That evening’s sermon will never be forgotten by the large congregation which came to hear the eminent English divine. “Thou destroyest the hopes of man” was the text.
Two days later the Bishop of Durham returned to his home, and although he had enjoyed seeing the classmate of his early years, the affliction in Bishop Albertson’s home had reminded him of his own sad loss, so that when he arrived at Durham he felt prostrated by the renewal of his bitter bereavement.
The new nurse would not permit even Tom to enter the sick man’s room, so he waylaid the doctor at every visit, and, stern as he was, that professional gentleman was compelled through sheer sympathy to speak as encouragingly as possible to the lad.
Every morning Tom brought from the garden a handful of flowers and, tapping gently at the sick man’s door, handed them to the nurse, who, giving him a more hopeful word concerning the patient, would send him with light heart downstairs to his mother to report the good news. One morning the boy brought a bunch of roses and violets, and gave them to Enoch, the nurse, who received them with greater cordiality than usual, remarking as he accepted the flowers: “Mr. Carl is much better. You shall see him tomorrow.”
The joyous-hearted boy bounded downstairs and, throwing his arms around his mother’s neck, repeated the words of the nurse. Enoch met Tom in the hall next day. The lad was dressed in his best clothes and was nervously impatient. “Now Tom,” said Enoch, “promise me that you will not talk, and you must not cry, and, remember, you can only stay ten minutes.”
“All right! I’ll promise anything, only let me see my Carl.”
But Enoch’s patience was tried at the very start. Tom tiptoed into the room, and as he saw the pale smiling face of Carl and heard his welcome he threw his arms around the sick man’s neck, and sobbed through his tears: “Carl, my Carl, you’re nearly well, aren’t you?”
Enoch, standing near the bed, placed his finger upon his lips, but Tom did not recognize his admonition, and kept on giving expression to his happiness. “Carl,” said he, “God has given you back to us. I told mother that he would, and he has.”
The pleasure of Bishop McLaren’s visit was plainly lessened by the illness of the young secretary. The family of his host were all anxious, and the members of the faculty were visibly affected. Even the servants about the place felt concern for the young secretary and whispered many exaggerated stories concerning the case. But the crisis had been passed, and Carl began to improve. After a slow recovery he took up his accustomed duties, and church and school work fell back into its old routine. But six weeks of typhoid fever had greatly emaciated the young secretary. The buoyancy and brightness seemed to have left him. He had been fond of athletic sports, but now he apparently cared nothing for them. With Tom he would walk over to the exercise grounds and, seated in a chair, would watch the students in their games, seldom speaking and never elated.