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the poor man will not recover-mortification has taken place."
May I go and see him, mamma? I must get up-I must go and see him. His poor wife, too! We are become quite friends. Will you ring, mamma, for me, if you please? I must go and see him."
Her maid was summoned, and she was soon dressed, was in her garden chair, and on her way to the house of sorrow.
He had been an excellent, faithful servant; a hard-working, honest man; a kind husband, and a good father. He had feared God himself, and had reared his children to love and fear Him; and here he lay, cut off in the prime of life by a cruel accident, arising from a trifling act of carelessness in not placing his ladder properly; and his wife and children stood round his bed bewailing him with the bitterest sorrow.
His poor wife, her apron over her head, stood wringing her hands and sobbing, as if her heart would break. His elder children cried and bewailed themselves; his youngest, the foster
brother of Gideon, the father's peculiar pet and darling, was upon the bed, in his father's arms, and was kissing with childish affection the damp, darkening forehead of the dying man.
At the foot of the bed, in the midst of all this sorrow, unnoticed for the first time, Gideon stood, left out, as it were, and alone, perfectly grave and still, his large, earnest eyes passing slowly from one to another, as if at a loss to comprehend what it was that was going on; and yet which, it was evident, impressed him deeply.
The door opening as Calantha entered, seemed to arouse the child a little; he turned his little head, and shifted from the bottom of the bed; he crept up close to his mammy, laid hold of the skirt of her woollen petticoat, but stood there, still fixed in the same attitude of immovable attention.
"Miss Calantha," said the sufferer, for he was the first who saw her, "I am glad to see you. It is very good of you to come and take leave of one about to depart. It's sudden," looking round upon his wife and children,-" it's a sudden call."
Oh!" cried poor Mrs. Penny, bursting forth into a passion of tears, and finding words at length, "What shall we do!-what will become of us! And so good as you always were, Thomas; and such a true, faithful servant of the Lord. It's very hard-it's very hard. So sudden, too—"
"Don't call it hard, Jenny, if you would have me die in peace. Don't use that word, pray," said the gardener; and turning his languid eyes to Calantha, "Tell her, will you, dear miss,--for who knows better than you?-we must not call what He does hard."
"Oh, but such a husband! such a man! and when such bad, good-for-nothing wretches live and thrive-oh, husband! let me call it hardfor it is hard-hard, hard, to part with you."
And the poor, heart-broken woman, throwing herself upon her knees, by the bedside, burst into a fresh passion of tears.
Tears had been slowly gathering into the eyes of the solitary child, and his little face had been working with strong emotion; but at this, his infant efforts at self-control under the woe he felt gave way, and he burst into a loud roar.
The poor man looked disturbed and distressed. "Take him away-take him away," said Calantha hastily, observing this. "Dear Mrs. Penny, be calm, be resigned."
One of the bigger boys now lifted the roaring child up in his arms, who seemed incapable of making any resistance, and carried him into the garden, leaving him there to cry by himself.
At this moment, when nature was so strong with them all, the little stranger was as a stranger, indeed, to every one; even Calantha, intent upon comforting the unhappy wife, and tranquillising the last moments of the dying man, overlooked the intense sensibility of the child's feelings.
'My dear, dear Jenny! my dear, dear wife! Don't cry so; it's a-bursting of my heart to see it."
"Oh, I wouldn't if I could help it !—I wouldn't if I could help it! But, dear me! dear me! what had we, any of us done, to bring such a judgment upon us?"
"What had Miss Calantha done?" said the
dying man, "that she should be born as she was. We have had a very happy life-it was of His goodness alone, and none of our doing. And now, Jenny, my dear, dear woman, it's all over, and we must part. Let us do it as we ought to do. Say-do say, for my sake-let me hear you say, 'The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord.""
"Oh dear, dear, dear! How can I! how can I! my good, dear husband, and all these poor fatherless children! Don't ask me, don't; and there's Tom Evans who's drunk every night, and who beats his wife and children into the bargain, he can be as merry as a king, and as happy as can be. And you must fall off that ladder and die!"
"Would you rather have had him lying as he does before you would you like better to see him as he is, or like Tom Evans?" asked Calantha, gently. "Doesn't it comfort you, poor dear Mrs. Penny, to see him so peaceful and happy in his mind-to think of that place to which he is going? He'll be happier than ever he was, Mrs. Penny; that's what makes him so