Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

but the pure sweetness of her face, the gravity without a touch of moroseness, spoke a yet more honourable distinction ; a heart unspotted from the world ; a faith that having laid hold on eternal life, took a" in the life that now is with meek tranquillity. If there was one ruling expression in her face, it was of charity“which suffereth long, and is kind; thinketh no evil; is not easily provoked; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all Things, endureth all things.” And as at the advancing step she half arose, and turned to greet her visitor, Dr. Buffem thought he had rarely seen a finer face.

“Friend Raynor, how art thou?" he said, flourishing out both hands. • Do you think me a swallow, an arrow, or a bullet? Have I, in my poor and cold motion, the expedition of thought? I speeded hither with the very extremest inch of possibility'--unless indeed I had run over Rachel.”

“Friend Buffem, thou art welcome," said the quakeress, with a smile. “I trust thy haste hath not put thee to inconvenience. I scarce expected thee to-day,—perhaps, said I, he will be better pleased to come to-morrow.

“No, indeed,” said the doctor," though to-morrow had been June, while this is without doubt December.”

“The cold hath not then abated ?"

“Not the first fraction of a degree,” said the doctor. "It is the most confoundedly sharp day we've had this winter.”

“ Thee must indeed feel it severely if thee indulges in such ex. pressions," said the quakeress, gravely., “I have always found, friend Buffem, that inward chafing doeth far less good than that which is without."

* Ay, so you say," replied the doctor, as he toasted his hands impartially over the fire, “but I like a little of both. Men's hair wont stay brushed, do what you will, and it wont be the real thing if you try to make it. No, no-get your temper up to boiling point, and then fizz round a little,-my word for it you'll get warm."

“ Warm after the manner which savoureth of cold heartedness."

“Not a bit of it!" said the doctor, who was putting himself through all his paces ;

“cold is flat, and never savoured of any. thing. You let the water run in upon the fire, and it'll put it out therefore heat up your fire and blow up the water. Nothing like letting off steam once in a while. Whizz !-Puff!—there you are, reduced to cold water again; and nobody killed, either.

“Nor hurt?" said the quakeress, smiling. “And thee would get up steam for the very purpose of letting it off, to no end?"

“Well," said the doctor, “I should hope it would have an end, certainly. As to the rest, most people keep it on hand-blow it off too,-saves an immense number of boilers.

• It maketh a most uncomfortable noise the while," said the quakeress, --"and hath not much sympathy with the command, Study to be quiet.'

“But reflect upon the terrors of an explosion !" said the doctor. “You don't suppose the same lesson is set for everybody. It's not in all human nature to be as patient as you are, my dear lady."

6

66

66

"Nay, it lieth not in nature at all," she answered earnestly; “and yet it may be attained. Great

peace

have they that love thy law, and nothing shall offend them. But who requireth thy care at Thornton Clyde's? I hear thou hast been much there of late."

“Ah!" said the doctor, “who told you so. “Now when I ope my lips let no dog bark."

Rachel must needs go into town yesterday," answered the quakeress, “and not only did the purse find work, but the tongue. Thee knows young girls will be gossipping. But what aileth them there and who not Rosalie?".

“No," said the doctor; Hulda. Only scarlet fever."

“ Poor child ! poor dear child !" said the quakeress, anxiously. “And is she very ill ? does thee think, speaking after the manner of men, that there is much danger?”

“Not much,” said the doctor; "speaking, as you say, after the manner of men. Speaking after the manner of women, she has been wonderfully sick. But she's better now.”

It rejoiceth my heart to hear thee say that. Poor child !-and her dear sister! Sorely tried she hath already been, and hath borne the trial like a true child of God."

“Sterling stuff," said the doctor. “But the child is better, so you may put all thoughts of a visit out of your head. I see what you're meditating. You can't be let out of the house yet. I want to set you up before our travellers get home.'

A moment's smile was followed by a look of deep grief and anxiety.

“Alas, this war !-when will they get home?" she said, clasping her hands.

“See here,” said the doctor; “don't you get up any steam; it wouldn't suit your constitution. What's the war to do ?- I never heard in my life that a declaration of war kept old Boreas in order. Let them set their sails,-he'll give chase.' What's the date of their last letter?"

* Far, far back; and doubtless Henry hath written since, but the letter hath failed to come. He pineth to be at home now.

“I'll warrant him!” said the doctor; “ and for a brush with the English, too."

Nay, he saith only that all should be in their own country at such a time," answered the quakeress, deprecatingly.

Ay--that's it. Why didn't he come last summer, when the war broke out? Travelling is deucedly inconvenient now-a-days."

“Thou speakest unadvisedly, friend. However, he would have come then, doubtless, only Penn-that silly boy--being ill, it was but brotherly kindness not to leave him.”

“Got himself stabbed in some brawl with those German students, didn't he?" said the doctor. “I recollect. But he ought to be cured by this time, if there's a respectable surgeon on the Continent.”

Henry wrote that he was better," said the quakeress; "and if nought hindered they were to take passage in the War Hawk on the first day of this month."

66

[ocr errors]

“Well, she's not in yet," said Dr. Buffem, “but the United States is. I suppose you've read the papers this morning ?”

Nay," she answered. “Glorious victory," said the doctor, rubbing his hands. "Decatur has taken the Macedonian, forty-nine guns, and but twelve men killed and wounded.”

“And in the other vessel ?" said Mrs. Raynor.

"A hundred or soand two hundred prisoners. Glorious, isn't it?"

The satisfaction on his face was so far from being reflected, that Doctor Buffem held up both hands, exclaiming,

A traitor, as I am alive!" " Truly, friend,” replied the quakeress, calmly, “I trust thy life is much surer than thy assertion. But who can glory or who can joy in such bloody doings! They seem not much in the spirit of · Love your enemies.

Mustn't love your enemies so well as to let 'em eat you up, Mrs. Raynor," said the doctor"no kindness in that,-and for the rest Decatur's as kind-hearted a man as ever lived. Now here for instance-when Captain Carden came on board the United States to give up his sword, Decatur told him he could not take the sword of a man who had defended his ship so well, but he would receive his hand. Isn't that a Christian spirit?"

“It seemeth like it—though truly forgiveness should be easy to the conqueror. But the War Hawk claimeth not to be one of these fighting vessels ?"

" I guess she carries Letters of Marque," said the doctor, with a satisfied air.

And may she then even capture other ships on her passage !" “Capture them of course she may-if they don't capture her, -that's the trade our captains are driving just now. Better come into port with a prize or two than be carried off by an H. M. cruiser.'

Danger either way! I would I had forborne the joy of his presence and bade him stay there !"

She rested her head on her hands, but the heaving of her breast alone told of the struggle within.

“Come, come,” said Dr. Buffem, in some doubt how to treat a case so far beyond the range of his professional skill, -- "he wouldn't have stayed there if you had bade him. And what then ?-many a pretty man has smelt powder without getting singed. The chances are twenty to one of his getting home in most inglorious safety."

The quakeress looked up, and her face was very calm--not even her lip trembled.

Nay, friend Buffem,” she said, “not so! There is neither chance for nor chance against; but the will of God. And truly I know that he ruleth the winds and the waves; and holdeth the hearts of kings, and doubtless the hearts of seamen too—howbeit the flesh is weak, and faith sometimes faileth. My all is in his hands,-I will not fear to leave it there."

That's right, that's right,” said the doctor, assenting to her means of comfort as probably the best that could be had for her

66

under the circumstances; "keep your spirits up always, and I'll look out for the War Hawk, and bring you the first news of her. But I want you to get stronger before she comes—there'll be one pair of good keen eyes on board."

The mother own filled at his words, but she made no answer. “I guess they'll be the best cure, after all,” the doctor added. “Nevertheless I think I shall send you away for a month, not for your sake at all, you know-for his. What do you say?"

“I will go whither thou wilt send me for that cause. But he is so well, they say, and so joyful with the thought of returning;'

“Hasn't heard enough from home to content him, I doubt," said the doctor.

“I have written even more than seemed needful,” she answered, smiling; “but he hath strangely missed of some of my letters." Well, then, it's all settled," said the doctor.

You're to go South, and I'm to look out for the War Hawk, and she's to come just when she likes. Friend Raynor, I wish thee good morning."

CHAPTER V.
The yule-clog sparkled keen with frost,

No wing of wind the region swept,
But over all things brooding slept

The quiet sense of something lost. --TENNYSON. THE setting sun shone fairly upon the last day of December; and as his disk sank lower and lower behind the city, chimneys and dormant windows, and now and then a towering story, glowed in the clear red light with singular brightness. The sadder for that. So very fair, and yet the end !--the end of the day, the end of the year. The last time the sun might shine upon 1812! Cold and still the night set in; and the quiet stars in whose watch the new year should begin its reign, looked down with bright eyes upon the subsiding city and its kindling lights. Rosalie stood watching it all

, -watching the people as they hurried home, the parlour windows lit up, the bright doorways that appeared and vanished, the happy groups gathering at tea. She could see them across the way,—those fair shadows, young and old, moving about in the bright glow. And in the next house and the next,-up and down, as far as she could see ;-it was one line of telegraphing. Nor did the few windows where only firelight shone, flickering like the joy of human life, look less cheerful. She remembered the long talks, the sweet counsel given in that dusky light,--the eyes that had looked down upon her like heaven's own stars; but now the room was not darker than her heart.

It was not the first time she had stood there watching for her brother, she had looked till each frequenter of that street was perfectly well known. It was not the first time she had watched in sadness. But she remembered that there had been a time when she was never suffered to watch there long—when a gentle hand would be passed round her waist, and she be drawn away from the window, with,

We may not overrule these things, daughter--we must not be children in whom is no faith. Come and let us talk of the time when God shall wipe away all tears from our eyes.”

Pressing her hand upon her heart, Rosalie turned hastily from the window.

The fire gleamed faintly upon Hulda's little face and figure, stretched

upon

the sofa in the perfect rest of childhood; and above that one bright spot in the room, hung a picture that gave depth to all the shadows. Rosalie ventured but one glance at it, and kneeling down at her mother's chair, she laid her face on the cushion with a bitter weariness of heart that found poor relief in tears. Yet they were a relief; and after awhile her mind lay quiet upon those words, "God is our refuge and strength: a very present help in trouble.'

A soft touch on her neck aroused her, and with an almost bewildered start, Rosalie looked up; but it was “neither angel nor spirit”-it was only little Hulda.

“Are you sick, Alie?" asked the child. No love. Are you awake?"

“O yes,” said Hulda, laughing, and wrapping her arms round Rosalie's neck; “don't that feel awake? Aren't we going to have tea, Alie?"

" I shall wait for Thornton; but you shall have yours, dear.” And getting up, with the child in her arms, Rosalie carried her into the tea-room, and fell back into her own quiet performance of duties.

Hulda was in quite high spirits for her, and eat her supper on Rosalie's lap with great relish-a relish partly derived from returning health, and partly from this first coming down-stairs.

* I wonder if Thornton hasn't gone to buy me a present!" she said. “You know it's New-year's eve, Rosalie, and you must hang up my stocking.'

There is no fear of my forgetting that,” said her sister. “No, for you never forget anything. But I wonder what'll be in it! Well, we'll see.

“ Yes, we shall see. So put your arms round my neck, Hulda, and I will carry you up-stairs. It is pleasanter there than here to-night.”

But the musing fit was strong upon her; and later in the evening, when her little charge was asleep, Rosalie's mind could do nothing but wander in a wilderness of recollections. Not a wilderness in one sense,-how fresh, how dear they were !-and vet too much like a sweet land breeze from the coast that one has left.

Rosalie took out the stocking as Hulda had desired, and put together on a chair at the head of the bed all the various trifles that were to fill it; but when she had placed herself on a low seat before them, the stocking hung unregarded from her hand, and her thoughts flew away. There seemed a long vista opened before her; and furthest of all its objects-yet clear, distinct, even more so than those near by--she saw herself as a little child; before her eye had learnt to know the evil that is in the world, or her

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »