Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

eye the signs of the near approach of death were very evident. “No, not sleep,” she gasped out, and then fell back exhausted, almost fainting. A little wine revived her, and she turned a grateful but anxious look upon her daughter. “I should so like to see him once more-only a moment": and then her lips moved, and her daughter heard the words, "depart in peace," and knew she was thinking of old Simeon's words: “If I could only see him," she said again, and then for a few moments she became unconscious.

“Rest in the Lord, dear, and wait patiently for him," said the daughter, bending down to kiss her, while her eyes filled with tears which she could hardly repress; and from her heart went up an agonizing cry: “God, let him come, if it please thee, for her sake!"

“ Yes, dear-yes-wait, wait!"

“Wait on the Lord, dear," responded her daughter, feelingly.

• Yes, on the Lord, on the Lord-I hope George will turn out well, dear, I am rather anxious about him at times.” And then came broken words and half sentences about the bank, and school, and the grange, which made her daughter weep more; for she knew that her mother's mind was wandering among scenes of the past, and talking to those who had long been dead and gone. Then suddenly a change came over the pale worn face, a change which once seen can never be forgotten; and with a cry, as of pain, Jane Glynn sprang to the door and called for help; and then returning, took the wasted form of the sufferer in her arms.

The landlady soon came in-a kind, motherly woman, who had been somewhat hardened by her experience as a lodging-house keeper, yet had kept a soft place in her heart for real suffering, and who had been of inestimable value to these two sorrowing ones. Indeed, when Jane Glynn called her, she was resting on a sofa down stairs, having been up with Mrs. Glynn the whole night before. One glance at the face, and she went round to the daughter's side. “ It's aʼmost over, my dear,” she said. “ Poor thing! Mrs. Glynn, do you know me, Mrs. Armstrong,

But there was no answer- -only the eyes opened and the lips moved.

“She's sensible," said the landlady;"perhaps she wants to say something. Put down your ear close, my dear. She'll be troubled if she can't

say

it.”

you know."

Jane Glynn put her ear close to the cold lips. A thick faint utterance, undistinguishable by any one else, was all she heard, but it went to her heart and deepened there its already bitter sorrow. “Is he come yet, dear?" And then the flickering lamp went feebly out, and the two women wept in each other's arms.

We must now ask the reader to go with us a backward journey, backward some twenty years. Twenty years! How much do they mean? What histories do they not contain? What years of toil and suffering and shame to some ? to many what years of signal mercy? Happy those who with thankful hearts can say, standing on the threshold of a new year, “Surely goodness and mercy have followed me all the days of my life.”

All of us might say so; for it is goodness and mercy which preserve us, and our daily life is witness of His love. But to some goodness and mercy come in the shape of sorrow. Their ministering angels have sad faces, as befit those who administer chastisement. Yet they are angels' faces still, and bear witness of Him from whose presence they came and whose will they do.

A cheerful lawn and garden, gay with summer flowers, musical with the murmur of bees and the song of birds, and bright as a July afternoon sun could make it; a quaint old gabled house, around the mullioned windows of which the climbing roses clung and blossomed, one might almost fancy with affectionate embraces; and under the pleasant shade of a noble cedar on the lawn a gentleman and lady, in the very prime of ripened manhood and womanhood, that time when thoughtful experience has enriched man's face with meaning, and matronly care has added to the beauty of early womanhood. Yet sorrow was on the faces of Mr. and Mrs. Glynn, as they sat together on the rustic seat that afternoon. Neither spoke, but each knew what was passing in the other's mind; and so Mrs. Glynn sat sadly watching the shadows of the hand-like cedar branches, and she went on, with ever quickened stitches, with the embroidery she held in her hand.

At last Mr. Glynn drooped his head on his right hand, and she, with the quick instinct of affection, placed hers on his shoulder, and with the other sought his left hand which was hanging listlessly by his side. “I hope we may

hear soon, dear," was all she said.

for any

Mr. Glynn shook his head. “ We should have heard by this time, darling, if there had been any chance. But there cannot be. If he sailed in the 'Europa' there is no hope-none."

“Is there anything too hard for the Lord ?" she asked. “I don't know. I sometimes think there is,” he replied.

“Oh dear; don't say so. How much, how very much we have to be thankful for. And he can take care of him, indeed he can, and I cannot but believe he will, though we may never know it in this world. Do not let us give way to feelings of despair and ingratitude.' To all human appearance there was indeed no hope

of those on board the ill-fated “ Europa.” Months had passed, and she had never been heard of. Only she had been due at the port of Melbourne two days after one of the most fearful storms which was ever known upon that coast; and for weeks afterwards spars and pieces of cabin furniture had come on shore which left no doubt as to her fate. But not one of her passengers or crew had turned up dead or alive. Nevertheless, there was one whom the waves had not swallowed up, and that one was George Glynn.

His father and mother did not know for certain that he had sailed in the “Europa ;" but a passenger, under another name, who strikingly answered to his appearance, had taken a passage in her, and they felt no doubt that it was their son. He was their youngest; for two fair children, one son and one daughter, born since, had died, and it seemed as if the love that they would have shared, had they lived, had been lavished on him. One son and one daughter, Jane, completed their family. But it was with him as it has been with so many, that the blessed ordinance of parental affection became changed to evil indulgence. Wild and wayward from his infancy, he had been allowed to follow his own course as he grew older, had contracted evil habits, formed evil associations, and at last, having forged a cheque for a large amount upon his father's bank, had suddenly gone from home, none knew whither, leaving behind him numerous debts, and a reputation in the town and neighbourhood which covered his father's face with shame, and was bitterness to her that bare him.”*

More dead than alive, clinging to a broken mast, he was driven on shore on a desolate part of Van Dieman's Land.

* Prov. xvii, 25.

a

ness.

But God spared him, and he fell in with a gang of convicts, by whom he was fed and taken care of till he was able to shift for himself. Then again changing his name lest he should be known as having been one of the passengers by the “ Europa,” he worked his passage in the first vessel which sailed to Melbourne. It is needless to follow him through the sufferings, the perils, the vice, and the crime of the next ten or fifteen years. He might well be thought dead, for so he seemed to all better thoughts, even to the memory of the past. The blasphemous name which was given him by the worst of his associates-associates who were the very scum of “the diggings,” when “ the diggings" were at their worst-scarcely exaggerated his notorious wicked

Amid a fierce and desperate company of this class, in a hut built near their claim, sat, one night, George Glynn. Whiskey had been flowing freely, and all were more or less intoxicated. They had been playing with dice, and nuggets and gold-dust had changed hands rapidly. George had lost heavily, and had put all that he had, even to his mining tools, upon the next cast. It was against him. There was a momentary hush as they waited to see what he would do. With pale face and quivering lips he stood up and gave utterance to a blasphemy so fcu), so horrible, that even they looked at one another in amazement; and milder oaths, uttered in tones of astonishment, told their sense of shame.

“ I've lived, man and boy, with the biggest roughs all my life, and that beats all !” said one of them. " I wonder the earth don't open and swallow you up, I do. If it had been one of us it mightn't ha' been so bad; but you've been a gentleman, and know! better. I'm going, mates."

The arrow went home. He tried to turn it off with a coarse jest, but the words stuck in his throat, and one by one, with muttered oaths, or in awe-struck silence, his companions left the hut, and left him alone.

Alone, and for the first time for many years, with thoughts that troubled him. He was destitute; for his bet must be paid, he knew that, and he cursed himself, and his fate and his folly. Then, with the wild and reckless feeling of his old days, he would laugh to himself for thinking about it at ali. " I've been in worse scrapes than this before now,” he thought; “ I'll sleep upon it, anyhow.” But he couldn't sleep. Strangely the words of his

blasphemy kept running in his mind, and he could not forget how his companions were struck with horror. Vicious, criminal, he knew them to be the very refuse of societyjail birds and ticket-of-leave men most of them; some of them men stained with crimes at the recital of which the blood of the hearer would run cold : yet they were shocked. Shocked, and at him! And he was once a home pet, nursed in luxury, sheltered from every harm, taught by a mother's lips to

say

“Gentle Jesus." He tried to crush down these thoughts, but he could not. At last, weary with trying to sleep, he rose and went out of the hut.

He hired himself to one of the diggers, and sought, first by hard work, and then by hard drinking, to drive away the thoughts that he could not suppress, and he partly succeeded. But he could not help feeling one thing--that his old companions seemed shy of him. They drank with him, and some of them laughed and jested with him. Some, too, with the rough good-nature which often remains in such men when all other signs of goodness have vanished, offered him help. But for all that he could see that they had not forgotten the words they had heard, and that he was lowered and condemned even in their estimation. And still, whenever he was alone, and even in the midst of revelry and blasphemy, the thoughts that he tried to be rid of would haunt him; thoughts of home, thoughts of better things, long forgotten, and which now seemed at an immeasurable distance from him. Yes; and thoughts which told of judgment and doom, which now seemed terribly near, even at hand. Was there a hell ? there not? Was he not already feeling the pain of “the worm that dieth not?” So off and on for many days.

One night he slept, and dreamed a dream of his old home. Clearly before him, yet somehow looking new and strange, he saw the old garden with the cedar tree on the lawn, and the roses climbing over the mullioned windows of the house; and under the tree sat, as he had often seen them, his father and mother, his brother, and his sister Jane. All were there but him. He tried to join them, but it seemed as if every step led him, in spite of himself, in some other direction. He was only on the other side of the hedge, and he knew where the gate was, but he could not find it, do what he would. There came between him and them a deep, broad, black stream, and he was in a boat trying to cross it to get to them; but the greater his exer

Was

« FöregåendeFortsätt »