« PredošláPokračovať »
the same field, to rescue this species of literature from the degrading office of ministering to vanity or vice, and employ it as one of the "instruments of righteousness.”
This year our younger readers will not be neglected. The Editor is ambitious of enrolling himself as an almost constant contributor to their department. Scarcely anything in his public life during the past year has proved more grateful to his heart, than the intimation, received from more than one family, that the journal is relished, and its arrival watched for, by the younger members of the circle.
There is much in the aspect of public affairs to encourage a Christian patriot. At home, the education of the people is making steady progress. In our relations with other countries, not only has peace been in point of fact maintained, but a new method of settling international disputes has been successfully inaugurated, which bids fair to become a precedent for other countries, and an immeasurable blessing to posterity. The successive efforts of the Papacy to regain its influence in Europe have resulted in failure; and at this day a liberty of conscience and of worship is enjoyed throughout the Continent such as we could not have dreamed of a quarter of a century ago.
It is true that the moral and religious condition of large classes in our own and other countries is fitted to afford much anxiety to all thoughtful disciples of Christ. People who are bent on the enjoyment of indolent ease have but a poor prospect. They are in the wrong place. This is not a good world for resting in ; but it is a good world for working in ; and if we are “fellow-workers with God," our labour will not be lost.
“ Anno Domini !” Prophets, kings
“ Anno Domini !” Be it thus,
To bless both heart and ear;
Shine, Sun of Righteousness, on us,
And crown Thy glad New Year!
Teright out of Darkness.
A STORY OF THE FRANCO-GERMAN WAR,
BY ANNIE LUCAS.
MY DEAR OLD HOME.
YEAR !—one year !-only one year , is gone from my side to return no more? What since the bright May morning that if father, country, home-all my earthly treasures ushered in my eighteenth birth-day, have been swept utterly away by the hurricane
in my old home in the little French of war? I have a Father in heaven, a better village among the Vosges mountains. Only one country, a home above,~" a house not made with year! Yet then life lay before me like an open hands, eternal in the heavens ;” and my chief book, with but the preface written, and its blank treasures are not lost, only garnered up into safer unturned pages bright with the sunny dreams of keeping than mine. youth ; now those leaves are filled, and the book And if my life's story is ended, my life's work itself seems closed, clasped, and laid on a shelf, is not. Am I the only one to whom this terrible with only one line untraced—one blank space year has brought desolation and anguish ? Alas! left-just room for a name, a date, an age. When how many thousands of records besides mine will that record be made ? Ah, me! that I am have been traced in characters of blood and fire only nineteen to day! O years! years! through and tears, records beginning and ending alike in how many must I tread life's pathway—thať last darkness ! while to me, light, the true light, has year seemed so smooth, so bright, so rainbow- come out of darkness. spanned—with bleeding feet, in darkness and Shall I not rather strive to comfort and help alone ?
those my fellow-sufferers, going out “holding In darkness and alone? Ah! faithless heart, forth the Word of life," the true and only source not so! Not in darkness, for Christ is my Light; of light and peace? Yes; I must seek now to not alone, for he is with me always. He has fight my battles, to gain my victories, to conquer promised it. He is the Truth, and he has said, this gloom and depression and sickness at heart, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." these aching yearnings after the "might have “ Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it been," by laying them all at His feet, who is be afraid." "I will not leave you 'orphans ;'I touched, not only with our sorrows, but with our will come to you." And I know he will. I infirmities, and by going forth in his strength, know that having loved me, and made me his leaning hard on him. own, he will love me “unto the end,”—the end And He who wept at the grave or Lazarus is that now appears so far off, so long to wait for. caring even now, I feel, for his poor sorrowing I know he will comfort, guide, and strengthen child, whose deep heart-wounds he alone can me througlı the “ little while” of time, and bring probe. me safely at last to "the haven where I would be," Sorely has that poor heart been tried to-day, to the "fulness of joy and pleasures for ever- roughly have those bleeding wounds been torn more” in the Father's house above. And he will open, till nature's agony had well-nigh drowned not chide the sorrow, or check the tears that are the faint, sweet whispers of faith, and quenched poured forth on his breast. He too has wept. the soft light of heavenly hope. Thank God!
What then? Shall I faint because the light almost, not quite. The grace to help ever comes in of earthly joy and hope is quenched for me for the time of sorest need, and the voice that spoke ever --because the strong presence of human love to the terrified disciples on the midnight ser
sounding sweetly through storm and surge, seems and lips of air pressing light kisses on my brow, now, even now, whispering in my ears the same I could not bear it, and turning from the window tender words of cheer : "It is I; be not afraid.” | I closed the curtains, and hiding my face in my And I am not afraid.
hands, wept bitter, burning tears, that brought no That thought which came to me just now-of healing, and listened to the passionate cry in my my life's finished story, so quickly told, lying heart, that One voice alone could silence. shut up in a clasped book-has brought with it But I did not seek that voice. I sat lung in the wish to open once more those closed pages, the darkened room, holding communion only with and retrace thoughtfully and connectedly “the way my grief; and when at last I went forth, I the Lord hath led me." I will do so. I think carried with me the deadly hidden pain, gnawing it will help and comfort me; and perhaps, some within, for I sought once more to bear my sorrow time, some other stricken spirit, ready to sink alone, and it crushed me to the very dust. like mine, and forget all but its pain, may read It is over at last—the hollow pomp of triumph it, and be helped and comforted too.
the streets are empty, windows and balconies How many such there must be to-day in are vacant, and those who lately occupied them Munich! For to-day the grand old city was all are gone; some to rejoice in the presence of their astir, to welcome its returning warriors, coming loved ones, some to prepare for the festivities of crowned, indeed, with the laurels of victory, but the evening, but many-oh, how many!--to weep of victory how dearly bought the thinned ranks for the loved and lost, filling unmarked graves in and worn frames of the conquerors too sadly a foreign and hostile land. showed. None seemed to think of that; sights And I am of the last. There is joy, tempered and sounds and symbols of triumph were every- indeed with chastened sorrow, in the household where, but I am sure they were few who did not circle here; and in my jealous pain I could bear aching hearts amidst it all.
not brook it, so stole away here to muse upon I was roused from sleep this morning by the the past. But, like healing balm, the dew of loud roar of cannon! I started up in terror. Christ's love has fallen afresh upon my heart, Those to whom that sound has become familiar and there is no bitterness now mingled with the in its dread reality-who have heard those iron sad, sweet memories, that throng my mind's lips speak their gbastly language of blood and mirror. “When He giveth quietness, who can agony and death—can scarcely learn to associate make afraid ?” it with rejoicing, still less with peace. I went My dear old home, how plainly it rises before to the window, and the sight of the roofs and me, with the old familiar places and sights and domes and spires of the city, bathed in the golden sounds! It stood on the outskirts of the little glow of the morning sunshine, the multitude of village of Drécy, about twelve miles north-east of flags floating proudly and gaily against the clear the now well-known fortress of Belfort. The blue of the sky, the sounds of foreign words in village was small and straggling, consisting of strange voices from the workmen engaged in one long irregular street, with two shorter ones giving the finishing touches to the large arch that crossing it at the further end, forming an open spans the street just under my window, and the space, or “Place,” as the villagers ambitiously distant tones of a band playing the now far-famed styled it; in the centre of which was a well, covered “Wacht am Rhein," soon brought to my mind by a bell-shaped roof and crucifix, which supplied where I was, and what was to be that day. most of the cottagers with water, and was so
And then something I know not what, for excellent a gathering-place for the village gossips, it came not as of old, laden with sweet scent of male and female. The village itself stood on no flowers, and glad sounds of bird and bee-some- direct road, though through it a rough winding thing in the light touch of the breeze on my face one led across a spur of the mountain to the little opened the floodgates of memory, and brought town of Molineau ; but at the extreme end, and back the pastoli, so vividly! It almost seemed exactly opposite our gates, a broad, open avenue as if spirit fingers were smoothing back my hair, of poplars led directly into the Belfort road, at the distance of about half a mile. The people trees, once ciipped into shapes of bird or beast. of Drécy were chiefly miners, employed in the had grown into uncouth monsters ; and grass, neighbouring copper and lead mines. There were fruit, and flowers alike ran wild. At the exfew houses beyond the dignity of cottages, some treme end was a low wall, behind which the were mere huts; but each had its little garden, ground fell away rapidly into a narrow gorge, many its small field and vineyard. Sheltered through which the little river Arle flowed over from the north and east winds by the “Colline its rocky bed. At the bottom of this gorge was Rouge," as it was called, perhaps from the remains a bridge, where the rough, steep, bridle-path that of an old red sandstone castle which stood there, skirted our garden led by a shorter route into it was as fair and bright a spot as one would wish the Belfort road. Oh, memory! memory! how to see. Ah! poor Drécy, how does it look in often dost thou bring that bridge before me! this day's sunshine ? Not as last year, for the Down each side of this path the woods swept tempest of war has reached even that quiet nook. close and thick-indeed, woods and hills were The little gray church, with its picturesque grave- the sole features of our landscape. yard on the side of the hill, its rudely-carved A year ago these things were only endeared to wreaths and crosses and tokens of rustic affec- me as the haunts of my childhood ; the scene of tion, and the curé's small dwelling, with its honey many sweet, peaceful, and happy days. Now, suckle-covered porch, finished off the street. every trivial point I have mentioned is linked
Then came our house, “Le Petit Château," as darkly or brightly-with some thrilling rememit was called, to distinguish it from the stately brance. The poplar avenue—the flight of stone mansion of the De Maurences that frowned down steps—the arbour by the last garden wall—the on the village from the opposite hill. The large path leading by the door in it up to the summit gates, with hinges so rusty from age, that I of the Colline Rouge—the bridge over the Arle, think it would almost have brought down the with the withered tree beyond—the curé's tiny gray moss-covered pillars that supported them, dwelling—the little churchyard, —each has its had any one tried to open them, which no one part, its own story. ever had done since I could remember, faced, as Such was the home in which last May found I said, down the straight avenue that led into me dwelling, a quiet and dreamy, but happy girl; the Belfort road; and the small door beside lonely, indeed, for I had no companions, no young them, which we used, opened into a paved court, friends. Our household consisted of my father surrounded with shrubs, and having a large and myself; Barbe and Pierre, two old faithful fountain basin in the centre, with the moss-grown servants ; Victoire, an orphan girl, whom Barbe figure of a nymph holding a vase in her hand, had brought up; and Blaise Dufour, a hired boy from which water had once flowed; but the of sixteen, who helped Pierre in the garden and fountain, like everything else, was worn out and with the rougher and harder parts of his work, dilapidated. A flight of stone steps led into the for Pierre was already old and infirm. entrance hall, guarded by two griffins of gray Such was our household, almost patriarchal in stone, similar to those which surmounted the its simplicity. My father was of ancient family, pillars of the great gates-objects half of amuse- but poor : indeed, Barbe's excellent management ment, half of terror, to me in my childhood. and rigid economy alone enabled us to live in The house was large, and built chiefly of wood comfort ; for beyond the château my father posin an oblong square, with a queer pointed turret at sessed little property, and was far too much one end, and rows of high, narrow windows. The engrossed with his beloved books to trouble high pointed roof was of red tiles, with many himself about pecuniary matters, leaving all to dormer casements. Most of the rooms were un- Barbe. My poor, faithful Barbe! from the day furnished and left to the tenantry of rats,-far the when she led me, a weeping child of nine, from most lively part of the inhabitants. On the my dead mother's side, and told me she would southern side a large garden sloped down in be a mother to me instead of the one who had terraces : more than half of it was waste, and the gone to heaven,—“whatever the priest night
say," she muttered, she had been, next to my been ill, and looked sadi 7 worn and broken; and I father, my best and kindest friend. Dear, faith-had sprung up suddenly, they told me, from a ful Barbe, so stern and almost forbidding in ex- child to a woman. The grave, still life of the terior and manners, so tender and true of heart ! convent, in which I was then the only boarder, I believe she, too, has gone to Him who will not may have helped to make me older than my years. quench the “ dimly-burning flax."
Be that as it may, my father started when I entered the room, and after the first embrace, he held me from him and gazed long and earnestly in my
face, his own working and quivering strangely CHAPTER II.
with emotion. Then he said, in a low voice,
shaken with some deep feeling, Léonie, my For three years after my mother's death, hers child, your poor old father cannot do without you was the only care I knew. My father shut him- longer; he will not need you long. Are you willself up with his books more closely than ever, ing to come home with him at once-to-day ? " and until at Barbe's earnest representation he Was I willing? Ah! I feel even now the joy roused himself sufficiently to place me in a con- that thrilled through me. My father needed me! vent at Vesoul, I ran wild. There I remained I could be a comfort to him at last, could tend another three years, learning all the kind simple him, be with him as I so longed to ! I could sisters could teach me, and returning at intervals only reply by a passionately tearful embrace, in only to find my dear father more absorbed, if which the ice melted, never to close up between possible, than ever in his studies. Though always us again. kind and indulgent, his grave pre-occupied manner When I reached home, Barbe's first exclamation, chilled me.
I never thought of taking to him as she viewed me with the proud gaze of satisfied my little pleasures and difficulties for sympathy affection, gave me the clue to my father's agitation. or solution; and by degrees, in the years that She said, “But certainly it is her mother over followed my mother's death, our intercourse be
again !" came limited to our silent meals, at which he was Yes; and the heart that seemed to have been frequently too much engrossed with a book or laid in that mother's early grave, woke up to fresh with his thoughts to notice me, and to the morn- life and love under the spell of the strong likeness ing and evening salutation and blessing. Still I they said had grown up between me and the girl loved and revered him then, and hungered after many recollected as M. St. Hilaire's young bride, tukens of his affection. How often have I lingered
How often have I lingered whom I remembered only as the pale, sad, droopat his study door, which I never presumed to ing invalid. And so I settled down once more in enter unbidden, or timidly followed him as he the quiet home of my childhood. paced up and down the terraced garden paths, in Very calmly and quietly the time glided away, hopes of getting one of those rare smiles of till that May morning came which was to be so tenderness which sent my heart leaping for joy, eventful to me, so fraught with powers to influence or receiving some mark, however slight, of the me for time and for eternity. Very happily the love which I knew, in spite of his apparent cold- time passed in the summer which followed my ness and indifference, lay deep in his heart for his return from the convent; my father gradually relittle motherless girl.
gained much of his old strength, though he was But from the moment we met in the little con- then more than sixty years of age, and his figure vent parlour at Vesoul, when he unexpectedly was bowed, and his face pale and furrowed with arrived to take me home three months before the long years of study and care, disappointment and appointed time, all this has changed, and each day, each week, each month, but strengthened the I spent much time with him from the first. bond that united us. I had not seen him for The mornings he always passed in his study, many months, nearly a year, and during that time surrounded with books and papers; but it never I think we had both altered greatly. He had disturbed him when I sat with my work in the