Part 5 out of 7
recognition. What avails the love of our friends, if it be but for a
few earthly days or years? What is the love of a mother to her
child, without an eternity for its manifestation? "Whatever has
lived upon earth still lives."
The mother, forced from her new-born child, sorrows over the
physical separation. It is natural; but what power does she not
possess to live and breathe into its spiritual unfolding. Silent,
but subtle, like nature's most potent forces, her spirit descends
into its being, and there dwells, molding it every hour into a
higher form of life. Truth is at the basis of all theories, and,
though man builds many a superstructure in accordance with his own
fancy, he can in no way affect this truth. It is a natural law of
the universe, that love should linger and remain after the
habiliments of flesh are withdrawn. No one lives who has not felt,
at times, the presence of the unseen; and it seems strange that
there can be one so limited in thought and understanding as to say
there is nought beyond the narrow limit of physical life to hold
communion with our souls? Happy the man who opens the doors of his
spirit wide for angel visitors. Happy the heart which knows by its
own beating, when they come and go, for,
"It is a faith sublime and sure,
That ever round our head
Are hovering on noiseless wing,
The spirits of the dead."
It has been said that nothing is more difficult than to demonstrate
a self-evident truth. To those who feel and know of this
guardianship of friends, gone beyond, this affiliation of soul with
soul, language is powerless to transmit the conviction. It must be
felt and experienced, not reasoned into the mind, because it is a
component of the soul, a legitimate portion of its life.
"I must go, and remain away a long time," said Dawn to her father,
one morning, after they had just finished reading a letter from
"And why, may I ask?"
"Because we are replete with the same kind of life; our minds are
set to the same strain, and exhaust each other. I can be more to
myself and others, if I go, you will enter mother's sphere more
completely in my absence, and thus shall we both be refreshed and
"I feel the truth of your words, and I am glad to know that your
philosophy of life so fully accords with my own."
"We have a superabundance of one quality of life in our home, and a
change is absolutely requisite for our mental as well as for our
physical well-being. Absence from it, separation between us, a going
out into new atmospheres, a social mingling with persons we do not
daily come in contact with, will produce the most beneficial
results. This is what every family at times needs. One great
objection I have to our marriage system is, that as society is now
constittuted, it allows no freedom to the individual. The two are so
exclusively together that they lose knowledge of themselves. They
suffer physically and intellectually. On the other hand, if more
freedom existed, if their lives took a broader scope, each would
know each more perfectly, and absorb from others that vigor which
would develop a natural growth of their own. For my part, I can
never submit to the existing rules of married life."
"The analogies of the natural world to human life are good, for the
rocky shore symbolizes the highest power of the human soul, which is
endurance rather than action. To most persons such characters seem
vapid and sentimental, lacking force and tone, and generally
unfitted for the enterprises of the world. And yet there are forces
in man beside the grappling and hammering manifestations of the day.
There is a greater mastery in control, than in the exercise of
power. An angry man may evince more energy than he who keeps calm in
the heat of provocation, but the latter is the man of most power. In
the common circumstances of life we must act, and act lawfully; but
to bear and suffer is alone the test of virtue, for there come hours
of pain and mental anguish when all action is vain, when motion of
limb and mind is powerless; then do we learn
"How sublime it is
To suffer and be strong."
Then do we learn the great lesson that there is no quality more
needed in our life than endurance. There is so much which occurs
outside the circle of our own free will, accidents both mental and
"And yet we feel there can be no accident."
"Nothing in the highest analysis which can be termed such, for all
things are either in divine order, or under human responsibility,
which latter power is too limited. What we term accidents are parts
of, and belong to, the general plan, and when these occur, they
serve to inspire us with endurance, which is no minor virtue-it is
achievement-and bears its impress on the face. These thoughts are
those of another, who has so well expressed them, that I have given
them to you in his own language."
"I shall profit by your words, dear father. I shall need much of
that heavenly quality which is so little appreciated, and apt to be
mistaken for lack of force."
"May you grow in all the Christian graces, and be life and light to
yourself and others, always remembering that your light is none the
less for lighting another's torch."
"I shall go to-day to G--. Will you drive there, yourself alone?"
An hour later they were on their way to a quiet village, a few miles
from the Wyman's, where lived a friend of Dawn and her father, with
whom she would stay a few days. The ride was delightful, and their
communion so close and deep, that when they parted, it seemed as
though they had never realized before, their need of each other.
This feeling of tenderness brought them nearer in soul, if that were
possible. It was like moonlight to the earth, mellowing and
softening all lines and angles.
"Dearest father, did I ever love you before?" said Dawn, throwing
herself on his breast, at parting.
"If you had not been working yourself so many years into my heart,
you could not touch its very centre as you do now," he said, wiping
the moisture from his eyes, and folding her more tenderly to
himself. "Partings are but closest approaches, drawings of the
heart-strings, which tell how strong the cords are which bind us to
each other." The door of the friend's house was thrown open just at
this point of his remarks, and a welcome face smiled on Dawn, who
sprung from her seat beside her father, into the arms of her friend.
"Take good care of her, and send her home when you are weary," said
her father, and turned his face homeward, but lingered long in
spirit in the atmosphere of his child.
As he wound his way slowly up the long, shady avenue, that led to
his home, another love came to his bosom, and transfused his being
with a different, but equally uplifting life. A moment more, and he
held that other love close to his heart, the woman whom he had
chosen to brighten his days and share his happiness.
"It seems as though Dawn had returned with you," she said, as she
received his loving caress.
"She is with me, and never so near as now. Heaven grant I may not
make her an idol," he said, fervently, and then, almost regretting
his words, he gazed tenderly into the eyes of his wife.
"You would find me no iconoclast," she said, "for I, too, love her
with my whole heart, and am jealous at times of all that takes her
from us. Yet she must go; day must go, for we need the change which
"True," answered Hugh, "no mortal could live continually in such
concentrated happiness as I enjoy in the companionship of my child."
He looked into the face of her who sat beside him, and saw in its
every feature love, true love for him and his own, and he thanked
God for the blessings of his life, laid his head on that true
woman's breast, and wept tears of joy.
It was twilight when they rose from their speechless communion, and
each felt how much more blessed is the silence of those we love,
than the words of one whose being is not in harmony with our own.
It was a relief to Dawn to drop out of her intense sphere into the
easy, contented, every-day life of her friend. They were not alike
in temperament or thought. It was that difference which drew them
together, and made it agreeable for them to associate at times. Such
association brought rest to Dawn, and life to her friend. There was
little or no soul-affiliation, consequently no exhaustion. It was
the giving out of one quality, and the receiving of another entirely
different, instead of the union of two of the same kind, hence there
was not the reaction of nervous expenditure, which two ever feel,
who perfectly blend, after a period of enjoyment. How wise is that
provision which has thrown opposites into our life, that we may not
be too rapidly consumed. For pure joy is to the soul what fire is to
material objects, brilliant, but consuming.
"I am going to have some company to-night, charming people most of
them. I think you will enjoy them, Dawn; at least I hope so,"
remarked Mrs. Austin, rocking leisurely in her sewing chair.
"No doubt I shall." She was not called upon to tell how she should
enjoy them. Amused she might be, but enjoyment, as Dawn understood
it, was out of the question with such a class as came that evening,
and to each of whom Mrs. Austin seemed very proud to introduce her
Among the guests was one who attracted the particular attention of
Dawn, not from grace of person or mind, although he had them, but
from some interior cause. He was tall, and rather elegant in
appearance, a kind of external beauty which draws most women, and
wins admirers in every circle.
At a glance Dawn perceived that although mentally brilliant, he had
not the spiritual and moral compliment. By his side stood a woman of
the world, whom Dawn at once knew to be his wife, and on her, she
felt that involuntarily her look was steadily, almost immovably
She felt like testing the power of inner vision. It seemed to her
that the woman was weighing heavily upon the man, holding him to
earth rather than in any way uplifting him to heaven in his
aspirations. She saw that the chain which bound them, was large,
coarse, and flashed like gold. This led her to conclude that she
married him for his wealth. She saw that the chain was wound around
them both so tight that it was almost suffocating, and that the
links that passed over the woman's heart were corroded and black.
At the instant that Dawn noticed this, some one approached the lady
and asked her to seat herself at the piano. She consented, and after
a great many excuses and unnecessary movements, began to play. A
dark cloud took her place at the side of her husband when she left,
which became greatly agitated as the music proceeded, and soon there
issued from it a female form. That face Dawn had surely seen
somewhere; she passed her hand over her brow and endeavored to
recall the familiar features.
Like a flash it came; it was poor Margaret's face, white and
glorified, but with a shade of sadness resting upon it.
Dawn's whole being quivered with emotion. She saw nothing now in the
room but that form, and the earthly one beside it. The young man
pressed his hand to his brow, as though in troubled thought, and
moved from where he stood, shivering in every limb.
"Are you cold, Mr. Bowen?" some one inquired of him; the window was
closed to shut out the chill air; but the chill which ran over his
frame, no material substance could keep off, for it was caused by a
spirit touching him.
"I declare, he looks as though he was frozen," said his wife, rising
from the instrument amid the usual applause, and drawing close to
him, she whispered in his ear, "You look precisely as you did the
day we met that hearse and one carriage. Come, it's a shame to be so
abstracted." Then, addressing Mrs. Austin, she expressed a wish to
be introduced to the gentleman who came in last, and the
Nearer and nearer she went. She could not do otherwise, until at
last Dawn stood beside Clarence Bowen, the destroyer of Margaret's
earthly happiness. The face in the cloud grew brighter; hope seemed
to glow from its features, as she stood there and found her way to
his troubled soul, with all the native instinct and delicacy of a
true woman. She talked of life and its beauties, its opportunities
to do good, and of uplifting the down-fallen; still the face shone
on, till it seemed to her that every person present must have seen
it, as she did. Such presences are no more discernable by the
multitude, than are the beautiful principles of life, which lie
every day about us, but which though not seen by them, are none the
less visible to the few.
A new interest glowed in the young man's face; he felt that he had
met a woman divested of the usual vanities of most of her sex. His
being awoke to life under the new current of earnest words which
flowed in his own narrow stream of life. The waters deepened-he felt
that there was something better, higher to live for, as he gazed on
the glowing face before him.
During all the conversation, his thoughts kept flowing back to the
green grove, and the sweet, innocent face of Margaret. There was
surely nothing in the face before him to recall that likeness, yet
the bitter waters of memory kept surging over him, each word
reflecting the image of the wronged girl.
The face which had all the time been visible to Dawn, slowly faded
away, and when the last outline had passed from her sight, she
ceased talking, and left him alone with his thoughts.
Alone with those bitter reflections, heaven only might help him, for
the chains that bound him to earth were many and strong.
He could not resist the impulse to ask permission to call upon Dawn
some day while she remained at Mrs. Austin's, which she readily
granted, and then the party broke up, with a strange murmur of
voices, and rustling of silks.
"Was it not delightful? I hope you had a good time, Dawn," was the
first remark of Mrs. Austin, after the last of the company had left.
"I have enjoyed it very much," and she answered truthfully; but
little did her friend surmise in what manner.
It was a relief to be in her room alone that night, and think over
the thrilling experience of the evening. And this is one of the
lights the world rejects, and calls by every other name but holy. A
light which reveals the inner state, and shows the needs of the
human soul. It may be rejected, but it cannot be destroyed. Man may
turn his back upon it, yet it shines on, though he wilfully refuses
to enjoy the blessing it imparts. The testimony of one who lives in
a dark, narrow lane, that the sun does not exist, would not be
considered of any value. Supposing one chooses to close his eyes,
and declare that it is not morning; shall those whose eyes are open
accept his assertion? Alas, how true it is that many are talking
thus, with closed mental vision, from the rostrum and the pulpit.
Let each see for himself, and take no man's word upon any subject
any farther than that word gives hope and encouragement. Each must
do his own thinking, and look upon every effort of another, to limit
his range of thought or debar him from the investigation of every
new presentation of truth, as an attempt to deprive him of his
When Clarence next met Dawn he was greatly dejected. She thought he
appeared too old and wan for one of his years. The brow on which the
light of hope and life should repose, was indeed wrinkled, and
furrowed with unrest because the spirit was ill at ease. There was a
claim upon him, a voice calling for retribution, which through the
very law of life, aside from personal wrong, would not let him rest;
and was only in the presence of Dawn that he experienced anything
like repose. His wife and friends taunted him daily upon his
depression, because they were far from his soul, and could not
comprehend the agony which was working therein. Many thus live only
on the surface of life, and see only results. What a righting of
affairs will come when all are able to see the soul's internal; when
darkness shall be made light. That time is rapidly approaching.
Dawn sat beside him, the same grieved but saintly face shone out, in
"I have heard, Miss Wyman, that you sometimes have interior
sight-that you can see conditions of the mind, and the cause of its
depressions. May I ask you if you can at present, penetrate my
state, and ascertain the cause of this unrest?"
She was silent for a moment. The workings of her own mind were
visible on her features. She scarce knew how to break the truth to
him, but soon lighting up she said:
"I think I have seen at least one cause of your unrest. There is a
spirit presence now in this room, a young and lovely girl whom you
have at some time neglected." She did not say "wronged."
He started to his feet.
"The face, Miss Wyman; can you describe her appearance?" his words
and manner indicating his interest, if not belief, in her power.
"She has light blue eyes, heaven blue, and brown hair. She is a
little taller then myself, has a very fair complexion, and she holds
a wreath of oak leaves in front of you."
Clarence turned deadly pale.
"I think she must have been once dear to you, by the look of sweet
forgiveness which she gives you."
He groaned aloud.
"Now she holds in her arms a child-a bright-eyed boy, which has your
look upon its face."
He started with a defiant look, but this changed in an instant to
one of grief, and he leaned his head upon his hands and wept.
Slowly the fair face faded away; then Dawn knew all, and knowing
all, how great a comforter did she become to him! Angels smile on
and mingle in such scenes; mortals see but the surface, and wonder
why they thus mingle, with the usual earthly questioning, whether it
is for any good that the two thus come together.
The long pent-up grief passed away, in a measure, and Clarence felt
as though in the presence of an angel, so sweet and soothing were
the words of promise, and tender rebuke which came from the lips of
Dawn and flowed to his heart, strengthening his purpose to become a
"Can he who fully repents be wholly forgiven," he asked, in a tone
of deepest want.
"God's mercies are for such and his forgiveness is free, full, and
eternal. It does not flow all at once: it must be obtained by
long-suffering and earnest asking, that we may know its value, and
how precious is the gift."
"Do you think if I were to go beyond, where dwells that one I have
wronged, I could be with her and walk by her side?"
"If your repentance was pure and complete. You would be where your
soul was attracted."
"Do spirits feel the change in our states? If we are sorry for our
misdeeds, can they see that we are?"
"Their mission to earth as helps and guardians to mortals would be
of little use if they could not. They rise and fall with us. They
administer to us, and learn of us. The worlds are like warp and
woof. We stay or go where our labor is, wherever the soul may be
which has claim upon us."
"This must be sight then, real vision, for such a person as you have
described I once loved and wronged. But the hour is late, I must go,
yet I hope you will permit me to call upon you once more. Can I have
your promise to see me again, before you leave the place?"
"If I remain I shall be most happy to see you. Remember that all
your efforts to do right will relieve and elevate this friend who is
around you, who cannot leave you, until her mind has become
assimilated with yours, and the balance of your nature is restored
by the infusing of her life into yours. If she is relieved by your
act, rest will follow; if not, the opposite. This is a law of
nature, and cannot be set aside, no more than two on the earth
living disharmonized and misunderstood, can find rest away from, or
out of, each other.'
"I deeply thank you," he said, "for your kind words. May all
happiness be yours forever." And then they parted, not the same as
when they met, but linked together by the chain of sympathy and
Clarence heard not the words of his wife that night as he entered
his home, who after a while grew weary of his absent replies, and
found consolation in sleep. But to him sleep was not thought of. All
night he laid awake, his being transfused with a new current of
thought, and his life going out and soaring upward into a higher
existence. The warp of a new garment was set in the loom. What hand
would shape and weave the woof?
When day broke over the hills another morning burst on his senses,
and Clarence Bowen, of the gay world, was not the same as before,
but a man of high resolves and noble purposes, trying to live a
Slowly his higher nature unfolded. Very slowly came the truths to
his mind, as Dawn presented them with all the vigor and freshness of
her nature. She told him the story of Margaret, of her death and
burial, and of her father; and while he listened with tear-dimmed
eyes, his soul became white with repentance. As Dawn spoke, the
vision came and went,--each time with the countenance more at rest.
It was an experience such as but few have; only those who seen
beyond, and know that mortals return to rectify errors after their
There could be no rest for either, until a reconciliation was
effected. Happy he who can stand between the two worlds and transmit
the most earnest wishes of the unseen, to those of earth. The
mission, though fraught with many sorrows, is divine and
soul-uplifting to the subject. But who can know these truths save
one who has experiened them? The human soul has little power of
imparting to another its deepest feelings. We may speak, but who
will believe, or sense our experiences? An ancient writer says:
"There are many kinds of voices in the world, but none of them
without signification. Therefore, if I know not the meaning of the
voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that
speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me."
"When you tell me of these things I believe; they are real to me,"
said Clarence, "but if I read them, or hear them related as the
experience of others, they are dull and meaningless; why is this?"
"I suppose it is because you so feel my life and assurance of them,
that in my atmosphere they become real and tangible to you."
"I think it must be so. I may yet find strength enough to walk
"You will walk with her who comes to mingle her happiness with
yours, and to help bear your crosses."
"Is it wrong to wish to die?"
"It is better, I think, to desire to live here our appointed time,
and ultimate the purpose of our earthly existence."
"But I can never be happy here, for there are none who understand
"Seek to understand yourself, and that will draw others to you. It
matters but little whether we are understood in this world, when we
think of the long eternity before us. There is danger of becoming
morbid on that point. We lose time and ground in many such
meditations. Our gaze becomes too much inward, and we lose sight of
life's grand panorama while thus closed in. We can see ourselves
most clearly in others; our weakness and our strength. We need to go
out, more than to look within. Do you not in conversing with me feel
yourself more, than you do when alone?"
"I do. Another essence, or quality of life mingling with our own
gives us our own more perfectly. Will all this power go with us to
the other world, or do we leave much behind?"
"Nothing but the husk-the dust is left here. Whatever is, shall be.
Should you or I pass on, to-day, we should still preserve our
individuality of thought and being."
"And our loves will unfold there, and we be free, think you, to
associate with whom we love?"
"I have no doubt of it in my own mind, but can scarce expect another
to feel the conviction as I do. We shall be better understood there.
Here we have inharmonious natures of our own and others to contend
with. These are given to us and are brought about us without any
ability in ourselves to accept or reject. Our surroundings are not
always what we would wish them, and few find rest or harmony of soul
while here. And yet all this is necessary for proper unfoldment and
development, else it would not be. Few weary pilgrims reach in this
life the many mansions prepared for the soul; few find their
fullness of soul-enjoyment. I have seen some of these weary ones as
they entered the other world and were led to places of rest. As they
caught a single glimpse of the peace and rest awaiting them, their
faces glowed with the light of a divine transfiguration; yet they
knew that the bliss they had been permitted to look upon, and to
hope for, could be theirs only as they were developed into a state
of perfect appreciation of it. Even so the person who enters the
most fully and understandingly into our own feelings, grasps and
holds the most of us. I am yours and you are mine just so far as we
can fathom and comprehend each other."
"I had never thought of that before. How little do they who claim us
as their own, know of the existence of this law; and yet the more I
consider it, the more do I see its beauty, its truth, and the
harmony of all its parts."
Dawn was greatly pleased in seeing how readily he recognized her
position, and continued:
"The relation which such claimants bear to us is one purely external
in its nature, and oft-times painful. It is a kind of property
ownership which ought to be banished from social life. It should be
cast out and have no place nor lot with us, for those higher and
divine principles cannot dwell with us until these things are
regarded as of the past, and now worthless."
"But might not the new flow in naturally, and displace the old?"
"That is partly true, but when content with our condition we feel
the need of no other. This is one reason why to many, the blessings
in store for them are seemingly so long in coming. The man who is
struggling with adversity, and sees nothing but darkness and want
surrounding him, fondly imagines that in the possession of abundance
he would find rest and peace. And yet he could never be blest while
in that condition of feeling, though all wealth were his. But having
passed through, and out of, this condition, and learned that the
exertion induced by privation was the best possible means of his
growth, then, wealth might come to him and be a blessing and a
power. Blessings will come to us when we are prepared by culture or
discipline to rightly employ them for our own good and the good of
"Your thoughts have made me truly blest. You have withdrawn the dark
veil which has hung over me so long. I must surely call this a
"And the darkness was the same, for it has led you to appreciate the
He took her hand at parting, and pressed it with the warmth of
generous gratitude, bade her adieu and went out into the darkness of
the evening, but with rays of the morning of life shining in his
"Dawn! Dawn! where are you?" called Mrs. Austin from the library
after Mr. Bowen had left. "I'm glad that stupid fellow has gone,"
she continued, "for we want you to sing for us."
How could she sing? The sentiment which would suit her mood would
not surely be fitted to those who would listen; but forcing her real
state aside, she played and sung several lively songs.
"Delightful!" exclaimed her friend, "we mean to have more of your
company now, and keep such stupid people as Clarence Bowen away, he
is so changed; he used to be very gay and lively; what do you find
in him, Dawn?"
"A need; a great soul need. He wants comforting."
"What, is he sad? He ought to be the merriest, happiest fellow
alive. He has enough of this world's goods, and a most brilliant
woman for a wife."
"These alone cannot give happiness. True, lasting happiness is made
up of many little things on which the world places but little value.
He has much to make him thoughtful and earnest, and very little to
make him gay."
"You are so unlike everybody else, Dawn. Now I like life; real,
hearty, earnest life. I don't care a straw for hidden causes. I want
what's on the surface. I think we were put here to enjoy ourselves
and make each other happy."
"So do I; but what you call 'happiness,' might to some, be mere
momentary excitement, mere transient pleasure. To me, the word
happiness means something deeper; a current, which holds all the
ripples of life in its deep channel."
"Well, if happiness is the deep undercurrent, as you say, I don't
want it. I want the ripples, the foam, and the sparkle. So let us go
to bed and rest, and to-morrow ride over the hills on horseback.
I'll take Arrow, he's fiery, and you may take Jessie. Will you? You
need some roses on your cheek." And the joyous-hearted woman kissed
the pale face of her friend till the flush came on her cheeks and
"There; now you look like life; you seemed a moment since as still
and white as snow!"
"Your warm nature has surely changed the condition of things, for I
feel more like riding just now than sleeping."
"That's good. Suppose we have a moonlight race?"
"I protest against any such proceeding, being the lord and master of
this manor," said her husband, looking up from his book, in which
they supposed he was too deeply engaged to hear their conversation.
Reader, don't trust a gentleman who has his eyes on the page of a
volume when two ladies are conversing.
"Then I suppose there's nothing left for us but to go to bed."
"Yes, a something else," said her husband.
"Go to sleep."
"Stupid! I suppose you think you have made a brilliant speech."
"On the contrary I think it the reverse. I never waste
scintillations of genius on unappreciative auditors."
"Edward Austin! you deserve to be banished a week from ladies'
society. Come Dawn, let us retire."
It was in this pleasant, light vein of thought that Dawn recovered
her mental poise, and she sank into a sweet and profound slumber,
which otherwise would not have come to her. Thus do we range from
one sphere to another, and learn, though slowly, that all states are
legitimate and necessary, the one to the other. The parts of life
contribute to the perfection of the whole. Each object has its own
peculiar office, as it has its own form. The tulip delights with its
beauty, the carnation with its perfume, the unseemly wormwood
displeases both taste and smell, yet in medicinal value is superior
to both. So each temperament, each character, has its good and bad.
The one has inclinations of which the other is incapable.
"This is a world of hints, out of which each soul seizes what it
needs." So from other lives we draw and appropriate continually into
our own, and we need the manifestations of life to make us
harmonious. Each person draws something from us that none other can,
and imparts out of its special quality that which we cannot receive
from any other. We need at times to surrender our will, to merge
ourselves into another sphere, and loose the tension of our own
action; this surrender being to the mind what sleep is to the brain.
The whole of life does not flow through any one channel; we drink
from many streams. "A ship ought not to be held by one anchor, nor
life by a single hope." Slowly we learn life's compliments, and the
value of its component parts. Many threads make up the web, and many
shades the design. As we advance in experiences, we feel that we
could not have afforded to have lost one shade, however dark it may
have been. Time, the silent weaver, sits by the loom, seeing neither
the light nor shade, but only the great design which grows under his
hand in the immortal web.
The morning was clear and lovely. Mrs. Austin and Dawn rode over the
hills, their spirits rising at every step, under the exhilarating
exercise. A fresh breeze stirred the leaves of the trees, and made
the whole air sweet and vital. Birds carolled their songs, and made
the woods vocal with praise. Nature seemed set to a jubilant key;
while fresh inspiration flowed into the heart of man as he gazed on
the scene so redolent with life and beauty.
"You are as radiant as the day," said Mrs. Austin, drawing in Arrow
a little, and coming to the side of Dawn.
"Thank you for your compliment, but it's more the reflection of the
outer world, than a manifestation of myself. One cannot but be
bright on such a morning."
"I cannot hold Arrow in longer, or I might argue on that point." In
a moment she was out of sight, round the bend of the road.
"She does me good every moment. I sometimes wish I did not see the
conditions of life, and its states as I do. I must keep on the
surface a little more,--so run along Jessie," said Dawn, giving the
gentle animal a little touch of the whip that caused her to canter
away briskly and catch up with Arrow. Yet it was but for an instant,
for Arrow bounded off as he heard the approach, and horse and rider
were soon as far in the distance as before.
At the end of the long road Mrs. Austin halted, and reined Arrow
under a tree to wait for her friend.
"You are quite a stranger," said Dawn, coming up at a slow pace.
"I've been taking time to enjoy the scenery."
"So I perceive. I thought you had dismounted and was sketching, or
writing a sonnet to the woods."
"It were most likely to have been the latter, as I never sketch
anything but human character."
"Then tell me what I am like. Sketch me as I am."
"You are unlike every one else," said Dawn, in an absent manner.
"That's a diversion. Come to the point, and define me. I'm a riddle,
"If you have got thus far, you can analyze yourself. It's a good
beginning to know what you are."
"But I cannot unriddle myself. I have, under my rippling surface, a
few deep thoughts, and good ones, and they make me speak and act
better, sometimes. I am not all foam, Dawn."
"I never supposed you were. There is a depth in you that you have
never fathomed, because your life has been gay, and you have never
needed the truths which lie deep, and out of sight."
"But I'd rather go up than down; much rather."
"Depth is height, and height is depth."
"So it is. I never thought of that before. Dawn, you could make a
woman of me. Edward does not call me into my better self as you do.
Why is it?"
"I suppose because he does not need that manifestation of your
being. Your lives are both set to sweetly flowing music. You have
never felt the sting of want and suffering, either mental or
physical, nor witnessed it to any great extent in others."
"Why are we allowed to sit in the sunshine, then, if there is so
much sorrow in the world?"
"You are saved for some work. When the worn laborers now in the
field can do no more, perhaps you will be called forth."
"O, Dawn, your words thrill me. Then we may not always be as happy
as now?" and her glance seemed to turn inward on her joyous heart.
"You may be far happier, but not so full of life's pleasures."
"Yes; I remember the deep, strong current, and the ripples. Let us
go on, Dawn. I feel, I don't know how, but strange. Shall we start?"
"Certainly; I wait your move. Come, Jessie, show me another phase of
your nature. I have seen how gentle you are; now go."
At the word, the creature seemed to fly through the air, so swiftly
did she leap over the ground, and Arrow was left behind.
At noon they stopped at a house on the mountain side, the home of an
acquaintance of Mrs. Austin's, to refresh themselves and their
"I have brought you to some strange people," said Mrs. Austin, as
they alighted, and a boy came and led their horses to the stable.
"Strange; in what way?"
"O; they believe in all sorts of supernatural things-in the doctrine
of transmigration, second-sight, and every other impossible and
"I am delighted. I shall be most happy to see them."
"Because you yourself are so much inclined that way?"
"No. I should be more curious to see them if I were not interested
in the things you have mentioned. But now I shall meet kindred
souls, and in those I always find delight."
"I've half a mind to take you home without even an introduction, for
your impudence; as though I was not a 'kindred soul.'"
"It's too late, now, for here comes a lady and gentleman to welcome
"Miss Bernard, my friend Miss Wyman, Mr. Bernard."
Dawn took their proffered hands which seemed to thrill with a
welcome, and they led the way to a large, old-fashioned parlor. The
house was one of those delightful land-marks of the past generation,
which we sometimes see. It stood on a high hill, or rather on a
mountain shelf, shaded by lofty trees which seemed like sentinels
stationed about to protect it from all intrusion. No innovations of
modern improvement had marred the general keeping of the grounds and
buildings, for any change would have been an injury to the general
harmony of the whole. A large, clean lawn sloped to a woody edge in
front, and in the rear of the dwelling were clusters of pines and
Miss Bernard could not be described in a book, nor sensed in a
single interview, yet we must lay before the reader an outline to be
filled by the imagination. She was a blending of all the forces,
mental, moral, and spiritual. Her face was full of thought, without
the sharp, defined lines, so common to most women of a nervous
temperament. It impressed you at once with vigor and power;
chastened by a deep, spiritual light, which shone over it like that
of the declining sun upon a landscape. It seemed to burst from
within, not having the appearance of proceeding from dross burning
away, but like a radiance native to the soul, a part and quality of
it, not an ignition which comes from friction and war within.
Basil, her brother, whose name indicated his nature, made every one
feel as though transported to a loftier atmosphere. He seemed to
belong among the stars. Dawn felt at home at once in his presence,
which was a mystery to her friend, to whom he seemed intangible and
distant. She had never seen upon the face of Dawn such rapt
admiration as she saw there, when Basil conversed.
The conversation changed from external to inner subjects, just as
the bell rung for dinner. At the table there were no strangers, and
to Dawn it seemed as though she had always known them, and many
times before, occupied the same place in their midst. Thus do those
who are harmonious in spirit affiliate, regardless of material
A vase of elegant flowers decked the table, also a basket of
blossoms, unarranged, which, at dessert, were placed on the plates
of the guests.
A light shone from Basil's eyes, which did not escape Mrs. Austin's
notice, as he placed a scarlet lily upon her plate.
"The wand-like lily which lifted up,
As a M‘nad, its radiant-colored cup,
Till the fiery star, which is in its eye,
Gazed through clear dew on the tender sky."
While these lines of Whittier's ran through her mind:
"I bring no gift of passion,
I breathe no tone of love,
But the freshness and the purity
Of a feeling far above.
I love to turn to thee, fair girl,
As one within whose heart
Earth has no stain of vanity,
And fickleness no part."
Then she watched him with deeper interest as he placed a spray of
balm beside the lily.
"Balm that never ceases uttering sweets,
Goes decking the green earth with drapery."
"I wonder what he will give me," she said to herself, almost
impatiently, yet fearing the offering might not be complimentary,
for she well knew that Basil Bernard was always truthful. He held
already in his hand a rose, blooming and fresh as morning, which he
put upon her plate, and beside it a spray of yellow jessamine. Grace
and elegance-while the beautiful Mundi rose spoke its own
language-"you are merry."
Blown in the morning-thou shalt fade ere noon:
What boots a life that in such haste forsakes thee?
Thou 'rt wondrous frolic being to die so soon,
And passing proud a little color makes thee."
And now came the most interesting point, to see what flowers he
would place upon his sister's plate.
First, a handful of violets. "Faithfulness," thought Dawn, "he is
right thus far." And then, as though his thoughts rose with the
sentiment, he laid snowballs gently around them, while these words
flashed upon her mind:
"Should sorrow o'er thy brow
Its darkened shadow fling,
And hopes that cheer thee now,
Die in their early spring;
Should pleasure, at its birth,
Fade like the hues of even,
Turn thou away from earth--
There's rest for thee in heaven.
"If ever life should seem
To thee a toilsome way,
And gladness cease to beam
Upon its clouded day;
If, like the weary dove,
O'er shoreless ocean driven,
Raise thou thine eyes above--
There's rest for thee in heaven."
"And now we will each make a contribution to Basil" said his sister,
smiling on him in a manner which told how dear he was to her.
She passed the basket to Dawn, who blushed and trembled at first,
not with fear, but pleasure.
"The offering," said his sister, "is to be an expression of the
sentiments, which, in the opinion of each of us, are most in keeping
with his character."
Dawn reached forth, and drew, without hesitation, a cluster of
verbenas, and one white water-lily.
"Sensibility and purity of heart. She has read him aright," thought
"Gentle as an angel's ministry
The guiding hand of love should be,
Which seeks again those chords to bind
Which human woe hath rent apart."
"She has seen my brother's very heart, his most noble self," she
repeated to herself, as she passed the basket to Mrs. Austin, who
plucked a Clyconthas, and laid it on his plate, with a blossom of
"Benevolence," said Dawn, and to her mind these beautiful words were
"Wouldst thou from sorrow find a sweet relief,
Or is thy heart oppressed with woes untold?
Balm wouldst thou gather for corroding grief;
Pour blessings round thee like a shower of gold?
'Tis when the rose is wrapped in many a fold
Close to its heart, the worm is wasting there
Its life and beauty; not when, all unrolled,
Leaf after leaf, its bosom, rich and fair,
Breathes freely its perfume throughout the ambient air.
Rouse to some work of high and holy love,
And thou an angel's happiness shalt know.
Shalt bless the earth while in the world above;
The good began by thee shall onward flow
In many a branching stream, and wider grow;
The seed that in these few and fleeting hours
Thy hand unsparing and unwearied sow,
Shall deck thy grave with amaranthine flowers,
And yield thee fruits divine in heaven's immortal bowers."
But one more offering, and that from his sister. She drew the bay
leaf, of which the wreath to adorn the conqueror and the poet is
made, and, while the eyes of the two women rested on her, drew forth
also the pale, but sweet-scented mountain pink, signifying
aspiration, beautifully expressed by Percival in these lines:
"The world may scorn me, if they choose-I care
But little for their scoffings. I may sink
For moments; but I rise again, nor shrink
From doing what the faithful heart inspires.
I will not falter, fawn, nor crouch, nor wink,
At what high-mounted wealth or power desires;
I have a loftier aim, to which my soul aspires."
"We regret that we must leave, now," said Mrs. Austin to her friend,
after they had returned to the drawing-room and conversed awhile.
"We would gladly detain you longer, but knowing you have a long
drive, we cannot conscientiously do so," said Miss Bernard; "but may
we not hope to see you both, again?"
"Not unless you return our visit; we cannot take another long drive
right away, having so many ways to move, and so little time to
spare. But come and see us whenever you can."
"Thank you," replied Miss Bernard, and Basil bowed, while his eyes
rested on Dawn.
"We should both be happy to see you again, Miss Wyman," he said,
taking her hand, and the horses having been brought to the door, he
helped her into the saddle first, and then Mrs. Austin.
They bounded away, and were soon far from the hospitable home,
discussing, as they rode side by side, the merits and beauties of
"I did not tell you Miss Bernard's name. I think her brother did not
mention it while we were there; now what do you think it can be?"
"I do not know; perhaps Margaret-a pearl. No, not that; maybe,
Agathe, which signifies good; and yet I do not feel I have it yet."
"No; guess again."
"I thought once while there, it might be Beatrice, for she seems
like one who blesses."
"You are right. That is her name, and most nobly does she illustrate
"I am glad, for I hoped it was. How strange their names should so
suit their natures," said Dawn, musingly.
"Not if you knew them and their ancestry. They are of German
descent, and believe in all sorts of traditions, and, as I have said
before, supernatural things. They live almost wholly in sentiment,
and are little known save by a very few. I like them, yet I cannot
tell why. When in their presence I feel a sort of transcendental
charm, a something intangible, but restful to my soul. It's only
with you and them, Dawn, that I ever feel thus, and that is why I
brought you together."
"I can never thank you enough, but I wish to know them better."
"You shall. Did I not see how they felt your sphere, as you
"I hope they felt my desire for a better life, for it is a great
rest to be comprehended. It is as though some one took us by the
hand, and led us over the hard places of life."
"I wish I could feel and live as you do, Dawn. You seem to have
something so much deeper and richer in your life, than I have in
mine-but, I suppose you would say, if I wanted deeper thoughts, I
should search and find them."
"I should, most certainly; you have anticipated my answer. We have
what we aspire to--what we feel the need of."
"We are getting too earnest, it makes me feel almost sad. Come,
Arrow, let me see you speed over that shady road;" and away he flew
at the sound of his name, leaving Dawn and Jessie, who seemed in no
mood just then for galloping, far behind.
It was almost twilight when they reached home together, Mrs. Austin
having checked her horse's speed, for her friend to come up with
her. They had passed a most delightful day, and cosily seated in
their parlor, we will leave them talking as the twilight deepens
around, and go to the home of Basil and sister, who are conversing
upon the day's events.
"It seems as though somewhere, in this or another existence, I had
seen that face and form," said Basil to his sister.
"She is certainly very lovely, wherever you may have met her. She
may have been a dove, brother, and rested on your shoulder. I do not
know but that we should hesitate before we condemn the belief in a
transmigration of spirits, souls, and forces, when nature seems to
somewhat imply its truth in her kingdom?"
"Spirit cannot, in its countless transmigrations, be limited to the
little space which we call earth. The life of the universe is the
activity of its ever-living forces and existences, and their eternal
striving to separate or to unite.
"The belief in the transmigration of souls is of high antiquity, and
is worthy of more than a passing thought. A writer has said: 'Being
itself does not change, but only its relations. Mind and soul move
in other connections, according to divine ordinances. The strength
or weakness of the will, which the mind is conscious of, in itself,
by a natural necessity creates a distinction between the elevation
or the degradation of self. That is its heaven-this is its hell.
There is an infinite progress of spirit towards perfection in the
Infinite, as the solar systems with their planets wheel through the
realm of the immeasurable. All eternal activity! New union to be
going on of spirits and souls with new powers, which become their
serviceable instruments of contact with the All of things-this is
transmigration of souls. Any other kind of continued duration and
continued action is inconceivable to us. Whether upon earth, or in
other worlds, is a matter of indifference.' But one spirit sees
these things more clearly than another."
Basil stopped, and gazed long into the dim twilight, that light so
fitted for communion; and as he gazed he felt his mind going out
from his home, towards the being who had so touched his
soul-thoughts. Was it his counterpart, or second-self, that made him
feel that evening as though he had never known himself? What new
quality had so blended with his own, in that brief space of time, as
to quicken all his spiritual and intellectual perceptions? Would
they meet again? and when and where? were the concluding
interrogatories as he came back from his reverie, his thoughts
flowing again into audible language.
"You seem freshened, brother," said Beatrice, perceiving that he
lacked words for the full expression of his intense feelings.
"It's the power of a new mind. I am quickened in spirit."
"I see you are; and is it not wonderful how much a person whom we do
not daily meet can inspire us? What an impetus such an one brings to
us, even though but a few words may be spoken. Its fresh magnetic
life mingles with our own, and tinctures our inspirations and
aspirations with a new fervor.
"True; how much we have to learn regarding social intercourse. We
have in society so little spontaniety, that it will take many genial
natures like that of Miss Wyman to melt the frost away."
She saw that he was pleased with Dawn, and felt glad. It was almost
a relief to feel the strong tension of his love for her relax a
little. It is not often that sisters have thus to complain, but
Basil Bernard knew what love was, and how to enfold his object in an
atmosphere of delight. It was protective and uplifting, refining and
broadening, to all who felt it.
There are some natures like that of an infant, ever asking for love,
and protecting arms. Such need to be carried on one's bosom, and
nestled, through their whole life. There are maternally protecting
arms that can bear them thus, and in the sphere of their life and
love their souls would rest. There are natures that will ever be as
children, and also those who can meet their wants.
Such clinging lives should be all infancy; they should be cared for,
until their souls are strong enough to stand alone.
Why is there so much that is fragmentary and unlinked? Why is the
vine left to trail, when the strong oak, with its giant trunk, is
standing bare? It's all in parts, disjointed, broken, as though some
world of glory had been torn asunder, and its portions scattered
here and there.
There is completeness somewhere-in the land beyond-where the sighs,
the tears, the passionate longings, the hopes and fears will be all
adjusted, and our souls rest in celestial harmony.
We cannot question but that it will be well with us there, if we
have striven for the good, our souls conceived of, here. If, with
good purpose and intent, we have out-wrought the hints and
suggestions which have been given us of life, we must find growing
states of rest, sometime, to repletion. It will not be all peace
there; for the two worlds are interblended, and shadow into each
other. There is an interplay of life and emotion forever, and to
those who sense it, a joy too deep to be portrayed by human words; a
truth which helps us to bear the sorrows of this life serenely, and
more fully appreciate its joys.
Basil and his sister sat longer that summer evening than was their
wont. There was a deeper intoning of sentiment, a closer blending of
thought, or rather, their individual states had been more clearly
defined by the day's incidents.
They were of those rare types of mind which know just how far they
can be together, and not detract from each other; just when the
mental and spiritual assimilation was becoming attenuated, and each
needed solitude. Thus they were constantly coming each to the other,
and consequently drew from exhaustless fountains of intellectual and
Life is replete with harmonies ready to inflow, if we are but
receptive and delicate enough to receive and appropriate them. Blest
are they who recognize life's indications, its index-fingers which
are pointing each hour to some new experience, which will deepen and
expand our lives.
Generally there is great danger of two persons settling into
themselves, as these two seemed to have done, but Basil and Beatrice
were so catholic they could afford it, in fact they needed just the
close companionship which they held. The brother, with his colossal
spirit, lofty and original, moving forward through life with that
slow majesty which indicates the wholeness of the individual, unlike
the airy advance of natures which rush with but one faculty
quickened, and mistake speed for greatness, supplied the sister with
that manly, noble quality, which must ever exist in the real or
ideal of every woman. No wonder her warm, beneficent nature expanded
daily, until her heart seemed a garden full of flowers of love and
Did life at times seem dim and hazy, and the mind full of a thousand
doubts, he could dispel the cloud, wrench the truth from its old
combinations, and present it to her in striking contrast with its
No wonder that new purposes and aspirations were born every hour in
that woman's heart, impregnated by his manliness of quality. Yet
each drew through the subtle texture of soul a different hue of
life, as in a bed of flowers, from the same sunlight, one draws
crimson, another azure, as though conscious of the harmony of
complement and difference.
"I feel a rich, deep vein of thought to-night," said Beatrice, "as
though I could write a poem or a book, so vivid are my thoughts."
"Your life has been a poem, full of sweetly blended words. You have
lived yours out, while others have written theirs."
"But there is such power in books, Basil."
"I know it well. 'Some books are drenched sands on which a great
soul's wealth lies all in heaps, like a wrecked argosy.' And some
are sweet and full of passion-tones, and you feel on every leaf that
you are turning, as though their heart-beats were going into yours;
that they were dying that you might have life. Books are indeed
great, but lives are greater; lives that are full of earnest
purpose, and that fail not, even though the tide beats strong about
them and the heavens hang thick and dark with clouds. The greatest
poems are true lives, now surging with grief and passion, now
pulsing with joy-notes, thrilling on each page of life. Some books,
as well as persons, make us feel as though we stood in the presence
of a king, while some give us tears. Some books and some beings dome
us like a sky. Sister, you are the dome which ever overarches my
life,--if day, with its azure and ermine clouds; if night, with its
stars. Nay, do not write a book, but breathe and live your life out
"Yet I know that you, Basil, could write one, and make it full and
"I could make one full of words, if not of thought; but come, the
night is passing, we shall scarce have an hour's rest before
"Indeed, I think we are in a fair way to see its early brightness."
To their dreams and life we will leave them awhile, knowing that to
such hearts will ever come peace, whether sleeping or waking.
Past midnight, that silent hour when the earth is peopled with other
forms. It is the hour for the brain to receive the most subtle
influences, whether sleeping or waking.
Some kinds of sleep bring us brighter states than day gives us. They
are awakenings, in which the understanding, instead of being
dethroned, acquires a power and vivacity beyond what it possesses
when the external form is awake and active. The soul seems
emancipated from earthly trammels. The ruling thought of a man's
life is not unlikely to shape itself into dreams, the constant
thought of the day may encroach on the quiet of the night. Thus
Columbus dreamed that a voice said unto him, "God will give thee the
keys of the gates of the ocean." So any earnest longing, resting on
our minds when we composed ourselves to sleep, may pass over into
our sleeping consciousness, and be reproduced, perhaps in some
Modern writers on the phenomena of sleep, usually concur in the
assertion that man's sleeping thoughts are meaningless, and that
dreams are, therefore, untrustworthy. Such was not the opinion of
our ancestors. They attached great importance to dreams and their
interpretations. They had resort to them for guidance in cases of
difficulty, or great calamity. We do not claim for all dreams, a
divine or reliable character, but that some are to be trusted, every
individual of any experience can testify. Plato assumes that all
dreams might be trusted, if men would only bring their bodies into
such a state, before going to sleep, as to leave nothing that might
occasion error or perturbation in their dreams.
A young lady, a native of Ross-shire, in Scotland, who was devotedly
attached to an officer, with Sir John Moore in the Spanish war,
became alarmed at the constant danger to which her lover was
exposed, until she pined, and fell into ill health. Finally, one
night in a dream, she saw him pale, bloody, and wounded in the
breast, enter her apartment. He drew aside the curtains of the bed,
and with a mild look, told her he had been slain in battle, bidding
her, at the same time, to be comforted, and not take his death to
The consequence of the dream was fatal to the poor girl, who died a
few days afterward, desiring her parents to note down the date of
her dream, which she was confident would be confirmed. It was so.
The news shortly after reached England that the officer had fallen
at the battle of Corunna, on the very day in the night of which his
betrothed had beheld the vision.
Another, a lady residing in Rome, dreamed that her mother, who had
been several years dead, appeared to her, gave her a lock of hair,
and said, "Be especially careful of this lock of hair, my child, for
it is your father's, and the angels will call him away from you
The effect of the dream on her mind was such, that, when she awoke,
she experienced the greatest alarm, and caused a telegraphic notice
to be instantly dispatched to England, were her father was, to
inquire after his health. No immediate reply was received; but, when
it did come, it was to the effect that her father had died that
morning at nine o'clock. She afterwards learned, that, two days
before his death, he had caused to be cut off, a lock of his hair,
and handed it to one of his daughters, who was attending on him,
telling her it was for her sister in Rome.
Well authenticated cases might be multiplied till they filled
volumes; but the two we have cited, suffice to prove that in
sleeping, as well as in waking hours, our minds may receive
impressions of truth, or, that the spirit goes out to other scenes,
and there takes cognizance of events and conditions.
Dawn slept on; her beautiful white face was still and upturned, as
though gazing into the heavens. The excitement of the day had gone,
and the look of keen pleasure on her features was changed to one of
intensest emotion, for she was away, her spirit beside one whose
life seemed almost ebbing out of this state of existence. She saw
his pale features half hidden in the snowy pillows, the deep, soft
eyes looking as though in search of one they loved; and then she
heard him call her name, in tones touching and tender. She wept, and
awoke. The sun was shining brightly through the window. She arose,
and dressed for her departure, and, to the surprise of her friend,
announced her intention of leaving that morning for home.
"You are no more to be depended on than the rest of your sex, Miss
Wyman," remarked Mr. Austin, who really enjoyed having her with
She was in no mood to reply in the same spirit, but said quietly:
"I have concluded not to tire you out completely this time, for I
want to come again."
"I think your going must be the result of some very hasty
conclusion, Dawn. I had no intimation of it last evening. Really,
unless you are ill, you are quite unfair to leave us so soon." Mrs.
Austin having made this remark, glanced for the first time at Dawn's
white face. What had come over her? Was it Dawn who sat there so
still and white? "Are you ill?" she asked, the tremor of her voice
betraying her deep solicitude for the welfare of her visitor.
"No; but anxious. I must go to-day, however, or I shall be sick, and
on your hands."
"I'd a deal rather you should be on my hands, than weighing on my
heart, as you are now," and Mrs. Austin expressed the hope, after
her husband had left, that she would confide to her the cause of her
departure and sudden appearance of illness.
"I have had an unpleasant dream," said Dawn, when they were alone,
feeling that some explanation was due her friend, "and I must go
"A dream! O, fie, I never mind them. Why, I once had a most
frightful one about Ned. He was away on a journey, and I dreamt that
the boat caught fire, and every one on board was lost. I even went
so far as too see a messenger coming to tell me of the disaster."
"But had not your mind been agitated through the day?"
"Why, I had read of some dreadful disasters, to be sure, and then I
had retired at a late hour, after getting my mind wrought up about
the liabilities of danger, which, of course, accounted for it-but
was your dream about your father?"
"Why must you go? Do you think any one is in danger? I think it was
the result of the long ride, don't you?
"I do not. My dream was purely impressional, and outside of the
effect of daily incidents. Yes, I must go, Fannie, and right away."
"In that case I shall ride home with you," and she rang for the man
to harness the horse.
Each busy with her own thoughts they rode in silence for a long
distance, a silence which was only broken by Dawn's exclamation of
pleasure, as they came in sight of her home.
The next day she sat beside the bed of Ralph, whose snow-white face
and attenuated form, showed how fast he was passing away.
He gazed long and tenderly into her face, as she sat there, their
souls holding their last earthly communion. His spirit was all aglow
with life, and trust, while the shadow of separation rested on her,
and dimmed her faith and vision.
"But for a little while, Dawn, and then we shall meet again;
perhaps, to be united."
How the words entered her heart, for now, under the cloud, she felt,
O how keenly, that her state had hastened him home. His was the
vine-like nature that must cling to another, or die. It was all dark
to her then, and added to the pang of separation, was the thought of
her cold indifference. He, all gentleness and love, lie in rays of
light; all her vision and life had gone into him to help him over
"And you do not dread to go, Ralph?" she said, her voice choking
"Fear? I only long to do so; to be there, where all is peace and
rest;" and the rapt, upturned gaze, confirmed his words.
"It will be always day there," he continued; "none of these weary
nights which have been so long and lonely-"
"O, Ralph, live; live for me. I have been blind and wayward. O, come
back, and we will live for each other."
"In my father's house are many mansions; I go to prepare a place for
The words sounded far, far away.
"Yes, we will live together above, not here. God has so ordered it,
my own Dawn. I shall be light, perhaps, to you, even in that far-off
land. Nay, 'tis not 'far'; 't is here. I shall dwell in your heart
close-close-closer than ever."
He closed his eyes and rested for a few moments. Then, arousing, he
clasped her hands firmly, as though he would bear her away with him
as he took his heavenward flight.
"Look there," he said, "the river! go close with me-for this is our
last moment. Dawn, I am yours; not even death can part us. I am not
going; I am coming closer than any earthly relation could bring me
to you; coming-call them."
Parents and sister stood beside the bed with tearful eyes. To them
he was going far away.
Dawn saw not the death-dew on the marble brow, nor heeded the
passing breath. Another sight was given her, and while they stood so
statue-like with anguish, her eyes beheld a soft mist gather like
snowflakes on the head; and while the breath grew quick and short,
this seemed to pulsate with life, until a face was outlined there.
That face the same, yet not the same, but her own dear Ralph's,
immortalized, set in a softer, finer light. Her being pulsated with
new joy. A tide of life seemed to have flown into her heart, leaving
no room for pain.
A moan struck on her ear; so sad that she started, and the vision
"O, Ralph, my own loved boy; he's gone, he's gone," burst from the
mother's sorrowing heart, as they bore her from the room.
Marion stood dumb with grief, while the poor stricken father bowed
his head and wept bitter tears for his lost son.
Had Dawn no grief, that she could stand there and look so calmly on?
What made her feel so indifferent to the dead form on which she
gazed? Because his life, the life that had once animated it, had
passed into hers, and they were one and united. Ralph, warm with
life, was imaged in her heart and mind. The clay he bore about him,
that husk, had no claim upon her being now, and with scarce a look
at the body, she walked away.
"I think she could never have loved him, or she would not seem so
cold," were the words that floated to her as she passed from the
room where lay all that was mortal of Ralph.
It was as near as she could expect to be understood here, in a world
where so much of her real self was hidden; but such words touched
her sensibilities none the less, notwithstanding her philosophy.
They went deep, like an arrow, into her heart, and then she knew
that the house of mourning was no place for her; that she must go,
and to the world appear cold and unfeeling, while her heart was
ready to burst with its deep emotion.
She left them, and they never knew how dearly she loved him, nor how
close his soul was linked with her own. They mourned him as dead,
while to her he became each hour a reality, a tangible, living
presence, full of tenderness and love.
Miss Weston met Dawn as she passed out of the house, with that look
of tender pity, which says, "I know you suffer." In that look their
souls met and mounted to higher states. They could not speak, for
the tears which flowed over the graves of their dead; their sorrows
made them one and akin.
"You will return by to-morrow," said Miss Weston, as she parted with
Dawn at the gate, supposing that she designed returning to be
present at the funeral.
"No, I cannot."
"Why, Dawn! not follow dear Ralph to his grave?"
"I have no Ralph to bury. He is resurrected-gone higher."
"But the family, they surely-"
"They will not miss me. I am not a part of their lives now. They do
not know me, nor do I know myself."
Here trust, light, and vision left; the weakness of flesh uprose,
and she went down into the dark valley of grief.
She gave a parting pressure of the hand to her friend, and walked
slowly to the station. Alone; O, what relief do our tears give us,
when no one can see them flow. In that dim, summer twilight she
walked. Fast fell the tears over her cheeks. None but angels knew
the sobs, the agony of desolation which swept over her, and like a
pall hung between herself and heaven.
It was midnight when she arose from prayer, but morning to her soul.
Peace had come; the dove had returned with the olive branch; the
waters had gone down, and green banks shored the wild sea of sorrow.
She spent the day of the funeral ceremonies alone in the solitude of
the woods. Full of meaning now came to her these words of Christ:
"Let the dead bury their dead;" and this was her first personal
realization of the truth. Alone, yet not alone. That presence,
unseen, but real, was with her, soothing the harshness of sorrow,
filling her heart with peace and comfort. Just as the sun sank in
clouds of sapphire and crimson, his form stood, radiant, joyous, and
life-like before her. It was no myth, no hallucination of the mind.
Close, within reach, yet she could not touch him; he stood there,
the same Ralph, with all the tenderness of love on his beaming face
which he bore in life. No loneliness came over her as the vision
faded slowly away; he seemed to dissolve and flow into her heart.
The soft twilight, the singing of birds, and charming landscape,
with the breath of summer floating on the air, came like sweet
accompaniments to the melody which was pulsing her being, and giving
her new strength and vigor for life.
She knew, that to her Ralph would each day be a sustaining power,
and give life a dual action. When weary of the outer, she could turn
within and find one conjoined by the holiest of ties unto her soul.
His life, too, was being unfolded through her, as it could never
have been on earth; and as years rolled on she saw how well and good
it was that he had passed on before her. There was more completeness
to her being than there could possibly have been, had they been
united on earth by the form of marriage.
When she emerged from the cloud, all this light transfused her
being, and she had no tears, because there was no separation.
We learn in unlearning. We lay aside, one by one, the garments in
which we have enwrapped ourselves; garments of various hues, which
are our opinions, and so clog and hinder our progress. Happily for
us that we find our states changing, and the wrappings of old dogmas
too oppressive. Fortunate are we if our freedom of spirit is large
enough to enable us to lay aside what was a shield and protection to
us yesterday, if it be not fitted for us to-day. He who is strong to
do so, benefits all around him, for no good or evil is confined or
limited to one. Everything flows; circulation is in all things,
natural and spiritual. Life in one is life in another; what is faith
in one is also faith in another.
"What is gained by one man is invested in all men, and is a
permanent investment for all time.
"A great genius discovers a truth in science, the philosophy of
matter; or in philosophy the science of man. He lays it at the feet
of humanity, and carefully she weighs in her hand what is so costly
to him, and so precious to her.
"She keeps it forever; he may be forgotten, but his truth is a part
of the breath of humankind. By a process more magical than magic,
it becomes the property of all men, and that forever.
"All excellence is perpetual. A man gets a new truth, a new idea of
justice, a new sentiment of religion, and it is a seed of the flower
of God, something from the innate substance of the Infinite Father;
for truth, justice, love, and faith in the bosom of man are higher
manifestations of God than the barren zone of yonder sun; fairer
revelations of him than all the brave grandeur of yonder sky. No
truth fades out of science, no justice out of politics, no love out
of the community, nor out of the family.
"A great man rises, shines a few years, and presently his body goes
to the grave, and his spirit to the home of the soul. But no
particles of the great man are ever lost; they are not condensed
into another great man, they are spread abroad.
"There is more Washington in America now than when he who bore the
name stood at the nation's head. Ever since Christ died, there has
been a growth of the Christ-like.
"Righteousness grows like corn-that out of the soil, this out of the
"Thus every atom of goodness incarnated in a single person, is put
into every person, and ere long spreads over the earth, to create
new beauty and sunshine everywhere."
There was one spot which seemed more attractive to Dawn after
Ralph's birth, than her home,--our homes are just where our hearts
cling for the time, here or there,--and that spot was the home of
Miss Bernard and her brother. This desire to be with them was
settling into a fixed purpose to go, when one day her friend, Mrs.
Austin, burst into her room, saying, "I've come for you. I think a
change will do you good."
A short time only was needed to pack a few articles of clothing, and
they were soon on their way.
It was early autumn, and the skies and trees were glowing with all
the tinges and beauties of that season. Scarlet maples flashed here
and there from their back-ground of pines and firs along the road,
while over the dead limbs clambered the ivy, more brilliant in death
than in life. The air was full of life. The voice of her friend
chatting by her side was soothing to her nerves and spirits, for her
life had been full almost to bursting since he had come so near.
"You astonish me more and more, Dawn," said her friend, who had
dropped her lighter mood, as they rode leisurely by the forest
trees, which ever seem to suggest deeper thoughts.
"And why, may I ask?"
"Because your reconciliation to your loss seems so strange and
"I have no loss. My friend has come home closer to my heart and
understanding. The form is of little value to us when death gives us
so much more of an individual."
"Would I could think as you do, Dawn. You are strange, and yet you
seem to get at the very core of life's experiences."
"We cannot all think alike. There must ever be an individuality of
thought, as well as of feature, yet on the common ground of
principles we can meet. My serenity of mind is born of vision, for
most clearly do I perceive that had I been united on earth to Ralph,
our lives would have been limited. We should have gone into each
other and remained, for he was the complement of my very self. In a
world of so much need of labor, we could not be allowed to be of so
little use to mankind."
"But I do not see why you might not have blessed humanity more by
your united efforts."
"Because we should have been located, spiritually insphered in each
other's life. Now I have no excuse for halting. I must be forever
moving to some center, and he will find his life in and through me,
loving me ever, but yet never quite settling into my life, which he
was naturally inclined to do. In his atmosphere I shall gather
another kind of strength and life; a life of two-fold power, because
he will be so near in affection, so close and indwelling. I shall
have the light of his spiritual life within me to guide me on; and
can I not labor, yea, bear all things with such strength?"
"O, Dawn, for such light one could call life and toil here, rest and
"As it ever will be if we seek the harmonies of our lives."
"Now you rob death of its gloom to me. You must talk with Basil of
these things, he can understand and appreciate them. Did you know
that he was a relative of the Seyton's, a cousin to Ralph's mother?"
Dawn started. It was all clear now. Ralph would have her go to them,
and that was the cause of her yearning to be there.
"Shall we go to-morrow," she asked of her friend, who sat abstracted
by her side.
"To Miss Bernard's?"
"Yes, to-morrow. They are anxious to see you, as is also your
protege, young Mr. Bowen, who has inquired for you every time I have
"I had almost forgotten him in my deep experiences. Has he changed?
Does he seem more hopeful?"
"He seems far away. I think it your mission to send people off the
earth, or, at least, into larger orbits."
"I should like to make their lives larger, for life is not worth
anything unless we are daily putting off the old, and taking on the
new. We cannot live our experiences over. Fresh breezes and fresh
truths correspond-the outer and inner ever correspond. A clean
dwelling indicates purity of heart and purpose, while the reverse
leads us to beware of the occupant."
They were now at the home of Mrs. Austin, who considerately
conducted Dawn to her room and left her alone until tea-time.
The evening brought Mr. Bowen, who appeared pale and dispirited, but
he was speedily assisted to better states through Dawn's efforts.
Again poor Margaret appeared to her sight, this time with a new look
on her features, as though she had gathered strength and light from
the partial recognition of one who had betrayed her, yet from whose
life she could not be separated until the spiritual balance of
forgiveness had been given and received.
Clarence was soon engaged in earnest conversation. "Do you not
think, Miss Wyman," said he, "that we may be weakened physically by
spirits who come into our atmosphere?"
"I have no doubt of it. If they remain, and are not illuminating, or
changing their states; if they come to do us good, even, they may
sometimes weaken us, because our magnetism which sustains them
"I have thought that I was at times weaker, from the presence of one
whom I feel is near to me."
"It may be. She cannot rise until you are ready to do so. And when
you both go to higher states, or you enter hers, a new life will
inflow. There will come relief. There is monotony now in the
influence, because she is waiting for new truths to be infused into
your mind before others can flow in. Perhaps I cannot make it as
clear to your mind as I perceive it."
"The thought is suggestive, at least, and will help me out. I
suppose these things are of slow growth in the human mind, like all
things in nature?"
"They would not be of the soul were they not slow, and of little
value to us did they not ripen in the warmth and nurture of our own
"True. I would know more of these things. They give me strength to
bear life's burdens much better, and although they seem to take my
thoughts from my duties, I seem to be brought nearer to them; yet I
cannot quite comprehend how it is."
"This influence does not take your mind away; it lifts it above your
cares, and makes you more contentedly subjective to the law that
governs. Truth ever renders us content to bear, while it liberates
us from thraldom."
"I know that my life beyond will be richer and nobler for what
little I have of these truths here. You have greatly blest me-"
"And blest myself," she added, seeing the rich gratitude of his soul
falter with the poverty of words.
He took her hand, pressed it warmly in token of his deep
indebtedness, and they parted, to meet no more on earth, save in
spirit. That night the death-angel came. He was seized with
hemorrhage of the lungs, and died instantaneously.
The wife of the world, whom position and society had chained him to,
put on robes of mourning, and in three months was a gay, flirting
widow, while he was happy in the summer land, joined to his mate,
the bride of his soul's first love.
For a long time Dawn felt not the presence of either Clarence or
Margaret. They were away, reposing in the atmosphere of forgiveness
and love, and learning that "it is not all of life to live, nor all
of death to die."
Dawn sat beside Basil as an old friend, holding a likeness of Ralph
in her hand.
"I little thought that you knew our dear Ralph," said Mr. Bernard,
breaking the silence they had enjoyed, "and yet I ought to have
recognized his life within yours, Miss Wyman."
Dawn knew well why he did not, for she had kept him away from
"I usually feel the sphere of the one dearest to another, when I
come into their presence; but this time I was completely in the
dark. There is some reason for it, I know." She knew it, and also
that he could read her mind.
"I will keep nothing back," she thought, and told him all. Just as
she had finished, Mrs. Austin and his sister came in from the
"Your conditions must have blended very closely," said Beatrice,
playfully, "it seems as though there was but one person in the
"You are becoming a dangerous person to have about," said her
brother, while his tone and speech were greatly at variance, for his
voice to her was always sweetly modulated and full of tenderness.
Mr. Bernard brought to Dawn a folio of drawings, some of Ralph's
early sketches, which they looked over together until the hour of
retiring, when the evening closed with a calm and natural prayer,
such as was nightly heard in that pleasant home.
"I shall claim Miss Wyman to-morrow," said Beatrice; "I have a great
many subjects which I wish to talk upon with her; so, brother, you
will see that our friend, Mrs. Austin, is entertained."
"We will engage to make you very sorry that you are not of our
party," he answered, as they separated for the night.
"Now you are mine for a few hours," said Miss Bernard, after
breakfast, to her guest, as she led the way, followed by Dawn, to a
little room which she had fitted up, and in which she studied or
mused, sewed or wrote, as the mood prompted. The walls were hung
with pictures, her own work, some in oil, others in crayon; all
landscapes of the most poetic conception and delicate finish.
"I have always longed for the power to express my thoughts in
pictures. What a keen enjoyment it must be, Miss Bernard, to have
such a resource within one's self."
"I think the power resides in every person, and only waits a
quickening, like all other powers."
Dawn thought of the hour in Germany when Ralph sat and sketched her
portrait, and the intervening time was as though it had not been. It
was but yesterday, and she sat again by his side watching the deep
life of his eyes, eyes on which she would never look again. Were
they closed forever? "O, heart so desolate. O, lone and barren
shore, where are the waves of joy? All receded; all; and she seemed
to stand upon the beach alone, while a chill ran over her.
"You are chilly, Miss Wyman, let me close the window."
But Dawn heard not, saw not; for before her vision appeared a face
all radiant with life, toned by a look of intensest sympathy; while
on the brow glittered a star so radiant that mortal might not gaze
upon it. Its rays seemed to enter her very soul, and pierce it with
life and light, bathing it with a flood of joy. It was no longer
dark, her face beamed with a strange light when Miss Bernard turned
to call her attention to some pictures which were unfinished.
"You seemed far away, Miss Wyman," said she. "It's so like Basil. He
has such moments of abstraction, and almost takes me with him."
"I was away for a moment; but what a lovely picture you have here."
"It's one I am trying to copy, but I make little progress."
"Truth is not necessarily literal, is it? If so, I should make a
"It is not; and there is where most persons fail. 'The Divine can
never be literal, and there is in all art a vanishing point, where
the Divine merges itself into the ideal.' And that vanishing point
is seen in the human composition, as well as in natural objects,
that point where we lose ourselves in the Divine, and merge our own
being into that greater, grander being. You are an artist, Miss
Wyman, you group human souls and portray them in all their
naturalness; not on canvas, for that could not be, but spiritually
to our inner sight.
"I love art in whatever form it may come to glorify life, for true
art is catholic, beneficent, touching with its mystic wand every
soul within its reach, thrilling even the sluggish and the
slumbering with a new sense of the Divine bounty which makes this
world so lovely and fair."
Miss Bernard looked grateful for the rich appreciation of her guest,
which she had scarce dared hope to find; and from art they drifted
to life and some of its present needs, glowing with friendly
recognition as they advanced and found each possessed with similar
views. Thus do we meet pilgrims on the way, at some unexpected turn,
when we thought ourselves alone upon the road.
"I know by these pictures, Miss Bernard," said Dawn, "that your life
is full of practicality."
"You surprise me, for every stranger thinks that I do nothing else."
"If nothing else, you would not do this, or anything of a fanciful
"I see you have had some experience, for very few entertain that
"I have seen enough to know that those whose time is at their own
disposal rarely accomplish anything, either practical or beautiful.
The one helps the other, and one who delves hardest in the
practical, rises ofttimes highest in the ideal."
"It is true of my own self, and others. My experiences have been
varied and deep in human life and I have learned that time is of no
value unless it is estimated by the amount of labor that can be
accomplished. When thus estimated, however it may be employed, the
results are productive of good to the individual."
"How I wish, Miss Bernard, that the whole human family might have
just enough labor and time for improvement which they need. Life
looks so hard and inharmonious at times, when we see thousands
toiling from early morn till night, with no moments for thought or
culture, that we cannot but ask where justice to God's children is
"Life is strangely interspersed with clouds and sunshine. I know
that somewhere all will find recompense for such seeming losses, and
that what we now look upon as evil will be seen to be good and best
for all. Did I not know this, Miss Wyman, I should have little heart
to go on. Of one thing I am certain, and that is, we must each keep
working, performing the labor of the day, and some time the great
united good will come from all this individual work. It is but an
atom that each one does, but it counts as the grain of sand on the
sea-shore, and helps by its infinitesimal portion toward the
"Did you ever feel, Miss Bernard, that extended vision of life's
conditions incapacitated us for real, vigorous service?"
"I have felt at times it might be so, but am convinced that it does
not; it only deepens our effort and endeavor."
"I have often thought that I was unfitted for life, from the very
fact that I saw so much to be done."
"When we see so much it makes us meditate, and that very condition
gives birth to greater power."
"True, and yet I often wish I did not see so much. Why do I not
oftener feel a power somewhat commensurate with the demand and
"I suppose, because the power is born of the time and the need, and
not a burden to encumber us on our way. It is not of material
nature; cannot be packed and stored away for some occasion that may
arise, but is proportioned and adapted to the kind and quality of
"You have explained it just as I felt it somewhere in my soul. The
thought in me needed the quickening of another mind. You do me good,
Miss Bernard, every moment. O, how much we need interchange of
"We do, indeed, in order to know ourselves, if nothing more. But I
see that you are weary. Stay with us and rest, will you? New
atmospheres are good to throw off fatigue in."
"I should indeed be delighted to stay here. Was Ralph fond of being
"Very; and he is here now."
"Then you believe in the presence of spirits, and their cognizance
of us, and we of them?"
"Yes, for many years, and have been led by their advice."
"I am at rest. I find many who believe in communion, but not
communication. I accept both."
"And so do I. We will compare experiences, and have many happy
hours. How much we shall all enjoy. You must know my brother, Miss
Wyman, for he, too, loved Ralph with all the ardor of his deep
The next hour Dawn sat alone in communion with self, wondering at
the daily events of life, and her own deepening womanhood. Life to
her was growing richer each day. She felt that she was catching the
divine breath, and coming into celestial harmony, which is the
soul's true state. O, what bliss awaits us, when we have passed from
the exterior to the interior life; a state not of worlds, but of
soul, where we come into divine submission, and can say, "Thy will,
not mine, be done."
Mrs. Austin left the next day, and the soul-united trio were alone.
Only those who know the value of fresh minds and blending qualities
of heart and spirit, can realize how much they enjoyed together. To
Dawn, Basil seemed new and old,--old in acquaintance, as we ever find
those who have pursued the same current of thought; new in the power
of presenting truth to her mind, in fresh combination and coloring.
He had all the delicacy of Ralph, with more mental vigor, and
His sister, Dawn learned to love better every day, as she witnessed
the exercise of her varied powers, all working in harmony, and
rounding her life into completeness.
"I could live here forever," she exclaimed, one morning, when nature
was sparkling with diamond drops of dew, and singing her morning
"Then stay forever," said a voice, deep and musical, at her side.
"Why not stay forever? for we should stay where we live the most,"
said Basil, laying his hand on her head. "I suppose, however, the
'forever' meant, so long as your life here is replete with
enjoyment, did it not?"
"Yes, I suppose that is our definition of 'forever,' and as it is a
portion of it, we may properly call it thus."
"Then see that you stay your 'forever,' and make us happy in so
doing," and his earnest eyes fastening their gaze on hers, told how
dearly he loved to have her there.
The bell rang for breakfast, and the little party brought bright
faces and fresh thoughts to the meal.
"Would you like to sail upon the pond, to-day?" inquired Miss
Bernard of Dawn.
"Nothing better, if there are lilies we can gather."
"There is a plenty, so we shall go. You will see my brother in a new
phase to-day, Miss Wyman, for nothing calls forth the sweetness of
his nature like sailing."