Part 2 out of 7
with them, else it will be left behind and looked upon as a worn out
and useless institution."
"I am glad to hear you express your thoughts thus, and hope you will
give them as freely at all times, for too many who entertain these
views do not speak them, standing in fear of what their friends or
the church may say or do. Of such there are tens of thousands. Give
them utterance. Every honest man and woman should, and thus aid in
hastening on the day of true life and perfect liberty. While I value
associative effort, I would not for a moment lose sight of
individual thinking and acting. We do not have enough of it. The
church has much to adopt to bring it into a healthy condition.
To-day it ignores many valuable truths which retired individuals
hold, while it feeds its hearers on husks. Finding better food for
their souls outside, they go, and cannot return, because the truths
they hold would not be accepted."
"We have made rapid advances in art and science, Miss Evans, but the
church has lagged behind, until at length we find that more
christianity is found outside than inside its walls."
"True. The best men and women I have ever known, have never sat at
the table of the Lord, so called, have never broken the bread and
drank the wine, yet their souls have tasted life-everlasting when
they have given in His name food to the hungry and clothing to the
naked. Each soul is a temple and each heart a shrine. The only thing
the church can do to-day is, to reach forth and take its life from
the world. All the accessions of art must be unfolded, if she would
keep alive. Fortify it with these things, and we shall not see, as
we do now, in every town and city even, the whole burden of its
support resting on one or two individuals. If it has life enough it
will stand; if it refuse light, such persons only retard its
progress, although strictly conscientious in their position. I think
one of its greatest errors is in keeping one pastor too long. How
can the people be fed, and draw life from one fount alone?"
"True," he said, "and is not that view applicable to our social and
domestic as well as to our religious state? Can we draw life always
from one person?"
"No; nor was it ever intended that men and women should so exhaust
each other. The marriage law is too arbitrary; it allows no scope
for individual action, and yet the subject is so delicate, so
intricate, that none but the keenest and nicest balanced minds dare
attempt to criticise, much less improve it. The misconstructions of
a person's motives are so great that many who see its errors,
tremble and fear to speak of them. But if we are to bring any good
to the covenant, so sacred in its offices, we must point out its
defects and seek to remedy them, and I sometimes think it will be my
mission to help it to higher states. Although such a task would be
far from enviable, I will willingly give my thoughts to those who
are struggling, at the risk of being misunderstood nine times in
ten, as I probably shall be."
"Then please give me your best thoughts, Miss Evans, for I need all
the light I can get, not only for myself, but for others."
"I am but a scholar, like yourself, Mr. Deane, and I sometimes think
that all I may hope to do will be but to lift the burden an instant
from the pilgrim's shoulder, that deeper breath may be taken for the
long and often dreary journey."
A sharp ring of the door-bell interrupted further conversation, and
Mr. Deane, bowing to the intruder, as such she seemed at that moment
to be, bade Miss Evans good evening, and departed.
The caller was a gossiping woman, who kept many domestic fires alive
with her fuel of scandalous reports.
"Dear me, Miss Evans," she said, as soon as comfortably seated, "was
n't that Mr. Deane? Yes, I thought so; but my eye-sight 'aint over
good, and then he looked so sad-like; maybe he 'aint well," and she
looked inquiringly to Miss Evans, who replied,--
"I think he is in his usual health; a little worn, perhaps, with
business. How is your family, Mrs. Turner?"
"O, tol'rable, thank ye. But Mr. Deane did n't say anything, did he,
about his folks?
"His folks? What do you mean, Mrs. Turner?"
"Law me, I might as well tell as not, now I've said what I have. Why
you see Miss Moses who nusses Mrs. Baker, was up ter Mrs. Brown's
last night, and Mrs. Deane's hired gal was there, and she told Mrs.
Brown's man that Mr. Deane and his wife had some pretty hard words
together, and that her folks-her father and mother-was 'goin ter
take her home."
"Mrs. Turner, I have no interest in this gossip; we will change the
subject if you please."
"Lor, don't be 'fended; I only-I mean I meant no harm."
"You may not; but this idle habit of retailing the sayings of
others, is worse than folly. It's a great wrong to yourself and the
individuals spoken of."
"Well, I did n't think to have such a lectur'," said the woman,
affecting a feeling of good nature, "I say as I said afore, I meant
no harm. I like Mr. and Mrs. Deane very much, and thought it was too
bad for such things to be said."
"Is marm here?" inquired a coarse voice at the door, and a red,
chubby face was thrust in the narrow opening.
"Why, Josiah Turner, I told you ter go ter bed an hour ago. Well, I
must go, Miss Evans. I 'spose my boy won't go without me," and
taking her son by the hand, she departed.
"A storm upon their domestic horizon, I fear, is coming, if not
already there," said Miss Evans, setting down and resting her lead
upon her hands. "I wish he had not come. Something may be charged to
me-but why should I fear. I have said simply what I felt was right.
I must expect to encounter many storms in this voyage whose haven of
peace is-where? None knoweth."
She fastened her door, and after lifting her heart in prayer for
Mr. Deane found his wife alone when he returned, and one could have
seen by his manner how glad he was to find her so.
"It seems a month, Mabel, since I have seen you alone."
She only remarked that she feared her parents felt his absence from
"I do think, Howard," she continued, "that you could give us a
little of your time. It is due to my parents. It must seem to them
that you willingly absent yourself, and it is hard for me to
convince them to the contrary."
"I am sorry that any such impression should have worked its way into
their minds. They ought to know that it is quite a sacrifice for me
to devote myself so closely to business. I hope, Mabel, you are
wrongly impressed as regards them, and it may be that your own state
has more to do with it than theirs. This is the first evening I have
had to myself since they have been here."
"And why was this not spent at home?"
"Because I cannot assume to be what I am not, and you know I am not
at rest; that our harmony is disturbed. Could I have seen you alone,
I should have been at home before this."
"You have sought society, I suppose, more congenial?"
"Mabel, be careful. You may so unnerve me that I may say much that I
shall be sorry for."
"I think I shall return with father and mother. They will go home
day after to-morrow."
He did not raise his eyes, nor appear in the least anxious to detain
her, but merely said:
"Where are they this evening?"
"At Mrs. Norton's. They went to tea. I felt too ill to accompany
"Are you very ill, Mabel?"
"I feel far from well, and yet it does not seem to be from physical
indisposition. It is something deeper."
"True, my poor wife, we have become estranged; and what has caused
She looked thoughtfully at him a moment, but no answer came from her
"I think we had better part awhile. It will do us both good."
She started, scarce expecting such a remark from him.
"Then my presence has, indeed, become irksome to you?" Her tone and
manner implied more than she cared to display.
"You know better than that, Mabel; but I-we both are sadly out of
harmony; perhaps have exhausted each other. Let us part, and each
find ourselves. We shall be brighter and happier when we come
together, Mabel; shall we not?" and he laid his hand tenderly on her
O, why cannot two at least see things in their true light? Why was
it that she remained so blind to the real state of affairs? Either
ignorance or wilfulness kept her from the light, and coldly bidding
him good night, she left the room.
The next day was indeed gloomy. Mabel's parents had become
acquainted, not with the facts, but with a distorted view of the
case, and in their eyes she was a greatly abused woman. It was no
longer any use for her husband to exert himself for their happiness,
the poison of prejudice had entered their minds, and tinctured every
It was a painful parting. Misconception on one side, and deep
suffering with pride, upon the other. No lighting of the eyes, no
pressure of the hand, no warm good-bye, to keep his heart alive
while she was away.
He stood, after the cars had left, deeply pondering the strange
affair, until the crowd jostled him, and brought him back to the
external world, with its toil, its sounds of mirth, and its varied
forms of life.
What a break in his usual peaceful life; what a void he found in his
soul when he entered the silent home. There was no lingering
atmosphere of love about the rooms; everything was put away out of
sight. The order was painful, and he left to seek companionship if
"What is it like, Dawn?"
"Like a great Soul that has absorbed a million lives into its own,
and cannot rest, it is so full of joy and sadness," and she fixed
her gaze more intently on the foam-crested waves.
It was the first time she had seen the ocean, and her father's keen
enjoyment watching her enraptured, wondering gaze, afforded Miss
Vernon another source of pleasure, aside from the wide expanse of
beauty, which stretched from shore to horizon.
The three, according to Mr. Wyman's promise, had come to enjoy the
pleasures and beauties of the seaside for a few weeks, as well as to
see the different phases of human character which were daily
It was intensely interesting to Miss Vernon to watch the child's
eager interest in this glorious display of nature, and her strange
insight into the character of the people with whom they were in
There was one faint, gentle girl, about twenty years of age, who
walked every evening alone, and whom Miss Vernon watched with great
"I like her, too," said Dawn, coming close to her teacher one
evening, as she walked up and down on the beach.
"Who? and how do you know I like her."
"Why, the lady there, walking in front of us. I feel you like her."
"I am glad you do, Dawn. And now tell me why you love her."
"I love her because she is white."
"You mean that she is pure. I think she is."
"Yes. I mean that and something else."
"In one of my lessons, you told me, that some objects were white,
because they absorbed none of the rays, but reflected all."
"You must explain your singular application-or in plain words, tell
me how she reflects all, and takes none."
"Why, because she don't take the life from people, but gives to
"You know just what I mean-she throws it back to themselves purified
by her light." And the child's face was not her own, another's shone
"Very good, Dawn, I hope we shall sometime know this pure young
lady, and receive a brightness from her," said Miss Vernon, talking
more to herself than the strange child who was dancing at that
moment in time to the waves.
"According to your scientific symbol, I suppose we shall see some
black people here before we go," she said laughingly to the child.
"Yes, there are plenty of those everywhere. They take all the light,
and give none out. But see, Miss Vernon, the lady is sitting on a
rock and weeping, may I go to her?"
"Would it not be an intrusion?"
"Yes, sometimes, but not now. May I go? Papa would let me, I think."
"You must ask him. I had rather not give you such a liberty."
"Then I will," and she flew at the top of her speed to the bank
where he was sitting.
"May I go and see that lady out on the rock, papa?"
"Why? Do you know her?"
No, but I must go," and as she spoke Dawn's eyes had that strange
look which betokened an inner vision.
"Yes, daughter, go," was his answer, and she bounded from his side,
and was close to the weeping stranger, in an instant.
Her father watched her with the deepest interest, and almost wished
himself within hearing.
She did not approach the stranger quietly, but with one bound sprang
and threw her arms around her neck, saying in a voice deeper and
stronger than her own:
"Pearl, I am here. Weep no more!"
The young girl thrilled, but not with terror, for to her such things
were of frequent occurrence. Yet the proof to her now of the
presence of the unseen was of such a positive nature, more tangible
than she had felt for months, that all her accumulated doubts gave
way, and the pure waters of faith flowed over her soul.
Here, among strangers, where none knew her name, or her grief, had
the voice of her loved one spoken. Why should she doubt? Why should
thousands, who have every day a similar experience?
She rose from her position, and taking the hand of the child, which
thrilled strangely to her touch, walked towards the house.
"Do you love the sea?" she asked of the little stranger.
"O, ever so much. I mean to ask papa to live here forever," and she
looked enthusiastically towards the receding waves.
"Do you live here?" asked Dawn.
"No; my home is far away. I come here to rest."
"Was that what made you weep? Was you weary?"
"Yes, dear. My soul is very weary at times."
"Is the sea weary when it moans?" and she looked wonderingly over
the wide expanse of changing waves.
"I think it is; but I must leave you now; I see your friends are
looking for you."
But Dawn would not let her pass on. She held her hand tighter, and
"This is my papa, and this is my teacher."
"I hope my child has not annoyed you, Miss," said Mr. Wyman, as he
gazed on the face of the beautiful stranger before them.
"Far from it, sir. She has comforted me. Children, under ordinary
circumstances, are ever welcome, but when they bring proof-"
She stopped, fearful that she might not be understood.
"I comprehend it, Miss. I saw another life than her own in her eyes,
else I should not have permitted her to have gone to you."
"I thank you both," said the gentle girl, and bowing gracefully, she
went towards the house.
"Is she not white, Miss Vernon?" asked Dawn, exultingly, when the
stranger was out of hearing.
Yes, she is beautiful and pure."
"I hope she was comforted, for her face has a look of sorrow, deeper
than we often see on one so young," remarked Mr. Wyman, who had been
enlightened by Miss Vernon on Dawn's strange application of
"Yes, she was, papa. Some one in the air made me speak and call her
name. It's 'Pearl'; is n't it pretty? O, see those clouds, papa,"
she cried, with thrilling ecstasy; "I hope they will look just like
that when I die."
"You are weary now, darling; we must go in," said her father,
watching with jealous eyes the snow-white and crimson clouds which
lay on the horizon, just above the foaming waves.
"There are some people here from L--," said Miss Vernon, as she and
Mr. Wyman sat together on the piazza the next morning, watching the
"Ah, who are they; any of our friends?"
"I have never seen them at your house. Two ladies,--a Mrs. Foster and
sister. Do you know them?"
"I know that there are such people in L--. When did they arrive? I
have not seen them."
"Last evening; but you do not look particularly pleased. Will they
"I do not mean they shall, although they are busybodies, and know
every one's affairs better than their own."
"So I judged by their conversation last evening, which I could not
but overhear, as they talked so loud, their room being next to mine,
and their door open."
"Of whom were they speaking?"
"Of a Mr. and Mrs. Deane. I think I have heard you allude to them."
"I have; nice good people too. As usual, I suppose they were
charging them with all sorts of foibles and misdemeanors."
"I heard one of them assert that Mr. and Mrs. Deane had parted, and
that she had gone to live with her parents."
"It cannot be! Howard Deane is too just and honorable for anything
of that nature; but if they have, there are good reasons for it. I
think I will write him this very morning, and urge him to come and
bring his wife to this beautiful spot for a few days. Will you lend
me your folio, Florence? Mine is up two flights of stairs, and I
would really like to be waited on this morning."
She flew to her room, and returned and placed it before him, and
then went in search of Dawn.
Selecting a delicate sheet from its orderly arranged contents he
"My Dear Friend Howard.
"Come and spend a few days in this loveliest of--"
At this point a strong hand was laid on his shoulder, and another
placed over his eyes.
"I am here;" said a well-known voice, "so throw aside pen and paper.
We will commence in a better way."
"Why? when? where did you come from, and how came you to select this
"I came this morning; arrived ten minutes ago from L--. Did not
'select' this place; the place drew me here. Now I have answered all
your interrogatories, may I ask you how long you have been here, and
why you did not let me know you were coming?"
"Two days only. I should have told you, but did not suppose you
could leave for a moment, knowing the pressure of your business. But
how is your wife? She is here of course?"
His averted face did not reveal the look of pain which passed over
it, as he replied:
"She is not well, and went home with her mother."
"So you was lonely and betook yourself to this scene of life to pass
the hours away. You could not have chosen a better place. I hope the
period of your stay here is not limited to a few days."
"Instead of that it is indefinite."
The tone of his voice was too sad to be mistaken, and Mr. Wyman
began to think that there might be some truth in the rumor which
Florence had heard.
He glanced at Mr. Deane's face, and read all he had failed to see
when he first met him.
"I hope nothing has occurred to mar your pleasure while here; at
least nothing but what the waves will wash away?"
"The sea is a good place for the soul-weary, as well as for the
light of heart. I cannot, however, leave my burden here. I am,
indeed, very sad, Hugh. Are you much engaged? If not, we will take a
walk together," he said, in tones which plainly implied a need of a
companion like Mr. Wyman.
"I have nothing to do, now you have arrived and saved me the
laborious effort of writing to you."
"Then you wished me here?"
"I did. My thoughts went out to you this morning. I felt that you
needed a change."
"I do indeed;" and they walked together for awhile, then sat beneath
the shade of a tree, whose long outstretched branches seemed to wave
benedictions on their heads.
"I need change, but human sympathy most. Mabel has gone from me. It
is not a corporal separation only, but one of soul and heart."
"Mabel gone! Is it, indeed, true? But the separation cannot last;
she will surely return to your love and protection. Howard, I am
glad you are h; ere. Some unseen power must have brought you to this
place, where you can unburden your grief, and take better and
clearer views of the case."
"Then you think she will come again to me?"
"Certainly; and you will both be stronger for the temporary
"I could bear it better were I not so sensitive to the opinion of
"You must rise above that. There is no growth to him who, seeking
the new, fears to lose his grasp on the old. These backward glances
retard the pilgrim on his way. Do what you feel to be right, and
care for no man's words or opinions."
"I wish I had your strength, Hugh."
"I think you were sent here to me to be strengthened. God's hand is
in the cloud as well as the sunshine, and I know He will work good
from the seeming evil that encompasses you."
"Your words cause me at least to hope."
"This separation will work good for both of you."
"I felt myself, when I found my love doubted and my truthfulness
questioned, that it would be best for us."
"Then you favored it?"
"I am glad it was so. You will each have an opportunity to know
yourselves, and how much you are to each other. When together, words
take the place of thoughts, while absence ever kindles the flame of
holy love, and by its light we see our own short-comings, and our
companion's virtues. Were I you, I should look on this as one of the
greatest opportunities of my life to test my heart's true feelings
towards one whose affection had grown cold, or rather whose
understanding had become clouded; for I doubt not her heart is as
warm as when you led her to the altar. Like yonder receding wave,
her love will return to you again, while to her restless soul you
must be as firm as this rocky coast."
"Woman's love," he continued, "is stronger, mightier than man's. It
is no argument against their devotion that they are changeable. So
is this ocean. Each hour a different hue comes upon its surface, but
the depth is there. Thus is woman's soul full of varied emotions;
the surface play is sometimes dark, at others reflecting the blue of
the heavens above. Yes, they are deeper, higher than ourselves, and
every day's experience attests to the fact of their superior
delicacy and nicer perceptions. Their keen insight into daily
matters, their quick sense of everything pertaining to religious and
social life, are to me proofs of their fine qualities."
"But their inconsistency at times wars with your assertions."
"No; it is sterner stuff that reasons most; they are nicer in their
perceptions, and feel instinctively their way into questions over
which we work and solve alone by long reasoning."
"I believe it is so."
"Then you have advanced one step. We cannot appreciate woman too
highly. That many do foolish things is no proof that many are not
wise and good, bearing crosses day after day which would make you
and I ready to lie down and die-they ever do great things, either
good or bad, and men, I hope, will some day place her image next to
his maker's, and look upon it as to him the holiest and highest on
earth-the best gift of God."
"Why, Hugh, you are wild upon this subject."
"I am awake, and hope I shall never slumber."
"Your words have given me rest, and stirred my best emotions. I will
write to Mabel to-night. But yesterday and I felt that all women
were as fickle as these waters. I am changed, and your remarks have
caused me to think differently.
"I have not changed your mind, I have only brought some of your
better feelings to the surface."
"And what is that but change?"
"It may be, that it is. Do you not see that something mightier than
yourself brought you here, where your morbid feelings will pass
away,--though I do not wonder that you felt as you did, neither can I
blame you. The human soul has many sides, and turns slowly to the
"If I had your penetration, I could bear the discords of life."
"We must learn not only to bear them, but to gather wisdom from
their teachings. If we cannot grow under to-day's trial, we surely
cannot under to-morrow's."
"I begin to feel that we shall both be better for this
"You will, and come together, on a higher plane. Married people live
in such close relations that each becomes absorbed by the other, and
then having nothing fresh to give, what was once attraction becomes
repulsion. I see these things so plainly myself that the criticism,
and may be, censure of a multitude, jealous of personal freedom,
affects me no more than the passing breeze. I know that if I stand
upon a mount and behold a beautiful scene beyond, that it is there,
although the people below may declare with positiveness that it is
not. A man knows nothing of the value of his wife who sees not other
women and learns their thoughts."
"True. I have felt for a long time that I needed a fresh mind with
which to hold converse, and my seeking one, although accidental, has
brought about this state of things."
"And that person?"
"Was Miss Evans."
"I remember; and the evening, I asked you to call and leave the
magazine. Little did I think of such a result, which I should
regret, perhaps, did I not fully believe that all things are ordered
and arranged for our best good. Long and prayerfully I have studied
this question, so vital and so closely allied to our best interests.
I could not gleam even a ray of truth did I not live above the crowd
and fearlessly pursue my own way. I see no escape from our thraldom,
but through soul expanse, and this is produced only through soul
liberty. I loved my Alice most when I was learning her through
others; I am still learning and loving her each day, through my
child and our friend Miss Vernon. With all our laws, we have and
ever have had haunts of vice. Will the emancipation of soul increase
their number? I think not. If men and women can be brought together
on loftier planes we shall not have these excresences. The sexes
need to be purely blended; they will approach each other, and it is
for society to say how. Block up harmless social avenues and we
shall have broad roads to destruction. I know husbands and wives who
are consuming, instead of refreshing each other's lives. Yes,
Howard, this is your great opportunity to take your position and
draw your wife up to it. Life will be a new thing to you, and all of
us who can accept these truths. Our present forms and ceremonies
hold us apart, and there is scarcely a ripple of spontaneity upon
life's surface. The highest hours, and those most productive of
good, are when two souls converse and reflect each other's innermost
It was not by words that they knew each other, but when their eyes
met each felt that the other had passed some ordeal which made their
The stranger to whom Miss Vernon had been so drawn, met her on the
beach the next morning, and asked her to walk with her.
"I would like to tell you," she said, "of my strange experience last
night; perhaps these things are not new to you," and she went on in
a confiding tone at Miss Vernon's visible look of deep interest;--
"I was weeping, as you may have noticed, when your strange and
lovely pupil came to me,--weeping for the loss of one to whom I was
betrothed. No mortal save myself knew the name which he gave me on
the day of our engagement. It was 'Pearl.' My own name is Edith
Weston. Judge of my emotion and surprise, when that child-a total
stranger-came and spake my name in his exact tones. I have had other
tests of spirit presences as clear and as positive, but none that
ever thrilled me like this. Do you wonder that I already love that
child with a strange, deep yearning?"
"I do not. I have myself had proof through her that our dear
departed linger around, and are cognizant of our sorrows as well as
"Perhaps you too have loved."
"Yes; but not like yourself. My mother's love is the only love I
"And you are an orphan like myself?"
"That is what drew us together. And may I know your name?"
"Florence Vernon. And I was attracted to you the first time I saw
"I cannot tell you how glad I am to experience these proofs of human
ties. It is a pleasure to me to think that wherever we go we shall
meet some one who loves us. I am a dependent character, as you no
doubt have perceived. I need the assurance and support of stronger
minds even when I see my own way clear. Some there are who can see
and go forth. I need to be led."
"I hope you are fortunate enough to have some stronger mind about
you. We are not all alike, and the vine nature must have something
upon which it may cling and find support, or otherwise it will trail
in the dust."
"I am not thus fortunate. I have no one on whom to lean, or to whom
I can look for guidance. Shall you remain long here?" she asked,
fearing she had spoken too freely of herself.
"We shall stay until we have received all that this atmosphere and
these scenes can supply us with. It will then be our duty to go."
"I like that. I must go away very soon to join my aunt who is
obliged to remain among the mountains, as the sea air does not agree
with her. But look, Miss Vernon, here comes Mr. Wyman and another
gentleman!" and she seemed greatly disappointed at the interruption.
"Miss Weston, Mr. Deane," said Florence, introducing them, and the
next instant she watched with earnest gaze the look of admiration
which he gave the timid girl. It was not a bold or intrusive look,
but such an one as a man might have bestowed were he suddenly
ushered into the presence of his highest conception of female worth
Every line of his features betokened the keenest admiration, while
her glance was far over the sea. Hugh saw the look, too, and was
Miss Vernon trembled, she knew not why. She wished that he had not
come to the sea-shore, and that the beautiful stranger was all her
The four walked together on the beach, until the heat of the day,
and then Miss Weston withdrew.
"The finest face I ever saw," said Mr. Deane, watching her figure
till she was out of sight, "and as lovely in soul as in form and
features, I perceive." Then turning to Miss Vernon, he said:
"I see you harmonize. I am really glad it is so, for you can help
each other very much."
Mr. Deane dropped the conversation, and assumed an air of
abstraction, his gaze fixed on the blue waves-his thoughts none knew
Hugh and Florence walked to the house and seated themselves in the
shade, within view of the sea. Then he told her in his clear, brief
way, of what had transpired between Mr. Deane and his wife, with the
remark that it was far better she should be informed of the true
state of affairs, and thus be guarded against the evil of false
"I saw your look of concern when he met Miss Weston-"
She looked wonderingly in his face.
"You feared for him, and her then. That was natural. I see beyond,
and that no harm will come from any attachment that may arise. I
hope to see them often together."
"Mr. Wyman, if I did not know you, I should sometimes fear your
"I have no doctrines."
"Well, theories then."
"No theories either. I follow nature, and leave her to perfect all
things. Sometimes you think I am not sufficiently active; that I sit
an idle looker on.
"What! do you know my every thought-everything that passes through
my mind?" she asked, a a little agitated.
"Nearly all, or rather that which goes with your states of
She was vexed a little, but as the lesser ever turns to the greater,
the earth to the sun for light,--so she, despite difference of
temperament and mental expansion, was inclined to rest on his
"This pure girl will give him a deeper faith in woman, unconsciously
to herself, and he will become a better man; therefore fear not when
you see them together, that he will lose his love for his wife. Yes,
she will do him good, as you, Florence, are every day benefiting
"Do I? Do I make you better?" she asked in a quick, nervous way; and
her soul flooded her soft, brown eyes.
"You do, Florence, and make me stronger every day; while your
deepening womanhood is my daily enjoyment. You give me an
opportunity to know myself, and that there are many holy relations
between men and women beside the conjugal."
Mrs. Foster lost no time in informing the people of L--of the
movements of Mr. Deane. She well knew there were persons who would
circulate the report, and that it would finally reach his wife, even
though she was several miles away. The report was, that Mr. Deane
had brought a young lady to the sea-shore, and was seen walking with
her every day and evening, and that they both were greatly enamoured
with each other.
Strange to say, Mrs. Deane, weary and sad, left her parents and
returned to her home just before her husband's letter reached its
destination, and just in time to hear the narration of his strange
Howard gone, no one knew where, save from the vague and scandalous
report of a few busy tongues; no letter telling where he was, and
her soul sank, and all its good resolves faded away. When she left
her parents that morning, she fully resolved to meet him with all
the love of her heart, for she had found that love beneath the
rubbish of doubt and jealousy that had for a time concealed it. It
was not strange, therefore, that all the fond trust died out when
she realized that he had gone, and the bitter waters returned
stronger and deeper over her hope.
Shall we ever reach a world where we shall not have to plod through
so much doubt and misgiving, and where our real feelings will be
"He will surely come back soon," she said again and again to
herself, while the veil of uncertainty hung black before her
troubled vision. Every day she listened for his footsteps, till
heart-sick and weary she returned to her parents, and told them all
her grief and all her fears.
An hour later they handed her his letter, received an hour after her
departure, and which her father had carried every day in his pocket
and forgotten to re-mail to her.
While every one in L--was rehearsing the great wrong which, in
their estimation, Mr. Deane had done his wife, she was eagerly
absorbing every word of his warm-hearted letter, which he wrote on
the day of his conversation with Mr. Wyman. Could she have received
it before she returned again to her old home, how different would
she and her parents have felt towards him. It was only for them she
cared now. In vain she argued and tried to reinstate him in their
good graces; but words failed, and she felt that time and
circumstance alone were able to reconcile them.
She longed to go to him, but he had not asked her, and only said at
"I shall return when I feel that we are ready to love each other as
in the past. Not that I do not love you, Mabel, but I want all the
richness of your affection, unclouded by distrust. We have been much
to each other; we shall yet be more. When I clasp you to my heart
again, all your fears will vanish. Be content to bear this
separation awhile, for 'tis working good for us both."
She read it over a score of times, felt the truthfulness of his
words, but could not realize how it was possible for the separation
to benefit them. To her the days seemed almost without end. To him
they were fraught with pleasure, saddened they might be a little
with a thought of the events so lately experienced, but gladdened by
the sunshine of new scenes, inspirited with new and holy emotions.
It was well for her weak faith that Mrs. Deane did not see him that
very evening walking with Miss Weston upon the sea-shore, engaged in
close conversation. She would have questioned how it was possible
that under such conditions his love for herself was growing more
intense; not thinking, in her shallow philosophy, that the contrast
of two lives exhibits more fully the beauties of each, and that it
was by this rule she was growing in his affections.
"We must wait awhile for our friends, Miss Weston; I see they are in
the rear," and he spread his shawl upon a rock, motioning her to be
seated, close by the foam-white waves.
Mr. Wyman and Florence soon came along. They had forgotten the
presence of every one. Nothing engaged their attention but the
lovely scene before them, while the moon's light silvered the
rippling surface of the waters. Their communion was not of words as
they all sat together that lovely summer eve. Soul met soul, and was
hushed and awed in the presence of so much that was entrancing, and
when they separated each was better for the deep enjoyment they had
"I may seem strange," remarked Miss Weston to her new friend, Miss
Vernon, the next morning, as they sat looking at the sea, so changed
in its aspect from that of the evening before, "that I should in the
company of comparative strangers, feel so little reserve. I know my
aunt would chide me severely, but I have not felt so happy for many
years. It may be that the influence of the ocean is so hallowed and
peaceful that our souls live their truer lives, but I have never
before opened my heart so fully to strangers. I wonder if I have
overstepped any of the lines of propriety?"
"I might have thought so once, but I see and feel differently now. I
think the soul knows its kin, and that it is not a matter of years
but of states which causes it to unfold."
"I am glad you feel so. I seemed so strange to myself, ever
conservative, now so open and free. I do not feel towards any of the
others here as I do towards you and your friends. I regret that I
have not a few days more to enjoy you all," she said quite sadly,
"as my aunt has written for me to come to her the last of this
Miss Vernon could not help thinking how much more this fair being
had to impart to her aunt, for this season of rest and enjoyment. "I
wonder if the time will ever come," she often asked herself, "when
we can go when and where we gravitate, and not be forced
"I wish people could follow their natural attractions once in a
while, at least," said Miss Edith, and she fixed her fair blue eyes
on the sea.
Florence started; for it seemed as though she had read her thoughts.
"I suppose these limitations and restrictions are for our good, else
they would not be," replied Miss Vernon.
"And the desire to shake them off is natural, if not right; is it
"Natural, no doubt, and pleasant, if we could have the desire
granted; but duty is greater than desire, and circumstances may at
times impel us to the performance of the one rather than favor us
with the gratification of the other. What I mean is, that it is our
duty sometimes to take a part in scenes in which our hearts cannot
"And yet you say you are attracted heart and mind to Mr. Wyman and
his daughter. Is it not possible that, notwithstanding this, your
duty calls you elsewhere,--that some other soul may be in need of
"You have questioned me very close, Miss Weston, but I will answer
you promptly: I know of no one who needs me, else I should certainly
go. Remember this,--in following our attractions we should never lose
sight of our duties. They should go hand in hand."
"Very true. I feel that my aunt needs me, and I will go at once;
this very day. I have lost a part of my restless self, and gained
the repose I so much needed, since I have been here; and I am
indebted to you and your friends for the exchange. Now I will go
where duty calls."
"You have decided right, and I have no doubt you will be amply
remunerated for the seeming sacrifice you are making of the few days
of happiness you would have had in longer remaining here, had not
the summons come for you to leave."
"I do not doubt it; and yet Miss Vernon, I need your atmosphere. How
I wish our lives could mingle for awhile."
"If there ever comes a time when no earthly tie binds you, when duty
will permit you to follow this attraction, come and live with us,
and remain as long as you wish."
"With you?" exclaimed the astonished girl. "Can I? Is Mr. Wyman
"He has authorized me to invite you."
"But would it be right? Will it certainly be agreeable to him?"
"Most assuredly. We all love you, and as for Mr. Wyman, he never
invites those to his home in whom he has no interest. So come. I
know you will."
"Thank him, for me," warmly responded Miss Weston, "and I trust the
time will arrive when I can more practically demonstrate how much I
thank you all for your kindness."
The morning was spent by Miss Weston in packing her trunk, and
making ready for her departure, much to the surprise of Mr. Wyman,
and to the disappointment of Mr. Deane, who had hoped for a longer
enjoyment of hours of communion with one so rich in goodness and
innocence of heart.
In her atmosphere all his hardness seemed to pass away. She was balm
to his troubled soul; light to his darkened vision. She would go
that day, and life, busy life, close over the fresh, happy hours,
and perchance never again before his vision would come that fair
He asked permission to ride with her to the station, and see to her
baggage and tickets. It was cheerfully granted, and in a moment all
was over. The train came, stopped but a second, then moved on, and
was soon hid from sight by a sharp curve. Then his past life came
over this little break, this brief respite, and he felt that he,
too, was ready to go and kindle anew the waning flame upon his
Dawn, to the surprise of her father, was greatly delighted when she
found Miss Weston was going.
"She is wanted there; some one in the air told me," she said, and
clapped her hands in glee.
Her departure made quite a break in the little party, and when Mr.
Deane made ready to go the next day, Florence and Mr. Wyman both
felt that their own stay was about over.
Judge of their surprise two days after, to receive a note from Miss
Weston, saying that her aunt had been seized with paralysis of the
brain the day she arrived, and would not recover.
Every test of this nature strengthened Mr. Wyman in the belief in
his daughter's vision, and he felt that there could be no safer
light placed in his path for him to follow; a light which no more
interferes with man's individuality or reasoning powers than the
falling of the rays of the sun upon the earth.
The cry of the multitude is, that mediumship and impressibility
detract from individual life, lessens the whole tone of manhood, and
transforms the subject to a mere machine. Such conclusions are far
from correct. Our whole being is enriched, and made stronger and
fuller by true impressibility. Are we in any degree depleted if we
for a time become messengers to bear from friend to friend, words of
love, cheer and encouragement? Are we mere machines, because we obey
the promptings of the unseen and go where sorrow sits with bowed
head, or want and misery wait for relief? If so, we are in good
service, and have the consciousness of knowing, that, being thus the
instruments of God's will, we cannot be otherwise than dear to him.
All matter is mediumistic. Life is tributary, one phase to another,
and soul to soul speaks suggestively.
The ocean has its fullness from tributary streams which flow to its
Lives alone are great that are willing to be fed.
Summer's soft foliage changed to gold and red, and the distant
hill-tops rested their brown summits against blue and sapphire
skies. A soft mist lay over the scene, almost entrancing, to the
soul, while the senses seemed wrapped in that dream-cloud which
borders the waking and sleeping worlds.
Seven times had the cyprus turned to a golden flame, beside the
grave of fair Alice.
Seven times had the pines nodded over the snow-white bed, under
which lay her sacred dust.
Seven years had gone by with their lights and shadows, since he laid
her form beneath the green sod-and wept as only those have wept,
whose light has gone out from their dwelling.
Rich and full had these years been in their strange experiences,
while firm as a rock had grown his faith in the unseen whose love
and guardianship is round us as the atmosphere is about the earth.
It was a fact to him and not sentiment alone, that, though his Alice
had passed on to a higher existence, her life was more clearly than
ever blended with his own. Like warp and woof, their souls seemed
woven, and he would sooner have doubted his material existence, than
question her daily presence.
The days grew richer in glory, till one by one, the dry leaves
withered and fell to the ground, as even our brightest hopes must
sometimes fade and fall. The sky was darker and more lowery. The air
lost its balmy softness, and was harsh and chilly, till no sign of
foliage was seen,--nought but the leafless branches stretching their
bare arms towards the sky. The meadows were brown and cheerless. The
silvery brooks trilled out no merry song. Life grew hushed and still
without, while more joyous became the tones of happy hearts within
pleasant homes. Fires blazed on the hearth-stones, and charity went
abroad, to administer to those whom Christ has said, "Ye have always
with you." Cities were gay with life, and people went to and fro
from homes of plenty, with quick, earnest steps, as though life was
a continuous chain of golden links.
The thoughtful walked amid all these lively scenes, and wondered if
the gay plumage covered only happy breasts.
The gay passed on, and thought only of joy and their own pleasures,
dreaming not that saddened lives had an existence near at hand.
Afar from all this life and gaiety, stood a low, brown cottage in a
barren spot, upon the brow of a hill. No trees sheltered it, giving
that air of protection which ever sends delight to the beholder. No
indication of taste or culture met the sight; naught but a bare
existence, and every-day toil to sustain it, impressed the
One day when the wind blew loud and bleak, and the snow fell fast, a
young girl looked from that cottage window, upon the scene before
her, with that abstraction which one feels when all hope has
withered, and every fresh impulse of a young heart has been chilled.
She scarcely realized that the afternoon was fast wearing away,
until the entrance of one, who, in a sharp, shrill voice, thus
addressed her: "Well, Margaret Thorne, I hope you have looked out of
that ere winder long 'nough for one day. I've been inter this room
fifty times at least, and you hav n't stirred an inch. Now go and
get supper, milk the cows, and feed the pigs; and mind, don't forget
to fodder that young heifer in the new stall-and look here, you lazy
thing, this stocking won't grow any unless it's in your hands, so
when supper's over, mind you go to work on 't."
Margaret went quickly to her duties, glad to escape from the sound
of that voice, and be alone with her own thoughts.
This was but a portion of her daily life of drudgery. The old house
was no home to her, now that her dear mother was laid in the little
church-yard. She could just remember her. It was years before, when,
a little child, she used to hear a sweet voice singing her to sleep
every night. The remembrance of that, and of the bright smile which
greeted her each morning, was all that made her life endurable. She
had no present-no future. It was this bright recollection on which
she was pensively meditating that stormy afternoon.
Margaret's mother, Mary Lee, had married when very young, a man
greatly her inferior. She was one of those gentle, timid beings, who
can not endure, and brave their way through a cold world, much less
a daily contact with a nature so crude and repulsive as that of her
husband's. She longed to live for her child's sake, but the rough
waves of life beat rudely against her bark-it parted its hold, the
cold sea swept over it, and earth, so far as human sight went, knew
her no more.
One balmy spring day, when the blue skies seemed wedded to the
emerald hills, they laid her form away, and little Margaret had lost
a mother's earthly protection.
In less than a year after that sweet face went out of the home,
another came to take her place; a woman in form and feature, but in
nature a tyrant, harsh and cruel.
For little Margaret she had no love, nought but bitter words; while
her father, growing more silent and morose each day, and finding his
home a scene of contest, absented himself, and passed most of his
leisure hours with more congenial companions in the village.
Margaret grew to womanhood with but a limited education; indeed, a
very meagre one, such only as she could obtain from an irregular
attendance at the village school, in summer when the farm work was
lightest, and in winter, a day now and then when the bleak weather
and the rough, almost impassable roads allowed her to reach the
place which was to her far more pleasant than any other on earth.
It was her hands which done the heaviest and hardest work of the
family. No word of cheer or praise ever passed her mother's lips.
All this, and it was no wonder her life was crushed out, that her
step had no lightness, and her eye none of the vivacity of youth.
The out-door work, such as caring for the cattle, was, at last added
to her other burdens; yet all this she would have done willingly,
could her soul have received something which she felt she so much
needed-the light and blessing of love. She was deeply impressed with
this when she entered other homes on errands, and she longed for the
warmth of affection she saw manifested in every look and word of
their happy inmates. Yet her poor, crushed nature dared not rise and
assert its rights. She had been oppressed so long, that the mind had
lost all native elasticity, and one whose sympathies were alive
would have looked on her as a blighted bud-a poor uncared for
flower, by life's road-side.
It was quite dark when she finished her milking, and went to give
the young heifer her hay. She loved this animal more than any living
thing beside the old house dog, and as she patted her soft hide, the
creature turned on her eyes which seemed full of love, as if to show
to her that there is some light in the darkest hour, something
compensatory in the lowliest form of labor. Margaret lingered beside
the animal, and thought how much better she loved her than she did
her present mother. "I love you, Bessie," she said, as the creature
stretched forth her head to scent the warm milk in the pail. "I 've
a good mind to, Bessie; you want some, don't you?" and without
stopping to think of the consequences, she turned some of the
contents of the pail into Bessie's trough.
"Margaret Thorne! I wonder if you don't know when it's dark. It's
high time your work was done!" screamed her mother at the top of her
voice. She seized her pails and ran to the house, making all
possible haste to strain and set the milk away. But Mrs. Thorne took
it from her hands, saying, "Go and 'tend to the supper. I'll do this
"There ain't as much as there ought to be inter two quarts," said
her mother, returning and looking the girl squarely in the eye.
"What does this mean? I'd like to know."
Margaret was awe-struck. She dared not tell her that she had given
some to Bessie, and yet she could not tell an untruth. One struggle,
and she answered: "I gave some to Bessie," letting fall a dish in
her fright. It broke into atoms.
"Careless jade you! Break my dishes and steal my milk; giving it
without my leave to a dumb beast. There, take that," and she gave
her a sharp blow on the face.
It was not the blow that made the poor girl's blood tinge her
cheeks, but the sense of degradation; the low life she was living,
in daily contact with one so overbearing, coarse, and rude.
She did not weep, but one might have known by those suppressed sobs,
that the heart's love was being sapped, all its feelings outraged.
At that moment her father came in, and finding supper delayed,
commenced scolding in a loud voice.
"I tell ye what, woman, I won't work and provide, to be treated in
this ere way. D' ye hear?" and he came close to Margaret and looked
into her face.
"Yes, sir. I was late to-night."
"Yer allus late, somehow. Why don't yer stir round and be lively
like other gals, and be more cheery like?"
His poor, rough nature was beginning to feel the need of a better
"Let her work as I have, and she'll be thankful to have a roof over
her head, let alone the things I make her," broke in Mrs. Thorne.
"When I was a gal, I had to work for my bread and butter." Having
thus relieved her mind, she flew busily about, and the supper was
soon ready, to which they sat down, but not as to a homelike repast.
Such a thing was not known in that house.
The evening, as usual, passed in a dull routine of drudgery, and
Margaret was, as she had been hundreds of times before, glad to
reach its close and retire to her room.
Thus wore the winter slowly away, and the days so full of labor,
unrelieved by pleasure of any kind, were fast undermining the health
and spirits of the sad girl.
When spring came, her step was slower and her cheek paler, but there
was no eye of love to mark those changes, and her labors were not
lessened. At length her strength gave way, and a slow fever coursed
through her veins as the result of over-taxation. The languor it
produced was almost insupportable, and she longed for the green
woods, and the pure air, and a sight of running waters.
Mrs. Thorne saw that something must be done, and finally consented
that Margaret might take a little recreation in the manner she had
proposed, accompanying her consent with the remark that she thought
it a very idle way of spending one's time.
Margaret's constant companion in her rambles was the faithful dog
Trot, who highly enjoyed this new phase of life, and with him at her
side she had nothing to fear.
The change brought new life to her wasted system, and as she conned
over the beauties around, watched the sparkle of the running brooks,
and listened to the songs of the free birds, she wished that her
life was as free and beautiful.
One day while trimming a wreath of oak leaves, she thought she heard
footsteps, and the low growl of Trot, before she had time to turn
her head, confirmed her impression that some one was approaching.
She turned, and encountered the gaze of a stranger, who said in a
deep, pleasant voice:
"I have lost my way, I believe. Is this Wilton Grove, Miss?"
"It is," she answered, not daring to raise her eyes.
"Thank you. I was not quite sure, yet I thought I followed the
direction," said the stranger, and gracefully bowing, departed.
In all her life so bright and manly a face had never crossed her
path. And that voice-it seemed to answer to something down deep in
her soul. It kindled a fire which was almost extinct, and that fire
was hope. Perhaps she would some day see people just like him, live
with them, and be young and happy.
Old Trot seemed to share her new-found pleasure, and looked
knowingly into her face, as much as to say, "There are some folks in
the world worth looking at."
She went home that night to dream of other forms and faces than
those she had been so long accustomed to, and slept more sound than
she had for many months.
Weeks passed away, and the bloom came back to Margaret's cheek, a
new life was in her eye, for the voice of love had spoken to her
heart, and the blood leaped till the color of her face vied with
that of the roses.
The young man whom she met that day in the grove, often found his
way to that spot, not by mistake but by inclination, attracted by
the fair face of Margaret. Again and again he came, till his glowing
words kindled the flame of hope to love, and it became a source of
greatest pleasure to him to watch her dreamy eyes glow with
brightness under his repeated vows of constancy.
Clarence Bowen was the only son of a city merchant of great wealth,
acquired by his own indefatigable industry. His son had inherited
none of his father's zeal for business, and after repeated efforts
to make him what nature had never intended he should be, he sent him
to study law at the college in D--, a thriving town a few miles from
Margaret's home. It was while there, and in an hour when weary with
study, he wandered away to the spot where he accidentally met her.
His nature being not of the highest order, he did not hesitate to
poison her mind with flattering words, until at length he won her
heart, not as a pearl of great price, a treasure for himself, but as
a bauble, which he might cast aside when its charm had departed.
Sad indeed was the day to her in which he told her she could never
be his wife. Pity her, ye who in happy homes have kind friends to
guide your hearts into peace, and refresh your souls with a true and
perfect love. Have charity, and raise not hand nor voice against one
who, had her life been cast in as pleasant places as yours, would
not have trusted so fondly in a broken reed, or listened so
confidingly to the siren voice of the tempter. She had pined for a
warm heart and a faithful love. She had trusted and been betrayed.
You owe her your pity, not your condemnation.
"Did you say you were not going to marry me, Clarence?" and asking
this, she cast her eyes to the ground, and sobbed like a child.
"No, girl; you ought to have known I could not. I have no money but
that which my father supplies me with to pay my board and expenses.
I have nothing to support--"
She looked so pale he dared not say more.
"Go on," she at length said, pressing her hand closer to her heart,
lest its strong beating might too plainly betray her feelings.
"And even could I support you, my father would disown me were I to
take such a step."
"Then you never loved me, Clarence. You only sought your own
pleasure and--and my--my ruin?"
She broke down. Life had nothing now for her but shame and sorrow.
Alas, the world has no pity for its children.
Hard indeed must have been his heart, had it not relented then. He
went and placed his hand upon her head, saying,
"I would marry you, Margaret, if I had money enough," and just that
moment he meant it.
She looked up through her tears to him, and seeing the expression
which accompanied his words, mistook it for real sorrow at parting
from her, and answered in a hopeful, bright voice,--
"I can work ever so hard, and we might be married privately if you
chose, as no one knows us, and go away. You don't know how hard I
can work, Clarence."
"And then, sometime we might become rich," she continued, without
looking at his face, "and I would study, too, and improve myself.
Then we could return to your parents and be forgiven. They surely
could not blame us for loving each other. You will not forsake me,
will you, Clarence?"
He bowed his head. She thought he wept, and she continued her words
of cheer till he could bear it no longer.
She laid her bursting head upon his bosom saying, "I will go away
from here to-day, Clarence, and be no burden to you, till you can
support us both."
He nerved himself for the desperate emergency, and shook her off as
though she was poison, saying, in cold, measured words, not to be
this time misunderstood,--
"No, it cannot be; don't deceive yourself; you can never be my
wife," and then he left her.
Angels pity her. Heaven have mercy on her who sank prostrate with
grief that bright day on the green lap of earth. One heart-piercing
cry went up for help and mercy from above, and hope and love went
out of that heart, perhaps forever.
Faster and faster flew the betrayer, as though he would elude a
pursuer from whom he could not escape. But he could not close his
ears to that pleading voice, nor his eyes to that agonized look.
Aye, erring mortal, that sound will pierce your soul till some
reparation, some pure, unselfish deed, washes the sin away.
"Why, Clarence, you look as pale as a ghost; what on earth has
happened to you!" exclaimed his college chums, as he walked
breathless and weary into the house.
"I am sick," he answered, and went by himself to evade further
questions, which he knew would rend his soul with anguish. He early
repaired to his room, but found no rest, and finding himself unable
to attend to his studies the next day, obtained leave of absence.
How long Margaret laid there, she never knew, but when she came to
consciousness she found herself in her own room, and her father
bending over her, with a look she had never seen on his face
before,--one of deep anxiety for her.
"All this ere comes from letting her go out in the air every day,"
were the first words which broke the silence, and conveyed to her
senses that any one beside her father was in the room.
All the recollection of her misery came over her then. She had
forgotten all, save that her father looked with eyes of love upon
her. The shrill voice broke the heavenly spell, and Magdalen knelt
again in prayer at the Saviour's feet.
She closed her eyes as though she would shut out the sorrow from her
soul, while a look of deep pain settled on her features which her
father mistook for physical suffering. There was something in her
pale face then, that reminded him of her dear, dead mother. It
touched the long buried love which had lain in his uncultured nature
many years, and he drew his sleeve roughly across his eyes to wipe
away the tears which would come, despite the searching glance of his
wife, who looked upon any demonstration of that kind as so much loss
He thought Margaret would surely die. It must be some terrible
disease that caused her to look so white, and made her breathing so
low and still, and he resolved to go for a physician.
His decision met with little favor from Mrs. Thorne, who fretted
continually about the extra work and expense of a sick person,
interspersing her growls with the remark which seemed stereotyped
for the occasion:
"A nice job I've got on my hands for the summer."
"Come, I 'll have no more grumbling to-night. How long the poor girl
laid in the woods nobody knows. May-be she fainted and fell, and
them ere faintin' spells is dreadful dangerous, and I'm going for
the doctor, if it takes the farm to pay for 't."
When Caleb Thorne spoke like that, his wife well knew that words of
her own were of little avail, and she wisely concluded to keep
Margaret might have remained as she had fallen, faint and uncared
for in the woods, for a long time, had not the faithful dog, who
instinctively knew that something was wrong, ran furiously to the
house, and by strange motions and piteous pleading moans attracted
the attention of Mr. Thorne from his work. Trot would not act as he
did without cause. Caleb knew that, so he left his work and followed
the dog, who ran speedily towards the woods, momentarily looking
back to be sure that his master was close at hand, until he reached
the spot where Margaret laid.
He thought her lifeless, and raising her from the ground, bore her
home, while a heavier burden at his heart kept his eyes blinded, his
steps slow, and his walk uneven.
When the physician arrived, he saw, at a glance, that some great
trouble rested, like a dense cloud, on the girl's mind. Her restless
manner and desire to remain silent, showed plainly that some great
anguish was working its sorrow within, and silently he prayed to
heaven, that the young heart might find that relief which no art or
skill of his could impart. He could only allay the fever into which
her blood was thrown, and as he went out, left his orders, saying,
he would call again on the morrow.
"She's as well able to work as I am, this blessed minit,"
impetuously exclaimed Mrs. Thorne, who could ill brook the state of
"If looks tell anything, her pale face aint no match for yourn in
health, Huldah," remarked Caleb, as he glanced somewhat
reproachingly at the full, red features of his wife.
"A white face aint allus a sign of sickness; here I might be next to
death, and my face be getting redder and redder at every pain,--but
then who cares for me? No one, as I knows on."
She turned and found she might have left her last words unspoken,
for Caleb had gone to milk the cows, and she was alone.
It was no sudden thought. Every hour since the day they found her in
the woods insensible, she had busily matured her plans. Those
words,--"You can never be my wife," made life to her of no moment,
save to find a spot of obscurity in which to conceal her shame, and
spare her old father the grief she knew it must bring him.
She must leave her home, none but strangers must know of her sorrow;
and when health returned and she went about her daily toils, a short
time prior to the crisis of her grief, she deeply thought upon where
she might turn her weary steps. She had heard of a factory in N--,
a town twenty miles distant, where girls earned a great deal of
money. She would go there and work until-O, the pain, the anguish of
her heart, as the terrible truth came close and closer every day
upon her. And then she would go. Where? No mother's love to help
her, no right granted her to bring another life into being. How
keenly upbraiding came to her at that moment the great truth, a
truth which cannot be too deeply impressed upon every human mind,
that no child should be ushered into this world without due
preparation on the part of its parents for its mental, moral and
physical well-being. Let pity drop a tear, for sad indeed was her
One day she gathered what little clothing she possessed, and made up
a small parcel preparatory to her departure, and as her only time of
escape would be in the night, she carefully concealed it, and went
about her work in her usual, silent manner.
One moonlight night when all was still, she took her little bundle
and went softly down stairs. Noiselessly she trod across the kitchen
floor, pulled the bolt, lifted the latch, and stood outside. For an
instant she paused. A rush of feelings came over her, a feeling of
regret, for it was hard even for her to break away from familiar
scenes, and leave the roof that had sheltered her; but it would not
do to linger long, for Trot might bark and arouse her father. Then
she could not bear the thought that she should never see the
faithful old dog again; and almost decided to go to him, but the
thought had scarcely entered her mind ere her old companion was at
her side. His keen sense of hearing had caught the sound of her
movements, though to her they had seemed noiseless, and he had come
from his kennel and stood at her side, looking up in her face as
though he knew all her plans.
Her courage almost forsook her as he stood there, wagging his tail
and eyeing her so closely. She feared that he would follow her, and
thought she must go back to her room and make a new start; but now
she was out of the house, and, perhaps she could not escape another
time without disturbing her parents. This thought nerved her to
carry out her resolve, and she walked rapidly away. One look at the
old house, as her step was on the hill which would soon hide it from
her view. One more look at old Trot, then she waved her hand for him
to go back, and swiftly walked as though borne by some unseen power.
The grey light of morning touched the eastern hills just as she lost
sight of her native village.
New scenes were before her, and from them she gathered fresh
inspiration. The houses scattered along the roadside, from which
persons were just coming forth to labor, gave her new feelings and
enlivened her way, until at length something like fear that she
might be recognized and sent back came upon her; but her fears were
groundless, and she passed on and soon came to a deep, wooded road,
closely hedged on either side by tall trees, whose spreading
branches seemed to her like protecting arms. There she could walk
slower, and breathe more free, and for the first time for many days
her mind relaxed its tension.
She was plodding along, musing upon the past and trying to discern
some outline of her future, when the sound of steps following her
caused the blood to leap to her face. Looking around she beheld
Trot, and ordered him back; but words were of no avail; he had
scented her footsteps thus far, and seemed determined to follow her
to her journey's end.
"Poor fellow," she said, patting his head, "I would not send you
back if I had a home for you," and she tried again to induce him to
return, but he only gave a sigh, or sort of moan, as though
imploring her to keep him with her.
She could no more bid him depart. Was he not her only friend, and
did he not love her as none other did? So she patted him again and
"Perhaps God will provide for us both. Come on, dear, old brave
fellow," and then the faithful animal's eyes lit up with almost
human gratitude, and he ran on joyfully before her.
The tall trees waved their branches in the morning breeze, and their
music touched her soul, and attuned it to sweeter harmony than it
had known for years. The flame of hope began to kindle anew. There
might be some one, after all, who would pity her, who would not
wholly condemn her; while the music of the tall pines seemed like
angel voices, saying: "Yes, love her, pity her, and all on whom the
blight of sorrow falls."
She loved the music of the singing trees, and was grieved when the
road turned off towards a hill, and she was obliged to part with the
protection and seclusion which they afforded her. But taking fresh
courage from the guide-board, which indicated her approach to N--,
she travelled bravely on. She had provided herself with provisions
for a single day only, and had scarcely dared to take even that from
the plenty of her father's home. Reaching a sheltered spot by the
roadside, and feeling faint and weary, she sat down and shared her
food with her dog.
Ten miles of her journey had been passed, and more rapidly than she
could hope to continue, and she found that on a renewal of it, she
must proceed more leisurely.
A sad, but interesting picture they made. She, with her young, fair
face, touched by lines of grief; the once dreamy eyes, so soft, now
full of nervous fire, and wild with restless fear. Her bonnet was
thrown back from her shoulders, and the golden sun of morning
touched her wavy hair, till it glowed and seemed like a halo of
light about her pale brow.
When their little repast was over, she rested her head upon her
hands, and from her soul went forth a prayer for guidance and
protection,--more deep and earnest than words can portray.
Morning broke in all its splendor over the little village she had
Dewy flowers, touched by the rising day, glittered in their beds of
green, while mists, etherial as air, hung over the verdant meadows.
Long lines of hills whose tops rested against the blue sky, mirrored
their heads in the waters which flowed at their feet.
Beauty was on every hand. In whatever direction the eye turned, it
beheld the smile of God, and all nature seemed a psalm of
Caleb Thorne arose, and shaking off dull sleep, called Margaret to
her morning duties, while his wife bustled about the house in her
Neither looked on the lovely scene before them. If their eyes
chanced to turn in its direction, their souls took no cognizance of
all the wealth of beauty which was before them.
"What on earth keeps that gal up stairs so long," said Mrs. Thorne,
"I'll call her and bring her down I guess,--Mar-ga-ret-Mar-ga-ret
Thorne; it's most six o'clock-get up."
No sound; no footstep. She waited a full half hour, then Caleb
returned from the barn, having milked the cows, a labor which he had
performed since Margaret's illness.
"That gal ain't up yet," said his wife, as he came and placed the
pails on the table.
His breath came fast, for he feared she might be ill, or dead,
"Go and see what the matter is," he said to his wife. But as she was
somewhat afraid to enter a room where all was so silent, she
hesitated. At length she mounted the stairs very slowly, calling
Margaret's name at each step. When she had reached the landing, she
found the door wide open, but no Margaret was there, and the bed was
undisturbed. Pale and trembling, she went down stairs.
"She's-she's gone!" were the words with which she met her husband's
inquiring gaze. "Yes, gone; run away, I s'pose, in the night."
Mr. Thorne sank into the nearest seat, almost paralyzed with emotion
"Gone?" he repeated; it was a long time before he could take in her
meaning. It came at last; not as some truths do with a flash, but it
dropped like lead into his soul, down-down-to depths he knew not of.
And she had gone, just when he was waking to realize a fraction of
her worth; just as he was learning to look with a single spark of
love on her young, fair face, growing every day so much like her
dear, dead mother's.
He leaned his face upon his hands and wept. The fount of feeling
long dried was touched, and his heart felt a tenderness it had never
known before, for his child.
Through the dark atmosphere about his soul a ray of light broke in.
Down through long years it crept, and seemed to carry him back to
the time when his Mary was a bride.
There comes a moment to every soul, when its treasures are truly
appreciated; when hearts God has given to love and bless us are
rightly valued. Well is it for us if that moment comes while they
are with us in the earthly form.
It seemed but yesterday when she was a bride, white in soul, as well
as attire. How vividly the scene now stood before him, and he felt,
as he then did, the beating of her young, trusting heart, which she
gave into his keeping.
Down through all these years flowed the light of recollection, and
brought to mind the morning when a tiny babe was placed beside its
mother for him to love and cherish. Grief shook his soul to its
foundations. Through his rough nature crept a tenderness he had not
known for years, for those two treasures-one beneath the sod; the
"I s'pose you did n't look to see if the door was onbolted, did
you?" remarked his wife, wondering what made him so long silent.
"Come to think 'ont, 't was," he answered, like one awaking from a
"Then, the ungrateful thing's gone; and I am glad, if she could n't
be more thankful to us for her home."
"Yes,--Margaret's gone." His voice sounded far off, as though his
soul was off in search of her.
"Margaret Thorne has run away!" went from mouth to mouth, and harsh
comments, bitter words, flashed through the village a few days, and
then all was still again.
Wild and fearful emotions rushed through the mind of Margaret, when,
after a long, weary walk, she reached the town of N--, with old Trot
at her side.
It was a small white house, apart from others, and far from the
road, at which she applied for board, drawn thither by its quiet,
home-like appearance, and a strange feeling within her mind which
she had not fully learned to trust.
She felt that her weary feet could go no farther, as she walked up
the path, bordered by flowers, and knocked timidly at the door.
It was opened by a woman of about forty years, whose pleasant face
smiled upon her, as she invited her to enter.
Margaret took courage from the kind manner in which she was met, and
at once made known her desire to obtain a boarding place, designing
to work in the factory near at hand.
"I have no room at present for any one," she answered, "but if you
are to work in the factory there are boarding houses built by the
corporation, at which you can obtain accommodations. The first step,
however, will be to call upon the overseer, and if you like I will
go with you after you have rested."
Margaret was too grateful to reply in a satisfactory manner, but her
face looked what her tongue could not speak.
Mrs. Armstrong glanced at the young girl, and thought how unfitted
she seemed for such a place of labor. With her large experience, for
many had wandered there before, burdened with heavy struggles, she
quickly saw that grief, or want, perhaps both, had driven her from
home, or shelter, whichever it might be.
She shrank as she thought of the rough influences to which she would
be subjected, and though she knew she could not avert the fate of
this wanderer, or any of those who came to her for love and
sympathy, yet she inwardly resolved to befriend her, and do all that
she could to aid one so young and innocent, through a cold world.
"I'll get you a cup of tea, and something to eat," she said, and
hurried out of the room before Margaret could reply.
This was not the first one to whom her bounty had been given; not
the first lonely stranger who had supped at her table.
Old Trot sat on the door-step during this time, his eyes riveted on
the house, and his ears poised to catch every sound within.
When all was ready, Mrs. Armstrong called Margaret to partake of a
good substantial meal, which her busy hands had so speedily
prepared, and knowing that the young girl might feel diffident,
seated her alone at the table, while she busied herself about the
How Margaret longed to share her meal with Trot. What was her
surprise to see Mrs. Armstrong gather some scraps of meat and bones,
and carry them to the hungry animal.
No wonder the girl thought her an angel; she rose from the table,
her eyes too dim to see her newly-found friend, and her heart too
full to thank her for all her kindness.
In a short time Mrs. Armstrong was in readiness to accompany her to
the factory, and the two left the house, the former making the walk
pleasant by her familiar conversation and the sympathy she
manifested for the wanderer. Trot followed them, and, as if
conscious that his young mistress had found a friend, occasionally
ran on before, looking up in their faces, and leaping as if wild
After a short walk through the most retired part of the village,
they reached the factory building and entered.
The noise was so great that Margaret thought she should be stunned,
and put her hands upon her ears, to keep out the sound. She had
never been in a factory before, and the thought of having to bear
all that confusion, every day, sent a feeling to her heart somewhat
akin to terror; but she must labor, and where else could she go?
The curious gaze of the girls, as they entered the weaving room, was
most trying to her sensitive nature, and Margaret's face crimsoned,
as she followed Mrs. Armstrong to the farthest part of the room,
where Mr. Field, the overseer, was conversing with one of the
He was a black-eyed, sharp-featured person, and there was something
in his look which caused her to shudder, as Mrs. Armstrong made
known her errand.
"Have you ever worked in a factory?" he asked, in a quick, impatient
"A new hand, then," he said, with a little more suavity.
"We need another hand in the carding-room, so you may go there. I
will show you the room."
He led the way, Margaret following, yet keeping close to her new
The noise of the room was almost as great as that of the other, but
it was sunnier, and the windows were adorned with some beautiful
plants. The girls seemed more modest and less inclined to stare at
visitors. Mr. Field was about to leave, when he suddenly turned to
Margaret and inquired when she intended to commence.
"To-morrow, sir, if you are ready for me?"
"All right. Be on hand at the ringing of the bell."
"I had almost forgotten an important part of my errand," said Mrs.
Armstrong, "and that is, a boarding place for this young lady."
"Ah, she wishes to board in the Corporation. Well, there is a place
at Mrs. Crawford's. I think she has a spare room. Her house is on
Elm Street, third block."
It was a relief to feel the fresh air again, and to be away from the
noise and confusion of the factory. As soon as they had reached the
street, Margaret inquired of Mrs. Armstrong, the way to Mrs.
"O! I shall go with you," said that kind lady, to the great relief
of the young and timid girl, already worn and weary with fatigue and
"Thank you," in low, but sweet tones, came from her lips, and the
two wended their way along, with Trot close behind.
They passed pleasant private dwellings, and then turned into a long
and narrow street, with blocks of houses on either side. Margaret
had supposed by the name, that the street must be very pretty, with
rows of trees on each side. She was just learning that there are
many misnomers in life, and that this was one.
The house in the third block was reached, and Mrs. Armstrong rapped
with her parasol on the door. A red faced, but good-natured
appearing woman answered the call.
"We have called to see if you have a spare room for a young lady who
wishes board," said Mrs. Armstrong.
"We 've got a spare bed for a factory girl, if that's what you
want," she replied, grinning, and eyeing Margaret from head to foot.
"But have you no room she can have by herself?"
"Bless your stars, no my lady. We don't take them kind o' boarders.
There's plenty of places where genteel folks are taken, if they like
to be starved out and out," and her face glowed with such genuine
good nature, that her questioner felt that whatever else one might
have to endure, they would at least have a sunny face to cheer them.
"This young woman can sleep with other folks, can't she?" inquired
the good-natured woman, and her smile, not of sarcasm, but true
goodness, though rough, saved Margaret's tears.
"If you have no other, she must," said Mrs. Armstrong,
disappointedly, for she saw from the first, a native dignity and
delicacy in Margaret which would shrink from the contact with
others, and intended to have paid the extra price demanded for a
room herself, if one could have been obtained.
At that moment, old Trot came in through the open door, and looked
around, as though he did not like the appearance of things.
"That dog can't come," said the woman, losing for the first time her
pleasant smile. "May-be he's your's though, madam?" she said
"No, he's mine, and I must have him with me," broke in Margaret,
"and I cannot-"
She stopped short, frightened at her own earnest words and manner.
"I think he will be better off with me," said Mrs. Armstrong; "I
will keep him for you."
"I would n't care myself about the cur," said Mrs. Crawford,
following them to the door, "but my boarders are so agin anything in
the shape of a dog."
"Certainly; she could scarcely expect you to take him; and besides,
I want him to watch my chickens and garden. I took a fancy to him
the moment I first saw him."
Having thus made all satisfactory in regard to the dog, as far as
Mrs. Crawford was concerned, they bade her good-day, and reached
home just before dark.
"You are too kind," said Margaret to Mrs. Armstrong, who told her
that she must remain all night with her, and then she could say no
more, but broke down completely.
The kind woman took her at once to a neat little bed-room, and
permitted Trot to lie on a mat close to the door of his mistress.
Weary and worn, she gladly went to bed. Sleep came at last, and the
tired, intense state of her mind was lost in slumber. She dreamt
that she was at her home again, and that she was going to marry
Clarence. They were walking to the village church together, over the
soft green meadows. The air was balmy and full of sweetness; the
sunshine lay in golden bars at her feet, and her whole soul glowed
with happiness, life, and love. The bells--her marriage bells--pealed
out joyously on the air, while she turned to Clarence, saying, "I
had a terrible dream; I thought you had deserted me." Another
peal,--merry and full-then the meadows that were so warm and sunny,
grew cold and wet; and a cloud came between her and the golden sun.
The bell rolled forth another peal-it sounded like a knell-and she
The factory bell was ringing, calling the operatives to labor.
A sweet voice broke on her utter desolation just at that moment,
"That is the first bell; you will have just time enough to dress and
take your breakfast."
Mechanically she arose, dressed, and forcing back her hot tears,
went below, to sit again at the table of one who ever remembered
these words: "As ye have opportunity."
There comes to every one at times the inquiring thought, of what use
is life? What will be the result of all this seemingly useless toil,
these states of unrest, these earnest efforts of the soul
unappreciated, these best endeavors misunderstood? Such questions
flood the reason at times, and we are ready to lay down our life
weapons, scarce caring how the busy scene goes on.
Then, through the parted clouds, the rays of truth illumine the mind
again, and we take up the life-song once more, not as we laid it
down, but with a richer melody, a fuller and sweeter strain. The
soul feels new pinioned, and spreads its wings for loftier flights,
rising, height after height, up and on to the fields of the
This questioning state is sure to come to the most earnest,
truthful, and thoughtful worker. All along the pathway of life these
weary, yet hopeful pilgrims, sit waiting for "light, more light."
In such a mood sat Miss Evans, at the close of one summer day, as
the sun was going slowly to his fold of gold and crimson clouds. A
sort of mental twilight had gathered over her, dimming the sharp
lines of thought which gave her words at all times such force. All
her best and most earnest endeavors seemed as nought. Words which
she had spoken, warm with life, vital with her own enthusiasm, had
become metamorphosed, till their real meaning was lost to her.
"Alas! we must remain a riddle to ourselves forever," she said, and
her deep brown eyes, always warm with affection, now seemed cold, as
she turned her thoughts inward to sound herself more thoroughly, and
if possible detect any other than a desire for advancement.
How long she might have searched we cannot say, for just as her
thoughts were most abstracted, Hugh came and sat down by her side,
before she knew that any one had entered.
"Why, Hugh!" was her exclamation of surprise.
"You are not at home, I see."
He brought her back with those words.
"Really, I was away; but how glad I am to see you," and her glowing
features endorsed the truth of her assertion.