Small Means and Great Ends
Edited by Mrs. M. H. Adams
Part 1 out of 2
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[Illustration: THE WIDOW'S POT OF OIL.]
SMALL MEANS AND GREAT ENDS.
EDITED BY MRS. M.H. ADAMS
Word of Truth, and Gift of Love,
Waiting hearts now need thee;
Faithful in thy mission prove,
On that mission speed thee.
From the encouragement extended to our worthy publisher on the
presentation of the first and second volumes of the Annual, we conclude
that the experiment of 1845 may be regarded as a successful one, and the
preparation of a little work of this kind an acceptable offering to the
The present year, our kind contributors have afforded us a much more
ample supply of interesting articles than could possibly appear. We
regret that any who have so generously labored for us and our young
friends, should be denied the pleasure of greeting their articles on the
pages of the Annual. Let them not suspect that it is from any
disapproval or rejection of their labors. Be assured, dear friends, we
are more grateful than can properly be expressed in a brief preface. Our
warmest thanks are due our old friends, who, in the midst of other
arduous duties, have willingly given us assistance. Let our new
correspondents be assured they are gratefully remembered, although we
have not the pleasure or opportunity to present their articles to our
readers in the present volume. They are at the publisher's disposal for
May the blessing of our Father in heaven rest upon the little book and
all its mends.
* * * * *
Small Means and Great Ends
The Dead Child to its Mother
The Young Soldier
The Stolen Children
My Grandmother's Cottage
The First Oath
The Fairy's Gift
A Lesson taught by Nature
The Little Candle
"Are we not all Brothers and Sisters?"
The Boy who Stole the Nails
The Childless Mother
The Motherless Child
SMALL MEANS AND GREAT ENDS;
THE WIDOW'S POT OF OIL.
BY JULIA A. FLETCHER.
"Oh! how I do wish I was rich!" said Eliza Melvyn, dropping her work in
her lap, and looking up discontentedly to her mother; "why should not I
be rich as well as Clara Payson? There she passes in her father's
carriage, with her fine clothes, and haughty ways; while I sit
here--sew--sewing--all day long. I don't see what use I am in the world!
"Why should it be so? Why should one person have bread to waste, while
another is starving? Why should one sit idle all day, while another
toils all night? Why should one have so many blessings, and another so
"Eliza!" said Mrs. Melvyn, taking her daughter's hand gently within her
own, and pushing back the curls from her flushed brow, "my daughter, why
is this? why is your usual contentment gone, and why are you so sinfully
complaining? Have you forgotten to think that 'God is ever good?'"
"No, mother," replied the young girl, "but it sometimes appears strange
to me, why he allows all these things."
"Wiser people than either you or I have been led to wonder at these
things," said Mrs. Melvyn; "but the Christian sees in all the wisdom of
God, who allows us to be tried here, and will overrule all for our good.
The very person who is envied for one blessing perhaps envies another
for one he does not possess. But why would you be rich, my child?"
"Mother, I went this morning through a narrow, dirty street in another
part of the city. A group of ragged children were collected round one
who was crying bitterly. I made my way through them and spoke to the
little boy. He told me his little sister was dead, his father was sick,
and he was hungry. Here was sorrow enough for any one; but the little
boy stood there with his bare feet, his sunbleached hair and tattered
clothes, and smiled almost cheerfully through the tears which washed
white streaks amid the darkness of his dirty face. He led me to his
_home_. Oh, mother! if you had been with me up those broken stairs, and
seen the helpless beings in that dismal, dirty room you would have
wished, like me, for the means to help them. The dead body lay there
unburied, for the man said, they had no money to pay for a coffin. He
was dying himself, and they might as well be buried together."
"Are you sure, Eliza, that you have not the means to help them?" asked
Mrs. Melvyn. "Put on your bonnet, my dear, and go to our sexton. Tell
him to go and do what should be done. The charitable society of which I
am a member will pay the expense. Then call on Dr. ---- the dispensary
physician, and send him to the relief of the sick one. Then go to those
of your acquaintance who have, as you say, 'bread to waste,' and mention
to them this hungry little boy. If you have no money to give these
sufferers, you have a voice to plead with those who have; and thus you
may bless the poor, while you doubly bless the rich, for 'It is more
blessed to give than to receive.'"
Eliza obeyed, and when she returned several hours after, her face
glowing with animation, and eagerly recounted how much had been done for
the poor family; how their dead had been humanely borne from their
sight; how the sick man was visited by the physician, and his bitterness
of spirit removed by the sympathy which was sent him; how the room was
to be cleaned and ventilated, and how she left the little boy eating a
huge slice of bread, while others of the family were half devouring the
remainder of the loaf; her mother listened with the same gentleness. "It
is well, my daughter," said she; "I preferred to send you on this errand
of sympathy, that you might see how much you could do with small means."
"I have a picture here," she continued, "which I wish you to keep as a
token of this day's feelings and actions. It is called 'The Widow's Pot
of Oil.' Will you read me the story which belongs to it?"
Eliza took her little pocket Bible, the one that she always carried to
the Sabbath school, and, turning to the fourth chapter of the second
book of Kings, read the first seven verses. Turn to them now, children,
and read them.
"You can see in this picture," said her mother, "how small was the 'pot
of oil,' and how large were some of the vessels to be filled. Yet still
it flowed on, a little stream; still knelt the widow in her faith,
patiently supporting it; still brought her little sons the empty
vessels; the blessing of God was upon it, and they were all filled. She
feared not that the oil would cease to flow; she stopped not when one
vessel was filled; she still believed, and labored, and waited, until
her work was done.
"Take this picture, my daughter, and when you think that you cannot do
good with small means, remember 'the widow's pot of oil,' and
perseveringly use the means you have; when one labor is done, begin
another; stitch by stitch you have made this beautiful garment; very
large houses are built of little bricks patiently joined together one by
one; and 'the widow's small pot of oil' filled many large vessels."
"Oh, mother," said Eliza, "I hope I shall never be so wicked again. I
will keep the picture always. But, mother, do you not think Mr. Usher
would like this picture to put in the 'Sabbath School Annual?' He might
have a smaller one engraved from this, you know, and perhaps cousin
Julia will write something about it. I mean to ask them."
A SKETCH FROM LIFE.
BY MRS. MARGARET M. MASON.
"O, lightly, lightly tread!
A holy thing is sleep
On the worn spirit shed,
And eyes that wake to weep;
Ye know not what ye do,
That call the slumberer back
From the world unseen by you,
Unto life's dim faded track."
How beautiful, calm, and peaceful is sleep! Often, when I have laid my
head upon my pillow happy and healthful, I have asked myself, to what
shall I awaken? What changes may come ere again my head shall press this
pillow? Ah, little do we know what a day may unfold to us! We know not
to what we shall awaken; what joy or sorrow. I do not know when I was
awakened to more painful intelligence, than when aroused one morning
from pleasant dreams by the voice of a neighbor, saying that Mary Ellen,
the only daughter of a near neighbor, was dying. She was a beautiful
little girl, about three years of age, unlike most other children. She
was more serious and thoughtful; and many predicted that her friends
would not have her long. She would often ask strange questions about
heaven and her heavenly Father; and many of her expressions were very
One day she asked permission of her mother to go and gather her some
flowers. Her mother gave her permission, but requested her not to go out
of the field. After searching in vain for flowers, she returned with
some clover leaves and blades of grass. "Mother," said she, "I could
find you no flowers, but here are some spires of grass and clover
leaves. Say that they are some pretty, mother. GOD made them." Often,
when she woke in the morning, she would ask her mother if it was the
Sabbath day. If told it was, "Then," she would say, "we will read the
Bible and keep the day holy." Her mother always strove to render the
Sabbath interesting to her, and to have her spend it in a profitable
manner. Nor did she fail; for little Mary Ellen was always happy when
the Sabbath morning came. The interest she took in the reading of the
Scriptures, in explanations given of the plates in the Bible, and the
accuracy with which she would remember all that was told her, were truly
pleasing. Her kind and affectionate disposition, her love for all that
was pure and holy, and her readiness to forgive and excuse all that she
saw wrong in others, made her beloved by all who knew her. If she saw
children at play on the Sabbath, or roaming about, she would notice it,
and speak of it as being very wrong, and it would appear to wound her
feelings; yet she would try to excuse them. "It may be," she would say,
"that they do not know that it is the holy Sabbath day. Perhaps no one
has told them." She could not bear to think of any one doing wrong
Whenever she heard her little associates make use of any language that
she was not quite sure was right, she would ask her mother if it was
wrong to speak thus; and if wrong, she would say, "Then, I will never
speak so, and I shall be your own dear little girl, and my heavenly
Father will love me." We often ask children whom they love best. Such
was the question often put to Mary Ellen. She would always say, "I love
my heavenly Father best, and my dear father and mother next." Her first
and best affections were freely given to her Maker, not from a sense of
duty alone did it seem, but from a heart overflowing with love and
gratitude; and never, at the hour of retiring, would she forget to kneel
and offer up her evening prayer. Thus she lived.
Now I will lead you to her dying pillow Many friends were around her.
No one had told her that she was dying; yet she herself felt conscious
of it. She wished to have the window raised, that she might see the
ocean and trees once more. "Oh!" said her mother, bending over her, "is
my dear little girl dying?" "I want to go," said Mary Ellen; "I want my
father and mother to go with me." "Will you not stay with us?" said the
stricken father; "will you not stay with us?" She raised her little
hands and eyes--"Oh no," said she; "I see them! I see them! 't is
lighter there; I want to go; get a coffin and go with me, father. 'T is
lighter there!" She died soon after she ceased speaking. Her pure spirit
winged its way to the blest home where we shall _all_ have more light,
where the mortal shall put on immortality.
She died when flowers were fading; fit season for one of so gentle and
pure a nature to depart.
"In the cold, moist earth they laid her
When the forest cast the leaf,
And we wept that one so beautiful
Should have a life so brief.
And yet 't was not unmeet that one,
Like that young friend of ours,
So gentle and so beautiful,
Should perish with the flowers."
But Oh! when that little form was laid in the cold grave,--when the
childless parents returned to their lonely home, once made so happy by
the smile of their departed child,--Oh! who can express or describe
their anguish! In her they had all they could ask in a child; she was
their only one. Everything speaks to their hearts of _her_; but her
light step and happy voice fall not upon their ears; to them the flowers
that she loved have a mournful language. The voice of the wind sighing
in the trees has to them a melancholy tone. The light laugh of little
children, coming in at the open window,--the singing of birds which she
delighted to hear,--but speak to their hearts of utter loneliness. They
feel that the little form they had nursed with so much care and
tenderness, so often pressed to their bosoms, is laid beneath the sod.
Yet the sweet consolation which religion affords, cheered and sustained
the afflicted parents in their hours of deepest sorrow. They would not
call their child back. They feel that she has reached her heavenly home.
Happy must they have been in yielding up to its Maker a spirit so pure.
Two years Mary Ellen has been sleeping in the little grave-yard. Since
then another little daughter has been given her parents,--a promising
little bud, that came with the spring flowers, to bless and cheer the
home which was made so desolate. The best wish I have for the parents,
and all I ask for the child, is, that it may be like little Mary Ellen.
I have an earnest wish, too that all little children who read this
sketch may be led to love and obey God as much as Mary Ellen.
THE DEAD CHILD TO ITS MOTHER.
BY MRS. E.R.B. WALDO.
Mother, mourn not for me;
No more I need of thee;
Call back the yearning which would follow where
No mortal grief can go;
All thine affection throw
Around thy living ones; they need thy care.
Let not my name still be
A word of grief to thee,
But let it bring a thought of peace and rest;
Shed for me no sad tear,
Remember, mother dear!
That I am with the perfect and the blest.
Yes, let my memory still
With joy thy bosom fill;
For, though thou dost along life's desert roam,
My spirit, like a star,
Bright burning and afar,
Shall guide thee, through the darkness, to thy home
BY REV. H.B. NYE.
Expectation is not desire, nor desire hope. We may _expect_ misfortune,
sickness, poverty, while from these evils we would fain escape. Bending
over the couches of the sick and suffering, we may _desire_ their
restoration to health, while the hectic flush and the rapid beating of
the heart assure us that no effort of kindness or skill can prolong
their days upon the earth. _Hope_ is directed to some future good, and
it implies not only an ardent desire that our future may be fair and
unclouded, but an expectation that our wishes will, at length, be
granted, and our plans be crowned with large success. Hence hope
animates us to exertion and diligence, and always imparts pleasure and
gladness, while our fondest wishes cost us anxiety and tears.
There are _false_ and _delusive_ hopes, which bring us, at last, to
shame. There are those who expect to gain riches by fraud and deceit, in
pursuits and traffics on which the laws of truth, love, and justice,
must ever darkly frown. They forget that wealth, with all its splendor,
can only be deemed a good and desirable gift when sought as an
instrument to advance noble and beneficent aims,--when we are the
almoners of God's bounty to the lonely children of sorrow and want.
If we seek wealth, let us not forget that pure hearts gentle affections,
lofty purposes, and generous deeds, can alone secure the peace and
blessedness of the spiritual kingdom of God.
There are some who have a strong desire for the praise and stations of
men, yet are often careless of the means by which they accomplish their
ends. Remember, my young friends, that no station, no crown, or honor,
will occupy the attention of a good and noble heart, except it opens a
better opportunity for philanthropic labor, and is conferred as the free
offering of an intelligent and grateful people.
There are many, especially among the young, who seek _present_ pleasure
in foolish and sinful deeds, vainly believing the wicked may flourish
and receive the blessing of the good. Believe me, young friend, such
hopes are delusive, and such expectations will suddenly perish. Let
fools laugh and mock at sin, and live as if God were not; but consider
well the path of _your_ feet! When your weak arm can hold back the
globes which circle in space above us in solemn grandeur and beauty
forever, then may you hope to arrest the operation of those laws which
preserve an everlasting connection between obedience and blessedness,
sin and sorrow.
In the spring-season of life, how beautiful are the visions which Hope
spreads out to our admiring view, as we go forth, with gladsome heart
and step, amid the duties of life, its trials and temptations. It begets
manly effort by its promises of success, and leads us to virtue and
self-denial, in our weakness and sin. When our heads are bowed to the
earth in despondency and gloom, hope putteth forth her hand, scattereth
afar the clouds, dispelleth our sorrow; and again, with a firmer step
and a more trustful heart, we go forth on the solemn march of life! It
is our solace and strength in the hours of woe and grief, when those in
whose smile we have rejoiced pass from our presence and homes to the
valley and shadow of death. And if we weep that they are not, and can
"Hope, like the rainbow, a creature of light,
Is born, like the rainbow, in tears,"
and we rest in the calm and blest assurance that we shall ultimately go
to them, and with them dwell forever in a land without sorrow.
It may be said that we scarcely live in the present. =Memory=, in
whose mysterious cells are treasured the records of the past, carries
us back to our earlier years, and all our pursuits, and sports, and
joys, and griefs, pass rapidly in review before us; and =Hope= leads
us onward, investing future years with charms, and bidding us strive
with brave and manly hearts in the conflicts and duties that remain. The
former years--sorrowful remembrance!--may have been passed in luxury,
indolence, or flagrant sin; the fruits of our industry and skill may
have wasted away; friends, whose love once cast a golden sunshine on the
path of life, may have proved false and treacherous; our fondest
desires, perchance, have faded, and sorrows may encompass us about;--yet
above us the voice of Hope crieth aloud, "_Press on_!"--through tears
and the cross must thou win the crown; be patient, trustful, in every
duty and grief; "_press on_," and falter not; and its words linger like
the music of a remembered dream in our ear, until, at the borders of the
grave, we lay down the burden of our sinfulness and care, and, through
the open gate of death, pass onward to that world where hope shall be
exchanged for sight, and we, with unveiled eye, shall look upon the
wondrous ways and works of God.
THE YOUNG SOLDIER
BY REV. J.G. ADAMS.
A soldier! a soldier!
I'm longing to be;
The name and the life
Of a soldier for me!
I would not be living
At ease and at play:
True honor and glory
I'd win in my day!
A soldier! a soldier!
In armor arrayed;
My weapons in hand,
Of no contest afraid;
I'd ever be ready
To strike the first blow,
And to fight my good way
Through the ranks of the foe.
But then, let me tell you,
No blood would I shed,
No victory seek o'er
The dying and dead;
A far braver soldier
Than this would I be;
A warrior of Truth,
In the ranks of the free!
My helmet Salvation,
Strong Faith my good shield.
The sword of the Spirit
I'd learn how to wield.
And then against evil
And sin would I fight,
Assured of my triumph,
Because in the right.
A soldier! a soldier!
O, then, let me be!
Young friends, I invite you--
Enlist now with me.
Truth's bands will be mustered--
Love's foes shall give way!
Let's up, and be clad
In our battle array!
THE STOLEN CHILDREN.
BY MRS. M.A. LIVERMORE.
Not many years ago, the beautiful hills and valleys of New England gave
to the wild Indian a home, and its bright waters and quiet forests
furnished him with food. Rude wigwams stood where now ascends the hum of
the populous city, and council-fires blazed amid the giant trees which
have since bowed before the axe of the settler. Between that rude age
and the refinement of the present day, many and fearful were the strifes
of the red owner of the land with the invading white man, who, having
crossed the waters of the Atlantic, sought to drive him from his
hitherto undisputed possessions. The recital of deeds of inhuman cruelty
which characterized that period; the rehearsal of bloody massacres of
inoffensive women and innocent children, which those cruel savages
delighted in, would even now curdle the blood with horror, and make one
sick at heart.
It was in this period of fearful warfare that the events occurred which
form the foundation of the following story.
Not far from the year 1680, a small colony was planted on the banks of
the beautiful Connecticut. A little company from the sea-side found
their way, through the tangled and pathless woods, to the meadows that
lay sleeping on the banks of this bright river; and here, after having
felled the mighty trees whose brows had long been kissed by the pure
heavens, they erected their humble cottages; and began to till the rich
alluvial soil. The colonists were persevering and industrious; and soon
a little village grew up beside the shining stream, fields of Indian
corn waved their wealth of tasselled heads in the breezes, the
rudely-constructed school-house echoed with the cheerful hum of the
little students, and a rustic church was dedicated to the God of the
Pilgrims. He who officiated as the spiritual teacher of this new parish,
also instructed the children during the week. A man he was of no
inferior mind, or neglected education; of fervent, but austere piety,
possessing a bold spirit and a benevolent heart. His family consisted of
a wife and two daughters; Emma, the elder, was a girl of eight summers,
and Anna, the younger, was about five.
Never were children so frolicsome and mirth-loving as were Emma and Anna
Wilson, the daughters of the minister. Not the grave admonitions of
their mother, or the severe reproofs of their stern father; not their
many confinements in dark and windowless closets, or the memory of
afternoons, when, supperless, they had been sent to bed while the sun
was yet high in the heavens; not the fear of certain punishment, or the
suasion of kindness, could tame their wild natures, or force them into
anything like woman-like sobriety. Hand in hand, they would wander amid
the aisles of mossy-trunked trees, plucking the flowers that carpeted
the earth; now digging for ground-nuts, now turning over the leaves for
acorns; sometimes they would watch the nibbling squirrel as he nimbly
sprang from tree to tree, or overpower, with their boisterous laughter,
the gushing melody of the bobolink; they mocked the querulous cat-bird
and the cawing crow, started at the swift winging of the shy blackbird,
and stood still to listen to the sweet song of the clear-throated
thrush; now they bathed their feet in the streamlets that went singing
on their way to the Connecticut, and then, throwing up handfuls of the
running water, which fell again upon their heads, they laughed right
merrily at their self-baptism. They were happy as the days were long;
but wild as their playfellows, the birds, the streams, and the
One beautiful Sabbath morning in July, their mother dressed them tidily
in their best frocks, and tying on their snow-white sun-bonnets, she
sent them to church nearly an hour before she started with their father,
that they might walk leisurely, and have opportunity to get rested
before the commencement of services. But it was not until near the
middle of the sermon that the little rogues made their appearance. With
glowing faces, hair that had strayed from its ungraceful confinement to
float in golden curls over their necks and shoulders,--with bonnets,
shoes and stockings tied together and swinging over each arm,--with
dresses rent, ripped, soiled and stained, and up-gathered aprons filled
with berries, blossoms, pebbles, fresh-water shells and bright sand,
they stole softly to where their mother was sitting, much to her
mortification, and greatly to the horror of their pious father.
For this offence, they were forbidden to accompany their parents, on the
next Sabbath, to church, but were condemned to close confinement in the
house during the long, bright, summer day--a severer punishment than
which, could not have been inflicted. When the hour of assembling for
worship was announced by the old English clock that stood in the corner,
the curtains were drawn before the windows; two bowls of bread and milk
were placed on the dresser for their dinner; a lesson in the Testament
was assigned to Emma, and one in the Catechism to Anna; a strict
injunction to remain all day in the house was laid upon both, and Mr.
and Mrs. Wilson departed, locking the door, and taking the key. The
children soon wiped away the tears that their hard fate had gathered in
their eyes, and applied themselves to their tasks, which were speedily
committed. Then the forenoon wore slowly away; they dared not get their
playthings,--they were forbidden to go out doors,--and the only books in
the room were the Bible, Watts' Hymns, and the Pilgrim's Progress, which
lay on the highest shelf in the room, far beyond their reach. Noon came
at last; the sun shone fully in at the south window, betokening the
dinner hour, and then their dinner of bread and milk was eaten. What
were they next to do? Sorrowfully they gazed on the smiling river, the
green corn-fields, the large potato-plats, the grazing cattle, the
blooming flower-beds, and the shady walks which led far into the cool
recesses of the forest; and earnestly did they long for liberty to
ramble out in the glorious sunshine. As they were gazing wistfully
through the window, they saw their playful little kitten, Fanny, dart
like lightning from her hiding-place in the garden, where she had long
lain in ambush, and fasten her sharp claws in the back of a poor little
ground-bird, which had been hopping from twig to twig, chirping and
twittering very cheerfully. The little bird fluttered, gasped, and
uttered wailing cries, as it ineffectually labored to free itself from
the power of its captor, until Emma and Anna, unable longer to witness
its distress, sprang out the window, and, rushing down the garden,
liberated the little prisoner, and with delight saw it fly away towards
Delighted to find themselves once more in the open air, the joyful
children forgot the prohibition of their parents, and leaping over the
dear little brook with which they loved to run races, they filled their
aprons with the blue-eyed violets that grew on its margin. On they
bounded, further and further, and a few moments more found them in the
dense wood, where not a sunbeam could reach the ground. But suddenly the
leaves rustled behind them, and the twigs cracked, and there sprung,
from an ambuscade in the thicket, the tall figure of an Indian, who laid
a strong hand on the arm of each little girl, and, despite the cries,
tears, and entreaties of the poor children, hurried them deeper into the
forest, where they found a large body of these cruel savages, clad in
moose and deer skins, armed with bows and arrows, tomahawks, and
muskets. The children were questioned concerning the village, the
occupation of the inhabitants on that day, and the number of men at
home, and they replied correctly and intelligibly. A consultation was
then held among the Indians, which resulted in a determination to attack
the village; and forthwith, leaving but one behind to guard the little
prisoners, they made a descent on the quiet settlement, burning and
ravaging buildings on their way to the church. But they did not find the
body of worshippers unarmed, as they doubtless expected; for, in those
days of peril and savage warfare, men worshipped God armed with musket
and bayonet, and the hand that was lifted in prayer to heaven would
often, at the next moment, draw the gleaming sword from its sheath. At
the meeting-house, the savages met with a warm repulse; and were so
surprised and affrighted that they retreated back into the wild woods,
after wounding but one or two colonists, among whom was Mr. Wilson,
Emma's and Anna's father.
The Indians commenced, about dark, a journey to the settlement where
they belonged, taking the stolen children with them; they reached their
destination early on the second day of their travel. Rough, indeed,
seemed the Indian village to the white children: the houses were only
wigwams, made by placing poles obliquely in the ground, and fastening
them at the top, covered on the outside with bark, and lined on the
inside with mats; some containing but one family, others a great many.
The furniture consisted of mats for beds, curiously wrought baskets to
hold corn, and strings of wampum which served for ornaments. Into one of
the smallest of these wigwams Emma and Anna were carried, and were given
to the wife of one of the chief warriors, who had but one child of her
own,--Winona was her name, which signifies the first-born,--a
bright-eyed, pleasant, winning little girl of two years of age. The
mother scrutinized them closely, but the child appeared overjoyed to see
them, and wiped away their tears with her little hand, and, jabbering in
her unknown language, seemed begging them not to cry. This interested
the mother, and she soon looked more kindly upon them, and set before
them food. But they were too sorrowful to eat, and were glad to be shown
a mat, where they were to sleep. Locked in each others' arms, cheek
pressed to cheek, they lay and wept as if their hearts were broken.
"Let us pray to God," whispered Emma, after the inmates of the wigwam
were reposing in slumber, "and ask Him to bring us again to our father
So they rose, and knelt in the dark wigwam, with their arms about one
another's necks, and their tears flowing together, and offered to God
their childish prayer:
"Our Father in Heaven, love us poor children; take care of us; forgive
us for doing wrong, and help us be good; take care of our dear parents;
comfort them, and bring us again to meet them."
Then, more composed, and trusting in the blessed Father of us all, they
fell asleep, and sweet were their slumbers, though far from their dear
parents and home, for angels watched over them, and gave to them happy
A few days' residence among these untutored red men made Emma and Anna
great favorites among them; their pleasant dispositions, their good
nature, and, above all, their love for the little Winona, which was
fully reciprocated, endeared them to the father and mother of the Indian
girl. Though sad at being separated from their parents, and though they
often wept until they could weep no longer when they thought of home,
yet their hearts, like those of all children, were easily consoled, and
their spirits were so elastic that they could not long be depressed.
Winona loved them tenderly; at night she slept between them, and during
the day she would never leave them. She wore garlands of their
wreathing, listened to their English songs, stroked their rosy cheeks,
and frolicked with them in the woods, and beside the running brooks.
Two months passed away; all the Indian women in the village were
speaking of the love that had sprung up between the little white girls
and the copper-colored Winona; and many a hard hand smoothed the golden
curls of the little captives in token of affection. Then Winona was
taken sick; her body glowed with the fever-heat, her bright eyes became
dull, and day and night she moaned with pain. With surprising care and
tenderness, Emma and Anna nursed the suffering child,--for to them were
her glowing and burning hands extended for relief, rather than to her
mother. They held her throbbing head, lulled her to sleep, bathed her
hot temples, moistened her parched lips, and soothed her distresses; but
they could not win her from the power of death--and she died!
Oh, it was a sorrowful thing to them to part with their little
playmate,--to see the damp earth heaped upon her lovely form, and to
feel that she was forever hidden from their sight! They wept, and, with
the almost frantic mother, laid their faces on the tiny grave, and
moistened it with their tears. Hither they often came to scatter the
freshest flowers, and to weep for the home they feared they would never
again see; and here they often kneeled in united prayer to that God, who
bends on prayerful children a loving eye, and spreads over them a
The childless Indian woman now loved them more than ever; but the death
of Winona had opened afresh the fountains of their grief, and often did
she find them weeping so bitterly that she could not comfort them. She
would draw them to her bosom, and tenderly caress them; but it all
availed not, and when the month of October came, with its sere foliage
and fading flowers, Emma and Anna had grown so thin, and pale, and
feeble, from their wearing home-sickness, that they stayed all day in
the wigwam, going out only to visit Winona's grave. They drooped and
drooped, and those who saw them said, "The white children will die, and
lie down with Winona."
The Indian mother gazed on their pallid faces, and wept; she loved them,
and could not bear to part with them; but she saw they would die, and
calling her husband, she bade him convey them to the home of their
father. Many were the tears she shed at parting with them; and when they
disappeared among the thick trees, she threw herself, in an agony of
grief, upon the mats within the wigwam.
It was Sabbath noon when the children arrived in sight of their
father's house; here the Indian left them, and plunged again into the
depths of the forest. They could gain no admittance into the house, and
they hastened to the meeting-house, where they hoped to find their
parents. They reached the church; the congregation was singing;
silently, and unobserved, they entered, and seated themselves at the
remotest part of the building. The singing ceased; there was a momentary
pause, and their father rose before them. Oh, how he was changed! Pale,
very pale, thin and sad was his dear face; and Emma's and Anna's hearts
smote them, as being the cause of this change. They leaned forward to
catch a glimpse of their mother, but in her accustomed seat sat a lady
dressed in black, and this, they thought, could not be her; they little
supposed that their parents mourned for them as for the dead, believing
they should see them no more.
Mr. Wilson took his text from Psalms: "It is good for me that I have
been afflicted." With a tremulous voice, he spoke of their recent
afflictions; of the sudden invasion of the colony, the burning of their
dwellings, the wounding of some of their number, and then his tones
became more deeply tremulous, for he spoke of his children. The sobs of
his sympathizing people filled the house, and the anguish of the
father's feelings became so intense, that he bowed his head upon the
Bible and wept aloud. The hearts of the children palpitated with
emotion; their sobs arose above all others; and, taking each other by
the hand, the wan, emaciated, badly-dressed little girls hastened to the
pulpit, where stood their father, with his face bowed upon the leaves of
the Holy Book, and laying their hand upon his passive arm, they sobbed
forth, "Father! Father!" He raised his head, gazed eagerly and wildly
upon the children, and comprehending at once the whole scene, the
revulsion of feeling that came over him was so great,--the sorrow for
the dead being instantly changed into joy for the living,--that he
staggered backwards, and would have fallen but for the timely support of
The whole house was in instant confusion; in a moment they were clasped
in their mother's arms, and kisses and tears and blessings were mingled
together upon their white, thin cheeks. "Let us thank God for the return
of our children," said the pastor; and all kneeling reverently, he
thanked our merciful heavenly Father, in the warm and glowing language
of a deeply grateful heart, for restoring to his arms those whom he had
wept as lost to him forever.
Oh, there was joy in that village that night again and again the
children told their interesting story, and those who listened forgot to
chide their disobedience, or to harshly reprove. Need I tell you how
they were pressed to the bosoms of the villagers; how tears were shed
for their sufferings, and those of the little lost Winona, whom they did
not forget; how caresses were lavished upon them, and prayers offered to
God, that their lives, which he had so wonderfully preserved, might be
spent in usefulness and piety? No, I need not, for you can imagine it
The sermon which was so happily interrupted by the return of the
children was the first Mr. Wilson had attempted to preach since the day
they were stolen; the wounds he that day received, and the illness that
immediately afterwards ensued, with his unutterable grief for the loss
of his children, had confined him mostly to his bed during their
absence. On the next Sabbath, Emma and Anna accompanied their father and
mother once more to church, when Mr. Wilson preached from these words:
"Oh, give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good, and his mercy endureth
[Illustration: My Grandmother's Cottage]
MY GRANDMOTHER'S COTTAGE.
BY REV. J.G. ADAMS.
Of all places in the wide world, my own early home excepted, none seem
to me more pleasing in memory than my grandmother's cottage. Very often
did I visit it in my boyhood, and well acquainted with its appearance
within, and with almost every object around it, did I become. It stood
in a quiet nook in the midst of the woods, about five miles from the
pleasant seaport where I was born. The cottage was not a spacious one.
It had but few rooms in it; but it was amply large for my aged
grandparents, I remember. They lived happily there. My grandfather was
somewhat infirm; my grandmother was a very vigorous person for one of
seventy-five; this was her age at the time of my first recollection of
her. She used to walk from her cottage to our home; and once I walked
with her, but was exceedingly mortified that I could not endure the walk
so well as she did.
I used to love this cottage home, because it was so quiet, and in the
summer time so delighting to me. I believe I received some of my very
first lessons in the love of nature in this place. It was a charming
summer or winter retreat. If the sun shone warmly down anywhere, it was
here. If the wind blew kindly anywhere, it was around the snug cottage,
sheltered as it was on every side by the tall old pines. If the robin's
note came earliest anywhere in the spring-time, it was from the large
spreading apple-tree just at the foot of the little garden lot. How
often has my young heart been delighted with his song there! And then,
what sweet chanting I have heard in those woods all the day from the
thrush and sparrow, yellow-bird and oriole! How their mellow voices
would seem to echo in the noon-silence, or at the sunset hour, as though
they were singing anthems in some vast cathedral! They were; and what
anthems of nature's harmony and praise! God heard them, and was
It seemed to me that every animate thing was made to be happy. I loved
to stand beneath a tall old hemlock in a certain part of the wood, and
watch the squirrels as they skipped and ran so swiftly along the wall,
or from branch to branch, or up and down the trees. Their chattering
made a fine accompaniment to the bird-songs. And here I learned to
indulge a fondness for the very crows, which to this day I have never
outgrown. Though they have been denounced as mischievous, and bounties
have been set upon them, I never could find it in my heart to indulge in
the warring propensity against them. They always seemed to me such
social company--issuing from some edge of the woodland, and slowly
flapping their black wings, and flocking out into the clearing, huddling
overhead, and sailing away, chatting so loudly and heartily all the
while, and reminding the whole neighborhood that when we have life, it
is best to let others know it! Yes--the cawing crows have been company
for me in many a solitary ramble; and whenever I hear them, I inwardly
pay my respects to them. All these, and other familiar sights and
sounds, did I richly enjoy at the old cottage in the woods.
I loved to sit at the shed-door, and watch my grandfather at his slow
work; for he had been a mechanic in his day, and was able to do a little
very moderately at his trade now. He would tell me the history of the
old people in the neighborhood, and of the customs and fashions when
they were boys and girls; and my eyes and ears were open to hear him. I
used to wish I could see them just as they looked when they were
children. It was very difficult then for me to imagine how those who
had become so wrinkled could ever have had the smooth faces of infants
and children. But my grandfather could remember when he was a boy; and
his father had told him what things were done when he, too, was a boy.
And so I concluded that wrinkles were no disgrace, nor the fairest faces
of the young any protection against them.
My grandmother was very fond of me, and took great pleasure in having me
read to her, as her eyesight had become somewhat dim. And so I used to
load myself with story-books and newspapers, when I became older, to
carry and read to her. And such times as we had with them! Voyages,
travels, discoveries, adventures, perils,--the wonders of the world, the
wonders of science, the wonders of history,--all came in for their share
of reading. Though I should read myself tired and sleepy, my grandmother
would still be an interested listener. Since I have been a minister, I
have often wished that many hearers would as eagerly listen to what I
had to say especially to them, as did my aged grandmother to my young
Those sunny days have departed. The old cottage is not there now. Years
ago it was taken down. My grandfather died when I was yet a boy, and I
followed him to the grave with a heavy heart. My grandmother lived to
be almost a hundred years old,--her powers all gone, and she helpless.
It would sometimes, even in my manhood, deeply affect me to have her
look into my face with no sign in hers that she knew me, when she had
once loved her talkative and delighted grandchild so fondly. But she,
too, found her resting-place at last beside her companion. Peace to
them! They blest me with their kindly, cheering words when most I needed
them, and I will bless their memories. And peace to the spot where once
stood their quiet home! Wherever in life I may be,--however brightly its
pleasures may shine, or heavily its cares and afflictions press upon
me--never would I outgrow the inspiration of these early enjoyments;
never forget, that, however the great, proud, and contentious world may
distract and dishearten, there will yet be peace to the humble and
virtuous soul in many a nook like that which sheltered and blest my
grand mother's cottage.
THE FIRST OATH
BY REV. EBEN FRANCIS.
It is now many years since a near friend of mine uttered his first oath.
We were very intimate in our youthful days. I have thought that I would
write a little story about him, for some of the little folks of these
times to read, hoping that it will not only be interesting, but do them
good; for I am indeed sorry to know that swearing is a very common sin
among the boys of our times.
The parents of my young playfellow were of the humbler class in society;
they were industrious and prudent, and took great pains to teach him
what was right. They lived in the metropolis of New England, where my
schoolmate was born. His father wrought with the saw, the plane, the
hammer, and such tools as carpenters use about their business. His home
was a neat, wooden two-story house, in one of the streets of that part
of Boston which was generally known, when we were boys, by the name of
the MILL-POND. I suppose that most of my little readers who live in the
city can tell where it is. Many changes have taken place there since my
childhood. When I was a small boy it was called the _town_,--now we
never hear of it but as the _city_ of Boston. Its population has
increased rapidly; its territory has been extended; it has grown in
wealth, in splendor, in its means for mental and moral improvement; in
the number and convenience of its public schools,--the pride and
ornament, or the disgrace, of any place. Yes, Boston is not, in
appearance or in fact, what it once was.
But I am getting off from my story. I was saying that my young friend
resided on the "new-land"--no; the "Mill-Pond;"--well, it's all the
same--for when they dug down old Beacon Hill, they threw the dirt into
the Mill-Pond, and when it was filled up, or made land, the spot was
still known as the Mill-Pond, and oftentimes was called the new-land. In
later years, there have been other portions added to the city, by making
wharves, and filling up where the tide used to ebb and flow, and where
large vessels could float.
But again I am digressing too far from the story.
So soon as my friend was old enough, he was sent to one of the primary
schools, and was a pretty constant scholar at that, and afterwards at a
grammar school, till he was about twelve years old. He was, of course,
much with other lads of his own age, and some who were older and
younger than himself. He was, also, often in the streets, and as there
were a great many people who used profane language in those days,--as
there are at the present time,--he heard much of it; yet he had been so
carefully trained that he did not for years utter wicked words.
It is always painful to most persons, old as well as young, to hear
profanity, even though it be very common in their hearing, if they are
never accustomed to its use.
My young friend had been taught to reverence the name of that great
Being who made heaven and earth and all things. He was a member of a
Sabbath school, and thus had much valuable advice from his faithful
teacher to govern his conduct in word and deed. For a while he heeded
this, and was careful of his moral character. But by-and-by, he
overstepped the bounds of right.
It is very true that "evil communications corrupt good manners;" and
that if one would not be bad, one means of safety is to keep out of bad
My friend was, in a few years, placed in a store, where there was a
large business carried on. He came in contact with persons who were not
so carefully instructed as he had been. They made no hesitation in
pronouncing the names of God and Jesus Christ in a blasphemous and
profane manner. He resisted the pernicious influence of their example
for a while, but at last it became so familiar to his ears, that he
could hear wicked words spoken without even a thrill of horror in his
He, however, had not the disposition to speak them, till one day, when
some little thing in the store did not suit him, his passion was
aroused, and, in the angry excitement of the moment, he spoke out,--and
in that unguarded expression there was profanity,--a miserable,
blasphemous, wicked word. He had uttered his _first oath._ The
disposition had been lurking in his heart for several days to do this;
but he had not been able to so far lower his moral sense as to do it
before. Now he felt as though he had done a brave act,--that he had
achieved something very grand. But soon, very soon, conscience whispered
her gentle yet severe rebuke. She complained sadly of the wickedness
that was done. The blush of shame mantled his cheek. Remorse took hold
on his spirit. He looked about to see who was upbraiding him; but none
seemed to notice it. He resolved that he would not again give occasion
for such feelings of regret and sorrow to himself as he then felt.
Could you have then looked into his heart, you would have pitied him.
This resolution he kept a few weeks, when, being a little irritated, he
a second time profaned the holy name of Deity. This time he felt some
compunctions of conscience, but they were not as powerful as before; the
first step had been already taken, and a second was much easier.
I need not go on to tell you how he, not long after, broke a second
resolution, and so on, till, ere many months, he had become really a
swearing young man.
It all sprang from the first sinful act; and when at last he did break
himself of the habit, it was not done without a serious struggle.
I have told you this story, my young readers, because I thought it might
be, not only interesting to you, but because I hoped it might be the
means of leading you to reflect upon the uselessness and wickedness of
PROFANITY; and that it might aid in impressing on your minds the
importance of governing your passions and keeping your tongues free from
I see my friend, about whom I have written, quite often. He is now a
parent, and occupies an eminent position in the community; but he often
thinks of his former life, and says he has not yet ceased to lament his
FIRST OATH. Let this fact, then, teach you how a recollection of the
sins of boyhood, even though you may call them little sins, will be
cherished through life, and poison many moments that would otherwise be
happy ones. How important that childhood be pure and righteous in the
sight of God, and to our own consciences, in order to insure a happy
manhood and old age!
THE FAIRY'S GIFT.
BY REV. J. WESLEY HANSON.
It was a quiet summer's day,
The breeze blew cool and fair,
And blest ten thousand happy things
Of land, and sea, and air,
And played a thousand merry pranks
With MARY'S golden hair.
MARY was not a happy girl;
Her face was sad and sour,
And on her little pretty brow
Dark frowns did often lower,--
And she would scold, and fret, and cry,
Full fifty times an hour.
She sat and wept with grief and pain,
And did not smile at all,--
And when her friends and mates came near
She shunned them, great and small,--
And then upon the Fairy Queen
She earnestly did call.
"Oh, hither, hither, good Fairy,
I pray thee come to me!
And point me out the Path of Peace,
That I may happy be,
For I cannot, in all the world,
A moment's pleasure see!
"I try my work, my play I try,
My little playmates, too;
Help me to find true happiness,
I sadly, humbly sue;--
Oh! my lot is a darksome one,--
Fairy! what shall I do?"
A humble-bee comes riding by,
No bigger than my thumb,
And on his browny, gold-striped back,
Behold the Fairy come!
One look upon her loveliness
Makes little MARY dumb.
She wore a veil of gossamer,
Her tunic was of blue,
A golden sunbeam was her belt,
And bonnet of crimson hue,
And through the net of her purple shawl
Clear silver stars looked through.
Her slippers were of sunflower seeds,
And tied with spider's thread,
A rein of silkworm's finest yarn
Passed round the bee's brown head;
An oaten straw was her riding whip,--
Oh how her courser sped!
She beckoned to the sighing maid,
And led her a little way,
And showed a hundred fountains bright
That bubbled night and day,
And flashed their waves in the glad sunlight,
And showers of crystal spray.
She said: "Each stream has secret power
Upon the human heart,
And, as you drink, the mystic draught
Shall joy or woe impart;
'T will give you pleasant happiness,
Or sorrow's painful smart."
The founts were labelled every one,
With titles plainly seen,--
The fountains _Pride_, and _Sin_, and _Wrong_,
And _Hate_, and _Scorn_, and _Spleen,
Goodness_ and _Love_, and many more,
Sparkled along the green.
And MARY drank at each bright fount,
To draw her grief away;
But, spite of all the water's power,
Her sorrows they would stay.
And still she mourned, and still was sad,
Through all the livelong day.
One morn she saw a little spring
She never saw before,
Down in a still and shady vale,
Covered with blossoms o'er,--
And when she 'd drunk, and still would drink
She thirsted still for more.
She gladly quaffed its cooling draught,
And found what she had sought;
No more her heart with sorrow grieved.
She thirsted now for nought;
She'd found a blessed happiness,
Beyond her highest thought.
And when she moved the vines aside
That hid the fount from sight,
In loveliest, brightest characters,
Like stars of silver light,--
_Goodness of heart, and speech, and life_,
She read in letters bright.
And MARY drank the liquid waves,
And soon her little brow
Became as pure, and clear, and white,
As bank of whitest snow;
And when she drank of that blest fount,
She purest joy did know.
Then MARY learned this highest truth.
Beyond all human art,--
That there are many things in life
Can pain and woe impart;--
But Goodness alone of act and deed
Can make a happy heart.
A LESSON TAUGHT BY NATURE.
BY MISS LOUISA M. BARKER.
When I was a little child, younger than those for whom this book is
written, my home was in a valley. The usual appendages to a farm-house,
the garden, orchard and small pasture grounds, lay very near it; and I
was as familiar with these enclosures as with the rooms of the house. A
little further off there was a mimic river, which, as it wound about,
divided itself into different streams, and surrounded little islands,
shaded with the tall plane tree and the flexible willow. Here, too, with
those who were old enough to be careful in crossing the rustic bridges,
I sometimes played on summer afternoons;--gathered the prettiest flowers
in the sweetest little woods, and dipped my feet into the clear running
Beyond these there lay less frequented fields, which rose gradually, at
no very great distance, into a range of hills as green as the valley
below. One of them was covered all over its summit, and a little way
down its sides, with some dark old woods. The trees which grew there
were very tall, and so large that their thick and heavy tops seemed to
crowd together, so that you might have walked on them almost as well as
upon the hill itself. I loved sometimes, when the air was full of the
bright sunshine, to look at the rich shades of green upon those
tree-tops; but if ever my eye rested, for a moment only, upon the dark
and mysterious avenues which led into the depths of the wood beneath
them, there would creep such a chill to my heart,--such a feeling of
dread would come over me,--that I turned quickly to the glad-looking
homestead, that I might again grow warm and happy.
At first it was probably no more than the idea that those woods formed a
limit to the world of light and gladness in which I lived. My eye could
not penetrate their dimness, and with a childish, human feeling I shrank
from the undiscovered and unknown. But as I grew older, and read the
stories in the small books which were given to me for presents, or lent
by my little friends, I had other and plainer reasons for the
apprehensive feeling with which I looked at the woods. I found that
children had been so lost among their thickets as hardly to be found
again; and that two poor little orphans, left there on purpose, had lain
down and died of hunger and weariness; and the birds covered them over
with leaves. Strange birds I thought there were in the woods. Then the
fairies that dwelt there, and the strange elfin creatures, and the
perils that travellers fell into with robbers and wild beasts; and still
I referred the scene of every story I read directly to those very woods
upon the hill-side, although they were so near that I could see them
plainly enough from the windows of the cheerful rooms at home.
Time passed along in its usual way; but before I had acquired knowledge
or strength of mind enough to correct my early impressions of the woods,
I had permission, one bright afternoon in June, to go with an older
sister to a strawberry meadow across the creek. We were accompanied by
some little maidens, who were older and more adventurous than me; and so
it happened that when we did not find the fruit so abundant as we could
wish, they persuaded us to go into another field, and then into another,
I little thought where, until I became suddenly sensible of a shaded
light around me, of a breeze a little cooler than that which tempered
the warm air of the valley, and a low, wild music that I had never heard
before; and looking up, I saw that we were actually upon the ascent of
the hill which led up to the dreaded woods.
Strange and almost horror-struck as I felt, I did not scream out,
(perhaps I should not have had breath to do so,) but I gathered up all
the wisdom that my little heart could boast, into the resolution not to
look at the woods, not to think of them; for we should soon go back
again, I thought, and nothing would happen. And my young friends can
judge how terrified I must have grown, when I heard one of the girls
begin to talk of the beautiful flowers her brother had brought her from
the woods, and end by proposing that we should go there, and get some
for ourselves. I waited breathlessly to hear the objections which I
doubted not would be urged against this plan, but none were offered; and
when I ventured to remonstrate, they paid so little attention to me,
that my pride was hurt at the thought of saying any more.
There was another way in which my pride was at work. I was ashamed,
among those who were so brave, to own that I was afraid; so, though I
held the hands of those who led me pretty tight, and gave them some
little trouble to pull me along, they knew nothing more of my reluctance
to go with them.
We got up the hill very fast; so at least it seemed to me. Here and
there a solitary tree, a few feet in advance, looked as if it had
stepped out to welcome and encourage us to pass on; and I cannot say
that my strength did not revive a little as I passed under the heavy
branches, and out again into the freer air. Be that as it may, it was
terrible enough to me, the approach to those woods. My companions were
eager and gay, and shouted out, as we entered them. They little thought
how overpowering were my feelings. And I little thought, myself, that I
was then and there to receive a lesson that I should never forget; one,
perhaps, that would do me more good than any other that I should ever
At first, I was so frightened that my senses were all in confusion; but
as I gradually recovered the use of them, I took notice of the coolness
and the shade, and the dimness away in the distance; I heard the leafy
murmur above my head, the sweet notes that the birds were singing, and
the loud echoes. All these things seemed to blend together into
something so solemn and so magnificent, that I began to feel for the
first time what it was to be a little child. With that, soon came a
feeling of confidence and even love. I thought that the majestic
presence that filled the woods, whatever it was, would not hurt me, and
my heart grew so light at the thought, that I began to gather flowers
with the rest. How pretty they were! and what clean, shining leaves! And
here and there, wherever a little sunshine found an opening in the
branches and streamed down upon the bright green moss, it seemed so
golden, so clear, and so real, just as if I might clasp it in my hands!
I grew so much affected, at length, that I sobbed myself into tears, and
my sister said that I had never been in the woods before, and she would
take me home. I did not like to say that I wanted to stay longer, but
held to my flowers; and after I reached home, was washed and rested, I
went to the window, and remained there a long time, looking at the
woods. I did not quite comprehend all I had thought and felt, but it
seemed to me that a great truth, one that would do me good, had dawned
upon my mind.
It was a long time before I fully understood the lesson. In a few weeks
I caught one of those contagious diseases which children must have once;
and it went so hard with me, that, before I was able to walk about, and
go out of the house, the leaves were all gone, and the snow had covered
the ground. When spring returned I thought often of the woods, but I was
too sickly to go there; and when I grew strong again, my thoughts were
all occupied with an approaching event. Several changes had occurred in
the family, and others were expected, to which my friends though
discontented at first, had grown quite reconciled. It was not so with
me. There was one circumstance which affected me more than it did
others, and from that I prophesied a continual succession of evils. It
seemed to me that my life was to be wholly changed, and all the joy and
beauty left behind. It was childish, I know. I knew it then, for I would
not for the world have told any one how I felt. Still I was as much
affected by it as I have ever been since at any real grief.
Late one afternoon, when my thoughts were busy with my fears, I went to
the window, and looked up at the woods. The sunshine was very bright on
their tops, and the shadow very dark on the hill-side below. Very
vividly then came back to me the memory of my visit to them the year
before. I thought of the evils which I expected to meet, and of the
beauty which I found there. It was some good angel which whispered then
in my thoughts, that, just as I went to the woods, full of fears and
forebodings, I was approaching the expected misfortune; that I might be
as happily disappointed in this as I had been in that.
I cannot tell how delighted I was with this suggestion, nor how
completely it took possession of my mind. I was gloomy and fearful no
longer. I did not, indeed, when the change came, resign what I lost by
it without regret; but I was so certain of finding new enjoyments, that
I resigned it cheerfully. And when, after a few weeks' experience had
taught me that many advantages and many pleasures had come to me in
consequence of those very circumstances which I had dreaded so much, I
bound the lesson of the woods to my heart so firmly that there it still
And let me say to you, for whom I have related this little incident of
my childhood:--do not tremble at the disappointments and trials which
await you. Do not seek to throw upon others any part of them which you
may more becomingly bear yourself. If you live always in the open
sunshine, you will never know what beauty there is in the woods. You
will find the sentiment in your books, that it is the night-time only
that shows us the stars; and in the gloom which must sometimes fall upon
this uncertain and mortal life of ours, you may find, if you will, as
much to rejoice in as to dread. You will form plans, and indulge in
hopes, which cannot be realized, and disappointment will look frowningly
upon you; but if you will submit yourself to the trial like a little
child, the hand that will lead you through it will point you to happier
scenes than those of your own imagining.
You will have friends to love, that death may take away from you--and,
oh! then, the shadow of the woodland, as it lies against the sunny
meadow, will be less dark than your life. But do not despair. The few
rays of light that reach you will be richer, the flowers will be purer,
and the music will be softer and sweeter; for you will be nearer heaven
than you were before.
There is another shadow which you and I, and all of us, are
approaching,--"the shadow of death." But will not "the lesson" brighten
our approach even to that? Certain I am, that if _that_ hour of my
childhood, when, with a fearful heart, I went into the solemn woods, and
heard the sweet singing of the bird and the breeze, shall be remembered
then, even though the light of life be fading away, "I shall fear no
[Illustration: FLORENCE DREW.]
"I will not go to Sabbath school to-morrow," said Florence Drew, as she
threw aside her catechism and sat herself sullenly by the window.
"Florence!" said her mother; "I am astonished to hear you speak so
"I don't care,--I will not go,--my lesson is so hard I can't get it;"
saying which, she burst into tears. Mrs. Drew cast a look of sorrow upon
her only child as she left her to regain her good humor.
No sooner had the door closed after her mother than the rustling of
leaves beneath the window drew the attention of Florence. Thinking it
her favorite Carlo, and being in no mood for a frolic, without lifting
her eyes she bid him "begone;" but she was soon undeceived by a shrill
voice pronouncing her name, at the same time finding her arm tightly
grasped by the thin, bony fingers of Crazy Nell, the terror of all the
truant children in the village. The terrified child vainly tried to
disengage herself from the maniac's hold; and, finding her calls for
help all unheeded, she gave up in despair.
The wild, searching eyes of Crazy Nell detected her terror, and her
stern features relaxed into a smile as she said, "Poor child! I will not
harm you; you fear me, and think me mad; yes, I have been mad, but I'm
not now; and I have come to save you from being as I have been. Nay,
Florence, 't is useless for you to try to escape me; I will detain you
but a short time. I heard your angry words as I was gathering herbs, and
saw you fling your book away. I heard all. Listen to me, Florence Drew,
and I will tell you a story by which I hope you will profit.
"I was once young, gay, and happy, as you, and, like you, an only and
indulged, but wilful child, with a quick and ungoverned temper.
"One day, I was studying my Sabbath school lesson, and finding it, as I
thought, rather hard, I threw it away, as you did yours, saying that I
would not go to school at all. My poor mother's entreaties were all
unheeded by me, and I grew up in idleness and ignorance. My mother's
health daily declined, partly through my ill-treatment and wickedness.
Often did she plead with me, with tears streaming down her cheeks, to
alter my conduct; but I rudely repulsed her."
Nell paused, and seemed very much agitated; her eyes glared wildly, and
bending close to Florence, she continued in a whisper: "We became very
poor, in consequence of my extravagance; I then thought my mother a
burden; she was too ill to work, and I left her to starve; she did not,
however; she died of a broken heart. _I was her murderer_! 'T was that
which drove me mad. Look! see you not that black cloud which darkens the
sunshine of my life?"
"I cannot see a cloud," sobbed poor Florence, who was now tasting the
bitter cup of repentance.
"I know it, poor child!" continued Nell; "the cloud I mean is such as
you just felt,--=Temper=. _It is within us_! Conquer your temper,
Florence Drew, and you may yet be good and happy. Go, now, and seek
mother, who is at this moment shedding tears of sorrow for her little
girl's ill-temper. Go to her and--" But, ere she could finish, Florence
had glided into her mother's room, and was kneeling humbly at her feet
Tears of sorrow were changed to those of joy and repentance, as Mrs.
Drew folded her little girl to her breast in a long and affectionate
Florence has never been unkind to her mother, or given freedom to her
temper, since that day. She is now the teacher of a class in a Sabbath
school, and she often relates to her little scholars the story I have
just related to you.
Crazy Nell continues to gather herbs, an object of pity to the
benevolent, and of sport to the unfeeling. And now, my dear little
readers, I must repeat Crazy Nell's expression: "Conquer your temper,
and you will be happy;" or, in the words of the sacred Scriptures, "He
that ruleth his own spirit is greater than he that taketh a city."
BY REV. J.G. ADAMS.
In the picture opposite, the reader will see represented a part of the
city of Shechem, at the foot of Mount Gerizim. It is a very noted place
in history. It is called Sychar in the Gospel, John 4:5. It was here, at
Jacob's well, that Jesus met the woman of Samaria. The account of the
conversation which they held together is one of the most interesting
records in the New Testament. I wish all our young readers would make
themselves acquainted with it. Jesus was a Jew; and the Jews had no
dealings with the Samaritans. Weary with travelling in the heat of the
day, our Lord sat down to rest by that ancient well, when the stranger
woman came to draw water from it. Jesus said unto her, "Give me to
drink." She was surprised that he, being a Jew, should ask water of her,
a Samaritan. This very surprise which she expressed led to a most
instructive conversation. Read it, and see how plainly Jesus teaches us
the nature of true worship. The Jews had their temple at Jerusalem; the
Samaritans had theirs on Mount Gerizim. The woman said to Jesus, "Our
fathers worshipped in this mountain, and ye say that Jerusalem is the
place where men ought to worship." She would ask which was the true
place. Jesus declared to her that it was not so much the place, as it
was the heart, which made worship what it should be. Read the answer of
Jesus as the New Testament gives it, and then see if the Quaker poet,
Barton, has not beautifully expressed it thus:
"Woman, believe me, the hour is near
When He, if ye rightly would hail him,
Will neither be worshipped exclusively here.
Nor yet at the altar of Salem.
For God is a spirit, and they, who aright
Would perform the pure worship he loveth
In the heart's holy temple will seek with delight
That spirit the Father approveth."
Through the knowledge of Christ obtained by the Samaritan woman in this
conversation, many of her sect were induced to believe on him.
Shechem, or Sichem, is a very ancient place; though we do not find it
mentioned as a city until the time of Jacob, who purchased a piece of
land, and dug the well of which we have just spoken. The city lay
between the two mountains Ebal and Gerizim. It was made a city of
refuge. Joshua 20: 7. 21. 20, 21. Quite a number of events mentioned in
the Old Testament occurred here. It was at Shechem Joshua met the
assembled people for the last time. It was here that Rehoboam was made
king, and the ten tribes rebelled.
In after time Shechem became the chief seat of the people who
thenceforth bore the name of Samaritans. They were made up in part of
emigrants from other eastern nations. When the Jews returned from their
long captivity in Babylon, and began to rebuild Jerusalem and their
temple, the Samaritans desired to aid them in their work. "Let us build
with you," was their request. The Jews refused to admit them to this
privilege; hence a strong hatred between the two sects arose. The
Samaritans erected their temple on Mount Gerizim.
Shechem received the new name of Neapolis from the Greeks--a name which
it retains to the present day. The city has passed through many changes,
which, had we time to recount them, might be of deep interest to the
reader. But it would take a larger space to do this than we can now
occupy. The Samaritans are still here; but their number now is small,
not exceeding one hundred and fifty. They have a synagogue, where they
preserve several ancient copies of the books of Moses, and among them
one ancient manuscript which they believe to be three thousand four
hundred and sixty-five years old, saying it was written by Abishua, the
son of Phinehas (1 Chron. 6: 3, 4.) The manuscript, so travellers who
have seen it say, is very ancient; but they do not all think it so old
as the Samaritans pretend it is.
Mount Gerizim is still held in great veneration by the Samaritans. Four
times a year they ascend it in solemn procession, to worship. The old
feeling of hostility between them and the Jews is still existing.
The city of Neapolis, or, as the Arabs call it, Nablous, is long and
narrow, stretching close along the northeast base of Mount Gerizim. The
population is about eight thousand souls, all Mohammedans, with the
exception of about five hundred Greek Christians, and the one hundred
and fifty Samaritans already mentioned. Those who have taken part in its
eventful past history are gone. But never shall be heard there a more
glorious voice than that which uttered those sublime words of heavenly
truth to the woman at Jacob's well.
"ARE WE NOT ALL BROTHERS AND SISTERS?"
BY REV. W.R.G. MELLEN.
That the human race is one, bound together by the strongest and holiest
ties, is one of the sublimest truths announced by the Master. Indeed, so
close and intimate is the connection subsisting between the various
members of the common family, that to tear one from the body would be
like following the direction of Solomon to his servant, and dividing the
living child in two, leaving life's purple current to spout forth from
either half. An appreciation of this truth is what the world, heart-sick
and weary as it is, now needs above all things else. And to illustrate
and enforce the fact that it is not a vain shadow, but a solid reality,
too solemn to be trifled with, and too important to be neglected,--to
illustrate this by deeds which bear joy to the joyless and hope to the
hopeless,--is _the_ work which Christians, the young as well as old, are
now called to perform. Will it need the voice of duty, which speaketh as
from the skies? This is the great truth, also, which, with all its
relations to life and duty, is to be impressed by the present, upon the
minds of the rising, generation. This is what my young readers are to
learn,--and not simply to learn, but to practise:--that we are all
brothers and sisters, no matter in what clime or country we may have
been born, or with what complexion we may be clothed.
A little girl, some five years of age, whom the writer of this has often
fondled in his arms, had well learned this most important lesson. By
pious parents and earnest Sabbath school teachers had she been taught,
that to be like Jesus, who took little children in his arms and blessed
them, she must love and do good unto all, as brothers and sisters. This
had sunk deep into her young and tender mind; and when, on a visit at
the house of a friend, she was asked that familiar question, which is so
often put to children,--whom she loved,--
After a moment's hesitation she replied, that she loved everybody.
"Indeed!" said the querist; "how can that be? You certainly do not love
me as well as you do your own brothers and sisters; do you?"
After another short pause she replied, "Yes, I think I do; for _you_,
too, are my sister." "_I_ your sister?" said the lady, in surprise; "how
can that be possible?" Looking up with a countenance in which all
heaven's innocence and purity were mirrored, she exclaimed, "Is not God
our Father? and are we not all brothers and sisters? and should we not
love each other as such?"
There was no further argument to be used. Though hid from many wise and
prudent, yet the truth was thus revealed to babes.
Yes, we _are_ all brethren and sisters, having a common origin, a common
destination, and a common home. And may all those children who read this
short article ever recollect this important truth. When you behold a
poor, unfortunate man, with torn and filthy garments, and perhaps
intoxicated, reeling through the streets, do not hoot after, and throw
stones at him, as I have known many boys do, but think within
yourselves, "He is our brother."
When one of your number abuses the rest, and you are tempted to injure
and beat him, wait till you have said to yourselves, "He is still our
brother; and though he has done us wrong, why should we strike or injure
When you see a companion in trouble, and one to whom your assistance can
do much good, recollect he is a brother, or she is a sister, and fly to
help him. And oh! if all, both old and young, would act upon this
principle, how different would be the aspect of affairs from what it
now is! Then the kingdom of God would dawn upon us. Then the wolf and
the lamb would lie down together, and the lion eat straw like an ox.
Then we should be like _little children_, and the blessing-smile of
Jehovah would shed upon us choicest benediction.
A DIALOGUE FOR EXHIBITIONS.
BY JULIA A. FLETCHER.
_Sophronia_. Come, girls, let us go and have our fortunes told.
_Eveline_. Oh! I should like it of all things; where shall we go?
_Sarah_. Let us go to old Kate Merrill's. They say she can read the
future as we do the past, by hand, tea-cups, or cards. Come, Mary Ann.
_Mary Ann_. Excuse me, girls, if I do not go with you. I do not think it
is right to have our fortunes told.
_Sophronia_. Not right? why not?
_Mary Ann_. Because, if it had been best for us to know the future, I
think God would have revealed it to us.
_Sarah_. Oh, but you know this is only for amusement.
_Eveline_. Of course, we shall not believe a word she says.
_Mary Ann_. If it is only for amusement, I think we can find others far
more rational and innocent. But depend upon it, girls, you would not
wish to go, if there were not in your minds a little of credulous
_Sophronia_. Well, I am sure I am not credulous.
_Mary Ann_. Do not be offended, Sophronia; I only meant that we are all
of us more inclined to believe these things than we at first imagine.
_Sarah_. I think that Mary Ann is right in this respect. I am sure I
would not go if I did not think her predictions would come to pass.
_Mary Ann_. Certainly; I could not suppose you would spend your time and
money to hear an old woman tell you things you did not believe.
_Eveline_. Well, I am sure I do not see any harm in having a little fun
once in a while.
_Sophronia_. No; and I think it is very unkind in Mary Ann to spoil all
our pleasures with her whims. She is always preaching to us about giving
up our own way for the comfort of others, and I think she ought to give
up now, and go with us.
_Sarah_. Now, really, Sophronia, I think you are the one that is unkind.
If Mary Ann is wrong, it is better to convince her of it kindly, and I
am sure she will acknowledge it.
_Mary Ann_. I hope I should be willing to give up a mere whim for the
pleasure of those I love so well. But this is not a whim; it is a
serious conviction of duty.
_Sophronia_. Well, I thought you always pretended to be very obliging.
_Mary Ann_. I have no right to be obliging at the expense of what I deem
duty. Our own inclinations we should often sacrifice, our prejudices
always, but our sense of duty never.
_Eveline_. I think, girls, we have done wrong to urge Mary Ann to go,
after she had told us her reasons.
_Sophronia_. Well, then, don't spend any more time in urging her to go,
against her will. You know the old proverb "The least said is soonest
_Eveline_. Well, do not let us go away angry or ill-natured. You asked
Mary Ann to say why she thought it was wrong, and we should receive her
_Sarah_. So I think; but I wish she would tell us what harm she thinks
it would do to go.
_Mary Ann_. Well, girls, I think, by trying to look into the future, we
are apt to grow discontented and restless, and to forget that we have
duties to perform in the present. Then, if we do not believe in it, it
is a waste of time and money, which might be better employed in
relieving the suffering of the poor around us. But the greatest evil of
all is, that we should believe even a part; she would of course tell us
many little circumstances which would be true of any one; thus we might
be led to believe all she said; the prediction would probably work out
its own fulfilment, and perhaps render us miserable for life.
_Sophronia_. Oh, fudge! Mary Ann. This is altogether too bad and
ungenerous in you. In the first place, the few cents we give, bestowed
as they are on a poor old widow woman, are not wasted, in my opinion,
but well spent;--and if I spend an evening, granted to me by my father
and mother for recreation, in listening to Old Kate, it is no more
wasted than if I spend it with the girls in any other social way. And
when you connect fortune-telling and our duties in the present, you make
it too serious an affair. _Remember, this is all for sport_.
_Mary Ann_. It may be so with you, Sophronia; but there are those who
seriously believe every word of a fortune-teller, and actually live more
in the unseen but expected events of the future, than in faithfully
performing their duties in the present. This is true, Sophronia. The
contentment and peace of many young minds have been utterly lost, _sold_
for the absurd jabbering of old, ignorant, low-bred women, who pretend
to read the future. [_In a livelier tone of voice_.] But just say,
girls, do you believe there is any connection between tea-leaves and
your future lives?
_Eveline, Sarah, Sophronia_. Why, no!
_Mary Ann_. Do you believe God has marked the fortunes of thousands of
his creatures on the face of cards?
_Eveline, Sarah, Sophronia_. Certainly not.
_Mary Ann_. Well, do you believe, if God should intrust the secret
events of the future with any of our race, in this age, it would be with
those who have neither intellectual, moral, nor religious education--who
can be bribed by dollars and cents to say anything?
_Sarah, Eveline_. No, indeed!
_Mary Ann. (Turns to Sophronia,)_ You do not answer, Sophronia. Let me
ask you one or two more questions. Do you suppose Kate Merrill believes
that she has a revelation from God?
_Sophronia_. No, Mary Ann.
_Mary Ann_. Do you suppose she thinks you believe so?
_Sophronia_. Why, yes, I do.
_Mary Ann_. Then, is it benevolent to bestow money to encourage an old
woman in telling for truth what she knows to be false?
_Sophronia_. I doubt whether it is really benevolent.
_Mary Ann_. And if Old Kate speaks falsely and knows she does so, and
you know it, yet spend your time in listening to what she has to say,
what good can come of it to head or heart?
_Sophronia_. None at all, Mary Ann. It is time wasted, and I am
convinced that I have been doubly wrong in wishing to go, and in being
angry with you. Will you forgive me?
_Mary Ann_. Certainly, Sophronia. And now, if you wish for amusement, I
will be a witch myself, and tell your fortunes for you.
_Sophronia_. Oh, do tell mine; and be sure you tell it truly. What lines
of fate do you see in my hand?
_Mary Ann. (Takes her hand and looks at it intently.)
Passions strong my art doth see.
Thou must rule them, or they rule thee.
If the first, you peace will know;
If the last, woe followeth woe.
_Sarah_. Now tell mine next.
Too believing, too believing,
Thou hast learned not of deceiving.
Closely scan what seemeth fair,
And of flattering words beware.
_Eveline_. Now tell me a pleasant fortune, Mary Ann.
Lively and loving, I would not chide thee,
Do thou thy duty, and joy shall betide thee.
_Sophronia_. Thank you, Mary Ann, for the lessons you have given us. We
can now, in turn, tell your fortune, and that is, Always be amiable and
sensible as now, and you will always be loved.
THE BOY WHO STOLE THE NAILS.
BY REV. MOSES BALLOU.
I remember well, that, when I was quite a little boy, a circumstance
occurred which I shall probably never forget, and which, no doubt, has
had some little influence on my life at many different periods since. I
will relate it; and I wish all my young readers would remember the
My father was somewhat poor. He had no salary for preaching, except for
a few months, perhaps not five hundred dollars for forty years of pulpit
labor. He maintained his family chiefly from a small farm, and, there
being several children, we were deprived of many little things that
wealthier parents are accustomed to furnish for theirs. We had few
presents, and those chiefly of necessary articles,--school-books, or
something of the kind; while toys, playthings, and instruments of
amusement, we were left to go without, or take up with such rude and
simple ones as we could manufacture for ourselves.
I wanted a small box very much. A handsome little trunk, such as most of
my young readers probably have, was too much to hope for, and a plain
wooden box, even, I had no means to purchase.
I went without for a long time, and at last determined that I would try
to make one. But the materials,--where was I to obtain them? True, my
father had pieces of thin boards that would answer, but there were
nails, and hinges, and a lock wanting. Where were these to come from?
After trying a variety of methods, I invented a plan for fastening it
without a lock, and leather made a very good substitute for hinges, as
it was to be out of sight. Still, I wanted nails. There were some old
ones about the house, but they were crooked, and broken, and rusty.
These would not answer if anything better could be obtained.
My uncle, who at this time lived but a short distance from us, was
engaged in building, and I watched the barrel of bright new nails his
workmen were using, with a longing eye. O, how I coveted them!
The temptation was too great. I sought the opportunity while the hands
were at dinner, and, after cautiously looking about to see that no one
was near to observe me, with trembling hands seized upon them, _and
stole enough to make my box_. O! how my heart beat as I hurried away
across the fields home. I almost expected to see some one start up from
every stump and bush on the way, to accuse me of the theft. I hardly
dared to look behind me. It seemed as though my old uncle, with frowning
brow, was at my very heels. And then, too, the workmen;--were they not
suspicious from my hanging about them, and had not some of them watched
me? So horrid images began to dance about my brain. Dim visions of
court-rooms, and lawyers, and judges, and prisons, and sorrowing
parents, and frightened brothers and sisters, rose in awful terror
before me. I began to grow dizzy and faint. I had laid up, for a long
time, all the pennies I could obtain, which, at that time, amounted to
the vast sum of twenty cents, contained in an old-fashioned pistareen;
and the hope sprung up in my heart, that, possibly, by paying this to
the officers, they would not carry me to jail.
Thought was busy in laying plans for escape, and I reached home in the
greatest excitement imaginable.
Well, the deed was now done, and I could not undo it. I was really a
thief; and now, as I had got the nails, I thought I might as well use
them. I was too anxious about the crime, however, to do this at once.
So I hid them away for a week or more, before I ventured to make my box.
Taking such leisure hours as I had,--for I was obliged to work most of
the time on the farm,--I crept away in the loft of an old building, and
finally succeeded in finishing my task. But, now that the box was done,
my troubles were by no means ended. It would be seen. I could not always
keep it out of sight. My brothers, and sisters, and playmates, would
examine it, and possibly my father would get his eye upon it! Suppose he
should, and ask me where those nails came from?
O, how my poor brain was racked to invent some false story by which I
could escape detection! I thought of saying that they were old ones
which I had polished up so as to appear new, and I even filed down the
rust on the head of an old nail to see if they would look sufficiently
alike. But nothing of this kind would answer. The cheat, I thought,
would be detected; and so I was obliged, after all my trouble and
suffering, to keep my box hidden away when it was done. Every time I
went to look at it, those bright new nail-heads were staring out at me,
ready to reveal my crime to any one who saw them.
For a long time, I did not dare to go to my uncles again. True, he knew
nothing of my wrong; but I felt guilty, and did not care to see him.
Finally, after some time had passed away, though I had by no means
forgotten the theft, and still suffered much every time it was thought
of, I ventured to call and see him. I could hardly avoid the impression
that he must know what I had done, and would accuse me of it; and when
he met me in the yard at his door; patted my cheek with a half-laughing,
half-reproving look; asked why I had stayed away from him so long; and
said, that, to punish me, he should go and get me some very nice apples
from the garden;--I could bear it no longer. It seemed as though my
heart would break. What I said, I have now forgotten. I remember that I
cried very heartily, and, as soon as my tears would allow it, told him
the whole story!
I can still see, fresh in my memory, the sad look that came over him as
I confessed my crime; but not a single harsh or unkind word did he
utter. He told me that it was very wrong; that I had acted nobly in
confessing it; and that, if I had only asked him in the first place, he
would gladly have given me all I wanted.
Thinking I had suffered enough already, he promised not to tell my
parents, in case I continued a good boy, and advised me to destroy the
box and bring him back the nails, as no one could then suspect what had
been done but ourselves.
His kindness, I confess, pained me very much. I think nothing could have
tempted me to do him any wrong again.
I loved him better than ever before. He never alluded to the subject
afterwards, but I always thought of it when I saw him. He died in a
short time; and, twenty years after, as I stood by his grave, the
circumstance came up, clear and distinct, to my recollection. I have
not, indeed, from that to the present hour, felt the least temptation to
commit any wrong of the kind without recalling it; and, if all my young
readers will think seriously how much suffering that one act cost me,
and how much happier I should otherwise have been, I am confident that
they will never commit a similar offence so long as they remember the
story of _the boy who stole the nails_.
THE CHILDLESS MOTHER.
BY MRS. M.H. ADAMS.
There are many childless mothers in our land. In some homes there never
lived a little child to make them happy; but in others the spirits of
the little ones have departed. They dwell in another home--the "dear
heavenly home." Their mothers, those childless mothers, weep day and
night in their loneliness and sadness. This sketch is of a mother who
had buried all her little babes--four precious children--all her little
family. The mother's name was Ellen Moore.
For many months after the birth of her first child, Ellen was free from
sorrow as a bird in the morning. She never thought affliction might come
to her blessed home. It was not surprising, for she had never known what
bereavement and bitter disappointment were. She was educated to be a
child of sunshine. She had always lived amid smiles and tenderness, and
when the fearful cloud of sorrow broke, in an unexpected moment, upon
her head, she seemed bowed down, never to rise again in health and
It was a sad day in our neighborhood when Ellen's first little babe
died; we all wept. Not so much because he was dead, for we all felt that
_he_ was at rest; but his dear mother was so sorely troubled, her heart
ached so grievously, it seemed as if she too would die. Days and nights
Ellen wept, and moaned, and walked her house. The tears seemed to burn
their way down her cheeks. She spoke but seldom, yet that pitiful moan
she so often breathed out pierced our souls and made us all very sad.
After a few weeks, the consolation we offered her quieted her feelings,
and she became calm. She went to church, called on her friends, and
attended to her duties at home. But there was ever a sadness in her
voice and manners. Her home was so lonely, so strangely still and
vacant, and Ellen so silent, that the voice of gladness was not heard in
it again until a second beautiful boy was born under its roof.
We were all happy then. Even Ellen smiled as she kissed her dear
babe--but a tear followed the smile and the kiss so soon, we knew her
wounded heart was not _then_ healed. She was very sad, and felt that
this babe, too, might only be loaned her for a short time. It was not
long before we all felt so. That little face, so pale, so sad, so
beautiful, evidently bore the seal of death upon it. He refused all
nourishment, and pined slowly away. Ellen knew he must die, but could
not say so. She could not shed one tear to relieve her sorrowful heart.
She neither spoke nor wept, until her infant was laid in its coffin.
A friend had woven a wreath of beautiful flowers, and laid it on the
satin pillow of the coffin, and placed a delicate rose-bud in the little
hand of the babe. Ellen went alone to take her last kiss, when, seeing
her babe so beautiful in death, she seated herself on the floor and wept
"Who loved my babe so fondly?" said she, when she came from the room.
"Who has been so kind and thoughtful of me? It has unsealed my tears;
now let me weep alone." We left her. She came out of that room a changed
woman. She assisted us in our preparations for the burial of the dead,
spoke cheerfully to her husband, conversed freely about her children in
heaven, and remarked that henceforth her life should be worthy of a
Christian. We buried the sweet babe by the side of his brother, and
planted a rose-tree over his grave. Then our thoughts turned to Ellen,
whose whole manner indicated resignation and peace.
We were not surprised at the effect of grief upon Ellen, for I have told
you she was not educated to bear human misery with much composure. Yet
what her parents had left undone seemed to be effected by those severe
dispensations of God. Our Father in heaven often educates us by his
chastisements, giving us wisdom, patience, hope, trustfulness and
resignation, according to the severity with which he afflicts us.
Ellen maintained the same cheerful manner from the time of the burial of
her second babe to the birth of her third child. Her friends hoped many
blessings for Ellen in the life of this child. It was a daughter,
apparently healthy; and as its mother had endured so severe a trial we
hoped the Lord would deal mercifully with her in sparing this one to
her. For one short year we had reason to hope for the life of the child.
But it was too frail a creature for this world, and, like its little
brothers, died in early infancy. And its mother--we found her to be a
practical Christian indeed.
Instead of moaning and violent grief, she held her babe as it breathed
its latest breath, and was first to break the awful silence in the room
that succeeded the final struggle, with these words: "She is with her
little brothers now, and I have reason to bless the Lord." She could say
no more then; and a few large tears fell on the cheek of her babe as it
still lay on her lap. Once only did she freely yield to tears. It was
when her husband first heard of the death of his babe. His anguish
overcame her composure. Soon recovered however, she maintained a truly
Christian deportment. The third little grave was opened in the burial
lot of Mr. Moore, and the body of this babe laid by its little brothers.
A fourth babe was born in the lonely home of Ellen, and fresh hopes
cherished for the long life of her child. The burden of every prayer
offered at that family altar was, "Lord, if it be thy will, suffer us to
rear this tender child!"
"Yet though I pray thus," said Ellen, "my heart is strong to meet its
early death; and if it dies, I shall not mourn as for my first-born. God
has afflicted me, but I am profited thereby."
"Very true, Ellen, but if this fourth dear babe is taken from us, we
shall almost doubt the mercy of God. How can you, in your present
delicate health, endure to lay this last dear babe by the side of the
departed ones, and again find your home desolate and silent?"
"My body is weak, Mary, but my spirit is well instructed in resignation,
and can calmly bear whatever new affliction God pleases to send. You
have called me changed since Alfred died, and sometimes too silent and
sad. I am changed and often silent, but not sad. _My_ treasures are in
heaven, and my communings are more with the spirits of my children in
heaven than with the friends who are with me here. And if this child
dies, Mary,----if he dies--his death will prepare me for the duties of
all the rest of my life."
* * * * *
The beautiful boy passed away just as his little lips had learned to
pronounce his mother's name--suddenly, unexpectedly to us all, and all
yielded to our grief but Ellen. We greatly feared his father would
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