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Well, so far as we can judge, the beasts have no hope nor expectation of another existence. And it seems to me that God would be likely to impart a hope that He designed to fulfil, inasmuch as He never implants one that He means to disappoint."
"I don't know about that," he answered, in a vague, in ward tone. "I once hoped to be-happy."
"You can be yet, sir, if you will seek for happiness in that only, narrow path which leads to it. They who choose to walk in the broad way of self-indulgence, and the pride of human reason, are fools, deceiving their own selves."
"And rich,” he continued, in the same dreamy voice. "Yes, sir, with the riches that do not perish in the using."
"And handsome and brilliant."
They shall be mine, saith the Lord, in that day when I make up my jewels."
He turned upon me with a sudden and-to me-inexplicable sharpness. "I wish you would find an answer somewhere besides in the Bible."
"I would, sir, if I could find an apter one elsewhere," I answered, quietly. He looked at me a moment, then his eyes fell.
All things now being ready, the undertaker stepped to Maggie's side, and, signaling to Aunt Vin to help him, was about to lift her into the coffin; when Mr. Warren started forward, crying out, in a loud voice, and with flashing eyes, "What are you doing there! In Heaven's name, let my dead child alone!"
The man shrank back, and stared hard at him, in amazement and perplexity.
"I don't want any strange hands about her," continued the father, after a moment, trying to control his irritation; but still with a shade of bitter resentment in his tone. "If you'll just step out into the kitchen there, we will do it ourselves, thank you."
The man obeyed, and Mr. Warren carefully closed the door after him, muttering between his teeth, "How dare he touch her!" Certainly, his character is a study of such a nature as was never before presented to my eyes. What a curious combination of delicacy and coarseness, of refinement and crudity!
We transferred the still, white maiden to her narrow couch-we four-with very gentle hands; it falling to my share to lay the lovely head, with its face of unearthly peacefulness, on its last, low pillow. A tear fell beside it. I bethought me that Maggie Warren was the first and only being, in many long days, to call out in me that species of affection which is so quickly begotten of helplessness and help, and to respond to it with a certain degree of appreciation and preference; and I regretted to lose even that small sunbeam out of my life. To be helpful is not to be happy, I know; but it is one of the elements of happiness that I least like to miss.
Lastly, I put a fresh cross and wreath in their places, and fastened to the coffin-lid a dove made entirely of lilies of the valley; which last offering elicited from Jack a bit of unqualified commendation.
"Golly! ain't that fine!"
"Perhaps Miss Frost will tell you what it means,” said his mother, quietly.
"It is the emblem of the Holy Ghost, whose sweetest name is Comforter,"" I answered, instantly perceiving her intent. "If it reminds us also of that first dove noted in the world's history, which found no rest nor shelter till it returned to the ark from whence it set forth; and helps us, by means of these exterior types, to understand that the human soul finds never perfect peace, nor safe home, until it resorts to that God who created it; my dove will have done its perfect work, Jack."
Jack stared, uncomprehending; Mr. Warren turned hastily away.
THE DOVE BEFORE THE ALTAR.
HE funeral guests were now assembling fast.
trons, quaintly respectable in well-pre served old fashioned garments, was already seated in the kitchen; filling it with a whispering buzz, as of a swarm of flies.. Knots of bright-faced girls were standing in the corners, and around the front door-yard; so thoroughly imbued with the glow and freshness of this first day of June by their long walk over breezy hills and through leafarched lanes, that all their efforts to subside from gayety into gloom, only resulted in a compromise of subdued cheerfulness. Not until they entered the little room where Maggie lay, and looked at her white face, did their pretty play of smile and dimple quite cease, and a quick moisture suffuse and soften their sparkling eyes. There were stout, steadygoing farmers, too, gathered about the step and gate (the house being too small to hold half the assemblage) and talking intermittently in low, grave tones; and a row of young men leaning on the fence; and a sprinkling of boys, full of curiosity and restlessness, hanging about their eld ers with upturned faces and wide-open ears. And all up and down the road, on either side, was a string of country. wagons, of every antique and clumsy pattern; and horses,
of every age, size, color, and quality;-from restless, half broken colts, constantly stamping and backing, and eliciting an occasional low, sharp "Whoa!" from their vigilant masters, to patient, broken-down mares, standing motionless in the sun, with drooping heads; and only proving themselves to be alive by a lazy whisk of the tail, now and then, or a sudden contraction of a muscle and twitching of the skin, to displace some tormenting fly. One of these last had a colt of very tender age, frisking about her, and often provoking an angry snort and snap from some neighboring animal,-evidently of the opinion of certain of the human race, that babies should never be taken from home.
Mr. Taylor now appeared, accompanied by Mrs. Prescott and the Divines. I saw his face light up, as he caught sight of my dove; and, a moment after, he sought me out.
"What made you hit upon that design, of all others?" inquired he.
'I do not know; I thought it was appropriate enough, is it not?" I answered, wondering.
"I should think so! you singularly appropriate it is."
have not the least idea how And he passed on.
A few prayers were offered: then the procession formed, and moved slowly toward the church. Very seldom had Maggie entered its doors in her lifetime, I knew,—not so much on account of adverse influence at home as because its services had been so few and irregular, of late. Not only over Jerusalem, be sure, did the Saviour weep; but, in His penetrating, prophetic vision, over every place where the House of the Lord is allowed to stand empty from month to month, and year to year; while those who dwell under its shadow grow daily and hourly more absorbed in earthly toil and earthly aims, more and more forgetful that life was given for any other purpose than to buy and sell and get gain. Over all such fallow fields in Ilis vineyard, our Lord's mournful words echo even yet," If thou
hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong to thy peace!"
When I entered the vestibule of the church, Alice Prescott (evidently on the watch) intercepted me, and led me into the shadow of the gallery staircase. "Oh! Miss Frost," she exclaimed, eagerly," can't you sing?"
Sing!" I repeated, between surprise and disgust, "no -I don't know—that is, why do you ask?”
"Ruth Winnot is so-so hoarse," stammered she, blushing, her small array of self-possession, called out by the exigency of the moment, being utterly routed by my ungracious manner," she can hardly make a sound. And I thought-or mother did-that you would-at least, that perhaps you might-sing for us just this once."
"But Miss Winnot sang this morning," I said, in a crossquestioning tone.
“Yes, her cold was only just beginning then, and she managed to get through, somehow. But she thinks that singing only irritated her throat; and after she stopped, she seemed to choke right up. When she tried, a few minutes ago, she couldn't get out a note. And then I thought of you."
"But do you not sing?"
"I can help a little, I can't lead."
"Make your alto take the air, then."
"Who?" asked Alice, looking bewildered. "Oh! you mean the second! She went right home, as soon as it was proposed. Nothing puts her out so much as to be asked to sing treble."
No doubt I looked fully as much "put out," to judge by Alice's downcast face. Its pained and discomfited ex pression softened my tone a little, when next I spoke, though there was no relenting in my mood.
"I sing 'second,' too, Alice,-when I sing at all." "Do you?" she rejoined, in a wondering, doubtful way, "I thought you could sing anything you liked."