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And we took each other by the hand; and, with tears and yearnings, and infinite strivings of soul, vowed to bear the cross of trial, so that, pure and holy, we, too, might be free of the kingdom of God. No waxen tapers burned — no censer swung, nor did ancient hymns roll along vaulted roofs; but the loftier sky, heaven's own dome, with stars numberless, and voices from the infinite, testified to our sincerity.
“ What think you of fairies, Michael ? I have thought I heard their feet along the green, their voices ’mid the sunny flowers. Yet such creatures could not be in earth or sky. Those who give credence to them, or unto returning spirits, are alike mistaken. No, the soul that sets out for God is never seen of man again ! Let us love, not fear the dead. They are happy away, and in their own country. They wander by sunny slopes—fountains that flow, and flowers that blow, in the paradise of God. There, too, is my little sister, ever sweet, ever young, and waiting for me. And she will kiss me when she sees me, and call me her darling ; show me birds, and precious flowers, and jewels to shine in my hair. O Michael, I feel so happy this night: do not you wish you were an angel with God ?”
Now pestilence ran through the land, people loathed all sustenance; strength forsook their limbs, and they grew dark and chill ere they expired.
“God sends health, Michael ; he also sends disease; let us take what comes at his hand. But why, oh, why is the baby cut off at its mother's breast - the father struggling for his infant's bread; the sister in the house, the brother in the field—oh, I understand it not.”
“ It is even so, Marion. God appoints the how and the when. But I have read that after pestilence, people came to replace those that
had been swept away, and that each disease had its remedy; for He would not permit us all to perish, were it even to take us to himself.”
I was not afraid, Marion was not afraid, to die ; but if it must be so, we hoped that it might be together. So we kissed on this pledge, and parted.
But in the still dark night, a mother wept her child, her Marion !
“O mother, weep not so for me, I shall soon, soon be well!”
I ran, grief and despair gnawing at my heart, to seek the minister of health. Even as I implored, he turned his jaded beast, and with a speed that ill agreed with my impatience, we arrived at last. Marion breathed — no more. Feeble, faint, expiring, no aid could stay the current of disease, or arrest the chill cold hand of death.
“ Michael, brother, is it you— I longed to see you once again ; for you see, dear, I am going to die.”
I could not speak, there was a choking at my heart; I staggered, and, faint with running, fell.
“Do not sorrow so for me, darling; I shall keep my promise by you, and your soul shall not fly so fast heaven-ward, that I shall not be there to welcome it. You will not forget the little birds that sang to us by the green, the wild flowers ; they were all I had, Michael, and they were for you. Mother, kiss me, for I was your childfather, bid your Marion farewell, she will climb your knee no more! You are growing old, father, and I not by. Who will help you when your daughter-for you called me your daughter-is gone ? Farewell, dear Michael, brother dear, farewell; you will bear me over the river no more. Do you remember the words of the old
blind man you taught me coming from the school?
• As leaves are begotten, so indeed are men ;
Some the wind bears along the ground,
“ And now, the Holy Mother says—Come ;' and the baby at her breast says—Come;' and my little sister says Come;' and God himself calls me— I come, oh! I come.” And thus the precious child sank into unconsciousness. She never spoke word more ; but passed with such smile as the malady permitted, from a world so rich and yet so full of care, into that spiritual world for which so many bright gifts prepared her.
Nor silk nor satin shrouded her limbs — no cap thralled her yellow hair! What matter, that body had shrined a loving heart-an angel
We laid her beneath the turf, beside a grassy