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Page 150


All felt badly when the little creature sickened. It
was a fearful disease, and the burning skin and the
labored breath spoke painfully of danger. The voice
was hushed that uttered the word danger, and the heart
was pained as the ear caught the fearful sound. Danger
to the darling that love so clung to, and surrounded,
and hemmed in! and alarm awakened more vigilance,
and more loving care. But day by day revealed the
inroads of the insidious disease, burning at the foundation
of the precious life; and hope, that was at first
strong in spite of fear, grew day by day weaker. How
dear she grew! — how much dearer than when in the
fulness of health and beautiful activity; when every
impulse was a joyous outburst of conscious existence;
when her little arms entwined in fond conjunction with
loving arms, and her tender kisses were rained upon
ready lips, as the sacrifice of innocent love! She seemed
doubly dear; and the imploring look for aid, in paroxysms
of pain, sank deep into hearts rendered sad by
a sense of inability to help. At last the crisis came.
The shadow deepened with every moment, and hope
grew less and less; and, when the darkness that comes
before the light of morning rested upon the earth,
another little spirit was added to the multitude that
had gone before, like fruit untimely plucked. Then
was the shadow most opaque and dismal, and the household
was very dreary. But anon the morning broke,
and the sun came up; the gloom of night vanished from
the clear heavens and the bright earth, and it was day.
So with the shadow over the household. A voice came
from the shadow, speaking peace to the saddened hearts.
It spoke of love and trust, and gave sweet assurance


Page 151
that it was no tyrant's hand that had smote the household,
in the wilfulness of power; but that a loving
Father had lifted up the lamb from the weakness and
imperfection of human trust to the eternal fold, above
the storms and sorrows and sins of time; that behind
the darkness of death shone the clear sun of eternal
life, and that the morning would break, and the dreary
shadows of the night, now obscuring its glory, would
flee away; that the loved within the veil were walking
beside us in our darkness, to bear us on and up, their
loving hands still clasped in ours! Then the household
shadow changed, and a holy light played around it;
and, though it was still a shadow, and hid the loved
from view, a trust born of faith said, It is well, and the
stricken spirits bowed submissively to the will of Heaven.