Imágenes de páginas

Silence, when they entered,
Met them in the gloom—

Silence—and yet angels

Watched in that poor room.

"Mother! are you sleeping?

Mother, don't despair! Here's a friend to help us— God has heard our prayer.

"He has given"—What was it
That still face expressed?

Death to earthly suffering,
Life to peace and rest!

Grieve not little maiden,
Kissing the cold brow;

Pain, and want, and misery,
All are ended now.

In iliy -forced absence,

Seeking daily bread, 'Twas the Man of Sorrows

Stood beside her bed.

Stilled the feeble wailing,
Heard the faltering prayer,

Showed the glorious heaven,
Took thy mother there:

Answered thy petition,
For on that blest shore,

They can never hunger,
And know thirst no more,

Finite is our wisdom—

Every rising sun
We' must ask for blessings

With "Thy will be done."

And when day has ended,

Ere we sink to rest, Though our cross be heavy,

Own that "will" the best.

Bravely do thy duty!

He who made it plain Will be always with thee:

"Fear not," little Jane!


"(Bbm ta {war jrairs."

Jieece Bond, agricultural labourer, cowman, sheep keeper, and farm-drudge in general, had very little room for the sense of wonder in his mind. When he did wonder, it was that he had lived to be so old—on the way to fourscore years of age. He had outlived his wife, who had died at threescore years and ten. He had outlived his children, some of whom had died greyheaded, and seemed to be the brothers of their father, rather than his sons. He had outlived most of the associations of his early years, when he came to the farm a sprightly young man, desirous above all things of marrying one blooming little dairy-maid, his faithful Hannah of married life for nearly fifty years afterwards.

"And pray, Reece," said farmer Edwards, "what prospect have you of keeping a wife, even if our little Hannah will take you?"

Reece smiled a smile as jocund as a harvest field at the least suspicion of there being any doubt about that.

"Master," he said, " if only the Lord permits us to marry, He will take care of us to the end.*

"The end," rejoined Mr. Edwards, with a kindly impatience in his tone; "you know what you will get on the farm if you keep sober."

"I hope I shall always do that, please God," quietly answered Reece.

"Well, I hope so too; but why should you go and take away a girl who is living in the house, and getting enough to clothe herself decently?"

Reece was silent for a moment or two, and then answered in a trembling voice, "If I thought, master, that I was going to do any hurt to Hannah, or not be able to give her enough to eat, I would run from the village this afternoon,—yes, I would, this very afternoon, and never set eyes on her dear face again!"

"Well, what do you think ?" asked his master.

"I think," replied Reece, slowly measuring his words, "that the Lord will take care of us, so long as we faithfully keep His commandments. Do you remember yesterdaymorning's text, master?"

Mr. Edwards reflected for a moment or two, and then candidly confessed he did not.

"It may seem strange to you, sir, that a young man of my age, bent upon marrying, should think of old age; yet when the parson said, with his venerable grey hair about his shoulders, 'Even to hoar hairs will I carry you,' I thought of the banns having been asked for the third time, and then saw myself an old man, and Hannah an old woman; but both of us—both of us," he repeated emphatically, "believing in the promise, and feeling sure that it would not fail."

"Well," said farmer Edwards, "Hannah may do the work she has been used to do, and you may keep on as you are now; but I cannot hold out any hope that, if you live to be fifty years old, you will be any better off than you are now."

Reece soon lost all thought about being fifty years old in the gladness which his master's words imparted; and two or three days afterwards, in a little clay-built hut, with clay for the flooring of their kitchen—and they had no "best" room —with very little furniture, but with very great love for each other, and a very firm faith in the overruling providence and goodness of God, Reece and Hannah began their married life, which, with more of storm than sunshine, with more of want than plenty, was one of unbroken content for upwards of fifty years.

These were the days when "samplers" used to be worked. When the cows had been milked, and the sheep and cattle were safe in their sheds, and Reece and Hannah were sitting by their turf fire, she would spend half an hour or so in knitting in the strangest and most crooked letters imaginable —Reece, however, thought them marvels of symmetry—the text of the sermon which they had heard when she was "asked" the third time. Night after night the busy needles plied, until in red, and yellow, and white, these words were spelled out: "And even to your old age, I am He; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made and I will bear; even I will carry and will deliver you." Reece made the best frame his ingenuity could devise, on which to display his young wife's work; and his further device was to make a loop to the old clock, close to what his wife called the "china" cupboard, so that it might be seen every night of their lives when the clock was wound up.

I saw this faded sampler nearly fifty years after it was worked by busy young fingers, lying on the breast of the widower's treasure, in a bedroom, the floor of which also was clay, and whose only fragrance and beauty lay in the wild flowers that were heaped upon a coffin, at the head of which might have been seen a placid face, the forehead draped by bands of grey hair, sleeping its last blessed sleep.

In the course of years Reece and Hannah had six children given them. They "managed " to feed them and to clothe them, as they said when they were asked how they got on; and it was really marvellous how they did get on. Hannah kept her own place in the dairy, and Reece on the farm; but though there was now and then sickness, and now and then absence from work, and once the death of a little one, they had no one to give them an extra sixpence to help them through. They lived on the simplest, the hardest fare; but their wants were few, and the joy of the Lord was their strength.

There came, however, a very dreary time when the sampler was looked at more frequently than usual. Mr. Edwards died, and the farm had to be sold. He had never been a liberal master in point of wages, but always a kind one —if the opposites can be understood—to those about him. His successor had no liberality, and he was devoid of kindness.

By some stray preacher or other passing through the village, and stopping here and there to get a draught of

« AnteriorContinuar »