Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

by his mother's advice, although it seemed hard to “It is Saturday, Eli ; the father and inother have postpone for an indefinite time his return home.

gone to work, and the children are at the school." Meanwhile, things had gone on in their old quiet way “ Saturday! And my everlasting Sabbath begins toat home. The children grew up under loving discipline; morrow! Give me your hand, Anna! God reward yon father, mother, Josephine, and Swiss Anna worked dili- for your kindness to the poor old cripple! I will wait gently, and God's blessing rested ever on them, though for you in the beautiful city, and come with the angels to they still had a cross to bear. Soon after Tony's depar- meet you, when you too are allowed to come home. Gol ture, old Eli began to fail ; he grew weaker and weaker, bless

you, little Josephine! Give my thanks aud my faretill at last he could not leave his bed, and required con- well greetings to all the others. The dear little mother stant care. The three women had now the care of the must close my eyes: tell her that through his great niercy, invalid added to their day's work, which was heavy and by the blood of Christ, the Lord has given me a enough already. “But what one does willingly does not peaceful end.-Yes, yes, thou doest all things well, my fcel hard,” said Anna ; and Mrs. Lindfelder added, dear Lord in heaven! All, all !” repeated the old man, “When God imposes a duty, he gives strength to fulfil with folded hands and a smile on his lips, and then fell it.” And Josephine rejoiced to be able to prove her quietly asleep. He had already often slept so for hours gratitude to Eli by more mere words. Joseph was and even days together. a faithful friend to them, and when he saw that the Anna went away to the market, and Josephine to her night-watching would soon prove too much for the women, work in the house; but she could not rest, and went he asked permission to take Dresy's place in Eli's room, every two or three minutes quietly to Eli's bedside to and attend to him during the night, and thereby, as see if he still breathed. Anna said to her confidante, Josephine, "once for all When Mrs. Lindfelder came home at dinner-time and stopped the mouth" of Anton Lindfelder, who had again heard what had passed, she went at once to Eli's roomi. begun to grumble and to talk of the hospital.

He slept still, but was unusually pale; while Anna and Poor Eli had to suffer much and long, for sores broke Josephine told how, in the morning, his cheeks had out both on the stump and on his remaining leg, which been flushed and his eyes wonderfully bright. caused him great pain and frequently brought on fever. The mother said nothing, but sent Dresy for the But as his strength gradually failed, his sufferings too doctor and the pastor, and then sat down to watch by decreased; he became more and more still and silent, the bed of the dear invalid. Her soul was deeply stirred, and on soine days when he wished to speak he could not and her prayers rose as if on eagle's wings to heaven. find words. “But Josephine and Mrs. Lindfelder always Eli did not wake again ; towards evening bis breathing understand him, they can read his thoughts in his eyes, became heavy, and his features distorted. Then Mrs. and God will surely reward them for their kindness to Lindfelder rose to call the others, and just at that him," said Swiss Anna. What Eli enjoyed most was to moment Josephine entered with a joyful face, and witi have passages from the Bible and from his dear old Tony's letter in her hand. lıymn-book read aloud to him; and latterly, when he In order to spare his dear ones the anxiety of knowwould sometimes lie long apparently unconscious, taking ing him to be on the sea, Tony had embarked at Nes no notice of what went on around him, it was wonderful Orleans without letting them know, and now wrote fruft diow the sound of a Bible text, or a verse of one of his Havre to say that he had arrived there safe and sound, favourite hymns, would rouse him, and seem to bring and would quickly follow his letter, so as to be with him back to life again. Then he would pray and give them, God willing, early on Sunday morning. thanks so earnestly, and rejoice with such childlike plea- “Eli is dying, and Tony is coming home to-morrow." sure at the prospect of "going home,” that all who With these words the boys greeted their father on his heard him were moved.

return. Soon all had assembled around Eli's dying To-day a great change had come over the old man, bed. Mrs. Lindfelder had sent word to Joseph, and he for when Anna brought him his coffee in the morning, was there too. The solemnity of the presence of deata, and Josephine was about to dress his sores as usual, she and the pain all felt in parting from the dear old man, was astonished to see how they had healed up during checked the joy which Tony's return woulů otherwise the night; and Eli looked up at them with bright, glanc- have occasioned; and had be entered at that moment, ing eyes, and said, in a strange, trembling voice, – tears would have been his only welcome. "Go now, friends, and dig my grave,

The silence was only broken by the sobs
For at length of life I'm weary;

dren, Old Anna had neither tears nor words left; sle For brighter lands I gladly leave

cat with folded hands, immovable as a statue, her eyes This earth now grown so cold and dreary : The angels call me from above

fixed on her dying friend. Mrs. Lindfelder and JosepllIn accents full of peace and love."

ine knelt by the bedside; the father stood beside then. “Do you feel worse, Eli ?” asked Josephine, tenderly Joseph opened the old man's Bible, and read with an bending over bim.

unsteady voice the 16th and 17th chapters of the Gospel “ Not exactly, child. But where are the others, and of St. John. Suddenly Mrs. Lindfelder said: "Now, what day is this ?”

Joseph, it is time. We must sing his death-vel bless

the chil

ing, as we so often promised him.” And they sang to- bright as he had expected, and it was with tears in his getber :

eyes that he embraced his parents and his dear Finy.

His first visit was to the chamber of death. Josephine
When his weary eyes are closing,
Lord, illume the inward sight;

and the children had strewn the bed with the most On thy promised grace reposing,

beautiful flowers which the garden could offer, and Anna May he find the darkness light. Give him peace now through believing,

had placed between the cold hands a nosegay of rosePeace and victory in thy love :

mary and mignonette. “They were always his favourite In the Almighty arms receiving,

flowers," she said, “and he shall take them with him Bear him to thy home above."

to the grave.” When she saw her old favourite Tony, During the singing the pastor had entered. All knelt who held out his hand to her with scarcely concealed down while he offered a short prayer; and then, laying emotion, she sank weeping into his arms, and said, behis hands on the head of the dying man, blessed him tween her sobs, “ You have come home, Tony, and the with the words in which God commanded that bis angels have carried Eli away from us." people should be blessed : “The Lord bless thee and “And I cannot thank him, nor show him my gratikeep thee; the Lord make his face to shine upon thee, tude for what he did for me!” said Tony, deeply and be gracious unto thee; the Lord lift up his coun- moved ; and as he stood there by the bed, great tears tenance upon thee, and give thee peace. Amen." Then rolled down his manly, sunburnt face. the laboured breathing ceased ; old Eli had gone home. In the evening, when the coffin was brought, all His body lay there, and the peace of God, in which his gathered round it once more ; and while Tony and redeemed soul had left its earthly covering, seemed Joseph reverently laid the dead body in it, the little still to hover over it. The sun had just set, and the singing society, who had assembled in the garden, sang western sky celebrated with its evening glory the de- before the open window :parture of our good old friend.

Still, beloved, be your sighings, One after another silently left the chamber of death ;

Dried your tears, and hushed your cryings; only poor old Anna remained, sitting motionless on her

All his promises are true

Life from death is sure to you. chair; and when Mrs. Lindfelder returned with the snow-white winding-sheet, in which, with Joseph's help,

“Sleeps the casket, broken, buried, she was about to wrap the body, she was alarmed at the

Emptied of the gem it carried ; old woman's white face. Gently approaching her, she

But the soul will yet resume

Clothing gathered from the tomb. took her by the hand, and tried to comfort her by saying: “Our good Eli has now overcome, Anna. It is

Onward quick that day is winging, well with him. He will not return to us, but, by God's

Pulse of life from dust is springing;

Bodies, mouldering in the eartlı, irercy, we may soon go to him.”

Leap into immortal birth. “Did you see them, Mrs. Lindfelder ?” asked Anna,

Corpses, now in ashes sleeping, as if awaking from a trance.

Then shall be like eagles, sweeping “See whom, Anna ?

Heavenward through the azure sky, The angels that carried Eli to paradise. They were

Living, never more to die. here, Mrs. Lindfelder! I felt them, if I did not see

" Dead to-day beneath the furrow, them.” She rose, approached the bed, and looking

Living springs the seed to-morrow; earnestly into the dead face, burst into tears and ex

Bursting from the enclasping ground,

Golden harvests wave around. claimed, “O how beautiful he has become ! And I will never sin and murmur over my poverty again, for if Eli

“Therefore, Earth, our common mother, had been as rich as a king, he could not have had a

Open to receive another

Nursling, wearied, needing rest; more blessed death. And he will come to meet me-he

Fold him gently to thy breast. promised he would; and now that I know that, and that the angels really care for him, I will pray.-. Tell

'Once--a work of skill unbounded

This frail shell a soul surrounded ; me, Josephine, what was it that Eli said last this morn

Christ the Lord, in whom we trust, ing ?” she inquired of the girl, who now entered.

Had his dwelling in the dust. “Ah, yes !” exclaimed Josephine. “I was to tell

'Rest thee, therefore, rest thee, brother, auntie : he said, “Through his great mercy, and by the

On the bosom of thy mother; blood of Christ, the Lord has given me a peaceful end.""

He who made thee son and heir,

He will not forget thee there. Then Swiss Anna clasped her hands, and, still gazing into the smiling face of her departed friend, prayed

“Thou, when Christ in clouds descendeth, earnestly : “O my God! by the blood of our dear Lord

When the heavens and earth he rendeth,

Shalt, though in dishonour sown, Jesus, give me too such a peaceful end !"

Rise in glory like his own." When the boys met Tony early next morning at the station, and told him, weeping, of Eli's death, his heart Anna's little lamp burned in the chamber of death ; was saddened by the news; his return home was not as Joseph had insisted on being allowed to watch this last night by the body of his old friend. Poor old Anna, pride as I looked at the dear old man who lived so poor worn out with weeping, had been kindly assisted to bed and died so rich. We will stay with our parents, and by Josephine; the children too slept, and forgot, as honour them, and work for them all their lives! In the children happily do, their grief and their tears. Out- spring I will build a small addition to the house, so that side, under the apple-tree, sat Tony and Finy ; both there will be room for us all to live comfortably in it. gazed silently and reverently into the beautiful star- For, Fing, I am richer than I wrote to you, and have covered heaven, from which the moon looked down on brought a good bit of money home; but I will give it all them so lovingly, and seemed to tell them of the many to mother at once, or I will be tempted into doing somemansions which are in our Father's house. They were thing stupid with it. Father and mother and Swiss both in a peculiar frame of mind : serious, feeling the Anna have worked hard all their lives, and they shall uncertainty of all earthly things, and sincerely grieving have a rest now, and enjoy the remainder of their days. over Eli's death ; but yet full of joyful hope, for life lay For, 'to requite their parents, that is good and ac.so beautiful and so attractive before their young ima- ceptable before God' (1 Tim. v. 4). I learned that text gination, and they were so happy to be able to wander long ago in the pastor's confirmation class, and it came through it hand in hand, sharing all its joy and sorrow to-night all at once into my head and my heart." with each other.

“O Tony, if our dear Eli could hear you now he would Tony had been telling about California, and how, in rejoice over you!” the midst of the desperate gold-seekers - the very "Do you see that falling star, Finy, and do you know thought of whom makes him shudder yet—he had felt what it says to you ?" as if the prayers of his dear ones at home surrounded “No, Tony; I never heard that they meant apyhim like a wall, and had been his protection against all thing." temptation; for his own goodness was as nothing at all, “Did you not ? Well, they say that when we see a and he had much to learn yet before he could hope for falling star at the moment when we are wishing somesuch a death as Eli's. And even while he acknowledged thing good, it is as if it said, Thy wish is fulfilled ! So, that most of the evil around him came from pride, and my Finy, perhaps Eli has heard me. But," he conevery one trying to make himself great, and none being tinued, after a pause, “if Eli did not hear me God did ; content to remain poor and humble—while he saw all and you must pray for me, Finy, that I may have grace that, he himself was nearly tempted in Paris to be proud to do all that I have vowed to him." and upsetting like the rest.

And within, in the little parlour, Anton Lindfelder “ You, Tony ? ” asked Josephine, astonished. was saying to his wife: “Do you remember, wife, what

“Yes. One of my companions bought a silk dress you said to me that time when we thought we should and a bright-coloured shawl for his bride to wear on have to leave our house, and I behaved so unreasonably their wedding-day, and I wished to do the same for abont it ?" you; for I said to myself, “ I am as good as he, and if “No, Antony; how should I remember? That is he can afford it, so can I. But then I thought of what many years ago." mother, and old Eli, and you yourself, would say to it, “ You said then, it did not so much matter whether and that in the grandest clothing you could not please we had a bappy life, the great thing to strive for was a me better than in your honest, simple, peasant's dress; blessed death. Yes, Salome, you said just that; I reand I turned away and kept my money—though I got member it as if it were yesterday." well laughed at by my comrade, who called me a miser “Well, and if I did say it, father, was I so far and a silly pietist. And I could almost regret it now, for I have brought you nothing, my poor Finy, but my “At that time, I confess it, I thought you were talkown true heart.”

ing nonsense. But since I have seen Eli die, and " Which is a thousand times better than the finest specially to-night as we laid him in his coffin, I felt it clothes and all the gold in the world,” said Josephine, was true, that we can and should wish nothing better nestling at his side.

for ourselves than a blessed death. And that God gives “And do you know, Finy, I had another ambitious that to the poor as well as to the rich, we have seen in dream in my head. I thought I would buy a piece of our dear old friend." ground for a woodyard, and build a beautiful house in it, Mrs. Lindfelder, deeply moved, held out her hand to where you should reign like a little queen.”

her husband, who held it long clasped in his. And that “But you have given up that plan too, Tony ?" night, when he had gone to bed, she went once more into

“Yes, Finy. This evening, as we laid old Eli in his Eli's room, and, kneeling by the bedside, thanked God, coffin, I gave it up, and resolved that when we are with tears of joy, for the blessing he had sent into their married we will stay on in the dear old house with our house with old Eli. And it was wonderful, only when parents."

she rose did she observe that Josephine had been kneelAn earnest pressure of the hand expressed Josephine's ing by her side, as on that other evening long ago, and answer and thanks.

that Tony's prayers and Joseph's too had mingled “Yes, Finy, I grew ashamed of my selfishness and with theirs ! An offering well pleasing in the sightof God!

wrong ?

On Saturday Swiss Anna, accompanied by Josephine weekly offering in the can of honour, which was dear to and the children, made a pilgrimage to the churchyard, each heart as a remembrance of their old friend. And to Eli's grave. Hammy carried a spade and rake, Dresy they were none the poorer for that; for the Lord blessed a watering-can filled with water, and little Lena a bas- their earnings, and they were no longer put into a bag ket full of hyacinth roots and cuttings of plants which with holes. Tony had bought from a nursery garden : “For he must Old Anna had worked as hard as ever through the lie under a bed of flowers, as he often told me they made whole winter, and had carried many a basket of fruit all the graves in his place” (she meant in Herrnhut), and vegetables to the market, and brought home many Anna had said on the funeral day.

a franc. Every Saturday she went to Eli's grave to To-day she was to keep her word to her old friend, tend the flowers there ; and in the winter she covered and herself smooth the surface of the mound, and turn them carefully with moss. She often spoke of Eli, and it into a bed of flowers ; but her hands trembled, and said that since his death she felt more sure that the Lord her eyes were blinded with tears, so that she was glad to Jesus loved her too a little, that she could pray better now, hand over the spade and rake to the willing Hammy, and think more calmly of her own approaching end. and leave the planting of the flowers to Josephine. Every evening Josephine had to read soniething alond Dresy then watered them from his can, and Lena busied to her,—“Eli's verses," and oftenest those he had reherself picking off the stones.

peated in his last days,--and over and over again the The grave-digger stood watching them with friendly stories of poor Lazarus and of the prodigal son; and interest, and Anna turned to him and begged : “Keep then she would say, “O Finy, if I were only like this place next Eli's grave for me; for you will see he Lazarus and the prodigal son, and if the angels would will come to fetch me very soon. It seems as if I could come soon to fetch me as they fetched Lazarus and live no longer now he is gone."

Eli!” "No, no, old Anna," said Tony, who had just joined And in the spring, when the flowers bloomed on Eli's them, and set to work busily to help, "you must not grave, and the sweet-scented hyacinth bells rose out of leave us yet ; that would be too sad. We will give you the green moss, then the grave-digger prepared Swiss now all the love we gave to Eli, and make your old age Anna's last resting-place. The Lord in his mercy peaceful and happy. And we could not miss you at the spared her the death struggle, with all its bitterness. marriage ; your hands must place the bridal wreath on She was taken away in a moment, also on a Saturday Finy's head.”

evening, as she was sitting with Josephine under the The thought of the marriage of her two favourites did apple-tree, watching Tony fix upon its trunk an ebony much to cheer old Anna. She smiled through her tears tablet upon which the father had carved the date of as she answered : “It is very good of you, Tony; and Eli's death, and the word Ebenezer. indeed I love you and Josephine and all the others Great was the shock of Anna's sudden death, and better than my life. But yon must not think it strange great the sorrow over it. Josephine in particular refused that I should still wish rather to go to Eli. I would be to be comforted, and poor Tony wept as he had never well off with you, I know that; but, God be praised ! I done in his life before. They all felt just as Anna herknow now too that I will be far, far better off in heaven.” self had done at Eli's death, as if they had never known

before how dear she was to them. She looked so beauti

ful--almost triumphant-on the bed of death, honest CONCLUSION.

old Swiss Anna ! after the hard work and the weary day's The winter passed quickly and busily with our friends. labour! Good true soul, thou hast been faithful over Tony was preparing to begin work on his own account little; the Lord has called thee in love, and we will not in the spring, and to build the addition to the house. grudge thee thy rest ! "In his holy zeal,” as Anna said, he wished that his parents should no longer go to the factory, nor Finy to The addition to the Lindfelders' house is now comher customers, por Anna to the market. But his good pleted, and home-like and pleasant it looks, outside and mother taught him better, and told him that “idle hands in. In the workshop adjoining Tony is busily at work. bring poverty;" and she thought it would be better that He employs several apprentices now, a sign that he has all should continue at their accustomed work, and not got plenty of work, and can earn his bread honestly. fold their hands to rest prematurely. And when Tony The father goes back and forward, helps a little at the had bought a piece of ground, close by his parents' gar- work, and superintends the apprentices. Dresy has den, for his workshop, and made an estimate of the hopes of educating himself to be a teacher; and Hammy cost of building it, he saw to his astonishment that his is to learn cabinetmaking. Lena has meanwhile grown money would be barely enough ; so he gladly fell in with into a lovely, blooming girl. In the house Josephine the simple ways and work of the household. The works quietly and diligently by the side of the good parents now slept again in the little room they had mother, who now goes no more to the factory. Who given up to Eli; but the little shelf over the bed was knoirs ! perhaps, like Naomi, she hopes soon to take a still in its place, and all continued faithfully to lay their child into her bosom, to be a nurse to it and to enjoy the pleasures of a grandmother. If it be so, may God bless that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's chilthe faithful mother in her children and her children's dren; to such as keep his covenant, and to those that children, as he has promised in his Word: “The mercy remember his commandments to do them” (Psalm ciii. of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them | 17, 18).

LESSONS FROM LIFE-FOR THE YOUNG.

BY THE EDITOR.

VI.-WE DON'T NEED PAPA.

[ocr errors]

BOUT fourteen years ago, in the great city part of it, if she had mother, and Betty, and her eldest

of Glasgow, lived Mr. Tonar, with his wife sister, she thought she might get along as well without and six children. The ages of the children

papa as with him. ranged from two to thirteen years. The The elder children knew better. They were aware two elder were well advanced with their education, and that although their father's hand was not seen providing had become, in some measure, companions to their and preparing the daily meals, and buying and making parents, entering with some degree of intelligence and the garments, yet he gained and gave all. Although the sympathy into all the family plans and prospects. It servants of the house brought home the provisions, and was a new experience and a great delight to the cooked them, and carried them up, get their father proparents when the elder children became capable of vided and paid for all ;—that, without their father, they comprehending, to some extent, the measures adopted could not obtain home, and food, and clothes, and books. for the welfare of the family. They accordingly made They had as much intelligence and experience as to companions and, as it were, counsellors of those that know that they owed all to their father, although they had, to this extent, attained the years of discretion. did not see his hand providing anything. Although The children, on their part, made their parents their Betty brought in the rolls and spread the breakfast, and chief confidants and friends.

put on their clothes, they owed breakfast, and clothes, Mr. Tonar's business made it necessary for him to and Betty too, to their father. They loved him acleave home frequently for two or three days at a time. cordingly, and were happy in his company, and were One season these journeys had occurred more frequently sorry to see him going away. than usual, and had also been more prolonged. The In defence of the little one, however, let me say, that elder children missed their father's company, and she was not lacking in love to her father. It was in longed for his return. Coming home from school one knowledge, and not in affection, that her defect lay. afternoon, they found him in the lobby with great-coat | Her ignorance, too, was owing to her infancy. She does on, and travelling-bag packed up, and all in readiness not now, at the age of eighteen, entertain the opinion for another journey. Disappointed and displeased, which she expressed at the age of four. She knows not they exclaimed with one voice, in a tone of complaint, that she needs papa ; and does not know how she could “O papa! you are always going away.” A little one do without him in the world. But, not knowing how it of four, who had not been at school, and had come will be done, she yet believes that our Father in heaven into the lobby to see what was going on, hearing her will provide. But in the meantime, when childhood is sisters' exclamation, and by no means sympathizing past, that childish thing has passed away with it, and with it, answered in accents of decided self-satisfaction no meniber of the family is more deeply convinced of and independence,—“What do you consplain about? papa's usefulness, or clings more fondly to his neck when We don't need papa !”

he is setting out on a journey. She had observed—for even at that tender age chil- It would appear that mankind at large are divided, dren begin to lay things together, and to reason vigor- like that family, into two sections—the intelligent and vusly from such premises as they have—that everything the unintelligent. One portion-not indeed the youngest, went on very well in the absence of her father. She but the most presumptuous, seeing no hand of God remembered that the milk and the bread were forth- stretched down from the sky to lay our bread upon our coming as regularly and as plentiful when he was away table-say they have no need of God. The laws of as when he was at home. Warm clothes were provided; nature are enough for them. By aid of these laws they and if anything gave way, it was as promptly mended will help themselves. Does not the field produce our as if her father had been close at hand. Nay, even food, and the air supply our breath, and the sun give us while he was in the house she never saw him carrying light ; and why should we pray to God for these things? home the groceries, or cooking the dinner, or washing Oh, when will these children learn that "every good the clothes. And, accordingly, she thought she was gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh hot indebted to him for any of her comforts. For that down from the Father of lights."

« PredošláPokračovať »