“You have been my good angel, Mary, for your hand it was which saved me from violating a solemn oath; but I now feel an assurance that I have broken the tempter’s chains forever.” I am happy to add that from this hour he gained a complete victory over the evil habit which well-nigh had proved his ruin; and in after years, when peace and prosperity again smiled upon them, he often called to mind the evening when his affectionate and devoted wife, by her watchful love, saved him from ruin, and perchance from the drunkard’s grave.
It was a sad day for Emma Ashton, when, with her widowed mother, she turned from her father’s new-made grave, and again entered their desolate home. None but those who have experienced a like sorrow can fully understand their grief as they entered their now lonely home, where a short time since they had been so happy. But the ways of Providence are, to our feeble vision, often dark and incomprehensible, and the only way by which we can reconcile ourselves to many trials which we are called to endure is by remembering that there is a “need be” for every sorrow which falls to our lot, in the journey of life. Emma was an only child and had been the idol of her father’s heart, and no marvel if the world, to her, looked dark and dreary when he was removed by death. Added to the grief occasioned by their bereavement, the mother and daughter had yet another cause for anxiety and disquietude, for the home where they had dwelt for so many years in the enjoyment of uninterrupted happiness was now no longer theirs. Since quite a young man, Mr. Ashton had held the position of overseer, in a large manufactory in the village of W. Owing to his sober and industrious habits he had saved money sufficient to enable him, at the period of his marriage, to purchase a neat and tasteful home, to which he removed with his young wife. He still continued his industry, and began in a small way to accumulate money, when, unfortunately, he was persuaded by one whom he thought a friend to sign bank-notes with him to a large amount; but, ere the notes became due, the man he had obliged left the country, and he was unable to gain any trace of him, and was soon called upon to meet the claim. Bank-notes must be paid, and to raise money to meet the claim he was forced to mortgage his house for nearly its full value. His health failed; and for two years previous to his death he was unable to attend to his business. The term of the mortgage was five years, which time expired soon after his death. During the few last weeks of his life his mind was very much disturbed regarding the destitute condition in which he must leave his beloved wife and daughter; for he was too well acquainted with the man who held the claim to expect any lenity to his family when it should become due, and he was sensible that the hour of his own death was fast approaching. His wife tried to cheer him by hopeful words, saying: “Should