“Your eyes tell it all, my royal Emily; you are tired, and the night is here.”
Then, kissing us both good-night, Louis gathered her in his arms and carried her over the stairs, saying, as he turned to come down:
“Pleasant dreams, my fairy mother; your hand is a magic wand.”
I could hardly see where we had room for all the gifts that came to us, for Clara’s part of the house was well filled, and Aunt Hildy’s belongings took nearly all the upstairs room we could spare; but by moving and shifting, and using a little gumption, as Aunt Hildy expressed it, they were all disposed of properly.
The clock occupied a corner in Louis’ room, which had been Hal’s studio, and was now to belong, with one other on Clara’s side, to us two. Mother had said before our marriage:
“I can never let Emily go unless it be absolutely necessary. The boys are both settled, and I desire Emily to remain here. It would be lonely for her father and myself should she leave us.”
I had no wish to do so, and Louis and Clara were as one in this matter; so we were to live right on together, and the convenient situation of the rooms made it pleasant for all concerned.
“Don’t want no men folks round under foot,” Aunt Hildy said, and there was no need for it, for Louis’ room, while accessible, was out of the way, and it seemed to me as if the plan had fallen from a hand that knew our wants better than we knew ourselves. What Louis’ work would be, I could not say, neither could he. To use his own language, as we talked together of the coming days, “I am to be ready to do daily all that my hand finds to do; and the work for which I am fitted will, I trust, fall directly before me.” He had a right to be called the “Town’s Friend,” I thought, for his active brain and tender heart were constantly bringing before him some errand of mercy, or act of charity, all of which were willingly and well performed.
It was not long after our marriage that he was called on to fill Mr. Davis’ place in the pulpit. I trembled to think of it; but you should have seen Clara when, as we entered the church together, he passed the pew door to follow Mr. Davis to the pulpit; for the latter, though from weakness of the bronchial tubes unable to speak, was anxious to be by the side of his friend, as he verified his prediction. There was a glory covering Clara’s face, and her eyes turned full upon her boy with an unwavering light of steadfast faith in his power and goodness, as from his lips fell the text, “If a man die shall he live again?”
His opening prayer was impressively simple, and the text, it seemed to me, just like a door which, swinging on its hinges, brought full before his vision the picture of the life that is and the life that is to come. His illustrations were so naturally drawn, and so beautifully fitted to the needs of our earthly and spiritual existence, that I knew no words had ever thrown around the old church people so wondrous a garment of well-fitted thought.