‘How do you know? how can you tell?’ I cried.
‘I cannot tell thee now,’ she said, ’but I do know. And thou hast seen, dear heart, how I have grieved over my Andrew—my heart’s child, the comfort of my old age; I have thought he was clean gone out of the right way, for all his sincerity. It has been shown me in my sleep, that I had no need thus to grieve. His rashness may bring him sharp trials, but even through those shall he enter in. The light that leads him is the true Light. And though he and his fellows are but erring men,—like all others,—yet even their trivial errors shall have their use; in days to come men shall say that these despised and persecuted believers have done nobly—for their country and for the world.’
‘Then, do you think,’ I said, in some trouble, ’that we are all wrong, and only Andrew and those like-minded in the right?’
‘Nay, dear heart,’ said she, ’I think not so. The paths are many—but the Guide is one. Let us only follow His voice,—and He will bring us to His Father’s house in safety. I have comfort about thy sister too,’ she added presently, ’though I fear it is not such as she can value yet. Do not forget, dear child, to have Mr. Stokes sent for to-morrow; I wish to receive the most comfortable Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper once more—with you all, before I go hence.’ As she said the last words, her voice sank away, and I saw that she was sleeping once more.
The next day we did as she had bidden, in sending for Mr. Stokes, who accordingly came, and gave the Communion to all our household, as well as to our poor aunt. I never liked him better than on that day.
But a sad day it proved to us, for we all saw plainly how our second mother was now a dying woman. I think she hardly said twenty words to one of us thereafter, but quietly slept and dreamed her life away, and on the third day she was gone. This was last winter, the winter of 1664; and I remember how all that melancholy time the people were greatly disturbed about the comet that was to be seen, wondering what mischiefs it should betoken; I saw it myself, but so full was my mind of my private griefs, I cared not much about ill omens to the State. Indeed, one thing that soon happened was very distressing to us, and I shall shortly relate what it was.
HOW ANDREW CAME TO THE GRANGE BY NIGHT.
It was about a ten days after Mrs. Golding’s death, and we were beginning to feel as if our desolation was a thing that had always been and always would be, for so I think it often seems when a grief is new. However desolate we were, we were not destitute; she who was gone had cared for that, and we found a modest dower secured to each of us, without injury to Andrew’s rightful inheritance of the Grange and the lands belonging thereto; also we were to continue dwelling in the Grange till its new master should come home and make such dispositions as pleased him. But for all this we were greatly perplexed; we had been long without news of Andrew, and could not tell how to get word to him of Mrs. Golding’s death.