No act falls fruitless; none can tell
How vast its power may be,
Nor what results enfolded dwell
Within it silently.
Work and despair not; give thy mite,
Nor care how small it be;
God is with all that serve the right,
The holy, true, and free!
FIVE years ago, this fair November day,—five years? it seems but yesterday, so fresh is that scene in my memory; and, I doubt not, were the period ten times multiplied, it would be as vivid still to us—the surviving actors in that drama! The touch of time, which blunts the piercing thorn, as well as steals from the rose its lovely tints, is powerless here, unless to give darker shades to that picture engraven on our souls; and tears—ah, they only make it more imperishable!
We do not speak of her now; her name has not passed our lips in each other’s presence, since we followed her—grief-stricken mourners-to the grave, to which—alas, alas! but why should not the truth be spoken? the grave to which our careless words consigned her. But on every anniversary of that day we can never forget, uninvited by me, and without any previous arrangement between themselves, those two friends have come to my house, and together we have sat, almost silently, save when Ada’s sweet voice has poured forth a low, plaintive strain to the mournful chords Mary has made the harp to breathe. Four years ago, that cousin came too; and since then, though he has been thousands of miles distant from us, when, that anniversary has returned, he has written to me: he cannot look into my face when that letter is penned; he but looks into his own heart, and he cannot withhold the words of remorse and agony.
Ada and Mary have sat with me to-day, and we knew that Rowland, in thought, was here too; ah, if we could have known another had been among us,—if we could have felt that an eye was upon us, which will never more dim with tears, a heart was near us which carelessness can never wound again;—could we have known she had been here—that pure, bright angel, with the smile of forgiveness and love on that beautiful face—the dark veil of sorrow might have been lifted from our souls! but we saw only with mortal vision; our faith was feeble, and we have only drawn that sombre mantle more and more closely about us. The forgiveness we have so many tim es prayed for, we have not yet dared to receive, though we know it is our own.
That November day was just what this has been fair, mild, and sweet; and how much did that dear one enjoy it! The earth was dry, and as we looked from the window we saw no verdure but a small line of green on the south side of the garden enclosure, and around the trunk of the old pear-tree, and here and there a little oasis from which the strong wind of the previous day, had lifted the thick covering of dry leaves, and one or two shrubs, whose foliage feared not the