“And is that all, Mrs. Mann?” asked Clemence, in disappointed tones, as the good woman paused in her narration; “have you nothing further to tell us about this wonderful Lilias May?”
“Oh,” she laughed, patting the girl’s cheek caressingly, “I see what you are after, and I will tell you the rest. The best part of the story is yet to come. Lilias May’s beauty of person and character made such an impression upon the family who employed her, that they prevailed upon her to remain with them always, for she married the gentleman’s oldest son. It seemed too, that her Aunt Leonora only admired her the more for her courageous spirit, and when she died soon after, left Lilias all of her money, to do just as she pleased with.”
“But here is the tea steeped until it is nearly spoiled, and I am afraid Mrs. Graystone is tired of waiting,” said Mrs. Mann, hurrying out of the room, “on hospitable thought intent.”
Soon the little, plain, unpretending room took on that air of home comfort that is seldom seen in statelier dwellings.
After all, happiness is comparative, and the poor man in his cottage, with good health and a clear conscience, has as good a chance for arriving at the goal which restless mortals ever strive to attain, as the rich man who cannot be one moment free from the cares that wealth is always sure to bring with it.
Clemence Graystone’s first attempt at obtaining employment had not been sufficiently encouraging to cause her to entertain any very sanguine hopes in regard to a renewal of her exertions. But that stern necessity “which knows no law,” compelled her to make another trial after she had somewhat recovered from the effects of her first disappointment.
Clemence had already began to learn some of the bitter lessons of poverty. She no longer viewed life through the rose-colored medium that she had been wont to do in her former, care-free days. There were thought lines gathering on the broad, white brow, and the dark eyes, that had once the joyous look of a happy child, told of one who had already tasted the bitterness of life, from which a favored few in this world only are exempt.
How true it is, as another has written, “none of our lives are dated by years; the wear and tear of heart and brain, to say nothing of the body, constitute age.”
Clemence felt as if years instead of months had passed over her head since their bereavement. The blow had fallen unexpectedly, and the result was Clemence was no longer a happy child, but a sorrowing woman. She tried to be patient, for there was another who, like Rachael of old, mourned, and would not be comforted. Clemence felt that her own grief was light compared to the sorrowing one, whose weary feet were even then nearing the end of life’s journey, nearing the brink of that river, whose solemn music came to her eager ear like a benediction. The dim eyes had a strained, wistful gaze, as if longing to behold the radiant glories of that “land of pure delight.”