Sabbath in the country. Who, that has ever enjoyed its serene beauty, can ever again long for the unhallowed day, that, in the city, is seemingly more for the recreation of the masses of working people, than for the worship of God. Clemence, leading by the hand little Ruth, thought she had never seen anything so beautiful and peaceful as the scene. Nature seemed in an attitude of devotion, and quaintly dressed little children, with their testaments and Sabbath school books, and silver-haired patriarchs and patient women, with sturdy young men, and fair, blooming girls, were all hastening, in little groups, to the place of prayer and praise.
Clemence paused, for there was yet time before the service, and drew Ruth with her, through the gate that led into the cemetery. The child shivered and shrank back, and Clemence let her have her way. She went on alone, to a distant part of the graveyard, where there was a mound of fresh earth, that covered all there was now of Ruth’s loving mother.
“Poor, heart-broken woman,” she thought, sorrowfully, “she has found rest now.”
She bent down and made, with a pocket-knife, an incision in the fresh earth, and placed therein the long stems of a delicate boquet, which she had brought for the purpose. When she arose, bright, crystal drops sparkled upon the velvet petals, and her eyes were still shining with tears.
“God help me to be faithful to that mother’s sacred trust,” she murmured, as she walked away.
Ruth’s slight figure had lingered behind a marble slab, at a little distance, and when she was gone, the child rushed impetuously forward, and, with one bitter, wailing cry, threw herself upon her mother’s grave.
Clemence wandered aimlessly down the shady walks, crushing the long, rank weeds, and the occasional wild flowers beneath her feet, and at last sank down at the foot of a willow, whose long, drooping branches trailed nearly to the mossy sward beneath. She buried her head in her hands, and her thoughts went back over the past. The retrospection was inexpressibly wonderful.
“This is wrong,” she thought, trying to shake off the sadness that oppressed her; “it will not help me to bear my burden farther. There is now, by a strange fate, another, still more weak and helpless than I, who is dependant upon my efforts, and I must not yield to sorrow.” But the tears came again, as the thought that even this child, who, but for her, would be utterly forlorn and friendless, had to-day the privilege that was denied her, kneeling at the grave of one she loved. How peaceful looked this silent home of the dead! “They rest from their labors,” she mused, “and pleased God, in His own good time, I, too, shall be at peace.”