As she gathered flowers on the pleasant banks of the Sciota, would it not have brought paleness to her cheek to have whispered her that not many years would pass over her, before she would be far away from the scenes of her youth?
And as she uttered the marriage vow, how little did she think that soon would her broken spirit devote time, energies, life, to the good of others; as an act of duty and, but for the faith of the Christian, of despair. For several years she only wept with others when they sorrowed; fair children followed her footsteps, and it was happiness to guide their voices, as they, like the morning stars, sang together; or to listen to their evening prayer as they folded their hands in childlike devotion ere they slept.
And when the father returned from beside the bed of death, where his skill could no longer alleviate the parting agonies of the sufferer: how would he hasten to look upon the happy faces of his children, in order to forget the scene he had just witnessed. But, man of God as he was, there was not always peace in his soul; yet none could see that he had cause for care. He was followed by the blessings of those who were ready to perish. He essayed to make the sinner repent, and to turn the thoughts of the dying to Him who suffered death on the cross.
But for months the voice of the Spirit spake to his heart; he could not forget the words—“Go to the wretched Dahcotahs, their bodies are suffering, and their souls, immortal like thine, are perishing. Soothe their temporal cares, and more, tell them the triumphs of the Redeemer’s love.”
But it was hard to give up friends, and all the comforts with which he was surrounded: to subject his wife to the hardships of a life in the wilderness, to deprive his children of the advantages of education and good influences, and instead—to show them life as it is with those who know not God. But the voice said, “Remember the Dahcotahs.” Vainly did he struggle with the conflict of duty against inclination.
The time has come when the parents must weep for themselves. No longer do the feet of their children tread among the flowers; fever has paralyzed their strength, and vainly does the mother call upon the child, whose eyes wander in delirium, who knows not her voice from a stranger’s. Nor does the Destroyer depart when one has sunk into a sleep from which there is no awakening until the morn of the resurrection. He claims another, and who shall resist that claim!
As the father looks upon the still forms of his children, as he sees the compressed lips, the closed eyes of the beings who were but a few days ago full of life and happiness, the iron enters his soul; but as the Christian remembers who has afflicted him, his spirit rises above his sorrow. Nor is there now any obstacle between him and the path of duty. The one child that remains must be put in charge of those who will care for her, and he will go where God directs.