A great mob of ignorant men and women assembled at the mouth of the mine on the evening of the third day, in a condition of high nervous tension which fitted them for any mad act. A sullen murmur arose that it was folly to dig farther—that the men were dead. And this was followed by cries of rage at the rich mine owners.
A hasty word or gesture might have produced an outbreak of fury. Standing near me was a little German girl, perhaps eleven years old. Her pale face and frightened glances from side to side showed that she fully understood the danger of the moment.
Suddenly, with a great effort, she began to sing in a hoarse whisper which could not be heard. Then she gained courage, and her sweet, childish voice rang out in Luther’s grand old hymn, familiar to every German from his cradle, “A mighty fortress is out God.”
There was silence like death. Then one voice joined the girl’s, and presently another and another, until from the whole great multitude rose the solemn cry:—
With force of arms we nothing can,
Full soon are we o’erridden.
But for us fights the godly Man,
Whom God Himself hath bidden.
Ask ye His name?
Christ Jesus is His name.
A great quiet seemed to fall upon their hearts. They resumed their work with fresh zeal, and before morning, the joyful cry came up from the pit that the men were found—alive. Never was a word more in season than that child’s hymn.
[Illustration: “Here, that’s mine.”]
“For I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus,’” repeated Miss Evans, slowly. “My dear girls,” she said, “have you these marks? It used to be the custom in India to brand the master’s name upon the arms of his servants, so that all who met them would know to whom they belonged. Do your lives show the name of the Lord Jesus to all whom you meet?”
“O Belle!” cried Jennie Day, on the way home. “Did you see Sarah Brooks in that new silk dress? Didn’t she feel grand?”
“New!” returned Belle White, “I almost know it was made out of one of her mother’s old ones.”
“How spiteful they are,” thought Carrie Maynard; “I am glad I know better than to talk that way. Girls,” she said aloud, “I think you are forgetting very quickly what Miss Evans read about the marks. The Bible says, ‘Charity envieth not.’”
“Yes,” answered Belle angrily, “and it says, too, ’Vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.’”
“I wonder if I am conceited, and quote only the verses that don’t mean me,” said Carrie to herself. “I am sure humility must be one of the marks;” and she went up stairs and asked God to show her how bad she was, little dreaming how soon the prayer would be answered.
After dinner she washed and wiped the dishes and put them carefully away. “There,” thought she, “if ‘cleanliness is next to godliness,’ I am sure of one mark, for mother says I am an uncommonly neat little girl.”