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far more serious delay.
“ Of course,”
“ for to-morrow I shall not be there. If said the attendant, “ anything is better than you see me again, kind stranger, it must having recourse to violence.” · Then,” be at home. May God bless you, and said I, "you accede to my request ?" guide you on your way." The cart was “ Only," replied he, with a provoking already in motion, but he looked back once smile, " in case all other methods fail ; but more, and waved his hand as he said, as the delay would be a real inconvenience * Good-by, sir. Remember that we all to us, you must permit me first to try my are going home !" powers of persuasion. Let me now beg They were the last words I heard him of you, whatever surprise you may feel, speak, and it is perhaps from that cause to be careful to express none. He again that they made so strong an impression on lowered his voice as he said these words, my mind; for often since then, when I and, in spite of the dislike inspired by the have been tempted to wander from the self-confidence of his manner, and of other right path, or to murmur as I walked along stronger emotions, my curiosity was ex- it, I have thought upon the old man's partcited to know how he would proceed. He ing warning, and asked myself the quesplaced himself opposite to the old man, so tion, “ Am I not going home ?" as to intercept his view of the village, and then, having fixed his eye calmly and Not many months elapsed, and I was steadfastly upon him, with an appearance informed that the old man had indeed gone of real interest, thus soothingly addressed home; and on visiting the asylum I asked him: “I would gladly go on with you, to see the room which poor Robin had ocRobin ; but am sure you are under some cupied. mistake. Your wife and children cannot • This is it, sir,” said my conductor, as be in yonder village ; they are not there, he threw open the door of a low narrow they are at home. Come quietly with me cell. “ You will find it smaller and more now, and perhaps this evening you may comfortless than many others, but it is the go home also.”
one in which he was placed when he was These simple words touched some hid- first brought here ; and he had become so den chord in the old man's heart, and fond of his little window, and the view totheir effect was almost magical. All other ward the East, that it would have been a feelings passed away, and I forgot the mistaken kindness to force him to change presence of his companions, as I watched it.” the change which they produced. His I scarcely heard the words of apology, features became composed, his hand re
for I felt a sudden thrill as I found myself laxed its hold, and his voice resumed its ushered thus unexpectedly into the chamformer tranquil tone, as he slowly repeated : ber of death. The old man was lying “ They are not there, they are at home ; upon his narrow bed, and a stream of they are not there, they are at home. light through the open window fell upon True, very true; they are not there, they his tranquil countenance. A single glance are at home."
was sufficient to tell me not only that he Presently he raised his eyes to heaven, was indeed dead, but that his end had been and the attendants, no less than myself, full of peace. There was no convulsion were overawed by the solemnity of his of the features, and the first symptoms of
There was a silence of a few decay had not yet appeared. seconds, during which he seemed to listen had been left unclosed, but the wandering intently ; and then, as though he had heard light was no longer there, and the smile some echo from above, which confirmed which from time to time had been wont to the hope that had been held out to him, play across his lips, rested quietly upon he confidently added : “And I also shall them now. The one idea that his look go home; and this very evening I shall be and posture alike conveyed to the mind there."
was that of perfect tranquillity and repose. I was now forced to bid adieu to the old I felt that his long journey had at length
He appeared so sorry to leave me, been finished, and that the old man was at that I promised to come and see him. I rest in his home. did not like to use the word asylum, so I My companion also seemed for a while said at his dwelling-place.
absorbed in thought. He advanced softly “Not in my dwelling-place,” he said, to the bedside, and it was not until, with
a gentle hand, he had closed the old man's , expressed so earnest a wish that the chapeyes, that he broke the silence by observ- lain should be sent for." ing, " Ah, sir, morning after morning I “And did you refuse ?" I asked. have found him lying thus, and gazing • Fortunately not, sir," he replied. “I through the open window. His sight was hesitated at first, for it was very late, and gradually becoming very weak from the poor Robin was evidently much exhausted glare of light, but he was unconscious of it with the fatigue and excitement of the himself. And it was but yesterday he told day. But he became so anxious about it, me that in a little while he should be no that
wife interceded for him, and told longer dazzled by the brightness of his me she thought he would go to sleep more home. Poor fellow! when I came into quietly after he had been here. I well the room a few hours since, and saw his remember now the peculiar emphasis with eyes so calm and motionless, though the which the old man repeated her words, full rays of the sun were falling upon and said, 'Yes, yes, I shall doubtless go them, I knew that he must be dead, and to sleep more quietly after he has been could not help thinking how singularly his here.' It almost seemed as though he words had come true.”
felt his end to be near at hand." There was something in the tone of I begged to know what passed at his voice in which this description was given, interview with the chaplain. My comthat proved the speaker to have some se- panion, however, could give me no incret feeling of its allegorical meaning, formation as to the first part of it, for the though he himself would probably have old man had desired to be left alone with been unable to define it.
him, and his wish had been at once inA Bible and Prayer Book were lying on dulged. “But," he continued, “ on our the table by the bedside. I turned to the return to the room, we found him looking fly-leaf of the former, in the hope that I more light and cheerful than we had ever might at least gather from it the poor before seen him ; and when I congratuwanderer's name. There was written in lated him, he said that it was no wonder, it, “ Susan Wakeling; the first gift of her for a very heavy burden had been taken husband, April 18th, 1776." And when
away. The chaplain then told us that he I remembered the old man's great age, I proposed to administer to him the Holy conjectured that the sacred volume must Communion, and invited my wife and myformerly have been his own wedding pres- self to partake of it with him. It is a ent to his bride. I replaced it on the point on which I have always felt doubttable, and it opened of its own accord at ful, for persons in the state of poor Robin the eleventh chapter of the Epistle to the must have very indistinct views of the real Hebrews. The page was much worn, as nature of a sacrament. In this case the though it had not only been often read, but old man's own expression proved it; for, many tears had fallen upon it. My eye as he joined in the chaplain's request, he quickly rested on the passage, “ These all told us that he was going on a long jourdied in faith .... and confessed that they ney, and might require the food to support were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. him on the way.” For they that say such things declare • Nay,” I could not help observing, plainly that they seek a country. And, surely his journey lay through the valley truly, if they had been mindful of that of the shadow of death, and he meant that country from whence they came out, they his soul would be refreshed on its passage might have had opportunity to have re- by the body and blood of Christ, even as turned. But now they desire a better the body is by bread and wine." country, that is, a heavenly." And My companion shook his head as he rewhile I read, it seemed as though I had plied:“ I believe, sir, Robin used the words found the text to the old man's history. literally, but the chaplain took the same
I inquired whether the chaplain used to view of them with yourself, and it was a come often to see him. “Very frequent- point for him and not me to decide. Cerly," was the reply. “He took great in- tainly nothing could be more grave or terest in poor Robin, and the old man was attentive than the old man's manner dur. grateful for it.” “It certainly was singu- ing the whole ceremony. And it may be lar,” he added, thoughtfully, “ that on his that some glimmering of returning reason return yesterday evening, he should have was sent to prepare him for the approach
of death. Such cases are not of uncom- they crowded round me to know if it were mon occurrence."
true.” I could not help thinking that, in spirit “ And did you," I asked, “then tell ual things, poor Robin had not needed its them that he was dead ?" light; but I made no further reply ; and “ Not in so many words,” he replied. my companion resumed his narrative. “I merely said that he was already gone
" When the service was over, the old home, and that they must not expect to man merely squeezed the chaplain's hand see him here again. And more than one in parting, but did not speak to him. I voice exclaimed in reply, “ Happy, happy also soon afterward went away, but my Robin, to be taken home !'” wife stayed for some time longer watching Still I observed that I had remarked on by his bedside. He remained perfectly the countenance of many of the patients still and silent, though his eyes were open. an expression of sadness. At length she asked him whether he did " True," he answered, " for with them not feel tired, and wish to go to sleep. the transition of feeling from joy to grief And she tells me, that he smiled like a is very rapid. They are not, however, little infant, as he replied, “O no, not at sorrowing for poor Robin, but for themall tired; for all that wearied me has been selves, because they have not been allowed taken away. And then, after a pause, he to accompany him.
There were some, in added, But you may wish me good-night the first instance, who were very loud in now, for I shall be asleep very soon.' He their complaints ; but I soothed them by spoke in so cheerful a tone, that my wife saying that it was right the old man should little thought they were his last words, go first, because he had been here so long." and she left him, as she fancied, to repose. After a pause, he continued : “ It is my But it was a sleep from which he never own wish, as well as the chaplain's, that woke again. Ah, sir,” he continued, “it many of them should attend the funeral, seems a sad thing to die thus forsaken and for I would gladly pay this tribute of realone ; and yet, after all, many who have spect to Robin's memory. And yet I am kind friends and relatives round their sick half reluctant to give way to it: the rebeds might envy poor Robin his peaceful membrance of the scene might afterward end. He went off so quietly at last, that throw some gloom over the bright and those who slept in the room adjoining happy notions which they have now formed were not disturbed during the night by the of his home." slightest sound.
But early this morning, I replied that it might be so ; " and when I came to inquire after him, he was yet," I added, "they would find in the lying just as you now see him, quite thanksgivings and prayers of the burial dead !"
service only the exact echo of their own The deep feeling with which these words joy and sorrow
said this, I were pronounced, convinced me that he could not help feeling that the scene after was no less touched than myself by the the old man's death had been in perfect contemplation of the outward tranquillity harmony with his life, and that poor
Robin of the old man's death. But who can was rightly rejoiced over and rightly realize the inward peace that must have mourned. been there when the body fell asleep, and Mingled with conflicting emotions, the the soul was released from its long im- question from time to time arose in my prisonment, and carried by angels on its mind, “ And was poor Robin really mad?” homeward journey!
And again it was only my own infirmAs we left the old man's room, I in- ity which caused me to shrink from the quired whether there were many who reply. It is hard, indeed, to define madmourned his loss. A smile again crossed ness; and the state of his intellect prothe features of my companion, as he re- bably varied from time to time. Thus plied:
have been almost without a cloud “ There are many of the patients who during my brief interview with him. The loved him dearly, but I can scarcely speak stillness of the evening, and the unison of of them as mourners now. A report spread his own thoughts with the surrounding among them this morning that Robin was scene, may have breathed a soothing ingoing home ; I cannot tell from what quar- fluence upon his mind. And yet, when I ter it arose, but when I came to them, reflected calmly on that very interview, I
felt that they were right in not suffering | earthly objects, because to his eye one the old man to travel alone along the jour- unfading color was resting upon them all;
and that his mere intellectual faculties His was the second childhood ; simple, remained weak and palsied, because out pure, and holy as the first, and yet, in his of this very weakness he had been made case, no less than the first, requiring a strong, and he was at all times conscious protector's care. He spoke and thought of the presence of a surer support and as a child, and children could understand safer guide. him ; but the calm mirror of his mind And what matters it, if it were so? quickly grew troubled in his intercourse Why may we not revere poor Robin, and with men, and he then lost the power of love him, and learn from him, and yet not explaining his thoughts, or perhaps of shrink from acknowledging that his reahimself distinguishing between the shadow son had gone astray ? Surely, there is and the substance, the things of sight and no one who would not gladly leave the the things of faith. Reason had resigned hard, dull road of life, if only they could her sway during the mental conflict which wander with him along the same bright had been caused by his calamities; and and happy paths ! though peace and quietness had been re- I wandered from the old man's late home stored, she never had attained sufficient to the village of B- where I made vigor to resume it again. Nay, more ; it many inquiries after him, but all who knew may be that her lamp was the more dim him had passed away. At length I was and uncertain, on account of the brighter directed to the cabin of an aged woman, and clearer light which from that time who had lived to see four generations, but burned unceasingly in his soul. It is pos- whose memory had become impaired; she, sible that he was slow in observing the however, had
ney of life.
reason left direct different shades of color that passed across me to the churchyard, where, she said, I
would find all the information I required, weeds, but my own eye grew dim with to which place I at once repaired. tears, as one by one the few sad words re
The evening was drawing on as I entered vealed to me the secret of the old man's it. I was alone ; and as I trod, with a history. His restlessness during the cautious reverence, upon the green sod, spring, the object of his last solitary jourthere was no sound to break the tranquillity ney, and parts of his conversation with of the scene, save the ripple of the waters myself, which before had seemed obscure, at the edge of the cliff on which the church were now fully explained. The inscripyard stood. Their restless motion only tion was as follows : made me feel the more deeply the stillness
Sacred to the memory of of the hallowed ground itself; and I thought that if the old man had been with me, he
SUSAN, WIFE OF ROBERT WAKELING, might have found in it an apt emblem of the Who died April 18, 1783, aged 28 years. quiet resting place of the dead, lying on
Also of their children, the very borders of the sea of life, and yet ALICE, HENRY, AND EDWARD, untroubled by its murmuring, and sheltered Who survived her only a few days. from its storms.
There was room on the stone for one I was not long in discovering the ob
name more, and it was there that I added ject which I sought. The rays of the set
the words : ting sun at once directed me to a stone at
Also of the eastern extremity of the churchyard.
ROBERT WAKELING, It was distinguished from those around by
Who died April 18, 1843, aged 93 years. a simple cross; but in spite of the soft light that was now shed upon it, it was They remain as a simple record that the with difficulty that I deciphered the inscrip- old man was indeed united at last, in body tion which it bore. For not only was the as well as spirit, to those whom he had so tomb itself thickly covered with moss and dearly loved, and mourned so long.