It was the twilight of a dismal November day. The wind shrieked and moaned drearily, and what had been a cold, penetrating rain, had, as the darkness set in, frozen as it fell, and added to the general cheerlessness. The streets were nearly deserted, and the few pedestrians, whom business compelled to be abroad, hurried on swiftly to their respective places of destination.
At the window of a dingy looking brick building, which bore on its time-worn exterior its true character of that resort for friendless poverty, “a cheap lodging house,” sat Clemence Graystone, gazing abstractedly into the gathering gloom of the night. The fair, patient face was clouded with care, and somewhat of the darkness of the world without, seemed to have settled upon her spirits.
“I hear the howl of
the wind that brings
The long, drear storm on its heavy wings,”
she said, at length, rising and gliding to the side of the couch upon which a slight figure reclined, asked fondly,
“Mamma, what shall I read to you this evening? I feel strangely depressed.”
The gentle lady drew the sweet face down to her pillow, and smoothed the bright hair with loving tenderness.
“My precious daughter,” she whispered, “I know all the care and anxiety that weighs down your young life. I can read it in your clear, truthful eyes, that never yet showed the shadow of falsehood. God only knows, for there is none other to hear or comfort me, my days and nights of anxious solicitude for your welfare. What will become of you, when I am gone, my darling? ‘My soul faints within me.’ I am truly ‘of little faith.’ Read to me, dear, from the book beside me, and it will surely comfort me in my desolation.”
It was the sacred volume, that has so often solaced the grief and despair of the weary and heavy-laden, and the tremulous voice repeated the inspired words, with that pathos that can only come from those who have suffered. A heavenly calm settled over the pale face of the invalid.