Sometimes, late at night, when he had gone to bed, she sat alone in the door, while the moonlight fell in broad patches over the quiet square, and the great poplars stood like giants whispering together. Still the far sounds of the town came up cheerfully, while she folded up her knitting, it being dark, thinking how happy an ending this was to a happy day. When it grew quiet, she could hear the solemn whisper of the poplars, and sometimes broken strains of music from the cathedral in the city floated through the cold and moonlight past her, far off into the blue beyond the hills. All the keen pleasure of the day, the warm, bright sights and sounds, coarse and homely though they were, seemed to fade into the deep music, and make a part of it.
Yet, sitting there, looking out into the listening night, the poor child’s face grew slowly pale as she heard it. It humbled her. It made her meanness, her low, weak life so real to her! There was no pain nor hunger she had known that did not find a voice in its inarticulate cry. She! what was she? All the pain and wants of the world must be going up to God in that sound, she thought. There was something more in it,—an unknown meaning that her shattered brain struggled to grasp. She could not. Her heart ached with a wild, restless longing. She had no words for the vague, insatiate hunger to understand. It was because she was ignorant and low, perhaps; others could know. She thought her Master was speaking. She thought the unknown meaning linked all earth and heaven together, and made it plain. So she hid her face in her hands, and listened while the low harmony shivered through the air, unheeded by others, with the message of God to man. Not comprehending, it may be,—the poor girl,—hungry still to know. Yet, when she looked up, there were warm tears in her eyes, and her scarred face was bright with a sad, deep content and love.
So the hot, long day was over for them all,—passed as thousands of days have done for us, gone down, forgotten: as that long, hot day we call life will be over some time, and go down into the gray and cold. Surely, whatever of sorrow or pain may have made darkness in that day for you or me, there were countless openings where we might have seen glimpses of that other light than sunshine: the light of the great Tomorrow, of the land where all wrongs shall be righted. If we had but chosen to see it,—if we only had chosen!
WITH SOME THOUGHTS ON THOSE WHO NEVER HAD A CHANCE.