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man made his appearance in my little shop, the door, so that I could do nothing but and inquired for tinder. I served him shut it too and ask him to step into our as I should any one else. He was a long room, for, with the door shut, we could time in choosing; I gave him my advice, hardly have turned round in the little shop. and at length he went off without my think. As it was, he was covered with snow, and I ing more about him than that he was a kind- should have liked to have shaken it off, but mannered gentleman, had a lovely voice, did not, out of respect. and no doubt sang well. I wished I could “ From that time we got on more friendly hear him.
terms, and he used to come, not only into “ The next Monday he again appeared the shop, but the room, to have a look at suddenly before me, and quite startled me, the rose-tree. My father thought a great for I had entirely forgotten him. He was deal of him, both because it was an honour full .of praises of the tinder, and inquired to be on familiar terms with the clergy, whether we had tobacoo as well, his being and because he listened so patiently to my nearly done. I said we had ; and he said as father's droll stories, and would laugh at he had been so much pleased with the tin- them heartily, which was a new thing to my der, he might trust us as to tobacco, and I dear father, who hardly ever met with anyhad to put him up a small parcel, which I one who had not heard them before. did in fear and trembling, lest he should Now people even began to tease me not approve it. At last Monday came about a love affair. I looked upon it mereagain, and he too, saying he had never ly as one of their customary jokes, and bought any tobacoo so good as ours, strange laughed with them. All I feared was, that to say; but it was not always the largest the curate might come to hear of it, and get shops that had the best things, and in future his tobacco elsewhere, which would have he should get everything he could from us. been a loss any way, particularly to my faI did not know what to say in reply; and ther, who so enjoyed a talk with him.” but that he spoke so kindly, I should have At that we both smiled, and the sheriff's thought he was surely laughing at us. lady said,
“ In the evening I told my father that a gen- “But you; my dear madam, 'would you tleman had been to the shop, who meant al- not have been grieved, too, if the curate ways to buy his tobacco from us, and I should had left off his visits ? ” like to know his name. When my father “ No doubt I should, afterwards,” she rehad asked what he was like, and heard that plied, “ but I was not conscious then of my he always appeared on a Monday, he pro- own real feelings. To be sure, I used to nounced that it must be the Helmsvale cu- think what a fine position a pastor's wife rate, who was in the habit of coming to town lad: how she could have her own way in on that day, and got laughed at because he house and garden, and go about her parish always bought a small bottle of some sto- like a queen amongst the other women, parmachic elixir at the apothecary's. It made ticularly if she had such a good, learned me very angry, to think that people should gentleman for her husband as the curate laugh at so kind a gentleman; and next time was. But that such good fortune could he came I was the more attentive, because ever fall to me didn't enter my head, nor I felt sorry for him. He chatted, too, long- did he give me any room for thinking of it. er than usual, and when I called him Reve- He was not one of the young gentry, who rend Sir, seemed pleased at my knowing pay compliments to every girl they meet. who he was. He told me that Monday af- Nothing of the kind ever passed his lips ; ternoon was the only time he had for recrea- he was kind, but grave; always called me tion; early on Tuesday he had to set to Miss Susan; never shook hands with me; work again studying for the following Sun- never spoke of settling, or of future prosday.
pects, or bragged about his sermons; only "Now then I became fonder than ever of sighed sometimes over his difficulty in comthe Sunday, because Monday came next. posing them.” All the week through I used to think, . Oh, 6. Those men are the most dangerous of if Monday was but here !' and I was always all, my de lady,” I broke in; "they only in great alarm lest my father should send humble themselves that they may be praised me out on a Monday afternoon, and the by others.” curate find no one in the shop, and so buy “No, indeed no; that he never did; he his tobacco elsewhere.
was far too sincere for that ; he was not like “ On one occasion, just as he had pocketed folks now-a-days. And it would bave done his purchases, a sudden snow-storm came on. him no good either. I could not have It got quite dark, and the snow blew in at praised him, nor should I like to have told
him what people said ; that they were | fusion, murmured something about not getting rather tired of him at Helmsvale : leaving my father, for how could the shop he had been there so long — not that there be carried on without me? was much to find fault with, either, except “ Then came the best of all. If that was that he was so short in stature.
all the objection Miss Susan had to make, “ But one Monday came and did not he said, he had anticipated it, and could, he bring him, and waiting and watching were thought, overcome it. He was about to all in vain ; the whole week through not a propose that my father should live with us ; creature came from Helmsvale of whom I it would be a great benefit to him if he might inquire whether the curate was sick. could make up his mind to do so. There To be sure, he had missed one Monday be- was glebe land with the parsonage that he fore, but then he had told me of it before should not know what to do with; he did hand, and taken two packets of tobacco. not understand country pursuits, and my Ah! it was a long week, indeed, and my fa- father did most thoroughly, he knew, and ther and I did nothing but wonder what could therefore be of the greatest assistance had happened to him. The following Mon- to him. day the weather was so dreadful ihat we 4. The next morning the news was all decided he never could come. However, over the town, and before noon our own pason the mere chance, I thought I would make tor came to tell my father that, having it twelve o'clock a little earlier than usual, heard such a report, he felt it his duty to so as to get our dinner well over and things come and warn him of it, and he sincerely all out of the way, and have time to-- well, regretted that his daughter should have been I will not say dress myself a little, my fa- so indiscreet as to carry on a flirtation with ther would have given me a proper leeture a curate. Then my father replied that I for that — but at all events it could do no had done nothing of the kind, but that the harm if I gave my face an extra wash, and curate had been appointed to a living, and chanced to put on the kerchief I wore on that quite unexpectedly I had become enSunday.
gaged to him yesterday. Our minister “ As we were in the middle of our dinner, would not believe it, and thought we had a knock came to the door, which indeed of- mistaken jest for earnest; but when he was ten lappened, for people had a way of leav- really convinced, he wished me grace to ing things under our care, and my father profit by my good fortune. But I was still, called out, . Come in.' And in came - his he said, far from being qualified for such a reverence the curate. Perhaps we had position, and gladly would he lend me all heard that he had been appointed to the the assistance he could, and I might come living of Garnetbill?
to his house whenever I liked. He added “ No, indeed; and very kind we took it that he must say he never should have exof the reverend gentleman that he should pected such a thing : but it was true enough take the trouble
of announcing this to us that still waters run deep. himself. But there was more to come, * You can easily imagine the noise which quite overwhelmed both my father it made in our little town; but no one and me.
He went on to ask me in mar- seemed to grudge me my happiness, not riage, and dwelt so beautifully on his being even those at the parsonage, where there an orphan, and alone in the world, and were seven daughters. Everybody was that he wanted a wife to be father, mother, kind to me, and seemed to think that my and all in all to him, that I can't help cry- good fortune was an honour. ing to this very day when I think it over. “I had to go over to B- where I had Then he told how that he thought he had never been before. It was a grand day for found all he wanted in me, in such a way me, and I enjoyed it much, only with fear that my father wept out loud like a child, so and trembling. He led me everywhere by did not know whether he was pleased or the hand, else I should never have had not. When he ceased speaking, neither of courage to walk about, and it was a great us could answer him a word. And thus I, relief to me when we left the gates behind a poor gate-kecper's daughter, was to be- us.
a pastor's wife, and a citizen of “ The following day was the most importB! It was too much for my head ant in my life ; it was that on which our to take in: it did not seem real. I felt as banns were given out, and we went to if in a dream.
church together. After that we were busy, “My father was the first to get the use indeed. My father was resolved to leave of his tongue, and he went on about the none of our poor furniture behind. What honour, and our poverty, and I, in my con- we had, he said, we need not buy, and that
was money saved at all events; added to viction that it could never last. For small which, under his auspices, the curate as our income really was, our wants being bought some very nice things; and as to still less, we always felt ourselves to have presents, I had so many I was quite ashamed. all and abound, and I do not believe a hapI never could have believed people had pier household could have been found than been so fond of us. At first we thought we ours for many, many a year. bad better not have all our effects carried “ The first blow was my father's sudden to the parsonage at once, but my father de- death. He had retained his energies so cided that the sight of such a load would completely that we never thought of losing inspire the parishioners
ers with respect, and him. He made a sad gap in our life ; we went with it a day before, to get all ready missed him in every way. And then we for us. The next morning we got quietly had no children, and began to feel a conmarried, and that evening arrived at the scientious scruple in living so completely to parsonage.
ourselves, while others were oppressed by 6. Our new pastor's wife is still quite a family cares.. We thought God meant us child,' the villagers said; “but she is one to come to this conclusion, and had sent my of the children who will turn out a good father's death to point us to it.
Then we kind of woman; she has no pride.' Oh, on, were childishly delighted to find a little indeed, I was not proud: I only felt that orphan, to whom we both took — a lovely Heaven had opened and taken me in. boy, with light curling bair; and we re
“ Many laughed at us, no doubt, but we joiced in the thought of bringing him up were not aware of it. And then we, well — the more so, that he came of a very especially my husband, had such a genuine wild stock. We got inexpressibly fond of goodwill to all men, that the laughter soon the child; he was our little idol; never off died down, and it was allowed that he was the lap of one or the other, and allowed to one of the right sort, and would help every have his own way in everything. Yes, inone if he could. But it was my father who deed, we forgot our garden and our orchard was the most looked up to. He had just in our new treasure ; he might pull our best the proper self-respect; sat quite at his ease apples, or knock off the heads of our pretin our mayor's company, and had always tiest flowers: we could not make up our plenty to talk of, as well as plenty to do, minds to thwart him, though we looked on for our glebe, and especially our orchard, in sorrow and dismay. We thought that kept his hands full. We lived very much to he only behaved so ill because he knew no ourselves. The village was remote: nor had better, and would get more manageable bywe much intercourse with the other pastors and-by. round; my husband was shy, and I still “ But no; on the contrary, he grew more so. I can quite understand that we worse and worse, ruder, and more defiant. were of little value in society; for, if not Do what we would we could not elicit a stupid, we could not prove ourselves the re- spark of love or a trace of sorrow. He
But we were none the less happy was a tyrant to all other children in the for that. My husband with his flock, my village, and brought down much censure father with his fields, and I with my garden upon us for our bad bringing up of him;
- the narrower our interests, the more en- in short, he was a heart-break to us every grossing they seemed, and the joy of one way. was shared by the other two. And our . God knows what would have become of joys were new, day by day; each season us all at last if our dear Lord had not mercibrought baskets full, and we were like chil- fully taken matters into his own hand. He dren in our delight over our crops. My removed the boy out of our keeping: sent his husband often declared that he had never angel, Death, to bring him away to Himself. believed any human being could be so We understood at last how gracious God blest, and least of all himself.
had been in freeing us from a self-imposed "Nor was my father less happy than my responsibility. He gave us no children. husband : and moreover he ascribed all our He knew our hands were too weak to rule prosperity to his own efforts. We should see, them. Why should we have tried to be he said, how differently things would go on but wiser than He, and to undertake duties He for him; we were but a foolish inexperienced had not imposed ? For all that He would pair, and had no idea of management. And not suffer a soul to be lost through our we fully believed him. We both felt that we folly: The boy was not left to grow mature were blest far above our deserts, and indeed in sin or to die hardened, nor we to the I was so childish that I often felt quite agonizing conviction of his spiritual ruin ashamed of it, and almost sad in the con- lying at our door
" This was our season of bitterest trial, make the two ends meet; to which he reand taught us to feel the incompleteness of plied, of course not,' and he would look this world. After it was over, our days me out a lodging in B Ah! that again flowed on peacefully and lovingly, was a season of weeping, and the consolaeach brought some good and most sweet tions of my neighbours about the firewood joy. We became very skilful in the cul- gratis, and other perquisites, only made me tivation of fruit and vegetables, and our more wretched. I began to fancy they garden supplied half our neighbours. were tired of me, and were glad I was
" And so it was, that a long series of going away, which distressed me bityears glided away, and we were already terly, yet made my nerves easier. When getting old, when my husband suddenly at length the parting came, my heart died. This blow, I had never thought of nearly broke. The trees were all in full He had not been laid up at all, and scarcely blossom, but many eyes, too, were wet, and seemed less well than usual. He was always many an old woman said to me: “I shall rather given to doctoring himself
, probably not know what to do with myself when you because he had been delicate from child- are gone. Here we shall never meet again, hood, so that it seemed a thing of course but please God we shall elsewhere, and that he should be slightly ailing, and a little perhaps before long. I am breaking every more or less was not easily observed. It day, and you are dreadfully pulled down of was a thunderbolt out of a cloudless sky late.' when I so suddenly lost him. Then I dis- “ And now I found myself in a broad covered the whole extent of my love for stony street, and knew no one but the him: that I had lived, as it were, in his life guardian of the widow and orphans' fund; for nearly forty years: that he had been my and if I chanced to see him, I always felt as father, my husband, my child - my all! if he were the bear out of the pit coming And yet at first I could not estimate all to devour me. It was ungrateful of me, too, that was buried in his grave. The village for he had cared for me like a father - had had become my world: I knew of none taken this room, and put all I wanted into outside it. All my hope and consolation it, and at the same time admonished me would have been in remaining there, with sharply not to become a useless gadabout, my dear trees, near my church, near his as most of the pastors' widows who came to grave.
The smallest room would have B-did. Alas! he meant well, but he been enough for me, and I knew of one little knew how wide of the mark he was. that suited perfectly. We had never saved Timid by nature, and made more so by sorany money; true, we had spent little on row, I never made an acquaintance — nay, ourselves; but that people were aware of, at first I never ventured out of my room, and therefore they required the more, and saw no trees, no flowers, heard no song of we both were fond of giving, and so birds. I learnt then what is meant by nothing could be put by. But when every dying of depression - of the feeling that thing was sold, there was a small sum you are forsaken by every living being, are left; and besides, I had a claim on two nothing to anybody in all the world, made widows' funds, and therefore hoped to be to live on without sympathy and without able to live on the proceeds. But the gen- affection. tleman in office would not hear of it. He “ And so for some terrible weeks I did live, told me plump and plain that I was a and should soon have died, but that God in stupid woman, and did not understand the mercy put it into my head to bring some case, and that when I had removed from the living thing or other into my room.
I venparsonage, and had everything to buy, I tured as far as the market, and all at once should have great difficulty in getting on; found myself restored to a familiar world. whereas, if I lived at B- -, there were civil 1 was acquainted with everything in the rights that I could have the benefit of stalls, and accustomed to speak to country But I thought I should have died at the women. I bought a few flower-pots, and very idea of moving, and therefore had the next my little bird, and later took to going courage to oppose him. • Very well, try it,' daily to the market. That was my life, and said he; • we shall soon see who is right.' when I got accustomed to walking about I
“ Alas! he was right; but I will not go soon found other places where I could enover all my sorrowful experience of how joy trees and flowers, especially the beautimuch kindness and consideration for me ful churchyard and pleasure-gardens outwas buried in my husband's grave. I had side the town, where no one goes on workto write and tell the guardian I could not ing-days. And so I gradually got reconciled to the town, but I made no acquaint- ing after her beloved husband's grave, and ance except the market-women, who were she should like too to see how the trees had always kind to me.
grown in the parsonage orchard, and “ And so I lived a quietly happy life whether there were any persons left who here, such as I did not believe it possible to still remembered her. When I brought her know again: and if ever I fell into low home a present from any of the market-wospirits, my little bird would come and peck men, she still showed áll a child's delight, at me till I began to play with bim. Then, and would almost weep for joy. But gradI found my money go much further than in ually, indeed, they ceased to remember her the country, for no one ever asked me in the market. Everything gets forgotten for anything, so that sometimes I am at last; only to prevent her finding it out, I ashamed of spending all upon myself, and went on bringing her little gifts, as if from think anxiously how I shall answer when the women themselves, and each of them God asks me what I have done for the poor. was a solace to her spirit. I have to confess to the guardian whenever It was the will of the Lord that she he brings me my money, that I am far bet- should die. One morning, just as the sun ter off here than in Helmsvale. He never began to gild her little room, she gently lets me off. He is a worthy man, but slipped away, without even one deep-drawn when I see him I never can help thinking breath; the bird alone, who was sitting on of the bear in the pit. Once he invited me her pillow, witnessed her departure, flutto dinner, but I am sure we were all equally tered wildly about her head, perched on her glad when it was over. His wife is a smart, shoulder, sang as loudly as he could, as talkative lady, and I don't believe I got out though he would waken her, and when he ten words; and once back in my little room, could not waken her drooped his wings and I felt exactly as though I had been in the sat dull and listless in the same place withbear's den, and unexpectedly got out alive. out moving. In a few hours all his feathers I never was so stupid in my life. It is to looked rough, and in the evening when we be hoped they won't judge other pastors' were going to put him to roost as usual, we widows by me; it would be wronging them found he was gone to roost for ever; he lay greatly. But I am thankful no other in- dead on her shoulder where in life he had vitations ever came, and I went on living sat so constantly; he had followed his kind in my quiet way, and very grateful for it to mistress ; he could not endure to be without God, till He was pleased to visit me with her loving care for a single day. It is but this trial, and I found out that I could no seldom man so clings to man. We miss and longer get on alone. And now how grate- mourn each other, indeed; but hearts are ful to Him ought I not to be for having sent not often torn to bleeding, to say nothing me his good angels in my hour of need.” of their breaking outright.
Such was the widow's tale, but not told Well, her loss left a large gap in my life - in the course of one afternoon, for talking too; a gap such as I seldom experienced, tired her, and yet it did her good. In her and for which my cousin, the guardian, intensely quiet life she had garnered up much took me severely to task. He could not, he of thought and feeling, of which she was said, comprehend my grieving thus after scarcely conscious. Her heart was over-full: her: we were in no way related; not even our sympathy unlocked it, and it evidently in the same social circle; our acquaintancecheered and refreshed her to tell us what ship had not lasted for many months, thereshe had experienced.
fore my depression was not natural, but afBut she grew more and more feeble. I fected, abnormal, sentimental: all the board think hers was naturally a very fragile con- of guardians of the orphan institution constitution; healthy so long as day passed after sidered it in that light, and had discussed it day in the same quiet uniformity, but in- with great disapprobation. capable of sustaining a sudden shock. Per- As the Pastor's Widow had no relations, haps, too, there may have been some latent no one took any notice of her death but the constitutional disease, which the accident said board, who exactly filled the mourningrapidly brought to a crisis.
coach that followed her coffin. Thus her deShe lived on a little while, but it seemed parture made no stir on earth ; was passed as if her life were all spiritual. She ex- over in utter silence. Bat so much greater pressed herself far more fervently. Her was the joy in heaven of the angels who feelings appeared more lively than in the had long known and loved her, when she first part of her illness. She spoke much of came to join them, and with them to bless making a little journey to Helmsvale when and praise the Lord, as only they who are she recovered. She had such an intense long-pure in heart may.