Imágenes de páginas

tarily. Mary flung one arm around him, and feebly strove to drag him forward, when with a tremendous crash, the main supporters of the bridge gave way under them, and in an instant they were precipitated amid its wrecks into the raging waters.

There were those who beheld this spectacle, and a wild cry of agony arose amid the din of destruction, but it came not from the lips of the struggling sufferers. William Halleck had come forth to look for his children, and warn them of the freshet. Just as he reached the top of the rising ground opposite the one they had descended, he beheld them with horror, attempting to cross the tottering bridge. It was but for a moment; as he sprang forward at the sight, a fearful sound broke on his ear, and in another moment they were snatched from his gaze.

There was a short interval of confusion, shouts, and cries. Friends and neighbors came running over the hill to the scene of destruction, and there were pale, dismayed faces, hasty suggestions, and wild efforts to discover and save the drowning victims; but all in vain. Suddenly, the frantic father descried his Henry sitting apparently in security upon some of the wrecks of the bridge which had become jammed together, and were arrested in their progress near the mill. At the same moment, the whole group caught sight of Mary, carried alive and struggling over the milldam. With one impulse they rushed down the banks and round the mill, to her rescue. The father followed his neighbors with hurried steps and trembling knees, casting a single glance to ascertain that Henry was indeed safe, and calling to him, as he passed, not to stir till his return. Henry seemed not to hear. He sat motionless, and crouching down in the extremity of his terror, uttering quick, low shrieks. They were lost in the tumult, and he was left alone.

The father came down to the flat rocks below the mill, just as the bruised, dripping, and lifeless body of his daughter was drawn 'out of the water. With sad countenances and silent lips, her two elder brothers laid the pale corpse — for such it was- on a board, and carried it hastily up to the village with a vain hope of resuscitation. The father followed it a few moments anxiously ; and then, suddenly recollecting his helpless blind boy, he went with one or two neighbors to bring him to his desolate home.

Henry was where he had left him, bowed down, silent, motionless. The father's look grew fixed and earnest as he drew nigh. He strode hastily over the heaps of timber and ruin, stooped to lift his child, and uttered a cry of horror. The lower limbs of the poor blind boy were wedged fast between two heavy beans of the demolished bridge, and he had fainted with excess of agony. Wild and almost superhuman were the efforts, with which the father strove to relieve his child from a situation so horrible; but it was not till his friends came with axe and hatchet, with calmer heads and steadier hands, to his assistance, that the sufferer was extricated.

It was a night of grief and agony beneath the roof of William Halleck. The remains of the fair, gentle, and pious Mary lay stretched on her own little bed in one ,room, and in the next, father, mother, brothers, and sisters hung weeping round the couch of the suffering Henry. Acute, indeed, were the pains with which it pleased God to visit the youthful saint; and saint-like indeed was the resignation with which those pains were borne. But about midnight his agoniés were suddenly calmed, and hope fluttered for a moment in the heavy hearts of those who loved him.

It was but for a moment. The physician announced that the process of mortification had begun, and death was drawing nigh. All at once the voice of the blind boy was heard, calling his mother in a faint but calm voice. She came to his bedside, and he took hold of her hand. Then he asked for his father, brothers, and sisters. They all came. He touched each, and said, “ Mary is not here."

No one spoke, but he felt his mother's hand quiver in his.

“ Mary is drowned,” said he ; “God has taken her to be an angel. Do not sob, mother, because she and I are to be so much happier than we ever could be on earth. Let me tell you of what Mary and I were talking this very morning, and you will see that God has kindly called us away, at the very time when we were most willing, perhaps most fit, to die.

Then he told them briefly all that had passed that day, and, after a moment's pause, added;

“ Father and mother! I thank God for taking me away so young; and so too did Mary. You will be saved much trouble, much care; and we shall find no temptation, no sin, where we are going. Mary will

never suffer pain and sickness again; and I, the poor blind boy, that never saw even your dear face, mother, I shall behold God. My eyes will be opened, and I shall

go from a world of darkness into a world of light. Promise me, all of you, that you will not sit down and mourn for me when I am dead; you will observe how wise and good it was that Mary and I should both die young. I have been a happy boy. God gave you a sick child and a blind one to try your patience and virtue, and you have borne the trial well. You have been very kind to us both ; you never said a harsh thing to your blind boy. We have lived just long enough to try your submission, but not long enough to be a heavy burden all your lives to you; and now God has taken us away, just as we could have wished, together, and at the best of times to die — the best for you, the best for us. Sometimes it is hard to see why things should be as they are ; but this is an easy matter to understand. I am sure it is right, and I am happy!”

Henry Halleck never spoke again; but his last words had breathed comfort into the hearts of his parents, which dwelt there enduringly with his memory.

He lingered till morning. The first red beams of that sun he had never seen, fell on his pale features and sightless eyes.

He felt his mother drawing open the curtain of the little window at his bedside, that she might behold his face more plainly. With a faint smile on bis lips, he turned towards her; it became fixed, and with a short spasm, his innocent spirit passed suddenly and peacefully into the world he had panted to know.

Death had at last come under the roof of William

Halleck, and summoned the young, fair, and good ; but he had come in visible kindness.

When the dispensation is dark, dreadful, and mysterious, latent good is still there; and the true christian seeks for it — and if he finds it not, still adores without doubting.

PHILANTHROPY. PHILANTHROPY is a great and benevolent, a kind, generous disposition of soul, which, soaring above narrow and selfish views, and dark and malevolent passions, takes pleasure in the happiness and prosperity of mankind. No private views, nor selfish motives, nor personal resentments, can induce it to sacrifice the great interests of mankind to its own, or to violate the sacred obligations, which bind society together.

Justice and truth, fidelity and integrity, humanity and compassion are weighty considerations, infinitely paramount to every private satisfaction, and could it invariably regulate the world by its dictates, it would soon become a kind of celestial habitation, where every mean, selfish, and malevolent passion would cease to exist.


Oh! thus let every hour of life afford

Deeds worthy for your conscience to record;
Duties perform’d, time zealously employ'd,

Talents improved, and happiness enjoy'd ;
Errors corrected, sins and failings mourn’d,

Blessings received and grateful praise return'd.

« AnteriorContinuar »