“Hear me but a moment more,” said the kneeling woman. “I was the slave of an ever-jealous maniac; but my heart was still at this fireside with your bowed spirit, and this our son. My husband told me that the way to recover the child was to claim it as his. His motive, I fear, was different—to place me on record as confessedly false and prevent our reunion forever. But I was not wise enough to see it. I only thought you would send my son to me. I waited in my lonely home in Charleston years on years. He came at last, but not too late; my frivolous soul, grown selfish with vanity and disappointment, bent itself before God through the prayers of our son. I am forgiven, Perry Whaley. I have felt it!”
The old man did not answer, but strained his eyes upon his son. “See there!” he slowly spoke, “Perry is dying. Famished all these years for human love, this excess of joy has snapped the silver cord. Wife, Mary, we have martyred him.”
It was the typhoid fever which had developed from Perry’s wasting vitality. He sank into delirium as they looked at him, and was carried tenderly to his bed. Marion Voss came to nurse him with his mother. She, too, after Perry’s departure, had grown serious and followed his example, and was a Methodist. The young zealot sank lower and lower, despite science or prayers. Both churches prayed for him. Negroes and whites united their hopes and kind offices. One morning he was of dying pulse, and the bell in the Episcopal church began to toll. At the bedside all the little family had instinctively knelt, and Perry’s mother was praying with streaming eyes, committing the worn-out nature to Heavenly Love, when suddenly Judge Whaley, who had kept his hand on Perry’s pulse, exclaimed:
“It beats! He lives again. The stimulant, Marion!”
Father and son had rescued each other’s lives. One day as Perry had recovered strength, Judge Whaley said:
“My son, are you a minister, qualified to perform marriages?”
“When you are ready and strong, will you marry your mother and me again?”
“Very soon,” said Perry; “but not too soon. Here is Marion waiting for me, as she has waited, like Rachel for Jacob, these many years. I shall preach no more, dear father, except as a layman. I see by your eyes that the demon is no longer in our home, and the remainder of my life will be spent in returning to you the joy my presence for years dispelled.”
“O Perry, my patient son,” exclaimed the father, “they who entertain angels unawares have nothing to look to with regret—except unkindness.”
A CONVENT LEGEND.
The General Moreau, that pure
Who won at Hohenlinden so much glory,
And by Bonaparte hated, crossed the sea to be free.
And brought to the Delaware his story.
World-renowned as he was, unto Washington he strayed.
Where Pichegru, his friend, had contended,
And to Georgetown he rode, in search of a church,
To confess what of good he offended.