He went with her to the bedside.
The glazing eyes grew bright for an instant.
“You have—come: oh tell me—what—I must—do—to—be saved!”
“I can only point you to ’the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world,’” returned the pastor, deeply moved: “only repeat his invitation, ‘Look unto me, and be ye saved all ye ends of the earth.’”
“I—am—trying—trying,” came faintly from the pale lips, while the hands moved slowly, feebly, from side to side as if groping in the dark, “Lord save—”
A deep hush filled the room, broken presently by the mother’s wail as she fell on her knees at the bedside, and taking the cold hand in hers covered it with kisses and tears.
With the last word the spirit had taken its flight; to him time should be no longer, eternity had begun.
Few and evil had been his days; he was not yet thirty, and, possessed of a fine constitution and vigorous health, had every prospect of long life had he been content to live at peace with his fellow-men; but by violent dealing he had passed away in the midst of his years.
“Bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days.” “The wages of sin is death.”
“Kindness has resistless charms.”
Through all the trying scenes that followed, Elsie was with the Fosters, giving aid and comfort such as the tenderest sympathy and most delicate kindness could give. She and her husband and father took upon themselves all the care and trouble of the arrangements for the funeral, quietly settled the bills, and afterward sent them, receipted, to Mrs. Foster.
Wilkins had been the chief support of the family, the ladies earning a mere pittance by the use of the needle and sewing-machine. Nothing had been laid by for a rainy day, and the expenses of his illness had to be met by the sale of the few articles of value left from the wreck of their fortunes. And now, but for the timely aid of these kind friends, absolute want had stared them in the face.
They made neither complaint nor parade of their poverty, but it was unavoidable that Elsie should learn much of it at this time, and her heart ached for them in this accumulation of trials.
The girls were educated and accomplished, but shrank with timidity and sensitive pride from exerting themselves to push their way in the world.
“I think they could teach,” Mrs. Poster said to Elsie, who, calling the day after the funeral, had with delicate tact made known her desire to assist them in obtaining some employment more lucrative and better adapted to their tastes and social position; “I think they have the necessary education and ability, and I know the will to earn an honest livelihood is not lacking; but where are pupils to be found?”
“Are you willing to leave that to Mr. Travilla and me?” asked Elsie, with gentle kindliness.