Early the next morning the toll of the passing-bell informed Lily that the little lamb had been gathered into the heavenly fold.
When she took her place in church she found in her Prayer-book a slip of paper in the handwriting of her cousin. It was thus: ’You had better find out in which duty you have most failed, and let the fulfilment of that be your proof of self-denial. R. D.’
Afterwards Lily learnt that Agnes had been sensible for a short time before her peaceful death. She had spoken much of her baptism, had begged to be buried next to a little sister of Kezia’s, and asked her mother to give her new Bible to Kezia.
It was not till Sunday that Lilias felt as if she could ever be comforted. Her heart was indeed ready to break as she walked at the head of the school children behind the white-covered coffin, and she felt as if she did not deserve to dwell upon the child’s present happiness; but afterwards she was relieved by joining in prayer for the pardon of our sins and negligences, and she felt as if she was forgiven, at least by man, when she joined with Mrs. Eden in the appointed feast of Easter Day.
Mrs. Naylor was at church on that and several following Sundays; but though her husband now showed every kindness to his sister, he still obstinately refused to be reconciled to Mr. Devereux.
For many weeks poor little Kezia looked very unhappy. Her blithe smiles were gone, her eyes filled with tears whenever she was reminded of her friend, she walked to school alone, she did not join the sports of the other children, but she kept close to the side of Mrs. Eden, and seemed to have no pleasure but with her, or in nursing her little sister, who, two Sundays after the funeral, was christened by the name of Agnes.
It was agreed by Mr. Mohun and Lilias that the grave of the little girl should be marked by a stone cross, thus inscribed
April 8th, 1846,
Aged 7 years.
“He shall gather the lambs in His arms."’
CHAPTER XVIII: DOUBLE, DOUBLE TOIL AND TROUBLE
’Truly the tender mercies of the weak,
As of the wicked, are but cruel.’
And how did Lilias show that she had been truly benefited by her sorrows? Did she fall back into her habits of self-indulgence, or did she run into ill-directed activity, selfish as her indolence, because only gratifying the passion of the moment?
Those who lived with her saw but little change; kind-hearted and generous she had ever been, and many had been her good impulses, so that while she daily became more steady in well-doing, and exerting herself on principle, no one remarked it, and no one entered into the struggles which it cost her to tame her impetuosity, or force herself to do what was disagreeable to herself, and might offend Emily.
However, Emily could forgive a great deal when she found that Lily was ready to take any part of the business of the household and schoolroom, which she chose to impose upon her, without the least objection, yet to leave her to assume as much of the credit of managing as she chose—to have no will or way of her own, and to help her to keep her wardrobe in order.