The last verse was reached, and she felt almost glad, the pain and the pathos were more than she could bear.
“Now, one more,” pleaded Charlie’s weak voice from the shelter of his mother’s arms, and Miss Patch in her thin, sweet voice sang to a plaintive chanting air of her own the beautiful hymn written by Miss M. Betham-Edwards—
“God make my life
a little light
Within the world to glow;
A little flame that burneth bright
Wherever I may go.”
“God made my life
a little flower,
That giveth joy to all,
Content to bloom in native bower
Although its place be small.”
“God make my life
a little staff,
Whereon the weak may rest,
That so what health and strength I have
May serve my neighbours best.”
“It isn’t a real tune,” she explained shyly, when she had reached the end. “I liked the words so much that I learnt them by heart, and they ran in my head until I found myself singing them to any sort of drone that would fit them.”
“I think it is all lovely,” said Charlie; “don’t you, Jessie?”
“Oh, lovely,” breathed Jessie softly. She was too deeply impressed to be able to talk much. “God make my life a little flower,” the words repeated themselves again in her brain. “Miss Patch called me a piece of sweet garden. I wonder—” But what Jessie wondered she could not put into words.
In a vague way, that she scarcely as yet understood, it had suddenly come home to her that, perhaps, after all it was for some good purpose that she had been called upon to bear all that she had to bear. Without those sweet, happy years at Springbrook she could never have come as a little piece of sweet garden to this sad corner of the world. Perhaps God had something for her—even a little girl like herself—to do for Him. And she would try her utmost, she determined—yes, her utmost; to do her best in the new life she had been called to, and to make others happier by her presence.
CHARLIE REACHES HOME.
After that exciting morning, Jessie saw Miss Patch always once a day, at least, for she never failed to go up to her room to ask her if she could do any errands, or anything else for her, and very, very glad Miss Patch was, many a time, to be saved the long drag down all the stairs and up again, and the walk through the cold wet streets during the bitter winter months.
Being saved this much exertion, she was able to get down oftener to see Charlie, and both he and Jessie loved these visits of hers. More than once, too, when her husband was away, Mrs. Lang came for a brief spell, and they had tea together again in Charlie’s room.
It was on one of the occasions when she was alone with Miss Patch that Jessie told of her Sunday-school in the garden, or by the fireside, with her grandfather. Her tears fell as she told of it, and her deep grief broke out uncontrollably, but Miss Patch did not try to check her story, she let her tell it all, thinking it would be better for her.