“Dear father,” cried Richard, his own eyes wet, “it is forgiven and forgotten already. Think how happy we shall be again together, you, and I, and my mother.”
The justice’s hands, which had been wound around his son, relaxed their hold. They were twitching curiously; the body also began to twitch, and he fell upon the shoulder of Colonel Bethel in a second stroke of paralysis.
THE DEATH CHAMBER.
By the side of William Carlyle’s dying bed knelt the Lady Isabel. The time was at hand, and the boy was quite reconciled to his fate. Merciful, indeed, is God to dying children! It is astonishing how very readily, when the right means are taken, they may be brought to look with pleasure, rather than fear, upon their unknown journey.
The brilliant hectic, type of the disease, had gone from his cheeks, his features were white and wasted, and his eyes large and bright. His silky brown hair was pushed off his temples, and his little hot hands were thrown outside the bed.
“It won’t be very long to wait, you know, will it, Madame Vine?”
“For what, darling?”
“Before they all come. Papa and mamma, and Lucy, and all of them.”
A jealous feeling shot across her wearied heart. Was she nothing to him? “Do you not care that I should come to you, William?”
“Yes, I hope you will. But do you think we shall know everybody in Heaven? Or will it be only our own relations?”
“Oh, child! I think there will be no relations, as you call it, up there. We can trust all that to God, however it may be.”
William lay looking upward at the sky, apparently in thought, a dark blue, serene sky, from which shone the hot July sun. His bed had been moved toward the window, for he liked to sit in it, and look at the landscape. The window was open now, and the butterflies and bees sported in the summer air.
“I wonder how it will be?” pondered he, aloud. “There will be the beautiful city, its gates of pearl, and its shining precious stones, and its streets of gold; and there will be the clear river, and the trees with their fruits and their healing leaves, and the lovely flowers; and there will be the harps, and music, and singing. And what else will there be?”
“Everything that is desirable and beautiful, William; but, what we may not anticipate here.”
Another pause. “Madame Vine, will Jesus come for me, do you think, or will He send an angel?”
“Jesus has promised to come for His own redeemed—for those who love Him and wait for Him.”
“Yes, yes, and then I shall be happy forever. It will be so pleasant to be there, never to be tired or ill again.”
“Pleasant? Ay! Oh, William! Would that the time were come!”
She was thinking of herself—of her freedom—though the boy knew it not. She buried her face in her hands and continued speaking; William had to bend his ear to catch the faint whisper.