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- The Hallam Succession - 43/43 -


there was the soft tinkling of the water falling into the two fountains on the terrace. Harry came in, and said, "I am going into Hallam, mother, so I kiss you before I go;" and she rose up and kissed the handsome fellow, and watched him away, and when he turned and lifted his hat to her, she blessed him, and thanked God that he had let her live to see Antony's son so good and worthy an inheritor of the old name and place.

By and by her thoughts drifted westward to her son Charles, with his regiment on the Colorado plains, to her son Richard in his Texan home, to Phyllis and John, to her daughter Netta, to the graves of Richard and the little Maya. It seemed to her as if all her work was finished. How wonderfully the wrong had been put right! How worthy Harry was! How happy her own dear Bessie! If her father could see the home he had left with anxious fears, she thought he would be satisfied. "I shall be glad to see him," she said, softly; "he will say to me, 'Thou did right, Elizabeth!' I think that his praise will be sweet, even after the Master's."

At this point in her reflections Bessie came into her room. She had her arms full of myrtles and glowing dahlias, of every color; and she stooped and kissed her mother, and praised the beauty of her work, and then began to arrange the flowers in the large vases which stood upon the hearth and upon the table.

"It is a most beautiful day, mother! a most beautiful world! I wonder why God says he will make a new world! How can a new one be fairer?"

"His tabernacle will be in it, Bessie. Think of that, my child. An intimate happiness with him. No more sin. All tears wiped away. Bessie, there may be grander worlds among the countless stars, but O earth! fair happy earth, that has such hope of heaven!" and she began to sing to the sweet old tune of "Immanuel."

"There is a land of pure delight, Where saints--"

There was a sudden pause, and Bessie lifted the strain, but ere the verse was finished, turned suddenly and looked at her mother. The next moment she was at her side. With the needle in her fingers, with the song upon her lips, Elizabeth had gone to "Immanuel's Land," without even a parting sigh.

It seemed almost wrong to weep for such a death. Bessie knelt praying by her mother's side, holding her hands, and gazing into the dear face, fast settling into those solemn curves which death makes firm and sharp-cut, as if they were to endure for ages, until the transition was quite complete. Then she called in the old servants who most loved her mother, and they dressed her for her burial, and laid her upon the small, snowy bed which had been hers from her girlhood. And the children gathered the white odorous everlastings and the white flowers in all the garden, and with soft steps and tender hands spread them over the still breast, and the pure drapery. And when Mr. North came in with Harry, though Harry wept, the preacher could not. With a face full of triumph, he looked at her, and said only, "Go in peace; soul beautiful and blessed!"

It had been well known for more than a year that Elizabeth's life was held at a moment's tenure. It was a little singular that Phyllis was suffering, also, from a complaint almost analogous; and when they had bid each other a farewell in the spring, they had understood it to be the last of earth. Indeed, Phyllis had whispered to Elizabeth in that parting moment, "I give you a rendezvous in heaven, my darling!"

Often also during the summer Bessie had heard her mother softly singing to herself:

"I look unto the gates of His high place, Beyond the sea; For I know he is coming shortly, To summon me. And when a shadow falls across the window, Of my room, Where I am working my appointed task, I lift my head to watch the door, and ask If he is come? And the Angel answers sweetly, In my home, Only a few more shadows, And he will come."

She was laid with her fathers in the old churchyard at Hallam. And O, how sweet is the sleep of those whom the King causeth to rest! Neither lands nor houses nor gold, nor yet the joy of a fond and Faithful lover, tempted Elizabeth Hallam to leave the path of honor and rectitude; but when her trial was finished, bear witness how God blessed her! giving her abundantly of all good things in this life, and an inheritance, incorruptible, undefiled, and which shall never pass away from her.

THE END.


The Hallam Succession - 43/43

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