“A boat at midnight sent alone
To drift upon the moonless sea;
A lute whose leading chord is gone;
A wounded bird that hath but one
Imperfect wing to soar upon,
Are like me
Oh loved one, without thee;”
but the pitiful wailings of the twin girl babies called me back to earth again, and I took up the cares of existence, though they seemed greater than I could bear.
The largest church in the village was filled to overflowing with sincere mourners, for the sweet face of the departed had brought good cheer into many darkened households in our town. All sectarian barriers were for the time burned away by the flame of sympathy, and wonderful to tell, the Universalist clergyman who married us was allowed to pronounce the eulogy in an orthodox Congregational church.
When the organ pealed the requiem and the choir chanted the ever dear words of the hymn—
“Only waiting till the shadows are a little longer grown,”
and closing with the triumphant expression of a deathless faith; it required but a little imagination to see the light streaming through the open door of heaven, and to hear the responses of the angel choir from the great cathedral on high, and we wended our homeward way thinking not of “dust to dust, ashes to ashes,” but of the disembodied spirit to be our guardian angel forevermore.
“Faith sees a star, and listening love hears the rustle of a wing.” Infinitely sad was the passing of our beloved, to those left in the earth-life; but soothingly comes to us the song chanted by the choir invisible whenever a soul escapes the mortal coil:
“Passing out of the shadow,
Into a purer light;
Stepping behind the curtain,
Getting a clearer sight.
“Laying aside a burden,
This weary mortal coil;
Done with the world’s vexations—
Done with its tears and toil.
“Tired of all earth’s playthings,
Heartsick and ready to sleep—
Ready to bid our friends farewell,
Wondering why they weep.
“Passing out of the shadow
Into eternal day—
Why do we call it dying,
This sweet going away?”
TRIBULATIONS OF A WIDOWER.
But we must descend from the sublime to the stern realities of this workaday world. Of all the people on this earth, a lone, lorn widower with three babies on his hands, is the most forlorn and miserable. Take care of them himself he cannot, and if he hires the ordinary woman to do so, she immediately sets her cap for him, and leaves no stone unturned to secure him for a husband, especially if he is possessed of some of this world’s goods which she covets with all her mind and soul.
Words are inadequate to describe the annoyances I endured for two weary years from this class of women, who seemed to be the only ones who would come to a lonely country home to assume such responsibilities and endless labors. The world seemed full of these anxious but not aimless women, who claimed to adore little children; but who really cared for nothing except to capture a “widower with means.”