“You were happy in that early faith. Oh, Beulah, you will never find another so holy, so comforting!”
Beulah frowned and looked up impatiently.
“Clara, I am not to be persuaded into anything. Leave me to myself. You are kind, but mistaken.”
“If I have said too much, forgive me; I was actuated by sincere affection and pity for your state of mind.”
“I am not an object of pity by any means,” replied Beulah very coldly.
Clara was unfortunate in her expressions; she seemed to think so, and turned away. But, conscious of having spoken hastily, Beulah caught her hand, and exclaimed frankly:
“Do not be hurt with me; I did not intend to wound you. Forgive me, Clara. Don’t go. When are you to leave for your new home?”
“Day after to-morrow. Mr. Arlington seems anxious that I should come immediately. He has three children—a son and two daughters. I hope they are amiable; I dread lest they prove unruly and spoiled. If so, woe to their governess.”
“Does Mr. Arlington reside in the village to which you directed your letter?”
“No. He resides on his plantation, several miles from the village. The prospect of being in the country is the only redeeming feature in the arrangement. I hope my health will be permanently restored by the change; but of the success of my plan only time can decide.”
“And when shall we meet again?” said Beulah slowly.
“Perhaps henceforth our paths diverge widely. We may meet no more on earth; but, dear Beulah, there is a ’peaceful shore, where billows never beat nor tempests roar,’ where assuredly we shall spend an eternity together if we keep the faith here. Oh, if I thought our parting now was for all time I should mourn bitterly, very bitterly; but I will not believe it. The arms of our God support you. I shall always pray that he will guide and save you.” She leaned forward, kissed Beulah’s forehead, and left the room.
One afternoon in October the indisposition of one of her music pupils released Beulah earlier than usual, and she determined to seize this opportunity and visit the asylum. Of the walk across the common she never wearied; the grass had grown brown, and, save the deep, changeless green of the ancient pines, only the hectic coloring of the dying year met her eye. The day was cool and windy, and the common presented a scene of boisterous confusion, which she paused to contemplate. A number of boys had collected to play their favorite games; balls flew in every direction and merry shouts rang cheerily through the air. She looked on a few moments at their careless, happy sports, and resumed her walk, feeling that their joyousness was certainly contagious, she was so much lighter-hearted from having watched their beaming faces and listened to their ringing laughter.