Part 4 out of 7
languished; light unto darkness. What was it like? Mortal cannot
compare it to anything under the heavens. It was as though my being
soared on downy clouds-the old passing out, weariness falling as I
ascended, and all sense of pain laid aside as one would a garment
too heavy to be worn. I knew I slept. I was inspired with currents
of a new life. I was lulled by undulating waves of light; each
motion giving deeper rest, followed by a delicious sense of
enjoyment without demand of action; a balancing of all the being. O!
rest, such rest, comes to man but once in a lifetime. But where is
the fair one to whom I am so much indebted for all this?" He glanced
around the room.
"Gone. She left just as you were waking. But tell me, Ralph, is it
the mesmeric sleep that has so strengthened you, and with which you
are so charmed?"
"It must be. What wondrous power that being has; Marion, I am as
strong and well as ever; look at me, and see if my appearance does
not verify my assertion."
She looked and believed. The past hour had developed a wonder
greater than could be found among all the works of art in that great
city; for Christ, the Lord, had been there and disease had fled.
Ralph and Marion met the strangers quite often, and passed many
happy hours in her society. Marion rallied her brother on his long
tarry at Frankfort, at which he smiled, saying, "I cannot go while
she remains." No more was said concerning his departure, it being
her pleasure to go or stay, as he wished.
One bright morning, they sat under the trees. Ralph was sketching,
while Marion and the young lady who had so entranced him, were
amusing themselves with some portraits which he had drawn a long
time previous, when a servant delivered a letter to Marion. She
opened it eagerly, and said, "It's from mother, Ralph, and we must
meet her in Paris by the twentieth; it's now the seventh."
A look of disappointment passed over his face, which was soon chased
away by smiles, at the words of their companion who said:
"How singular. Father and myself are going there. We leave
Marion excused herself, and ran to her room to answer her mother's
letter. The two thus left alone, sat silent for some time, until
Ralph broke the calm with these words, "I long to know the name of
one who has so long benefited me. I only know you as Miss Lyman. I
should like to treasure your christian name, which I am sure is
bright, like your nature."
"My surname is Wyman, not Lyman, and my christian name, Dawn."
"How strange! How beautiful!" almost involuntarily exclaimed Ralph.
"Will you allow me, Dawn," he said, after a brief silence, "to
sketch your profile?"
"Certainly, when will you do it?"
"Now, if you have no objection."
"I have not the slightest, provided I can have a duplicate, in case
I like it."
He complied readily, and she took a position requisite for the work.
"Look away over the river, if you please."
He did not know how much these words implied. Her gaze was far away,
and would ever be, for her real home was beyond.
He succeeded at the first effort, and asked her judgment upon it.
"Truthful and correct," she said. "Now another for me, if you
"This is yours. I shall idealize mine, and in it I shall sketch you
as you appear to me. Mine would not please you, I know."
"You judge me correctly. I wish my portrait to be exactly like
"Yet if you sketched, you would want to draw your friends profiles
as they appeared to you, would you not?"
"Certainly. Is this your speciality, heads, or do you go to nature
and reproduce her wonderous moods and shades with your pencil?"
"My great ideal is Nature. You, too, are an artist."
"I have no talent whatever, but the deepest sympathy with Nature,
and an appreciation of her harmonies."
"Do you not paint flowers, or sketch home scenes?"
"I have never used pencil or brush, and yet I feel at times such
longings within me to give expression to my states, I think I must
have, at least, some latent power in that direction."
"As all have. I could teach you in a very short time, to sketch
woods, hills, and skies."
"I think I should never copy. You don't know how foreign it is to my
nature to copy anything. I should respect artists more if they did
not copy so much. I reverence the past; I honor and admire the pure
lives and noble works of those who are gone; but where are the new
saints and the new masters? Was genius buried with Michael Angelo
and Raphael? The same God who inspired their lives, inspires ours.
We can make ourselves illustrious in our own way. We may not all
paint, but whatever our work is, that should we do as individuals.
If we copy, we shall have no genius to transmit to future
Dawn wished to be pardoned if she had wearied her listener, but she
saw at once, as she looked on his face, that the thoughts she had
expressed were accepted, and that her words had not fallen on
"You have spoken my own views, and if my health remains, I shall
give the world my best efforts in my own way. Nature shall be my
study. I will not fall a worshipper, like Correggio, to light and
shade, but use them as adjuncts to the great idea which must ever
dwell in the soul of the faithful artist, to give the whole of
"I would not have spoken so much upon a theme even so dear to me as
this, had I not felt that you would accept my thoughts, and
therefore knew that I should not weary you."
"I shall see you before you go," he said, retaining her hand which
she extended, as she arose to leave.
"I should be very sorry not to bid you good-bye. Have you my
portrait?" He handed it to her, and walked with her to the hotel.
"To-morrow she will depart, I may never see her again. Never! No, it
cannot be. I shall see her, live near her, feel her life flowing
into mine each day. It must be, I shall droop and fade without her,
as the flower without dew or water." He went in and found the letter
written, sealed and directed to Paris. He loved the word, since she
was going there.
Dawn went to her room and wrote her last letter from the land of
music, flowers, legends and art.
"Dear Ones at Home:-To-morrow we bid good-bye to this land of
beauty, which so accords with my feelings. We shall bid adieu to its
mountains, its castles, and its works of art. When you receive this
we shall have visited Paris, thence to London to embark for home.
'Home,' dear word. All my roamings will only make me love home
better, and those whose lives are so woven in with mine. Tell
Herbert he must come here to have his inspiration aroused. When he
has walked upon Mont Blanc; when he has sailed on the Rhine, stood
by Lakes Geneva and Lucerne, and by the blue Moselle, then he will
feel that his whole life has been a fitting prelude to a rapturous
burst of immortal song. He must come to Germany before he can fathom
the sea of sound, or understand in fullness what the rippling waves
of sweet music are saying. Florence, Herbert! do not let old age
come on you, before you see this land, if none other. It is growing
dark, or I would write more. Were I to sing a song to-night it would
be, 'Do they miss me at home?' Three years have passed; I could stay
as many more and not see half of that which would interest and
instruct me, yet I feel ready to leave, for I know it to be my duty
to do so. May the waves bear us safely to the arms of those who love
us. Yours ever, DAWN."
During the voyage home, Dawn was too indrawn to converse much with
her father. He saw her state, and delicately left her to herself,
except at brief intervals. What a help is such an one to us in our
moods-one who knows when to leave us, and as well when to linger.
The days went swiftly by. As they neared home, Dawn's abstracted
manner warmed to its usual glow, and parent and child talked
earnestly of the joy of returning to their own dear fireside. With
deepened life within, and extended views of happiness, how
pleasantly would the days glide on, lit with the sunlight of the
happy faces they were so soon to behold.
The autumn had just flashed its beauties on the forest trees, when
Mr. Wyman and Dawn drew near their home. It was sunset when they
reached the little station at L--and saw their carriage waiting,
and Martin, their faithful servant, holding Swift. A bright face
peeped out from a corner of the carriage. One bound to the platform,
and Florence and Dawn were clasped in each other's arms. Tears
sprang to Hugh's eyes as he held her hand and read in her happy face
that all was well with herself and friends. The old horse even gave
them a kindly greeting, turning his head and looking upon the joyous
group, then pawing the ground as if anxious to take them to their
home. They were not long in catching the hint, and soon Martin gave
Swift the reins, and he pranced along as though his burden weighed
no more than a feather.
"Who do you think is at our house?" inquired Florence.
"I have been too long away from yankee land to 'guess'; tell me at
"Miss Weston, whom we met at the sea-shore."
Dawn held up both hands with delight.
"Why did you not mention it in your last letter?"
"Because she arrived since I wrote."
"I hope she is to stay awhile with us," said Dawn.
"We shall need all the balancing power we can bring to offset our
enthusiasm. Do you not think so, Florence?" asked Mr. Wyman.
"I do, indeed. I expect Dawn's earnestness will kindle such desires
among these home-loving people, that by next spring, all L--will
embark for Europe."
"Some fuel will not ignite," said Dawn, casting a mischievous glance
"I think foreign travel has injured my pupil's manners," remarked
Mrs. Temple, assuming an air of dignity.
"Yes, you must take her in charge immediately," answered her father.
"But here we are at our own gate. Stop, Martin," and with a bound he
sprang from the carriage. He could sit no longer. The familiar trees
which his own hand had planted, spread their branches as though to
welcome his return. Brilliant flowers flashed smiles of greeting.
The turf seemed softer, and more like velvet than he had ever seen
it; the marble statues on the lawn more elegant than all the
beautiful things he had looked upon while away. Some hand had
trailed the vines over the pillars of the house; the birds sang, and
the air seemed full of glad welcomings. The good, honest face of
Aunt Susan met them at the hall door, and a warm, hearty shake of
the hand was the greeting of each.
Flowers everywhere,--pendant from baskets, and grouped in vases;
vines everywhere,--laid as by a summer breeze, on marble busts and
statuettes; blossoms everywhere:-but where was she whose
thoughtfulness and taste was made manifest in all these?
Impatiently he passed to the drawing-room, then to the library, and
a feeling of blank disappointment rose in his breast, for she he so
much expected to see, was not there to greet him.
"I forgot to tell you," said Aunt Susan, "that no sooner was the
carriage gone for you, then Miss Evans was called to a very sick
friend. She left this note for you."
Hugh hastily opened it, and found a line expressing regret that such
summons should come at such an hour, and welcoming him home with all
the warmth of a true and earnest soul.
"O father! is it not heavenly to be back again?" and the sensitive
daughter fell weeping with joy into her father's arms. He pressed
her to his heart, held her as though she had been away from him all
these years, instead of at his side beholding the wonders of the Old
World. "Dawn, Dawn, my darling girl," was all he could say.
"Where is she?" she inquired, suddenly rising.
"Miss Evans. Strange I have not thought of her since we entered our
"She is away. Here is her note, which will explain her absence."
Dawn read it without looking at the words, and said:
"The house is full of her. I like her sphere; she must not go away
Her father glanced wonderingly towards her. How strangely woven into
his own life was the tissue of his child's, how vibratory had their
"Shall she not always stay, dear father? You will need some one-some
one with you."
The last words were slow and measured. What was it that seemed
drifting from his grasp just then? What more of joy was receding
from his life-sphere?
"Dawn, my child," he said, "You are not going from me?"
"Why, poor frightened papa, I am not so easily got rid of. I am not
going, but some one is coming, coming, I feel it, close to you, yet
not one to sever us. There are some natures that bind others closer,
as some substances unite by the introduction of a third element."
"Child, you are my very breath; how can you come closer to me?"
"By having a new set of sympathies in your being aroused; by
expansion. Was my mother farther removed or brought nearer to you,
when she gave birth to a new claimant upon your love?"
"Brought nearer, and made dearer a thousand times."
"Do you understand me now, father?"
"I feel strange to-day, Dawn. It came over me when I left the
carriage,--a something I fain would put away, but cannot. Some other
time we will talk upon it."
"May we come in?"
The door was flung wide open, and Florence and her husband stood
before them. The children were in the garden just at that moment.
The tea-bell rang, and soon they all formed a happy group around the
Revelations come to us sometimes in flashes, at others in partial
glimpses. The revelation of Hugh Wyman's feelings towards one he had
known but as a friend, came slowly. There was no sudden lifting of
the veil, which concealed the image from his sight. It rose and
fell, as though lifted by the wind,--and that merely a chance
breeze,--no seeming hand of fate controling it.
How should ho know himself; how fathom the strange fluttering of his
heart, the quickening breath, the flashing blood, at times when he
most earnestly sought to put such emotions away. What meant his
child's close words touching his dim thoughts floating like nebul‘
in his mind? What was this vague questioning state, with no
revelations, no answers? He tried to put it away, but each endeavor
brought it closer, and he yielded at last to the strange spell.
Three days after their arrival, Miss Evans came from the house of
mourning to their home of joy.
Hugh met her suddenly in the garden, whither she had gone in search
of Dawn. But where was "Hugh," her brother, when they met? Not
before her. The person had the manners of a stranger, instead of a
long absent friend returned.
She sought Dawn, and met with a cordial welcome from her, which in
some measure removed the chill from her heart.
Dawn struggled long that night with her feelings. Her thoughts would
wander over the sea to one who had so deeply touched her sympathies.
Her last meeting with him was in Paris. He then stood with his
sister gazing on Schoffer's picture, which so beautifully represents
the gradual rise of the soul through the sorrows of earth to heaven.
This beautiful work of art "consists of figures grouped together,
those nearest the earth bowed down and overwhelmed with the most
crushing sorrow; above them are those who are beginning to look
upward, and the sorrow in their faces is subsiding into anxious
inquiry; still above them are those who, having caught a gleam of
the sources of consolation, express in their faces a solemn
calmness; and still higher, rising in the air, figures with clasped
hands, and absorbed, upward gaze, to whose eye the mystery has been
unveiled, the enigma solved, and sorrow glorified."
That picture floated through her mind.
"Shall I ever be among the 'glorified,'" she asked of her inner
self; "among those who see the divine economy of suffering, which
purifies the soul from all grossness? I must banish the thought of
him from my mind," she exclaimed, vehemently. "I must have no
earthly moorings; far, far out on life's tumultuous sea, I see
myself buffeting the waves alone." Thus spoke reason, while her soul
kept up the swelling tide of emotion, and soon away went thought and
feeling far over the blue sea, where he was yet gazing on the
beauties of the Old World.
Would chance once more send him across her path? Would she ever
again look into those eyes of such wondrous depth? These were the
thoughts which floated through her mind-the last she experienced
before passing into dreamland.
Lulled in sweet sleep, she seemed to stand upon a shore watching the
waves which threw, at each inflowing, beautiful shells at her feet.
They were all joined in pairs, but none were rightly mated; all
unmatched in size, form and color. What hand shall arrange them in
order? Who will mate them, and re-arrange their inharmonious
She tried to tear a few asunder. She could not separate them, for
they were held so firmly by the thick slime of the sea, that no hand
could disunite them. 'They must go back, and be washed again and
again by the waves,' a voice within seemed to say, 'on eternity's
broad shore they will all be mated. They symbolize human life, and
what in the external world are called marriages. The real mate is in
the sea, but not joined to its like.'
A feeling of impatience came over her, as she saw the shells roll
back, and the incoming tide still throwing more at her feet. The
feeling deepened, and she awoke.
It was midnight; a gentle breeze scarce stirred the curtains of her
windows and bed, and there broke over the room a wave of sound.
Dawn knew that some one was there, yet no fear of the visitant came
upon her. She only feared her breath might disturb the delicate
atmosphere which filled the room, growing at each moment more
rarified and delicate in its quality. She knew that the presence
could be none other than that of her mother, for none but she could
so permeate her being, and fill the room with such an air of
holiness, and she felt that in the atmosphere which was thus
gathering, her angelic form must soon become cognizant to her sight.
As these thoughts filled her mind, the rays of light began to
converge and centre at her side. Her eyes seemed rivited to the
spot, as she saw the dim but perfect outline of a form. It grew more
tangible, until at last the form of her mother stood saintly and
glorified before her.
O, the rapt ecstacy of such an hour; the soothing influence which
flows into the brain when a mortal is thus blessed.
Dawn tried to speak; her lips parted, but no sound issued, and she
learned that there is another communion than that of words, which
mortals hold with those who have passed into a broader and deeper
Slowly the form faded away; first the limbs, then the shadows, or
semi-transparent clouds, rose gradually, till nought but the white
effulgent brow beamed out; yet but for an instant, then all was
A rest deeper than that of sleep came over her. She closed her eyes
to shut out the darkness, and retain the vision, and remained thus
until slowly the golden orb of day rolled his chariot over the
eastern hills, when reluctantly she arose, and the heavenly spell
"Dear Pearl, how good you are to come and see us," burst from the
lips of Dawn, when, two hours later, she entered the parlor of her
teacher and clasped the hand of Miss Weston. "I shall claim her
to-day; may I not, Florence?" and without waiting for a reply, she
carried her to her own home.
They talked long and earnestly; Dawn's description of her travels
entertaining her guest exceedingly, and it was noon ere they were
aware that one half of the morning had passed away.
"And now I have talked long enough, and will stop; but may I ask you
where you propose to spend the coming winter? If you are not
positively engaged, I want you to stay with Florence and myself."
"I am going to the quiet little town of B--, to remain for an
indefinite period with some dear friends, relatives of my dear
Edward, who have just returned from Europe. I had a letter from them
yesterday, saying they were all safe at home, and should be looking
for me next week."
"Then all my plans must fail."
"As far as having me here for so long a time; but how I wish you
could know Ralph and Marion, Dawn.-Why, what is the matter; what is
it, dear Dawn?"
"Nothing but a sharp pain. It's all over now. Were your friends
in-in Paris last month?" her voice trembled as she spoke.
"Yes. But how pale you look. Dawn, you must be ill."
"I am not. I did not sleep well last night. But Pearl, I have seen
"Seen them; seen Ralph?" exclaimed Miss Weston, in joyous surprise.
"Is his not a fine character? And Marion, his sister, is she not
"I know them but little. They were at a hotel in Frankfort, where we
stopped. I first met them there, and again in Paris, twice,
"How strange," continued Miss Weston. "Will they not be greatly
surprised when I tell them I know you?"
Dawn laid her hand heavily on her friend's shoulder, saying:
"Miss Weston, I have my reasons, which sometime I may explain to
you, for asking you not to mention my name to any member of that
family." It was the same bright face which years ago was turned on
her with words of consolation; the same childish pleading, for
Dawn's face was a type of her spirit,--free, innocent and pure. "Will
you promise without an explanation?"
"I will, strange as it seems; but, may I ask you one question,
before we leave this subject?"
"Has Ralph or Marion ever injured you?"
"Never. I think very highly of them both."
The subject was dismissed, and although their words floated to
interesting topics, no deep feeling could be experienced by either,
for each had become insphered and separate; one pondering, despite
her efforts to the contrary, upon the strange request; the other
thinking how strangely fate had again approximated lives which, in
her present state, she could only see, must be kept apart.
Little did Dawn think she should meet in her own home, one who knew
Ralph. It seemed an indication that she might meet him again, when
and where she knew not, but of one thing she was certain, the
meeting could not be one of friendship only. A conflict of emotions
pulsed through her being. She could not converse, and plainly told
her friend that she was too abstracted to be companionable.
"Go to Florence," she said, "and tell her she may have you the rest
of the day. To-morrow--to-morrow," she said slowly, "I shall want
you, for then I shall be myself."
When Margaret Thorne left N--, it was with the intention of
following the old woman's warning, and avoiding the stranger.
"Where shall I go?" was the ever prominent question, repeated again
and again, to the end of the journey.
At last the train stopped at the busy city; the close of the journey
had come, but no end to her restless thoughts. While she was thus
musing, she was aroused by the usual, "Have a hack? a hack, miss?"
This seemed to indicate her next step. She handed her baggage check
to the person who addressed her, and directed him to drive to a
Seated in the carriage she was somewhat relieved of the feeling of
uncertainty which had oppressed her. Alas, the poor girl did not
know that at that moment the woman of evil deeds was directing the
coachman where to carry the helpless victim.
And thus her fate was sealed; her child was born in a house of sin,
and its little eyes first opened in its dark, immoral atmosphere.
The woman had managed all so cunningly that Margaret did not know
but that she was in a respectable house, nor see her until it was
too late. Then, knowing her helplessness, the woman, by subtle
flatteries and approaches in her hour of womanly need, at a time
when she was weak and susceptible to seemingly kind attentions, won
her confidence. The child of circumstances caught at the broken
staff held out for her as a drowning one seeks any hold in a storm.
In her hour of sorrow and destitution, she accepted the only aid
which was proffered her, for aid she must have, and she was not able
to command her choice.
Day by day the woman into whose hands she had fallen, worked herself
into her life and affection, until at length Margaret began to think
there might be worse persons than those about her, and greater sins
in the wide world than those which were committed beneath the roof
which now sheltered her.
Creatures of circumstance as we are, we are too apt to attribute to
our own strength of purpose the virtue, so called, in which we pride
ourselves. Women in happy homes, by pleasant hearths, and surrounded
with every means of social enjoyment, take credit to themselves for
their upright demeanor, and indulge in bitter denunciation of those,
who, less fortunately circumstanced, yield to the tempter's
allurements. Little do they think of what they themselves might have
been, but for the protection which some good angel has thrown around
them. It would be well for us all to pause and think, and ask our
souls the question which this thought suggests.
As has been seen, Margaret Thorne came not willingly to the home in
which she now was, neither did she willingly remain. Circumstances
not of her own making, governed her; and may it not be there are
many similarly situated. To such the world owes its pity, not its
The "social evil" is not confined to the houses which the public
marks as its only abode, but is to be found in many of those in
which the marriage ceremony is supposed to have insured chastity.
In these, too often, the unwelcome child is ushered into being, the
fruit of a prostitution more base than any which is called by that
name, because sanctioned and shielded by a covenant of holiness. If
any children are illegitimate such are. If any mothers are to be
condemned, they are those, who, vain and foolish, filled with
worldly ambition, angrily regret that their time is encroached upon
by the demands of their dependent offspring. In vain the little ones
reach out for the life and love which should be freely given them;
then, finding it not, fade and die like untimely flowers. Thousands
of innocent beings go to the grave every year from no other cause
than this, that though born in wedlock they are the offspring of
passion, and not the children of love.
Sad as these thoughts are, they are nevertheless true. An hour's
walk in any community, will bring to any one's observation
inharmonious children. Let the married reflect, and closely question
themselves, in order that they may know the true relation which they
bear to the children who are called by their name. Better by far
that a child of pure love be brought into the world, with a heart to
love it, a hand to lead it, and a soul to guide it, than a child of
passion, to be hated and forsaken by those who should care for and
Little can be done by one generation to right this wrong, but that
little should be done with earnestness.
"I will not forsake it," said Margaret, looking into the eyes of her
child; eyes that fastened on hers such a questioning gaze, that it
made her heart beat fast, and the scalding tears flow down her
cheeks; eyes that resembled those that once flashed on her the light
of passion, which she mistook for that of pure affection.
Years rolled on, and she struggled with life, trying to support
herself and child by her efforts. But, alas, the taint was on her;
none would help her to a better existence, and she fell to rise no
more this side the grave.
Not suddenly did she surrender her womanhood, but slowly, as hope
after hope failed, and all her efforts were met with a foul
The years that came and went by, bringing happiness to many, brought
none to her. One night the angel of death stole noiselessly to her
side, and took her only earthly comfort,--her child. His fair face
and innocent smile had repaid her a hundred fold for the frowns of
the world she had met. Now she had no moorings, no anchor in the
broad sea of existence.
"I shall die some day," she said, "and perhaps the angels will
forgive me." So she walked alone, and cared not what came to her
life, or filled the measure of her days on earth.
Miss Evans sat alone in her home, musing, as she had often done. She
had just been reading passages from "Dream Life," having opened the
book at random to a chapter entitled, "A Broken Hope." Was life
mocking her at every step? She turned the pages listlessly, and
"Peace" flashed before her vision. Peace, at last. No matter how
great the struggle, rest shall be ours. We may not attain what we
have striven for on earth, but peace will come, and the "rest which
the world knows not of."
But her mind did not feel the promise then. Life seemed growing
dull, insipid. The course of the chariot wheels of progress, were
impeded. What had become of her earnest, working self, whose deepest
happiness was in laboring for humanity? Why were her hands so idle,
and her mind so listless? Question rose on question, until her mind
seemed plunging into a sea whose troubled waves moaned and dashed
against her life-bark, giving her spirit no repose. Why was she
floating on this restless sea?
A hand was laid upon her shoulder. She turned, and the warm blood
tinged her cheeks and brow.
It was the first time for years that the sound of her own name had
thrilled her so deeply.
He sat by her, took her hands in his own, and had never seemed to
belong to her so much as in that hour.
"I never was more delighted to see you," she said, unaware of the
tide of emotion which his answer would awaken.
"I am glad, indeed, that it is so. Then I do not seek you to be
repulsed. I love you, Arline."
She was not startled by this avowal, as it might have been supposed
she would have been, and yet she never thought to hear words like
those pass his lips. Like dew upon withering flowers they came, and
she looked up, saying,--
"How long has this feeling existed in your heart, Hugh?"
"Since I found I could love more than one, and yet love that one
deeper and more tenderly."
"And when was that?"
"When I first saw my home after my foreign trip. Until then, I had
but one feeling towards you, and that, you know, was a brother's
"But tell me," he said, as though a new thought had impressed him,
"how long have you loved me?"
"Always?" he repeated. "And yet you kept that love a secret to every
soul but your own. It is well, and in order. I could not have known
it before. May I ever prove worthy of such devotion, such true love.
Arline, our love has not the fire of passion, but a purer flame
burns upon its altar, one which consumes not, while it illumines our
For many hours they sat together, much of the time in silence, their
souls communing in that language which has not an earthly
expression. Soon the current of their lives mingled; the green banks
of peace were in view. Night adorned itself in the robes of morning;
doubt and questioning gave place to faith and trust.
She went to his home to walk daily with one whom God had made to
vibrate in soul to that of her own earnest life. There was no crowd
to witness the external rite; only a chosen few who could enter into
the true spirit of the occasion, were present, while over them
hovered the angelic form of the dear, departed Alice, happy indeed,
that a woman's affection and gentleness had come to bless him whom
she too so truly loved.
Dawn was radiant with emotion at the union. "Another life now
enfolds me," she said to her father, when they were alone for the
first time after the ceremony. "I knew she was coming; I felt it
when we came home. You did not seek it, father, it came to you; it
was to be; and now as you have some one to sit by your side, I may
roam a little, may I not?"
"Ah, yes; I remember a certain pair of eyes over the sea, which more
than once flashed on a young lady who shall be nameless."
Dawn suddenly interrupted this remark by the exclamation, "Ah,
don't, father, don't!" and her tone struck him as sadly out of place
for the time and occasion; so he said no more, but wondered at her
strange, and to him at that moment, unaccountable manner.
"What a peculiar wedding," said every one; "just like the Wymans,
they never do anything like any one else."
"What he found to admire in Miss Evans, is more than I can see,"
said one of the busy-bodies who favored Miss Vernon with a call on
a certain memorable morning.
"He's a curious man," said an old lady, between a yawn and a smile,
"and nobody ever could understand him."
These, and a hundred similar expressions equally unimportant, were
heard, and then all was still again.
The new pair took up the deep current of their lives with united
strength, and merged their efforts into one channel, each distinct,
but flowing in time to the divine order, enriching each other's
Some lives are steady, with a continuous flow of discipline; other's
convulsive and terrible in their wild upheavings. Slowly we learn
the goodness of God's mercy, which sends the storm that whitens our
garments, making them pure as snow. When our song should be praise,
we fly here and there bemoaning our fate, crossing and re-crossing
the path which leads into life, instead of walking therein, and
following it out to its glorious goal.
Slowly we learn to take each day, and fill it with our best
endeavor, leaving to-morrow to God. Life's experiences should teach
us to find where our work begins and where it ends; but in our
learning, how we project ourselves, and exalt our own little
Like children, we meddle with our father's tools, and so retard the
blessing. When we learn to work with God, then will our lives be in
divine order, and flow deep and peaceful to the end. Our impatient
movements cut the threads in the heavenly warp, and the garment
which was to enfold us is delayed in its making.
It has been said, "Man is his own worst enemy," and life's
experience proves the truth of the assertion. But our final success
is born of our present failures. It is in our efforts to ascend the
stream, and thus rowing against the current, that we gain strength.
Without resistance life would be a negation, and our running,
sparkling river, become a stagnant pool.
Dawn brightened with the rising sun, or rather the cloud went by,
leaving her in all her native brilliancy. Miss Weston spent her last
day with her, and then went to her friends, with permission to write
whenever she felt disposed, but with the caution not to say anything
of her to Ralph or Marion.
"I think I must take one more look at the sea before winter closes
in," said Dawn to her father, one pleasant day when the air was
still and the foliage bright with autumn hues.
"You will be obliged to go alone, then, for I have too many duties,
to accompany you," he said, and after a moment's pause, he asked,
"Can you not wait a day or two?"
He read an answer in her pleading eyes, which said, "To-day, or not
at all; I am in the mood, and must go now."
"Go, then," he said, "but do not allow the waves to steal you away."
It seemed to him that she was slipping from his life; and indeed she
was receding, but only to flow again more freely and strongly to
him. As the tide which sweeps out and comes back, each time making a
farther inroad upon the shore, so she was outflowing and inflowing,
each tidal return beating deeper into his soul. We must flow out to
the ocean, to the depth of living waters, if we would win a firmer
abiding in the hearts of those we love.
Dawn walked upon the beach, the very spot where in childhood her
ardent spirit first looked upon the sea. Idly, some might think, she
wore the hours away, gathering white pebbles, and throwing them into
How long she continued thus, thinking of the past and musing of the
future, she knew not. With her, one thought was uppermost, and that
was of Ralph, whose letters to her had of late been warm with that
spirit which sooner or later glows in every heart. She felt that to
him she had a duty to perform which at the farthest could not long
be deferred, and she knew that to meet it, required a strength and a
singleness of purpose which would call into service all the
philosophy she could command.
The deep silence that surrounded her was at length broken by the
sound of a footstep; then a voice was heard, that seemed to her, in
her half-entranced state, to come from the world of spirits. She
started, as the voice sounded nearer. She knew whose voice it was,
yet she only whispered to herself, "How strange," and still gazed
upon the sea, while a feeling pervaded her whole soul, akin to joy
"Dawn, Dawn; I have found you at last, and by the sea!"
Still she looked on the restless waters. There are moments in every
life when speech fails, when words are powerless, when the soul can
only express itself by silence. Such a moment came to Dawn.
Ralph took her hand in his own. She turned on him a gaze which
seemed to bring her soul nearer to his own than ever before, and
they walked slowly side by side. Then he told her that his sister
and a friend were on the beach, a mile below; that they had all
three come to take one more look at the sea, and to gather mosses.
"I knew not why I had such a strong desire to come here," he said
"but now see clearly what drew me in this direction. The feeling to
come was overpowering, and I could not resist it."
They walked, and conversed of all the past, until finally, the
question of so momentous interest to both was approached, and Ralph
pleaded as none but a lover can.
A long silence ensued. Hope and fear, doubt and uncertainty, came
and went, and every moment seemed to him an age.
Dawn at length turned her face slowly towards him, and then raised
her eyes to heaven, as if imploring its aid. The deep working of her
spirit was plainly depicted upon her features; first the conflict,
then the triumph.
"I must walk alone. I love you, Ralph, as I have never loved before;
but I have a mission on earth; one which I cannot share with
another. To its service I dedicate my life."
She sprang towards him, threw her arms for an instant around his
neck; then, tearing herself away, was gone before he could fully
realize what had happened.
Slowly the reality of what had occurred came upon him, like a storm
more terrible for its slow approach.
"O, that I had not seen her to-day," he said, "for then hope would
have been left me. Now, all is over. With me life must be gone
through with mechanically, not lived earnestly; happiness must be
relinquished, peace and rest prayed for."
When Marion and Edith came in search of him, the crisis of his great
grief was past, but the white face showed it was not the Ralph who
"Why, you are ill; what has happened?" was his sisters' ejaculation.
"I came near sinking."
"Were you bathing?" they both asked, together.
"In sorrow's sea," he was about to say, but kept the words back, and
appeared cheerful for their sakes.
"Then a wave did really come over you, Ralph?" said his sister,
looking anxiously into his face.
"Yes, a strong one. I came near going under."
They did not know that he spoke in correspondences, and accepted the
literal explanation, which was true in the abstract.
"You look as though you had concentrated a dozen years into one
day," said Mr. Wyman, as he met Dawn at the door.
"I have had a very intense day."
"You should have taken more time, child."
This was her first unshared sorrow, and she longed to be away,
alone. It seemed as though an ocean rolled, for the time, between
herself and her father, and she hastily left him and sought her
room. That night none but angels witnessed her struggles, and the
peace which afterwards flowed into her troubled heart.
When morning came, with light and love in her face, she went below,
and those who met her knew not the conflict of the night,--the great
darkness,--so brilliant was her morning.
"I am going to the city, to-day, to make some purchases: my wardrobe
"Which announcement, I suppose, is an appeal to my purse," remarked
"I should put her on a shorter allowance, if I were you," said his
wife, "if she does not give us more of her company."
"Are you aware that you have been roaming most of the time, Dawn,
since the change in our home?" said her father, as he presented her
the means for her purchases.
"Of course, having some one to take my place as housekeeper, I wish
to enjoy my freedom a little."
Mrs. Wyman looked troubled. Had she separated them? Was Dawn
absenting herself on her account? A look of pain passed over her
face, which she little knew the subject of her thoughts caught and
"I am not going because you are here," said Dawn at parting; "I am
going because I feel impelled to. I am truly grateful to you, that
your love came to bless my father's life. Do you believe me?"
"I do; and thank you from my heart for your words." This was said
with a depth of feeling that is always accompanied by the holy
baptism of tears, and this was no exceptional occasion.
The first thought that came to Dawn, on her arrival in the city, was
the dream of her childhood,--the pure white robe, and the damp, dark
"Perhaps my mission is close at hand," she said, stepping aside to
let an old man pass. She glanced at his sad, wrinkled face. It
seemed as though other eyes were looking through her own into it.
She took some money from her purse, and thrust it into his hand.
He closed his fingers mechanically over the bill; it was something
more than money he needed.
"I am looking for-for-her," he said, his eyes gazing on vacancy.
"Any one I can find for you?" inquired Dawn, touched by his gentle,
"Find her? Can you find Margaret? Why, she went away when she was a
little gal; no, she has grown up-like you. But I guess she's lost;
yes lost. O, my little Margy,--your own mammy, and your other mammy
is dead, and I am all alone. Come, Margy, come," he said, reaching
forth his hands to Dawn.
"I am not Margy; but perhaps we can find her." She drew nearer to
him, and walked by his side down the street.
They passed along until the crowd grew more dense, and the sea of
human forms, rushing and jostling, made her head swim.
What a variety; from childhood to age,--faces in which sorrow and
hope were struggling; faces marked with lines and furrows; cheeks
sunken by disease and many griefs; bright, glowing faces, fresh as
flowers, before the dew had been parched by noon-day sun and heat.
On, on they went,--the busy crowd, and the old man, and the maiden;
he, looking at all, yet seeing none; she, gazing with restless
vision, for what? for whom? How typical of life's great highway, on
which we wander, looking for that which we know not; hoping, that
out of the sea of faces, one will shine forth on us, to receive or
give a blessing.
They passed spacious buildings, and came to those less pretentious
in style. The crowd grew less dense, the apparel less showy and
elegant; the low wooden houses contrasting strangely with the lofty
edifices which they left behind. Little shops, with broken panes in
every window; children ragged, idle, and brutal in their appearance,
stirred the heart of the passer-by with a grief which no words could
Dawn looked on them, and longed to gather them all into one fold of
love and harmony. "O, guide me, Father, and help me to lead them to
better lives," was the earnest prayer of her soul.
"I am led hither to-day, that my sympathy with human want may be
deepened," she said to herself, while a thrill of joyous emotion
pervaded her being, and faith laid hold more firm of the eternal
anchor, which holds us fast, in the deep waters.
She was so indrawn that she did not notice the approach of a
carriage, as they were on a street that ran at angles with the great
thoroughfare, until a sharp cry from the old man aroused her to the
state of affairs. He had been struck, and had fallen under the
wheels. One moan, one convulsive motion of the features, and he was
white as marble.
Before she had time to think or act, a shriek rent the air, and
pierced the very soul of Dawn, for it was a wail from depths which
few have fathomed. She turned to see from whom it came, and beheld a
light female form bending low over the prostrate man. She was poorly
clad, and her face bore every mark of the workings of great inward
struggles. Two men raised the fallen one carefully, and carried him
into a store near by. But it was only the clay they bore there; the
soul had fled; gone to a world of a larger charity, and nobler souls
"O, my father; my poor, old father," broke from Margaret's lips, and
her body swayed to and fro with its burden of grief.
Dawn took her hand; it was icy cold. Thus had the father and child
met; one in the slumber of death; the other with the last sorrow of
earth eating away what little of life remained in her. It was,
truly, a pitiful scene, and touched all who witnessed it.
"Where shall we take him, miss?" said the police respectfully, to
Dawn, whom he supposed, from her manifest interest, knew the
"I do not know them, sir," she replied, turning a look of deepest
pity on Margaret.
"May I ask where your father shall be taken?" said Dawn tenderly, to
"Taken? Why, home; no, it's a great way off; but don't bury him here
in the wicked city. O, take him where the grass will wave over his
grave, and the blue birds sing at early morn. O, do not bury him
here," she cried, clinging to Dawn with that confidence born of the
soul when ushered, however strangely and suddenly, into the presence
of truth and goodness.
"He shall be carried away to the green fields, and we will follow,"
said Dawn, and stepping to a kindly-looking man in the crowd, she
gave him orders to prepare a casket and shroud, and carry the body
to the home of the poor woman who stood moaning beside her.
"Where shall we take him, Miss?" he said, stepping towards Margaret.
"Take him? I-I have no home. I was sent from my lodging this
morning, because I had no money to pay. Take him anywhere, only let
me go to his grave."
Her pleading voice and look told that life had now but one more step
for her. All was swept away; one hope after another had departed,
and she stood alone in darkness.
Clarence Bowen, and his young and elegant wife, were riding in a
part of the city whose broad avenues were overarched with trees all
radiant with autumnal flames, when a hearse, followed by a single
carriage, suddenly attracted the attention of the former.
Why was it that his whole frame shook, and the color left his face?
His wife laughed and chatted by his side, and it was no uncommon
sight in those streets to see a funeral pass. What was it, then,
that so thrilled him? And his wife, too, she became alarmed as she
glanced at his altered countenance.
From that lone carriage a face looked forth upon him. It looked with
a vacant gaze. It was Margaret's face that, even she knew not why,
stared upon Clarence. An electric chord seemed to connect the
two,--the one with wealth and the vigor of life, the other with
poverty and death.
"Why! what has come over you?" asked his wife. He was wandering
again in the green woods, and stood once more by the innocent
maiden's side. He heard not the voice that spoke to him, and she
left him to his thoughts. The reins slackened in his grasp, and the
horse walked at a slow pace, while his wife knew not of the bitter
waters that were surging about his soul. Thus by our side do forms
sit daily, while our thoughts glance backward and forward with
lightning speed. At such times, the soul brings from the past its
dead, to gaze on their lifeless forms, then turns and looks, with
restless longing, towards the unknown, impenetrable future.
"Why! hus', I declare if you are not too stupid. I'll take the reins
myself, if you do not arouse."
She little knew how his soul was aroused then, and how great the
conflict that was going on between self and conscience.
He struck the horse lightly, and they passed on while the little
funeral cortege went slowly to the burial place for the poor and
It was a simple, and somewhat dreary place, which they reached at
last. There were no cared-for flowers blossoming there, and the
grass grew uncut around the nameless graves.
The old man with his spade had just finished his work. The last
shovel-full of earth was thrown out when the hearse and carriage
stopped at the gate, and the men bore the coffin slowly in, followed
by Margaret and Dawn.
The angels must have wept had they seen the grief-prostrated form
beside that grave, when the sound of the earth, as it fell on the
coffin, came to the ear of the desolate-hearted Margaret.
Moan after moan broke forth, as they bore, rather than led her away
to the carriage.
Homeless and friendless; where would the morrow find her? God
tempered the wind to the shorn lamb, and sent his ministering angel
in his own good time. Dawn had decided, on the way to the grave, to
take her home, and gave the hackman directions to drive to the
The rain drops began to patter on the pavement, the air grew chill
and heavy, adding to the gloom of the occasion, and it was a relief
to both to step into the cars, and see faces lighted up by hopes,
going to life's experiences, rather than floating away from them.
There was no action in the dumb soul, which sat beside Dawn. She had
passed beyond question and agitation of thought. It was that simple
quiescence which every soul feels when the curtain of sorrow has
fallen, even amid scenes of hope and happiness; but to one whom hope
had long since forsaken, and life's bitter experiences been often
repeated, there could be no projection of self, nought but the Now,
divested of all earthly interest.
The train rushed past hills, through valleys, fields and woods, like
a thing of life and intelligence, and stopped at the station, where
a carriage was waiting. Mechanically Margaret followed, and Martin,
at Dawn's gesture, lifted her into the carriage. The smoke of the
receding train rose and curled among the trees, assuming fantastic
shapes, while the shrill whistle caused the cattle to race over the
fields, and the lithe-winged warblers to recede into the forests.
Just so does some great din of the world, falling on our ears, send
us to our being's centre for rest.
She laid still and pale upon the bed, while Dawn moved, or rather
floated, about the room. The tide of life was fast ebbing; the last
grief had sundered the long tension, and soon her freed spirit would
be winging its way heavenward.
"Shall I sit by you and read?" asked Dawn, as the hand on the clock
pointed to the hour of midnight. No sleep had come to the weary
eyes, which now turned so thankfully and trustingly to the
benefactor of the outcast.
In tones sweetly modulated to the time and state, she commenced
reading that comforting psalm, "The Lord is my shepherd."
At its close, Margaret was asleep, and Dawn laid back in her chair,
rested, and watched till morning.
"Where am I? What has happened?" were the questions expressed on the
features of the poor girl, when she awoke, and her spirit wandered
back from dreamland.
It was some time before she could take up the thread of joy which
was now woven into her last earthly days, and forget the dark,
sorrowful past. The old years seemed to her then like musty volumes,
bound by a golden chord. The present peace compensated her for the
long season of unrest, and in its atmosphere her soul gathered its
worn, scattered forces, and prepared itself to leave the old and to
take on the new form.
How few homes are such gates to heaven. And yet they who expect
angels to abide with them, must not forget to entertain the lowly
and the erring. Many have houses decked and garnished, but how
rarely do we find on life's journey, these wayside inns for the
weary pilgrims who have wandered away into forbidden paths.
Not alone did Dawn administer to her; her father and mother soothed
the dying girl's pillow, and infused into the otherwise dark and
troubled soul, rays of eternal light.
Ye who would have beautiful garlands beyond, must care for the
neglected blossoms here, and wash the dust of life's great highway
from their drooping petals. Ye who would seek life, must lose it;
the flowing stream alone is pure and vital. Lives are selfish that
are stagnant, and generate disease and death.
How poor, because destitute of enduring wealth, are those who, rich
in worldly goods, neglect their opportunities, and hence know not
the blessedness of doing good. There is no provision in all God's
universe for such pauperism. Slowly must they, who by their own
acts, become its subjects, work themselves from it into the sphere
of true life. Another world will more plainly reveal this, and it
will be found that they who value not such opportunities here, will
beg for them there. In that existence will be many, who, forgetful
or neglectful of their duty while on earth, must remain in spirit
about this world, and through other organisms than their own, do
that which they should have done, and could have accomplished far
easier, when occupants of their earthly temples. There is no escape
from the law of life, for God is that law, and that law is God.
Happy they who become willing instruments in his hand.
In selfhood, nothing can be done, for life is always in conjunction.
All potent forces are combinations, and egotism ever limits that
power which is daily and hourly seeking lodgment in the midst of
mankind. He who trusts only to himself, destroys his own usefulness,
and blindly turns away from every source of highest enjoyment.
The sun passed slowly over the western hills, tinging with a
beautiful mellowness the clouds along the horizon. It was a pleasant
hour to die, when the earth was still, and weary feet were turning
from labor to rest.
"Shall we know each other there?" asked the dying girl of Dawn.
"It is there as here. We are ever known and loved, for God's
provision for his children extends beyond the vale."
"And are the sinful, the erring, received into peace and rest?"
"None are without sin; none spotless; peace and rest are for the
"O, comforting words. They must be from God," softly whispered
Margaret; she closed her pale blue eyes as though she would shut out
everything but that one consoling thought.
When she opened them, they shone with a heavenly radiance, and she
reached forth her thin, white hand towards Dawn, who clasped it in
her own. A few short breaths, a single pressure,--it was Margaret's
last token as she went over the river to find that life and rest
which on earth had been denied to her.
Dawn laid the cold, white hands on the breast of the sleeper, and
went out of the chamber where a soul had had its new birth, with
deepened emotions of life, and its claims upon humanity.
The next instant she was clasped to the warm heart of her father,
and nestled closely there until the weary lids closed, and sleep
descended upon her.
He held her through her slumber, and prayed for strength to bear the
separations which must come between himself and child; for most
clearly did he perceive that God had mapped out for her a labor that
would call her from his side.
"May I never shadow the rays of the Infinite," he said, just as she
"How clear it is; some cloud seems to have been removed from me,"
spoke Dawn, looking up into his eyes, not perfectly comprehending
all. "I may work in my own way, now you have some one to love beside
me; may I not?"
"Not for worlds, my child, would I hinder you in your mission of
usefulness, and if in the past, I have been selfish, I am not now.
Go and come at your pleasure; bring whom you will to your home, and
my blessings shall rest on them and you."
Dawn had no words with which to express her gratitude. The tears,
that in spite of her efforts to keep them back, would glisten in her
eyes, indicated the depth of her feelings, and the love she
cherished for her father. From that moment their lives flowed like a
river, in a deeper and broader channel, and many bright flowers
blossomed on its margin giving hope to the despairing, rest and
strength to the weary and fainting pilgrims of time.
They made a grave under a willow, and engraved on a plain, white
stone, the simple word: MARGARET.
Parents and child had met in the world beyond, to grow into daily
recognition of, and unfold in a more genial clime, their individual
Mrs. Thorne (Margaret's step-mother) had died a year previous to the
time when Dawn found the old man in the city, looking for his
After Margaret's departure from home, he became dull and listless,
and finally deranged. What subtle attraction led him to the city
where Margaret was stopping, few can comprehend; but to those who
fully realize that guardian angels watch over and guide us, the
mystery is solved, and it, like many other seemingly strange things
of life, made clear in the light of that faith.
It was for woman that Dawn labored, for through her elevation she
saw that the whole race must ascend. All should know that men will
be great if women are; and it is a truth that is daily becoming more
evident, that he must be reached through her. In a Hindoo fable,
Vishna is represented as following Maga through a series of
transformations. When she is an insect, he becomes an insect; she
changes to an elephant, and he becomes one of the same species; till
at last she becomes a woman, and he a man; she a goddess, and he a
god. So, outside the regions of fable, if woman is ignorant and
frivolous, man will be ignorant and frivolous; if woman rises she
will take man up with her.
Two years passed away, and the current of life grew stronger, as
each wave inflowed to the shore where Dawn sat, waiting for
shattered barks. This was her life-mission, and well she knew, to
help the lowly and down-trodden in every station of life, was but
fulfilling the divine command.
They were not all outcasts who laid claim to her love and sympathy;
for, sanctioned by the marriage law, the soul's chastity was daily
being sacrificed to lust, shame, and dishonor. She saw many living
together in wedlock, under the most debasing influences, void of
every grace and feeling which makes life holy and refined; bringing
into the world children, gross, dull, and inharmonious, like
The question will force itself upon every thoughtful mind, Why is
Even to destroy life, heinous as that sin is, cannot be deemed more
sinful than to bring it into being, under such circumstances, to
But we are passing through the refining process. Much will be
questioned, much remain unanswered. Let us look well to ourselves,
and learn that there are many ways in which we may err, before we
The light of to-day is insufficient for to-morrow; let us,
therefore, be not too assertive, and bold, but follow quietly the
indications of life, not closing down our opinion upon any of its
agitations. To-day is ours, no more; sufficient unto the day is the
evil. We burden ourselves each hour with too many questions which
retard our progress.
A wise man takes no more weight than his horses can draw. Our
journey would be swifter, if we started with less each morning. We
can not hasten God's purposes. Growth is slow; feverish action is
disease. The throbbing pulse is beating away our vital forces, not
adding to life, and yet how many do we behold, who, working in this
unhealthy manner, look on those more calm and collected, as lacking
The cataract expends itself in spray and foam; the deep river, more
slow, bears its tribute of wealth to the ocean.
Let us work calmly, and not mistake mists for mountains. Depth is
Enthusiasm is the sun which warms, not burns, our lives. It is a
richness, a fullness of being, not a wild, spasmodic action.
With Dawn's efforts came increased light, until it seemed to her,
that all the motives of human souls were laid open before her
vision. This power of perception made her life compact, sharp, and
real; and there were moments when she longed for a veil to be let
down between her and the persons with whom she came in contact.
She walked among the crowd, but did not mingle with it. She soared
above, and they who could not comprehend her, called her strange and
odd. Such chasms must ever exist, where one sees the heart's
interior, and knows that its true beatings are muffled and
suppressed. With such clear vision, the mind at times almost loses
its mental poise, its equilibrium, and forgets the glorious hopes
and promises which are recorded in the book of life, as compensatory
for all its conflicts here.
After many months of a life of intensity, it was with a sense of
relief that Dawn, upon opening a letter from Miss Weston, received
information of her intention of making her a short visit. This would
so change the tenor of her life, that she was overjoyed at the
thought of the happiness in store for her. But when, at the close of
a bright summer day, she met her friend at the door, and recognized
the life of Ralph so closely blended with her spirit, she
involuntarily shrank from her approach, and almost regretted that
she had come. She, however, quickly rallied all her forces, fearful
lest the shadow might be mistaken for that of uncordiality, and
drawing her tenderly to her side, imprinted her warmest kisses upon
Tears sprang to Edith's eyes, and coursed down her cheeks; tears
which Dawn could not comprehend, for her vision, both mental and
spiritual, was clouded, her thoughts wandered, and her words seemed
vague and indirect.
Seated in the library after tea, she asked her friend to sing for
Miss Weston readily complied, and sang with beautiful pathos and
feeling, Schubert's Wanderer.
"Why that song?" said Dawn, as Edith rose from the instrument.
"I seemed to sing it for you, for I, surely, am no wanderer now."
The color rose to Dawn's face, as she said quickly, "I hope not.
Then you, at last, have found rest?"
"Perfect peace and rest. I think I never found my home before; for I
am so happy with Ralph and Marion."
Was Dawn jealous? What did that blushing face mean, followed by a
whiteness rivalling that of the snow? Was it caused by fear, or
Miss Weston seemed not to notice her agitation, but continued
praising Ralph and his sister, till her listener proposed a walk in
the garden before retiring.
They strolled among the flowers and shrubbery, and then sat upon the
same seat which her father and mother had so often occupied.
Her tears could flow now and not be seen, so she repressed them no
longer, but allowed them to fall freely over her blanched cheek.
"Dawn," said Edith, suddenly, "I have a fairy tale which I wish to
read to you to-night, before we go to our slumbers."
Dawn, glad of any diversion, gladly assented, and they went into her
room, where they sat together, while Edith read the following tale:--
"In the days of chivalry, when life to the wealthy was a series of
exciting enjoyments, and to the poor a hopeless slavery, a Fairy and
a beautiful child lived in an old castle together. The owner of this
large and neglected building had been absent on the crusade ever
since the time which gave him a daughter and deprived him of a wife;
but many an aged pilgrim brought occasional tidings of the glory he
was winning in the distant land. At last it was said he was wending
his way homeward, and bringing with him a young orphan companion,
who had risen, by dint of his own brave deeds alone, from the rank
of a simple knight to be the chosen leader of thousands. The child
had grown to girlhood now, and very bright upon her sleep were the
dreams of this youthful hero, who was to love her and be the all of
her solitary life. I said she dwelt with the Fairy; true, but of her
presence she had never dreamed. Always invisible, the being had yet
never left her. She whispered prayer in her ear, as she knelt
morning and evening in the dim little oratory; she brought calm and
happy feelings to her breast, which the commonest things awoke to
joy and life; she led her to seek and feel for the needy, the sick,
and the suffering; she nurtured in her the holiest faith in God, and
trust in man; yet the maiden thought she breathed all this from the
summer evenings, the flowers, the swift labor of her light fingers,
and the thousand things which cherished the happiness growing up
within her heart.
"It was night, and Ada slept; the moon's rays, gilding each turret
and tower, crept in at the narrow portal which gave light to the
chamber, and lingered on the sunny hair and rounded limbs of the
"The Fairy sat by her side, weeping for the first time.
"'Alas!' said she, 'the stranger is coming; thou wilt love him, my
child; and they say that earthly love is misery. Among us, we know
no unrest from it; we love, indeed, each other and all things
lovely, but ages pass on, and love changes us not. Yet they say it
fevers the blood of mortals, pales the cheek, makes the heart beat,
and the voice falter, when it comes; yet it is eternal, mighty, and
entrancing. Alas! I cannot understand it! Ada, I must leave thee to
other guidance than my own. I love thee more than self, still I can
be no longer thy guide.'
"The Fairy started, for she felt, though she heard not, that other
spirits had suddenly become present. She raised her eyes, and three
forms, more radiant than any fairy can be, were gazing on her in
"'O, spirits,' cried the weeper, faintly, 'who can ye be?'
"'The shades of love,' replied voices so etherially fine that a
spirit's ear could hardly discern the words.
"'The shades," repeated the Fairy in surprise; 'I thought love was
"'I am Love,' said the three together; 'intrust the untainted heart
of your beloved one to me.'
"'O, pure beings,' cried the Fairy, bending reverently before them,
'will ye indeed guide Ada to happiness, yet ask my permission? Tell
me, though not human, to choose which a human heart would prefer.'
"'My name is Mind,' replied the first. 'When I dwell on earth, I
bind together two etherial essences; I unite the most spiritual part
of each; I assimilate thought; I cause the communion of ideas. No
love can be eternal without me, and with me associate the loftiest
enjoyments. Words cannot tell the rapture of love between mind and
mind. Dreams cannot picture the glory of that union. Very rarely do
I dwell unstained and alone in a human breast, but when I do, that
being becomes lost in the entireness of its bliss. Fairy, the lover
of Ada is a hero; wilt thou accept me to reign in her heart?'
"The Fairy paused, and then spoke sadly,--
"'Alas, bright being, Ada is a girl of passionate and earnest
feeling. Thou couldst not be happiness to her. Thou mightest,
indeed, abstract her intellect in time from all things but itself;
but the heart within her must first wither or die, and the death of
a young heart is a terrible thing. Pardon me, but Ada cannot be
"'They call me Virtue,' said the second spirit; 'when I fill a
heart, that heart can live alone. It wakes to life on seeing my
shadow in the object it first loves; that object never realizes the
form of which it bears the semblance, and then turns to me, the
ideal, for its sole happiness. I am associated with every thing pure
and holy and true. Where human spirits have drawn nighest to the
Eternal, I have been there to hallow them; where the weak have
suffered long without complaint, where the dying have to the last,
last breath held one name dearer than all; where innocence hath
stayed guilt, and darkest injuries been forgiven, there ever am I.
Fairy, shall I dwell with Ada?'
"Still sadder were the accents of the guardian Fairy:
"'And is this human love?' said she. 'This would be no happiness to
my child, who is a mortal and a woman, and who will yearn for a
closer and a dearer thing than the love of goodness alone; erring
creatures cannot love perfection as their daily food. Beautiful
spirit, thou art fitted for heaven, not earth, for an angel, but not
"Then spoke the third:
"'My name is Beauty,' said she. 'Men unite me to imagination and
worship me. Many have degraded me to the meanest things I own,
because my very essence is passion; but they who know my true
nature, unite me with everything divine and lovely in the world. If
I fill Ada's heart when she loves, the very face of all things will
change to her. The flowing of a brook will be music, the singing of
the summer birds ecstacy; the early morning, the dewy evening, will
fill her with strange tenderness, for a light will be on all
things-the light of her love; and she will learn what it is to stay
her very heart's beatings to catch the lightest step of the adored;
to feel the hot blood rushing to her brow, when only he looks on
her, the hand tremble, and the whole frame thrill with exquisite
rapture, and meet with delicious tremor, the first look of love from
a man. The raptures of my first bliss were worth ages of misery;
and, pressed to the bosom of the beloved, a human spirit feels it is
indeed blessed. Youth is mine, eternal youth and pleasure. Fairy,
Ada must be mine.'
"'Thou seemest,' said the Fairy, musingly, 'to be the most suited
for mortals. In thy words and emblems I see nothing but sensuality
of the least material order. And to all there seemeth, too, to be a
time when one clasp of the hand that is loved is more than the
comprehension of the grandest thought. Beauty, I will give up my
child to thee; and O, if thou canst not keep her happy, keep her
pure till I return. Guard her as thou wouldst the bloom of the rose
leaf, which may not bear even a breath.'
"The Fairy's voice faltered as she turned away, and imprinted a kiss
on the sleeper's cheek. Ada moved uneasily, but did not awake; and
in the last glance that she gave to her charge was united the form
of the spirit of Beauty, folding, in motionless silence, her radiant
wings over the low couch. The other shades had fled some brief time
since, and, burying her face in her slight mantle, the beautiful
Fairy faded slowly away in the moonlight.
"A brief time passed, and the baron had returned with his hero guest
to the castle, and the beneficent being who had guarded Ada's
childhood, had been up and down the earth, cheering the sad,
soothing the weary, and inspiring the fallen.
"Much had she seen of human suffering, yet many a great lesson had
it taught her of the high destiny of mortals, and she winged her
flight back to Ada's couch, sanguine of her happiness. The spirit of
Beauty still floated above it, but the Fairy thought that the bright
form had strangely lost its first etheriality.
"Fevered and restless, the sleeper tossed from side to side. With
trembling fear she drew near the low bed, and gazed fondly on the
unconscious form. Alas! there was no peace on that face now. There
was that which some deem lovelier than even beauty-passion; but to
the pure Fairy the expression was terrible.
"'My child, my child,' cried she in agony, 'is this thy love? Better
had thine heart been crushed within thee, than that thou shouldst
have given thyself up to it alone. Thou hast an eternal soul, and
thou hast loved without it; thou art feeding flames which will
consume the feelings they have kindled. Spirit, is this thy work?'
"'Such is the love of mortals,' answered the shade. 'It is ever
thus; the sensual objects are but emblems of the spirit union of
another world; yet this is never seen at first, and every impetuous
soul, rushing on the threshold of life, worships the symbol for the
reality,--the image for the god. Fear not, Fairy, the flame dies, but
the essence is not quenched; from the ashes of Passion springs the
Phoenix of Love. Ada will recover from this burning dream.'
"'Never!' cried the Fairy, 'if she yields her heart up to thoughts
like these. Thou art a fiend, Beauty,--a betrayer. Avaunt, thou most
accursed, thou hast ruined my child.'
"And as she spoke, weeping bitterly, she averted her face from the
shade. All was still once more, and her grief slowly calming, the
Fairy hoped she was now alone, until, raising her eyes, she saw the
being, more radiant and glorious than ever, still guarding the
"'Fairy,' said the shade, sadly, 'this is no fault of mine. I have
ever come to the human heart with thoughts pure as the bosom of the
lily, and beautiful as paradise, but the nature of man degrades and
enslaves me. Thou sawest how my wings were soiled, and their light
dimmed by the sin of even yon guileless girl, and, alas! thousands
have lived to curse me and call me demon before thee. Now, at thy
bidding, I will leave Ada, and forever. She will awake, but never
again to that fine sympathy with nature, that exquisite perception
of all high and holy things, I have first made her know. She will
awake still good, still true; but the visions of youth quenched
suddenly, as these will have been, leave a fearful darkness for the
"'Alas! alas!' cried the Fairy, wringing her hands, with a burst of
sudden grief, 'whether thou goest or remainest now, Ada must be
"'Not so,' returned the shade, in a voice whose sweetness, from its
melancholy, was like the wailing of plaintive music; 'not so, if
thou wilt otherwise. Thou hast erred; from the shades of Love thou
didst select me, and, panting as we each do for sole possession of
the heart we occupy, it is impossible either separately can bring
happiness to it. Each has striven for ages, but in vain. It is the
union of the three, the perfect union, that alone makes Love
"'But will Mind and Virtue return?' asked the Fairy, doubtingly; 'I
bid them myself depart.'
"'They will ever return,' said Beauty, joyfully, 'even to the heart
most under sway, if desired in truth. A wish, sometimes-fervent and
truthful it must be, but still a wish-alone often brings them.'
"At that moment a hurried prayer sprang to the Fairy's lips, but ere
it could frame itself into words, light filled the little chamber,
and the three shades of Love stood there once more, beautiful and
"'Mighty beings,' said the spirit, 'forgive me. Attend Ada united
and forever, and I shall then have fulfilled my destiny.'
"'We promise,' returned the shades; and gazing for a few moments in
earnest fondness on the dreamer's happy face, the Fairy bade a last
farewell to her well-loved charge."
"Where did you find this strange tale?" inquired Dawn, as soon as
her friend had finished.
"In Ralph's folio of drawings, which he loaned me a few days ago."
"Have you the folio here?"
"No, I left it at home; but took some of his last sketches to copy,
or rather study."
"I did not know you could sketch."
"I do not; but Ralph is teaching me."
"Do you enjoy it?"
"Very much, with him for instructor. I should not like any one else
to teach me."
"How do you know that, as you have never tried any other?"
"We know some things intuitively; as I know that you love this man,
though no words of yours have ever lisped that love to a living
"Dawn, it's true; and may I not know the reason why you so steel
your heart against him?"
"I steel my heart against him? Who told you that?"
"Some Fairy, perchance; but seriously, my dear friend, answer me,
and forgive me if I seem curious and intrusive. Do you know aught
against him? Is he not high, and good, and noble?"
"For aught I know he has all those qualities of heart and soul which
would draw any woman's heart towards him."
"Then you cannot love him, save as a brother, or you would respond
to his longing to take you to himself, and help you in your labors."
"Edith, how do you know this? Has he thus laid his feelings before
another? I could not ever reverence one who could do this."
"He has not. I know it all by living in his home. I feel his sorrows
and know their nature, as well as his joys. You seem strange, Dawn;
I do not understand you."
"Neither do I understand myself. My life is strange; although I love
this man as I never loved before, I do not see that I can wed him.
Perhaps we shall be one above, but no one must come between me and
my labor,--not even the dearest idol."
"Perhaps his love might make you stronger; help you to extend your
usefulness by increasing your happiness."
Carlyle says, 'There is in man a higher than love of happiness; he
can do without happiness, and instead thereof, find blessednss.'"
"Very true; and yet happiness might also be blessedness."
"And yet you have read to me, in the fairy tale, that 'earthly love
is misery,' that it 'fevers the blood of mortals, pales the cheek,
makes the heart beat, and the voice falter, when it comes.' I cannot
be thus consumed. I have another mission. Edith, who do you suppose
wrote that tale?"
"I know not; it bore no name. Which of the three shades would you
prefer to guide you, Dawn?"
"I knew your answer before you spoke it. May the spirit you have
chosen remain with you forever, and may your career be as bright as
They parted; one to rest, the other to struggle long and earnestly
with passion and feeling, ere the tide of peace flowed in.
It was morning when her soul cast off the contest, and as the
shadows of night were swept away, so her mental shadows were lost in
the soul's bright effulgence; for her emotions had been made
subordinate, not destroyed, as they should ever be, to the
spiritual. They were only submerged, not annihilated, ready to flow
again when the hour should demand them.
The natural emotions of the heart are right, when kept subservient
to reason. They are the soul's richest reserved forces, and should
not be daily consumed.
A more intimate relation sprang up between Edith and Dawn, and when
they met that morning, it seemed as though they had just emerged
from a long experience. So closely and unexpectedly do we sometimes
come to one another.
Herbert and Florence, to Dawn's great joy, were travelling in
Europe, and their children were now a part of her father's
household. The day's pleasure was planned with a view to their
happiness, and spent mostly in the woods gathering mosses, wild
flowers, and ferns.
Hugh and his new wife were daily extending their usefulness, and
growing in stronger individuality and deeper harmony. It was always
a great pleasure to have Dawn with them in their most earnest
conversations. She seemed to vivify and to cause their thoughts to
flow with a power they knew not, separately or together, without her
presence. Thus do some natures impart a sense of freedom to our
mental action, while others chill our being with a feeling of
restraint, and limit all our aspirations. In the presence of these
latter we seem and act directly the opposite of ourselves, or rather
below our intellectual and affectional plane, and the warm heart and
generous nature appears cold and distrustful.
Young Herbert, Florence's eldest, was a great talker, and as they
wandered through the woods, naught scarce could be heard, but his
voice in exclamation, questioning, or surprise, as each turn and
winding revealed some beauty new to his admiring eyes.
"I think I shall have to relate to you the fable of Echo and
Narcissus," said Dawn, as he was contending for the last word with
"What is that? tell me right away, won't you?" he said impatiently,
seizing her hand and looking eagerly into her face.
"Not just now, but after we have gathered more mosses, and had our
luncheon, I will tell you all about the beautiful nymph."
"Nymph, nymph! what was that? Was it alive? Could it see us?" These
and other questions followed, till Dawn found it quite hard to
longer put him off.
"If you are patient and good to your sister, I will tell you all
about the nymph. Now go and take good care of her, while I go on
farther, where Miss Weston is sketching those rocks."
"I will be good, but don't forget the story, Auntie, when you come
back. Are there any nymphs here?"
"Perhaps there may be. I think there is one who resembles them very
much," and she kissed his young, happy face, turned so eagerly up to
her own. Leaving him to amuse himself as best he might, Dawn
approached Edith and seated herself beside a bed of deep green moss,
and watched, with intense interest, the growing picture for a long
time; then her mind became abstracted and cloudy. She was no longer
in the green woods, amid the fern and wild flowers, but away, far
away on life's great highway, where the dust, rising at every step,
blinded her eyes.
Thus semi-entranced, Dawn sat unconscious of the presence of her
friend, and everything earthly around her, until the spell was
broken, and her attention was attracted by a sheet of note paper,
which fluttered at her feet. Almost involuntarily she picked it up,
and her gaze was fastened upon the writing with which it was
"'Tis love which mostly destinates our life.
What makes the world in after life I know not,
For our horizon alters as we age;
Power only can make up for the lack of love--
Power of some sort. The mind at one time grows
So fast, it fails; and then its stretch is more
Than its strength; but, as it opes, love fills it up,
Like to the stamen in the flower of life,
Till for the time we well-nigh grow all love;
And soon we feel the want of one kind heart
To love what's well, and to forgive what's ill
Then followed these lines, written with a trembling hand, some of
the words being almost illegible:
"I cannot love as I have loved,
And yet I know not why;
It is the one great woe of life,
To feel all feeling die;
And one by one the heart-strings snap,
As age comes on so chill;
And hope seems left, that hope may cease,
And all will soon be still.
And the strong passions, like to storms,
Soon rage themselves to rest,
Or leave a desolated calm--
A worn and wasted breast;
A heart that like the Geyser spring,
Amidst its bosomed snows,
May shrink, not rest, but with its blood
Boils even in repose.
And yet the things one might have loved
Remain as they have been,--
Youth ever lovely, and one heart
Still sacred and serene;
But lower, less, and grosser things
Eclipse the world-like mind,
And leave their cold, dark shadow where
Most to the light inclined.
And then it ends as it began,
The orbit of our race,
In pains and tears, and fears of life,
And the new dwelling place.
From life to death,--from death to life,
We hurry round to God,
And leave behind us nothing but
The path that we have trod."
She knew whose hand had copied these words, and how keenly the heart
that sensed their meaning was suffering, and yet she could not place
her hand upon its beatings and quell its throbs.
"Why! how came this from Ralph's folio? The wind must have taken it
out," said Miss Weston, noticing the paper, while holding the
picture for her friend to look at. Dawn did not reply to her
inquiry, but gave her words of praise and encouragement, while her
thoughts were afar from forest, friends and picture.
"Come, Auntie, it's time for the luncheon, your father says, and we
have it almost ready."
She arose, and with Miss Weston joined the party, thinking how
strange it was that those lines should come to her; for something
seemed to tell her that they had been accidentally placed in the
folio, as they were evidently not intended for any eye but that of
The luncheon was partaken of with more avidity by the others than by
Dawn, whose mind was constantly reverting to the words which she had
"Now for the story, Auntie," said Herbert, seating himself on the
grass, beside her.
"Do you remember the name of the nymph I am going to tell you
"Yes, it was-it was Echo."
"Very good. I am glad you remembered it. Well, Echo was a beautiful
wood-nymph, fond of the woods and hills, where she devoted herself
to woodland sports. She was a favorite of Diana, and attended her in
the chase. But Echo had one failing; she was fond of talking, and
would always have the last word. One day Juno was seeking her
husband, who, she had reason to fear, was amusing himself among the
nymphs. Echo by her talk contrived to detain the goddess till the
nymphs made their escape. When Juno discovered it, she passed
sentence upon Echo in these words: You shall forfeit the use of the
tongue with which you have cheated me, except for that one purpose
you are so fond of--reply. You shall have the last word, but no
power to speak first.
"This nymph saw Narcissus, a beautiful youth, as he pursued the
chase upon the mountains. She loved him, and followed his footsteps.
O, how she longed to address him in the softest accents, and win him
to converse; but it was not in her power. She waited with impatience
for him to speak first, and had her answer ready. One day the youth,
being separated from his companions, shouted aloud, 'Who's here?'
Echo replied 'here.' Narcissus looked around, but seeing no one,
called out, 'Come.' Echo answered, 'come.' As no one came, Narcissus
called again, 'Why do you shun me?' Echo asked the same question.
'Let us join one another,' said the youth. The maid answered with
all her heart in the same words and hastened to the spot, ready to
throw her arms about his neck. He started back, exclaiming, 'Hands
off; I would rather die than you should have me.' 'Have me,' said
she; but it was all in vain. He left her and she went to hide her
blushes in the recesses of the woods. From that time forth she lived
in caves and among mountain cliffs. Her form faded with grief, till
at last all her flesh shrank away. Her bones were changed into
rocks, and there was nothing left of her but her voice. With that
she is still ready to reply to any one who calls her, and keeps up
her old habit of having the last word."
"Speak to her now, and see if she will answer you?" said Dawn to her
"Why, is she here? in these woods?"
"Call her, and see."
"Echo-Echo!" The words came back to the wondering child, his face
aglow with curiosity and fear.
"Now I will tell you the moral of this little story, which is: be
not anxious for the last word, as I see my good little Herbert is,
too often, especially when talking with his sister."
"Will I change into rocks and shrink all up if I do?"
"That is not the thing to be feared. But you would not; your mind
would grow narrow and selfish, which is a fate most to be deplored,
for you wish to be a good and great man, do you not?"
"Yes, I want to be good as papa, and uncle Wyman, as he always calls
"Then remember and be unselfish, and think first of others' welfare,
"I will try; and can I always talk with Echo?"
"Whenever you are near the wood where she lives."
"Will she live here when I am a grown-up man?"
"Because, if I don't like folks' answers, I can come and talk to
"She will certainly be very likely to be of your opinion, or, at
least, she will express herself to your liking; but I hope my little
Herbert will find those more agreeable than Echo to talk with."
"I don't want to, Auntie; I like her."
Dawn smiled, and thought how older heads did not like disputation,
preferring often the companionship of a mere echo, to good sense and
sound judgment, forgetting that "he who wrestles with us,
The party returned home laden with flowers, with just weariness
enough to enjoy their rest. The children were put to bed, after a
good supper, and the family enjoyed themselves with music and
conversation, each feeling differently related to each other, as we
ever do, when some fresh life is infused into the every-day scenes
The barren soul seems like a kaleidoscope, changing its relations at
each experience, whether of joy or sorrow. How beautiful is life,
when we learn how much we can be to each other, and how varied may
be the relations we bear to our friends.
Miss Weston returned to her friends, and Dawn took up the thread of
her life, which was every day extending and winding into new scenes
of darkness and light. But a voice within her, told her that one day
all the darkness would become light. She trusted that voice, for it
was speaking unto her every day, and growing each hour into deeper