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Title: Ingleside;

or, Without Christ and with Him

Author: Madeline Leslie

Release date: February 7, 2023 [eBook #69973]

Language: English

Original publication: United Kingdom: Hodder and Stoughton, 1888

Credits: Reader24


Ingleside Cover








Page 6

[Illustration: FRONTISPIECE. Page 83.]



















"To be in Christ is the secret of our life; to be for Christ, the meaning of our activity; to be with Christ is the hope of our glory." Anthony W. Thorold.









Printed by Hazell, Watson, & Viney, Ld., London and Aylesbury







The object of this book is to prove, from a series of scenes drawn from real life, the misery of those, whether rich or poor, who live without Christ, and the peace and comfort of those in whom the spirit of Christ dwells as actuating principles of duty.


The scenes were selected by the author from a number, either falling under her own observation, or narrated by friends who vouched for their truthfulness. They are not the most wonderful thus brought to her notice, but were chosen because they more plainly prove the object referred to.


The devotion of time and money, by a young lady described here under the name of Marion Howard, is not fiction. The eccentricities of Mr. Regy, the sorrows of poor Esther, are facts. The singular circumstances connected with the brother and sister from a foreign land, inmates at the same time of the Home for the Sick, though unknown to each other, were given to the public at the time, and excited great interest for the unfortunate strangers. Indeed, were we privileged to read the record of cases in our hospitals, or the diary of our missionaries among the poor and distressed, we should find that in our very midst scenes so wonderful are occurring that fiction is left far in the background.


My little book is sent forth on the same mission as one of its predecessors, "Tim the Scissors-Grinder." That it may meet with the same success in winning souls for the Master is the earnest prayer of





























































"WELL! well!" exclaimed Mr. Asbury, after a preliminary "Hem!"


"I know what you would say, pa," interrupted Mrs. Asbury, in a deprecating tone. "But it isn't fair to judge so soon. It's a trying situation for a young clergyman. If it was our Gardner, now, we should want people to remember that it isn't easy to stand up before strangers and preach one's first sermon."


"I shan't be a minister, ma; I've made up my mind on that." Joe looked at his sister, who generally was not backward in expressing an opinion. Now she only said, as though speaking to herself, "I wonder what Marion would say."


The family had just returned from morning service, where the new pastor for the first time had met the people. Aunt Thankful, as she was called, had taken off her bonnet and shawl, folding the latter carefully in the creases; now, with a peremptory wave of her hand to enjoin silence, she said,—


"There's either sorrer or there's sin behind him. I'm inclined to think it's sorrer. It's Scripter, you know, to let charity have its perfect work."


The door-bell at this moment ringing, Aunt Thankful, who was passing Sunday with her friends, seized her bonnet and shawl and left the room. Annie started for the door, to answer the summons, while Joe opened his library book and began to read.


The sound of a manly but nervous step in the chamber above called forth a sigh from Mr. Asbury, followed by the words,—


"I'm dreadfully afraid, wife, we've made a mistake."


"Don't look so melancholy, pa," urged Annie, returning, "or Mr. Angus will think we are talking of him. He asked what time we dined, and said he would like to go to his chamber for a few minutes."


While he paces back and forth in the apartment assigned him, I will explain that the parish to which Mr. Asbury belonged had lost their pastor by death six months before the opening of our story; that a succession of candidates had been heard, discussed, and dismissed; that the people, wearied out by their own criticisms, were beginning to scatter; that at length they conceived the idea of sending a Committee on an exploring tour, which Committee, going to hear a city preacher, heard in his place a young man lately graduated from the divinity school; that they were so impressed with his heartiness in his work they requested an introduction and invited him to add one more to the number of competing candidates; that he politely but firmly declined, not believing, this the proper method of obtaining a clergyman that, after making inquiries of his Professors and others, and receiving instructions to go forward from the church at home, the Committee did proceed to call the Rev. Mr. Angus to be their pastor; that, after several weeks of earnest prayer for guidance, he did accept their call, the public services of his ordination to take place the week following his first sermon.


His arrival in the town, which I shall call Grantbury, late on Saturday evening, had given the family little opportunity for forming an opinion of the new pastor; that he was tall and vigorous in frame, with a countenance sad rather than smiling, eyes looking far away, a sweet, musical voice with a sad note running through it, was all that they knew of him until they took their seats in church directly in front of the pulpit. The sermon was on Christ's invitation to the weary and heavy laden to come to him for rest. In the most graphic language he depicted the condition of these poor, sad, weary sufferers, bearing their heavy burden of sin and sorrow, longing to be rid of it, but knowing not how to throw it off, groaning in secret places, with an abiding dread of what the future might bring to them. He brought tears to many eyes unused to weep, by the vividness with which he portrayed the soul in darkness, but longing for the light, empty, void of faith in God or man, shut up in a prison of gloomy thought and forebodings, every day verging toward the frightful chasm of despair.


Listening to the preacher's voice trembling with pathos, no one could doubt that he well understood by personal experience the condition of those to whom our blessed Lord extended this gracious invitation. Every eye was fixed on his, every heart followed him; but when, turning from the weary and heavy laden, he pointed to the One who could deliver them from all their wretchedness, the note of sadness still lingered. Instead of the triumphant ring of victory from the freed soul, the tone of peace and rest from those delivered from their heavy load, there was an unexplained want of harmony between the manner and voice of the speaker and the subject of which he was treating. A general restlessness among the audience proved their disappointment.


The sermon closed with a passionate appeal to all present to accept Christ's offer of pardon, peace, and rest. The people rose to receive the benediction, half wondering at the sadness which oppressed them. Under other circumstances they would have crowded around the new pastor, offering their hands in token of their welcome. They had been prepared to receive him with enthusiasm. The weeks of suspense during which they were waiting his reply to their call had deepened their anxiety to obtain the services of one so highly recommended, but a weight had fallen on their spirits, and they silently left the church, a few casting glances back to the pulpit, where sat a figure prone and abject, the face buried in the hands.


So it happened that only the Committee who had heard him in the city waited to speak to him, and at length accompanied him, almost in silence, to the house of Mr. Asbury, where he was to remain until after his ordination.







IN the mean time, in the spacious chamber assigned to the clergyman, a terrible conflict was raging. Possessed of the keenest susceptibilities, with a morbid sense of his own unworthiness, he was, alas, too well aware of the impression left upon his hearers by his morning's discourse.


"God forgive me!" he ejaculated, his hands pressed to his head. "Deliver me from this terrible burden. Make known to me thy will. Thou knowest my heart. I thought I heard thy voice. Show me the way in which I should walk. How can I, laden with sorrow, stand in God's stead and preach the gospel of salvation? Make haste to help me, O Lord! All my trust is in thee."


A light tap at his door disturbed his meditations. He presented to Annie a face so pallid and suffering that she started back, exclaiming,—


"You are ill, Mr. Angus: let me call mother."


"Oh no! I am not ill,—I mean not much. Certainly, I have a headache."


"I came to say that dinner is ready. Mother will give you something for your head."


"Thank you. I will be down-stairs directly."


He turned to his washstand and dashed cold water on his burning forehead, then, crushing back the wretched doubts and fears which had oppressed him, he presented himself in the parlor.


His pallid countenance confirmed Annie's statement of his illness. Mrs. Asbury, with true motherly kindness, ordered a cup of coffee with out milk or sugar, but postponed an examination of the case until a more fitting opportunity.


Seated opposite Mr. Angus at the table was fairy little figure, introduced to him as "Our baby Ethel." She had large gray eyes shaded and deepened by long, black lashes. Raising her eyes timidly at first, she glanced at the stranger, gave a little start at the expression which beamed in his face, then her whole countenance—eyes, cheeks, and lips—grew radiant and, to the utter astonishment of all present, the shy, timid little one, whose caresses were so daintily given, so highly prized, exclaimed,—


"I love you!"


"Why, Ethel!" began her father. "Why, Baby!" repeated the mother; but Annie, catching a glimpse of intense, yearning love in the face of the clergyman, wondered in silence.


After dinner, one look of entreaty brought the little miss to the clergyman,—no longer a stranger,—when, to the undisguised astonishment of her parents, she allowed herself to be folded in his arms, her long flaxen curls floating over his breast. Nestling close to his side, with her eyes uplifted to his, she remained, quietly listening to the conversation which followed, rewarded occasionally by a smile so sweet, so full of tender yearning, that not only the child's but the mother's heart was wholly won.


Mr. Asbury had asked some questions concerning Mr. Angus's mission work in the city, and then said to his wife,—


"Marion will like to hear about this: she loves such work."


"She is a real missionary herself," urged Annie.


"I love Marion," lisped the child. "She is my Marion."


"Is she your daughter, Mr. Asbury?"


"Not exactly," laughing, "though she is as near as a daughter. She is the daughter of Mrs. Asbury's cousin, now deceased. Indeed she has lost both her parents, and we have adopted her. She calls us uncle and aunt."


"I want Marion to come home quick, pa." Then, turning again to look in the face above her, Ethel said, "I'll let my Marion love you too."


"A great piece of condescension on Ethel's part, Mr. Angus," added the mother, laughing heartily. "The little puss is extremely jealous in her affection for Marion, and scarce allows her cousin out of her sight for a moment when she is at home."


"Does your niece not live at home, then?"


"Oh, no, sir. She teaches music in Madame La Vergnes's Institute in New York; but, as her classes only occupy six hours a day, she has abundant time for her poor people."


"It is against my wish," urged her uncle, "that she should stay away from home for so many months in a year."


"But not contrary to your consent, pa," explained Annie. "You told her you wouldn't forbid it. So, Mr. Angus," she added, blushing at her own earnestness, "you musn't think our Marion naughty or obstinate. It was her duty she said, and so she went."


"Ethel, I fear you will tire Mr. Angus, sitting in his lap so long."


He pressed her tightly in his arms and waited to hear what she would say.


"He's skeezing me, ma. I guess he isn't tired. Are you?" putting her hand softly on his cheek.


He took the small hand in his, held it for a moment, asked, "At what time does your Sunday school commence?" put her hand to his lips as he said, rising, "We are friends from this time, Ethel. Good by for an hour or two," and left the room.


"I like him ever so much," exclaimed Annie. "Aren't you glad now, pa, that he has come to be our minister?"


Perhaps Mr. Asbury would have answered still more warmly could he have followed the pastor to his chamber and listened to the cry which went up from a full heart.


"Is this a ray of light from thy throne, O my heavenly Father? May I not accept it as an answer to prayer for help,—as a token of thy loving care? O God, I bless thee!"


Making his way from his chamber, he saw Ethel sitting on the lower stair waiting for him.


"You may kiss me if you want to," she said, putting up her rosy lips.


He caught her in his arms, kissed her again, the mother coming forward just in time to hear him say, "God bless you, precious child!"


How warm his heart felt with this new glow. With his whole soul he received the loving confidence of this little one as a token of divine favor. God had accepted him and would bless his work among these people.


Arriving at the chapel, the superintendent of the school came forward to meet him, with the request that, in the place of the usual exercises, he would address them. But Mr. Angus requested to be allowed to watch the workings of the school consenting, however, to talk to them at the end.


"Is this your usual number?" he inquired, glancing over the room.


"Yes sir, about the average."


"Are they punctual in their attendance,—teachers and scholars?"


"No, sir; that is one great drawback to success."


"Do these children not go to church? I saw few children there."


"No, sir; they seldom go."


Declining a seat on the platform, Mr. Angus drew an arm-chair near the Bible class and waited for the superintendent to call the school to order. The gong sounded, but the noise did not decrease. The second time, with the aid of the teachers, the loud whispering abated, when, in a low voice, impossible to be heard at the farther end of the room, the superintendent offered prayer. A hymn was given out, and all looked around for the lady who usually played the melodeon. She was absent, and at last, just as the singing was to be omitted, Annie Asbury came forward blushing, and said, "I will try to play."


Mr. Angus was afflicted with a keen ear for discords. I can only say that during the singing he was agonized. Before the closing exercises he had made up his mind that here at least there was work for the pastor. The apathy was alarming. With few exceptions, the teachers hurried through the lesson, accepting without reproof the too evidently manufactured excuses in place of a well-learned lesson; then shutting the book, he or she became totally oblivious of all that was passing, some even leaving the class to talk with another teacher.


That was a face thoroughly in earnest which confronted the school when the superintendent announced that "Rev. Mr. Angus, our pastor, will address you."


In a full, impressive voice the clergyman began.


"Boys and girls,—yes, and teachers too,—we are strangers to-day, but we shall not continue so. I have a good memory for names and faces. I intend to know you all, every one. I have come here to be one of you, to love you, and I hope to be loved in return. My business is to lead every one in this room to the arms of the blessed Saviour, and I ask you all to help me. As many as are willing, I ask to come after school and give me your hand in token of your acceptance of this contract. Until we meet again next Sunday, I ask you to consider seriously a few questions. You can give your answers in writing if you please. I shall like that best; or you may come to me,—not in classes, but individually, and answer them.


"First. What do I come to Sunday school for,—to please God, or to please my parents, or to please myself?"


"Second. Does my coming just as I have been used to coming please God,—does it please my parents,—does it please me?"


"Third. If I neither please God, my parents, nor myself, in what way can I change my actions to do so?"


"Now, with the permission of your superintendent, I will ask you to rise and join me in one verse.


"Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;

Praise Him, all creatures here below;

Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;

Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost."


"Remember God is here: let us not mock Him; now begin." His voice was a deep, rich baritone, which resounded through the chapel, carrying the scholars and teachers with him. At the close, he stood with his hand extended toward a little girl near him. Boys and girls pressed forward, each one giving his own name, until only the teachers remained. To these, as they gathered around him, he said,—


"Will it be too much for me to ask that each one of you will ponder the questions I gave you? The work of a Sunday-school teacher may be wearisome and unpleasant, or it may be glorious, most blessed. It is God's own work; and He is a good paymaster."


Annie persuaded her brother to wait for Mr. Angus, but hesitated about joining him when she saw how sad he looked. With a frankness which was her peculiar charm she said, timidly,—


"We waited to walk home with you, but perhaps you would rather go alone."


"Thank you, yes." Then, rousing himself, he added, "You are very kind. I shall be glad of your company."


It was true that in the excitement of the past hour his own personal grief had been absorbed in the sorrow he felt at finding the Sunday school in such a low condition. He began to realize that this was the keynote by which he must judge of the spiritual state of the church. Then doubts of his fitness for the work assailed him, and he was appalled with the reflection that it was too late now to recede. It was at this minute that Annie met him. He would have given much to be alone, to fight his battle unobserved; but no, it was better that he should not dwell on such painful, unavailing thoughts.


Annie glanced at him occasionally, as with knitted brows he hurried forward, but did not speak until he was about to turn the wrong way.


"This is our street, Mr. Angus," she said.


"Pardon me, Annie, I am usually quick at finding my way, but—I am thinking about your Sunday school. Were the children more inattentive to-day than usual?"


"No, sir. Marion goes wild about it. She thinks everything in it is horrid. I heard her talking to the superintendent; she told him the mode of teaching, the want of order, the singing, were all as bad as could be; but Marion is a singer, you know."


"How long has this gentleman been superintendent?"


"Only a few weeks. They tried one and another, but nobody would take it. Marion said Mr. Molton only accepted because he was too good-natured to say 'I won't,' as the others did."


At the close of the evening service the congregation were not a little astonished by the request to remain in their seats for a few minutes after the benediction had been pronounced, nor was the astonishment abated when the young pastor elect began to address them. It was as well for them to know it now as any time. He never made any unnecessary preliminary remarks; he made a fierce dash at any subject and done with it.


Every eye was fixed on him when he began.


"Owing to my peculiar views as to the dignity of the office of an ambassador of Christ, I declined to come among you as a candidate for your favor. I knew nothing of the state of your church and society. I had no experience to guide me, except that derived from my mission work among the poorest of the poor,—among those so eager for the bread of life that it was a glorious privilege to break it for them. I find your church large in numbers; I—yes I must say it—I am appalled, I am young. It is not yet too late for you to relieve me from the responsibilities which may prove too much for me."


His head sank on his breast as a murmur, "No! no! We want you," ran through the audience. His voice trembled with emotion as, after a brief pause, he spoke again. "God's will be done; there is a great work to do here. We must begin with the Sunday school. The help of every father and mother and child is necessary. Above all, we must earnestly besiege the throne of grace for divine help. Brethren and sisters, pray for each other and pray for your pastor, for his guidance; that he may be holy, humble, earnest, and hopeful in his work of winning souls for the Master."







IN one of the main avenues in a large city stands a spacious building enclosed in garden. The edifice and its ornamental surroundings occupy an entire square. Lofty trees and low shrubs, parterres of flowers, picturesque arbors with rustic seats, gravelled walks winding in and out among the blossoms, prove to the passer-by that this is truly what the name indicates,—a "Home for the Sick."


A Russian nobleman, after a thorough examination of the building itself, its lofty ceilings and thorough ventilation, its conveniences for heating and cooking, its laundry department, its beautiful, sunny wards, with the well-trained nurses moving quietly from cot to cot for the relief of the sufferers, was asked,—


"What do you think of our hospital?"


With a burst of enthusiasm he exclaimed, "It isn't a hospital, it is a palace where the king receives his guests and takes care of them."


At this moment a carriage is drawn up before the principal entrance and a young woman is assisted to alight. Presently two men approach with a chair, in which she is seated, a young lady who has accompanied her walking by her side.


This is not her first visit to the hospital. For months together she lay prostrate, struggling for life, going away at last, not strong, certainly, but with a prospect of perfect recovery. Now she knew she had come home to die. Yes, it was home in the truest and sweetest sense of the word, for here she had been born of the Spirit. Old things had passed away and all things had become new. Here she had joined herself to the people of God, confessing Jesus Christ to be her only hope for pardon and peace. She no longer shuddered at the approach of the grim messenger; she was ready to welcome him whenever her Saviour called her to his immediate presence.


She was placed in her old bed, endeared by so many precious memories, where she could see the setting sun, and by his resplendent glories be reminded of the Sun of Righteousness in whose effulgent beams her soul would bask for ever and ever.


Oh, no! there was no terror in the thought of death; the language of her heart was, "Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly."


As she lay reposing on her spotless couch, her cheek rivalling the whiteness of her pillow, she clasped her hands, exclaiming,—


"How good God is! Think of my being allowed to come home, to have my own bed! You were so thoughtful, dear friend, to ask for that favor. This room has been like heaven to me. I am afraid I ought not to be so happy."


She glanced wistfully in her companion's face, who understood the appeal and answered, warmly,


"God has forgiven the past, dear. We are told to 'forget the things that are behind, and press forward.' You have given that burden to the Saviour; don't take it back again: it shows distrust of His loving care for those you have committed to Him."


"If I could only know before I die that he is safe—I mean that he has accepted Christ,—I would ask no more. Poverty, even want, I do not care for.  Poverty brought me here, where I found my precious, waiting Saviour; but oh, if I could know that in his wanderings God's spirit has led him into the truth, how I would praise His name to all eternity!"


An expression of holy rapture beamed from every feature. Her friend gazed with glistening eyes. Softly laying her hand on the head of the dying girl, she repeated the words, "who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." Rising, she pressed her lips to the forehead of the sufferer, whispered, "I shall come again tomorrow," and left the room.


In the morning Stella found herself so much refreshed by sleep that when the chaplain came into the ward she requested the privilege of having private communion administered to her.


This gentleman, Rev. Mr. Owen, was not a stranger to her. It was his faithful words which had cut so deep into her heart that for weeks her soul writhed with self-inflicted torture. It was a sermon he preached one Sunday when she was in the chapel which brought her to the feet of Jesus, clothed and in her right mind. The text was this, "If ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." How quickly the gracious promise had been fulfilled in her case! Her heart, which had hardened to flint while cherishing anger toward one whom she believed had injured her, grew tender and loving under the softening influence of the spirit of forgiveness. No sooner did she cast away the vile serpent which had coiled itself so closely around her vitals as to crush out every vestige of affection, than the dove of peace flew down and nestled in her bosom.


To the chaplain Stella had related some facts in the history of her early life, with a mere hint at some events which had blasted her happiness. Only to the loved and trusted friend of her own age, one who had secured a place for her in this happy home, and brought her hither, had she confessed that her own temper, jealousy, and distrust had greatly aggravated her sufferings. Mr. Owen knew enough to understand that, whatever the past had been, she was now repentant, that she had listened to the invitation, "Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden," and that Jesus Christ had given her rest.


In an interview with the chaplain preparatory to her receiving the precious memorials of Christ's love, she once more announced her faith in Christ as her only hope for a poor sinner like herself, and her belief that He would answer her prayers for one long lost to her, that, if he were still living, he would be brought to love her Saviour, and to forgive her, as she had, from the heart, forgiven him.


The effect of this service was so refreshing that for several days she was quite free from the extreme suffering for breath which had so exhausted her. According to her request, her friend, in one of her daily calls, had brought her paper and pens, and, bolstered up in bed, she spent nearly an hour every day in writing.


The end came at last unexpectedly. She was sitting nearly upright listening to the last chapters in the Revelation, when, with a wave of her hand to stop the reading, she repeated in a full voice the words just read: "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying; neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things are passed away."


She paused, raised her eyes, a bright smile illumined her face; she pointed upward, then with a little gasp her spirit fled away to the Saviour in whom she trusted.


Waiting only to ask permission from the superintendent to pay all necessary expenses, and to learn when the funeral services would be attended, her friend gazed for the last time on the marble countenance, so peaceful in its calm repose, then, taking from the nurse a package directed to her care, passed quietly from the room.







NOW that the ordination services had passed, the young clergyman girded himself up for his work among his people. It was his chosen work, and, could he have blotted a few pages from the book of his past life, he would have gone forward with hope as well as with courage. During the few days preceding the ordination, he humbled himself before God, asking help of the Divine Spirit to search out whatever was wrong in his heart and help him to overcome in whatever tempted him. Still there was a kind of bewilderment in his mind, a kind of waiting to see whether his Father in heaven, who knew every event of his life, might not interpose even yet and by his providence send him back to his work among the poor in the city.


During these days the influence of the sweet child Ethel did much to quiet him and inspire him to more confidence in gaining the affection of his people. She used to fix her eyes so wistfully on his, as she sat opposite him at table, watching and waiting for the smile which now and then flitted across his features,—a smile not soon forgotten, so entirely did it change the whole expression of his countenance. At his bidding she would come and nestle herself in his arms, never obtruding herself on his notice, but quietly submitting to having her hand held tenderly and occasionally put to his lips.


Her brother Joe, or Gardner, as his mother called him, was rather a saucy boy, the only son, and of course a great pet. When he thought Mr. Angus was out of the house, he would march up and down the long hall singing,


Our pastor is a rare, rare man,

He sings so fine you cannot tell,

His smile is bright as bright can be,

But then he only smiles for Ethel.


"Look here, I'll tell you a secret," he said to Annie. "My poetry will be the making of me. I have succeeded so well in my first effort I intend to publish a book of poems, and I shall dedicate it to the Rev. Harold Angus, who first inspired my muse. Isn't that the way they put it?  I shall have, let me see, how many copies printed for private use, one for mother, Marion, and you,"—counting on his fingers—"one for Mr. Angus and Ethel, five, and I'll keep one for myself."


Annie laughed heartily, as she said, "If the rest is as fine as your first verse, no doubt there will be a great sale. I'm so glad Mr. Angus is to live here."


"Only for the present. He said he wouldn't ask more, and then he whispered baby to plead for him. Wasn't it funny how seriously the little puss took it? When she found there was even a possibility of his going away, she walked right up to pa and said,"—


"'Do you want your little girl to go way off?'"


"'No, puss, what do you mean?'"


"'Why, you know if Mr. Angus goes I shall have to go. He can't go alone, and he hasn't any little girl but me.'"


"'In that case,' pa said, 'the matter is soon settled; pa can't spare his baby any way.'"


In a few weeks the Sunday school was completely reorganized. Every teacher was obliged to be present at the teachers' meeting on Saturday afternoon, to be promptly in her or his place every Sunday; or, if unable to do so, to send a substitute. A Bible class for adults had been formed, taught by the pastor, and this soon outgrew the accommodations in the Sunday-school room, and had to adjourn into the church.


Here more than anywhere else Mr. Angus felt at home. If it were a mistake for one with a past like his to stand up in God's place, it certainly was right for him to help others to study God's word, and so to study it that the effect on their lives might be for the honor of Christ.


Honestly and truly, he did try to throw off the burden which often weighed his spirits to the earth, and yet there were hours when the agony of his mind was almost more than he could bear, when he could only cry,—


"Dear Lord, Thou knowest all. Put Thine almighty arm around me. Hear my prayers and grant me relief. Visit not, O Lord, upon others the chastening for my deserts. Save me, and I will praise Thy name for ever and ever."


Day by day he buried himself in study or in visits among his people, Joe frequently conveying him to the outskirts of the parish in his father's buggy.


One afternoon he had been alone to a distant part of the town, and was returning, when he stopped at a small thread and needle store to purchase a pair of gloves. Behind the counter was a young girl who attracted his attention by a peculiarly merry expression. The color deepened in her cheeks as she took down box after box, searching for the right number, and at last she asked him to excuse her ignorance, as she was only a new hand.


"This pair seems to be very elastic," she said, striving in vain to control the muscles of her face, which, in spite of her efforts, dimpled and beamed in the most mirth-provoking manner. She stretched the kid across the back of the glove, and held it out to him, when he put out his hand for her to measure it. He could scarcely help noticing that the fingers of the shop girl were beautifully tapering, and that her one ring, though not a diamond, was large and costly.


Just as he was paying for the gloves, a woman, fat and rosy, came bustling in, exclaiming, as she saw what was passing,—


"Well, I never did! Why, Miss—"


She checked herself suddenly, warned by a glance from the young lady.


The clergyman had scarcely reached the street when he heard the

woman's voice saying,—


"That's the new parson. Folks like him, mostly, though they do say he's kind o' stiff and proud."


The reflections caused by these words were not pleasant. It was possible that when his thoughts were dwelling on his own painful experience his manner might be reticent. "If they consider me proud," was his reflection, "how little they know me! Why, I would exchange gladly with those rough boys playing ball yonder, if by doing so I would get rid of these harrowing memories. Well, I owe my thanks to the woman, though I suppose she scarcely intended that I should hear her criticisms."


Then he began to wonder who the shop girl could be. She was so evidently out of place there; and what caused her mirth? Alone as he was, he laughed heartily as he recalled the dimpled curves around that arch mouth, and wondered whether there had been any reason personal to himself which brought these dimples into such full play.


Letting himself into the house by his night-key, he went directly to his chamber, where he remained until summoned by the bell to the tea-table. Ethel, at sound of his step, rushed to the door to meet him, her voice ringing joyously as she exclaimed,—


"My Marion has come! I'll show her to you."


Pulling him eagerly forward, she brought him face to face again with—the shop girl; stood for an instant gazing at them, then, in the fulness of her content, and wishing to give one grand proof of her love, she added,—


"I'll let you kiss her if you want to."


A burst of laughter followed, during which Mr. Angus had time to catch the little girl in his arms and whisper something in her ear, Marion, meanwhile, growing very rosy as she waited for a formal introduction from her uncle.


"My niece, Miss Howard, Rev. Mr. Angus, our pastor."


The gentleman cordially extended his hand. Their eyes met and they both laughed.


After they were seated at the table, Marion, who was sitting next her uncle and opposite the clergyman, with a merry glance in his direction, explained:—


"I have met Mr. Angus before."


"Where did you meet him? In the city?"


"I had the pleasure of purchasing a pair of gloves from the store where Miss Howard is employed. I have tried on the gloves since," he added, glancing archly in her blushing face, "and I assure you they fit extremely well."


Marion threw back her head and laughed heartily, and as mirth is more contagious than any fever, all present joined in the mirth, though there were loud calls for an explanation.


"It is only," she said, "that I called on my way from the depot to see Mary Falkner, and as her mother was very busy, I offered to sit by Mary's bed while she finished her washing. Some one came into the shop. Mrs. Falkner was in the clothes-yard, and did not hear, and I at last went forward, supposing, of course, that I should be called on for a spool of thread or a paper of pins.


"I am sorry, sir, that I could not serve you better, but under the circumstances I did as well as I knew how. But I am forgetting my errand to you. I charged you too much for the gloves, and Mrs. Falkner trusted me with the change to be returned, which I now make over to you"; passing twenty-five cents in silver across the table.


"I shall take an early opportunity to show my appreciation of Mrs. Falkner's fair dealing," responded Mr. Angus, smiling, as he put the silver in his pocket. But with an instant change in his tone, "Who is this Mary Falkner? Does she belong to my charge?"


"Yes, sir; she is a poor cripple; so patient and cheerful, that it is a lesson to see her. It almost brings tears to my eyes to hear her talk of God's mercy to her, and how He inclines the hearts of people to supply her wants. Why, even the coming of customers to the store for a few pennies' worth of thread is a subject for thankfulness."


"She is, indeed, to be envied. I regret that I have not seen her. Such calls are needed by a pastor for his own good."


Marion's beaming face bore witness to her approbation of this sentiment, as she remarked,—


"There is no place in the parish where a visit from you would be more prized than in poor Mary's chamber."


Dear little Ethel, how hard it was for her, during the few days of Marion's visit, to divide her favors equally between her two friends. By this time the friendship between her and her pastor had become very close. In a small locker under his bookcase were some of her choicest toys, brought hither from time to time; and with these she would amuse herself so quietly that he almost forgot her presence. During his study hours he often rose from his books and paced the floor while he arranged the topics of his sermons. One glance showed her he was busy, and she scarcely moved. Sometimes he seated himself in a large chair for the same purpose, when the little one, watching every movement, obeyed the motion of his hand, and with her favorite dolly in her arms, silently crept to his lap, sitting so quiet that she often fell asleep.


Once her father, coming unexpectedly from his office to the house, inquired for her, and was told she was with Mr. Angus in his study. The child heard his voice, and putting her little fat hand on her mouth to keep herself quiet, went softly from the room.


"I'm afraid you will disturb Mr. Angus," her father said. "What do you do in there?"


"I keep stiller than a mouse, 'cause they nibble cheese and I don't, and I make sermons with Mr. Angus."


"Make sermons, eh?" laughing; "well, you'd better come with me and make the horse go."


Now if she obeyed Marion's invitation for a walk with her, she watched anxiously for any marks of disapprobation from her other friend, nor was she quite satisfied until she had made it clear to him that she loved him just the same, but that her Marion was only going to be with her a little while, and would feel badly if she did not go for a walk.


To her cousin she also explained why she did not as heretofore devote herself entirely to her society.


"I have to take care of him, you know, because he has nobody but me. He doesn't look as sorry as he did. It always makes me cry to see tears roll down his cheeks."


"Cry!" repeated Marion, quite shocked.


"Yes; when we're praying to Jesus to make us good, he says we must always tell Jesus when we have been naughty, and He will forgive us right off."







FROM the first Marion had been agreeably impressed with Mr. Angus; though after hearing from Aunt Thankful of his first sermon and his cry for help after the evening service, agreed with her aged friend that he must have known real sorrow; sorrow from the effects of which he could not all at once rally. After hearing his prayers, it seemed to her impossible to believe that his sorrow was caused by any act of his own. If so, she was certain that it had been heartily repented of. The scene so innocently referred to by Ethel took hold of her imagination. In the solitude of his chamber he knelt, his little pet by his side, her hand held fast in his, while tears ran down his cheeks, as he implored forgiveness for past offences. Do what she would, she could not shake off the memories of this scene.


Marion was young in years, only twenty-three her next birthday; but her life had been an eventful one. Blessed with Christian parents, her opening mind eagerly imbibed the practical truths of the Bible. Jesus Christ was embraced as her Saviour from sin in this life, and from the punishment of sin in the life to come. God was to her a tender, loving Father, to whom she might go at any hour, with the same freedom as she approached her earthly father. She realized in an unusual manner His watchful providence, guiding and guarding her at every step of her young life. When at the age of seventeen she was bereft of both her earthly parents, she accepted in all their fulness the promises of God to the fatherless ones, and never had these gracious promises failed.


Her education being incomplete, her guardian' sent her to New York City to the care of her father's sister, an amiable but thoroughly worldly woman. Mrs. Williamson considered her duty accomplished when she had seen her niece arrayed in the most becoming mourning attire, had entered her at a fashionable institution, and introduced her to her own select circle.


But these surroundings, so unlike the quiet refinement of her own sweet home, instead of weaning the young orphan from the pure pleasures of a Christian life, left her with such a yearning for the society of those who sympathized in her dearest joys that she resolved to spend more time than ever in communion with her Saviour. Happy indeed are those who, losing Christian companionship, are driven for comfort to Christ himself. His love can so fill the soul thus depending on Him as to compensate for the loss of every earthly solace.


Marion was allowed to choose her own church, and at once joined a Bible class, where her hunger for instruction so animated her classmates and so encouraged her teacher that the most happy results followed.


During the hours in the day devoted to secular studies Marion worked with all her might. She knew it to be right to do her very best, and even with the branches of exact science, which were irksome, she conquered her reluctance and soon made her mark as a scholar of unusual ability.


Music was, however, her specialty. It was passion with her, and even before her parents' death, her skill as a pianist as well as her power with her voice distinguished her.


"How plainly I can see a Father's hand leading me all the way through!" she used to say. "He gave me the ability to sing, and when the right time came He allowed me the privilege of using my voice for the comfort of others."


She alluded to the fact of being invited by a gentleman connected with her Sunday school to sing for the patients at the "Home for the Sick." In connection with this first visit she used to say,—


"Never did I know such real happiness as when I found myself able to comfort those poor, weary ones, Christ's own sufferers. When one woman, taking my hand, thanked me with moistened eyes for the words of cheer, it was an impulse I could scarcely resist to fall on my knees and thank her for letting me sing for her. 'You have lighted the path to the grave. I'm not afraid now,' gasped one whose wings were plumed for her flight.


"Oh!" exclaimed Marion, clasping her hands to her breast as she recalled the scene. "Who am I, that I should be so blessed?"


During the summer months Mr. Williamson usually travelled with his family or passed the time at some fashionable resort, and it was his earnest wish that Marion should accompany them.


But after a week spent at a gay hotel she told her uncle she found it unendurable; and insisted on going alone, if he could not find an escort for her, to visit her Aunt Asbury. She arrived when the whole family were watching the fading away of a young life. Helen, the oldest daughter, about whom so many hopes had clustered, the light of the home, the pride of parents and friends, had received a summons to leave all that had hitherto been so dear and enter on the unknown,—the infinite. Shuddering with fear, she turned to her parents for help, but they could only weep and wring their hands. At length their clergyman was summoned, and from this hour his visits were frequent. The knitted brow had given way to a calm seriousness, as with trembling lips she said, "I do believe Christ is my Saviour, and that He will lead me safely home."


Her parents, too, if not really submissive, were trying to say, "Thy will be done."


The coming of Marion at such a crisis was indeed a blessing. Her very first words as she sat down by the bedside, after offering and receiving a loving embrace, lit up the face of the dying girl with a ray of Heaven's own light.


"O Helen, how I wish I could change places with you! Going home to Christ, to be with Him forever, to see the dear saints who have gone before, to talk to them of what Jesus has done for you, to sing with them the new song, 'Worthy the Lamb,' to sit down by the beloved John, to see Peter and hear him repeat the story of his grief at the denial of his Lord, to talk with Moses and Joseph and Samuel, to think that you will be forever free from the struggles with sin, that you will be holy as He is holy. Dear Helen, you are indeed to be envied."


"Yes, I can thank God now." Helen's smile was radiant.


Tears were streaming down Mrs. Asbury's cheeks, but wholly unconscious of them, the lady rose and kissed Marion, saying softly,—


"Thank God you have come! Your visit will do us all good."


Mr. Asbury had not known much of his niece, though he was one of her guardians. He watched her closely, trying to account for the change in his household. Every day rendered it more certain that a grim messenger was hovering about, waiting for an opportunity to enter, but his approach was no longer dreaded. The chamber where the patient sufferer lay seemed the brightest in the house. Marion, who had constituted herself chief nurse, went in and came out with a smile. Her voice was often heard singing there, not sad, pensive strains, but notes with a ring of triumph. The names of our blessed Lord, Jesus, Immanuel, Saviour, were constantly repeated, and dwelt on lovingly. The very words seemed to give strength, even in the lingering echoes.


On one occasion, Mr. Asbury, too anxious to remain long absent from the house, quietly entered the chamber just as Marion began a familiar hymn. He had often heard it before, but never with such a thrill as now. Even the dying girl was joining in the singing.


"How sweet the name of Jesus sounds

In a believer's ear,

It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds,

And drives away his fear.


"It makes the wounded spirit whole,

And calms the troubled breast;

'Tis manna to the hungry soul,

And to the weary, rest.


"Weak is the effort of my heart,

And cold my warmest thought;

But when I see Thee as Thou art,

I'll praise Thee as I ought.


"Till then I would Thy love proclaim

With every fleeting breath;

And may the music of Thy name

Refresh my soul in death."


Gazing into that rapt face, so elevated above all the pains and sorrows of earth, the father could not doubt that the prayer in these last lines was answered. The soul was refreshed, invigorated, and made infinitely blessed by the music of that precious name. A prayer rose to Heaven from one hitherto unused to prayer, "Breathe, O Lord, into my soul such love for Thee as may fill my heart with peace and joy when I go down to the dark valley."


The end came at last, suddenly, though long looked for. The messenger was not unwelcome. He was greeted with a smile so sweet, so rapt, that all gazed in wonder. Calmly the dying girl put her hand in his, while Marion in a clear voice repeated the inspired words, "'Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.'"







THE triumphant death of the eldest daughter was followed by marked religious improvement in the family. Both Mr. and Mrs. Asbury publicly confessed their faith in Christ. The family altar was erected with this inscription, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."


Marion, too, received a new impetus in her chosen work,—the work of a soul-winner.


"I want to be a missionary," was her reply to her uncle, when he was urging her to remain permanently in his family. "I have already begun to make many projects for the poor in New York City."


"But, Marion, you are too young, too attractive, to go alone among the poor."


"Don't say too attractive, uncle. I want to be as attractive as possible. Understand me," she added, laughing, with a visible heightening of color, "I want to be loved and trusted; and I thank God that I am—am not repulsive in appearance. Too young I certainly am to go alone; and that is why I have kept dear old Hepsey.  Aunty thinks me obstinate, incorrigible, because I don't dismiss the poor old creature, as she calls her, and have a fashionable French maid. Dear aunty! I'm afraid she would think me a fit subject for the lunatic asylum if she knew where Hepsey and I go."


"I'm afraid, Marion, that I shall have to agree with Mrs. Williamson that you are a little wilful. Put yourself in my place, and ask yourself whether it would be right for me to consent to your going into those infected regions in New York. You might catch small-pox, or cholera, or something dreadful."


She caught his arm, and gave it a loving squeeze, then with an arch glance in his face, exclaimed, "You ought to praise me for telling you all this. I have never told Uncle nor Aunt Williamson. But seriously, uncle, I haven't a particle of fear. The sanitary arrangements in a city like New York are excellent. I love life too well, and I have too great a work in it to put myself in danger. Besides, I have the earnest approval of dear Helen. I talked with her more freely than I ever did with any one, and she, standing on the border land between this life and the next, with Heaven's own light on her, said,—


"'Go on, Marion. Yours is a blessed work. God will protect you in it.' Oh, how that benediction has encouraged me!"


What could Mr. Asbury answer to such pleading?


And so Marion had gone on, from step to step, till Mr. Williamson was fain to resign his ward to other and firmer hands. Her aunt, having exhausted all the adjectives in her denunciations, and having informed her thousand and one friends that her niece was a bigoted fanatic, who, if permitted, would convert their house into an asylum for paupers, coolly turned her back upon her, entirely ignoring her existence.


In consequence of all this, Marion's twenty-first birthday found her in apartments of her own, with Hepsey for her confidential adviser; not satisfied, as her aunt explained, with a life of luxurious refinement, such as befitted her wealth and position in society, but actually engaged as music teacher in Madame La Vergne's institute.


This last step, indeed, had been earnestly protested against by her Uncle Asbury, and she was obliged to bring all her powers of coaxing, arguing, and pleading to bear upon him before he would yield a reluctant consent.


"These young girls are just entering life," was her concluding plea, "without either chart or compass to guide them. They will by and by exert a powerful influence either for good or evil.  In no other way can I so readily gain an influence over them. If I can win only one of them to higher aims in life, will it not be worth the effort?"


Even Mrs. Asbury expostulated with her niece. "You are free," she urged, "to go into any society you please, and you surely can find young ladies quite as much in need of good influences as those connected with Madame La Vergne's school. You will, when too late, perhaps, find it very irksome to be confined to certain hours."


"Now aunty, dear, don't you turn against me. I have thought so much of this plan, and my conscience approves, but I want your approval also. Well, I may as well confess it; there are certain reasons why I want to influence these particular girls, two of whom are in danger. They were my pets when I was their schoolmate, and think I have already gained their confidence."


"After all that is said," resumed Mr. Asbury "you have power to do as you please. You are absolutely your own mistress, with an independent fortune, but—"


Marion drew up her queenly form and for an instant looked seriously displeased, but quickly recovering herself, said, "I'm sure, uncle, you do not mean to hurt me. You and aunty are all I have who really and truly love me, so if you positively refuse your consent to my devoting a few hours in a day to an employment which is congenial to me, with the hope of being useful to two motherless girls, I will relinquish my project."


Mr. and Mrs. Asbury glanced at each other as Marion quietly left the room, when with a laugh the gentleman said,—


"What a way the girl has of carrying all before her. She must try her plan, I suppose. I wonder who those two girls are."


And Marion did try it. How well she succeeded in her efforts for their good will be revealed in the pages of our book. Her life was a busy one. Often, when she retired to rest, both body and brain were weary, and yet she was very happy. In her own home she tended her flowers and fed her birds with a song on her lips. She met her friends with a smile so sweet, joyous, and free from care that they envied her. Naturally, she was overflowing with fun; indeed, her vivacity, her quickness at repartee, made her the life of any circle, and her company, while she resided with her uncle, was sought by the young of both sexes.


It was not her intention to exclude herself wholly from society, but she was resolute in her determination not to become a slave to fashion, the degrading effects of such slavery having, even at her age, been forced on her notice.


"I never saw any one who enjoyed life more than Miss Howard," was the remark of an old gentleman, after watching her at a musical party. She was surrounded by a group of young people to whom she was relating a story, the arch expression on her face bringing into play all her dimples. Gradually one and another, some advanced in life, drew nearer, eager to share in the enjoyment. Perceiving this, Marion skilfully drew her story to a close, and engaged others in conversation, asking questions, and showing herself so anxious to please that a half-hour passed most delightfully.


"Singular being," muttered Mr. Lambert, an irascible old man who had been introduced to her. "Not a word of scandal, thirty-five minutes, and no gossip. Pshaw! Fact, no talk about religion either. A strange fanatic that."


Stranger still, perhaps, that the old man persistently lingered in the neighborhood of Miss Howard, leaning forward to catch every word, drinking in the musical ripple of laughter, which Marion's friends used to call one of her greatest charms, watching the pure, fresh countenance, the merry, earnest eyes, until the ice about his heart began to thaw. When they parted, to no one's surprise more than to his own, he extended his hand, and gave hers a warm pressure as he said,—


"I am glad that I have met one who has no trouble."


"I am an orphan," responded Marion, tears suddenly dimming her eyes, "but I have a dear Father who is so very good to me."


"You do love life then, even though your parents have left you."


There was a touch of sarcasm in his voice which made her pity him.


"Oh, yes; I am very happy to be alive. There is so much to be done. I envy nothing so much as the leisure hours some do not know what to do with. Yes, it is good to live."


"What can you find to employ other people's leisure beside your own?"


She gave one quick, earnest glance into his face, paused a moment, and then answered,—


"I try to make others happy."


She was turning away when he caught her hand, and with a strange twitching around his mouth, said,—


"You seem to be in earnest. I, who doubt every one, find it hard to doubt you. If you mean that you try to help the poor, you will find it a thankless task. It doesn't pay." There was intense bitterness in his tone.


"But, my dear sir, that is because you go to the wrong paymaster. He has promised that even a cup of cold water given for His sake shall receive its reward."


"Poor man! Doubting every one, endured only for the sake of your money; how I pity you," was Marion's reflection, as she drove swiftly with Hepsey beside her. "I wish I could give you a lesson in true happiness. I'll try!"







ALL this had occurred long before our first introduction to the young lady. She still continued to give lessons in music at Madame La Vergne's school, but received no compensation except in the case of three wealthy pupils. The amount received from these three just defrayed the expense for tuition, etc., for two misses she was educating. One of these, Annie Leman, gave promise of great proficiency in music.


Marion had speedy occasion to remember her resolution with regard to Mr. Lambert. She was making some visits in a street crowded with tenement houses, and had for the moment become separated from Hepsey. With a basket on her arm she was trying to make her way up a crazy flight of stairs when she heard a quick step behind her.


"You have caused me a pretty race," shouted a man's voice, which she instantly recalled as belonging to her irascible friend. "Good for heart complaint, very!" putting his hand upon his breast and breathing quickly. Possessing himself of her basket, he lifted the cover, and said with a sneer, "Just as I supposed; tea and sugared dainties—ought to be arrested—idiotic—pests to society—humbug—sentiment and nonsense!" He was muttering away, when he caught her look of pity, which rendered him furious.


"How dare you come here?" he shouted. "You, who claim to belong to decent society. You, a chit of a girl, alone and unprotected in such a region of filth and pollution."


Marion's cheeks flushed with anger, and she was going to retort in a like strain, but something in his appearance checked her.


He looked so thin and wan and friendless. Suddenly the anger faded away and with a smile she held out her hand for the basket, saying playfully,—


"If you had waited a minute, you would have seen that I am not alone here; and I have good company while you are near to protect me."


"Nonsense!" His mouth twitched and she was sure his eyes twinkled at this unexpected retort. When finding herself mistress of the situation, she asked,—


"How dare you come here? It is very dangerous," pointing to the staircase, which Hepsey at this moment was trying to climb.


"Saw you—thought you—danger—better send police—not fit for one of your sex."


He turned off into one of the filthy rooms, and they heard him scolding the inmates as though he enjoyed it.


"What a brute!" muttered Hepsey; but Marion Only laughed, adding, "I'm not a bit afraid of him."


As they were leaving the court he came up out of a cellar and joined them.


"Delightful vicinity; very healthy, too!" pointing to a stagnant pool of filth in which a pig was wallowing. He shrugged his shoulders, chuckling with mirth.


"I see you enjoy it as much as we do, Mr. Lambert. It's so good for the spirits to see people enjoying themselves." A group of boys were playing marbles on the uneven pavement, and scarcely moved for them to pass.


"Get out of the path," he shouted, striking his cane right and left. "Don't you see you're in the way of your betters?"


"Oh, Mr. Lambert!" exclaimed Marion, "you have hurt that boy," as one of the lads put his hand to his head, sending after them a terrible oath.


"Pshaw! they're not tender—good for them—business to get out of the way." But when they were about to turn out of the street and parted company, they saw him hurrying back to the group, shaking his cane and shouting, "Wait! Wait!"


Curious to know what he would do, Marion went back to the head of the street, and saw the eccentric old man throw a handful of coins to the boys, as he could not get them to wait for another beating.


"What a disappointed life he must have had," she said to Hepsey, after walking in silence for some minutes. "I wonder whether he has any heart left."


"Not likely, miss," was the brief reply.


A few weeks later Marion was having quite a jubilee in her parlors. She had invited all the older classes in the mission school, and was entertaining them with a play called "Shadows." At the end of the back parlor was a wide door across which a white curtain was stretched, and the children sitting in the darkened rooms saw behind the curtain scenes which made them open both eyes and mouth in astonishment. A man was sitting in a chair in a doctor's office and the physician was examining him. First the outside of his head, then the inside, taking out with pincers, one tooth after another and putting them in again, taking from the patient's throat tumblers, plates, long-handled kitchen spoons, a hammer, and at last an umbrella, which had to be pulled and jerked, till the patient shrieked.


They were in the midst of all this when Marion heard a familiar voice muttering,—


"Fool's play,—miserable waste—time,—money,—better send them to the penitentiary at once."


Since their late interview Marion had thought much of the strange, lonely old man, and had nearly made up her mind that he only tried to disguise his real feelings by his outlandish manner.  She gave him her hand cordially, as she said,—


"I did not invite you to my party, Mr. Lambert, but I am very glad you came. I was just needing some help.  My doctor in there needs a new patient: come, I will introduce you to him."


"Patient, eh! Well, I need a doctor badly enough. What do you want me to do?"


"Only to have your head cut off, sir."


"Hem! modest request,—very civil, must say. My head is as 'valuable to me as—yours, for instance."


But he followed her to the hall, from which they could pass to the room in the rear.


"Your head will be restored in as good a condition as it is now," she explained, with an arch smile.


Presently the children saw the old gentleman take his seat in the chair, his long beard distinctly visible through the curtain.


"What do you complain of?" they heard the doctor ask.


"Liver!" shouted the patient. "Haven't slept a wink for ten years."


"Not liver, but conscience,—diseased conscience." This was Miss Howard's voice. "It needs reorganizing, sir. It affects the whole body, sir. I shall begin with the head and cut away all the diseased part until we come to soundness, sir."


"Is this the way you treat your patients? I'll not stand it. Cut off my head, indeed!"


"Absolute necessity, sir. If you wish to be cured, there must be no delay."


"Pretty sight for the public,—man minus head."


"My salve, sir, my famous Royal Recuperative Salve, known throughout the world, sir, will make your head grow again in a few hours, sir."


"Don't believe a word of such humbug; but cut away; something must be done."


The spectators held their breath as they saw the knife cut deep into the flesh, then heard the saw cracking the bone, and, presently, after a terrible groan, the head was severed from the body and thrown to the floor.


"Just in time, sir," exclaimed the doctor, cheerfully.  "Disease checked in time; heart and lungs, and liver too, all right. Now for the salve!"  They saw him rub the neck thoroughly with ointment from a box, and then the patient was carefully moved from the chair.


The children remained in their seats awestruck, but the gas was relit and Miss Howard came into the parlor looking particularly smiling. Wonder of wonders. It was scarcely fifteen minutes before the patient appeared, leaning on the arm of the doctor, his head erect and firm as ever.


"Miraculous cure," he muttered. "Yes, I'll write an account for your advertising paper. Head all right; little tenderness here, that's all," pointing to his throat.


"Then," said Dr. James, laughing heartily, as he took off his false mustache, "I will bid you good day, sir, and wish you joy of your new head."


Mr. Lambert threw himself into a chair and went off into convulsions of laughter.


"Outdoes the theatre by all odds. Hurrah for the Royal Recuperative Salve to cure diseased consciences! I'll take twenty bottles! Hurrah!"


In the mean time Marion took the children behind the curtain and explained to them the method by which these wonders were accomplished. She recalled James, to show them that he only passed his hand down by the side of the throat, when Hepsey, concealed from view, passed to him tumblers, umbrella, etc., all of which, in the shadow, seemed to come from the throat.


The decapitated head was made of pasteboard, cut to resemble an old man with a beard.


The apartments occupied by Marion were situated in a fashionable part of the city. Wishing to be entirely independent, and yet desirous of avoiding the publicity of a hotel, she had persuaded Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell, friends of her parents, to hire this house next to a hotel and allow her the entire use of the second floor. Her meals being sent in from the table d'hôte, she could indulge her hospitality without burdening her friends, who were advanced in age. Besides Hepsey, she had a boy of sixteen years, whom she employed in various ways, accompanying her in stormy weather in her visits to the poor, going errands, etc. This boy, Jim, or, as she called him, James Kelly, was one of the first-fruits of her mission work, and, being an orphan like herself, she was deeply interested in his welfare.


At the death of her parents, their home in the country was rented, the furniture, with the exception of certain costly articles, pictures, etc., being allowed to remain in the house. These had been brought to the city, and now beautified her pleasant home. Marion had a passion for flowers, and at her own expense had built out from her parlor a small conservatory, which was filled with her favorite plants. One seldom saw her without a bud of some kind doing service for a brooch at her throat; and in her calls upon the sick, a few fresh-cut violets or a sweet rose-bud proved a great help in gaining the confidence she so earnestly sought.


Believing, as she did, that our social qualities were given us to be cultivated, our young friend gave frequent entertainments, always supported by the presence of Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell. To further her own plans she selected games, encouraged charades, improvised characters, occasionally taking part herself, on which occasions she abandoned herself to the enjoyment with the freshness of a child.


"I believe," she responded to a Christian friend, who was taking her to task for encouraging a taste for the theatrical,—"I believe that I have done more good by my charades than I could have hoped for in any other way. In one instance I have in mind, at a critical period for a young favorite, I persuaded her to come to a charade I got up especially for her; and I am satisfied the result was happy. She was in danger of giving way to evil influences; her conscience troubled her; she became very irritable. I had a little talk with her, took her with me to visit a poor family, who were indeed rich in faith, and then invited her to my entertainment. She came to me the second day after and, with a burst of joyful tears, threw herself into my arms, exclaiming,—


"'I'm so happy: the struggle is over.  Oh, I can never tell you how I thank you!' She had given up the acquaintance of one who was leading her astray, who would have made her a wretched husband, who had denounced Christians as gloomy fanatics, who considered laughing a sin, etc. My party, mirthful and gay as it was, commended itself to her conscience; even the play itself conveyed to her excited mind a high moral sentiment, as I had intended. She went home, passed the night pacing the floor, while she asked help of God to decide aright. She is now an earnest, cheerful, Christian worker. Unsolicited, she left the fashionable church which she had been attending, and is my powerful alto singer at our mission."







ON Ethel's fifth birthday she claimed the promise of her mother,—that she should sit up to family prayers. Except on Sunday night, when supper was served at an earlier hour than on other days, it was her habit to eat her simple meal of bread and milk and be in bed before the ringing of the supper-bell.


Sitting up for prayers was quite an era in her young life. No sooner was the meal concluded than she brought her low chair and placed it close to Mr. Angus. It was the custom to sing a hymn before reading the Scriptures, and the pastor held the book so that Ethel could look on the page with him. As he named the hymn he merely remarked, "It is pleasant to have all join in this social worship."


The child, considering herself included in this invitation, as indeed she was, began in a low timid tone to sing her own little hymn, but presently, becoming used to the sound of her voice, sang so loud as almost to drown the tones of the piano, upon which Annie was playing. Over and over again she repeated the words, "Jesus, come and make me good, good, Jesus come and make me good."


The tune as well as the words were improvised for the occasion, and did not in the least chord with the notes they were singing. Most of those present smiled, Gardner tittered behind his book and about Mr. Angus's mouth a suspicious twitching was noticed, but no one interfered with the child's evident enjoyment of the occasion.


"I'm quite sure," remarked Mr. Angus afterward, as he seated Ethel on his knee, "that Jesus will hear and answer your prayer. Would you like to learn a hymn to sing with us? Ask your sister to teach you one, and you can learn the tune also. You have a very good voice."


"A powerful one, certainly," added her father, laughing.


Mr. Angus early formed the acquaintance of Mary Falkner, the crippled girl. As Marion had told him, she was truly happy, though at times a great sufferer. In every event of her life she recognized a Father's loving, protecting hand, and was so truly thankful for every favor received that it was a privilege to bestow kindness.


On one occasion, when the pastor was sitting by her bedside, realizing, as afterward he insisted, that he was receiving rather than giving consolation, the door softly opened and Marion, unannounced, walked in. Perceiving the visitor, she was retiring when Mr. Angus rose to leave.


"Don't go, please," Mary said to Marion, "I was just intending to ask the pastor to pray." 


Mr. Angus gave the sick girl his hand when his prayer was concluded saying, as he bent over-her, "Remember your promise to pray for me; pray that, whether led through a stony or a flowery path, I may have my Father's guidance as you have."


Marion drew near the bedside as the pastor left the room, and was not surprised at the enthusiasm manifested for him by the cripple.


"He is such a kind friend, so humble, so devout. His prayers raise me to heaven; and he is mindful of my earthly wants too. Look here," taking from an envelope a piece of silver, "he always leaves a token behind him, laying it on my pillow without a word,—sometimes a dollar, never less than half a dollar."


"I was sure," answered Marion, in a hearty voice, "that he would be a comfort to you. You like him so much, I have a great mind to ask you a question. Have you ever noticed any peculiarity in his prayers or in his manner?"


Tears gushed to Mary's eyes which no physical suffering could have forced from them, and, clasping her hands, she exclaimed, "Oh, how I wish I could comfort him! And he says I have. He has a deep, abiding sorrow. It is living sorrow, too. It cannot be grief for the dead. Once he quite forgot that I was present, and he prayed; but it is too sacred to repeat. Oh, how my heart ached for him!"


Mary covered her face and wept.


"I wish he would unburden his heart to you, Mary. I'm sure you could comfort him. He is a puzzle to me. There is a weight on his spirits. I have seen an expression of agony come over his face when he thought himself unobserved. Well, we can pray God to appear for him. I have never spoken of him in this way before."


"Grief is too sacred to meddle with, at least such grief as his, Marion. I have told my Saviour about it."


When the young lady left the humble roof she repaired to the station near by to get her satchel, and found Mr. Angus just sending a telegram to the city. He advanced eagerly to meet her, holding out his hand.


"You are the very one to advise me," he said, his whole face beaming. "I am a poor physician, but I know something of medicine. I have learned about Mary's case, and I do not feel hopeless of her recovery. You live in the city of New York, and have probably heard of the Home for the Sick."


"Certainly I have. I often go there to visit my sick friends."


"Then you will agree with me that, if I can procure a place for her in that Christian home, she will have a fair chance for recovery."


"Strange I never thought of it before," murmured Marion, as though speaking to herself.


"Not at all strange. It did not occur to me till this morning, and I have just written a message to Dr. B-, the superintendent, asking to have a surgeon sent to examine the case. I have myself been an inmate of the Home, and have the most entire confidence in the care and skill she would receive."


"Will they send so far, Mr. Angus? I mean, will there not be great expense? Excuse me, but I would advise another plan. Mary is a great favorite of mine; indeed, I am under obligations to her. There is an eminent surgeon in the next town, whom I will take to see her this very day. If he gives us hope, I will go to the hospital at once on my return to the city. I only wish I had thought of it years ago."


A curious expression on Mr. Angus's face startled Marion, with a slight shrug of the shoulders, which was strangely familiar to her. It was as though he had said,—"You are taking the matter out of my hands with a vengeance."


Marion laughed aloud. "Don't think me officious in meddling with your plan," she urged. "I'm a teacher, you know, and accustomed to give orders."


"I shall at least claim the pleasure, Miss Howard, of bearing the expense necessary for placing her in the Home."


"I'll see about that." Marion gave one of those arch glances which brought her dimples into full play. When she smiled, it was like a child's face, pure and fresh, and sweet and loving. For one moment, as he gazed, Mr. Angus forgot his burden. There might yet be something bright for him in life. With a deep sigh he shouldered his burden again, and this time it seemed weightier than ever before.


They walked in silence for a time, the young lady puzzling herself to account for the strange associations connected with that peculiar expression on Mr. Angus's face which had so startled her. Somehow it was connected with the Home for the Sick. Rousing herself, and forgetting that his thoughts had not followed hers, she asked,—


"Is it long since you were an inmate?"


"Do you mean of the hospital?"




"It is five years this very month.  It was there I was healed not only in the body, but the soul. Never did any poor mortal need a divine physician more than I did. Words cannot express my gratitude that a merciful Father directed me to that spot. The faithful chaplain found me weighed to the ground, and persuaded me to allow an Almighty Arm to be placed beneath me. Pardon me," he added, suddenly interrupting himself, "I did not remember that to a stranger this must be a wearisome story. I am not used to forget myself in this way."


He turned toward her a face drawn with pain, to meet eyes full of sympathy, and when she murmured softly the words, "I am not a stranger, I am a friend," his feelings almost overcame him.


"Thank you," he said, extending his hand, but instantly withdrawing it; then, controlling himself by a visible effort, went on, "I found my Saviour within those blessed walls, and was encouraged both by the pastor and chaplain to hope that, by consecrating my life to the service of my divine Master, I might be useful to some poor soul as burdened as myself."


"Has not that hope been fulfilled, Mr. Angus? Has not Jesus Christ kept his gracious promise to you and given you rest? Pardon me, I am a missionary too. I have thought much of you, and prayed for you, as I do for all my friends. I have feared that—that you have not cast all your burden upon Him. You are trying to bear part of it alone. Sorrow or sin He has atoned for and has promised to take. Oh, do give it all up to Him! For your own sake, for the sake of those in your charge, I entreat you, try His love in all its fulness. It cannot, will not, fail you."


Her voice trembled in her eagerness. Suddenly catching a glimpse of his pallid countenance, she stopped short in her walk.


"You will forgive, you will understand me," she pleaded. "I for a moment forgot that I am too young to advise you."


"Miss Howard, even you will turn from me in despair when I ask, can these hands, which have shed the blood of a brother, ever be clean? Even you have seen the mark of Cain on my brow."


Startled as she was, Marion realized that in order to give comfort to this burdened soul, she must control herself. With a face blanched, and shaking voice, she repeated the gracious promise,—


"'Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.' Such a promise holds good, even to the shedder of blood."


"Do not understand," he exclaimed, in great excitement, "that it was prompted by malice. It was an accident. I—But the scene is too ghastly to recall. To no mortal have I ever breathed the words before. Into the ears of a merciful God I pour my complaint day and night."


Into Marion's eyes came a strange light. The color surged back into her face. Memories of the past, forgotten for years, came rushing over her. She was wholly unaware that she had stopped again, that her eyes were fixed on his, that she was trying to read his very thoughts. It required a great effort to come back to present realities. "I must say something," was her reflection. "Oh, that I was sure! God grant I may be!"


"Mr. Angus," she began, her face beaming with a strange expression of hope and tenderness, "forgive me for saying it, you have grown morbid, brooding over your past. With all my heart I thank you for your confidence, which I consider as sacred as the grave. Let me say that I look forward confidently to the hour when the sorrow which has weighed you down to the dust will be driven away like the morning cloud. Pray for that time as though you believed God has power to help you. Have entire faith in His promise."


Before he could answer she had turned into side path and was presently lost to view.







ON going to dinner, Marion was not much surprised to hear that the pastor had requested to be excused from the table on the plea of a headache. Mrs. Asbury was preparing tea and toast, which the servant stood waiting to take up on a tray. At this moment Ethel came running up, her face flushed, exclaiming,—


"Mamma, may I stay with Mr. Angus? He is sitting in the chair with his eyes shut, and he looks real sick."


"I'll carry the tray myself," said Mrs. Asbury, glancing at her husband. "No, Ethel, stay here till I come back."


"He is worse than usual," she explained presently, as she brought back the food untouched. "Ethel, dear, as soon as you have eaten, you may go to him. Strange what an influence she has,"—turning to the family. "He asked it as a favor, if I could spare her."


Mr. and Mrs. Asbury were so occupied with anxiety about Mr. Angus, whose strength seemed always on the point of giving way, that they did not notice Marion's abstraction. As they were rising from the silent meal, she asked,—


"Can I have the horse and buggy, uncle? I want to drive to N—. I am going for Dr. Moore to see Mary Falkner."


"Why not ask him to make a professional call on Mr. Angus?"


"You might propose it to him, but I doubt whether he would require a surgeon."


"That's so; but I mean to have a serious talk with him as soon as he recovers from this attack. It is wicked for him to neglect these warnings."


Annie eagerly offered to accompany Marion to N—; but she only desired to be alone to have time to recall fleeting memories, to reconcile coincidences, and decide how it was best for her to make her surmises known to Mr. Angus.


She had driven slowly over the four miles to N— before her final decision was reached. It would be cruel to hold out hopes which might prove fallacious. "No, I must go home, to make sure. Then, if it be as I hope and believe what a joy." Marion stopped, wholly unable to express in words the deep emotions which agitated her. All the time she was tying her horse to the post, she was saying to herself,—


"Did she mean murder? An accident is not murder."


It was with a real effort that she roused herself to tell the physician her errand.  He had just returned from a long drive to visit a patient, and told her he would accompany her at once after eating his dinner, and return in the cars.


On the way Marion related all that she knew of Mary's case, and then described the arrangements at the Home for the Sick.


Her enthusiasm made him laugh. "I know all about that," he explained. "I was one of the staff of house surgeons there at one time, and I can say it is truly a home. Very few, even of the wealthiest, can command the care and skill which falls to the lot of the poorest patient there. I remember a wealthy lady coming with a valuable servant who had fractured her arm. When the patient was comfortably placed in bed she was leaving the room, when she met Dr. B-, the pastor and superintendent.


"'I want to recommend to your special attention the woman I have just brought here,' she began.”


"'Certainly, madam,' was his polite answer as he passed into the ward, 'certainly; all our patients have special attention. She shall be well cared for.'"


"I have taken many patients there," rejoined Marion, her eye kindling with pleasure. "I should say that if there were any favorites, they are the very sickest and poorest, and sometimes the most repulsive. But after all, the care of their bodies is only one part. They are led to think of the end of life, and in their enforced seclusion, with the most loving influences about them, they often, very often, come to better thoughts of their Maker, and go out with new hopes and new resolutions in regard to life."


Dr. Moore was introduced to the patient by Marion, who only said that he had called as her friend, to find out whether she could be relieved by treatment from her spasms of pain. He made a careful diagnosis of her case, after which he gave her some powders for temporary relief, bade her take courage, and returned to Marion, who was waiting in the buggy.


"I have been to the station, Doctor," she explained "and there is no train to N- for a couple of hours, so I will take you home. I see by your face that you have good news for me."


"Nonsense! A doctor's face goes for nothing. He has to train it to look expressionless, or he would soon get into trouble."


"You can't deceive me, Doctor. I know you are going to say she can be relieved."


"I will say more. She will always be lame, one limb being shorter than the other, but, with the help of a thick sole to her shoe, I don't see why she should not walk about with as little difficulty as you and I do."


Marion gave a cry of joy, clasping her hands. "O Doctor!" she exclaimed, "what a blessed profession yours is! If I were a man I would be a physician before any other calling. I do thank you so much. How soon may I take her to New York?"


"I've been thinking," he said, gayly, "of indulging myself with a trip to the city. How would it do for you to see Dr. B— and engage a bed for her, and leave me to take her there?"


"Will you, Doctor?" She gave him a glance brimful, overflowing with delight, and he answered,—


"Yes, I will do all that. I shall be glad of the opportunity to see the Home once more. Now Marion, I have earned a right to ask you a question. Why don't you get married?"


Marion threw back her head and laughed heartily. "Your question is so entirely unexpected, Doctor, that I shall have to think before I answer. Well, first, I am too busy to go about the country and select the right man. Second, I have formed such an elevated idea of the being whom I would be willing to see in that relation, that in case I had leisure I should be appalled at the difficulties in my path. Thirdly, I am just as happy now as I can be. I have my good old Hepsey and James Kelly, and all my poor people to take care of now. I'm sure I can't imagine what I should do, even with my ideal man." The laugh which followed was heart whole.


"Nevertheless," urged Dr. Moore, "describe this ideal man to me."


"His image is scarcely distinct enough for that. First of all, he must be a man who loves God and his neighbor as himself, as our Saviour has commanded."


"Humph! I don't know him, but go on."


"He must be both strong and tender, firm and gentle, courageous, kind, and courteous, capable of sympathy both in joy and grief. He must be humble in his opinion of himself."  Here a sudden reflection checked her, and she added, softly, "Not too humble," then came to an abrupt pause.


"Appearance and manners," suggested the doctor, without glancing at her.


"Poor or rich is of no consequence; but he must have ability. Whatever his calling is, he must excel in it."


"Physician preferred, probably."


"Ye-es, or some kindred profession."


"Lawyer, eh?"


"No; oh, no, indeed, not a lawyer!"


"Minister to a foreign court, perhaps?"


"No, not connected with politics in any way."


"There is nothing left but a shoemaker, or a country parson. Merchants of every grade watch the bills in Congress with eagle eyes. But how does he look?"


"Like an athlete." Suddenly catching a twinkle in her companion's eye, Marion's cheeks and brow became suffused, and she burst out, "How ridiculous I have made myself! I never thought so much of my husband before in all my life."


"I'm well acquainted with him," said the doctor, demurely. "He's all right; even your parents would be satisfied with him."


"What can you mean, Doctor?" She was startled now. "Was there ever such a man?"


They had reached his home, and he quietly resigned the lines to her hand. Just as he stepped to the ground, he fixed an earnest eye on her as he said,—


"The portrait is excellent, even to the too humble."


"Doctor! Dr. Moore!" called out Marion, as with an arch smile he was turning away, "you haven't given me your bill. I shall go to-morrow to see Dr. B--, and will write you at once; A friend of Mary's is to bear all expenses of her recovery; and, Doctor, I haven't told you how very, very grateful I am to you."


"For approving your choice of a husband?"


"You know, Doctor, I was thinking of some thing very remote from an ideal man, whom it is very unlikely I shall ever see. I may tell Mary now, mayn't I?"


"Certainly. And in the pleasure you will have in telling her the good news, you will forgive an old friend of your father for making a careful diagnosis of your heart."


He gave her another quizzical glance and turned away.


"How absurd he is!" murmured the young lady. "How could I have been betrayed into such nonsense? I wonder whether he was in earnest, in saying he knew any one to whom the description would fit. He would be a wonder of goodness, and I—"


Here Marion astonished the faithful old horse, who was going on in his quiet jog, by a sudden jerk of the lines and a peremptory order to quicken his pace. On consulting her watch, she found it nearly five o'clock. She must call at the thread and needle store, give Mary the joyful hope recovery, and then hasten home.


To one who is always looking to her Father in heaven for the gifts which flow into her daily life it is not surprising, but only an increased reason for gratitude, when unlooked-for mercies are bestowed.


So it was with the poor cripple. As Marion cautiously conveyed to her the opinion of Dr. Moore that her suffering might be relieved, and in time perhaps she might be restored to active life and its duties, the quick gasp, the tightened clasp of her emaciated hands, the moistened eye raised in silent gratitude to God, were the only tokens of the fervent thankfulness which almost overcame her.


When Marion had explained the doctor's view of her case, she went on: "You must give your pastor the credit of the plan. He was just sending a telegram to the Home when I met him at the station, and—and"—she hesitated, surprised at herself for her reluctance to talk of Mr. Angus—"he offered to bear all the expense of having you conveyed to New York. But I speedily convinced him that I had the first claim to that privilege."


"How good God is, raising up friends for me on every side!"


"Good by, Mary, for the present. I shall expect to see you very soon in one of the nice beds at the Home for the Sick."







THE family were all seated at the tea-table when Mr. Angus came in from the street. He apologized for being behind time by saying that a parishioner had sent for him, and it was a longer walk than he expected. His countenance bore marks of excitement, but he entered into conversation with the others, and seemed desirous of averting attention from himself.


After family prayer, which directly followed supper, he rose as though he was going to retire when Ethel caught his hand, saying,—


"My Marion is going to sing a hymn before I go to bed. Please stay and hear it."


Marion had already commenced, and, without noticing who was near her, went through the hymn.


"We give thee but thine own,

Whate'er the gift may be,

All that we have is Thine alone,

A trust, O Lord, from Thee.


"May we Thy bounties thus

As stewards true receive.

And gladly as Thou blessest us,

To Thee our first-fruits give.


"Oh hearts are bruised and dead,

And homes are bare and cold,

And lambs for whom the Shepherd bled

Are straying from the fold!


"To comfort and to bless,

To find a balm for woe,

To tend the lone and fatherless,

Is angels' work below.


"The captive to release,

To God the lost to bring,

To teach the way of life and peace,

It is a Christ-like thing.


"And we believe Thy word,

Though dim our faith may be,

Whate'er for Thine we do, O Lord,

We do it unto Thee."


"I propose an amendment, as the congressmen say," she urged, pleasantly, as she saw Mr. Angus. "Please stay and sing with us, and then I have some pleasant news for you."


He joined her instantly at the piano, though she saw that he did so reluctantly. She turned to the all-inspiring words,—


"All hail the power of Jesus' name!

Let angels prostrate fall."


From the tones of his voice, as one verse followed another, she could detect the change in his feelings. In the last stanza it was evident his religious fervor had triumphed over his sadness. The tones, rich and clear, thrilled Marion's heart strangely. Happening to meet his eye as she was closing the book, she saw there evidence of an elevation of soul, as though the sentiments of the hymn had roused him from his gloom.


"Thank you," was his low response.


"I expect to leave early in the morning," she said. "I shall go immediately to see Dr. B———. Dr. Moore is very hopeful in regard to Mary's cure, though she may always walk lame. She was very grateful that you had thought of sending her to the Home for the Sick."


"I am delighted, Miss Howard. You have indeed been an angel of mercy to the poor girl. She speaks of your thoughtful kindness as one of the chief blessings of her life."


"Isn't it fortunate that Dr. Moore was once house physician there? and he will convey her to the city himself. No, Mr. Angus," as he held out his purse, "we cannot permit you to have all the pleasure, though we gladly share with you. You have done your part in suggesting the possibility of her restoration, and she has a friend who will defray all expenses.  By the way, if you can spare the time, she would be glad of a call from you before she leaves home."


"Duties never conflict, Miss Howard. If you were not so busy among your pupils, etc., I would express a wish that you would visit a distressed family I saw to-day. They are in deep waters, and need a kind friend of their own sex."


"Who are they?"


"Mother, daughter, and grandson,—one of the most beautiful boys I ever saw. The mother is ill, I fear on the verge of consumption. The daughter, whom I conclude is a widow, is too young and beautiful to be left to make her own way in the world. The boy, Eugene, won my heart at once, and under a sudden impulse I asked the mother to give him to me: I am fond of children."


"I can easily believe that," she said, with one of her smiles, which always made his heart so warm. "If I were not very good-natured I should reproach you with winning away Ethel's love from me. Isn't she a darling?"


For answer he bent down and pressed a kiss on the warm, red lips held up so temptingly to his. The child at this minute had come into the room to bid him and Marion good night; having done so, she danced away again, hugging Frances, her favorite dolly, in her arms.


"'Of such is the kingdom of heaven,'" murmured the pastor, his eye following her fairy-like figure; "and we are told that unless we are like them, we cannot be admitted to that glorious home."


After a pause he added, "Eugene interested me deeply, but not at all in the way Ethel does. He is as full of mischief as he can hold; nothing ethereal about him. He is earthly even in his beauty, while Ethel seems just fresh from heaven. Dear child! I have learned many a lesson from her."


"You have interested me deeply in your friends, Mr. Angus. I wish now I could stay another day at least, but I cannot."


Recalling the business which sent her home so soon, there was an earnestness in her voice, as she repeated, "Oh, no, I cannot stay!" that rather surprised her hearer. Meeting the questioning glance, it was as much as the impulsive girl could do to check herself from saying,—


"I go for your sake, to give you that which will restore peace to your heart."


"But I hope to be so successful in my business that I can come again soon. I will ask Aunt Asbury to visit them, if you wish."


"It is not a case of poverty,—at least I think not. The mother—she seems very young—needs sympathy and counsel; she would only take it from one she loved."


He seemed to be urging a duty upon her, though he did not so intend it; and Marion grew excited, wondering whether she ought to write Dr. B— about Mary, and postpone her other business for another day.


"I wish I knew which was my duty: I have set my heart on something. I ought not to have delayed it so long. I have been forgetful of a sacred charge, and I wish to atone for it as soon as possible."


She gazed wistfully in his face, longing to give him a ray of the hope she felt almost sure was in store for him,—almost, not quite. "If, after all, I am wrong, and he is not the one, it would be inexcusable in me to excite hopes only to crush them."


"Miss Howard," he began, unable to endure the sight of her distress, which by turns suffused her cheeks and blanched them, "can you not trust me to decide for you?"


"In almost any other case but this, I could. It would be cruel to tell you now." She stood one moment, her hands tightly clasped, her eyes fixed on the carpet; then, with a sudden change, she looked smiling in his face as she said,—


"Give me the exact direction to your protégé's, and I'll go to-morrow morning. I can write this evening to Dr. B—."


"Uncle Asbury," inquired Marion later in the evening, and when no one but her uncle and aunt were present, "have you ever mentioned before Mr. Angus that I have any other income than what I earn from teaching?"


"Not a word. He considers you suffering from extreme poverty, and quite worries himself over the time you lose during your visits to us. If you press me to tell you the whole truth, he is anxious lest your love for dress and jewels should involve you in serious pecuniary embarrassment. He considers that rich silk and point-lace collar, though extremely becoming, quite beyond your means."


"Nonsense! Now do be serious. I don't want anybody to know, and especially strangers like Mr. Angus, that—"


"You can, if you choose buy up half our congregation, to say nothing of the poor minister.  No, I won't tell him that."


"Don't tease the child, pa," put in Mrs. Asbury, though laughing herself.


"It is from the clergyman especially you wish this important information kept," questioned the gentleman, his eye twinkling.


Marion looked really annoyed. "I see I must explain," she began. "There are some poor people I am going to help. He offered, from his salary, I suppose, to pay Mary's expenses to the city, etc. I told him a friend would supply the means, and I don't wish him to think I am the one."


"On the principle of the left hand hiding from the right, I suppose. Yes, I see." With a mischievous glance, he turned to his newspaper, and Marion, informing her aunt that she intended to make a call on a sick lady in the morning, and had postponed her return till afternoon, bade them good-night and retired to her chamber.


Passing Ethel's room, she found to her surprise that the child was still awake.


"Please come in a minute, Marion: I must get up again. I can't remember whether I have said my prayers. I feel prayers in here," putting her hand to her breast, "and I can't go to sleep."


"Well, darling, get up, and I'll kneel with you."


Ethel began with—


"Now I lay me down to sleep,"


followed with the Lord's Prayer, then began her own simple petitions.


"Bless me, dear God, and make me as good as Jesus wants me to be. Bless papa and mamma and Mr. Angus, and all those I love, and keep them all from sin and from crying. I thank you for giving me such a kind papa and mamma. I thank you for sparing them to me so long. I hope you will spare them as long as you think it is safe, but if you don't think it safe to-morrow or next day, thy will be done."


The little head was scarcely on the pillow, when Marion, much amused by the child's mode of expressing her submission, ran back to the parlor to repeat it. As she entered she heard Mr. Angus's voice asking permission to use the buggy at an early hour to go to a distant part of the town. Seeing her, he explained that, as she had been kind enough to delay her return to New York in order to visit this distressed family, he wished to make arrangements to take her there.


"It is in a part of the town with which I am least familiar," he added, "and I should find difficult to direct any one."


"I am sorry," said Marion, frankly.  "I know your rule about your morning hours for study.  I would delay my return longer, but it is impossible."


And it had seemed impossible ever since she had agreed to make the morning visit to his protégés.


"If he only knew," she said to herself again and again, "how much depends on my going home. I am confident that package is somewhere among my papers; and yet it is so strange that I have not seen it for years. I had forgotten entirely that I had it in possession. I did sympathize deeply with that poor, friendless girl, an orphan, as I had so lately become; but, with so many different protégés on hand,—so many orphans and others whom I have taken to that blessed Home,—she had passed entirely out of mind, until that peculiar smile of Mr. Angus and the expressive shrug of his shoulders brought her up before me. Let me think. When I left Uncle Williamson's, my letters, papers, etc., were all packed up and sent to my present home. Strange I haven't seen them. No, some were sent here."


She gave a scream of joy, and, running to the kitchen for a hand-lamp, called a servant to go with her to the attic, where a box marked with her name was stored.


At the breakfast-table, when Mrs. Asbury remonstrated against her niece's plans, while she looked so pale and haggard, no one present, and least of all the pastor, suspected that it was interest in his future which had kept her till midnight searching among her papers for what she could not find, that disappointment and bitter regret that she had not more carefully guarded so sacred a trust had caused her many tears.


To add to her embarrassment, Mr. Asbury, just as he rose from the table, approached her and said, "Marion, I fear it is your pecuniary situation which troubles you. Promise me that you will apply to me in any need."


"Why, pa!" began Annie in surprise; but she never finished her sentence. Marion, noticing that Mr. Angus was within hearing, gave her cousin a warning glance, coolly said to her uncle, "I promise," and then walked away.







THE family to whom Mr. Angus wished to introduce Miss Howard lived in a small cottage in the outskirts of the town of N-.


On their way thither he repeated the impression they had made upon him,—that they had seen better days.


"I have been enough among the poor in New York," he said, warming, with the subject, "to be sure that these are not of the kind who would ask for assistance, even though they were suffering. I am eager to know how they will impress you."


He turned to look in her face, which seemed to be unusually thoughtful, but with a bright smile, she explained,—


"I was trying to reconcile irreconcilable facts. For instance, I know a gentleman in New York who has more leisure and money than he knows what to do with, and I was wondering why I should be so very busy and have so little time for work that I like best."


"I have solved worse puzzles than that, Miss Howard. Can you not imbue your friend with love for your favorite work? Gentlemen with too much leisure are not to be classed with the most favored beings."


"He is one of the most wretched men I know, sarcastic and cynical to such a degree that his society is shunned by every one; and yet I can't help pitying him. I believe that he has a passion for making himself appear worse than he is. I have taken a fancy," she added, with a hearty laugh, "to try some experiments on him."


"Of what nature?"


"Why, I have been told again and again that he has no heart. I am applying tests to find out the fact for myself; so far, that important organ seems to be in a state of ossification; but I am not discouraged."


"If I were your uncle, I should warn you that ossified hearts, when wakened from their torpor, sometimes become dangerously active,—I mean dangerous for their own happiness."


Marion's eyes twinkled with mirth. "I do not fear too much activity, I fear too little. But is not that the house?"


Mr. Angus had told her the child was beautiful; but this had by no means prepared her for the lovely, enchanting face which burst upon her as, advancing into the room, a boy of three or four years sprang out from an inner apartment.


"Oh, you darling little fellow!" she cried, catching him in her arms, and bestowing kiss after kiss upon him. So absorbed was Marion in delight and wonder that she did not notice the entrance of a young lady from a door in the opposite direction, until the voice of Mr. Angus saying, "Miss Howard, Mrs. Cheriton," roused her to present realities.


"Excuse me," she began, cheeks and chin dimpling with amusement. "I forgot that I was a stranger,—everything in my admiration for—." She interrupted herself to place the child on the floor; but he had no idea of being abandoned so suddenly. He clung tightly around her neck, his face sparkling with mischief.


"Genie, don't tease the lady." The mother's voice was soft, and she spoke with a pretty accent; but the boy paid not the slightest attention to his mother's mild suggestion. He clung to his new friend, occasionally holding himself off far enough to look in her face.


Catching a glimpse of Mr. Angus's tall form standing over near the door, his hat in his hand, keen appreciation of the scene stamped on every feature, Marion's color surged to her very brow. She whispered, "Go to the gentleman now, Genie," and put the boy to the floor.


"Will you take a drive with me, Eugene?"


This being soon arranged, Mr. Angus carried the child to the buggy, merely saying to Marion,—


"I will be back in half an hour."


Mrs. Cheriton looked so very youthful that it was hard for Marion to believe she could be the mother of Eugene. She was very beautiful, of the Southern type of beauty,—large, liquid eyes, regular features, abundant tresses of blue-black hair, which on the present occasion were wound gracefully around her head, arched eyebrows, and a pleasant smile when she addressed you. This tout ensemble the visitor took in at a glance, and all the time she was asking herself, "Shall I like her?"


After speaking for a moment of Eugene, Marion said,—


"Mr. Angus tells me your mother is very ill."


"Yes; and she has heard your voice. Will you go to her?"




On the bed, but raised almost to a sitting posture, lay a lady. One glance proved her to be such. There was an air of refinement and culture about her which proved her to belong to the best-educated class of society.


She met Marion's sympathetic glance with an earnest gaze, as though she would read what manner of spirit she was of; then a beaming smile lighted her whole face, as she said softly,—


"You are very welcome, my dear."


"I felt then," said Marion afterwards to her aunt, "as though I could take her right into my heart of hearts." What she did at the moment to show what she felt was to bend over and press her lips to the pale cheek of the sufferer.


A few words of explanation as to her present visit,—of sorrow that it must be a hurried one,—and then Marion said,—


"I am sure you will not consider my question prompted by curiosity, if I ask, why are you here in this out-of-the-way part of the town?"


"Necessity compels it, my dear. I need perfect quiet."


"Would you prefer the city?"


"Greatly, in many respects, if I were well."


"You could have a physician near you there."


"No physician can avail me now,—at least such is my belief."


"Except the great Physician."


An expression of heavenly peace stole over the wan face. She held Marion's hand in a closer grasp, as she said fervently,—


"God be praised! He has applied healing balm. My sins, which were many, are forgiven. Oh, if you knew all, you would not wonder that I look forward with longing to the hour when he will call me home!"


"You would feel like a poor sailor I found just redeemed from the very depths of woe. He was singing from morning to night,"—


"'Love I much, I'm much forgiven; I'm a miracle of grace.'"


Marion's clear voice as she sang the lines rang through the room.


"Will you sing a hymn for me, Miss Howard?"


Without a moment's hesitation the young began one which was a favorite with herself.


"Whate'er my God ordains is right;

His will is ever just;

Howe'er he orders now my cause,

I will be still and trust.

He is my God:

Though dark my road,

He holds me that I shall not fall,

Wherefore to him I leave it all.


"Whate'er my God ordains is right;

He never will deceive.

He leads me by the proper path,

And so to him I cleave,

And take content

What he hath sen

His hand can turn my griefs away,

And patiently I wait his day.


"Whate'er my God ordains is right;

Though I the cup must drink,

That bitter seems to my faint heart,

I will not fear nor shrink.

Tears pass away

With dawn of day;

Sweet comfort yet shall fill my heart,

And pain and sorrow all depart.


"Whate'er my God ordains is right;

My Light, my Life is he,

Who cannot will me aught but good,—

I trust him utterly;

For well I know,

In joy or woe,

We soon shall see, as sunlight clear,

How faithful was our Guardian here.


"Whate'er my God ordains is right;

Here will I take my stand,

Though sorrow, need, or death make earth

For me a desert land.

My Father's care

Is round me there;

He holds me, that I shall not fall,

And so to him I leave it all."


Before she had ended, the door softly opened and was left ajar.


Marion started at the sound of wheels. "There is Mr. Angus!" she exclaimed; "but I cannot go yet. I feel as though I had known you all my life. I have to go to New York to-day. I want you to go to the city. Why will you not come to me? I have room for all of you. Yes, that will be best. It will be next to having my mother with me. I can insure you a quiet room. Will you come?"


Mrs. Douglas closed her eyes; tears called forth by such kindness from a stranger, trickled through the eyelids. Striving for self-control she said,—


"Mr. Angus told me you were an angel of mercy. Never did any strangers in a strange land need friends more than we do. I have prayed night and day that my heavenly Father would raise up for my poor Juliette and Eugene Christian friends. He has answered my prayers. I will consider your proposal to go to New York, where board within our means can perhaps be obtained near you. For Juliette's sake I would be glad to be there."


"I regret so much that business of importance calls me home to-day, but I will find a place at once, if you will not accept my invitation. I am sure I can promise for Mr. Angus that he will be a good friend to you and attend to your removal."


"Mamma, I'm going home with Mr. Angus," shouted Genie, bursting into the outer room. "I'm tired of staying here."


"Miss Howard,"—the voice was so full of solemnity that Marion bent over the bed again to listen, her breath coming quickly,—"you do not seem like a stranger. Mr. Angus told me I might confide in you. If I had time and strength I would tell you the sad story of my past life. I was gay and thoughtless, living for this world alone. I have been justly punished. Some time, if God gives me strength, I would like to tell you my sad story. If, after you know all, you are willing to be a friend to the dear ones I leave behind, the only burden left me will be removed."


"I will gladly listen."


With moistened eyes she had just answered, when Mrs. Cheriton opened the bedroom door, saying, "Your husband has returned, madam, and asks whether you are ready."


Marion bent over the bed and kissed the sick lady, glad to hide her blushing cheeks caused by Mrs. Cheriton's blunder. Then saying,—


"Please explain that Mr. Angus is only my friend. I shall see you again before long," hastened to the door.


Eugene was still in the arms of the clergyman and it required much persuasion on the part of his mother to coax him to remain with her.







THE drive back to town was a silent one, and not until they were within a short distance from home was a word spoken. Mr. Angus seemed absorbed in thought, and his companion, with the added care of the friends she had just left, was little inclined for conversation. A sigh from her at last caused the gentleman to ask,—


"Have I done wrong in bringing to your notice these strangers?"


"No, sir. No, indeed. What a dear old lady she is! And not very old either. Sorrow, I imagine, more than time, has aged her. Eugene is a perfect dream of boyish beauty."


"What of the young mother?"


Marion sighed again. "I don't know.  I have been trying to decide. I have seen somebody whom she resembles. She does not attract me as her mother does."


"Eugene scarcely has a feature like hers."


"No, he is more like you than like her."


She had entirely forgotten her high praise of the boy's beauty; but a little twitching about the muscles of his mouth proved that he remembered and was far from displeased.


"Do you know," she asked quickly, as they drew up to the door of her uncle's house, "that I am going to take your new parishioners to New York? For some reason, Madam Douglass prefers being there, and I have promised for you that you will aid them in their removal."


"Pecuniarily, do you mean?"


"Certainly not. Only as a friend, in getting to the right train, etc.;  but even that is not necessary: Uncle Asbury will attend to it."


"Just as you please, Miss Howard."


She sprang from the carriage without giving him an opportunity to help her, and ran into the house. His voice, so sad and cold, had hurt her. Seeing no one in the hall, she went in haste to her own room, to pack her satchel for her journey home, saying to herself meanwhile,—


"If he knew all that I do, and all that I can guess about his sad past, and how shamefully I have neglected my promise to that poor, dying girl, he would be justified in never speaking to me at all."


At the dinner-table Marion gave a description of Madam Douglass and Eugene, merely mentioning Mrs. Cheriton as the boy's mother; and easily won a promise from her aunt to go and see them. "I wish, aunty," she added, after the conversation had turned to another subject, "that you would notice whether Mrs. Cheriton resembles any one you know. Her eyes haunt me. I have tried in vain to account for the resemblance."


Once on the train, Marion acknowledged to herself the need of rest. With one hand to her throbbing temples, she took memorandum book and pencil from her pocket. Two visits to some very destitute families ought to be paid, and Hepsey must take her place for this time. She noted down the following words: "Board for three, not too far away. Home for the Sick. Letter to Dr. Moore. Search for lost package."


The carriage, with James on the box with the driver, met her at the station, as she had telegraphed him to do. Seizing a letter from Dr. B-, she read hastily, and, finding that Mary could be received at once on the recommendation of Dr. Moore, countermanded her order to be driven to the hospital, and said "Home." Here she only remained long enough to dash off a letter to Dr. Moore, enclosing the one from the superintendent, and then went to Mrs. Mitchell for advice about a boarding-place. Four or five were advertised as desirable situations; and Marion, putting by her anxiety to begin her search for the package, hurried off in the carriage to examine for herself. Two or three hours were consumed in going from one house to another, finding each that she visited more unsuitable than the one before it, and at last only engaged rooms conditionally, in a private family, recommended to her by a friend, whom she met near the door. Enclosing the street and number to her aunt, she requested that Madam Douglass might be informed of the place and price, and an answer returned at once.


Hepsey was just about starting on her mission when she caught a glimpse of her young mistress, and exclaimed, in great excitement,—


"You are ill, and have not told me. I must see you in bed before I go out."


It was indeed true that a terrible lassitude had been stealing over her ever since the excitement of the morning. For two nights she had scarcely slept, and since breakfast she had barely tasted food.


"A cup of tea will revive me," she said, trying with a smile to allay Hepsey's too evident anxiety.


Then feeling herself grow more languid, she said, aloud,—


"I can't give up now. I must find that package, I must, if I search all night."


The tea was brought and eagerly swallowed, but the temples still throbbed, and at last the young girl reluctantly acknowledged that she felt ill and must rest for a few hours.


Hepsey quietly laid off her bonnet and shawl, called James, and gave him the address of the poor she was going to visit, with directions as to procuring them food, etc., and then devoted herself to her young mistress.


An hour later Marion woke from the heavy sleep into which she had fallen with a shriek of distress. Her eyes were wide open, but she did not recognize the faithful nurse who was bending over her. A physician was instantly summoned, who found her in a high state of mental excitement.


"How long has this been coming on? I ought to have been called earlier," he said, in some irritation.


"She only returned from the country this afternoon," explained Hepsey.


He went back to the bedside, re-examined the pulse of his patient, listened to her incoherent mutterings, and then said gravely, "She has symptoms of a contagious fever. I have had a few cases already among the poor."


"James has just returned from an errand to one of her protégés, a mission boy. He had just been buried, and a flag was hung from the window to prevent people from entering."


"Well, if people will go round to these filthy haunts, they,—but it's no use to think of that now. I'll do my best to save her. I'll have a flag out here, unless you will promise that no one shall come in: perfect quiet is a necessity."


Hepsey promised, but the next morning, after a short absence from the room, she found a young lady sitting by the bed, bathing the hot temples of the sufferer.


"I have come to stay," she said softly, as she rose and beckoned Hepsey into the hall. "Mrs. Mitchell told me last night how ill she is, and I have come prepared to act as nurse. You will let me help you"; and the young girl gazed wistfully in Hepsey's face.


It was Annie Leman, a favorite protégé of Marion, whom she was educating for a music teacher, and, looking in her earnest face, Hepsey had not the heart to deny her request.


"We'll see what the doctor will say," she murmured, and then they both returned to the room.


What the doctor said at first sight of this girlish figure was, "I won't have her here." What he said after the second day was, "What could we do without her?"


And so the sun rose and set while in that quiet room the fever raged, for Marion had been in the full vigor of health, and the heated blood rushed rampant through her body. Sometimes she tried to spring from the bed, calling out,—


"I must find it," or "Here it is," and laughed aloud for joy. At other times she lay for hours in a heavy stupor, while rich and poor besieged the door with inquiries concerning her.


Among others who came was Dr. Moore. He had safely conveyed Mary Falkner to the Home for the Sick, where he learned from Dr. B— that Miss Howard was dangerously ill, and went at once to her house to learn who was her physician, when they came together to see her.


Marion woke suddenly, to find her old friend from N— bending over her. A momentary consciousness caused her to call him by name, and then, associating him at once with her friends in Grantbury, she said,—


"Tell him there is hope," then fell back into heavy sleep. Every morning came a bunch of cut flowers of the choicest varieties from Mr. Lambert, with a request to Mrs. Mitchell to be informed whether "any change had taken place in Miss Howard."


Day after day as it passed proved to all Marion's friends that the young girl who glided so noiselessly around the bed was possessed of a native skill just fitting her to take a part in the struggle between life and death going on in that chamber. She was never seen to sleep, and yet she never seemed weary. Not a movement of that prone figure escaped her notice, not an order or prescription of the physician was forgotten. When the doctor asked in wonder,—


"What sustains you?" her brief answer was, "Love, sir. Love and gratitude. She deserves from me all that I can give her."


Hepsey told Mrs. Asbury, who came from Grantbury to see her niece,—


"We have all cause to thank God for sending Miss Annie here. The doctor says, if our dear Marion lives through this dreadful time, it will be the loving care, which, with the blessing of God, has brought her through."


If Mr. Lambert believed what he was so fond of affirming, that the poor are a thankless set, who will steal your purse the minute your back is turned, his faith in this assurance might have been shaken by the genuine sorrow manifested during Miss Howard's illness.


One instance of affection and gratitude he was himself a witness of. He was approaching Miss Howard's door early one morning with a bunch of exquisite blossoms in his hand, carefully shielded from sun and wind by the tissue paper covering, when he saw a little girl approaching from the opposite direction. She had on a thin shawl, which she held out from her person as though shielding something precious. Curiosity prompted the gentleman to watch and see what she was going to do. He held back till she ran down the basement steps and timidly rang the bell of the lower door of Mr. Mitchell's house.


Cautiously he stepped forward, and saw her hold out one little pink.


"Will you please give the kind lady this?" she asked, in a pleading tone. "When I was down with fever, she brought me a beautiful bush all covered with flowers, and she told me how to water it, and put it in the sun. This flower came out last night. There are no more, or I would have brought them. She's been ever so good to mammy and me."


There were tears in her voice as she spoke, and the listener, grumbling under his breath at his own folly, put up his finger to prevent a tear from falling from his own eye.


"What's your name?" asked the woman at the door.


"Nanny Morse,—she'll know."


"Well, I'll see that she has it,—if it's only to hold in her poor, unconscious fingers," she added, as the child, after an earnest "Thank you, ma'am," turned away.


Mr. Lambert afterwards confessed that he felt like throwing his costly flowers into the street. He did not, however; he rang the bell, delivered them to James, the servant in waiting, received the sadly spoken message, "No change, sir," and then hurried away, muttering,—


"World upside down; just my luck; only girl in all the crowd worth that," snapping his finger; "and she going—"


He stopped suddenly at sight of the little flower-girl again.


She was talking to a disreputably dressed lad, who, with a rimless cap stuck on one side of his head, was evidently annoyed at the detention.


"Don't go, Jack. 'T would grieve her, even in heaven, if she knew you'd turn back to the bad after all she's done for yer."


"I'm hungry, and if I go home mammy'll beat me, sure."


"No, she won't, Jack,—not when I tell her about the kind lady. Come, go with me."


"Take this and buy a cake," exclaimed Mr. Lambert, thrusting some silver pieces into Nanny's hand.


Not waiting for any thanks, he strode off in the opposite direction, muttering, "Old fool! Just like you! Meddling, always meddling."


After using his handkerchief vigorously, he went on: "What business is it of mine, if she dies to-day? I don't care. Yes, that's a lie: you do care, you old sinner! You only say that because you're so hateful,—you know you care. You'll never see another like her. There!"







THE third week of Marion's sickness there came a crisis and hope. Yes, it was evident to all there was hope now, where fear had prevailed. The doctor's mouth, which had been so firm and rigid, relaxed; and there was a suspicion of a smile.  Hepsey's eyes were less watery, James opened and shut the outer door in a jubilant manner, proud of being the one to say to the anxious inquirers,—


"The doctor begins to hope."


On Annie Leman's pale face had come beams of light, which made her beautiful. Scarcely conscious of her own action, she went forward to the physician, caught his hand and pressed it in both hers.


"How can I thank you sir," she said, softly.


"Pshaw, Miss Annie! She owes more to you than to me. We can both thank God. She has been so close to the open gates, I think she can tell us something of what is inside."


One Thursday morning, twenty-six days from the time she left Grantbury, Marion opened her eyes and the light of consciousness dawned in them.


For one instant there was a bewildered expression as she gazed at her faithful watcher, who sat by her side; then she smiled, and said faintly,—


"It's Annie."


"Yes, dear."


"How came I in bed? I remember I felt ill in the cars."


"You have been sick, but you are much better now. Take a spoonful of this, dear, and go to sleep again."


"Lie down by me, Annie, and I'll try to sleep. You look pale and tired."


Annie smoothed the pillow, changed Marion's position, and then lay down on the outside of the bed, as she had done so many times during the last weary weeks.


"Miss Howard's excellent constitution is doing wonders for her," remarked Dr. Ross, as, after the crisis, she seemed to make a leap into the arms of health. "No more drugs: Nature will do her own work now."


This was Marion's first experience of severe illness, and it was difficult to make her understand that for a time she must be economical of her newly gained energies.


"I feel so strong," she insisted, "that I ought to be waiting on Annie, instead of her waiting on me."


"Speaking of Miss Annie," said the doctor, "I have two little girls old enough to learn music. By-and-by, when you are well, I shall ask her to take them into her care."


"How do you know she is competent, Doctor? You ought to consult me," urged Marion, with her old beaming smile, as she saw that her favorite pupil had difficulty in controlling her gratitude at this unexpected offer.


"I'll test her capabilities now.  Come, Miss Annie, into the parlor, and give me a piece offhand."


With many blushes she obeyed, and, seating herself at the piano, played from memory an accompaniment to a simple ballad, which she sang with so much sweetness that the physician was delighted.


"Teach my girls to play and sing like that," he exclaimed, "and your fortune is made. Teach them another accomplishment, too,—to play when they are asked, without excuses, as you did. I more than half expected you would say, 'I'm all out of practice, Doctor'; or, 'I'm far from strong.' Teach them all that, and you'll win the gratitude of one father."


Before Marion was able to drive out herself, she insisted that Annie should spend several hours every day in the open air. Indeed, she contrived so many errands which it was imperative must be attended to immediately that the young girl could not refuse.


She early learned that Mary Falkner came to the city soon after the place in the Home for the Sick had been secured for her, that Dr. Moore had seen her safely in the bed in her ward, and had afterward had a consultation visit on her own case with Dr. Ross.


She seemed to have forgotten all about her new protégés, Mrs. Douglass and Mrs. Cheriton; but one day, on looking over the cards left during her sickness, she found one which brought the crimson tide back to her pale cheeks.


It was a card with the name in print,—Harold Angus; and underneath, in a fine hand, was written Juliette Cheriton, with the street and number of her boarding-place.


"Oh, how much I have to do!" Marion said. "I forgot this lady entirely."


Annie wondered what caused the pained voice and firmly set lips of her friend, but she only said soothingly,—


"Don't worry, dear. Tell me if there is any thing I can do to help you."


Marion put her hand wearily to her head, and in answer to Annie's earnest remonstrance, pleading that she would think of nothing about business now, she only asked,—"How soon will the doctor be here?"


"Not for some hours yet. You will have time for a good nap."


"Please give me my pen and paper: I must write a few words, then I will try to rest; and, Annie dear, will you leave me alone a few minutes?"


The table was drawn nearer, materials for writing placed within reach, and Annie, after a wistful glance at her friend, left the chamber. If she could have looked back and seen the weary, tired, pained expression which came over her friend's face as she seized the pen, she might have doubted whether she was acting wisely to leave her.


The note was quickly written, indeed the words were dashed off with a fierce energy, as though she doubted her ability to finish, unless at once. It read thus:—


Mr. Harold Angus:—


Life is uncertain. I hope to live to restore to you a packet from one

whom I strongly suspect was dear to you. To find this package drove

me home from Grantbury, where I first heard that which connected you

in my thoughts with a young girl called Stella. I am not aware of its

contents, and can only say now that Stella died of consumption at the

Home for the Sick, loving and forgiving and blessing all those who

had been dear to her.




Having sealed this, and written the address, she added this direction: "If I should die, please deliver this at once;" then, enclosing the whole in a blank envelope, she touched her hand-bell and requested Annie to place it in her desk.


"I must rest my head now," she said; "but first, I want you to promise me that, in case anything should happen to me, you will forward any letters you may find in my desk.  Don't look so frightened, dear. I shall try to get well, for I have a great deal to do, and life is so pleasant; but there are duties which I dared not defer."


At this moment James knocked at the door, and passed in a letter just delivered by the postman.


"It is Annie Asbury's handwriting," explained Marion, in a glad voice.  "It will soothe me to sleep, perhaps. Annie is a dear child."


The letter read thus:-




Imagine me sitting by the east window, where I can

look out on the great elm-tree, and hear the robin-redbreasts as they

are calling their mates to join them in a morning song. I wish you

could see the grass. It looks greener than green, now that the sun

is touching it. I guess somebody else is feasting his eyes on the

emerald greensward (that's quoted), for I hear a curtain rolled up

and window-sash raised, so I am going to quit this highfalutin style,

and let my pen run on as it will; but, before I forget it, I must

tell you that ever since Mr. Angus ran up to town the day he called

to inquire for you there has been a change in him. Before that he had

one of his worst attacks of depression, or dyspepsia, as Aunt

Thankful calls them; but now he seems to have made up his mind not

to give way. I don't mean that he is cheerful, and I don't know as

I can explain what I do mean. You must see him, before you will

understand. Last night, after prayers, ma must have noticed something

different in him, for she went to him and held out her hand in that

kind way of hers.


"I thank you for your prayer," she said: "it has done me good."


All the answer he made was to repeat these words,—


"God is my refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."


As he stood with his eyes fixed full on hers, I saw a new light

in them, as though he had said to himself, "I'm going to take courage

and go ahead."


If he had seen you, and you had talked to him as you did to pa and ma

after dear Helen died, I should have expected to see just such a



I suppose you know, dear, that those foreign people went away the

week after you did. Ma went with Mr. Angus and brought Eugene here.

He is so beautiful he almost took my breath away; but I am sorry

to say he is so far from good in Ethel's meaning of the word that she

considers it necessary to pray for him very often. Not a soul would

he obey but Mr. Angus. I laughed so much I had to go out of the room:

there was that boy with eyes flashing, defying everybody to make him

stop teasing the cat, and holding her up by the tail; and there was

Ethel perfectly dumb with astonishment, eyes wide open, pale cheeks,

and that little quiver of her lips she has when grieved. Mr. Angus

took in the situation at once and said,—


"Come to me, Eugene."


The boy did not stir.


If I were an artist I would try to sketch Mr. Angus's eyes, as he

fixed them on the defiant little fellow. There was power in them.

I think Ethel would be frightened into fits if he looked at her in

that way. Eugene endured it a minute and then ran, throwing his arms

around the neck of the conqueror, who looked lovingly enough then.

I only waited to see whether Ethel would be jealous; but the precious

child went up and held up her sweet lips to kiss Eugene and show him

she forgave him; then I ran to my room and had a hearty laugh all to



Mr. Angus told ma that Eugene was a Spanish Creole, and that it is

natural for him to be hot-blooded.


Ma said you wanted me to write a whole letter about Ethel,—all her

funny sayings and doings. I'm sorry now I didn't begin with these,

for I fear my letter will be too long.


First, she is a darling.  Yesterday she came running in from the

garden, her hair all in a friz about her forehead, her cheeks of a

brilliant color.


"Oh, my!" she cried, throwing off her hat. "I'm all in a



"A what?" repeated Gardner, trying not to laugh.


"A sweatperation. Isn't that right?" she asked quickly, as he burst

out laughing.


"It's perspiration, dear," I explained.  She was a little mortified.


She has begun to learn the Commandments, and applies them to herself

and her dolls on all occasions.


Do you remember that habit she used to have of twirling a piece of

her dress or apron when she was talking? She made a clean dress look

so mussed, ma told her she mustn't do it.


A few days ago I heard her talking to her favorite doll, Frances.


"You have been a very naughty girl: you have broken the Commandments.

Don't deny it, Frances. I saw you do it."


"What has poor Frances done?" I asked.


"Mussed her nice dress all up, so she can't go to the party."


"It wasn't pretty for her to do it; but I don't think it was breaking

the Commandments, dear."


"Why, yes, it is, Annie, because I forbid her to do it."


"Oh! it comes under obedience, then."


"Yes, she is very naughty."


Two weeks ago Mr. Angus asked ma to let Ethel and I go on the lake

with him. Ma is afraid of the water, you know, and so she asked,



"Are you used to rowing?"


He seemed very much amused as he said, "Yes, Mrs. Asbury."


Pa laughed as he explained, "Our pastor is a regular sailor, ma:

I'll trust him."


When we were getting into the boat I was a little afraid myself,

it tipped so; and there stood dear little Ethel shaking from head

to foot.


"Will it tip over?" she asked, as Mr. Angus lifted her carefully in.


"No, dear. I think God will take care of us." He looked very lovingly

at her as he put her down on the cross seat in the centre, while I

sat at one end and he at the other. There was not a sign of fear

after that. She sat up straight, looking at him, but not saying a

word till he asked,—


"Do you like it, Ethel?"


"Yes, sir."


The next day she was in his room, and he saw her take her five

dollies out of the locker and make them all kneel down by her doll's

bedstead. She was just going to kneel too, when he asked,—


"What are you doing, Ethel?"


She came right up to him and said, "Ma is going to take me to

New York when my Marion is well enough, and I'm going to ask God

to make the boat go softly."


"That's right," he told her; and then he heard her whisper a little



He told ma that she seemed perfectly sure after this that the boat

would go softly, as she said. He often says, "She is a blessed

child." He never praises her, as so many do; but I know he thinks her

beautiful, from the way he spoke one day when a lady was comparing

her with another child. He said, "There can be no comparison.

For purity and sweetness of expression, she is beyond any child

I ever saw."


I must tell you one thing more about our pet, and then I think you

will credit me with four letters of common length.


You know we have always wondered that Ethel should remember so much

about her nurse Bridget, who died a year ago. She always seemed

troubled about her, and used to look up and say, "Can't you speak

to me out of heaven? Can't you just whisper a little?"


A few days ago she went into the kitchen and sat down very soberly.

"It's very bad," she began, "to have naughty legs go into heaven.

Naughty legs had better be cut off than to try to get into heaven."

Cook told ma, and we all thought she had heard somebody read about;

"If thy right hand offend thee," etc.; but she came to ma the same

day, sat down, and began to sigh.


She looked anxiously in ma's face as she said,—


"I suppose Bridget has told God by this time that I kicked her."


Ma says she was very much surprised, as she never knew Ethel to kick

any one; but she answered calmly,—


"If Bridget told God, she told him also that you didn't mean to."


"But I did mean to." She held her finger up to emphasize it, and

repeated, "I did mean to."


"Well, then, dear, she told him that you were sorry."


"Yes," sighing.  "I'm sorry now. I wasn't sorry then, when she went



"I'll tell you, darling, what you can do,"—ma saw she was really

troubled and conscience-stricken,—"you can kneel down and tell God

yourself that you are sorry. He will forgive you."


She knelt for some time by her little chair, whispering her prayer in

God's ear. Since that she has never mentioned Bridget's name.

She must have suffered all that time from the pricks of her tender

conscience. I'm sure I saw tears in Mr. Angus's eyes when ma told him

about it.


Good-by, dear Marion. The breakfast-bell is ringing, and I'm sure

Gardner is doing it, for it is done with a will. He's hungry,

I suppose. From









"DON'T wake her; I'll call again."


"I think, Doctor, she wished to see you specially."


"Yes, I do," called out Marion, awaking from a refreshing nap, with Annie's letter still in her hand. "Doctor, I'm almost well."


"Decidedly. Are you dismissing me?"


"No, indeed; but I want to ask you something."


She waited a moment, as though uncertain how to state her business. "Doctor, I have something on my mind that troubles me. I feel sure I should be well at once if it were decided."


"Is it a case of blasted affections, or—"


"Don't joke, Doctor: it's a serious affair. It's a breach of trust on my part, and I can't rest until I have done all in my power to remedy the injury."


"Why do you tell me this?" he asked, evidently startled. "Go to your lawyer, or—perhaps your clergymen would do better."


"Because you were my father's friend, and you are my friend. I only tell you now to get your consent to my doing what my conscience tells me is my duty."


"I can't give advice on such general information. I must know particulars."


"I will state a case.  Suppose a very sick and dying girl confided to your care a letter or letters containing her last words to a dear friend, name unknown. Suppose that years passed and you never thought of the trust, and at last, when you had reason to suspect you had found the right person, the letters were lost. Suppose that this person was a dreadful sufferer for want of the words which are probably in those lost letters. What would you do, Dr. Ross?"


"I am very sorry for you, my dear child, if you are in such trouble as that. Can't you inform the person of the contents of the letters?"


"If I only knew what the contents are, and that he is the right one to receive them. Years had passed since she had heard from her friend, and she often said it would be a relief to know that he had repented and died. I inferred that he had done her some great wrong, and she had told him she never would forgive him. Before she died she did forgive him with all her heart, and with almost her last breath left him her love and her blessing."


"Tell the person that."


"How can I be sure he is the one, without the packet? It is enclosed in a business envelope, directed to me. It is very aggravating that I cannot recollect her name—but that I could find at the Home for the Sick. I knew her as Stella."


"Have you made a thorough search?"


"Oh, no! I have not thought of it for years. Just before I was taken sick, something occurred of a confidential nature, which led to a suspicion that he is the one I ought to give it to. I began to search at once for it among papers I sent to the country when I left Uncle Williamson's.  I have not looked for it here. I cannot recollect seeing it for years. Now I want you to consent that I go to work in earnest. If I don't find it," sighing heavily, "what shall I do?"


"Let me think a minute." He rose and paced the floor, while she gazed at his knitted brows, clenching her hands in impatience for him to speak.


He came back to his seat, and counted her pulse.


"Well," he said, with a grave smile, as he glanced into her eager, wistful face, "if you feel pretty sure you have a clew to the right individual, ask him some leading questions. Has he ever heard of such a lady, naming her? If he is ignorant, or pretends to be, you are relieved from that responsibility. If he should prove to have known her, you can state the circumstance: of her sickness and death, and the messages she left for a dear friend."


"But, Doctor—"


"Yes, I know; and I am trying to choose between two evils. You are recovering from a dangerous illness, and are not fit for any excitement. On the other hand, it is possible that the worry of mind, while waiting for strength, will do you equal harm; so I will make a compromise. Your pulse is pretty steady. You may have as many papers as you please brought here, where Miss Annie can help you search, if you will promise to stop at once if you feel tired, take one of those sweet-tasting pills, and go to bed."


"Thank you, Doctor. I promise. Will you please ring the bell?"


He laughed as he complied. Then saying, "I wish you great success," left the room.


In ten minutes Marion was dressed and seated in an old-fashioned armchair, while within her reach was a drawer of papers, pamphlets, etc., etc. Annie Leman sat on a cricket near by, while James was bringing drawers and boxes from the storeroom.


Having explained what she wanted to find, the work proceeded in silence, occasional sighs from Marion being the only interruption. In less than two hours every paper had been handled and thrown back.


"Are you sure, James, that you have brought all?" The tone was sharp and decided.


"Yes, miss. Mrs. Mitchell came to the attic and told me which to take, and she says there are no more in the house."


"Take them all away, again."


She sank back and covered her face with her hands, but starting presently, she said,—


"I am not keeping my promise to the doctor, Annie. I must take one of those horrid pills, and go to bed. I want to sleep and forget everything."


The next day was so pleasant that Mrs. Mitchell proposed she should take a drive; but Marion had no heart for anything, unless, indeed, "I could go to the Home for the Sick and see Mary Falkner,—and I don't believe the doctor would let me do that. I could ask Dr. B— to examine the record too. If Stella's name was Angus, I—" she stopped suddenly on hearing the doctor's step.


He came in while they were discussing the subject, and ended it by saying she was to go and drive around the park for an hour.


He contrived to send every one from the room, and then asked,—


"What success?"


"None at all. I have no hope, now, and have made up my mind to be as patient as I can till I am well enough to see the one to whom I referred, and tell him what I know. I think he will forgive me, but I can never forgive myself."


After this, she went out every pleasant day for a week, and gained strength rapidly, notwithstanding her abiding regret in regard to the lost packet. Then came a few days of wet weather, when she was obliged to keep in-doors. She sent for her pupils, gave them lessons, and heard them sing and play. She sent for new music for Annie, and tried to interest herself in it. She purchased flowers and sent them to Mrs. Douglass, who, under the care of an experienced physician, was gaining strength daily. The first pleasant day she resolved to go to Grantbury, taking James with her. Annie Leman had returned to her aunt, and was giving lessons to her first pupils.


One morning she stood watching the cloud, which seemed to be blowing over, and said to herself, "To-morrow, if it clears up, I shall be off. What a relief it will be to tell him, and be forgiven for my neglect of so sacred a trust!"


She heard the bell ring, and then James's voice asking whether she would see Mr. Belknap.


"Certainly; ask him up at once." She advanced eagerly to the door to meet her father's aged friend, and her own legal adviser.


Marion's manner was always charming in its heartiness, but towards her aged friends there was almost a filial warmth, which made them feel that they were special favorites. She seated the white-haired old man in her most comfortable chair, putting an ottoman near him, where she could sit and look in his face.


"You have been near death, I hear," he said tenderly.


"Yes, sir; but all that time was lost to me. I was not conscious of danger."


"God has been good to you, my child. He has raised you up to new duties. You must be thankful for all His mercies."


"I must, indeed. I want to be better for this sickness, more helpful of others not so favored as I am, more humble and charitable."


"That's right, dear child. Ask for grace to improve each day's joys and sorrows, and you will get it."


He then talked to Marion of business, saying, "There are some papers which it will be necessary for you to sign."


He had made a long call, when the doctor came in, and, seeing Mr. Belknap, telegraphed to Marion to speak to him in the hall. When there he only said,—


"Tell your story to him: he's a good friend to you."


And she did tell him, relating the death scene in the hospital more in detail than she had done before. She told him also that she had accidentally met a person who was burdened with a heavy grief, whose name, as nearly as she could recollect, was the same. She had always called her friend by her first name, and the belief grew stronger and stronger in her mind that he was the one to whom her dying friend referred. An expression on the gentleman's face had first startled her and carried her back in mind to her friend, and the recollection of the letters left in her care.


He listened attentively, not saying a word till she had finished the recital.


"You say she died in the Home, in the year 18—."


"Yes, sir."


"And that he also was in the same Home for months,—that he told the chaplain his story, as she had told hers, probably."


"Yes, sir; but I didn't think"—she stopped abruptly, staring in his face, and then exclaimed, "Oh, if I could find that packet of letters! I begin to think he cannot be the one after all. Perhaps her friend has long been dead."


"Where did you keep the packet?"


"I must have put it where I considered it safe at the time; but her story was so vague,—and she never mentioned the relation in which this person stood to her. I fancied he might have been her lover. I was young, and thought I was to keep it till called for. I remember thinking as she was a foreigner it was not likely it would ever be delivered to any one. When I left Uncle Williamson's, I kept some papers here and sent the rest to Grantbury."


"Except the green box of deeds, etc., etc., we keep in our safe."


Marion started to her feet, exclaiming, "It is there! It is there! Let us go and get it."


She rang the bell, told James to have the carriage round as quickly as possible, hurried on her hat and sacque, looking so eager and hopeful that her old friend said, cautiously,—


"Don't be too sure, my child."


She turned to him, her whole face dimpled with smiles.


"I'm almost as sure," she said, "as though I had it in my hand."


In a few minutes she stood at the lawyer's table, while a clerk was sent for the green box. One minute more, papers tied with red tape, worth thousands of dollars, and nicely filed receipts were scattered over the table. Near the bottom lay the missing packet, which, with a scream of joy,—"That's it,"—she caught and held to her breast.


"I can't sign anything to-day," she answered, as the younger partner requested her to wait a few minutes. "If you will send the papers round, I'll do it: I'm too excited now."


She ran down the stairs, whispering over and over,—


"God has been very good to me"; then to the coachman,—


Page 169

[Illustration: SHE FELL ON HER KNEES. Page 169.]


"Home as quickly as possible."


Once in her own chamber, she locked the door and, not waiting to remove her hat, tore off the envelope; and there, written in a feeble hand, was the address,—"Harold Angus, formerly of Doncaster, Yorkshire, England."


She fell on her knees, and thanked God. A strange calm stole over her, as she began to realize that it was her privilege to lift the heavy burden from one whom she so greatly respected, so admired for his many noble qualities.


She summoned James, and sent him off to the telegraph office with this message:—


REV. HAROLD ANGUS, Grantbury, Conn.


Please take the afternoon train, 2:50, for this city.  A carriage

will meet you at the station.









To describe the scene which followed, I will quote from the words of an eminent author.


"Have you ever watched the sun rise upon a landscape that has been, but a few moments before, a world of gray and black shadows? Have you seen the rosy flush of dawn creeping in lines of tender light across the hills, and shining down into the valleys?" If you have seen this  beauteous birth of day, and felt its full significance of life renewed, then your imagination can fancy the dawn of the new and perfect joy with which the young pastor received the intelligence contained in the letters.


"I have come at your call," he had said, as he entered her parlor, where she met him with outstretched hands. Looking full into his face she saw there the change of which Annie had written. His eyes shone with a quiet courage, more touching than the wildest despair. It was as though he had said, "My Father has sent me a cross. I will bear it manfully, looking to Him for strength."


Marion had been for hours planning how she would break the news to the pastor. All was forgotten now. Her voice rang with joy, as she said,—


"I have news for you,—good news. I knew your Stella. She gave me this for you. Only this morning I first knew the address."


She put the precious parcel in his hands, adding, "When you have read it, I will come back and tell you of her happy death. Please touch the bell when you are ready."


It was more than an hour before the signal was given. When she re-entered the parlor his face bore the marks of deep emotion; but the new light I have described at the beginning of my chapter was shining from it.


"Have you read this?" he asked, leading her to a seat, and taking one beside her,—"No, I do not mean that,—did she tell you?"


"When I first found her, she talked of one who had blighted her life. She never named you. I had no idea she alluded to a brother. After she went to the Home she became a humble Christian, loving and tender to every one."


He was struggling hard to control his emotion, but presently said: "How wonderful that, when you were tending her and ministering to her wants like a sister, I was within a hundred feet of her, crying and praying God so to soften her heart that she might accept His forgiving love! How wonderful that my Father, in His wisdom, has withheld this," holding up the letters, "till by His grace He enabled me to say from the heart, 'Thy will be done'!"


"And gave me the privilege of restoring to you the last token of her affection."


As she spoke, Marion's tears flowed fast. "Will you thank Him for me?"


As they knelt, he poured from a full heart words of praise and thanksgiving. He consecrated his life and all its powers anew to the service of the Saviour. He asked that through these events, so mysterious, bringing to him, after the lapse of so many years, the knowledge of his sister's acceptance of Christ as her Saviour, they might both be more trustful, resting all their cares upon Him who had done all things well.


Again and again Mr. Angus asked for reminiscences of his sister. Again and again Marion related in detail the account of their first meeting,—Stella's despair when first told she could not live, her removal to the blessed Home, the sermon on forgiveness from the chaplain, the arrow of the Spirit which sent it home to her heart, the sweet and abiding peace which followed when she gave up her burden of sin and sorrow to Christ.


"Where is her grave?" he asked, concealing his face.


"In Greenwood. I will take you there in the morning, and you will want to see Dr. B- at the Home."


"In what words can I thank you, Miss Howard? You not only befriended a poor orphan while living, but provided a place for her in that lovely home for the dead."


"It was a precious privilege, Mr. Angus."


Seizing her hand for a moment, he dropped it suddenly and walked away to the window.


"Tea is served," announced James, opening the door.


"One word, Miss Howard. Will you listen to my story? I want you to read my sister's letters. If you will listen to me first, you will then understand the cause she had to consider me her enemy."


"I should consider it a sacred privilege."


"My good Hepsey, Miss Prime, Mr. Angus," she added, advancing to the table, where Hepsey sat. "Mr. Angus is my Grantbury pastor, Ethel's friend," she explained, as they took their seats.


After grace had been said, the conversation turned naturally to the family of Mr. Asbury, and especially to Ethel.


After a while Mr. Angus asked,—


"Have you heard from Mrs. Douglass of late?"


"Yes, she has revived in a wonderful manner. I intend to visit her as soon as my doctor removes the embargo he has placed on me. He has the lowest opinion of my prudence, and imagines me incapable of caution."


"And he is right," insisted Hepsey, laughing. "Once you begin your visits, there is no knowing when they will end, until you are brought up again by some other contagious disease."


"I am engaged this evening, James, if any one calls," remarked Marion, as they rose from the table and returned to the parlor. "Now, Mr. Angus I want to introduce you to my dear friends, Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell, who have kindly made a home for me."


The conversation for a few moments was of a general character, and then Mrs. Mitchell said,—


"We should be happy to entertain you to-night, Mr. Angus. James will show you to your room, when you wish to retire.  I will not say good-by, as I shall see you at the breakfast-table."


It was evidently a relief that the restraint of others' presence was removed. The pastor wanted time to realize his new situation,—freed from the harrowing reminiscences which had so long oppressed him,—and especially he wanted to narrate to the dear friend who had done so much for him and his sister the actual experiences she now only surmised. He sat quietly following with his eyes her movements as she placed a screen on the gas-shade, moved a vase of flowers to the table, folded a newspaper, and performed those little acts of womanly refinement which make the delight and comfort of a home.


"May I tell you now," he said, softly, as she seated herself opposite him; "and will you be charitable toward the faults of a wayward youth, as you have been to the failings of the man?"


Her bright smile encouraged him, and he dashed into his story at once.


"I was born in Doncaster, Yorkshire, twenty-nine years ago. Two years later I had a sister Stella. When I was ten and Stella eight, my mother died, leaving behind her an infant boy, whom father named Wilson, for his maternal grandfather. A sister of my father came to keep house, and care for the baby. I might have helped her, but I fear I made her hard task harder. Stella was naturally wilful, strong in her likes and dislikes, capable of the warmest affections. She took little Will, as we always called him, to her heart, and made an idol of him.


"Father never seemed the same after mother's death. I can remember him sitting, his arms folded, lost in his own thoughts and memories of the past.


"I grew up with little restraint. To do myself justice, I pitied father so much that I often went away and wept. I loved Will too; but Stella was jealous if I separated him from her, and I gradually let him alone, except as I wanted to tease her.


"Occasionally, when I was too abusive, she appealed to father; otherwise she took Will and shut herself in a room with him, where I could not get at her.


"In my thirteenth year father woke to the face that I needed a master. He sent me to a military school, and promised that if I would do my best he would purchase a commission for me in the army. I did fairly well in my studies, and went home in my uniform, carrying a prize for good conduct. As I recall my actions at that time, I must have been a great nuisance. Stella told me frankly that she wished I would go back to school and never return. Aunt Sarah was almost beside herself, settling disputes between us. Poor little Will used to scream and run away when I went near him, at which I did not wonder, for he was taught to consider me an enemy.


"Father was more feeble than ever, and passed much of his time in his chamber. I might have been a comfort to him, but I was not.


"It was nearly three years before I was allowed to go home again. Aunt Sarah told me that Stella persuaded father to keep me away. I had grown in that time from a boy to a man. My military drill had made me strong and vigorous. I was fond of athletic games, and my companions thought I excelled in them.  I could hunt and row all day long without fatigue, and was never so happy as when excited by competition in study or in athletic exercise.


"But there were hours when I longed for home, for a mother's unexacting affection. I accompanied my classmates to their homes and witnessed the mother's pride in her boy, her lavish affection poured out on him, notwithstanding his faults. I realized that I should be better with the incentive of a mother's approbation to spur me on.


"I was fond of children too, and in my long, enforced absence, I came to idealize my little brother. I planned how I would win his confidence, and help him to a happier life than I had had.


"I was summoned home to father's death-bed. Dear father! When it was too late, he realized that he had allowed his grief to swallow up every other feeling.  He—asked my forgiveness,—dear father!"


His choking voice interrupted the story for a few moments, and Marion's moistened eye; showed that her interest was intense. After pause, he went on,—


"Father had settled his worldly affairs before my return. His property was not large. It was equally divided between my sister, my brother and myself. Part of mine was to be spent in the purchase of a soldier's commission. He lived two days after I reached home. I am glad to remember that he forgave me all my waywardness and folly, commending me at the last to the care of my mother's God.


"This affliction drew Stella and myself together and for a few weeks we lived more peaceably than we ever had done; but she was still jealous of any interference with Will, so that my dreams of winning his love ended suddenly.


"I had my gun at home, and Will used to beg Stella to let him go with me. He was continually saying that he would be a soldier when he was a man. He used to look after me as I went out with my gun over my shoulder. I gratified him a few times firing at a mark, and then I allowed him from the window to see me load my gun.


"One morning,—oh, how vividly every circumstance comes back to my mind! even the fragrance of the white rose-bushes, and the pretty hedge all in bloom,—I was unusually aggravated by poor Stella's unreasoning jealousy, and I answered with some hard words. I reproached her with having made my life miserable. I told her I came home resolved to be loving and patient. I reminded her that we were orphans, and ought to love each other; and then, as she called me some undeserved names, I retorted angrily that I was the eldest, the proper guardian of the family, and that I would use my authority to take Will from her to prevent his being ruined.


"Will stood by me, and listened to all the talk. Then, as I angrily left the house, he ran after me and had to be carried back by force. I was frightened at the violence of his temper, and, to soothe him, said,—


"'If you'll go back, you may play soldier with my gun.' I had fired it off in the early morning, and left it standing behind the door.


"I soon repented of my anger, and was ready as usual to blame myself. I will be more patient, I said, over and over again.    I had always trusted in my own strength, and of course had failed. I turned back and entered the house. Will was alone. Stella, not expecting me, had left him by himself, for a punishment. He looked guiltily in my face, and I said, Come, let's make up and be friends. I'll teach you to be a soldier.'


"I took the gun and playfully aimed it at him, knowing it was not loaded. Alas! alas! There was a loud report, and Will, my poor little Will, fell to the floor.


"My aunt and Stella rushed to the room and found me with the gun in my hand, dumb and immovable with horror. With a shriek I shall never forget, Stella caught Will in her arms; but when I approached she waved me off, calling me a murderer, and shouting again and again, 'I will never forgive you,—never! Never!'"


"Aunt Sarah helped move Will to a bed, sent for the doctor, and then, beckoning me into another room, shut the door, and said,—


"Harold, tell me truly. How did it happen?'"


"Somebody loaded the gun after I went out. I thought it was empty. I wish it had killed me, instead of my brother.' Six feet tall as I was, I laid my head on the table and sobbed like a child.


"'You must get away from here,' Aunt Sarah said, putting her hand softly on my head,—the first caress I had had for years.  'Stella is wild with anger. Will is dyin and she will say you murdered him.'"


"'Where shall I go?' I cried. 'I'm an outcast, like Cain; and yet the moment it happened loved my brother better than I ever did in my life.'"


"I was delirious with grief and remorse. I went from the house, and passed the night on mother's grave. I can recall little after that time, till found myself on board a vessel bound for the United States. Stella's letter will tell you what happened in the interim. What comfort the knowledge of those weeks would have been to me all these years, you can scarcely imagine. Will died of the wound inflicted by my hand, but not until he had confessed that he had loaded the gun while left alone. He called for me continually but poor Stella was, as she expresses it, possessed of a devil, and would not send for me. She continually denounced me as a murderer, and Aunt Sarah had to explain again and again how it had happened.


"I resolved then and there to leave the money father left me for her use. I was reckless, and did not desire to live.


"As you will read in her letter, Stella says that she saw me at the funeral, and almost repented when she perceived how changed I was. I have not the slightest recollection of being there.


"I landed in Charleston, S. C., and made my way to Philadelphia, where I found the means of living while I pursued my studies. I gave up military life, and thought I should be content if I could fit myself for an editor of a paper. I was in an editor's office in New York, when I was seized with fever and carried to the Home for the Sick. I came away with new aims, and only longed to benefit some poor afflicted ones as I had been benefited there. You know the rest. I studied three years at the seminary, working among the poor meanwhile, and had just begun to preach when I was requested to supply the pulpit for a pastor who had been my most faithful adviser. I was called to Grantbury, and accepted the call. How nearly I retracted my acceptance, weighed down with a sense of my unfitness for the work, how I besought God with strong crying and tears to appear for me and let me know His will, no one but He knows.


"There are poor Stella's letters. I have blamed her, but not half so much as she blames herself."


Marion covered her face with her handkerchief. The story was sad indeed.


"Perhaps I have done wrong to tell you all this," he urged, rising and walking the room. "You are the only confident I ever had."


"No, no, not wrong. I thank you. If deal Stella could only have lived to tell you herself how fully she forgave you, how earnestly she longed for your forgiveness!"


"At first," added Mr. Angus, "I used to pity myself; but when I had received forgiveness of my heavenly Father, my pity was for her. I remembered that the unforgiving cannot receive forgiveness of God. I felt that my life was rendered desolate, but I was willing to receive that as a chastisement. My prayer was, 'Lord, let her forgive that she may be forgiven.' The idea of her suffering from poverty never occurred to me. Of late, when I have witnessed the happiness of home life,—fathers and mothers with their children growing up around them,—I have thought that, had my life been different, I might have been blessed with a paradise of a home."


"All the sadness is over now," murmured Marion, softly.


"Do you think a man with such a past as mine has a right to ask any one to share his future?"


What Marion might have answered had there not been a knock at the door, I cannot tell. James entered, and carried to his mistress a note on a salver.


"I told you I could see no one to-night."


"Yes, miss, but the messenger persists. He's from the Home for the Sick."







MRS. ASBURY was sitting at work in her room when she heard the outer door open and a quick step on the stairs.


"Who can that be?" she asked, somewhat surprised.


"No one but Mr. Angus has a key, ma."


"He never steps like that, Annie. Open the door and see."


Before she could do so, the step came down again and Mr. Angus came into the sitting-room holding out his hand as he greeted them.


Both mother and daughter started up to meet him, and Ethel, hearing his voice, came running in, and stood for a moment gazing in wonder. In her childish way she gave expression to their thoughts.


"It's a new Mr. Angus."


"Yes, it is, darling," he said, catching her in his arms. "That other Mr. Angus has gone away, and I hope never to see him any more."


Turning to Mrs. Asbury, he said, "God has been very good to me, and sent me the best of news from an absent friend. I have long mourned her as dead; now I learn that she died in faith, trusting in the blood of Christ to wash away all her sins."


"I am truly glad for you," was her earnest reply.


"The intelligence I have received renders it necessary for me to go to England for a short time. I want to ask your husband's advice concerning arrangements for my pulpit during my absence."


"How long shall you be away?"


"Probably three months."


"You have six weeks' vacation. Why not include those, and get a supply for the rest?"


"Thank you for the suggestion. It is my wish to leave as soon as possible."


This was all the explanation he gave as to the change in his conduct, a change recognized by every one in the parish. His voice, his step, his manner, were cheerful even to buoyancy. His smile was more frequent, and had lost forever the sadness which formerly often accompanied it.


The very boys in the street watched and wondered. Formerly, when he passed the play-ground, he gazed at them, but in so serious a manner that they felt almost guilty; now it was very different. He stood one day at the entrance to a large field, given up to the use of the boys for base-ball, watching the game with great interest.


"No, that is not the way," he shouted at last, leaping at one bound over the high fence. "This was the way when I was a boy."  He gave the ball a kick, which sent it to the farther corner of the field, and stood laughing at the loud cheers which rent the air, then saying,—


"Play fair, boys; cheating don't pay," he gave another leap and passed on, taking off his hat and waving it high in the air as they cheered again.


A supply for the pulpit was readily obtained from a theological school, and passage engaged in a Cunarder; but, as the reader may not understand the necessity which called him to leave Grantbury, I will take the liberty to insert here extracts from the letters in the recovered package.


These were now in the hands of Marion, and he was to receive them when he went to New York to take the steamer. It is unnecessary to say that the young lady, having listened to the story of the brother, devoted her first leisure to reading the confession of the sister.


The very first lines deeply moved her, recalling, as she did, Stella bolstered up in her bed at the Home as she wrote, her curtain drawn closely to shut out the sight of her companions.


The letter began:—


If I have a brother, and these words ever meet his eyes, let him read

them as coming from one who has deeply sinned against him, but who

has also deeply repented.


Judge her as charitably as you can, my brother, even as I trust God

will judge me; and remember that my prayers have gone up to God

continually for you, and my loving thoughts reach far away across the

waters, where, if still among the living, I suppose you are now.


"How strange!" reflected Marion, "that when she wrote that her

brother was in an adjoining ward, and that one minute's walk would

have taken him to her side."


Later.—I had to lay aside my pen and rest, and now my hands tremble

with weakness; but justice to one who has never received justice at

my hands urges me to make my confession. Harold, I cannot remember

the time when I did not feel jealous of you. As a child, you were

loving in nature, winning your way without effort to every heart.

You were mother's pet and pride. Father could scarcely see a fault

in his big, brave, and beautiful boy. When Aunt Sarah came, all that

I could say to prejudice her against you had no effect. She loved and

trusted you. She said you would love me if I would let you. She said

few had so forgiving a nature. She tried to persuade me to be at

peace and allow Will, my idol, to love you. I will say that when we

used to walk into church, I was proud of you. All my companions

envied me and my brother. This made me hate you more than ever.

If you had been plain and unattractive, I think it would have been

different with me,—but perhaps not, for my heart was full of envy

and jealousy. Now you know the secret of all my conduct. I was

possessed with a devil and, instead of trying to cast him out,

I cherished him.


Harold, before you reached home to see father die he begged me

to love you as I loved Will. He gave Will into your special care.

He wrote you a loving letter, telling you his plans and wishes

for your future, that he left the care of Will's education and his

little property to you. If he died, it was to be yours. If you died,

Will was to inherit what you left. How I hated him for this! I had

a legacy from Aunt Mary which, with my share, would be enough for me,

he said. How I hated him for writing this! The breath had scarcely

left his body before I tore the paper to pieces. Will you forgive

me, brother?


Later.—I must hasten on, for my life is fast drawing to a close,

and I have that to tell you which will relieve you of a great sorrow,

—I mean in regard to the last dreadful scene at home. Tears stream

from my eyes as I remember your patience with me, your efforts to win

my sisterly love. Oh how one expression of yours has rung in my



"Sister Stella, why won't you let me love you? I will try to please

you, and we might be so happy?" Oh, why! why!


You asked Will to go to walk.  He started, and I ran and forced him

back. To punish him, I shut him up in the room, forgetting that you

had placed your gun behind the door. In my insane terror I charged

you with murdering him, Harold. Before he died he confessed that he

had loaded it,—put in the very bullet that was to end his life.

Harold, can you forgive me when I say that I knew this when I saw you

at his funeral, and did not tell you? Yes, when I saw you so changed

that I scarcely recognized you, I kept his dying messages, which

would have relieved your sorrow. I charged you with being his

murderer, but no one believed me. Aunt Sarah did you justice. She

told every one you loved the boy, and that he loved you,—that it

was an accident. After Will confessed that he loaded the gun,

she repeated this to every one. You were pitied, and I, who so

idolized the boy, was looked on with suspicion. Even Aunt Sarah told

me that I had ruined Will by indulgence, or he would never have

touched the gun contrary to your orders. I hated her for saying it,

but I knew that what she said was true.


Later.—I am already relieved by my confession, and, as I feel

stronger this morning, I will write while I can. I shall commit this

to the care of a dear friend, who first led me to hope for pardon

through Christ. I can never tell any one how much she has been to me.

Beautiful, accomplished, and rich, she devotes herself and all she

has to the divine work of winning others to her Saviour.

Dear brother, I wish you could meet such a friend. If you have never

sought Christ let a sister's dying words prevail. His love is more

precious than all the world beside. If I, with all my load of guilt

can receive forgiveness, no one need despair. I told you I would

never forgive you. One day I heard a sermon from the young chaplain

of the Home, where I was staying. He repeated the words of our

Saviour, "If ye forgive not men their trespasses," etc., and

explained the wretched, despairing condition of those who cherish

a spirit of unforgiveness.


Every word applied to my case. The gracious spirit of God carried

home the truth to my heart, and helped me to accept his conditions

of mercy. The whole room seemed filled with light. Never had I

conceived such joy, such peace, as flowed in upon my soul.

From trying to invent excuses for my own base conduct, I saw myself

the vilest of the vile.  I realize now that murder had been in my

heart,—murder of a brother. I love you now. I wonder at your

forbearance when I reproached you. How pityingly you used to gaze

on me! I seem to see your eyes now,—eyes like our mother's,

so sweet, so sad,—looking into mine as though you would say,

"Stella, I want to love you. Why can't we be at peace?" O Harold,

my brother, would that I could see you once more and ask your

forgiveness!  Aunt Sarah often said that I had driven you from home

and friends. It is true. I grieve over it, and have asked God

to forgive me. I pray that we may meet in heaven: you will forgive me



Before I close, I must tell you that immediately after Will's death

I went home with Aunt Sarah, and remained till she died. In the bank

where father left your money, you will find my share and Will's.

I have never drawn one pound.  I could not, as I had made it over

to you. My legacy has sufficed. I want you to accept mine (Will's is

yours by right) from a sister who has learned not only to love but to

admire you. I found letters from your teachers in the military school

to father. They wrote of you in the highest terms. Father used to

read them over and over. I did not see them till after his death.


One favor I would like to ask.  If you ever receive this, will you

repay the faithful friend I have mentioned the amount she has

expended for my lot in Greenwood,—she has promised to follow me

there,—and any other expense incurred for my sickness beyond the

$60 I leave in my purse?


Later.—The end is drawing near. I am not afraid: Christian friends

are about me.  My own loved Marion will be here presently, and will

not leave me till Jesus, my Saviour calls me home. I have an

assurance this morning that my prayers for you will be answered.

We shall meet father and mother and all our loved ones in heaven.

Farewell, dear Harold, farewell!


Afternoon.—God has seen fit to keep me here a little longer. I have

not told you that I came to America two years ago,—after Aunt

Sarah's death. I was in a boarding house with an acquaintance from

home, and taught music when a sudden cold settled on my lungs.

Miss Howard heard me sing once at a party given by one of my pupils

and afterward called when she learned I was sick.  She is a great

lover of music. She has been such a friend to me as I cannot

describe. This Home for the Sick has proved a paradise to many.

Thank God, who sent me here. Once more, brother, farewell! Meet me

in heaven.









DURING Marion's call at the Home for the Sick in company with the pastor, they examined the record of patients, etc., and related to Dr. B— the singular circumstance of the brother and sister, natives of another country, being there at the same time, each longing to find the other, and remaining unknown. There were the names and dates fully recorded:—


"Men's Medical Ward, Harold Angus, New York, aged twenty-four. Disease, typhoid fever. Entered March 7, 18—. Discharged cured June 20, 18—. Address of friends, Mr. James Whitney, New York City."


"Women's Medical Ward, Stella Angus, Doncaster, England, aged twenty-two. Second admittance. Disease, consumption. Entered May 2, 18—. Died June 4, 18—. Place of burial, Greenwood. Address of friends, Miss Mary Angus, Leyden, England."


"I recollect perfectly," remarked Dr. B—, "that Stella, as we called her,—from Miss Howard introducing her by that name,—often spoke to the chaplain and to the nurses of one whom she had injured, and that she wished to atone for it. I never heard, Mr. Angus, that you mentioned her name."


"I never did. I supposed her to be in England. I can only believe that God, for His own wise purpose, kept the knowledge of her triumphant death from me till I could say, in regard to all His dealings, 'Thy will be done.'"


From the Home they drove at once to Greenwood. The lot was small and inexpensive, but it had been well cared for, and the grave, covered with myrtle, was green and beautiful.


Marion led the way to the spot and then retired to a distance, leaving the mourner alone with his sorrow. Not yet did she know how deeply Stella had injured her brother, and so she could not appreciate, as she did afterward, the abandonment of his grief as he fell on the grave, saying,—


"My sister! My sister! Is it thus we meet?"


Still, as she walked away, with bent head and fast-falling tears, she repeated to herself the familiar quotation,—


"To err is human, to forgive, divine."


At the head of the grave Marion had caused a simple stone to be erected, with merely these words,—






As they were turning to leave the sacred spot, he pointed to it, and tried to utter the words,—


"Thank you," but his voice choked.


Now, he in whom she had taken so deep an interest, whose happiness had for a time been so intimately interwoven with her own, had sailed for England. He had made a hasty call, on his return from Grantbury, and received from her the precious letters assuring him of his sister's affection. He had seemed ill at ease when she thanked him for allowing her to peruse them, pressed her hand warmly as he bade her farewell, took his hat from the table in the hall then suddenly threw it down again, exclaiming,—


"I cannot leave you without saying, if we never meet again, I shall die blessing you for your goodness to Stella and to me. Miss Howard, you have opened a new future before me. You—but I cannot,—I ought not to say more. Will you add one favor to the many I have received at your hands? Will you answer a letter from me? May I tell you of my visit to my native land, to the graves of my parents?"


He fixed his eyes full on hers, which at last fell before the ardor of his gaze, while she answered frankly,—


"Mr. Angus, for Stella's sake and for your own, I shall be very glad to hear from you. My time will be spent among my poor. If I find anything to interest you, I will certainly write in answer to yours."


Marion was practical rather than sentimental, and she plunged into the business of life as though nothing more than usual had occurred.


In one day, she visited Mary Falkner at the Home, gave music lessons to four pupils, went with Hepsey nearly a mile to inquire for one of her mission boys, and brought home for evening work one of the rolls from the mission chapel, in order to stencil an additional hymn upon it.


Still, wherever she went, however employed her thoughts were with a lonely traveller whom the waves were every hour carrying farther and farther away. While driving, with Hepsey by her side, through the thronged thoroughfares, or sitting at her own well-spread board, the question constantly recurred: "Why did he say, 'if we never meet again'? Does he not expect to return?" Then her pulse beat more warmly as she recalled the expression of his eye, and added, "I know he hoped we should meet again."


In the morning Mr. Lambert called, and found her leaning over the large table in the dining room, printing with the stencil plate the hymn, work which company had obliged her to postpone the previous evening.


He had scarcely taken his seat before he began to scold her.


"You ought to have a guardian," he began, in loud voice. "Pale as ashes,—taking work out of the printer's hands, too. Well, they may starve for all I care. World upside down, as usual."


"Will you please help me roll this?" asked Marion, turning an arch, smiling face full upon him. "It must be held very tight, or it will wrinkle. Mr. Lambert, why don't you help me in my mission school?"


"Help—mission school—insane idea—couldn't get any scholars—pretty teacher, indeed!" He grumbled away for some time to himself, and finally ended with a fit of laughter. "All nonsense,—throwing away money on bummers, stuff and nonsense—embryo thieves and murderers." He walked to the window, pretended to be examining the flowers in the conservatory, pulled out his purse and quickly concealed a bill in his hand just as Marion, who had finished her work, said, pleasantly,—


"You needn't try to deceive me with your grumbling: I found you out long ago. You would go a mile any time to carry food to the hungry, only you would want the privilege of scolding them afterwards."


The eccentric old gentleman hung his head, too much confused even to grumble at her.


"How guilty you look!" laughed Marion. "You took me in, once upon a time."


"Aye! aye! Frightened you well, that's some comfort."


"I don't think I was much frightened, though I confess I considered your manner rather rough. I recollect well that I pitied you for being so suspicious of everybody."


He sprang from the floor, shouting,—


"Suspicious, eh? Suspicious, is it? Pitied me, did you? If any one else had dared,—well, I'm an old fool, anyway."


He sat down and wiped the perspiration from his forehead, looking so pale and hurt that Marion pitied him more than ever. She drew a chair close to his side and said, soothingly,—


"Now that we understand each other, I want to tell you a story,—a true one. You know Hepsey and I go out sometimes to see our friends in the back alleys."


"Humph! Yes,—and bring home fevers, and all that."


"One day I heard a woman crying,—and true enough she had cause. Her boy had been crushed by a wheel which ran over his legs; and there he lay on a pile of straw, in a fainting fit. I tried to bring him to while Hepsey went for an ambulance, and we soon had him in the care of the doctor, on his way to the hospital. Hepsey and I followed with the mother. To make a long story short, the injury was so great that Neddy—that's his name—had both his legs amputated just above the knees, and he is well again. Now the question is, What can he do to earn his living? He's a dear, patient little fellow, and he has made friends of everybody at the hospital. One of the doctors has given me five dollars for—"


Mr. Lambert threw down his cane, and pulled out his purse again.


"No, I don't want money now, I want advice. He can't earn his living yet awhile; but what can he be fitted for?"


"I'll get him a place in a printing-office." In his excitement, Mr. Lambert forgot to grumble.  His voice was natural and agreeable.


"Just the thing! But isn't he too young,—he's only nine?"


"That's a fault easily cured. He must be put into the Five Points Mission School till he's twelve,—learn to read and spell, and all that sort of thing. Where is he?"


"In the hospital. Will you go with me to see him?"


"Certainly not.  Why should I go? I've nothing to do with it, any way. You wanted advice and I gave it,—that's all. Don't be nonsensical now," putting another bill stealthily on the table. "What did you say the fellow's name is?"


"Neddy Carter. He isn't strong enough to be carried to that old, tumble-down attic, and so I have engaged a friend to take him home with her till he can have his artificial legs made. That's what the doctor subscribed five dollars for."


"Wooden legs, eh! That's the plan, is it? Five dollars! Tell this doctor to mind his own business. I know a man—that is, he owes me—that is, he will owe me—a bill, and I'll get the legs out of him—see if I don't. I'll"—grumbling. "Well, I'm going. I don't find your story very entertaining. It's lucky I'm forgetful: shan't know anything about it to-morrow. Good-day, Miss Howard. Don't make a fool of yourself more than you can help."


He caught his cane and was crossing the room when he saw the bill he had first taken from his pocket and forgotten lying on the floor.


"Pretty way to use good money," he said, with a sneer, pointing to it. "With all your teaching business, you'll never get rich that way, Miss Howard."


Page 207

[Illustration: MARION AND THE CRIPPLED BOY. Page 207]


"I saw that bill drop from your hand, sir." Marion laughed till all her dimples came into play. "But you can't have it," she insisted, as she saw his look of disappointment at being found out. "You've forfeited the right to it, and I shall add it to my fund for Neddy."


"Pretty sharp practice that," he grumbled, looking intensely relieved. "Well, good-day to you."


The next time Marion went to the hospital a singular circumstance occurred,—a circumstance which unravelled for her quite a mystery.


She inquired for Neddy Carter, and was allowed to proceed at once to the convalescent ward. The boy was sitting in a low chair, which he had learned to wheel about with great rapidity. As soon as he saw her, his face brightened, and before he could reach her side he shouted,—


"Miss Howard! Miss Howard! Mr. Regy's been here!"


"And he's such a funny man," said one of the older boys.


"I wish I had seen him," was Marion's answer. "What did he come for?"


"To see me. He was awful cross at first, and scolded me for getting under the wheel like sixty; but I know him, and he's real good for all that; and I like him; and when I told him I didn't get under the wheel on purpose he gave me this," pulling a silver dollar from his pocket. "Will you please take it to help buy my wooden legs?"


"No, indeed; those will be ready when the doctor says you can wear them."


"Mr. Regy says I'm to be a printer," continued the boy, fixing his large brown eyes on hers; "and I'm to go to school at the Five Points, and learn to read and spell, and by-and-by, he says, there's no knowing but I may be a great man, and print newspapers."


Marion started. This was Mr. Lambert's plan. Had he told Mr. Regy of it?


"How does Mr. Regy look?" This inquiry was addressed to one of the nurses, who was passing.


"Very oddly," she replied, laughing. "He's about fifty or sixty years old, very gray hair, which he wears long, floating over his shoulders."


Marion laughed too as she said, "I've often heard of him, but I never saw him."


Mr. Lambert was over sixty; but his hair, naturally light, had not turned gray, and was cut short to his head.


"He stoops a little," added the nurse, "and makes frightful faces. Some of the little ones were afraid of him, but before he went away he coaxed them to sit in his lap and put their hands in his pockets, where they found nuts and raisins and candy in abundance. A lady came in to see a little cripple, and as she passed him surrounded by a group of them, Neddy's chair rolled as close as he could get it, she remarked, smiling, 'It's a blessed work, sir.'"


"Mr. Regy had not seen her before, and he started to his feet, looking very angry.


"'Troublesome little brats!' he shouted, pushing them away."


"Just like Mr. Lambert," was Marion's reflection. "How very strange there should be two such men!"


Just then she noticed that several of the boys were putting their heads together, whispering and gesturing as they looked toward her. Presently one came forward, and asked, timidly,—


"Will you please sing us a tune, Miss Howard?"


"How do you know I can sing?" she asked, with one of her brightest smiles.


"I heard you at the mission Sunday school. I'm Maurice Long, what used to be sent to the back seat for being allus in mischief."


Maurice looked anything but humble, as he confessed his faults.


"Why, Maurice!" exclaimed Marion, holding out her hand. "You have grown so much I did not know you,—and you are so pale, too."


"Yes, miss. Me and another boy got into a fight, and I had my head smashed in, and the p'lice brought me here. I'm going out next week."


"O Maurice!"


Marion was interrupted by several voices shouting, "He'd fight agin, ma'am. He'd oughter. It was ter save a feller littler than him. Hurrah for Maurice!"


"How was it, Nurse? I want to hear the story."


"Maurice had a chance to earn a dime carrying a bundle for a gentleman from the cars. A little fellow came along, leading a poor, half-starved dog of which he seemed very fond. Just then a big bully of a boy met them, and began to tease the dog. When his owner timidly begged to be let alone, the bully flew at him, and then Maurice thought it time to interfere. He caught the bully by the hair, and would not let go till he was terribly bruised. A policeman came up and arrested both the boys, just as Maurice fainted from loss of blood. The gentleman had seen the whole fight from beginning to end, and he followed the bully to the court-room and gave his testimony, and called Maurice a hero."


"And a good fighter, too," added Maurice, who had stood by, listening to all with a kind of proud humility.


"I am glad you were not fighting to defend your own rights," said Marion, approvingly. "But who was the gentleman?"


"He gave his name as Lambert," said the nurse. "There is a very curious sequel to the story," she added, in a low tone, as they turned away.


"Mr. Lambert came here twice before Maurice was well enough to know him, and showed a good deal of anxiety till he was out of danger, growling to himself that he ought to have stopped the fight earlier. He gave the doctor some money for Maurice when he goes away; but the boy knows nothing of that yet. When Mr. Lambert saw Maurice he scolded him well; said a street fighter was a mean fellow and ought to be arrested, and hoped he should never hear of his street brawls again.


"His voice was so loud that some of the little ones began to cry, but Maurice spoke up rather saucily,—


"I'd fight for you, sir, to-morrow, if you was hit. I know you're jolly, for all your scolding.'"


"Well," said Marion, laughing heartily, "what did Mr. Lambert say to that?"


"Not a word that we could understand. He went away with his handkerchief to his face, but when he reached the street he shook all over with laughter."


"Shall I sing for the children now?"


"They will be delighted to hear you."


Standing in the midst of the ward, with the little ones pressing to her side, Marion sang the sweet melody set to the words,—


"Will you come where the sweet-briar grows,

Where the heath flower blossoms around?

Will you come where the hyacinth blows,

And the daisy just peeps from the ground?

There's a bower by the side of yon lake,

'Tis the chosen abode of the rose;

Where the wings of the linnet awake

The leaves from their calm repose."


Every word was distinctly enunciated, and the children, with bated breath and sparkling eyes, proved their appreciation by calling out, "More! Please, Miss Howard, sing more." Smiling, she gave them the mocking-bird, which was followed by shouts of applause.







MISS HOWARD was leaving the hospital when she met the doctor in charge, who invited her to his private parlor, as he wished to consult her in regard to her protégé Neddy Carter.


"I suppose you are acquainted with Mr. Regy,' he said. "He knew your wishes about the boy."


"I know him well by report," she answered, "but I have never seen him."


"Indeed! He is certainly the most eccentric individual I ever met. Benevolent and tender-hearted to an extreme, he seems to me like a man who has learned to mistrust humanity so generally that he hides every evidence of weakness as carefully as though it were a crime. Why, the good deeds that man does almost defy belief."


"I can easily credit your statement, doctor. In my visits to my poor friends, I am constantly hearing of him. I have known of his paying rent for a widow who had a sick daughter, month after month, and at the same time providing her with medicines and food. Yet he would talk to her about her untidyness till he made her cry; and then he would go away grumbling that all he could say did no good."


"I heard some facts concerning his eccentricities from a gentleman who owns the place next his in the country," continued the doctor, "which, if they had not come to me from the best authority I would not credit; but my friend vouches for the facts.


"Near them lives a woman whose husband was killed on the railroad. She has two young children, is pleasing in appearance, but wanting in force. They had always lived in comfort, on the wages her husband earned. When he was killed, she seemed crushed with grief. The neighbors made up a purse for her, and Mr. Regy, who had given generously, was requested to carry it to her. He learned that she owned her small cottage, to which a barn was attached, but had no money. He found she had no idea of earning her own living, but when he proposed that the children be sent to the asylum, and she go out to work in a mill or family, she cried herself into hysterics, calling him a cruel, hard-hearted brute for proposing it, wished he would go away and never come again.


"This is all my friend learned from Mr. Regy, who denounced her as ungrateful, unnatural as a mother, a pest to society. Her neighbors supposed, of course, he gave her up; but he never did, for a day. He went and berated her till he quite roused her into action; and finally she said she had been brought up on a farm, and knew how to make butter and cheese.


"'What good will that do you?' he asked her, with a sneer. 'Where are your cows, to make butter from?'"


"It was some time before she learned what a true friend he was; but two excellent milkers found their way to her barn, and, in time, pans and a churn. Then she complained that she was sure she never could sell her butter and pot-cheese and cried a whole day at the scolding he gave her. To make a long story short, he sold all her butter and cheese for her at the highest price, taking the basket on his own arm, and carrying it to the houses of the regular customers. A lady on Forty-Second Street told my friend that he brought butter there regularly every week for more than a year. She supposed it was from his own farm; and she has a pile of his receipts signed M. Regy. Once she remonstrated in person with him for his high prices, when he flew into such a rage that she never dared approach the subject again."


"Very, very strange," remarked Marion.  "I have a friend who is extremely odd and uncouth in manner, but is always doing kindnesses for the poor. His name is Lambert. In many respects your description of Mr. Regy would answer for both."


"Do you refer to Mr. M. R. Lambert, a rich old bachelor?  Why, I always thought him the most sarcastic, sour, crusty, old man in my acquaintance."


"Only in manner, doctor. He possesses the milk of human kindness in an uncommon degree. He is a second Mr. Regy. I am confident that any sum of money I would consent to ask him for in behalf of my protégés would not be refused; and all the time he would be grumbling that it was good money thrown away on a thankless class of vagrants."


"What is Mr. Lambert's full address," inquired the doctor, rising in an excited manner.


"M. R. Lambert are his initials. I have scores of his cards."


"Regy is, I believe, his middle name, and he uses it for a nom de plume. It can scarcely be credited that there would be two so similar in their eccentricities. I am almost sure of it."


"Then he must disguise himself: Mr. Lambert's hair is short, and only beginning to turn gray."


"A gray wig is easy to procure. What can be his motive?"


"It is difficult to conceive, Doctor. I have sometimes imagined that Mr. Lambert had a motive in so constantly visiting the poorer classes; but it is only a suspicion. I feel sure, if it were true, it would do honor to the kindness of the man. I told him the story of Neddy Carter's injury. He entered into it with great interest,-said he would get him a place in a printing-office and was almost angry that any one else had thought of purchasing artificial legs for the boy."


"Just what I wished to tell you from Mr. Regy. They are one and the same. Mr. Regy I shall continue to call him. See, here is the address he gave me."


"M. REGY, P.O. BOX 1009."


On her way home, Marion's thoughts were absorbed in trying to solve the motives which could govern such a man as Mr. Lambert, and induce him to figure in so many different characters; for the more she reflected the more she felt assured that he and Mr. Regy were the same. It might be that some early disappointment had thus twisted and gnarled a naturally lovely character.  It might be that some one he had once loved and trusted had betrayed his confidence, and thus rendered him suspicious of all mankind. She resolved to watch him closely, and to endeavor to lighten his burden, whatever it might be.


Approaching her own door, she perceived a carriage standing there. With her thoughts still on the discovery she had made, she ran up the steps and encountered Eugene Cheriton struggling in the arms of James, who had been told to take him back to his mother in the parlor.


The boy readily yielded to her wish, and went upstairs with her, where she was both surprised and pleased to find not only Mrs. Cheriton but Mrs. Douglass awaiting her arrival.


The latter lady seemed to have taken out a new lease of life, since her return to the city. She acknowledged that she liked New York, and should leave it with reluctance.


"I hope you do not intend to leave it," urged Marion.


The lady glanced anxiously at her daughter before she answered. "Necessity may compel us to do so."


Mrs. Cheriton's countenance had no reflection of her mother's anxiety. She sat as usual, with her handsome head thrown a little back, her large, black eyes lustrous as ever, her lips wreathed in the same set smile; but there seemed no soul in her face. She appeared to have wrapped herself in a veil, which, in Marion's presence, had never been lifted for one instant.


Eugene, beautiful and restless as ever, ran here and there unrestrained, demanding the reason for this or that, preventing so effectually any attempt at conversation that Marion, who wished for an opportunity to talk with Mrs. Douglass, at last persuaded her to remain for the day, insisting that she herself had no engagements which would interfere with the pleasure of such a visit.


"While you are taking your siesta," she urged, "I can go to my pupils; and then we will have quiet chat, or drive in the park, as you prefer."


"This is just the opportunity I have long desired," remarked Mrs. Douglass, as after an hour's rest she had partaken of a nice lunch, and was seated in Marion's most comfortable chair. "I want to tell you some facts in my early life which will account for my being here in America."


"I shall feel honored by your confidence," returned Marion, gazing with affection into the still beautiful face, so like and yet unlike her daughter's. "Let me bring my crocheting, and we can be as cosey as we please."


"I told Mr. Angus some things about our history. He may have repeated them to you."


"Not a word, dear lady," bending over her work to conceal the rosy hue which colored her cheeks at the mention of his name.


"I told him, that, although Juliette and myself are living alone, we are neither of us widows,—at least we are not knowingly such,—but let me go back to early days.


"My father was an Englishman, and in his thirty-first year was sent to Spain as minister from the court of England. He was stationed at Madrid, where he met my mother, daughter of a nobleman in that city. The liking between them was mutual, and ended in marriage after an acquaintance of a few months. I have heard it said that seldom had a couple so distinguished for beauty, and every charm which makes life desirable, been witnessed in our proud old city.


"A year after their marriage a son was born, who was named Henreich, for my maternal grandfather. Three years later I appeared on the scene. As no other children followed, and we were the only grandchildren on the mother's side, you can easily imagine that our wishes, whims, and caprices ruled the entire household.


"Henreich, beautiful, bold, wilful, and unrestrained, became at last a terror to both parents and servants. To me only was he loving and gentle; but even when in a fury of rage, he would yield to my entreaties and tears. I need not say that he was my idol. I loved him as sister never loved brother before. What I suffered when, unable longer to endure the anxieties and terror which his bold daring continually occasioned my parents, he was sent to England to be educated, I have no words to describe.


"It could scarcely be expected that a high-spirited lad, accustomed to have his own way, would yield at once to authority; at least Henreich did not, and soon fell into such disgrace that he was expelled from the school.  My uncle, to whose care he had been committed, wrote, resigning the charge. He reproached my father in the most unmeasured terms for neglecting to restrain the boy's temper, which had led him in an ungovernable fit of fury to attempt the life of one of his teachers, after which he fled, and nothing could be heard from him. Father went to England at once. I never knew what occurred there, but when he came home he said Henreich was dead to us, and forbade that his name ever be mentioned.


"You will see later why I dwell so long on these sad events. I mourned over my brother, and, not being allowed to speak of him, I brooded over his troubles until at last I forgot that he had been to blame for them. I even came to regard him as a hero, who had been unjustly treated.


"All the fond pride which would have been cherished for both of us was now lavished on me. I scarcely had a wish but it was gratified. With the exception of my trouble at the separation from my brother, I scarcely knew the meaning of the word, till in my fourteenth year I accompanied my parents to England, and they left me to finish my education.


"I was now in the same country where Henreich had been, but I never, except on one occasion, heard his name mentioned. I asked my uncle Douglass if he knew where my brother was, and was answered, with a terrible frown,—


"'No, I do not. He may be dead, for all I care.'


"I never inquired again.


"I was in England two years, and returned to Spain 'finished,' as my graduation from school with high honors was called. It was then I entered on a course of gayety, such as I had never even imagined. Though very young, my hand was asked frequently in marriage; but my heart was never touched till one evening, at a gay assembly, I met a young American, with whom I danced nearly all night. Only the third time we met he told me he loved me, and asked me to be his wife. I confessed that I returned his affection, and sent him to my father.


"But now, for the first time in my life, I met opposition. My father and mother, foolishly fond and proud of their only child, considered it quite beneath me to marry an untitled foreigner. They talked as though royalty itself might be honored by an alliance with me. This opposition naturally fixed my determination to marry the man of my choice, notwithstanding all obstacles. I instantly invested him with the whole catalogue of virtues and when, added to these, sadness on his part proved his undying attachment, I made a martyr of him,—a martyr dying for my love.


"Under these circumstances I gave my parents no rest. My lover offered letters to prove that he was worthy; and at length, worn out by my entreaties and my evident loss of bloom, father did secretly write to a friend in London, requesting him to ascertain from Mr. Post, banker in that city, in regard to his position and prospects.


"This it was easy to do through correspondents from the London Banking House, and the result was so satisfactory, both as to character and wealth, that my friend was allowed to renew his visits, which speedily terminated in my betrothal. I have often thought since, that, had my parents allowed the acquaintance to proceed at first without opposition, all would have ended differently; for as the intimacy advanced, even before our marriage, I discovered certain traits which greatly annoyed me.


"I had been accustomed to the expression of admiration, and enjoyed it; but I was faithful and true to my lover. He considered the looks and tones of flattery an insult both to me and to him. He constantly urged our immediate union; but to this my parents would not consent, except on one condition. Until I was twenty-one, my home must be with them. On my eighteenth birthday, with the reluctant consent of all my relatives, I became a wife. For a month or two I was very happy. I found my husband intelligent, with a cultivated mind, and a kind heart. We were alone in a villa belonging to my grandfather, and proved so sufficient for mutual happiness that I returned home with great regret. Oh, that we had never returned!"


Marion had been so absorbed in the recital that she had failed to notice the increasing pallor of the narrator. Struck with the intense sadness of the last tone, she started to find her visitor sinking back in her chair, her lips blanched, her hands trembling.


Throwing aside her work, she ran to her chamber for cologne, with which she bathed the forehead and hands of the lady, then rang for James to bring her a cup of fresh coffee.


She insisted that Mrs. Douglass should rest before she continued her interesting story; but the lady, with a sigh, urged,—


"I may never have so favorable an opportunity to finish. My sad tale is nearly ended, and I shall be greatly relieved when I have told my only American friend my folly and my punishment; so resume your work, and let me end the recital as briefly as possible."







I HAD only been in Madrid a few weeks before I found that my husband was jealous, unreasonably jealous. He was so exacting that he demanded all my attention. If I conversed with my old acquaintances, young or old, of either sex, he made a scene. My father remonstrated, and they came to open fight, my husband declaring that he would have no interference with his wife. To avoid quarrelling I gave up society, and even at my father's table became constrained in manner, scarcely daring to speak lest I should meet the reproachful eyes of my husband fixed upon me. Finding that even this reticence did not satisfy him, I went to the other extreme, talked and laughed—yes, and flirted too,—with any one. This went on for more than a year. I need not say that we were both wretched; for, strange as it was, I still loved my husband, in memory of the few weeks of unalloyed happiness after our marriage. I think he loved me, too, though he had greatly changed,—grown cold and sarcastic.


"I was driving out one afternoon in company with a servant, when I met a traveller, alone and on foot, who started at my approach, gazed fixedly in my face as we slowly passed, and then ran after the carriage. I was in delicate health, and his sudden reappearance greatly startled me. In his excitement he did not notice my fright; but, speaking a few words in English, he forced me to alight and join him at a distance. It was Henreich, my brother, my long-lost idol, shattered and destroyed. The fiercest passions lighted his magnificent eyes. He asked for father, and cursed both him and his own bad luck that our parents still lived. When I hurriedly told him I was married, he was so angry he would have struck me. He asked for money, saying, repeatedly,—


"'I must have money. I will have my portion of the estate. By fair means or foul, I will have what I want.'"


"I could not get away from him till I had given him my purse and every jewel I had about me, and had promised to meet him at night in a retired part of our grounds,—I thought I could steal away unobserved.


"Perhaps I could have done so but for the servant, who was afterwards discovered to be a spy my husband had set upon me, who told him of the strange meeting as soon as we returned home. He had never heard my brother's name, and must have wondered at my conduct.


"I went instantly to my chamber, where Mr.— soon joined me, coming to the couch where I lay, and gazing in my face with such marks of agony as I could not account for.


"At that moment my love came upon me with all its fervor. I put up my arms and drew him down to me, and wept on his shoulder. I kissed him repeatedly, and did not notice at the time that my caresses were not returned. I was so exhausted by what had passed that I fell asleep. I woke, shouting,—


"Henreich! O Henreich, go away! Why did you come back?'


"'Who is Henreich?' My husband's voice was so stern, so unnatural, that it frightened me. In one instant I realized that if I said, 'He is my brother,' he would not believe in the existence of one of whom he had never heard. Indeed, my father often spoke of me as his only child. If he did believe me, Henreich would be discovered, and my father's name disgraced; for, from what I had seen, I was sure his life had become wholly corrupt. These thoughts flashed through my mind, as my husband stood with blanched face and eyes protruding looking into mine. Would that I had explained all to him! I am sure love for me was struggling in his breast with the contempt he imagined I deserved; but I did not explain. I resolved that I would give all the money I could raise to my brother, and send him away; that when he was out of reach I would tell my husband the whole story, under a promise from him of secrecy.'"


Mrs. Douglass hid her face in her hands, unable to proceed.


Tears were trickling down Marion's cheeks.


"Perhaps I am doing wrong to tell you all this, Miss Howard. You blame me for my want of frankness, but not half so much as  I deserve, and you will see that I have been terribly punished. I stole from the house at the hour I had promised to meet my brother, with a large sum of money in my hand, and a letter in which I told him it was the last time I would help him. I begged him to go away, and begin a life of honesty and virtue I signed myself your affectionate sister.


"My husband was watching, and saw me go out. He followed, heard the sound of excited voices, saw Henreich take me in his arms, and, as he thought, strain me to his breast. Alas! it was a ruffian who held me, while he tried to force me to yield to him my betrothal ring, a superb diamond.  He succeeded in wrenching it from my finger. How I regained the house I never knew. I found myself in my own room on a couch, with my maid bending over me. I was told afterward that one swoon had succeeded another, physicians had been summoned, and remedies administered. At the sound of my voice mother came forward with our attending physician. Another spasm came on. Two days later I lay hovering between life and death, and my little babe lay beside me, the very image of Henreich as he was when I first remembered him.


"I was too sick at first to notice the absence of my husband. I learned later that he saw me fall in trying to reach the house, caught me in his arms, and laid me on the couch. He summoned my own maid, who saw him seize a few papers from the drawer and go out into the darkness. From that day to this I have never seen him. All these years, if he has lived through them, he has believed me to be a guilty thing, not worthy even of his contempt. All these years his child has never heard her father's name, and he whose heart was always touched with the sorrows of a child has never heard the sacred name of father from his child's lips. Too late I learned to love him with an intense affection, which, if it had been cherished earlier, would have led me to overlook faults of manner and roughness of speech which, perhaps, after all, were put on to disguise deep feeling.


"Only once in all these long, weary years have I heard from him. Our beautiful babe was two months old when my father received a letter, stating that a sum of money had been placed in the hands of trustees, who were named, for the benefit of my child, if living. He said that he considered the marriage tie broken, and that he should never trouble me again.


"He was right: believing of me what he did, he could not do otherwise. I honor him for it,—but I must hurry to a close.


"Henreich did not succeed in escaping the vigilance of persons who were in search of him. He had hoped to secure enough from me to reach a foreign land and chide justice. When his arrest was made public, the servant who had been with me on my first meeting Henreich confessed, with bitter tears, that she had told my husband that which caused him to watch me on that dreadful night. She said his agony of grief at what he called the certainty of my unfaithfulness frightened her, and she ran away, repenting that she had told him.


"Henreich's arrest and death, though under an assumed name, threw my mother into a fever, from which she never recovered. Two years later, father married a Spanish widow, with several sons and daughters. The eldest son was ten years older than Juliette, and was being educated in France and Germany. He returned to his home when she was only a few months over fourteen, became enamoured of her beauty, and a secret engagement took place. When I learned of it I refused my consent; but the infatuated child followed the example of her mother, and would not yield her own wishes. His mother agreed with me; but my father said there was no blood relation between them, and if they would wait till she was of proper age there was no objection.


"This half-consent was enough for Arthur Cheriton. He took Juliette out for a drive one day. When they returned they were man and wife. After living together a year, he found her unformed in mind and wilful in temper. He went to England on the plea that after obtaining a situation he would send for her.


"Eugene was just one month old when his father left home. We have never seen him since. A small fortune from my father at his death, together with the income from the sum my husband settled on us, has sufficed for our maintenance. It will support Juliette and her boy in comfort; but it is for her I fear. She has many of poor Henreich's traits, and her beauty attracts many admirers. My prayer is that the heavy afflictions which have separated us from those we love may wean her from earth as they have the mother; that she may find in the exercise of the duties of a Christian life the solace nothing else can give.


"One word more and I have done. Once a year we have heard from Arthur, whom I have always kept advised of our place of residence. I have reason to suppose he is in America, perhaps in New York. This was what led me to say that we might be compelled to leave the city. Juliette has lost all her love for him, and insists that she will never recognize the tie which binds them together. As long as I live, I shall go with her where she goes; but I know death may claim me at any time,—and then what will become of my child?"


"Was your husband's name Douglass, too?"


"I took my father's name when he cast me off."







"HOW true it is," said Marion, as, after she had taken Mrs. Douglass to her home, she was seated in her own parlor,—"how true that the sins of the parents are visited on the children! God's threatenings are as faithful as his promises. I cannot be thankful enough that I have had a pious ancestry, and that their prayers may be answered in blessings on their descendants. How little that father realized that, in allowing his son and daughter the indulgence of every caprice, they were sowing seed which would spring up to their own sorrow and shame! How little even Mrs. Cheriton realizes that she is pursuing the same evil course with her boy, and that from being her idol he will become her tyrant! I promised Mrs. Douglass that I would be a friend to the youthful mother; indeed she urged that Mr. Angus had advised her to confide her story to me, and had been confident that I would not forsake her. I will try to keep my promise."


Mr. Angus sailed early in June, and, except a notice in the papers of the safe arrival of the steamship in Liverpool, no news from him had been received. Mrs. Asbury wrote Marion that her long-promised visit would be paid the last week in the month, and that she expected her niece to return with her to Grantbury. At the close was the following hurried postscript:—


"I have opened my letter to add that Mr. Asbury has just received a brief communication from our dear pastor. He is well, preached on Sunday in London, both morning and afternoon, sent affectionate regards to all friends including you and Ethel, of course."


Marion read the message with a heightened color. Her heart rebelled against being remembered in this general way; then, reading again, was pleased to see that this was only her aunt's rendering of his message. She fell into a revery concerning the absent one. "He told me I was the only confidant he ever had. In aunty's last letter she narrated exactly what he told her in regard to the triumphant death of a friend. She has no idea that I knew his sister, nor of the painful events of his early life. I will not betray his confidence; and yet it will be a trial to me to keep anything of interest to myself from my dear, kind aunty. I wonder whether he will write me, and when."


She was interrupted by James, who brought the morning paper.


"Nothing else?" she asked, in a tone of disappointment.


"Nothing at all."


Looking at her watch, she saw there would not be time to read the news before the carriage was due. She folded it in an abstract manner, walked to the rack to put it in, when she saw the end of a letter protruding from a newspaper inside. As this was not the place for letters, she took it out, and found to her surprise it was unsealed, and—"Yes, it is," she said aloud, "it is postmarked London."


Mr. Angus began by asking,—


Am I intruding too much on your kindness by sending you a few lines

at so early a date? If so, forgive me, and remember that though I am

in my native land, standing on the spot where my fathers stood, yet I

am a stranger. I feel lonely to-night, and would gladly transport

myself back to my adopted country. We had a prosperous voyage,—

prosperous so far as it could be to one who was being removed farther

and farther from home and home friends. How much would I give to have

my little Ethel in my arms, and hear her sweet voice whispering in

my ear, "I love you!"


You will turn from my page, I fear, disgusted with my home-sickness,

and I will tell you of other things.


I have been occupied with business in London, but start to-morrow

for Doncaster, and from that place shall proceed to Leyden. There is

a post-office in Leyden. If I should find there a letter directed to

me, it would make me very happy.


I write Mr. Asbury by this same steamer, and shall send my messages

direct to them.


May God bless you, my dear Miss Howard, and reward you for all your

kindness to me and mine, is the sincere prayer of your friend,




There was one person only to whom Marion spoke of the relief which had come to the Grantbury pastor, and this was to Mary Falkner. This young girl, in the midst of her own suffering, never forgot to pray that God would lead him into the light. It was Marion's precious privilege to change these prayers to praise for mercies already bestowed.


It was during a visit made to the Home, and when the conversation had reverted to friends in Grantbury, that Mary inquired who was preaching there. "Mother goes every Sunday to church," she went on, "and says she enjoys it. She told me word had come across the water from the pastor, that he was safe on land the other side."


Marion laughed at the curious phraseology of the widow, and then said, "Your prayers for him have been answered, Mary. He is no longer weighed down by sad memories. I will report to you what he told Aunt Asbury."


The cripple clasped her hands, while a fervent expression of joy stole over her face.


"God be praised!" she ejaculated.  "He will be far more useful in his work now.  He can 'rejoice with those who do rejoice, as well as weep with those who weep.'"








GRANTBURY is a manufacturing town. It has six churches, of the different denominations. The largest and most flourishing church was the one over which Mr. Angus was settled as pastor. A branch of this church had gone off some years before and had built a chapel near one of the factories, hoping to bring in many of the employés, who were neglectful of public worship. This had not been as successful as had been hoped; the clergyman was so poorly supported that he left, and of late the effort of the Christian workers had been concentrated on the Sunday school.  The usual attendance here was about one hundred.


Two years before the commencement of our story, an unusual excitement prevailed in the town, caused by the proposition of a few speculators to build a new railroad direct to the principal cities east and west of them, thus connecting them with the great thoroughfares. The capitalists who owned most of the stock in the branch railroad which connected them three times in a day with the next town at first opposed the new project; but Mr. Asbury, with a wider and more far-reaching view of the results, advocated it both by public speeches and offers of money.


As he was a large land-owner, and the railroad would have to pass through one of his most valuable farms, it was argued by those wishing the new road, that he must be advocating it for the good of the public against his private interests.  So, indeed, he was. The new road was chartered, and in time in working order. A compromise to purchase from the owners of the branch road twelve miles which came in their direct route satisfied all parties; so that, when, the new, tasteful depot with the long baggage-room replaced the forlorn little station with shed attached, there was a general burst of enthusiasm.


The two years following this made a marvelous change in the old, quiet village. Mr. Asbury had given a beautiful site for the new depot, on conditions which had been complied with. The grass land belonging to his largest farm had been laid out in squares, with a park in the centre, and sold for house lots. The buildings put up there according to the terms of sale, must not be less than a stipulated cost; and thus a pretty village was growing up in this part of the town.


Mr. Angus's church was half a mile from the station, and quite near Mr. Asbury's dwelling house. The stimulus in all branches of business had been so great since the new railroad had been built that the main street had been widened, and set out with shade trees at the border of the flagged sidewalks.


Nor was the prosperity confined to the vicinity of the depot. The increased demand for vegetables, milk, etc., from the new-comers made the land too valuable for the farmers to cultivate grass and corn for their own use. Large fields with southern exposures were planted with early and late vegetables and small fruits, which found a ready sale at their own new market.


This was the condition of the town when Mr. Angus became the pastor of the First Church.  During the nine months following his ordination, the church building had become so crowded that a suggestion of enlarging by transepts had been made. It was an old-fashioned edifice, with unnecessarily roomy slips, white walls, high pulpit, and poor ventilation. Mr. Asbury was opposed to enlarging, but did not consider it time to give his reasons.


At a meeting of the trustees directly after Mr. Angus went abroad, it was proposed that the work of enlarging be entered upon immediately, and finished by the time of the pastor's return. Some money was subscribed; but when the paper was passed to Mr. Asbury, he refused to sign any thing. As a large subscription had been hoped for, this refusal threw a damper on the undertaking; but a committee was appointed to report in one week, and the meeting adjourned.


During this very week a fire broke out in carpenter's shop filled with combustible matter. The flames carried sparks and half-burned sticks to several houses in the vicinity, and among them to the building belonging to the First Church. The committee met, and all the male members with them, not to report on the cost of the proposed alterations, but to consult what was to be done in this sudden and terrible emergency.


The old sturdy farmers were near despair, but supposed they must do something to repair the temple of the Lord, and were thankful that the walls, being of brick, were still standing.


Others had a plan that a new town hall, just finished, should be hired, and public worship held there till such time as they were able to recover from the effects of the terrible calamity which had overtaken them.


Mr. Asbury and a few friends belonging to the wealthy portion of the church remained silent listeners to the views of the older brethren. At length, after an hour spent in lamentations over the calamity, and propositions which were considered impracticable, the moderator of the meeting remarked,—


"We have talked an hour to no purpose. Will some one make a proposition as to a place of worship for us next Sunday?"


After a momentary pause, Mr. Asbury quietly rose from his seat with an open paper in his hand. There was not the least trace of excitement in his manner, as he said, "I have here a letter, which I will read. It is from the trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church in our town, and is addressed to me.




"Dear Sir,


"At a meeting of our board of trustees the day following

the burning of your church edifice, a resolve was unanimously voted

that we deeply sympathize in your loss of your house of worship, and

that we tender to you the free use of our church building till such

time as you may repair your edifice or otherwise provide for



"With fraternal love and good-will,


"Very respectfully




"By order of trustees of Methodist Episcopal Church, Grantbury."


A motion to accept this friendly offer was at once passed, and then Mr. Asbury rose again and said,—


"I have a proposition to make; but, first, I ask you to listen to a few facts. I have made a careful investigation into the state of our church building, the walls of which are still standing. It is fifty-eight years old; the beams are rotten. It ought to be a source of gratitude that we have escaped a greater calamity by reason of the falling in of the walls, from the cellar being unventilated. It cannot be repaired. This is the opinion of the best experts I have been able to obtain. I propose, then, that we sell it as it stands, to some gentlemen who offer five thousand dollars for the site. They intend, if they obtain it, to put up a large hotel."


"It's a good offer."


"Take it."


"I object."


"We must have the land to build again."


"We need a hotel for summer residents."


"We can worship in the town hall."


"Or disband altogether," grumbled a man who never contributed a penny.


Altogether the clamor following this proposition prevented any further remarks from Mr. Asbury, if he had wished to make any, and he sat down with a smile on his face.


Several groups were at once formed, and loud, excited voices were heard discussing this unexpected proposal; some were for accepting, others positively refused to quit the old spot dedicated by their fathers to the worship of God. At length the moderator, with a loud rap on the table, called the meeting to order, and inquired whether any gentleman had anything further to say before the proposal was put to vote.


Mr. Asbury rose again, this time with a little flush on his face, as he remarked, "I am not in the habit, as you, my friends, are aware, of speaking of myself; but I would like to say that I have the welfare of this parish greatly at heart. We are blessed with a good pastor,—a live, working man. I believe he will be more useful in the future than he has been in the past; that he is a growing man. I believe that he will return to us with greatly improved health and spirits, and enter on his work again with new hope and confidence of success. I want to show him that we appreciate him by building him a new church large enough to accommodate all the new families who wish to join us. When a proposition was made at our last meeting to enlarge our old building, I did not subscribe, because I knew the work would cost more in the end than to begin a new one. I have had some sad experience, as many of you know" (smiling), "as to the cost of repairing old buildings. Now that the fire has rendered that undertaking impracticable, I propose to your board of trustees to accept a lot of land on the rising ground, half-way between this and the new depot, which I freely tender to them."


Shouts of "Yes," "We will," etc., were checked by a wave of Mr. Asbury's hand, as he added,—


"Wait a little: I have not done yet; there are conditions. I wish to say that a subscription paper has already been started for a new edifice costing not less than twenty thousand dollars, and the sum of fourteen thousand eight hundred dollars, including five thousand for our old church building, already subscribed, on condition that the whole amount be raised, and no mortgage ever be allowed upon it."


Profound silence followed this speech, which was like a bombshell thrown into an unprotected house; then a few whispers were heard,—


"Five thousand and more to raise. Where will it come from?"


"'T would have cost ten to repair, and 't would have been an old building after all."


At last, Mr. Rand, an aged, white-haired farmer, stood up.


"I'm an old man," he said, "and not long for this world; but I hope to live to see the new church built on that 'ere spot yonder, which, in my opinion, is the pootiest place for a church in the hull town,—yes, and to worship God in it, too. I'm not rich, and I'm not poor. I've got nigh upon two thousand dollars in the savings bank, laid up for a wet day. My children are all married and settled on farms of their own; so I sha'n't do any of 'em wrong if I add my name to Mr. Asbury's paper," holding out his hand for it. "There," he said, deliberately taking off the glasses he had put on to write,—"there's fifteen thousand three hundred subscribed on the above-named conditions. If necessary, I'll add another five hundred; and I'm sure my old woman will say so, too."


"After this noble example," rejoined the moderator, more moved by the old man's words than he liked to show, "I'll put down my name for the same sum as he did."


Smaller sums were at once added, so that when the meeting adjourned, after the appointment of a building committee, only one thousand more was necessary to make up the entire amount. This was to be obtained by personal solicitation from the families of those not represented at the meeting, and a committee of ladies was requested to take this work in hand.







THE architect employed by the building committee had submitted a plan for the new church,—Gothic, high spire, and stained-glass windows. It was accepted, the foundation laid, the walls, which were to be of native stone, raised to the height of seven feet, when a letter was received from Mr. Angus, enclosing a slip cut from a London newspaper.


"A very innocent-looking paragraph," exclaimed Mr. Asbury to his wife. "But what a stir it will make in the parish!"


It was the announcement of an urgent call given to the Rev. Harold Angus, of New York City, United States of America, to settle over the —Church, —Street, London, at a salary of one thousand pounds.


In addition to the printed paragraph, Mr. Angus had written,—




Mail going out. Only time to say that the call alluded to, and the

enclosed slip, in which it was announced, came to hand by

the same mail, and was wholly unexpected. Fearing you might see it

copied into a New York paper, I forward it, and will write more at

length by next steamer.




Before the close of the day in which the letter was received, few belonging to the First Church were ignorant of its contents. Mr. Asbury was right. The news created a great excitement, not only in their own parish, but throughout the town. A meeting of the voters in the First Church was called to express their opinions in regard to the subject of the paragraph.


After the opening exercises, Mr. Asbury stated the object of the meeting.  Mr. Rand then started to his feet, and with a quick glance around the room, said, in a loud voice,—


"I'm as deaf as a post, from a cold I got down on my medder, and I can't hear a word you say; but my wife, she's heerd that some folks 't other side of the water are trying to get our pastor away from us, and she told me to come here and vote it right down. It's a shame, anyway, for Christians to be a-pulling and a-tearing of one another. We've got the first right to Mr. Angus, and I vote that we hold on to him, and let them get a minister nearer home. That's all I've got to say. If it's more salary than we pay him, I guess I can help make up the difference between what they'll give and what we do."


A hearty laugh followed this speech, and, as Mr. Rand had expressed in brief the wishes of all present, the meeting soon adjourned, after a unanimous vote "to hold on to their pastor," and make the question of salary satisfactory to him.


One of his neighbors having screamed this result into Mr. Rand's ear, he mounted his farm-wagon with a significant nod of his head.


"All right!" he shouted, at the top of his voice. "I darsn't go home till I knew the parish would hold on to him. My old woman would—you know." His voice was lost in the distance.


Perhaps if the good farmer had known the contents of a letter which at this very hour was being carried by wind and steam across the Atlantic he would have been still more jubilant as he sat eating his supper of cold corned beef and greens, and telling his wife, between the mouthfuls, the news he had learned at the meeting.


Mrs. Asbury made her visit to Marion at the time she had promised, taking Ethel with her. Of course all the Grantbury news was rehearsed, in the course of which the pastor's name was frequently mentioned.  Ethel, meanwhile, had succeeded in coaxing Gypsy, a pet spaniel belonging to Mrs. Mitchell, to allow herself to be dressed in one of her dolly's cloaks.


"Now," she said, "we are going to sail on a voyage to Europe, to see Mr. Angus. You must sit very still, doggy, because it's Sunday. I shall teach you a hymn by and by,"—


"'I must not play on Sunday.'"


"When we get to Europe, I shall let you go with me to Ingleside, you know. There is a pretty garden at Ingleside, with an arbor all covered with grape vines. If you are good till we get there,—sit still, Gypsy,—oh, how naughty you are to pull off your nice cloak!"


By this time Gypsy thought she ought to be released, and jumped from the sofa, where Ethel had placed her, at which the little girl burst into a merry laugh.


"What is she talking about?" asked Marion, in a low tone.


"Where is Ingleside, Ethel?" inquired her mother.


"Why, don't you know? It is Mr. Angus's home, where his grandfather used to live.  When he was a little boy, his mamma let him go there sometimes; and he had hens and little goats to play with. We talk about it when we are taking a walk, you know."


"What a pretty name Ingleside is," remarked Marion, without raising her eyes from her work. She was making a fine dress for Frances, Ethel's favorite doll, and of course the excitement of this was what made her cheeks look so rosy.


During Ethel's visits Marion invited Geenie Cheriton to take a drive with them and pass the rest of the day with the little girl. They all gave a sigh of relief, however, when James started with him for his home, and Mrs. Asbury said,—


"I wonder how Mrs. Douglass can endure that child's noise. It is such a pity that he should be ruined by indulgence."


"I wouldn't be that boy's nurse for a fortune," exclaimed Hepsey, who was putting up the toys Geenie had pulled about. "They'll have a time with him if he lives."


Mr. Lambert called during Mrs. Asbury's visit, and was introduced to the guests. He seemed greatly attracted by Ethel, who fixed her large violet eyes seriously upon him. He succeeded at last in coaxing her to his side, when they had quite an animated conversation. Before they parted he gave her a beautiful little charm, whist he unhooked from his watch-chain.


This was the first time Marion had seen him since her discovery that Mr. Regy, of whom she had heard so much, was only the double of her old friend. She longed to ask him about it, but would not before strangers. She contented herself with inquiries about Neddy Carter, who was soon to be admitted to the mission school.


Only two days after Mrs. Asbury's return to Grantbury, Marion received a thick letter with a foreign postmark,—Leyden, Yorkshire. She retired quickly to her own chamber, and sat down with blooming cheeks to its perusal.


I have no intention of copying the letter, but will say that, after giving her an account of his visit to his home,—a visit which almost overwhelmed him with its painful memories,—and visiting the graves of father, mother, and brother as they lay side by side under the old yew-trees, he took the cars for Ingleside, his father's ancestral home in Leyden. He told her he found only an old servant, a retainer of the family, who received him as one from the dead. His grandfather had four children born here,—one son and three daughters. When he died, in Harold's twelfth year, his property was divided equally between them, except Ingleside, which was always to be kept in the family, and after the death of his daughters to revert to his oldest grandson.


Estelle Angus, for whom Stella was named, made a will and left her namesake her heir. Mary and Sarah died without making a will, and the property came to Harold, as the nearest of kin. It was not a great fortune that he found awaiting him, Mr. Angus told Marion, but, with the money left in the bank by his father, it was sufficient to enable him to carry out some cherished plans.


One of these plans was to build a pretty home on a certain knoll in Grantbury (the very one Mr. Asbury had given to the church), to be called Ingleside; but there was one word from her which must come before the new Ingleside could be built.


Then followed certain statements in regard to a diagnosis recently made of his heart, which conveyed to the young lady a pretty accurate idea of what the word must be, in order that the English cottage be erected.


By this time Marion, by certain unwelcome symptoms, which had forced themselves on her notice was aware of the strength of her own attachment for her pastor, and, being naturally frank and outspoken, she wrote the word (a very short one), which, could he have known it, would have set good Farmer Rand's mind at rest in regard "to holding on" to his pastor.


In a note added to his letter, immediately following the receipt of the call from the London church, Mr. Angus added:—


"I have just forwarded to Mr. Asbury an invitation to settle in our

great metropolis. Would you prefer to live in England? Of course I

could not give the parish an idea of what my answer will be till

I hear from you. Am I presumptuous? You first taught me to be

hopeful. Am I too daring to hope now?"


Early one morning soon after this, Mrs. Douglass sent Marion a note, requesting her to call at her earliest convenience.


On entering the house where Mrs. Douglass had rooms, Marion met in the hall a dashing young man, dressed in the height of the fashion, with a lighted cigar in his hand. She would have passed him without notice, but for a bold stare, which sent the indignant blood to her cheeks.


The knock at Mrs. Douglass's door was for a minute unanswered; then Mrs. Cheriton opened it, her eyes still flashing defiance, her head thrown back, but looking more brilliantly beautiful than the visitor had ever seen her.


Mrs. Douglass had evidently been under some strong excitement: her eyes were red with crying, and her hands trembled.


Eugene came forward with a rush to meet the lady. He was dressed for a walk and insisted that Marion should accompany him.


"I am on my way to my music scholars," explained the visitor, taking the little fellow in her arms. "Some time you shall go with me."


"I'm going to walk with you," said his mother haughtily.


"How can I aid you, dear friend?" asked Marion, when the outer door had shut upon the others.


"Did you meet a gentleman as you came in?"


"I did. I can guess that he is Mr. Cheriton."


"Oh, no! no! Would that he were here. Juliette is so young: she does not consider; she is—I am pained to say so—she is imprudent. Arthur has no right to leave her unprotected. She wrung her hands in great distress, her eyes full of tears.


"Who is he?"


"His name is Alford. Juliette accompanied one of our fellow-boarders to the theatre, and was introduced to him there. He has been here every day since. She has just promised, in my presence, and contrary to my wishes, to go to the theatre with him to-night. I am powerless to prevent it. What must I, what can I do?"


"Alford," repeated Marion. "Do you know his Christian name?"


"There is his card,—C. W. Alford, New York City."


"A very indefinite address. Will you let me take it? I will make inquiries concerning his character. I am sorry to say I was not favorably impressed with his appearance."


"But Juliette has a husband. Whatever his moral character may be, she must not receive attentions from him. If the poor child has a father living—"  A burst of tears interrupted her.


"She has a heavenly Father," urged Marion, deeply moved. "He will never lose sight of her for a moment. His eye sees her when no earthly eye can follow her, and His arm can protect her from harm. Dear Mrs. Douglass, don't weep so. Let us ask His guidance."


Seldom had the young Christian poured forth such earnest petitions for help as now.  Realizing, as she did, the impulsive passion of the young wife, the excuses she would make to her conscience,—that her husband had forsaken her,—the impossibility of earthly effort to restrain her, Marion called upon God to appear for them in their trouble, to touch the heart of the young mother, to put barriers in her path to ruin, to fill her soul with purer joys.


Feeling as she did at that moment, perhaps as never before, how sheltered and protected her own life had been, how brightly the future was opening before her own path, her tears gushed forth afresh at the thought of the dangers threatening this beautiful, unprotected child-wife. She prayed too that the absent husband might be brought to a sense of his wrong-doing in forsaking her whom he had sworn to cherish, and return to them with new purposes and new resolves. Nor did she forget the absent father, so long unknown to those connected with him by the closest ties. She prayed that if he were still an inhabitant of earth, God, who knew all things, would lead him back to them, to be their comfort and joy.


"O Miss Howard!" cried the afflicted mother, clasping her hands, "what a blessing that we can go to our heavenly Father and tell him all our sorrows! I have an assurance that He will answer; that He will in some way protect my dear, deluded child. It may be by my death. I would willingly give up my life, could I be assured of her safety. It may be that He will touch Arthur's heart, and bring him home to his family. I would submit to any privation, any inconvenience, to have him, her lawful protector, with her."


"Or," added Marion, "He may restore to you the husband you have so long mourned. A father would be a great blessing to Juliette now."


"A Christian father," murmured the lady, raising her eyes to heaven. "Every day my prayer for him is, Lord, if he is living, lead him to Thyself."


After a short silence, the lady added, "I thank God I can say with truth that, since the hour my husband left me, believing I was lost to virtue, I have always maintained the strictest reserve toward all of the opposite sex. I was young, and often called handsome. I believe my husband had been proud of my beauty. I could play the piano and guitar as an accompaniment to my voice; but I only played for my parents and most intimate friends. I have always tried to impress upon Juliette, both by example and precept, that a wife so unfortunately situated must be doubly guarded in her conduct. Character is a plant which must be kept in good soil, free from blights and mildew. It must be watched and tended with care. It is too sacred to be trifled with."


Mrs. Douglass wept as she talked, and Marion, desirous of soothing her, said,—


"Mrs. Cheriton's love for Eugene is a great preservative."


"Yes, that is true," sighing. "Poor boy! He needs a father's restraining hand."


"We have asked our heavenly Father to preserve them both from all evil, and I believe He will," rejoined the visitor, hopefully.


God did answer the prayers so earnestly offered, but in a way entirely unlooked for.







MRS. CHERITON did not return from her walk for an hour after Marion left.  She came in looking so brilliantly beautiful that it made her mother's heart ache.  Her eyes always shone like stars, and the rich color crimsoned her cheeks when she was excited either by joy or anger. Eugene, too, seemed overflowing with spirits. His hands were full of toys and sweetmeats, given him, he said, by the nice gentleman. When he threw off his cap, his grandmother noticed that his hair was wet with perspiration, and told her daughter he ought not to sit in the draught; but she retorted with some indifferent reply. Finding she could not induce the child to move, nor to give up the colored candies he was eagerly devouring, with a sigh the grandmother left the room.


During the rest of the day, the young mother went about with a smile on her lips, quite absorbed in thoughts of a pleasant nature. Toward night her boy coughed two or three times; but she, usually so ready to take alarm, laughed at her mother's suggestion that he must have taken cold.


At an early hour Mr. Alford called to accompany her to the theatre, and poured out such a torrent of flattery at her beauty as quite turned her head.


Scarcely bidding her mother good by, she went gayly down the stairs, little imagining what her return would be.


The clock was just striking twelve when, in turning the corner of the street, the house she called home came into view. At this hour it was usually dark. Now the hall and her mother's room were brilliantly lighted. Just at this moment a carriage dashed up to the door.


"What does it mean?" she cried, in a startled voice, trying to pull her hand from her companion's arm.


"When can I see you again?"


The insinuating tone was lost on her, for with a sudden fear she had released herself and flown away. Bounding up the stairs, she stopped one instant to gaze into the lighted room. On her mother's lap lay Geenie, struggling for breath. Before them stood the doctor, with a spoonful of medicine in his hand,—just brought by his servant,—which he was vainly trying to force down the child's throat. One of the servants was bringing through another door a foot-tub filled with boiling water, while another was pulling the blanket from the bed.


All this the mother took in at one glance, then sprang forward with a loud shriek and threw herself on her knees before her boy.


"Mamma, help Geenie! Make the bad man go away! Geenie can't breathe!"


"It's the croup," gasped her mother, in reply to her agonized gaze into the child's face, darkened and convulsed with this struggle for breath.


"It is a case of life and death," added the physician, in a solemn voice.  "If you love your brother, persuade him to take this medicine."


"My brother! He's my boy, my own, my precious child!"


Her voice rose to a shriek, as she saw that his features became more convulsed. She cried, she wrung her hands, calling continually, "Eugene, my pet, my darling! I won't give you up! You sha'n't die!"


"He will die, and very soon, if you do not control yourself. You must be calm."


Addressing one of the servants, who had just returned with the prescription, he ordered Eugene's head to be held, while he forced down the medicine. Then turning to Mrs. Douglass, he said, "Madam, will you try to bring your daughter to reason? Every moment of delay makes the boy's situation more dangerous. With the aid of the servants, I wish to use the steam."


He really pitied the child-mother, as he saw her fixed gaze in her son's convulsed face; but he knew that unless vigorous measures were used, a short time would end the struggle. Taking Eugene in his own arms, he directed the girl to wrap the boy in the large blanket and hold him over the boiling water. The other girl was to furnish a fresh supply.


Mrs. Douglass tried to persuade her daughter to leave the room; but she would not. She sank into a chair and watched every movement which took place. She seemed suddenly to be turned into an automaton, only that those wondrous eyes flashed so continuously they seemed to light up the room.


In half an hour the medicine began to take effect, the terrible sound, never to be forgotten, grew less harsh. The doctor, with his coat off, worked like a hero. It was evident that the steam produced relief in breathing. More and more heavily drooped the child's head, his eyelids closed, the terrible heaving of his breast was more natural. The doctor put his hand under the blanket, found the pulse, and nodded approval.  Without awakening the boy, he put a small powder on his tongue and sat down to watch.


Another hour passed. Mrs. Douglass had quietly retired to the next room. Eugene slept still. He had been removed to the sofa. The doctor still waited. The struggle for life had been so great, he did not like to leave his patient till assured that he would have no return of the frightful convulsions. He was a father too, and aside from his desire as a physician to control the disease, he was interested in the unusual circumstances of the patient. At home, he had a daughter growing up, now in her seventeenth year, who looked more fit to be a mother than this passionate girl, who at one moment gave free vent to her frenzied agony, and the next controlled herself so wonderfully that she had sat for hours scarcely daring to breathe.


He could not comprehend, skilled as he was in controlling disease, the torture which that poor girl was undergoing from an accusing conscience.  She saw herself at last as in a mirror,—wilful, proud of her outward charms, undutiful to her long-suffering, self-sacrificing mother,—her best friend,—idolizing her boy, but blind to his faults, and not restraining her own temper that she might teach him self-control. Then her thoughts reverted to her absent husband, and conscience, resolved to be heard at last, set before her a catalogue of her offences toward him,—wilful neglect of his wishes, too evident want of affection, etc., which had at last weaned him from her and sent him far away. "Where is he now?" It seemed to her that this question was screamed in her ears. "You drove him wild with your taunts and neglect."


At length she remembered the events of the previous night.  How long ago that seemed!  The whispers of flattery that had sounded so sweetly in her ears, how she loathed them now! How she loathed herself, that they could have pleased her! She seemed to herself to have been suddenly snatched away from the very brink of a precipice, and to be frantically seizing some sure support which would prevent her from falling back into the dreadful abyss. Oh, how dark it looked! And yet how eagerly only last night she had rushed toward it!


"Oh, my boy! my boy! If you die your mother is justly punished."


Mrs. Cheriton had not lived nineteen years with her mother without understanding that this dearest friend was of late governed by different principles from those which controlled her in earlier life. She acknowledged in this dark hour that when all other help had failed, the poor widow, bearing alone her heavy burden of grief and self-reproach, had found comfort and solace in the truths contained in the sacred book hitherto so little prized. God was no longer to her an angry judge, but a tender, loving father, whose heart yearned over her. Jesus Christ was her sympathizing Saviour, who had voluntarily come to earth, suffered poverty, temptation, and ignominy, that he might know how to succor his children in like sorrow.  Many, many times Mrs. Douglass had endeavored to impress these blessed teachings on her daughter; but they only seemed to her like idle tales. Of late, since her acquaintance with Marion Howard, she had been urged to trust in the kind care of One whose eye of love was always watching her; but these faithful words, instead of drawing her heart toward the friend who uttered them, had led her to treat Marion with cold contempt.


As is frequently the case with persons in the near prospect of death, the events of the past life flash like lightning through the mind, so in Juliette's agony, circumstances connected with her childhood, youth, and brief married life rushed to her memory with a force and vividness which well nigh overwhelmed her. As she afterward described it, "I seemed to be living my life over again: I was wooed and won. I tasted the purest joy of all when my child was placed in my arms. I sinned and was punished. I went on sinning and repenting. I went headlong into the arms of a destroyer, when a hand was stretched out and saved me. I can never make myself believe that all this occurred in only five hours."


At last the physician, who had for some time been dozing in his chair, rose quietly, and, coming toward the rigid figure, said, encouragingly,—


"He is sleeping quietly now. Be careful that he does not get a chill. I will be in again at nine."


She gazed in his face, scarcely understanding his words, looking so bewildered that he mechanically placed his fingers on her pulse. Her hand was like ice.


"He, your child, is better. I am quite hopeful now. You have controlled yourself admirably."


"Do you mean that he will not die? That God will not punish me by taking him away?"


"Yes, my poor child. I mean that I hope God in mercy intends to spare him to you. He is given to you afresh, to train up to a good and useful life."


What a change came over that young face, on which despair had been stamped! The hard eyes softened, the lips quivered, the crimson tide came rushing back, painting cheeks and brow; the whole countenance grew luminous, as with quickened breath the child-mother clasped her hands, exclaiming,—


"Oh, how I will love Him! He is so good, and I have been so bad."


Forgetful of the physician's presence, or of anything, except that the God, whom she had not loved, had dealt with her in such infinite mercy, she fell on her knees and buried her face in her hands.


"Lord, help me! Save me!" she cried. "I have tried living without Thy help. I was all but lost. Do help, dear Lord."


These words, so different from what he expected under the circumstances, seemed too sacred for a stranger's ears, and the kind physician silently took his leave, wiping his eyes as he went down the stairs, then walked quickly to his home in the gray dawn of a new day.







MRS. CHERITON'S trials had only begun.  Eugene's croup was followed by congestion of the lungs, the attack assuming from the first alarming symptoms. He would not bear his mother out of his sight for a moment. Indeed the result of her injudicious fondness showed itself during these sad weeks in a manner which would have been a warning to any one.  Though she deprived herself of sleep, and almost of food, in order to be always at hand to minister to his wants, he showed no gratitude. He exacted everything as a right, and, if there was the slightest opposition to his wishes, he screamed with passion, often exclaiming, "I hate you.  Go away, bad mamma." He would not take medicine from her, shrieking, "You tell lies. You told me it was good and it wasn't. I'll let Miss Howard give it to me: she never tells lies."


From Marion, too, he would submit to any treatment, even to the blisters upon his chest. "It will hurt you, Geenie," she said, "but if you don't have it on for a few minutes that dreadful pain will come back. Be a good boy, and I will tell you a nice story about Gypsy."


"Will you bring Gypsy to see me?"


"Yes, I will."


In addition to Eugene's sickness, the doctor's services were in daily requisition for Mrs. Douglass, who had never risen from her bed since the night of her grandson's seizure. The agony of mind she had suffered on account of her daughter, followed so speedily by Eugene's dangerous illness, proved too much for a frame enfeebled by disease. Violent pain in the head was succeeded by nervous chills, until Dr. Danforth became alarmed for her life.


Under these circumstances Marion proved her real friendship by spending as much time as possible with the patient sufferer, and thus was at hand when poor Juliette, driven to her wits' end by the insubordination of her darling, was unable to control him.


As the young mother had not spoken of the events of that never-to-be-forgotten night, neither Mrs. Douglass nor Marion could account for the entire change in her manners and appearance. They supposed her fright at the sudden illness of her boy had for the time driven all other thoughts from her mind. Indeed, Mrs. Douglass, with many tears, thanked God that in his wonder-working providence he had taken any means to prevent a career of gayety which must have ended in her ruin. It would have been an immense relief to her could she have known that a card with the name "C. W. Alford" had been sent to her daughter the day following Eugene's attack, that the question written with pencil underneath his name, "When can I see you?" had been hastily answered with one word, "Never."


Yes, her Father in heaven, more ready to grant our requests than we are to ask them, had indeed answered the Christian mother's prayers, though as yet she knew it not.


Through all these anxious, weary days and nights, in the midst of  her duties,—and they were onerous,—Mrs. Cheriton was supported by the thought, "God will help me: he has promised to help those who ask him."


In after-days she used to say, "I seemed to be living in a dream. Whenever the thought of Mr. Alford came into my mind, or the recollection of his vague suggestions recurred to me, I shivered, while my cheeks burned like fire. Then the conduct of Geenie, ungovernable and unloving, continually reminded me of another precipice from which I had been drawn back.


"On the other hand, I wondered at myself, at the sweet peace which at times filled my soul. How good God has been to me! How kind, how loving, how tender! Sometimes when Geenie slept I found time to read a few verses in the Bible. I found verses written expressly for me: 'Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.'  'For he knoweth our frame, he remembereth that we are dust.' I could scarcely believe that these precious words were in God's own book. I put in a mark and read them again and again."


But it was impossible for such a radical change to take place in Mrs. Cheriton without the fact becoming visible to those about her. Even before her mother noticed anything, the servants talked about it.


"She must believe he is going to die," one girl said to another, "else she wouldn't speak so kindly, and thank me as she does."


The first thing indicating a change noticed by her mother was one morning, when the chamber-girl, having put everything in order, had left the room, Juliette came from the adjoining chamber with a smile on her face. Approaching the bed, she kissed her mother, saying, softly,—


"Geenie is asleep. If you like, I'll read to you," laying her hand on the Bible as she spoke.


"Thank you, dear. That would indeed be a pleasure."


"Where shall I read? But here is your mark in St. John's Gospel."


In a low, and, to her mother, inexpressibly sweet voice, she read the last words of Christ to his disciples, frequently pausing as she read, as though applying the precious words to her own case.


Mrs. Douglass lay with her eyes fixed on the pale countenance of the reader, wondering what made her so beautiful. The rich bloom had gone, the dark eyes no longer flashed; but never had there been such a serene smile wreathing the lips.  It seemed to indicate an inward peace.


At last, Juliette, raising her eyes from the book met her mother's gaze fixed intently on her.


"Can I do anything more for you, dear?" she said, rising and leaning over the bed.


"O Juliette! If you could, if you would, pray: we need help so much."


There was a momentary struggle in the breast of the young convert, and then, throwing herself on her knees by the bed, she hid her face in her hands and poured out from a thankful heart prayer for Christ's presence, such as he had promised his disciples, and praise for the blessed hope of acceptance and pardon. With the simplicity of a child who has scarcely learned the language of prayer, but whose soul is fully alive to the value of the blessings to be asked for, she plead for wisdom equal to every emergency, grace for every trial her Father in his love might see fit to send. She prayed for her dear mother, so weak and suffering, for her boy, not yet out of danger, that He who loved them better than any earthly love would do for them according to his will.  "But, oh, dear Jesus, who loves little children," she cried, clasping her hands, "if he must die, and it is Thy blessed will, prepare my boy, my poor, neglected child, for heaven. Let him not suffer eternally for his mother's sinful neglect of Thy commands."


Then her sobs became so violent that she was obliged to rise hastily and leave the room.


Mrs. Douglass closed her eyes, while she murmured the inspired words, "Lord, now let Thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation."


"I asked God, and He has heard my prayers. She has learned to pray. That was not her first prayer. O my Saviour, help me to thank Thee as I ought."


When Dr. Danforth made his next visit, he found Mrs. Douglass bolstered up in bed, Hepsey, who had for a day or two supplied Marion's place, arranging her still abundant hair. They were engaged in animated conversation when he entered. He had become deeply interested in the strangers, having never forgotten the scenes of the night of his introduction to them. To no one had he ever mentioned the young mother's prayer, the burden of which was help for herself from some great danger, not for relief and returning health to her child.


"You are better," he said, cheerfully, after having counted her pulse.


"Yes, Doctor, I have had a restorative."


"Wine? I wish you had taken it sooner."


"No, Doctor. I have heard my daughter pray." The mother's face beamed with joy.


"What is so great a beautifier as happiness?" was the doctor's thought. "She looks ten years younger." He spoke seriously, but with the greatest tenderness, saying,—


"I have heard her pray, and I think her prayers have been answered. She has borne the trials of these sad weeks with a sweet submission and patience I have seldom seen surpassed."


"God has given her grace according to her day."


"Yes. He has indeed fulfilled His promise to the widow and orphan."


"My daughter is not a widow, Doctor," murmured the patient, her cheeks flushing. "You have been such a kind friend, I may confide so much of our story to you. Juliette was married at the early age of fourteen, and her child was born within the year. Geenie was only a few weeks old when his father left home for England, ostensibly to obtain a situation where he might support his family in the luxuries to which they had been accustomed. We hear from him occasionally, but have never seen him since."


"Unnatural monster!" cried the doctor, indignantly. He thought of his own little girl, and wondered how she would endure such a living trial,—she to whom the loss of a pet dog had been the greatest grief she had known.


It was a minute or two before he could rally sufficiently to remark, "Eugene is better too. I am sorry to say my patient will soon be dismissing me."


"We have so few friends in America, we cannot give up your visits without regret, Doctor. But it is selfish for us to keep you longer than is necessary, when so many need you."


"Is a physician to have no friends, then?" queried the doctor, assuming a gruff voice. "You will find it hard, madam, to get rid of me."  Then, with an emphatic shrug of his shoulders, he went away, and drove nearly a mile out of his course, while he was wondering what kind of a man Mr. Cheriton could be who would forsake a wife like Juliette.


In another respect the young mother showed that she had taken God's word as the rule of her life. This was in the management of her child. Formerly, when herself provoked at his rudeness or impatient at his exactions, she had dealt him a sudden blow, which, however, always seemed to rouse his combativeness to such a degree that it required much skill to soothe him. She usually had to buy him off from the exhibition of temper by confectionery or some new toys. Now, feeling her own weakness, she daily sought strength from God. She had noticed, too, how easily Mr. Angus and Marion had made him obey, not by blows or threats, but by a firm and gentle kindness, which won his confidence. It was her aim to imitate this method.


As soon as he was able to sit up, Eugene felt rather than understood that his mother would no longer submit to be struck in the face or called "bad mamma" when his wishes were crossed. She talked to him, explained that he must obey, that Jesus Christ loved good children, and that she would teach him to pray, and ask this best Friend to help him be good.


There is a sacredness in religious teachings which always arrests the attention of a child. No stories are so much delighted in as the stories of Joseph and Samuel and Daniel, and particularly the story of our dear Saviour. Over and over again these stories may be repeated; yet the little one never tires, but will ask new questions concerning the wonderful characters.


Juliette had thus a double incentive to read her Bible. She wished to find in the sacred pages strength for daily duties; and she also read for the instruction of her boy.


Marion came in one day and found Geenie dressed in a wrapper, sitting in his mother's lap. In her hand she held the Good Book, and they were talking eagerly of the story she had read.  Marion wrote afterwards, in her letter to Mr. Angus, that she seldom had seen a prettier picture,—the beauty of both so softened by the subjects on which they were talking.


Marion bent over and pressed her lips to the fair forehead of the young mother, and Eugene made them laugh by imitating her example.


"She's nicer than she was," he exclaimed, patting her cheek. "She doesn't tell lies any more. She tells me when the medicine is going to taste badly,—but I take it all the same."


After talking for a few minutes with Mrs. Douglass, Marion hurried away, saying to herself,—


"What a glorious change! What a purifier and refiner Christianity is! How Mr. Angus will rejoice that Juliette has accepted her Saviour!"


Before I close this chapter I must tell the reader that Marion showed Mr. Alford's card to Mr. Lambert the very day Mrs. Douglass had given it to her, only asking whether he knew the man. He did not, but soon found a man of his description was a frequenter of gambling-saloons and other disreputable places of resort, that the name Alford was one of several aliases, and that he was a man wholly unfit to be trusted.


To neither Mrs. Douglass nor her daughter did she repeat this information, the change in Juliette rendering it unnecessary.







"THIS is only a stable, Miss Marion."


"The place must be here, Hepsey: the number three hundred and sixty is plainly marked."


The young lady reverted to her paper again.


"'Esther Cole, three hundred sixty.' Three hundred fifty-eight, the last house is marked. I must inquire."


One of the hostlers came forward to the door of the stable.


"Do you want a carriage, lady?"


"I am looking for a number which ought to be here."


"Is it a tenement house you're after, ma'am?"


"Yes, and a family by the name of Cole."


"It's aloft their house is. Walk right through ma'am, to the ladder beyont."


"Thank you," replied Marion, giving him a smile which quite won him. "How very clear your floor is! I was never in a stable before.  Look, Hepsey! See how nicely the carriages are covered; and really there is quite a pretty parlor,—and such a row of whips hanging up."


"That room is for ladies and gentlemen to wait while their horses are harnessed, ma'am." The hostler was doing the honors in his best style. They had now reached the ladder, as he called it by which they were to ascend to the room "aloft," and he said, "It's a poor place, ma'am, for a lady the likes of yees."


"It's a heathenish place," retorted Hepsey "Not fit for Christians to live in. Are you sure, young man, that the steps are safe?"


He laughed merrily, exhibiting a row of even white teeth.


"If it's afraid ye are, ma'am," he explained, looking at Marion, "sure I'll bring 'em all down to yees,—every mother's son of 'em."


"Oh, no, indeed! We will go up. Many thanks for your courtesy."


Her face was all dimpled with smiles as she prepared to mount the steps, while the hostler walked away, saying to himself,—


"A rale lady that is. The man that owns her must be a happy one."


At the top of the steps a door opened into a large room rudely partitioned off from the hayloft and smelling strongly of the fumes from the stable below. Seven people called this room their home,—father, mother, grandmother, and four children of different ages under eight years. Unlike many who live in more spacious apartments, their hearts were larger than their home, and they had recently welcomed a poor waif thrown upon the cold charities of the world.


Esther Sims was an orphan who had been connected with the mission Sunday and sewing schools in which Miss Howard was interested. This lady had never considered her very intelligent, but she had a pretty face, with childish features, and an appealing glance in her deep, gray eyes which made her many friends. Marion had lost sight of her for more than a year, and only the day before her visit to the stable learned her sad story.


Not being very happy in the family where one of the mission-school teachers had placed her, she was easily persuaded to leave it for employment in a cigar factory. There she formed the acquaintance of a young fellow by the name of Cole, and soon after was married to him. If she had taken to heart the instructions of her faithful teacher, she would have distrusted the principles of a man whose first act in connection with her was deceit.


As they were both infants in the eye of the law, Esther being but sixteen, and her husband to be but eighteen, the clergyman refused to perform the ceremony unless one of the parents, was present and wished it. Leaving her sitting on the steps to the house, he hurried off, and soon returned with a woman who said she was his mother, and who declared her willingness for her bye to be married.


They were married, and young Cole took his wife home to a house where he had lodgings, where they had many a laugh about the ease with which he had found a mother in his emergency, he having given the woman twenty-five cents to personate such an individual.


Esther's character was so yielding that she got along for a few months without much trouble. She never knew what her husband's business was, and often wondered why it kept him so long into the night. At last he began to abuse her, and grew so irritable that she begged to be taken back to her old place in the cigar factory, where, at least, she had kept herself from starving. Now young Cole had been arrested for burglary, tried, and sentenced to prison for three years, and Esther, innocent, ignorant even of his ever having committed crime, was suspected of being connected with the plot.


Even Hepsey, who tried to harden her heart against pity, having been so often deceived, was affected by the utter abandonment to grief of the young girl. She was sitting on a bed of straw, with a child of her sister-in-law across her lap, her head fallen forward on her breast, her tears falling on the sleeping babe's face, seemingly unconscious of the presence of any one.


"She's just gone daft with her trouble, poor thing," explained the woman, as she saw the eyes of her visitors fastened on the child-wife.


It was difficult to rouse her from her grief. When addressed, she looked up frightened, supposing officers had come to take her to jail. Then, recognizing Miss Howard's kind face, she asked, piteously,—


"Will they keep me in prison long?"


Mrs. Cole took the babe from her arms, explaining, "I thought maybe 't would divert her thoughts," and then went on to say that Jo, her husband's brother, had always been a bad boy. He had no business to deceive a young girl, and get married when he had no home. That Esther was steady and honest, and was never up to knowing his wicked goings-on. Then she touched her head and pointed to the poor girl in a significant manner. "As to the robbery, she's as innocent of it as a babe unborn."


No one could doubt it who witnessed the appealing glance in those wondering eyes; at least Miss Howard did not, but she could not at once decide what course to pursue to clear the child from the suspicion of crime. Having ascertained that Mrs. Cole was willing to keep her for a few days, Miss Howard put a sum of money into her hands, and, promising to do what she could, took her leave.


"She's no more guilty than I am," exclaimed Hepsey, indignantly. "That woman thinks she isn't bright, but it's only because she's been cowed down and abused till she darsn't say her soul is her own. I remember her when she was as tidy and spry as the best of 'em."


"Why, Hepsey, where did you ever see her?"


"At the sewing school, ma'am, where I used to go in yer place while yer was in Grantbury; and Esther Sims, as they called her then, was the most respectful and the best behaved of the whole class."


"Hepsey, do you think she could be trained by kindness to be a good servant?" Marion's voice was abrupt in her earnestness.


"Indeed I do, ma'am. To be sure, it would take time, but it would be a deed o' mercy, and like as not be the saving of her soul."


"Well, my dear, good Hepsey, you have helped me through a great many difficulties. If we can get the poor child away from her surroundings, you shall have the chance to try and save her."


Hepsey was startled. This was rather beyond what she had thought of. Presently she asked, abruptly,—


"What will she do with her thief of a husband?"


"She must be made absolutely free from him, of course. I will take advice about it."


"I suppose you're thinking of yer own home in the country, ma'am, and that is where I'm to train her," added Hepsey, with a sly glance into her young mistress's face.


A rosy blush was the only reply.




While Marion was hesitating to whom she should apply for advice in regard to poor Esther, Mr. Mitchell came home. He assured her that by the laws of the State the husband's incarceration in prison rendered the wife free from the marriage tie. He also comforted her by saying, that even if Esther were arrested, unless some one appeared against her, the case could not be carried on. Marion, however, with the recollection of the child's look of terror at the very thought of being arrested, was determined to prevent it if possible.


Suddenly recalling to mind Mr. Lambert's promise to aid her in her works of charity, she sent James to his house to request him to call at his earliest convenience.


When he came, which was almost immediately she was struck with a change in his appearance; and inquired, anxiously,—


"Are you ill, sir?"


"What makes you ask that? I'm in rollicking health and spirits."


She doubted it, however, for even while talking with her he seemed to fall into fits of revery.


"What a fool she was to marry so young!' he said, with a sneer; "but, as you say, that can't be helped now. My advice is, let him go to—anywhere that will keep him out of her way. But what is to be done with the child?"


"I think Hepsey means to take her," replied Marion, showing all her dimples. "I hope she can be got off without going to court."


"Hepsey, hem!  Well, never fear. I'll see the judge and settle that. If he won't believe my word, I'll make him go to the stable, mount the ladder, and see for himself."


He leaned back in his chair, laughing heartily but Marion noticed that there was no ring of mirth in his laugh.


Suddenly she said, "O Mr. Lambert! Are you acquainted with Mr. Regy? I hear of him everywhere among the poor, and I long to see him."


"Better not," he grumbled. "Take my word for it, he is a good-for-nothing fellow. I know him well."


"You must be prejudiced, Mr. Lambert. His heart is just as warm as yours; indeed, in many things he must be like you: he delights to relieve suffering and he delights to—to—what shall I call it?"


"Call it abuse; that's the right name. He's a hard-shelled old sinner. He tries to salve his conscience by giving away what he don't want. Keep clear of him, as you would of the plague. Now I must be going, or I sha'n't see that judge."







THE very next day he called again.


"It's all right," he said. "The girl is free to go where she chooses. Now I want to ask you a question. Where do you go to church?"


"I attend -Church. Dr. M- is my pastor."


"But you're not a member."


"Oh, yes! I have been for a great many years."


His countenance expressed real disappointment. "I could have sworn you didn't believe in such humbug."


"O Mr. Lambert, don't say so!" Marion'! eyes filled with tears. She had always supposed that he was a Christian and a member of some church.


"I've never seen any cant about you. In fact, I took it for granted that you were a good, common-sense girl. Why, all that nonsense about joining a church and taking an oath that you believe such and such doctrines has exploded long ago!"


"Don't you believe any doctrines?"


"I believe this: that it's the life we must look to. Why, I've seen men,—and women too,—who swallowed the whole creed, covers and all, stiff and straitlaced, thought it a sin to smile, but who wouldn't give a penny to a poor man to save his soul. I'm sick of this talk about doctrine. Give me the life,—that's what I look at."


"But how shall we know how to live unless we study God's Word? We have exact directions there,—and these are what I call doctrines. I am sure you believe that Jesus Christ came to set us an example of a perfect life."


"I'll allow that for the sake of argument."


"Did He ever sin?"


"Not that I ever heard of, but I don't know much about it."


"Can you name any other man who ever lived without sin?"


"Perhaps not. I always said the world was up side down. But what does that prove? I don't know what you are driving at."


"Then the claim of Jesus Christ himself, that He was the Son of God, in a peculiar sense,—that no man can come to the Father except through Him,—is a claim we must acknowledge."


"I don't know anything about that. You are taking too much for granted."


"Why, if any other man should claim to be divine, saying, in plain terms, 'I and my Father are one,' he would be seized and punished for blasphemy. It would be monstrous, presumptuous in the last degree. The fact that Jesus Christ claimed that he was one with the Father, the fact that he was a sinless being, and could not therefore be such a wicked impostor, that he proved his assertion by his life, his teachings, and his power to work miracles, is the great central truth on which Christianity is based. If you read your Bible prayerfully, as I earnestly hope you do, you must concede so much."


Mr. Lambert twirled his glove, looked grave, and then said, "Well, what of that?"


"How do you suppose the world came to be upside down, Mr. Lambert?"


"Can't say. Can vouch for the fact, though. Everything and everybody is helter-skelter."


"Including Mr. Regy, I suppose."


"Yes; he is as bad as any of them."


"And needs a power out of himself to put him right."


"That's true."


"This power we have in our blessed Saviour. He came to save us from sin and from all its dismal consequences."


"Well, admit that too, for the sake of argument."


"Now, my dear friend," urged Marion, seizing his arm and gazing wistfully in his face, "believing so much, as I am sure you do, you have the very root and foundation of the Christian doctrine. A good life must and will grow out of such a belief. Jesus Christ, who was rich, became poor for our sakes. He sacrificed ease, comfort, home on earth, and all that makes life dear. I say nothing of the glories of heaven, the worship of myriads of holy beings, which He willingly exchanged for disgrace, ignominy, and death. I am only speaking now of Him in His human nature.  He loved us to that extent He was willing to do and bear all this for us, to make us happy here and hereafter. We must acknowledge ourselves degraded indeed, if we are not willing to do something to show our appreciation of such love. What does He ask of us? Only that we return His love, and cherish kindly feelings toward each other. Love God, and our neighbor as ourselves. This is the life you so rightly urge that we must live. It flows naturally from the doctrine. Any other motives than love to God and to our fellows fail of power to help us live this life.


"You see I have not said a word about the theories that man, in different stages of the world, has built on these fundamental truths. There always has been and always will be different ways of explaining God's truth; but speculation is outside of fundamental truth. Man a sinner, Christ a Saviour, is enough for me. Any man, woman, or child, really desirous of showing his love to Christ, can find rules in God's Word to guide him in every emergency."


"About joining a certain church, for instance." There was an ill-concealed sneer in Mr. Lambert's voice.


"Yes, we have the example of companies of disciples gathering themselves together to recount what God had done for them. Our Saviour himself honored and showed His approbation of these gatherings by being present with them. The most affecting of all His dying messages to His disciples was that they should eat bread as a symbol of his body broken, and drink wine as a symbol of His blood shed for them. This was to be a continual reminder of what He had done. I can say from my own experience, that this communing with Christ in His sacrifice brings Him nearer to me not only as a Saviour but as a friend, or elder brother, than anything else could do."


"I don't see any Christianity in one soul de-crying another, and calling each other hard names."


"I don't see any Christianity in one man stealing his neighbor's coat, or his property of any kind. One act is as much Christian as the other. If the disciples of Christ would only live up to the example He set for us, one man would never decry or call his neighbor hard names merely because they differ on non-essentials.


"People's likes and dislikes are as wide apart as their countenances. Because one man has blue eyes, he needn't decry a man who has black. All that is required of him is that he shall use aright the eyes God has given him. One man is so constituted that in his worship of God he prefers liturgy and certain prescribed forms. This mode, which we call Episcopalian, helps his fervor, and the very forms assist him to keep his mind from wandering.


"Others find these written prayers, etc., irksome and monotonous: they like more stir and bustle; such become Methodists. God never expected or intended that we should all be patterned in the same mould. Social intercourse would be very tame if we were. Mr. Regy, for instance, has his own method of relieving the poor, and I have mine," she added, smiling.


"Mr. Regy is an old humbug," growled Mr. Lambert. "I'm always ashamed when I've been in his society. He's the most provoking man I'm acquainted with."


"And yet he is in a fair way to attain a high position: 'He that humbleth himself shall be exalted.'"


Mr. Lambert's face crimsoned, and he muttered some unintelligible words. He caught up his hat and cane in a hurry, when she said, tenderly,—


"May I say something to you, my dear friend?"


"Humph! That's cool! Here you've been driving into me with hammer and tongs, and now you ask very meekly, may I say something to you?' Well, say on; a few hits more or less won't kill me."


"It is only this, dear sir. When we accept Jesus Christ as our own personal Saviour, He will flood our souls with such peace and joy as we never before conceived. His love helps us to bear trials, to meet disappointment with true fortitude, to look forward without fear to the time when we shall walk through the dark valley. I shall pray daily that such love as this may fill your soul."


His face became so convulsed while she made this personal appeal that she was really alarmed. Putting a violent restraint on himself, he rallied and exclaimed in a light tone,—


"You were cut out for a theological professor I was not aware of this accomplishment." He would not notice the hand she held out to him, but with a gruff "Good day," left the room.


After his departure, Marion found herself so shaken that she could scarcely collect her thoughts. She went to her chamber, and with tears plead for her friend. "O God, show Thy self to him in the face of thy Son, Jesus Christ." This was the burden of her petitions.


Fortunately for her, this was the day of the week when the foreign mail came in. A letter from her dearest friend would restore her spirits.  While she was waiting for it, thoughts of Mr. Lambert would intrude, and she was surprised that, knowing him so intimately as she had for some years, she was so little acquainted with his early life. "I wish I could comfort him as daughter would. Did he really disbelieve every thing, as he pretended?"


She at last put on her hat and, summoning Hepsey, went to call on Esther. She was recovering from her fright, and seemed relieved that she was freed from a bond which had proved such a burden to her.


"I advise her to go back to her old name again," explained Mrs. Cole. "Esther Sims she is to be from this time."


Miss Howard promised that Hepsey should accompany Esther to a clothing store, where suitable outfit would be provided for her, which she could pay for with her after-earnings.


"Am I to go into the cigar factory?" inquired Esther, with a shudder.


"Oh, no! You are to live with me. Hepsey has adopted you," laughing. "I can speak for her that she will be strict, but kind."


Esther looked up suddenly, as though she scarcely understood, but, seeing the bright smile on Miss Howard's face, her own grew radiant then, with a quick movement, she threw herself on her knees before the lady, while tears of joy ran down her cheeks.


"Poor child!" murmured Marion. "She has known so little the comfort of a home."


"Or having real friends to care for her," interrupted Hepsey, wiping her own eyes.


It was indeed a change in Esther's life, difficult for her, at least, to comprehend. For days after she went to live with her kind friends, she seemed to herself to be in a dream. Nothing made it seem so real as the prayers Mr. Mitchell offered when they all gathered around the family altar. As she told Hepsey afterward, she would go without food rather than to lose the opportunity of being present.


"Do you recollect a little prayer you taught us at the mission school, Miss Howard?"


This lady and Esther were sitting at their sewing when the child timidly asked the question. She was gradually becoming accustomed to kind words, losing the habit of starting, when suddenly addressed, as though she feared a blow.


Esther's hands trembled with eagerness as she asked the question.


"Do you mean the prayer which begins, 'Help me, dear Lord'?"


"Yes, ma'am." The child closed her eyes, bent her head forward just in the old way she had been taught, and repeated the whole prayer with a solemnity and fervor which deeply affected the hearer.


"Help me, dear Lord, this day, to be honest, faithful, and true toward my fellows, and above all to love Thee, blessed Saviour, with all my heart. Help me to remember that God sees all that I do, and hears all that I say, and that He is able to protect and guide all those who put their trust in Him. For Jesus Christ's sake, we ask this. Amen."


With a half-checked sob the child went on, gradually forgetting her timidity, and giving to her faithful teacher an insight into her poor, lonely, repressed life which was never forgotten.


"O Miss Howard! it frightens me to think how bad I was at the mission school. I used to whisper and set the girls to laughing, and waste my thread, and do so many naughty things. Miss Farnum ought to have put me out. But if she had," sighing, "I never should have learned that good prayer" (speaking with great awe) "and then what should I have done when I was in such trouble?


"I used to kneel in the corner and repeat it over and over till it seemed like I heard Jesus' voice say, 'I will, child.' Once when he"—she always alluded to her husband as he—"came home drunk, and beat me, I worried 'cause I couldn't get to my corner and kneel down. I did manage to sit up in bed and put my hands together as you told us, and I said it over and over in my heart. I thought, maybe as He knows all about us, He'd know how it hurt me to move, and wouldn't mind if I did cry and moan, 'cause I couldn't help it."


"My poor child. I am very glad you knew where to go for comfort. Did you ever try to form a prayer for yourself?"


"No, ma'am, not a prayer. I wasn't fit for it, you know; but when he was swearing and threatening to kill me,—not him, but rum,—I used to whisper, O God, pity me. Dear Jesus, take away the bad heart that makes him treat me so. Once after I had asked God to make him good and help me to be patient, he came and looked at me as I lay on the straw. He wasn't drunk then, and he said, 'I'm sorry for your sake you ever saw me, Esther.' His voice was real kind, like as though he pitied me. When he'd gone, I told Jesus about it. Was it naughty?" as she saw Miss Howard suddenly put her handkerchief to her eyes, "and I loved Jesus Christ so much that I forgot all the pain in my head and my side, so I fell asleep."







NO one but a faithful Christian worker in Christ's vineyard can understand the encouragement such a revelation as that described in the last chapter is to those who have been for years sowing good seed and waiting for the harvest.


Esther, for years a member of the mission Sunday school,—light and frivolous, seemingly almost incapable of retaining any of the teachings repeated Sunday after Sunday in her hearing,—had been impressed by something in this simple prayer which the gracious spirit of God had fixed in her memory. It seemed to have been the "word in season," which had come back to her in her hours of deepest need, and proved to her in truth that God was really a loving Father watching over and pitying His sorrowing children.


Marion related the incident which had so deeply affected her to her friend in England adding, "I suppose I may learn from this a lesson of trust. We have the glorious privilege of sowing the seed in the hearts of these poor waifs. It is God's part, which He has promised to do, to help it to sink into the light soil and spring up to everlasting life.


"How many times I have heard people say, 'Such work does no good. The influences around these poor creatures are all against them. Once in seven days they repeat the command not to swear, not to steal, not to lie, and every hour of the other six days they hear the vilest oaths and are witness to a breach of every other command. If it were any truths but God's own truths, which He has promised to bless, we might well be discouraged; but in the case of Esther, when to human appearance all her surroundings were against her, one little seed of divine truth sank into her heart and bore such wonderful fruit that I take fresh courage and feel that I can labor with fresh diligence."


Never in all her acquaintance with Mrs. Douglass had our young friend enjoyed her visits there as now. The lady had recovered from her recent illness, and was able to take a short walk every day, supported by her daughter's arm. In Mrs. Cheriton's countenance there was an added beauty. Her eyes no longer flashed defiantly, as of old. Her head seemed to have forgotten its fashion of throwing itself back, as she haughtily refused any request which crossed her own inclinations. Upon her brow there was a sweet serenity that spoke to the observer of inward peace.


I have already spoken of the change in her treatment of her boy. Her resolutions made during that dreadful night were never forgotten. Conscience, once aroused, did not slumber again. She prayed earnestly that she might have help to command her own temper, and thus be able to teach Geenie to conquer his. The resemblance in many of her traits to her uncle Henreich, which has caused her mother hours of anxious forebodings, grew less and less every day. She saw that her daughter was making a great effort to correct her faults, and that in her government of her son she was kind but firm.


Formerly, as Marion went into their room, she was aware that her entrance had interrupted some unpleasant discussion. Mrs. Douglass would either be trembling with agitation or in tears while Mrs. Cheriton was flushed and defiant.


Now what a pleasing change! The two ladies sat at their work, regarding each other with the tender affection natural to the tie between them, while Eugene, sometimes boisterous indeed, was growing every day more willing to yield to authority.


One morning Marion called on her way to her pupils, who, by the way, were making their best efforts to show her they appreciated her self-denying efforts, as she had informed them she intended to resign her place in the school. She met Eugene, dressed for a walk, with a young companion from the house; and descending the stairs, found the ladies improving the time in reading an interesting book.


"I want you to tell Miss Howard about Geenie's prayer," remarked Mrs. Douglass to her daughter.


"I really hope," began Mrs. Cheriton, "that he understands what I have told him, that God sees us, though we can't see Him. Yesterday afternoon we were sitting here with the door open into the next room. I heard a noise like driving a nail, but supposed he was busy with his toys, and presently I heard his voice. We both listened and heard him say,—


"'God, don't look this way! Turn your eyes the other side. I'm very naughty, God. Don't see me! Look over there! I'm SO naughty, God, I don't want you to see.'"


"By this time I concluded it was best for me to see what the hammering meant. I went in and found him driving tacks into the trunk.  He made no resistance when I took away the hammer, but looked ashamed when I said,—


"'O Geenie! How could you do so?'"


"You can imagine how he would have resisted once," added the boy's grandmother. "He would have kicked and screamed and tried to bite."


"I am thankful those days are past," murmured Marion, noticing the mother's flush of painful recollection caused by this allusion. "He will reward you for all the pains you take to control him."


"He has already," exclaimed the young mother, clasping her hands in her impulsive manner. "Geenie was never so affectionate as now. I do believe that he never loved me so well as when I had to punish him the other day. He hung around me, kissing me again and again. When he saw tears in my eyes, he took his own little handkerchief to wipe them away, saying repeatedly,—


"'Geenie will be good all the time, mamma. Geenie won't make mamma cry any more.'"


Marion was sometimes very curious to know whether, with the many obvious changes in Mrs. Cheriton's character, her feelings of aversion to her husband remained. She was well aware that many of the former disagreements with the mother arose from the fact that Mrs. Douglass urged Juliette to write kindly to her husband, from whom they had heard within a few months. To be sure, he had not sent them any intelligence, but in a newspaper accidentally falling under their notice, they had seen his name and knew he was then in New Orleans. If there was any return of affection on the wife's part, no one knew it, for on this subject she maintained the most rigid reserve.


Indeed, Mrs. Cheriton could never be called a frank person. It was only under the influence of very strong emotion that she gave utterance to her deepest feelings. From the first, Marion had noticed this trait, and wondered at it in one so young.


With another child-wife it was exactly the reverse. To her earliest friends—Miss Howard and Hepsey—Esther laid bare all that was in her childish and grateful heart.


Marion often came upon her, singing in a low musical voice, a refrain from the hymn sung at family prayers, and when spoken to she had a way of looking up with her large, deep-set eyes, and smiling, as she said softly,—


"I'm so happy, ma'am. Everybody is so kind to me." And this was while the great ridges on her slender body, caused by her husband's brutal beatings, were still unhealed. In regard to this husband she did not hesitate to speak, though at first with tears.


"Would it be wicked, ma'am, to let him think I belong to him now?"


She asked this one morning when she was braiding her young mistress's abundant tresses and could keep her own face concealed.


"What do you mean?" Marion was startled and spoke in a sharp voice.


"I mean, ma'am, he's shut up now and can't get rum; and he was kind, once; and wouldn't he feel better if he knew that I cared for him a little?"


"You said you did not care for him; that you never wanted to see him again. Would you go back to him? Would you submit to his ill treatment, his profanity and abuse?"


Esther was silent, and glancing in the mirror, her mistress saw that her eyes were full of tears. At last she said, in a tone of deep sorrow,—


"I'm sorry God heard me say that. I was angry at the bad rum, and I was afraid of being shut up in a cell with him. I—I asked Jesus to put my naughty feelings away. I—I found the place in your prayer-book, ma'am,—I mean the marrying place. It's solemn words, ma'am; I didn't know that marrying was such a solemn thing. I was too young, and I had no mother, and my mates thought it would be fun to be married, and I didn't remember that I should have to stay married whether I liked it or not and so when he praised me and said he loved me best of all the girls in our court, though they all wanted him, I said I'd go to the parson. I had no call, ma'am, to let him say that bad woman was my mother. She was old Nan, the worst woman among them all, but that is over now. I'd die before I'd do so naughty again, but, ma'am, the minister asked me those solemn words, and I said yes, so I've been thinking that," sighing heavily, "'for better for worse, till death us do part,' means that I do belong to him, ma'am and so I—" Her voice was stopped suddenly for she fell on her knees, and with her head hidden in her arms, sobbed without restraint.


Marion's own tears flowed. As she told the story afterward to Mrs. Mitchell and Hepsey, "When I saw her in a perfect abandonment of grief, sobbing her heart out at the recollection of the man who had so abused his trust, I resolved that, if the law could prevent it, she never should live with him again. But at the same moment I felt for her such an increase of respect that folded her in my arms and kissed her."


A few days after this Miss Howard was dressing to go out when Esther came forward, blushing painfully, and holding out an awkwardly folded paper, asked,—


"May I go out, ma'am, to put this into the box at the corner?"


The lady took the letter and glanced her eye over the address, "Joseph Cole, Sing-Sing Prison, Auburn, New York State." The writing was scarcely intelligible, but Marion was not thinking of that. She could not endure the thought that Esther in her childish trust might bind herself irrevocably to his future.


"His sister told me how to write that," murmured Esther, in a hesitating tone. "'T isn't my place, ma'am, to ask you to give your time to it; but if you'll please to read it, and say I may send it to him, I shall be very happy."


This was what Marion wished to do. She seated herself instantly and unfolded the paper, not yet sealed, Esther meanwhile ruffling the edge of her apron as though her life depended on her doing it quickly.


Marion had never perused a letter in which all the rules of grammar and spelling were so wholly set at defiance; but seldom had she read one which touched her heart more. It was very brief, but to the point, and correcting the spelling, read as follows:—


Dear Jo,—


It's a good while now since you and me see each other.

I thought, maybe, you'd like to know that a dear, kind lady, as used

to teach me in the Mission, is giving me a home. I'm happy, or I

would be if I could forget where you are. I'm learning to pray, Jo;

and when I say my prayers I never forget that God can look right into

your cell and see you, though I can't; so I tell him all about you,

and ask him to make this the best time in your life, as it may be if

you will learn to love Him. You are not yet twenty years old, and

when you come out of prison you will be young enough to begin life

again. This is what I am praying for you all the time.


Your little wife, ESTHER.


"If she had left out the words 'your little wife,'" said Marion to herself, "I would not have objected to her writing him for once." Then glancing up, she saw Esther's eyes fixed upon her with a mournfully earnest expression, and without another word went to her desk, took out an envelope, enclosed the letter in it, copied the address, and let it go. Afterward she confessed, "I believe at that moment I felt far more unforgiving toward the prisoner than the innocent victim of his brutality did."







ALL this time the building committee in Grantbury were pressing on the work most vigorously. The edifice was unlike any other in the town. It was of Gothic architecture. The walls were, as I have mentioned of native stone, the windows high, narrow, with stained glass.  "They will have a cross on the spire," said one, "I'm sure of it, and I'll tell you what it will end in, they'll all go to Rome together."


The work proceeded so well, notwithstanding these prophecies, that it was hoped it would be ready for occupation by Christmas. Mr. Angus's taste was consulted during the entire progress.


The plan had been copied and sent to him for approval.  All the committee agreed that some suggestions made by him were a great improvement on the original plan. In his last letter he had told them he expected to sail for home the 17th of September, and this the committee said would be in time to decide about frescoing and other interior decorations. No member of the parish, outside of Mr. Asbury's family, was aware that a new tie had been formed which would strengthen his affection to the country and home of his adoption. A few persons knew that a cellar was being dug on a house-lot not two hundred feet from the new church, but these few supposed Mr. Asbury was going to erect a house to rent, as he was often seen directing the workmen. The fact was that "our church," with its rafters exposed to view, its spire towering every day nearer to heaven, its ample porch of solid stone, absorbed all the interest of the congregation.


Every week a letter came to the church or the Sunday school in which the pastor spoke most hopefully of what they might together accomplish for the cause of Christ. He told them what he had seen in England and Scotland, among congregations he had visited, of united effort. He reminded them, that if they so labored and prayed, God would surely add His blessing, until there was not one in the limits of the town who did not love Christ and try to serve Him.


To the Sunday-school children he wrote of schools in London and Edinburgh, where all were wide awake with interest to gather in the poor waifs who knew nothing of Jesus except His name, which they heard mingled with the most dreadful oaths. He spoke of the reward these workers received in their own hearts, and urged them to follow so worthy an example. He mentioned at the close of this letter that he had subscribed for one of the best English Sunday-school papers, and offered it for a reward to the child who would bring into their own Sunday school the greatest number of scholars. These must be from families not connected with any other church.


For the first time in her life dear little Ethel had a secret, and it was her own Marion who told her of it.


By and by, when the new house was done, she knew that her dear Mr. Angus would bring Marion from the city and go there to live. She knew that a beautiful conservatory was to be built on the south side of the new house, and that Marion's flowers and birds would be brought there. She knew that Hepsey and Esther and James would all be in the pretty home at the new Ingleside, and that she could go to see them as often as she pleased. She knew why it was that Marion came from New York so often, and why papa spent so much time talking with her about some large charts spread out on the dining-room table, about an oriel window here, and a balcony there, and why they always waited till she was in bed before they walked over to the spot where the new house was being built.


One thing more connected with this wonderful secret she had been told later, and this came near letting the whole thing out, which would indeed have set the congregation connected with the First Church into a blaze of excitement. Marion had promised that on a certain occasion, not very far distant, she should go to New York with her papa and mamma and Annie and Gardner, and stand up with Marion as bridesmaid, while she promised to love Mr. Angus and take good can of him as long as she lived.


It was something to be remembered, the wonder and delight of the child as she came to understand all this. Her eyes grew darker, and her whole face radiant, as she glanced slowly from one to another, and her mamma added,—


"Yes, darling, cousin Marion is going to live in Grantbury and be Mr. Angus's wife."


"And I'll be his wife, too," she exclaimed, with a little hop of delight. "I'll promise to love him and take care of him. He can be the broom to both of us."


"The broom!"


"Yes, mamma, you said that she would be the bride and he the broom."


"Groom, you mean, you precious pet," said Marion, catching the child in her arms and hiding her burning cheeks in Ethel's neck.


Mamma thought this too good to keep from papa, and even threatened Marion that she would acquaint Mr. Angus with the double honor that awaited him; but the young lady's entreaties prevailed, and the letter went off without the joke.


The rise of ground on which the new church was being built was in a part of the town not yet much occupied by families. The road from the old church, school-house, etc., to the depot wound gracefully around the foot of the hill, and had been widened and improved within a short time. It was about one quarter of a mile to the railroad station, and an equal distance from the village, which had grown up in what was once the centre. Prior to the existence of the railroad, it was Mr. Asbury's most profitable grass land, and he now owned as far as the depot on one side, and quite down to Shawsheen Lake on the other. The elevated situation of the land, together with the picturesque views it commanded, rendered it peculiarly eligible for building lots. Speculators from the city had already made favorable offers to the owner for the whole field, but, with the exception of one hundred feet front by one hundred and fifty deep, donated to the church, and a house-lot nearly four times the size, next adjoining, Mr. Asbury refused to sell.


Mr. Angus's letters to Marion kept her informed of his visits to London, Edinburgh, and Glasgow, where he was studying into the best-approved methods of church work in reference to his own labors among his chosen people. He told her of sewing schools, not only for children, but for mothers, where they were taught to cut and make garments for boys and girls, given simple recipes for cooking, and taught in general how to make home happy. He narrated cases where, in consequence of these teachings, the husband had been won from the alehouse to the pleasures of his own fireside, where the savory soups the wives had learned to make had weaned them from liquor: and made them into peace-abiding citizens.


He wrote of libraries and reading-rooms established for the poor, and also of societies for social pleasures, amusement, etc., to which all were invited to contribute their share.


"I accompanied a friend," he wrote, "to one of these gatherings,

which reminded me of a description Annie Asbury gave me of one of

yours. The ball accommodated about five hundred, and was as full

as was comfortable. Fathers and mothers, and not a few grandparents,

were there, with youth not under fourteen. Entertainments for the

little ones are provided on separate occasions. I cannot describe

to you vividly enough the inspiration I derived from the scene,—

the smiling faces, the merry voices, the ring of real, healthy

enjoyment of the whole company. Surely I thought, to provide

healthful and innocent amusement for young and old is an important

part of church work. To stand still a moment and listen to the hum

and buzz of cheerful voices, with now and then a burst of laughter,

sent a glow of kindly interest for every one present through my whole



"There were games and puzzles and comic readings with an occasional

tragedy, and singing from boys in chorus, and boys or girls in solos,

and a couple of street boys with bagpipes, until the allotted hour

to close arrived. Then I as a stranger from the far-off America,

was requested to make a brief address and close with prayer. When the

bell calling to order was rung, I was surprised to see how quickly

every one found a seat, waiting to hear what was said.


"I had just commenced to tell them about my home across the water,

when a small hand near me was raised, and a boy asked timidly,—


"'Tell us about the bears and Indians, mister.'"


"I had some difficulty in convincing them that in the United States

we had cities and towns, as they had, and that our bears were kept

in cages or pits, as theirs were. I told them I was very glad to be

with them when they were having such a merry time; and that I wanted

to join my thanks with theirs to the kind Christian ladies and

gentlemen who had provided such an entertainment for us.


"To the loving Father who watches over us all, to the sympathizing

Saviour who endured temptation and want that He might know how to

help us, to the gracious Spirit, who is ready to lead us into every

good way, I then committed them, and we separated.


"I forgot to tell you that I was persuaded in the course of the

evening to sing a comic song, which I learned while in New York.

Of course this 'brought down the house.' How would my dear little

Ethel have looked could she have seen me?"


In another letter he said:—


"I have conversed with many clergymen and other Christians of ripe

experience on this same subject of amusement. All classes of persons,

with rare exception of peculiar individuals, agree that some

relaxation is necessary to a healthful state of body and mind. If no

innocent and proper amusements are provided, young and old, rich and

poor, will seek entertainments for themselves, and too often these

will be the lowest class of theatres, shows, etc.


"Let Christian parents and teachers make it a part of the business

of education to provide suitably for this want of our nature, and

these objectionable, immoral places would have to be closed for want

of patronage. In the neighborhood of the church where was the

entertainment I have described, a low theatre of the worst

description had been abandoned, simply because the ground was

occupied in a worthier way. I am looking forward to inaugurating

some plan of this kind, and I confidently expect help from a merry

girl from whom I purchased my first pair of gloves in Grantbury."


Page 349








IT was a sultry August day. Most of Miss Howard's acquaintances were out of the city. She had just returned from Grantbury, and was finishing a letter to send by the steamer, when Dr. Ross was announced.


"One minute, Doctor," pleaded Marion, sealing her letter and ringing for James to take it to the post; "now I will have a glass of lemonade for you in a trice."


"I met Hepsey," he said, "or I should not have known you were at home."


"Your call is very opportune, sir," said Marion smiling, as she added, "I want to ask about Annie Leman. Is she as good a teacher as you expected?"


"Next to yourself, Miss Howard," bowing formally, "I do not know her equal."


"Then you will add your influence to mine to secure for her the position I am about to resign in Mrs. La Vergne's school?"


"With great pleasure, if you will promise for Miss Leman that she will still teach my daughters. But why do you resign?"


Marion had more than once asked herself whether she were treating her father's old friend with sufficient frankness in not telling him of her engagement to Mr. Angus; and now his question gave her the opportunity to do so; so with rosy cheeks she said,—


"I'm going to leave the city before long."


"Not permanently, I hope?"


"I am going to be married, Doctor."




Marion laughed till all her dimples came into view.


"To whom, in the name of wonder?"


"To a clergyman, a country parson."


"Just like you. I might have known no other man would have dared aspire. Well, tell me all about it. You'll ask me to the wedding, of course. Is he presentable, in person, I mean?"


"You shall have a chance to judge for yourself, Doctor. I will tell you one thing about him. He has recently declined a call to a large church in London, with a generous salary, preferring to remain with his country flock; and when they offered to make the support received from them equal to the other rather than to lose him, he declined that, too, insisting that there would be so many calls for money in connection with church work that he preferred they would give that way."


The Doctor laughed. "I see he has found out the method to gain your confidence. Where is the parish? I shall expect an invitation to visit you and hear your parson preach."


"When I have a home of my own, Doctor, you will always be welcome."


"Thank you. You are a good girl; and if you can say my old friend, Dexter Howard, would approve this new arrangement, I must give my consent. I wish you weren't going out of the city, though. What will all your poor people do?  By the way, I'm forgetting in my astonishment at the news what I came for. Did you know Mr. Lambert was sick, confined to his room?"


"I'm very sorry to hear it."


"That isn't the worst of it. He charges you with being the cause."


"Charges me? What have I done? I have not even seen him for weeks, and supposed him out of the city."


"He has been in bed. He is hollow-eyed and nervous to a degree—that is not particularly agreeable to his household, I imagine. I can't make out whether the man is out of his mind, or what is the matter with him. When he had berated you as much as I thought prudent, I apologized in your name; was sure you had no intention, and so forth; but he only grumbled the worse. He was sure you did mean it; and if you saw him you would do it again. I couldn't make out what you had done, except that he said you had hurt his feelings."


"Oh, I know now!" exclaimed Marion, with a breath of relief. "I'm so glad, so very glad!"


"Glad? He said you would be, but I indignantly denied it."


"May I go and see him, Doctor? Please let me."


"I don't believe he would admit you."


"Yes, he would. I must go, dear Doctor. So you may as well say yes."


The physician looked her keenly in the face, as though considering, when she interrupted him by a burst of feeling, eyes moist, lips tremulous, as she exclaimed,—


"I'm so glad! It's just what I've been praying for."


"Hem! Well, I hope you'll continue to be glad when you see him."


"Oh, Doctor, you've lived in New York a long time. Do you know anything about his early history?"


A shake of the head was the only answer at first, then, after a pause, "He is a native of this city, I think; and, by the way, one of his most fidgety crotchets now is about making a will. Shall he make a will? If he does, who shall he leave his money to? Is there a boy by the name of Carter? Neddy Carter?"


"Yes, his feet were crushed and had to be amputated. Mr. Lambert has been a generous friend to him, but the boy knows him only by the name of Regy."


"Whew! you don't say that the eccentric individual known as Regy is Mr. Lambert in disguise. Why, the manner in which the man abused him this very morning was a caution."


"I feel quite sure they are the same," replied Marion, laughing.


The doctor lay back his head in perfect amazement. At last he said, "Lambert and old Regy the same. It's the richest joke of the season. What can be his motive? Did you ever hear of an adventure in Richmond in which he figures prominently?


"No, sir."


"He was passing a few days there, when one morning early he signalled to an omnibus to stop. Two or three vehicles were in the way, so that when the driver was able to draw up toward the curbstone Regy stood back twenty feet or so. He came on growling and stood outside, berating the driver for not attending more promptly to his signal.


"I'll have you dismissed, you rascal,' he shouted, his arm upraised, when he happened to notice the driver's face. It was drawn with pain. Regy jumped up on the box without another word, learned that the driver's wife lay dying at home, dismissed him at once, and drove the omnibus himself all day. Then he found the house where the driver lived. The wife was dead and the children mourning over her cold body. Regy went to the office, got the driver off for a week, paid the funeral expenses, and then secured a place for the man on a farm, his oldest daughter keeping house.


"Those were exactly the facts, as I was told them by a gentleman from Richmond."


"It was just like him," said Marion, with a merry laugh. "I wonder what his motive is for disguising his real nature. Now, Doctor, warm as it is, I must go to see him."


It was, however, with a quickened beat of the pulse that, after her ring at the door-bell, she awaited admittance to the spacious, old fashioned house.


The servant was a man who had been in Mr. Lambert's employ for many years. He recognized Miss Howard, but was doubtful whether his master would see any one.


"Tell him I have just heard of his sickness and am very anxious to see him. Stay, wait a minute!" she cried, with a sudden resolve, "say that I want to tell him a piece of news personal to myself."


Even when she sat in the parlor she heard the loud growling of the master as the servant announced a guest.


It was several minutes before the man came back, with a troubled countenance, to say that Mr. Lambert would see her. "I told him he'd better not," he explained, "and that set him that he would. He's very, very bad to-day, miss; perhaps you'd better say nothing to cross him. I'll be close at hand if you want me."


For one instant her courage failed, then with an earnest lifting up of her heart to God for help she ascended the stairs and passed into the room.


Mr. Lambert had often surprised her with his eccentricities, but never so much as now. He was lying dressed in a suit of white duck, on a luxurious lounge, his face almost as colorless as his dress, and altogether so changed that she felt a disposition to scream. He held out his hand, saying in a most polished manner, "You must excuse me, my friend, for not rising. I am quite reduced by illness."


Trying not to show her surprise, Marion cordially seized his hand and drew a chair close to his side.


"I'm so sorry I didn't know it before; I'm a very good nurse, and you must let me try my skill on you."


His chin began to twitch with his efforts at self-control, so she added at once, hoping to change the current of his thoughts, "We've been such good friends that I know you will be glad to hear some news about me from myself. I'm going to change my name soon." Her cheeks, dyed with blushes, explained her meaning.


"Is it to that bow-legged donkey you've pledged yourself," he shouted, starting from his pillow. "If it is, I protest!"


"No, indeed, it is not he," she laughed, understanding to whom he referred, as he had warned her against him. "My friend is a clergyman, a real, working Christian. I must tell you how I first met him."


She related the incident of selling him the gloves, at which he laughed heartily, and when she went on to tell what Mr. Angus wished to do for his people, he caught her hand and gave it a hearty shake, saying, "He's the kind. I'll consent to that."


"You must treat me as you would a daughter," she said, putting her hand on his forehead, "and tell me when you're tired of hearing me talk. Don't you like to hear reading?"


"Sing," he said, "sing something lively."


She sang several secular songs, and then one beginning,


"Jesus, Thou art all compassion,"


which brought the tears to his eyes.


"Another," he said, briefly, when her voice ceased.


"Yes, Mr. Lambert, I'll sing a favorite hymn, which I am sure you will like.


"'Lord, lead the way the Saviour went

By lane and cell obscure,

And let love's treasures still be spent,

Like His, upon the poor.

Like Him through scenes of deep distress,

Who bore the world's sad weight,

We, in their crowded loneliness,

Would seek the desolate.


"'For Thou hast placed us side by side

In this wide world of ill,

And that Thy followers may be tried,

The poor are with us still.

Mean are all offerings we can make,

But Thou hast taught us, Lord,

If given for the Saviour's sake,

They lose not their reward.'"


When she sang the last lines he suddenly covered his face, but while she was hesitating how to begin a conversation on another subject, he exclaimed, irritably,—


"It's no use trying to make one's self believe what he knows can't be true."


"I am sure of that, dear friend."


"You, sure? Then how am I to blame for not believing?"


"Suppose I was stricken down with want. I was dying of hunger. Just before me there is abundant supply of food, but I can't raise myself to get it; my weakness has rendered me powerless. You come in, and seeing my condition, point to the food.  I can't see it, or I can't reach it.  'Try,' you say. I try, but fall back.  'Ask me, and I'll give it to you.' You kindly urge this upon me, but I refuse. 'No, I don't believe it's for me. That food is for somebody else'; and so I lie there and die for want of the food, stubbornly resisting every motive you urge—that it is free to all, the only condition being that I ask for it.


"That is a very weak illustration of what we, as sinners before God, do continually. Christ has provided an abundant feast; we are starving for want of that very food. He graciously invites us, 'Come without money and without price,' but we persist in saying, 'I know it can't be true. That food looks inviting, but it is not for me.' Now comes in the gracious Spirit, with His soft, pleading voice. He repeats Christ's words, 'I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.'  'To Him give all the prophets witness, that through His name whosoever believeth on Him shall receive remission of sins,'—shall be welcomed to the feast; and by it be restored to life."


One hand covered Mr. Lambert's face, and through the fingers Marion saw the tears trickling down.


"I'm tired, perhaps you've stayed long enough," he said softly.


She rose at once, gazed in his face, longing to comfort him.


"Stop a minute. Pray for a poor old sinner, who has never before had a daughter to comfort him."


Her breath almost stopped. "Can I pray before him?" But before he noticed her hesitation she was on her knees at his side. Like a little child, running to his father whose arms were outstretched to fold her in his embrace, so she ran to her Heavenly Father, and told Him all her desires for this dear friend. She asked the Saviour to reveal Himself to the poor, desolate heart, wearied with carrying its burden alone. She pleaded with the gracious, waiting Spirit to help him open his heart to this dearest and truest of friends; that the Holy Spirit would take of the things of Christ, and show them unto him; that, like the man dying of hunger, he might ask for the food from the abundant supply before him, and be filled.


Poor Mr. Lambert! He wholly lost control, and, before she rose from prayer, sobbed without restraint. As she took his hand to wish him good by, he looked up into her face with such a pitiful expression that it almost overcame her.


"Oh," she exclaimed, "do trust Him!  He is waiting for you to say, 'Lord, I believe!'"







WHEN Neddy Carter was carried from the hospital, he was at once admitted to one of the mission schools; but he begged so hard that he might still make his home with his mother that he was permitted to do so. He said nothing of his motives in preferring a bed on a pile of straw to a comfortable cot in the mission house, but he had a strong motive, which soon began to appear.


Unassisted and even unknown to his best friends, he gathered a few little ones in his mother's garret, and then repeated to them the instructions he had gained. Perhaps his pleasant blue eyes, gazing so frankly into theirs, had made him a favorite before; or it might be that the sight of him, wheeling about in his chair, enduring so bravely the great trial that had come upon him gave him influence over his companions. At any rate, he had influence and he used it to win them to better paths.


Miss Howard learned something of this, and was so rejoiced at it that she resolved to visit him in his home. She had never been there since the day of Neddy's accident, when, with Hepsey's help, she had had him conveyed in the ambulance to the hospital.


This visit occurred on the Sunday afternoon following her call on Mr. Lambert, described in the last chapter. It so delighted her that she longed for Mr. Lambert to know how the boy he had befriended was using his influence for Christ.


On Thursday of the following week she called upon the sick man, and found he was out for a drive. Sitting in his room, she wrote him a hurried note, asking him to accompany her to see a mutual friend on Sunday afternoon, enclosing in the note a piece of poetry she had selected for him. She left the whole with the servant, requesting an answer to be sent to her house.


Let us look upon Mr. Lambert as he enters his chamber, leaning upon the arm of his valet. The note has been placed in plain view from his lounging chair, and he notices it as soon as he has taken his seat.


"Who sent that?" he asks.


The tone is much softer than when Marion called last. Perhaps his sickness has weakened him.


"Miss Howard called, sir, and finding you out, wrote her errand."


"Glad I was away." Even while uttering the words he felt that they were untrue.


He took the note in his hands,—thin, bony hands, showing his sickness. "Get me some gruel," he said, "I'm tired, and shall try to sleep."


"Shall I say you cannot see any one?"


"How many times must I repeat that I see no one but the doctor?"


Page 366

[Illustration: "WHO SENT THAT?" HE ASKS. Page 366]


"There is an answer required to the note."


As soon as he was alone he tore open the envelope, took out the half-sheet on which Marion had copied a beautiful extract from Schiller, laid it without reading on his knee, and then, slowly adjusting his glasses on his forehead, began to read.


"After all," he said to himself, "I needn't have dreaded it so much. I was unnecessarily alarmed. I thought she meant to bring another sledgehammer to bear on my conscience. Yes, I'll go and see our mutual friend. I wonder who it is."


He took up the other paper and read,—


Dear Friend,—


I came across these "words of strength" from our favorite

Schiller's poems, and thought of you while reading them.

That they may prove real words of strength to you is the earnest

prayer of an attached friend.




"There are three lessons I would write,

Three words as with a burning pen,

In tracings of eternal light,

Upon the hearts of men.


"Have hope. Though clouds environ now,

And gladness hides her face in scorn,

Put thou the shadow from thy brow,

No night but hath its morn.


"Have faith. Where'er thy bark is driven—

The calm's disport, the tempest's mirth—

Know this: God rules the hosts of heaven,

The inhabitants of earth.


"Have love. Not love alone for one,

But man as man thy brother call,

And scatter, like the circling sun,

Thy charities on all.


"Thus 'grave these lessons on thy soul,

Hope, Faith, and Love; and thou shalt find

Strength when life's surges rudest roll,

Light when thou else were blind."


Notwithstanding the twisted and gnarled branches of this old oak, there was a time, years back, when it was a straight and vigorous young sapling. It was beautiful to behold, and gave promise of becoming a lofty, stalwart tree, under which many might find refreshing shelter. On this thrifty sapling grew an ugly wart, called by some horticulturists jealousy. At first it might have been removed without injury to the tree, but it was not. It grew and grew, diffusing it: poison through all the cellular tissues, until it became deformed, disfigured, and unsightly.


Strange, but true, this process of degeneration had been going on in the character of Mr. Lambert, until, at the time we first knew him, there was only one trait left of his original nature. This was a peculiar, unquenchable tenderness of feeling toward the poor and distressed. Suspicious as he had become of all around him, ever toward the very ones he was trying to save from their own thriftlessness or crime, this one trail urged him on to give relief; and in this way kept alive one of the healthiest avenues to real goodness, even though his charities were often accompanied by a torrent of reproach.


It was this trait, so congenial to Marion Howard, which drew her to him and led her to suppose he was actuated by love to his Divine Master. In this she was mistaken. In his inmost soul Mr. Lambert accused God of having dealt hardly with him, more hardly than he deserved. He had been wounded in the house of his friends. When his heart had been most vulnerable, there it had been pierced. He had never forgiven nor forgotten the blow. Sometimes, when the recollection of all he had been made to suffer came upon him, he hated himself that he did not revenge himself on all mankind. "I owe no man anything," was one of his favorite mottoes; but after he became acquainted with Marion Howard he did not take much comfort from it. How closely after their first meeting he had watched her! How he longed to find her halting! But no, her motions were too transparent. She had genuine love to God as her Father, to Christ as her Saviour, and it was from this love her kindness to all around her sprang. This he had been forced to acknowledge when analyzing her character. It unsettled him and made him more irritable. Sometimes, when he found himself softened under her influence, he would recall all the injuries heaped on him,—injuries that had blasted his happiness forever.


In his early days he had been a ripe scholar, a graduate from one of our best colleges. He had read on many subjects, and among others on the subject of Christianity. He had read in the Old and New Testaments, but his heart remained cold in the midst of sacred fire.


At times in his life he had taken pleasure in railing and ranting against everything sacred. In connection with the holiest Bible teachings he had used the words "bigotry" and "humbuggery" and "cant," till he almost convinced himself that what he said was true. Almost, but not quite. There was still a spark of truth left in him, if only it could be ignited. He had been thinking of these questions when he called on Marion and asked whether she believed in churches, dogmas, etc. Her words, the earnestness, the assurance she expressed that the Gospel of Christ was indeed good news to men, that in order to live a good life we must believe on Him and follow His example, came home to his heart. He could not shake off the fear that he had been mistaken. He lost his sleep, and at last became so nervous and unsettled, so irritable and unmanageable, that his valet insisted he should summon a physician.


This was his state when Marion came to his bedside. After she left he called for pen and ink, and wrote out, as well as he could recall it, every word of her prayer. This he put in his pocketbook and read over many times in a day, never without tears. The gracious Spirit of God was near, watching, waiting to be gracious.


How many times in the course of the few days following he put Marion's character to the severest test! He applied the touchstones of love, charity, and good-will, and found she answered to them all. Yes, her life was a good one, even judged from his standpoint. She did not act from a desire for the praise of men, but from a genuine love to Christ, and a desire, in her humble manner, to do good to those around her. Her note found his heart more tender than it had been for years, more amenable to good influences. He was not likely to refuse any request she might make, even to the half of his kingdom. He sent her word that he would be ready to accompany her at the time appointed.


On Sunday morning the weather was so extremely sultry that Marion doubted the expediency of taking an invalid to a hot, unventilated attic where the air must necessarily be vitiated. Indeed, she was herself oppressed with such debility and general lassitude as disinclined her for any exertion. But Sunday was one of her busiest days. She had a Bible class in the morning with her own servants and those living with Mrs. Mitchell, church at eleven, and her mission school in the afternoon, to which she usually devoted two hours. Then church in the evening. Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell being in the country, she felt that the Bible class was more than ever important to their servants.


It had been her intention to call for Mr. Lambert in her carriage on her way home after the mission school, but, considering the intense heat had just resolved to postpone her visit to Neddy Carter till another Sunday, when she heard the welcome sound of distant thunder.


Before it was time to start for church, the heavy shower had cleared the air and revived her drooping energies.


Neddy Carter's home was only a few blocks from the Five Points mission. Miss Howard's carriage was no novel sight in that vicinity, but, notwithstanding, a group of boys and girls gathered around, gazing with open mouths as the old gentleman alighted —and followed the lady slowly up the steps.


Nothing could have happened more favorably for her project. The room was full, as not only the little ones, but their fathers and mothers, drawn to the room by the singing, had crowded in, filling up even the open door. From an adjoining tenement Miss Howard procured a chair for Mr. Lambert, which she placed in the passage, and an unpainted stool for herself. An opening hymn had been sung, and then the children united in repeating with the young teacher the Lord's Prayer.


Peeping through a space formed by a man's uplifted arm, Mr. Lambert could see the crippled boy seated in his wheeled chair, in front of group of wondering children. His back was toward the door, but the spectator could easily imagine the expression of fervor there would be in his soft brown eyes, the sweet serenity of the brow as he talked to them on the subjects he held most dear.


"You said I might tell about Jesus being born in a stable to-day," began one little boy, raising his hand.


"You may tell it now," Neddy said, in a cheerful voice.


Questions and answers followed, showing that many present had been told of the love of Jesus Christ, even for the most sinful; and then the little missionary, wholly unconscious that others beside the inmates of the neighboring tenement houses were present, with a little wave of the hand to command silence, began,—


"I'm going to tell you the story our teacher told us at the mission school to-day, and then we will sing our favorite hymn.


"A great many years ago there was a rich man. He had two sons. One was good and one was bad. I guess it was the youngest that was bad. He didn't like to work. The other helped his father on the big farm. Teacher said he thought the good one went around and told the servants what to do, and was not afraid to work himself. They had cows and calves and sheep, and all kinds of animals, I guess.


"By and by the lazy one said he was tired of staying at home. He wanted to travel, and he asked his father to give him his part of the money and let him go. His father said yes. So the father and the good son went on together for a great many years. They were pretty happy, but not very. Can you guess why?"


"Maybe the father was a sorrering for the boy who had quit his home," murmured a mother in the farthest corner of the room.


"That's a good guess.  Yes, that was the reason he wasn't happy. He loved his boy and he didn't like to have him away."


"Why didn't he get a letter writ?" questioned a man who was holding a child on each knee.


"I don't know," answered Neddy. "I'm sorry I didn't ask teacher that. P'r'aps he didn't know where to send the letter. But now I'm going to tell you about the bad son. He had a whole bagful of money, and he thought it would last him forever. So he kept buying things and spending his money till one day he put his hand in his bag and it was all gone, every bit. He was hungry, but he had not a penny to buy food. He didn't dare to kneel down, as we do, and say, 'Our Father, give us this day our daily bread,' because he had been awfully wicked, getting drunk and lying and swearing, and doing everything bad. You can't guess, any of you, what he did at last. Why, he was that hungry he had to hire out to a farmer who kept pigs, and he watched his chance when nobody was looking, to steal some of the pigs' food. Before this he used to wear gay clothes, now he was all in rags. One day he sat down on a stump of a tree. He was awful homesick. He was tired of being so bad. He thought about his old home, and how kind his father used to be, and what good things he had to eat, He remembered how the men working on the farm had enough to eat. All at once he began to cry, 'I wish I was home. I'm awfully lonely way off here, and nobody speaks a kind word to me. Nobody gives me even the pigs' food. I'm ragged, too, and filthy. Oh, what a fool I was to leave my dear old home!'"


"He cried and sobbed, but nobody pitied him."


"Say, Neddy, did he die among the pigs?" asked a big girl, putting a finger in her eye to keep the tears back.


"I'm coming to the good part now. After he'd been crying a good while, and feeling real sorry he had been so wicked, he thought he heard a voice asking,—


"'Why don't you go home?'"


"'Oh, father wouldn't have me back!'"


"'Yes, he would. He loves you still.'"


"'Loves me! Can it be true? Then I'll go right off.' So he got up off the stump and started. Teacher didn't say how far it was, but at last he came to a place where he could see his home.  His heart beat dreadfully. 'Will he take me in? Will he?' Now I'm going to tell you the very words he told himself he would say to his father. Teacher made us all learn them, 'cause she said every one of us could say them to God, our Heavenly Father.


"'And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, the father saw him, and had compassion unto him, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.


"'But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him, and put ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.'"


"Is that 'ere a true story? You don't say he took him right back again?  Whew! I guess he was glad he went home."


"There's only one thing more," added Neddy, when the astonishment had somewhat subsided. "Teacher said that the good father in the story means God. Everybody who wanders away from being good, is like the bad son. Just as quick as we are sorry and ask Him to forgive us, He will. She said that we must remember that He is ready just as quick as we say we're sorry.


"Now we'll sing, and then the school is done. You must all begin with me,—


"I am so glad that our Father in heaven

Tells of His love in the book He has given,

Wonderful things in the Bible I see,

This is the dearest, that Jesus loves me.


"Though I forget Him and wander away,

Still He doth love me wherever I stray

Back to His dear loving arms would I flee,

When I remember that Jesus loves me.


"Oh, if there's only one song I can sing,

When in His beauty I see the great King,

This shall my song in eternity be,

Oh, what a wonder that Jesus loves me."


During the whole exercises, Marion had been aware that her companion was deeply affected. She had refrained from looking at him, but now, as the school was breaking up, she asked,—


"Shall we stop and speak to him?"


"No, no! I must get home. I'm too ill to be here."


She had ordered the carriage to be back in an hour, and was glad to see that it was at the door. They were seated in it and driving off before the crowd came tumbling down the stairs.


Mr. Lambert sank back in his seat, looking so pale that his companion was really alarmed. She said nothing, however, but fanned him continually till they reached his own door. She herself alighted and rang the bell for the valet to assist his master, who muttered to himself,—


"Whatever he's been up to, he looks like death."







THERE could scarcely be a greater contrast in two characters among Miss Howard's associates than Mr. Lambert and Esther Sims, or Esther Cole, as she asked Hepsey to call her for the present. Poor to the extent that, when she left the home in the stable loft, she had not a penny in the world and not a garment fit to wear to her new service, unlearned and ignorant in worldly wisdom, she yet seemed to absorb into her heart as governing motives to her life such sweet and restful views of God as her Father and Jesus as her Saviour as caused her young mistress to exclaim, "Thou and hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes."


With a childlike frankness so peculiar to her, she confided to Miss Howard her increasing trust that God would answer her prayers for her husband's conversion.


"In that case you would return to him, I suppose." Marion wished to test her feelings as a wife.


A pretty pink flush flew all over Esther's face as she lifted her eyes wistfully to the lady's.


"God will take care of me," she said. "I am sure He will. It is of him I'm thinking. Now that he is away from bad people and can't get rum, it is such a nice time for him to become good. When he comes out of prison, if God wants me to go back to him, He will let me know it. Sometimes," she added, in a timid voice, "I think He will, because I promised for better, for worse, you know."


"Would you live with him if he were to beat you and abuse you as he did before?"


"Yes, ma'am, if I were sure God meant it so. I can never be as miserable again as I was before."


"Why can't you?"


"Because I have a friend now who would be close by me always."


"You mean Jesus Christ."


"Yes, ma'am. Even if he did get—get out of his mind with drink, and treat me unkindly, I would tell Jesus, and He would help me to forgive. If I never answered back and always tried to have a smile and the best home I could make for him, perhaps he might try to be better. Oh, I should be too happy!"


She clasped her hands to her breast, and looked so like an innocent child in her perfect trust that Marion shed tears of delight.


During the first week in September, Marion went to the Home for the Sick, to see Mary Falkner, who, with the aid of a cane, was able to walk the length of the ward.


"Isn't it wonderful?" she exclaimed. "The doctors say, with the exception of a limp in my gait, I shall be as well able to walk as any one. They are all so kind to me. Who knows but I shall be able to do some church work in your parish?"


"If you are able we will give you enough to do," answered Marion, blushing.


On her way out the superintendent met her and asked her to step to the parlor for a moment. He took from his pocket a letter recently received, and handed it to her with an arch smile. Though he did not know, he suspected the truth of a rumor he had heard concerning her.


The letter read as follows:—


Dear Sir,—


In memory of God's goodness to my deceased sister and

to myself, while we were within the walls of the Home for the Sick,

and in gratitude for the faithful care to our bodies and our souls,

by pastor, chaplain, and nurses, I send you the enclosed check,

which I think you once told me was the sum necessary to found

a permanent bed in your blessed institution. That your labors may be

as useful in the future as they have been in the past is the sincere

prayer of a fellow-laborer in Christ's vineyard.




"The check was for five thousand dollars," added the gentleman. "It was an unexpected thank-offering, and we are very grateful for it."


Marion expressed her pleasure, adding that Mr. Angus had told her how much he owed to the faithful teachings he received while in the Home.


This seemed to our young friend to be a day to mark with a white stone, it was so full of blessings. When she reached home she found a letter from Mr. Lambert which overwhelmed her and sent her to her knees to thank God for answering her humble prayers.


It was characteristic of himself in its brevity.


"Kind and faithful Friend,—


"The prodigal has returned. The Father

met and embraced him. He has put off his tattered garments. He has

a new robe on him. His voice rings with a new song. In the better

words of another, this is the language of his heart,—


"'I cannot love thee as I would,

Yet pardon me, O Highest Good!

My life and all I call mine own

I lay before Thy mercy throne.

And if a thousand lives were mine,

O sweetest Lord, they should be Thine!

And scanty would the offering be,

So richly Thou hast loved me.'"


A few days later Marion went to Grantbury in answer to a summons from her uncle. The outside walls of the church were finished, with the exception of the spire. The men were at work on the dizzy height, and expected to finish it by the middle of September.


The frame to the new house was raised and nearly boarded in. Mrs. Asbury said people were beginning to take quite an interest in it. One lady asked her point-blank if the clergyman intended to bring home a wife from England, to which she returned a decided "No."


During her stay Marion made a hasty call at the thread and needle store to see the Widow Falkner. Mary had kept her mother informed of her condition, and also of the great kindness all the patients received, but she was delighted to see Miss Howard and learn particulars about her daughter.


Then Marion drove half a mile in another direction for a call on Farmer Rand's wife, who was still an invalid.


Seldom had her appearance created such an excitement. It was evident something pleasant had happened.


"Talk of an angel, etc.," said the farmer, with a grand flourish of his hand. "Sit down, miss. You're as welcome as roses in June. How are ye?"


"We've been thinking a sight about ye," added the gudewife. "We've had a letter. Maybe ye know it."


"S-sh-sh, wife," making a sound like what he would make to quiet his oxen; "wait a bit, I’ve something to say. Now, miss, did ye ever hear about our church meetin'?"


"Yes, indeed, I heard all the items in detail."


"Wall, then, 't won't be breaking no Scripter rule if I do tell that I was moved to draw a few hundreds out of the bank and gin 'em to the Lord. 'T isn't that I'm a speakin' of. That 'ere's only the text to my sarmon, you see. The good book says, The Lord loveth a cheerful giver,' and I will say for myself and my good woman that the Lord He helped us to give that 'ere money with as good a will as though we were spendin' on 't to build a new bedroom out on our south side, as we've been a plannin' to do for a score o' years. Speak for yourself, Lucy. Am I stating your opinions correct?"


"Yes, I was very glad you did it."


"Well, then," said the farmer, laughing as he flourished his hands again, "the first part o' my sermon is 'stablished, and I'll go on. Wife, give me that 'ere Bible, will ye? Now I stan' to it that God holds to His promises even when men aren't looking for Him to do it. Here it is, He that watereth shall be watered himself'; and here's another, 'The liberal soul shall be made fat.' Now look here. Out there on the very edge of my farm there's a piece o' ground o' no airthly value to me. There's nothin' but sorrel'll grow on 't. I'd ha' given it to any friend for the askin'.  Wall, one day in come that prince of a man, 'Squire Asbury. I knew by the look o' his eye he meant business.  'Mr. Rand,' says he, 'I ain't no hand to circumvent' round matters; I go straight to the p'int.'"


"'Go ahead,' says I. 'I ain't no hand for circumventing, neither.'"


"'Mr. Rand,' says he, 'what will you take for that 'ere corner lot o' yourn that runs out towards the railroad track?'"


""''Squire Asbury,' says I, 'if you're in want o' that 'ere lot you're as welcome to it as the flowers in May. 'T ain't no vally to me at all.'"


"'No, no,' says he, laughin'. 'I'm a bargaining for the railroad, and they want to put up a freight depot there. The lot almost touches the rails. Set your price.'"


"'Oho!' says I, 'if that's the talk I calkerlate they're able to pay a little suthing. I'll agree to any price you'll name. Don't you say so, wife?'"


"'Yes, I will,' Lucy answered up, loud and prompt."


"'Squire Asbury kind o' laughed and repeated it over again. 'You both agree,' says he, 'to stick to the price I name, be it more or less?'"


"'Yes, we do.'"


"'Well, then, I want the lot just as it lies, sand and all, coming down to a p'int near the railroad, and a runnin' back one hundred feet to the rail fence put across where the land lies even, and I'll give you five hundred dollars for it.'"


"'Good land, 'Squire' says I, ''t ain't wuth it.'"


"'It's wuth every dollar of five hundred to the road,' says he; 'if they have to go a mile farther either way, they'll have to give six or eight. I'll have the deed drawn up ready for you and your wife to sign.'"


"'Squire Asbury,' says I as soon as I could catch my breath, 'I believe the Lord sent you here. When I give that five hundred to the Lord I never thought o' getting it back again, but you see here 't is, dollar for dollar, and more, too, for the pleasure o' giving my mite towards the Lord's new meeting-house was wuth the whole sum. Sure as you live, Lucy and I, we give thanks to God for lettin' of us have the privilege.'"


"'Yes, yes, I know that,' says he, and so he does.  If ever a man was blessed in his basket and store it's that same 'Squire Asbury. His hand, as the Scripter says, 'is open to the wants o' the poor.'" He ended with one grand flourish.


Marion laughed heartily as she said, "I wish you'd preach that sermon to some of our rich men on Fifth Avenue who don't know the pleasure of giving. It is as practical a sermon as I ever heard."


"Now, wife, speak up, if you've anything to say."


"Husband and I have had a letter," Mrs. Rand said, opening the large family Bible and taking an envelope from between the leaves. "It has made us real cheery coming so far, and it has good news in it, too. The pastor is real friendly to think of us."


"The pastor," exclaimed Marion, in surprise. "Have you had a letter from Mr. Angus?"


The farmer evidently understood that he had had his turn, and that his wife now had the floor.


He did not speak, but he nodded his head and performed other pantomime in such a remarkable manner that Marion was made aware what news the letter contained before the wife gave it to her to read.


Yes, there it was in plain black and white. He told this aged pair that he was going to be married and settle down among them for life, he hoped. He quoted the words of Solomon, "A prudent wife is from the Lord," and he said, "I'm sure mine is a prudent one, a priceless treasure. That she is from the hands of my Father in heaven I am equally sure. You will agree with me when I tell you Miss Marion Howard, your particular friend, has agreed to cast in her lot with me."


Marion kept her eyes fastened on the letter long after she had finished it. She did not like her good friends to see how much these manly words had affected her. She folded the sheet carefully and passed it back, saying, "I am glad he has told you."


"I guess we shall be able to hold on to him now," rejoined Mr. Rand, trying to laugh. But as Marion rose to go his voice changed to the tenderness of a father. He raised his hand over her head and pronounced a blessing on her and on her chosen friend; then sat down suddenly, and blew his nose like a trumpet to conceal how much he was affected.







THESE were busy days with our young friend. In company with Hepsey she went to her old home and spent a week in looking over bedding and furniture preparatory to having it removed to Ingleside. Her father's place was let on a long lease, and she was well satisfied with the care taken of it.


Mr. Angus had written to beg her to consent that the wedding should take place immediately on his return, but she replied that the house would not be finished till some time later, and that it was necessary for her to complete her arrangements for her mission and her protégés among the poor before leaving New York.


Since the change in Mr. Lambert, the idea of giving the care of certain families to him had floated through her mind, but she feared he was too impulsive or would be too easily imposed upon if he undertook mission work. Annie Leman had promised to do all in her power, and had already proved both willingness and tact in the work.


On her return from the country, Marion found a note from Mr. Lambert requesting to see her on business. She suspected at once it was in relation to his will, about which he had already spoken to her. She sent James with an answer saying she would call on him at nine the next morning.


Later in the day she was pleasantly surprised by a call from Mrs. Cheriton and Eugene. They had advertised for and obtained a boarding-place in the country a few weeks before, but not being altogether pleased with the class of boarders they met there, had suddenly returned to the city the day before.


Mrs. Cheriton smilingly remarked that her mother seemed as pleased as a child to be back in her old rooms in New York; that she had taken her favorite seat near the window early in the morning, and had spent an hour or more watching the passers-by; that it was with difficulty they could persuade her to leave the window even for her meals.


Geenie gained great praise for his conduct during the visit. He amused himself with a book of pictures Hepsey brought him, and did not once touch any article in the room without liberty from his mother or Marion.


At a quarter to nine the next morning Mr. Lambert sent a carriage for Miss Howard, and on her reaching his house waited upon her to his library, a room adjoining his chamber. She had never seen this room before, and went around examining the pictures hanging over the well-filled bookcases.


He had evidently been writing. Papers covered his table, and his pen was still wet. As he took a seat near her, the visitor was startled at the marks of the agitation of mind through which he had recently passed.  His cheeks seemed sunken and a circle round his eyes betokened want of sleep.


"I fear you are not strong enough for business yet," she remarked, anxiously.


"I'm all right," he answered. "I've had letters which have disappointed me—personal matters. By the way, I may tell you about them some time. To-day I want to talk about other things.


"Miss Howard, I want to confess Christ. I want to do just the very thing I once thought a humbug,—to join myself to God's people. I want the help of a faithful pastor to keep my heart right, and I want the counsel of fellow-Christians as to the best methods of working for the Master."


Marion's eyes filled with happy tears. "I'm so glad, so glad!" she murmured. "Will you allow me to bring Dr. M—, my pastor, to see you?"


"No, child, I'm a poor old prodigal. I want to go among the poor and do what I can there. You told me once about a mission chapel. That is my place. It may be I can have courage to do something there, to help men, who, like myself, have lived for years among the husks."


"Oh, how I wish you would go to our parish in the country! There is a great work to do there, and you ought to be where your daughter could look after you."


"That would be a great inducement, child. You are nearer to my heart than any other. I have no ties of kin,—at least I can learn of none. Another time I may tell you the nature of the disappointment to which I referred. You will pity the poor, lonely man, I'm sure."


His tone was so sad that it deeply moved her, and taking his hand she pressed her lips upon it.


"Don't do that, I can't bear it. I shall be unfit for the business if I allow my feelings to have sway. I have been jotting down a few items in connection with the disposal of my property. I have more money than I know what to do with. If that interloper had not stepped in, I would make you my heir, and you could scatter it round as you please. As it is, I have set aside a few thousands to educate our friend Neddy, and I want you to look after him if anything happens to me.


"What is the name of that girl-wife you told me about, whose husband is in prison? I want to give you a thousand for her own use. If she goes back to that scoundrel it must be so tied up that he can't get at it. Will you have the goodness to pass me that long paper, ruled with red ink? That's the one."


In selecting this paper from the others, Marion had to move several letters lying on top. As she did so her eyes fell on an open page, with the name Madrid in full view. "Madrid! Does he have letters from Madrid? That was Mrs. Douglass's native place."


Her heart almost stopped beating, as a sudden possibility flashed like lightning through her mind. She glanced back at Mr. Lambert. "Could he, oh, could he be the cruel, exacting man whose jealousy and distrust had rendered the life of her friend so miserable? No! Oh, no!" And yet the thought, once entertained, would not be banished. "What if he is? How can I find out? How would he bear it? What a happy future he might have! What shall I do? What can I say?"


Her habitual frankness came to her aid. She had mechanically given him the paper and sank back in her chair, while he was so occupied in glancing over the items that he had not noticed her wild stare of astonishment.


"Mr. Lambert—" She stopped; her heart seemed to rise up in her throat and choke her. "Mr. Lambert, did you ever live in Madrid? I saw the address on an open letter. I do not ask from mere curiosity."


"The most blissful and the most wretched days of my life were passed in that city."


"Mr. Lambert, something has happened to me.  I—I can't think of business to-day. Will you excuse and trust me as though I were your own daughter? I want to tell you about a dear friend, the grandmother of the beautiful boy you have heard me speak about with such rapture. I promised to bring him to see you some day. That boy is a native of Madrid."


"What is the mother's name?"


"Cheriton, Mrs. Juliette Cheriton."


He shook his head thoughtfully.  "I never heard the name." He laid down the paper with a little vexed and disappointed air, adding, "I haven't been in Madrid for more than eighteen years."


"It is Mrs. Cheriton's mother who is my special friend. She is one of the loveliest, most accomplished ladies I know, and such an earnest Christian, too."


"Is her name Cheriton?"


"Oh, no! Eugene's mother is her daughter. She calls herself Douglass."


"Douglass!" Mr. Lambert started forward, then sank back and looked as though he had been struck. Presently, with his hand on his heart, he said in a choking voice,—


"Tell me all you know. Don't spare me. This suspense is killing me."


"I will tell you all, though I can only suspect the truth. Mrs. Douglass, as my friend chooses to be called, told me this was not her wedded name. Just before her daughter's birth, painful family circumstances arose, which caused a separation between herself and her husband. She has never seen him since."


"Did she confide these circumstances to you?" The voice seemed to come from a tomb.


"Yes, she did, and it has been her life-long regret that she could not explain them to the one most interested."


"You are an innocent child. Mrs. Douglass, as she calls herself, was my wife. She has deceived you. I saw what I saw with my own eyes. She even gave up the ring I presented her on our betrothal."


"Mr. Lambert, you must be calm. She does not deserve such bitter scorn. You were deceived in one particular. You thought her an only child. She had a brother, a wild, reckless man, who afterward paid the penalty for his crimes. Mr. Douglass forbade all mention of his name, and frequently alluded to his daughter as his only child. It was this wicked, daring fellow who suddenly appeared to my friend, and almost drove her wild by demanding money or jewels from her. She agreed to see him once, and give him all she could raise, on condition he would never cross her path again. She did see him. He seized her and held her forcibly while he wrested from her finger the valuable ring you had given her. His cruelty nearly cost her her life. She was carried to her bed, fell into convulsions, during which her child was born. The resolve she had made to tell you the truth at whatever cost, even her father's displeasure, it was impossible for her to carry out. Before she was well enough to understand what had passed, her husband, deceived and betrayed by a servant, who with tears and groans confessed her guilt, was a witness to the meeting between herself and her brother. He believed her lost to him and to virtue. He himself carried her in his arms to her couch, when, overcome by her brother's cruelty, she fainted, but he never gave her an opportunity to explain the painful meeting. If he had—"


She was interrupted by a terrible groan from Mr. Lambert. He threw his arms up, then, with a gurgling sound in his throat, he sank back, insensible.


Marion flew to the door and screamed for the valet. She loosened the necktie, and began vigorously to chafe the cold hands, but it was some minutes before he revived.


"The doctor cautioned him to avoid all excitement," said the servant, with a reproachful glance at the visitor. "Ever since those foreign letters came he's been terribly took down."


Marion was bending over him, with her hand on his forehead, when he opened his eyes.


"Don't—leave—me," he gasped. Presently he spoke again. "Do you think God will forgive me?" The tone was so piteous she found it impossible to control her voice to answer.  She bowed her head.


"Will you take a little hartshorn, sir?" asked the valet.




When it had been administered, he said, "Stay in the anteroom, Miss Howard may need you.—Pray for me," he added the moment they were alone.


"Yes, I will; but first I want to tell you that your wife, if Mrs. Douglass is indeed your wife, has loved you all these years. She blames herself that she did not insist that her father should tell you of her brother Henreich. I do not think there has been a day these last ten years that she has not prayed for your conversion."


His lip quivered like a grieved child, while great tears rolled down his pale cheeks. In a voice scarcely more than a whisper, he said,—


"Do you think it possible that she will forgive me?"


"She has forgiven you already."


There was a long silence after this. Mr. Lambert's countenance showed that a terrible struggle was going on in his breast. Marion could not look upon it, and covered her face, her cry going up to God for help and comfort to this poor man. At last, recalling his request, she fell on her knees, and in a low tone offered up her petitions in his behalf.


When she rose to her feet, she was startled at the awful pallor which had settled on his features. She put her fingers on his pulse, and to her terror found there was scarcely any beat.


"Go for the doctor as quickly as possible," she cried to the servant. "No, send some one. Don't leave me! He is very low."


Fortunately the physician was near at hand and was soon at the bedside. In a few words Marion related the wonderful story, that she had just made the discovery that Mrs. Douglass was Mr. Lambert's wife, which accounted for his alarming state of exhaustion.


For several hours it was doubtful whether Mr. Lambert would ever speak again. The physician told Marion that his case was a very  critical one, but at length they were able to force down a tonic, and soon after he sank into slumber.


The room was darkened, every sound hushed, and the faithful valet sat alone to watch and wait by his master's bedside.


It was night when he awoke; the physician had been in and out several times, and ordered a few spoonsful of nourishment as soon as he awoke. This was given him and he tried to speak.


"Miss Howard."


"She is not here. She said she would be back early in the morning."


"I may not live till then. Take—a—pen—and—write. With my dying breath I ask her to forgive me.—I leave to her—all—that I have—in the—world,—with my dying—love and blessing.  She, Miss—Howard, will—know who—I mean. Tell her not to let our daughter think too hard of her father. Fold—it and direct to Miss Howard."


Meanwhile Marion had returned home in such a state of excitement and fatigue that the physician, who took her there, sent her at once to bed, and ordered Hepsey to give her a powerful anodyne. When she woke, Mr. Lambert's servant had been to say that he wanted to see her as soon as she was able. Hepsey insisted that she should not go until she had eaten a hearty breakfast.


"I think you ought to consider what Mr. Angus would say," she urged, "and for his sake take a little care of your health."


"Hepsey, I feared last night that Mr. Lambert was dead, and, oh, Hepsey, it was what I had been telling him that made him fall into the swoon! You will not wonder that I was sick with fear when I tell you about it."


"I shall tell Mr. Angus that you've had enough of excitement for one life, and he'd better get you to the country as soon as he can."







THE carriage was already at the door, and Miss Howard drove hastily to Mr. Lambert's residence. She was informed that he was stronger, had taken more nourishment, and was again asleep. The valet came from the chamber where the sick man had been carried and gave her the sealed envelope; and with this in her hand she started for Mrs. Douglass's boarding-house, scarcely daring to read the words, lest she should unfit herself for the exciting scenes she must expect. After a cursory glance at the page she thrust it back into the envelope, and endeavored to form some plan by which she might best convey to her invalid friend the wonderful discovery she had made.


Early as it was, Mrs. Cheriton had taken her boy for a walk. Mrs. Douglass sat reading by the window.  She greeted Miss Howard with a smile and then, noticing her flushed face, asked,-


"Are you well, dear?"


"Can you bear good news, Mrs. Douglass?"


"Good news seldom hurts any one."


"Have you ever thought that your husband might be living near you?"


"I know where he lives; I learned it by accident while in the country and found it impossible to remain away."


"And that explains your sudden return and your watching so constantly from the windows?" Marion's tone was full of wonder.


"I never told you his name. How did you find it out?"


Marion then related all that had passed, and ended with giving the paper which the sick man had dictated when he thought himself dying.


Mrs. Douglass's countenance expressed the deepest feeling, but she braced herself against giving way to her excitement.


"I have been praying earnestly that I might be prepared for this discovery, should it take place," she said. "I will go with you and assure him of my entire forgiveness. Juliette knows nothing of her father's desertion, and she need not be made acquainted with the discovery."


"Oh, Mrs. Douglass, I am sure he will never part with you again."


She shook her head, rose, and put on her bonnet and shawl.


Marion saw that, while she was making a great effort to appear calm, her hands trembled so much that she could not tie the bonnet-strings. Unobserved by the lady, she wrote with pencil on a piece of paper:—


Dear Mrs. Cheriton,—


I have taken your mother with me. Please remain

at home with Geenie till I call or send for you.




This she left in plain sight on the table.


On their way little was spoken until they approached the door, when Marion said,—


"I hope the doctor will be there. I dare not take you to Mr. Lambert's room without his permission."


The servant who opened the door stared at the new-comer, and said to Miss Howard,—


"Mr. Lambert is too ill, ma'am, to see visitors."


"Yes, I know. This lady is going with me to the parlor to see the doctor."


She gave Mrs. Douglass her arm, and found from the manner the lady leaned against her that she could scarcely support herself.


The valet came at once. "Mr. Lambert is awake," he said, "and has been calling for you."


"I cannot leave this lady alone. Is the doctor here?"


"He's just going, miss. I hear him coming downstairs."


"Ask him to come here."


"Dr. Danforth, this is my friend, Mr. Lambert's wife. Can she see him?"


"Go and tell him she is here. He is as impatient this morning as ever old Mr. Regy was."


The doctor tried to smile, but looked anxious.


"I thought you would never come," said the sick man in a petulant tone. "I might have died without ever asking her to forgive me."


"Would you like to see her now?"


"Would I?" He gave a scream which speedily brought the valet to his side.


"Get me up! Bring my clothes! Where is she? Don't let her go! I'll be ready in a minute."


The valet was thunderstruck, and looked at Miss Howard helplessly.


"Mr. Lambert," said Marion, in an authoritative tone, "if you don't lie down and be calm I'll take Mrs. Lambert away again. There, that is right!" as he assented like a penitent boy.


"You must be calm, for her sake. She is an invalid, and has been for years."


"Will you explain to her why I can't go to her?  It's my place. Are you sure she'll forgive me?"


"Yes, I'm sure."


"Now," said Marion, addressing the valet, who stood in open-mouthed wonder, "you may go to the parlor and ask the doctor to assist Mrs. Lambert up the stairs."


The sick man quickly covered his face, and she heard him whispering a prayer for help. "For his sake and for your own, be as calm as possible," said Dr. Ross, leaving the lady at the door and motioning the servant to retire.


Marion only waited to see the long-deserted wife glide quickly to the bedside, and then she, too, left them alone. The meeting was too sacred for any eye but the omnipresent One to witness.




Marion Howard was blessed with an excellent constitution, but of late her keen sympathy with her friends, her frequent visits to her mission scholars, in connection with the arrangements she was making to leave, in addition to her own numerous cares, the purchase of her trousseau, etc., had taxed her strength to an unusual degree. Now that the wife was restored to her husband, Dr. Danforth insisted that she should go home and take some rest.


"I will, as soon as I have brought Mrs. Cheriton and her boy." She had scarcely finished her sentence before a sudden attack of dizziness made her clutch at a chair for support.


"You must return, and at once," he said. "I will do all that is necessary. I prophesy that this discovery will be the most effectual remedy for Mr. Lambert."


Marion found it most prudent to yield, and hastily leaving word that Mrs. Cheriton was to be sent for, she left the doctor to make all needed explanation for her sudden departure. The next morning, in consequence of a telegram from Dr. Ross, Mrs. Asbury made her appearance, and coolly remarked that she had come to stay till her niece was able to return with her.




On a bright October morning let us take a peep at Mr. Lambert and his now united family. They have left the grand house in the city to spend the autumn months on his farm in the country. To see our friend now we should not imagine him to have been so recently one of Dr. Danforth's sickest patients.  His heart and his conscience at rest, his countenance grows daily more serene, while he declares he feels as young and fresh as he ever did. His wife, Mrs. Douglass no more, moves quietly about, keeping within sight of the husband from whom she has been so long separated. She is making a study of his character eccentricities and all, and has already gained such an influence over him that his eye turns naturally toward her for approval. Many times in a day he asks for and receives a full assurance of her entire forgiveness. Many hours are passed in recounting the events which have occurred since they last met, the keen disappointment he experienced when at last, unable longer to endure the suspense, he wrote a friend in Madrid for news of her, and learned that it was supposed she was deceased, and had been for many years.


The ring once wrested from her finger by her unnatural brother was restored to its old place, it having been taken from the prisoner just before his execution. As they looked at it and called to mind all the wonderful providences which after so many years had brought them together, their hearts were filled with new gratitude to their Heavenly Father, who had out of these afflictions led them to a knowledge of Himself.


Toward his beautiful daughter, Juliette Cheriton, Mr. Lambert exhibited a ludicrous respect, mingled with an unbounded admiration. He found it extremely difficult to convince himself that she in reality was his child.  He watched her stealthily, blushing like a boy when caught doing so. On the subject of her husband he was at first reticent. It was, however, the occasion of reviving his old habit of grumbling when he heard a wish expressed that Mr. Cheriton would return, that there might be a complete union of the family. He rushed about the room growling,—


"He'd better not, the villain; I'd soon settle him. Let him stay away! I'll let him understand I don't intend to leave her a penny."


In the mean time he lavished every indulgence upon her. She had a pony carriage for her exclusive use. Her purse was kept filled to overflowing. If it had been possible to spoil her he would have done it.  How often in these days her mother thanked God that her daughter had not been brought into such temptations to worldliness until she had learned to place her affections on objects higher and more enduring.


For his grandson Mr. Lambert felt such intense pride that he needed constant checks in order that the boy need not take advantage of the foolish fondness bestowed on him. If Mr. Lambert had never had a master before, he had one now, and as we enter the house this bright autumnal morning, a sight meets us which is proof of the fact.


A wide hall runs directly through the old-fashioned dwelling, and racing back and forth through this hall is our old friend, dressed as his double, Mr. Regy, his long white hair floating behind him, as he obeys the whip of his young driver, and canters, trots, or walks in obedience to the orders of his grandson.


"Get up, horse; go faster, grandpa!"


Geenie in his voyage of discovery has resurrected many old and once familiar objects, and among them Mr. Regy's dress.


"What's this? Who wears this?" he shouts, holding up the wig and beard to view.


Being obliged to confess that he has sometimes worn these singular articles, the boy demands that they be at once used by his horse; and the owner, never dreaming that it was possible to refuse, donned them, and with a pair of worsted reins round his body proceeded to jingle the bells, running and cantering, to the perfect delight of the young driver.


Well for all concerned it was that Mrs. Cheriton had learned from sad experience that if she wished her son to love and respect her she must enforce obedience to her own commands and to the commands of God. Mr. Lambert, though he often pleaded that the child's wishes, however unreasonable, might be gratified, and was once or twice detected in comforting him with confectionery under his disappointments, yet acknowledged that his daughter's discipline was necessary and must be maintained.


A most ludicrous scene had once taken place between Eugene and his grandfather, which those who saw it never forgot.


The boy had disobeyed, and his mother placed him in a room by himself to reflect upon his fault, for which he was to be punished. He was sitting soberly in the chair where she had placed him, when, hearing a sound from the adjoining room, he went in and found his grandfather weeping.


"What are you crying for, grandpa?" he asked, quickly.


"I don't want your mother to whip you, but she must; yes, it's right for her to do it."


"Don't cry, grandpa; I don't mind. She doesn't hurt me any; she only tickles me a little. 'T isn't nice for a big man like you to cry."


"Eugene, come here," called his mother, taking his hand to lead him back to his chair. She repeated what she had heard to her mother, saying,—


"I had as much as I could do to keep from showing my amusement. Father looking so penitent, and Eugene comforting him."







IT is Christmas day. The chimes in the spire of the new church are playing sweet melodies; and the Sunday-school children, whose gift the chimes have been, are gathering together from all quarters of the town to practise with their teachers the Christmas carols they are to sing.


This is the first service in the beautiful new church. It is to be publicly dedicated to the worship of God on the next Sabbath, but for weeks the workmen have put forth all their energies to have it ready for a service on Christmas day. The choir have been practising, too; and it is rumored new organist is expected, although his engagement does not commence till the first of January.


The sleigh-bells jingle merrily, for the ground is covered with snow. Even now, an hour before service, several stalls in the neat row of horse-sheds are occupied. Now here comes Farmer Rand, smiling and nodding, and shouting his Christmas salutations to young and old, as he drives his old horse up the ascent, through the gate close to the nicely shovelled flagged walk to the front. The good farmer has a precious load to-day, and he is very careful of it. Yes, that is Lucy, his old woman, so wrapped up in shawls and buffalo-robes—with a hot brick in her great yellow muff, and another at her feet, which just now are cased in a pair of her husband's blue socks—that she finds it almost impossible to alight from the sleigh.


For weeks the good woman has been nursing her strength for this great and joyful occasion. For days she and her man have watched the signs of the weather, have even prayed that, if it was God's will, it might be so propitious as to make it safe for her to go up to the house of the Lord and join with His people in their anthems of praise to the new-born King.


Fortunately the sexton has recognized the farmer, and runs quickly to offer his services it helping her to the porch. One and another come forward to greet her and express their pleasure at seeing her here. The children, even, gather round her pew and say,—


"Merry Christmas, Miss Rand! How do you like the new church?"


Yes, on this natal day of the world's Redeemer every face looks joyful, every voice responds heartily to the kind wishes of his neighbor. It is evident that a great wave of love and good-will is flowing through all their hearts as they suddenly pause and listen to the children's joyous tones chanting the strains the angels sang, "Glory to God in the highest. Peace on earth, good-will to men."


The service is to commence at eleven. The hand on the new and elegant clock, a gift from the Pastor, points to five minutes before eleven; the children have finished their practising and gone quietly to their seats at one end of the organ loft. The slips are all full. There is a hush. There comes the pastor and his bride, not a stranger, but known and loved by all. Pausing for an instant to show her into the pew, the first one selected in the house, he passes on up the aisle into the study at the side of the pulpit. Ethel, the only other occupant of the slip, causes a smile by her obsequious attentions to the bride. She takes a hymn-book from the rack, and, though unable to read a word, opens it and passes it, gets as near Marion as possible, and finally, with a burst of affection, seizes her hand.


And Marion, her beaming face radiant with happiness, stands up with the congregation, while the choir sing the famous old fugue,—


"While shepherds watched their flocks by night,

All seated on the ground,

The angel of the Lord came down,

And glory shone around."


Recalling all the goodness of the Lord to her during the last year, the answers to her prayers, the many friends, who, one year ago, were without Christ, now with Him, the happiness to which she may look forward with the chosen companion of her life, her heart swells with gratitude to the good Father who has directed her path in such mercy, and to the dear Saviour whose advent they are so joyously celebrating. She thanks God, and takes courage to go on laboring to bring those about her to a saving knowledge of His love.


Her husband, glancing at her from the pulpit, sees that her eyes are filled with tears, and he, too, thanks God, as he says to himself, "They are happy tears."


As long as we are the inhabitants of this earth, we must expect occasional clouds with our sunshine. Disappointments are the lot of mankind, and certainly neither Mr. Angus nor Miss Howard expected to be exempt from them. The plan from the first had been to have the wedding the week before Christmas, and a reception or housewarming at Ingleside the following Monday. But, from one cause and another, the new house was not finished, and this plan had to be postponed.


It was Marion's preference to defer the wedding till such time as the house was considered fit for occupation. Such a pressure was, however, brought to bear on her, that she yielded to the wishes of her friend. He brought so many arguments to prove that the plan he now proposed was even better than the original one, that the few weeks before entering on the duties of housekeeping would give her just the leisure necessary for the formation of some of their new plans, etc., that, with a hearty laugh, she replied,—


"I see that you intend to have your way, and as I believe that God intended the husband to be the head of the family, I suppose I may as well begin my obedience now. So on the week before Christmas the wedding shall be."


I am very sure if my reader had not seen Mr. Angus since I first introduced him he would not recognize him now. Then he was bowed down with grief, not only for himself, but for one whom he had every reason to suppose was cherishing as toward her brother such anger in her heart as would cut her off from Divine forgiveness. He was, or felt himself to be, alone in the world. He had no right to form a tie which would make another the sharer of such a burden as his. To be sure, he had brooded over that one scene in his past life until he had become morbid, and perhaps had not relief come to him he might have become unfit to preach the gospel of glad tidings to his fellow-men. When he walked, his eyes were cast down to the ground, while sighs were much more frequent with him than smiles.


Now how different. He walked erect, with elastic tread, his eyes met yours with a frank smile.  One could scarcely be with him five minutes without being drawn to him by a certain magnetism. You felt that his heart was at rest, and more, you could not fail to be sure that he was grateful for God's goodness, that he was literally obeying the Divine injunction, "Rejoice in the Lord alway, and again, I say, rejoice."


Mr. and Mrs. Asbury cordially extended an invitation to the young couple to remain with them till spring. The gentleman even urged the necessity of having his niece close at hand until certain building plans, etc., were complete. But this needs explanation.


It was not probable that such grateful friends as Mr. and Mrs. Lambert would allow so grand an occasion as Miss Howard's marriage to take place without some act expressive of their deep affection and respect. Now that Mr. Lambert had a wife and daughter with whom he could consult, he spent much time in the discussion of what would be the most acceptable wedding present. Once, hearing the word "jewelry" from his daughter, he shouted,—


"Jewelry! Would she like diamonds? I'll buy up a case of them."


"I said I was sure she would not care for jewelry."


"What shall it be, then? Not that anything we can do will ever prove to her our sense of her goodness and faithfulness to us; but it must be something to show her that I value my family, owe to her my finding them."


One day, before she left the city, Marion accepted an urgent invitation to pass a day at the country home of her friends. She also was requested to bring Esther and Neddy Carter with her. During the day, the young lady, wholly unsuspicious of the object of the visit, frankly narrated her own and Mr. Angus's plans for the good of the town. Among other things, she said that there was no library for free circulation, adding, "One of my most-cherished plans is to build a neat and attractive house,

with two large rooms, one for a library of well-selected books, the other a reading-room for both secular and religious papers, and also some of the best magazines. But we can't do everything in one year."


Mrs. Lambert had suggested to her impulsive husband that it would be more delicate not to allude to the subject of a wedding gift, but here, he thought, is just the way to please her. He rushed from the room, motioning his wife to follow, and after sundry antics, such as would have better befitted Geenie's years, he drew a blank check, and with his fingers on his lips, held it up before his astonished companion.


"It's for the library," he said, putting his lips close to her ear.


She nodded approval with a cordial smile, but pointed to the blank space.


"Let her fill it up. Will ten thousand do? It must be nothing mean."


"Suppose we wait a little and try to ascertain the probable cost."


"No, I can't wait! I want it off my mind. If you don't want to see old Mr. Regy," with a comical grin, "you'll help me now."


She put her hand lovingly on his shoulder, which never failed to calm his impatience, and asked softly, "Why not, then, let her fill it up, as you suggested?"


"So I will!"  He held the check toward her and motioned her to give it.


"No, my dear, generous husband, that pleasure belongs to you; I can see just how her eyes will sparkle and those pretty dimples begin to play."


He flatly refused. "No," he said, laughing, "if I were to attempt it I should be old Regy again in a minute."


She sat down at his desk and wrote,—


Dear Friend,—


We have tried in vain to think of a gift for your

approaching marriage which will in any measure suitably express

to you our appreciation of your invaluable friendship.


Your remark just now in regard to a library and reading-room

has suggested the idea of giving to you funds sufficient for that

worthy object and letting you use them as you think proper.





She gave it to her husband to read and sign, enclosed the blank check, and carried it into the next room and gave it to Miss Howard.


With what astonishment and delight the young lady read it, the embraces and thanks which followed, I must leave my reader to imagine. In the midst of the excitement which followed, Mr. Lambert, who had chosen to remain behind, raced from one end of the room to the other, where he was found by Eugene holding on to his sides and making the most strenuous endeavors to restrain his laughter.


In consequence of this generous gift, a lot of land was purchased, not far from the public school, and the town at a public meeting, called for the purpose, added to the library lot a large field formerly used for pasturage. This was to be fitted up for all sorts of games and athletic sports.


Mr. Lambert and his family went to Grantbury, and insisted that the library building be two stories, the upper story to be finished off into a hall for concerts, school exhibitions, etc. The eccentric old gentleman was very angry when it was proposed to name this "Lambert Hall," in token of gratitude to the giver.


"I've nothing to do with it," he insisted. "Put it Howard Hall or Angus Hall, if you please.  It's nothing to me, any way."


"Except that your name stands at the bottom of the check for the cost," replied Marion, with an arch glance in his face.


"Things have come to a pretty pass—wedding present—chose that rather than diamonds."


He was growling away in the genuine old style, when Geenie made them all laugh heartily by calling out,—


"Grandma, did you bring Mr. Regy's wig? He has come back again."







ESTHER COLE had received two letters, or rather notes, from her husband since the one she wrote him; but now months had passed without a word in answer to her regular weekly letter. Mr. Angus was greatly interested in the young wife who was so patiently enduring her trials, and insisted that she ought to be allowed to follow the dictates of her own conscience in regard to her connection with her husband.


Day after day Esther looked for a letter, but looked in vain. At length, pitying her too evident disappointment, Mr. Angus wrote to the chaplain of the prison, making inquiries in regard to the man. The letter, about which he had said nothing, was answered immediately, and contained a slip cut from an Auburn paper. Joseph Cole, with three of the worst prisoners, had escaped from their confinement early one dark night. They had nearly killed a watchman who ran to give notice, and had so far escaped justice.


The chaplain added that the criminals had been subsequently traced to New Orleans, where a gang of roughs had been seized for arson and murder.  On the trial it was proved that the younger and apparently the most hardened had a number of aliases, but that his real name was Joseph Cole.


"My poor, trusting Esther!" exclaimed Marion to her husband, "this will end your faith in your husband's reformation. This will settle the question of your return to him."


But greatly to her surprise, and to the surprise of all Esther's friends, though she mourned so deeply over Joseph's sins that her cheeks grew colorless and her eyes looked into yours more wistfully than ever, she yet held fast to her belief that God had power to touch the hardest heart, and that in answer to her importunate prayers He would, in His own good time, lead him to penitence and a godly life.


"Whether he ever comes back to me or not is of little consequence, ma'am," she said, as Marion was trying to comfort her. "I don't think I shall live many years, but, oh, I do long for him to know how God can comfort people! What would I do now, ma'am, if I were without Christ, as I once was? If poor Joe only had Christ, he would be happier than he ever was in his life, even though he is in his cell."


The last was said with a piteous sob, which went to the listener's heart far more than the loudest wails.


And here we must leave our humble friend. We know that God did fill her heart with such thoughts of Himself, of His pitying tenderness toward all His creatures, that she was comforted under the bitterest sorrow a Christian can be called to endure,—the unworthiness of those we love.  We leave her to the gracious sympathizing Saviour.


Glancing forward a few years, I am sure the reader will be pleased to learn that Neddy Carter is fulfilling the promise of his childhood. Meeting him in the street, one would never imagine that he is indebted to artificial supports for his ability to go from place to place, while his clear, brown eyes, looking you so straight in the face, his open brow, and abundant, wavy locks, interest the most casual observer.


If he were asked, "Who is the happiest youth in this great city?" he would, without hesitation, answer,—


"It would be hard to find a happier boy than I am since my mother goes with me regularly to church."


He is and will be for years to come a protégé of Mr. Lambert, who has given over a sum of money to proper guardians for the purpose of educating him.


The library building is finished, the shelves are lined with books selected by the pastor, who is the chairman of the library association, and a company of ladies and gentlemen appointed for the purpose. The hall above, forty feet by sixty, is fitted up with a curtain, foot-lights, etc., but can never be used except with the consent of Mrs. Marion Howard Angus. After many discussions, the name "Howard Hall" is conspicuous over the desk, but our old friend Marion is eager to assure every one who points to it that it is a memorial, not to herself, but to her father.


A very pleasant circumstance in connection with the library is that Mary Falkner, now confirmed in health and activity, was unanimously chosen librarian, with a salary large enough to support herself and her mother.


One more scene, and I have done.


Accompany me, dear reader, up this smoothly gravelled walk to the elegant mansion at the summit of Church Hill. Notice as you pass that luxurious vine winding itself so lovingly around the pillars. The slip from which it has grown was brought by Mr. Angus from the old Ingleside homestead.


Although it is June, the mornings are cool, and as we push open a French window and step in from the wide, uncovered piazza, we see an open fireplace, with a few embers smouldering away on the high brass and irons. There is an air of refinement and cosey, homelike comfort about the room that we would like to describe, but something of still greater interest attracts us.


Sitting on a low chair near the fire is a young girl, whom we soon recognize as the little Ethel we loved so dearly. As we have seen her so many times, she is still hovering over a cradle, but this time the occupant is a living, breathing, cooing, jumping, heart-winning baby.


At this moment the little one is sleeping. Ethel gazes lovingly at the fair countenance, the rosy lips moving in pleasant recollection of the sweets it has tasted, the long, curly lashes resting on the plump cheek, and acknowledges to herself that live babies are a great improvement on dolls.


Now voices are heard in the hall. Just as a lady and gentleman enter, a carryall drives to the door. The gentleman has on his arm sundry wraps, an afghan, a tiny cap being daintily held on his outstretched fingers. There is a new expression on his features, and we can scarcely believe that this tall athlete, this noble-looking man, with a smile on his lips, which looks as though it belonged there, is the same gentleman whom we first knew as Harold Angus.


But how shall I describe our Marion? The eyes are as bright, the dimples still in view, but the whole face is flooded with a new light. It is the mother love.


She takes little Stella from the cradle, uttering those soothing sounds which even the youngest babies so well understand, and dresses her for the ride, Ethel, meanwhile, looking on in wondering admiration.


They are going to the station to meet their dear friends, Dr. and Mrs. B-, from the Home for the Sick, and when they have driven around the town, intend to bring them home for a quiet Sunday.


And this is our Ingleside.