and of the vast alone. But He who tempers the ind to importance of possessing that faith in God, the shorn lamb, has helped me through and trust in the Saviour, which alone all my lonely days.
would fit us to endure with calmness the “And now all I have to tell is told. shocks of earthly sorrow and trial. And Perhaps you wonder at my telling it. I the twilight fell gently around us as we could not have done it twenty, nor even came to the cottage-door. ten years ago; but I am now an old man,
TO A SEA-GULL SEEN OFF THE CLIFFS OF MOHER.
Like a pure spirit true to its virtue and
“WHITE bird of the tempest! O beautiful
faith, 'Midst the tempests of nature, of passion and
thing! With the bosom of snow and the motionless
wing; Now sweeping the billow, now floating on
high, Now bathing thy plumes in the light of the
Rise, beautiful emblem of purity, rise!
sight, Thou hidest thy wings in a mantle of light; And I think how a bright spirit gazing on
thee Must long for the moment - the joyous and
freeWhen the soul, disembodied, from nature
shall spring, Unfettered at once to her Maker and King; When the long day of service and suffering
past, Shapes fairer than thine shall shine round
her at last, While, the standard of battle triumphantly
furled, She smiles like a victor serene on the world !"