The dews of heaven descend upon all the flowers of the field, some open their petals, welcome the refreshment and are blessed thereby; while others close their buds, refusing the blessing, and as a result, wither and die. Even so come to all souls the spirits of the departed, and they inspire or fail in their mission of love according to whether we open or close to them the doors of our inner sanctuaries.
The departed, the departed,
They visit us in dreams,
They glide above our memories
Like sunlight over streams.
The melody of summer waves,
The thrilling notes of birds
Can never be so dear to me
As their softly-whispered words.
A PRACTICAL SOCIALIST AND COLONIZER.
We found in this town of W——, a moribund Unitarian Church, with scarcely a handful of attendants, listening once a week to a lifeless minister and an asthmatic harmonium accompanied by a few feeble, inharmonious voices.
Our sympathies were aroused for this expiring infant, and we resolved to rescue it if possible from its open grave. My wife and I, accompanied by the “Triplets,” on the front seat of our carriage as drivers, canvassed the entire town, asking all we met to lay up treasures in heaven by “rescuing the perishing,” and we soon secured money to buy a fine toned organ and to hire a wideawake pastor. Ada played the new organ; May formed a quartette with herself as soprano, Ida often accompanying with her violin; my wife teaching in the Sunday-school, myself serving as chairman of the Parish Committee, and soon our church was filled with attentive and much edified listeners and helpers. I organized the Channing Club, which soon included in its membership all the leading musical and dramatic talent of the town. We met weekly in the church vestry which was soon decorated by handsome pictures, scenery and bric-a-brac, the gifts of our members, making a very spacious and attractive resort.
This club over which I presided, developed to a remarkable degree the latent talents of many who had never before thought themselves capable of entertaining and instructing the public. We had an orchestra of stringed and brass instruments, in which May played the flute, Ada the piano and organ, Ida second violin, while all our four girls sang solos, duets, trios, and quartettes. Many elderly people paid generous fees for honorary membership, while the large, active membership, responded regularly when called upon with musical, literary, or dramatic renditions individually or in combination as they might prefer. It was a delightful and instructive symposium which ought to be found in every town.
The Channing Club soon became famous, and gave first-class entertainments to very large audiences at high admission fees in our own and surrounding towns as well as in Boston, thus replenishing the church treasury and greatly promoting sociability and friendship by regular dances and suppers which made hundreds seem like one large family, bound together by many friendly ties, each one readily responding to the call of the president to render his or her full share of entertainment and good cheer for the good of all.