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two things, which he could do best when no third chamber, to which Conrad had assisted him.
He person was present. “Only a short time," he had mounted the stairs with greater difficulty than added, smiling rather sadly, I thought;"I cannot I had ever witnessed. He never descended them afford to lose more of you than is absolutely again! necessary this last evening.
I had listened quietly, and answered soothingly, I promised to do so immediately after dinner, to his querulous regrets and complaints. I had and to return in a short time. Then I went to even spoken cheerfully of hopes I did not, could my own room, and leaned my head on my pillow, not feel, of his meeting again the young soldier feeling stunned, bewildered, crushed. Only for a whom he had, he said, loved at once for his friend's few moments; my father would wonder at my sakemat last for his own. long stay.
But when I was alone all this was at an end. I dressed hastily, but dinner was already served I did not question my right to feel thus keenlywhen I entered the dining-room. The change of bitterly-the parting from one who was nothing weather had told upon my father; he looked to me in kindred or in claim. I only knew he pale, haggard, weary. I would have spared him was everything my heart craved. In my strangely the account of our adventure, but his pointed lonely childhood and girlhood, I had never had a questions as to where I had been so long and so friend of my own age—never even a companion. late, obliged me to give him a full account of it. I had longed for both. Was it strange then, That, and the tidings of Conrad's departure, com- when I met one who realized my highest ideal, pletely unnerved him; and his evident depression that my heart went out to him unhesitatingly, unand suffering added to the dull weight already questioningly, unreservedly—that it should rest pressing heavily on my heart.
confidingly and wholly upon him ? I think not. After dinner was removed, I left the room, I did not dream of analyzing my feelings, nor even and spent half an hour pacing the long, dimly- of concealing them, save to cheer my father, not lighted corridor up-stairs. I could not rest-could even from Conrad himself. not think. Slowly the time I had appointed my- I wept till I was completely exhausted, kneelself dragged on. I begrudged every moment taken ing by my bedside, and mixing tears and prayers from the few left me of my friend's society. together. Then I slept—a restless, broken sleep
When I returned to the room, there was a re- -till the sound of horses' feet trampling in the lieved look on my dear father's worn face, and his stable-yard roused me to fresh consciousness of voice was stronger and more cheery, as he chided | loneliness and grief. me for my long absence on Conrad's last evening. I threw a wrapper round me, drew back the The latter had found some “word in season” curtain, and looked out. It was a dark, thick for him too, I saw. Did the rest of the time morning; the day was not even breaking. I pass slowly or swiftly? I scarcely know. Con- could discern nothing but the occasional gleam of rad exerted himself to dispel the gloom we all a lantern. I could hear Conrad's quick, clear felt. Never had he talked more pleasantly-his tones ringing out orders, as one by one his men smile was bright, and his voice cheery; and no filed out of the gate. Then I perceived, by the further allusion was made to this being the last of sudden flare of a light turned in that direction, our pleasant evenings. Even I smiled and talked that the road was full of soldiers, the rest of the too; but a dull aching consciousness that it was troop. I could see an officer with a paper in his such, lay deep below the surface sparkles. And hand, calling over the names; but it was not Conit was not only I that felt it, I knew.
rad's voice. That I should hear no more forIt bad come to an end at last; the last words how long ? Perhaps never more on earth. The had been spoken, the last clasp of the hand given, word of command was given, and the band moved and I was alone in my room again. Then the off. I sat listening-listening-till the last echo floodgates were opened, and my long pent-up tears of trampling hoofs died away. Then I crept burst forth. I had parted calmly with my friend back to bed—not to weep again: my tears had all at the same time as my father-at the door of his been shed the previous night.
Again I resumed my aimless wandering
down-stairs this time, I went from room to THE CLOUDY AND DARK DAY.
room, entering the library last. On the table But turn not in despondence, poor weary heart, away, But meekly journey onwards through the dark and cloudy day; stood an extinguished lamp, an ink-stand, and a E'en now the bow of promise is above thee shining bright, And soon a joyful morning shall dissipate the night.
small packet folded in paper. A chair had been
pushed on one side, as if a person had been sitting “ Thy God hath not forgot thea---and when he sees it best,
Will lead thee into sunshine, will give thee hours of rest; writing, and had displaced it in rising. I went And all thy pain and sorrow, when the pilgrimage is o'er,
up to the table ; my own name was written on Shall end in heavenly blessedness and joys for evermore.
From "Hymns from the Land of Luther." the packet in a clear bold hand. Eagerly I I ROSE next morning with a dull pain in head and opened it, and saw-Conrad's Bible! A slip of heart. My father had passed a restless night, paper lay upon it, on which was written :
and was feeble and ill. A dead oppressive silence, d' He that loveth father or mother more than
as of death, reigned in the house. To me, at me, is not worthy of me.' Keep this till I redeem least. Barbe rejoiced at our return to our old it. - CONRAD." life. My father was too languid and depressed My head sunk down upon the book, and my to make any comment, whatever he may have tears fell like summer rain. “O Conrad ! my felt.
friend, my friend," I murmured, " you have made Without, all was cheerless as within. The sky this sacrifice for me!" At first, regret for his was leaden gray; thick mists rose from the valley loss, rather than gladness for my gain, filled me -a drizzling rain fell steadily—the previous to overflowing; for I knew well what a sacrifice evening's gale had stripped the trees of most of it must have been—his beloved mother's gift, their remaining foliage-the ground was strewn his adored Master's Word. But then I read with sodden leaves—the battered flowers were again the words he had left me, and understood. weighed down beneath them, and the few left on For his Master's sake, not mine, he had parted the branches hung dank and motionless. For with his mother's gift. That comforted me. my father's sake, I struggled hard against the For that Master would richly bless even the cup overwhelming depression I felt, but with little of cold water given in his name and for his sake.
He rose late, and even then was unfit My heart swelled with grateful praise and joy. for any exertion.
I had a guide ; I was no longer alone. The Good The weary morning wore away--the hours I Shepherd had not left his feeble sheep without had spent with my friend. Now I had no Conrad pasture. This token of his care reassured my and no Bible! Through all my pain, I had not fainting spirit, and I was at rest; sorrowful, inlost the consciousness of the presence and syin- deed, but rejoicing. pathy of Jesus. But I was very young in the And when I opened the book, I found further faith, very weak, very ignorant. No wonder my traces of my friend's tender thoughtfulness for spirit sunk within me in my loneliness.
me: folded between its pages were several closelyAt last I could bear the oppressive stillness of written sheets, each on a different subject-each my father's room no longer. He lay back dozing one that would supply my need—each containing in his chair; so I slipped out unperceived, and no word but what was copied from the Word of sought to ease the unrest of my heart by pacing Truth. They had been written the previous up and down the corridor-reviewing every scene night.
night. I knew this by the peculiar shade of the of the past week. Then Conrad's teachings re- ink, which did not become black for many hours turned to my mind, and showed me how wrong after its use. this repining was. “Oh!" I moaned, “had I Yes ; the hours that should have been given but a Bible, God would speak to me through it; to rest, before commencing a toilsome march, had there is ever strength, and comfort, and help to been devoted to me. The thought was very prebe found in its pages, and in them alone. Yes-cious, though watered by many tears. And I felt terday I seemed to have all I could ever need ; sure He for whose sake all was done would not now I have nothing-nothing!"
let the doer be the loser. Had he not said eren
the smallest service done in his name should not expression, as he replied slowly, and with evident lose its reward ? And he is “the Truth.”
effort, I went back to my father's room with a spring “Yes, my darling, read what you will. It has of gladness in my heart that failed not through come to this,” he added, with a bitter smile : “my the sorrowful days that followed. Very sorrowful life is spent, my mental powers gone; my past is ones they were. My father's feebleness increased; disappointment and delusion-one long grasping the damp, gloomy weather continued, oppressing at a shadow; my present, failure and weariness, him painfully; and three days after Conrad's de- melting of heart and spirit; my future, a blank. parture he lay unconscious, and at the very gates So, now I see all this, I may have to learn that, of death. For some days he remained thus ; | in grasping at the shadow, I have lost the subthen very slowly the feeble spark of life revived, stance; in leaning on reason, I have trusted to a and consciousness returned; but his speech was broken staff; in rejecting faith, I have cast aside indistinct and difficult, and his weakness the strongest support in life—the only stay in great that for hours he lay motionless, only death. And it is too late to seek it opening his eyes when roused to take nourish- “ No, never, never-never too late for Jesus," I ment.
exclaimed, a rush of happy tears springing to Words cannot tell the treasure Conrad's Bible my eyes. “O papa, dearest, how I have prayed was to me in those days! How should I have for this! When the morning breaks cold and lived through them without the light, the peace, gray over the mountain, we know the sun is the hope God had sent me through it and him! coming. And light is coming to you, my father,
And even for my father I hoped! I had told though as yet there is but enough to show you him of my friend's noble unselfishness, and he your darkness !" had been deeply touched by it. He knew from Then I opened the Bible, and read to him the his own words what his Bible was to him; and words of him who spake as never man spake. one evening, the last before his sudden seizure, as And he who spake those words on earth speaks I sat reading it, I did so in his room then; in- them yet from heaven, by the “still small voice" deed, I only left him at night, when Barbe in- of his Spirit, that reaches the deepest depths of sisted on taking my place—I looked up at hearing our hearts. Little as I knew of his Word, he him sigh deeply, and met his eyes
guided me to the very texts I needed, but knew with a strangely sad and wistful look.
not where to seek. My father listened with eager A sudden impulse seized me. I threw myself interest; but when at last I closed the book, on his neck, and whispered: “O papa, papa! if fearing to exbaust his little strength, he made no you would but hear of Jesus !”
remark. Only, when I left him for the night, he He kissed me fondly, and stroked my hair, as clasped me very close, and said, in a tone of he answered—ah! so mournfully—“Ah! Léonie, deepest feeling, my child, it is too late now—too late, too late. “ God bless and keep you, my own Léonie, my I have denied him all my life. I cannot offer child, my blessing. If the light ever dawns upon him its dregs; and I could not believe, if I me, it will be through you." ” would.”
The next morning, as he was crossing his room " Papa! dearest papa! you do believe! You after dressing, he was stricken down. But, knowknow the Bible is true. I know you do. Now, if ing the infinite depth of love and fulness of grace not before! And it is not too late. Now is there is in Jesus, I did not despair. Nay more, God's time. And you have a 'now' yet! Oh! my sorrowful spirit was strong in hope' and trust. dear papa, do let me at least read to you of Jesus! And by degrees, though still unable to speak When you listen to his words—bis words of love more than a few broken words, he was able again and mercy–when you hear of his grace, and pity, to listen to me as I read the words of life at and tenderness, and power-oh! you will be intervals, and spoke to him of Jesus. How far lieve. He will give you faith.”
he understood-how much he received I could He looked at me with the same sad, wistful not judge. But the wan features lighted up
sometimes, and the feeble hands were clasped, approaching horseman, I know not. On he came and the paralyzed lips moved as in prayer, and rapidly. While yet little more than half-way my faith was strong in Him who “will in no wise down the avenue, I recognized Conrad von Edelcast out"_" who will not break the bruised stein! He was apparently alone. reed, nor quench the dimly-burning flax."
Hastily slipping his Bible into my pocket, I Barbe was sometimes present at these readings, ran down-stairs, opened the hall door, and stood if the few verses I ventured to read at once may with outstretched hands upon the steps as he disbe called such. She listened half-curiously, half-mounted at the gate, and, throwing his horse's distrustfully. Once she ventured to propose to bridle over his arm, led him up to where I stood. ny father that he should see Father Fontaine ; | I had no time to question the propriety of my but he negatived that proposal so vehemently conduct. Conrad sprang up the steps, and for a that she never dared to bring it forward again. moment held both my hands in a clasp that told
So nearly three weary weeks went by, bringing more of gladness than the strongest words, and no change in my father's state. Dr. Duprât told gazed into my face with a look before which my us none was to be looked for till another attack
eyes went down! But I was the first to speak, should come, and then the end would be.
though my voice trembled as I said: “O Captain We heard little of the great struggle that was von Edelstein ! this is indeed an unexpected pleagoing on. Vague, extravagant rumours reached sure! My father will”—“be so glad," I was us from time to time of victories won and wonders going to say; but for the moment I had forgotten achieved by the new armies formed on the banks all in the joy of meeting my friend again. I broke of the Loire, and in the north. Others, again, of off—“O Conrad ! he is ill—he is dying!” crushing defeat and fresh miseries.
My poor child,” said the deep sympathizing Of Conrad, of course, I heard nothing. My voice I had so longed to hear again, " is it inflesh crept and my heart sickened as I heard the deed so ?” servants exultingly speak of the accounts given of “ Alas! yes ; but let me call Blaise or Pierre to the bands of francs-tireurs gathering throughout take your horse." the invaded districts, whose aim it was to fire “No, Léonie, I cannot. I have not a moment from the ambush of woods and hedges upon the to stay. But tell me of your
father." German oficers. One, they told me, was forming I did so in a few hurried, agitated words. in Drécy. But I did not forget Conrad's words of “ But,” I concluded, “O Captain von Edelstein, holy trust. It was sweet to think, wherever he your sacrifice has not been in vain ; he has owned was, his spirit would be blending with nine in God's Word; he listens daily to it. I think-I prayer often and often.
hope--he is looking to Jesus." Then, freeing my Late one afternoon, I was sitting in the deep hands, which he had held all the time we had been seat of my father's window, which looked, like speaking, I took the Bible from my pocket, and that of the ante-chamber, down the poplar avenue. placed it in his hands. “I cannot thank you,” I He was sleeping quietly. I was not reading, said. “Oh! how could you do it ? ” though I had Conrad's Bible in my hands; my “It was nothing," he said earnestly, “nothing! thoughts were roving restlessly from one thing to But I have come to redeem it now, dear Léonie. another, till at last they settled upon him. Where I have brought you the same jewel in a rougher was he? Should we ever meet again? If he setting. It was the only one I could procure.” lived, I felt sure of that; but might he not be He unrolled his cloak from the saddle-bow, and already gone where my father would soon follow took out a plainly-bound French Bible, which he him? A deep sense of the loneliness of my posi- placed in my
hands. tion grew upon me, when suddenly my ear was “How bas it been with you ?” he continued, caught by the sound of a horse's gallop ringing tenderly. "You look pale and worn. Have you
“ out on the stony road. What subtle intuition felt ALONE ?” made my heart leap to my mouth, as I leaned “No; not since I found your Bible. Oh! I eagerly forward to catch the earliest view of the think I could scarcely have lived through these
THE DRECY WOODS.
But that white hue,
last weeks without it and the truths it has taught the saddle, turning, as he spurred the reeking me !"
animal forward, to give one bright farewell glance “Dear child,” he said very sorrowfully,.“ and and smile. I must leave you to bear it all !"
I stood and watched till he disappeared round “Must you go at once ?”
the corner of the road ; saw with some relief that “ Yes; I have not a moment to spare. I have he had at least one companion-a mounted been the bearer of despatches ; have ridden hard, orderly—with him; then returned to my post in and come a long circuit to snatch this brief meet- my father's room, ing with you, Léonie. You must let me send you a safe conduct for Germany. I fear you will
CHAPTER XIV. need it soon. I can easily procure it. God will protect you, and be with you. And now, goodbye. These jaded horses will hardly be able to Was it not Death's? That stillness, that cold dew
On the scarred forehead ?” carry us to Belfort, and we have some rough roads to pass through the Drécy and Montville Tue house was quiet, for no one had been aware woods!”
of the visitor but myself. Indeed, all had passed The woods !-oh! the pang of dread that shot so quickly, that had it not been for the strange through me! Only the last night I had heard Bible in my hand, I could have thought that it
I Darbe say those woods were filled with francs- was but a dream. My father still slept, and I tireurs, on the watch for some German troops seated myself again in the window, not so much that were expected to pass through them.
to look out the shades of the November even" Through the woods! O Conrad, you must ing were closing fast—but I felt nearer Conrad not go that way!”
there. Oh, those terrible woods ! Would he “But it is the only way, Léonie !”
pass them safely? My heart sent up an imThey are full of francs-tireurs ! I heard ploring cry; and then my thoughts turned to Barbe say so only last night!”
the brief sweet moments when his hand had held " It may be so ; but we must run the gauntlet." mine, his voice was in my ear, his eyes upon my face.
“But it is almost certain death. O Conrad, Then came a sound that froze the very blood Conrad, do not-do not go, for your mother's in my veins-clear, sharp, close—the rattle of a sake ; for Thekla’s! You are alone, and an offi- volley of musketry! A pause, during which my cer! O Conrad, for their sakes do not run such heart seemed to cease beating. Then another a fearful risk.”
single shot. It came from the Drécy woods, "Dearest Léonie,” he answered, in low calm and I knew Conrad could not have passed them. tones, that contrasted strongly with my wild | I sat in a stupor of despair. “ O Conrad, o agonized accents of terror, and stilled the almost my friend, my friend! where are you ?" I mursuffocating throbs of my heart—“dearest Léonie, mured again and again. a soldier must obey orders. And ours are—yours It grew darker. Suddenly, with the instinct that and mine-we fight under the same Captain- makes us remember and perform the most or* Fear not, for I am with thee.' He has kept me dinary things when our nerves are wrought to hitherto through dangers to which those that ex- the highest tension, I remembered it was time my cite your fears now are as nothing. He can keep father should have nourishment. I roused him, me still. And he will care for you, Léonie. To lighted up the room, and gave it to him. He him, and with him, I leave you. And now I must was drowsy-strangely so; I might have noticed go. Adieu.”
it at any other time, but I had but one thought He had held my hand in both his as he spoke ; then--and slept again immediately. Then I for one half-moment he gazed fixedly on my face, went back to my seat in the window. I could and, as if by a sudden impulse, stooped down and not think, I could not pray. All was a borror kissed my forehead. Then, turning abruptly of blank dread. Each tick of the mantelpieceaway, he led bis horse into the road, sprang into clock seemed to strike on a quirering nerve.