Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση
[ocr errors]

a heap of grain shewed duskily on the floor, overlaid with the great wooden shovel; and threshed straw and unthreshed grain were on either side. Through the great wide-open doors came in a silver strip of moonlight and lay softly upon the barn floor; and there Hulda frolicked like a silverwinged butterfly.

• Alie:!' she cried out, and rushed up and threw her arms round her.

My stars alive!' Martha said,—-if Miss Rosalie don't look just like a ghost in the moonshine !'

* Mother aint sick, is she, Miss Clyde?' said Jerusha timidly.

• No my dear. What are you all about ?'

O we're playing,' said Hulda, darting away with a flying leap to a distant bundle of straw.

Rosalie sat down on one that lay near the door, and looked out and looked in with strange feelings. This door of the barn was toward the house, and she could see its dark outline, softened here and there by the moonlight, and the twinkling of candles from the kitchen window. That was all the house was too distant to see more, and no sound crossed the space between. And within the barn there fell the same moonlight, but upon what different types of humanity. One little sigh, and another escaped her lips — then somebody softly touched her hand. It was Jerusha.

‘Miss Clyde, it looks lonesome to see you sit there so. Sha'n't we go back to the house ?'

I guess I'd as good be going to get tea,' said Martha.

• We shall not want tea till I go,' said Rosalie, 'and I am not going yet. The kettle was on some time ago.'

O yes—it 'll boil by itself,' said Hulda, with another spring into the straw bundles.

'I am a sober kind of person at best, Jerusha,' said Rosalie kindly. Nothing else looks lonesome, does it ?'

THE BALM FOR FEAR AND SORROW.

277

• Are

[ocr errors]

“No,' said the girl in a half whisper. "Only it frighted me when mother called the men, and I've felt scared ever since. I wanted to go right up, and Martha wouldn't let me.'

• Martha was quite right. But why were you frightened ?'

'I do'know,' said Jerusha, her voice sinking again. "I'm always so 'fraid of-of-I didn't have but one brother, Miss Clyde—and it's hard.'

The same shiver that she had felt before passed over Rosalie. But she spoke quietly.

you

afraid to have him come home here to rest ?' · Yes—I do'know,' sobbed the girl. It seems dreadful.'

• Do you remember,' said Rosalie, 'what Jesus has said -Thy brother shall rise again.That is as true to you Jerusha, as it was to the sisters of Lazarus.'

“Yes,' said Jerusha in the same smothered voice, crouching down by Rosalie and hiding her face against her.

Poor child— Rosalie said, and for a moment she paused, her words suddenly cut off. Then softly she repeated

6I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life ; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

The sweet words found their way down to the fear as well as the sorrow of Jerusha's heart, and with a long sigh she dried her eyes and looked up. At the same moment her mother's tall figure stood in the doorway, and the strip of moonlight was cut off.

She did not speak, but stepped aside as if to let the others pass : and when they were all out of the barn she took Jerusha's hand and followed them slowly.

There was a large gathering in the house that night,friends, unneeded yet not officious, came and went and stayed ; though these last but few. Rosalie had given up her sitting room as the best and largest in the house, and retreated for the time to a smaller one up stairs which she used for a bedroom. And there with Hulda sleeping quietly near her she sat through the long evening, nor even lit a candle. With what feelings of pain she listened to the busy steps that went to and fro, making ready the room, and then to the heavy tread of the men as they brought in the unconscious one for whom all the preparations were made. Then everything was hushed, and the house sunk in profound stillness ; and she might sit and think it over. And the weary thought of the afternoon had in part come back, and she questioned with herself if such a trial might be awaiting her.

With the stifled feelings of one who breathes in imagined sorrow, Rosalie went to the window and threw up the sash. The night was perfectly still. A slight frost in the air kept down all dampness, and hushed the many insect voices that were wont to sing ; and the stars shone with a perfect light; but the moon had long since dipped her crescent beneath the dark woods of the horizon. Rosalie wrapped herself in a warm shawl and sat down by the open window ; and while she looked and listened the hours went by with feet as noiseless and swift as her own thoughts.

Suddenly from the room below there came voices ; and in slow soft measure arose this hymn.

“ Forever with the Lord !

Amen, so let it be ;
Life from the dead is in that word,
'Tis immortality.”

Untutored though the voices were, unsoftened by prac

A COUNTRY OF JOY.

279

tice according to any rules, there was a wild kind of sweetness and force about their music which cultivation could but have hindered. An earnest belief too, a deep seriousness and feeling in the words gave them power. The voices ceased for a while and then began again—this time as it were for themselves ; and though Rosalie's tears flowed as she listened, the first gush took off all their bitterness.

“Come let us anew our journey pursue,

With vigour arise,
And press to our permanent place in the skies.
Of heavenly birth, though wand'ring on earth,

This is not our place,
But strangers and pilgrims ourselves we confess.

“ At Jesus's call, we gave up our all ;

And still we forego
For Jesus's sake, our enjoyments below.
No longing we find for the country behind ;

But onward we move,
And still we are seeking a country above :-

“A country of joy without any alloy ;

We thither repair ;
Our hearts and our treasure already are there.
We march hand in hand to Immanuel's land;

No matter what cheer
We meet with on earth, for eternity's here !

“The rougher the way, the shorter our stay ;

The tempests that rise
Shall gloriously hurry our souls to the skies ;
The fiercer the blast, the sooner 'tis past;

The troubles that come
Shall come to our rescue, and hasten us home."

The last words died away on the night air and all was hushed ; and in that hush of feeling as well as sense, the rest of the night past to one watcher, and the first few streaks of the morning began to appear. Rosalie looked to the east, and in the opal unearthly light which flickered up from the horizon the morning-star rode supreme

-O who that saw could describe it to those who had not seen !

“A country of joy without any alloy”_' Rosalie thought. "Yes—where they have no need of the sun, neither of the moon to shine in it; for the glory of God doth lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof."—Where the bright and morning-star shall reign for ever—and his servants shall serve him. And they shall see his face, and his name shall be in their foreheads." Then it will comenot here.'

[ocr errors]
« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »