“AT EVENING TIME IT SHALL BE BRIGHT.”
Meantime Flossy Shipley came to no place where her heart could rest. She went through that first day at Chautauqua in a sort of maze, hearing and yet not hearing, and longing in her very soul for something that she did not hear—that is, she did not hear it distinctly and fairly stated, so that she could grasp it and act upon it; and yet it was shadowed all around her, and hinted at in every word that was uttered, so that it was impossible to forget that there was a great something in which the most of these people were eagerly interested, and which was sealed to her.
She felt it dimly all the while that Dr. Eggleston was speaking; she felt it sensibly when they sang; she felt it in the chance words that caught her ear on every side as the meeting closed—bright, fresh words of greeting, of gladness, of satisfaction, but every one of them containing a ring that she could hear but not copy. What did it mean? And, above all, why did she care what it meant, when she had been happy all her life before without knowing or thinking anything about it?
As they went down the hill to dinner, she loitered somewhat behind the others, thinking while they talked. As the throng pressed down around them there came one whose face she instantly recognized; it belonged to the young man who had spoken to her on the boat the evening before. The face recalled the earnest words that he had spoken, and the tone of restful satisfaction in which they were spoken. His face wore the same look now—interested, alert, but at rest. She coveted rest. It was clear that he also recognized her, and something in her wistful eyes recalled the words she had spoken.
“Have you found the Father’s presence yet?” he asked, with a reverent tone to his voice when he said “the Father,” and yet with such evident trust and love that the tears started to her eyes.
She answered quickly:
“No, I haven’t. I cannot feel that he is my Father.”
They went down the steps just then, and the crowd rushed in between them, so that neither knew what had become of the other; only that chance meeting; he might never see her again. Chautauqua was peculiarly a place where people met for a moment, then lost each other, perhaps for all the rest of the time.
“I may never see her again,” Evan Roberts thought, “but I am glad that I said a word to her. I hope in my soul that she will let Him find her.”
If Flossy could have heard this unspoken sentence she would have marveled. “Let Him find her!” Why, she was dimly conscious that she was seeking for Him, but no such thought had presented itself as that God was really seeking after her.