|Chapter Number||1. II|
|Chapter Title||MOTHER AND SON.|
|Newspaper Title||Evening Journal (Adelaide, SA : 1869 - 1912)|
|Trove Title||Whatsoever a Man Soweth|
\.TS0EVER A MAN SOWETH.
BOOK I.-WHEAT AND TABES. CHAPTER II. , MOTHEE AND SON.
.. Th» hpuie in which Reeoe Meadowsere and hit mother relided mi situated in one of the suburbs. It was MI old house, and boosted no pretensions to beauty. Yet it was roomy and i u v «y «*« an adfor it «aro an appearance of - pjotuwsqnenesa whioh a newer home could not have possessed. The wall* were covered • ^thlokly with ivy, the growth of many years. Ithadelimbed even to the chimney-tops. and weakened to envelop the whole house in a £?«»'««•»long? • b0 , Ut bre «P e » of severil TftMf4ble-look.ng, marked the main entrance, *na led into » broad and lofty haU. To the —ht Wat a .mall room, which Reece u.ed as a - It opened into the garden by a low pnnaow, and this wai the entrance tiirt Bwoe almost invariably wed. The * gardenwas in keeping with the house; the •»•»•/»« at antiquity eeemed to nervade it About the trunks of some of the piSes the ivy had e.tmned itself, andover aU tCe broodld spirit 4>f quiet and peacefulness. The flower-beds had not been laid out with any jniew to artutio effect-there was no un£ them; they were irregular in shape and size, and flowers / and shrubs / endless confusion. And nothing to offend the eye of the It was a garden of memories; which were above all - * an whl,por0d e l °i uent] y th o J afternoon following Miss jwupmen and his mother were pacing to tod leo before the house. He was giving her nis impressions of the persons he had met, but ; oonoMly enough Hilda Remergque *u ao ««W no plaoe in them. _ OaegUnoeat Mrs. Meadowsere would have noea luffiBientto prove whence Reece had potainsd his Rood looks; for mother and son bore a striking resemblance to each other. •Both had the aame dark, dreamy eyes, and the same tenderness of expression about the -moatlk But the strong, square ohinReeoe BM inherited from his father. . In ier youth Mrs. Meadowsere had been very beautiful; and, now that old age oreeping on apace, her beauty still remained faithful to her. There were traces of suffering upon her faoe it is true, for she *?f. invalid ; but her sufferings were borne if™» ?°We resignation. Early in life she had ^experienced * h « P»'° of parting from those / k v j?JL* nd ? ftte r * n had lost the '/ Sniband whom she loved and revereneed. i The mewing of sorrow in its f nllest sense was known to her; bnt the knowledge had not embittered her life, although it had saddened % had taught her also to feel for and jmnpathize with the suffering of others. ,sBeeoe Meadowssre's father had been the a worthy English county family. -Unfortunately h^ inherited little *»ve Ms name, whioh, however, was a guaranteei for all that was honourable. Tioar to Meadowsere's home there lived a i . flrthtayfentleman named Sir Walter Farley. ' WW several daughters, and .with Grace, ^ these, Meadowsere fell in love. * • Walter would hoar of no engagement. * So panted his daughters to wed either wealth ©rwnk,and Meadowsere possessed neither. , £t TOSS then that Meadowsere decided to leave go to, Australia in the hope of Graoe nwore to remain ..-tKMoo him, but as the time for his departure "•--irneir -she realized that to lose her lover dd be more than she oould bear, and the "•""ned^to go with him and share his , Meadowsere ab first refnsed to ao- ;the sacrifice, as he considered it; but would take no denial, and said that if Vfjould not take tor with him to Australia wotj^dnotfind her alive when be returned. Ana^o -Meadowsere yielded, but Sir Walter ttauaSaas. He atormed and Aged, bat to no *V|ul; Once remained firm. Then she was tared to quit the house for ever, and she fr.Withaheavy heart, for her home and Sif.lather and sisters were very dear to her. t|ptill within her-there was the oonsoiousdesBothavingaoted rightly and according to
... Mates of her heart. Walter's household there wis a named Margaret Delsie, who had been - as ladies' maid. She was deeply atto her youngest mistress, Graoe, and to be allowed to aocompany her. But ' touched at that proof of. dpvotion, out that this was impossible. She -iiow wiehout means, and would have to '••.-up' all luxuries-and rely more upon —It Matgaret pleaded hard. She saved » little money, she said, »t»d would willingly /pay her own >—passage, "Sard -when (eaobed Australia td iMcoept nothing in return for her ser- ~htU happier-days dawned upon them. lOraoe, though wifh tears in her eyes, i'.Margaret's ' request; so Margaret my. want to Meadowsere,' who, rejing at onoe the advantage it would be to ii6 have so faithful a servant, decided to ''herewith th^m: He would not, how- Mlow Margaret to pay the passageeyvhut did this himself, and also offered A small weekly wage, which «u firmly deidtned. You will need all ypur money when to Australia,, Sir." aaid Margaret, d lpan wait lay tima." hen Grraoe heard of what had been done, "argaret, with a smile of triumph upon rJe, was the first td aoquaint her with the Cane hardly knew how best to thank her. f Margaret did not .wish for thanks; she Sfctippy in having had her war, and a love "" ' up between these two which never Meadowsere and, Grace were ed; and. accompanied by Margaret, > for Australia. On'their arrival work Jptotifdl, and Meadowsere found employ- ',fi>n the staff of a leading newspaper. Of p/there were eome reverses, but these mekjoheerfully, and as time went by they the satisfaction 'of knowing that their on Was daily beooming more secure and table. Grace heakd nothing from her ertjlm 11 oocaxionally there were letters ine or the other of her sisters. _ Natuihe estrangement caused some pain; but prsere proved a devoted Husband, and about a year after their arrival, a child MU^ the happiness of the. little party ^a almost-oomplete. The child was teabd Reeoe Walter MeadbwBere, and the vmohing the ears of Sir Walter Farley v 'd the old gentleman immensely. He e h9 daughter forthwith, and sent his -"•aifd a draft for £1,000 with it. breaoh was healed, and Meadowsere £is^wife enjoyed eoQe years of unalloyed *sss¥s.'. Meadowsere was too proud, Ive, and honourable to become a really y man. He was useless at a bargain, iditliked haggling over petty business V. But still hB prospered, and at irith his iHfe and ohild and Margaret, a&fttt aa nnrae, was enabled to pay a vUit "a.. _ter reoaived them with open arms, .youngest child had always occupied the nearest his heart, in spite of the harsh, rnsas with whioh he had treated her; and as Soflittle Reeoe, the old gentleman no sooner swteyieon him than he became a slave to his idkan. The fewp were almost inseparable, .litfwas "gan-pa, do this" and "gan-ps, "ilfeirom morning to night. The testy Swrnet was like wax in the hands of this rlitlfe fellow of three summers, and their ion foV each other was almost pathetio. JBut Meadowsere'e return to Australia was inevitable, and the -day of parting came. Sir Walter was almost broken-hearted, and Reece ?«ta«i£| to him passionately. " Gan-pa turn too" j.'svas his childish ory, and it was with the greatwt difiSouIty they persuaded him that -"this »a» impossible. "Otnpt net turn?" he said, with wide- >«pen evesT~ ' ' jKb, my ohild,"said' his father. "Come ! y good-by like a little gentleman. "MS« I top wif you, gan-pa; and he Jped his grandfather's band with an emhaN)»odiof the head. , **And will you let me go home alone 1 said ^hiB mother. Oo tOD too. mumma." Sb my child, I cannot. Good-by; and ih? walked to the oarriage that waited for them. v • „ The little fellow's faoe was a_ study. He ^looked np at bis grandfather piteouely and «}»n at his mother. The tears Btarted to his •yes, and he seemed uncertain how to decide. i%ut. young as be was, he must have.frit that a mother's love was best and purest of all loves; "i furnishing to her he hid his faoe m her dress, ^pbbtng bitterly, Ad the worst of the parting '".Jratavsr. . ,, . . t Waiter did not long survive their depar- W for Meadowsere and his received rsof his death shortly after their arrival in 8trriia. The old gentleman had always —jd up to his income, which was not Jarjte, •nd there was little to divide among his tfMdren What he had, however, had been .Jtettia equal shares to his three daughters and ^riitlfle Reeoe Graoe generously insisted upon firing up h»-share to her sisters, while the Wpnsj bequeathed to Reeoe Was invested imtil he came of age. < , . . MndowitoM with his wife and child spent >«W»»ery happy years. He took a fancy to housa with its ivy-covertd walls aud pttflbatod it. He was comfortably well oil, %»A "having plenty of time on his hands spent fc%M«t deal of it in the eduoation of his little w.t Reeoe wss never sent to school. All ^athe learned was taught him by his father mother. They wero both well eduoafcd and refined and Reece inherited tbeirrefiuB- \ «M«>t and their love for all that was good r.nd trne. By hu father he was taught what books te-^and wSt to avojd. They were.comif WMSi always, and Reece looked up to and his father as a man who was
superior to all other men. His mother he loved deeply and passionately; and well he might, for she was a mother to be proud of. Very early in life both parents had instilled into their boy's mind an intense love of justice, and a strong regard for all that was beautiful and no^e. Nor must Margaret be forgotten. She had nursed Reece through many a sickness; she was proud of him as a baby, and as he grew to boyhood and then to manhood her pride grew also. The strong affection which had prompted her to leave home and friends in England so that she might accompany her mistrets to a new world was still the ruling passion of her life. The mere fact that Reece was the son of her mistress would have been sufficient to olaim Margaret's devotion; but apart from this altogether the child she had watched and tended from its infanoy had by his loving, clinging ways entwined himself about her heart, and she would gladly have suffered any sacrifice, if, by so doing, she could have benefited him one uta. And Reece was not baokward in his appreojationgf her devotion. His earliest recollection oilier was of one who was a comforter in the time of trouble. She had ministered to his wants as a ohild; she had soothed him in the time of siokaees, and had been his playmate in the days of health. She had taught him to oall her "nurse," and even now he had not altogether dropped this title, for be knew that Martraret preferred it to any other. When Reece was fourteen years of age his father died, and, boy though he was, he realized that he had sustained an irreparable loss. His grief was deep and lasting, and he grew grave and old beyond his years. But he knew that there was one who suffered more than he did, and this was his mother. She had lost the lover of her ycuth; the man to whom she had entrusted the hapniness of her life, and who had held that trust sacred ; the husband who had been to her all that a husband should be—counsellor, friend, companion, protector, and lover. And Riece, knowing this, determined manfully to follow in hit father's footeteps. He comforted his mother in his boyish way; he lavished the wealth of his love upon her ; he watched over her tenderly, and guarded her from draughts and petty annoyances in a way that touched although it also sometimes amused her. The ohivalrous, tender-hearted lad, assisted by the ever-faithful Margaree, strove to heal the wound which death had made in his mother's heart. But husband and wife had been so much to eao'n other that even time, whioh "might be supposed to bring relief, oould never bring forgetfulnes*. There was that in Mrs. Meadoweere'n nature whioh oaused the memory of her husband to be ever present with her. He had been her first, last, and only love; and her love bad gone with him, even to the grave. She resolved to live on for her son's sake, and she did live; but sorrow had set its mark upon her, and a lasting grief dwelt continually with her. The wealth of devotion which Reeoe lavished upon his mother was returned to him with interest. Mrs. Meadowsere took up the work her husband had left unfinished, and carried it nobly through to the end. There was much she oould not teach her boy that his father might have done; but she did what she could, and received her reward. Reece grew up a gentleman—a worthy son of worthy parents. He loved his father's memory; he regarded his mother with in finite tenderness. He uaw in her a woman of women—a godlike m6ther. The instinot which as a ohild had warned him to cleave to his mother had not played him false. And now, after eleven long years, Mrs Meadowsere knew that the angel of death was approaching, and she welcomed him with open arm*. Her boy had grown into a matt, and she had no fears for him. He was like his father, and that was enough for her. She felt thas her work was finished, aud looked forward to the rest that was to oomo with a quiet joy. Then she would see again-the husband whose memory she oharished, and they would be reunited, tojpart no more. So •be believed in her inmosl^hoart. and who can say that her belief was not justified ! Early in life Reece had manifested a taste for literature, and this had been encouragod, first by his father and then his mother. He at length resolved to adopt it as a profession. His work led him away from home very rarely, so that he was able almost constantly to be with his mother. This was a great advantage to both. _ At first Reece naturally met with disappointment and rebuffs, but these only stimulated him to fresh efforts, and in course of time hie persistence was rewarded.
He became recognised as a man of sterling worth, earnest of purpose, and imbued with an honest love _ for his work. He was employed to write for various papers and magazines, and what he wrote was invariably werth reading. His father had been well known and highly respected, and Rssce, first for hit father's sake, and then for his own, was accepted socially. Society would have made of him a sort of literary lion had he been agreeable; but Reeoe bad no great respect for society as he saw it, and preferred rather the _ quiet of his home and the companionship of his mother to the tumult and excitement of the busy world. But Mrs. Meadowsere urged him not to pl^oe too low an opinion upon the privileges his birth and ability afforded him. She pointed out that for a man to hold a good position in aooiety was a distinct advantage to him, no matter what his profession might be, and particularly in literature it was essential that the laws and general workings of society should be fully understood. Only by associating with all elasBes of people oould a just idea of their manners and customs bo formed, and some knowledge of human nature gained. And so Rnecs, although with a oercain amount of good-natured gnumbiing, tore hisi- -self away from his quiet home and beloved books to accept invitatious to ball?, garden parties, dinners, and so on. Very often they bored him almost beyond endurance, and he would determine to aocept no more invitations ; but yet the study of his fellow-creaturee proved a faBcmatinz one, and be gained a good deal of amusement and useful information by attending at these social festivities. Fortunately he was not dependent unon his work for a living, so that he oould afford to write honestly and fairly his cpimonB of what he saw and heard instead of pandering to the tastes of any one olass or portion of the community. Undoubtedly Meadowsere would still have done this, even had he been as poor as the bank clork to whom Captain Jones had likened him; but yet, from a worldly point of view, it was just as well that he had "an income irrespective of what ho derived from his profession. From hie grandfather he had inherited about £100 a yeir, and he had full control of all his mother's property, which was worth about £13,000. Of the income derived from this, however, he would accept but little, although his mother would willingly have allowed him to take the whole of it. But Reece was not extravagant ; he had enough for all his needs, and wished for no moro. And on this early summer afternoon mother and son strolled arm in arm about the quiet aid garden. Reece had told his mother of Mrs. jSilvermede'd promised visit, and every moment they expeoted her. As at length the sound of approaching wheels was heard, they turned towards the gate to meat their visitors. Mrs. Meadowsere and Mrs. Silvermede were friends of long standing, and embraced each other with much feeling. They were totally dissimilar in appearance, she one being delicate, somewhat melancholy-looking, and of a highly nervous temperament: the other stout, active, aud full of life and wpirits. Yet they had a mutual liking and a thorough respect for eaoh other. Mrs. Meadowsere turned to Miss Silvermede with a smile. "Well, my child," she said, as she kissed her cheek, "and so you are now twenty-one. I must congratulate you heartily." "Yes," answered Miss Silvermede, laughingly, "I am my own inistrew now." "You have been so ever sinoe you could walk,"eaid her mother. "She has managed remarkably well then," observed Mrs. Meadowsere. "The only thing that troubles i&n is that I feel myself growing old," said Miss Silvermede with mock gravity. " Why ! I shall soon be an old maid ; and without a cat too, for mother won't allow one iu the house. What a dreary prospect I hsve before me?" "Then why on earch don't you get married?" exclaimed hc-v mother. "You have had more opportnnifies than most g<rls, and I have tried h<>rd enough, goodness knows, to get rid of you. But it's no use," she added in a semi-mournful tone, whioh caused a general laugh, in which she herself joined heartily. "Perhaps the right man has not appeared yet; is that it, Ethel!" asked Mr. Meadowsere. " Poasibly he hss appeared, but won't have me," was the half-joking reply. Mrs. Meadowsere looked at her with a quick searching glance. She had long suspected how matters stood with Ethel Silvermede, t;nd now, as she observed the young girl's heightened oolour, and the quivnr about the lips, tier worst fears were confirmed. She guessed t hit Ethel Silvermede had given her love nnsought to Reecc, and she pitied her from her htart, for well she knew that Rsece did not raturn that love. She regretted it . for her oirn sake also, because she knew that this ^igh-spirited young lady possessed a sweet womanly nature, and a wealth of tendcrrjsis which would enrich any man who was fortunate enough to win her regard. It would liAve pleased har if Reece had shown some inequation towards making this favourite of 1 ers his wife. But Resce did nothing of the port. To him Ethel Silvermede was a friend •v bom he had known from ohildhood. He was very fond of her in a brotherly way, but his liking went no further; and Mrs. Meadowsere was too wise a woman to imagine that she oould alter the state of his feelings. Lore cannot be forced nor ooaxed. Sometimes it is found where leist expected, and where one would expeot to find it it exists not. For some time the two ladies kept up an animated conversation, but Miss Silvermede rarely appke, while Reeoe sat silent and thoughtful.
" And for the last three months yon have been travelling all over Tasmania and New Zealand," exclaimed Mrs. Silvermede. "I hope you saw something to repay you for your trouble." "I'm afraid I didn't take very muoh interest in what I saw," answered Mrs. Meadowsere. " But still you feel stronger than when you left Melbourne, I hope. And really that is the most important thing." " I shall be better now that I am at home," was the evasive answer. "What I can't understand is, that you should have come home just at the beginning of the summer. I think it would have beon wiser if you had remained in New Zealand until the hot season was over." "Reeie wished mo to do so, but I grew home-aick, and now that I have got baok I mean to stay here until I die." " Come! come ! this won't do. Yon are growing melancholy and want rousing. Ethel and I are off to the seaside in a few weeks, and we wish to take you with us. What do you sav?" Mrs. Meadowsere shook her head sadly. "It is very kind to think of me," she said, "but I am too deeply attached to my home ever to leave it again. But let us say no more. Here is Margaret with the tea. She evidently fancies that we will prefer to have it outside on such a lovely afternoon." "And she ie right,"said Mrs. Silvermede, greeting Margaret with a pleasant smile. The tea was served in the shade of a large pepper-tree, and Mrs. Silvermede proceeded to rouse Reece from his fit of abstraction. "Now, Reece'"she exolaimed, "here have 1 been trying to persuade your mother to go with me to the seaside for the benefit of her health, and you sit there as if the matter didn't interest you in the least." "I shall be very glad if your efforts are successful," said Reeoe, earnestly, "for I really don't thiak that she should remain here during the summer. Come, mother! don't you think you coulcl manage it?" "No, my boy," said his mother, quietly. "I have already given my answer." Reeoe sighed heavily, for be felt sure that nothing would alter her determination. Mrs. Silvermede was more sanguine, however, and said, cheerfully— " Well, let us drop the subject for to-day ; but I intend to have another try before abandoing all hope. And now, Reeoe, I want your opinion upon the beauty of the season." Miss Silvermede glanced np quiokly and awaited his answer with some curiosity. " To whom are you referring V' asked Reece. " Why, to Miss Remersque, of course. But I forgot; this is her first season, and you only returned yesterday, so must be forgiven. Well?" "I hardly know what to think of her,"said Reece, quietly. " Do you think her handsome?" " Yes; she ie one of the moBt beautiful women I have ever seen." Miss Silvermede turned her head and stared blankly at a tall pine-tree in the far earner of the garden. Mrs. Silvermede laughed gaily. " Have you fallen in love at last, Reece?" she asked. "No," answered Reece, thoughtfully; "I have not fallen in love." " I am glad of that. She isn't the sort of woman to make you happy." " Why ?" asked Reece abruptly. " Your characters and pursuits are too dissimilar. She oan hate as well as love, and I shouldn't care to be the objoct either of her dislike or regard." " But who ie this Miss Remersque?" asked Mrs. Meadowsere with eome anxiety. " I never remember having beard of her before." "Her father was a country solicitor, and died about eighteen months ago," said Mrs. Silvermede. " He left his widow a small inoome, and she came to Melbourne at the beginning of the present season with her daughter. They managed to get into society somehow or other, and Mi33 Remersque's great beauty, for she is beautiful, soon became the talk of the town. It is now the fashion to rave about the ' dark-eyed princess,' as I heard one enthusiastic admirer term her; and certainly the name is not altogether inappropriate, for she is a most remarkable-looking woman, and carries herself with the traditional royal stateliness. Her object now is to make a good marriage. She would naturally prefer a young man, but old age need be no drawback, so long as there is plenty of money. This is indispensable." " You appear te consider Mies Remersque a very mercenary oreature," said Reeoe, somewhat coldly.
For a moment Mrs. Silvermede did not reply, but she shot an enquiring glanoe at Reece, who was looking a trifle annoyed. "Didn't you know, Reeoe," she said, "that all women were considered mercenary. Love and money! A little of the former and abundanoe of the latter is what a woman craves for. You see what an opinion I have of mv sex !" and she laughed bitterly. "Why, then, do you think men marry? asked Heeoo. Mrs. Silvermede shrugged her shoulders. " You are a batter judgo of men than I am, Reeoe." she answered, "and I leave that question to you. But, good gracious! it's time we were going, Ethel:" and she at onoe bade Mrs. Meadowsere an affectionate goodby, and, escorted by Reece, proceeded to her carriage, which Etili waited at the gate. " God bless you, my child ! : ' aaid Mrs. Meadowsere, as she kissed Ethel tenderly. " I have guessed your eecret and will keep it sacredly. Itisatre^h bond between us, and a mother's best wishes are with you." Ethel glanced upwards with a grateful smile, then turned away, and followed her mother. "Oh! by-the-bv, Reeoe,"said Mrs. Silvermede, " I sapposa you are going to Mrs. Duval's gardun party next Tti-arsdny ?" " Yus," answered Reece, " I received an invitaticu last night, and promised to put in an appearance. "liut, Mrs. Silvermede," he said anxiously, "bow do you think iny mother is looking?" " She looks ill, my poor boy, v?orae than I expeoted to eee her. We must try and induce her to go to the seaside or into the mountains during the summer. It would be madness for her to remain here." Reece looked troubled, and handed Mrs. Silvermede and Ethel into the carriage without a word. Than as they drove oif he walked elowly and thoughtfully bacik to his mother. Mrs. jVIeadowsero was seated in 3 rustio chair on the suial! inwn in front of the house, and Reece, with a heavy tigu, threw himself at her feet. " What is that sign for, Reece?'' asked his mother "I am out of sorts, mother," was his answer. "What has put you out of sorts? Some remark of Mrs. Silvermede's 5" " Yes." "Do her opinions regarding the marriages of to-day grate upon you?" " It is not that," said Reece, gloomily. "I have seen enough of life to know that there is a good deal of truth in what Mrs. Silvermede hae sriid." " Yen are young to have found that out, Reece." "0:ie is never to^ young to learn, mother." "Have I helped you to come to such a conclusion, iny boy ? Is it your mother's example which has taught you to judge the hearts of women as you have done?" " No ! no !" exclaimed Reece, clasping her hand in his own. "Your life has been an example of all that is good and true. You are uot like olfc<_-i- women, mother; and if the world cortlamed more such as you it would be tucker aud purer. You are my mother: I - you—I reverence you, and regard ou !>.-;'ore all others." ' And yet I am not so, Reece. There are hundreas of women to-day -who are better than I am." " That is impossible !" said Reeoe, impulsively. Mrs. Meadowsere smiled. " I am fortunato in having so true a champion. But the time will come when your mother will have to be content with the second place in your regard." "Such a time can never come," said Reeoe, quietly but firmlv. " We shall see. And now let me say a few words to you, Reece. Unhappily, there is a good deal of truth in what Mrs. Silvermede has said, bus there are women to whom money is nothing, whilst love is everything. Their affeotions are deep and true, aud they remain steadfast, even unto death. And, then again, Reece, you mast remember that a woman is differently situated from a man. She needs a home—a protector. When a man presents himself who is capable of making her a good husband can you altogether blame her if she accepts him? I* she to wait, perhaps foryears, until some one comes who has power to sway her I'eeiicgE, even as the branches of a tree are swayod by the wind ? Such a man may never come ; and even fo, does it follow that he will return her regard? For my own part, I could marry no man unless I loved him with my wliol" heart. Bat if other* can do so. and be contGnt, is it for us to blane them? There are seme women, Reece, who are not emotional, and are therefore incapable of realizing the true power of love; others who are very^smasptible tr> the tender passion, but whose feelings are without depth, and their attachment" lack constancy. You must have seen nuah woiaon, Reece. By the world they are called 'fioklo,' 'false,' and 'heartless;' but they are not happy—they never oan be so. In their lives there will be a vague something always wanting, and though perhaps they may be responsible for much suffering, yet they deserve our pity rather than our oisnsure. But 1 shall say no more, my boy; only I trust that you will always make sure that your judgment is correct before condemning harshly; and, above all things, Reece, do not beoomn bitter and cynical. And now tell me what £B troubling you, my son." " You are troubling me, mother." " I ! What a strange answer, Reeoe." "I mean that your health troubles me. Mrs. Silvermede thinks you look ill." " Is that all?" eaid Mrs. Meadowsere with a amile.
"All!" exolaimed Reeoe wonderingly. "Is it not enough?" "Not to worry about, my boy. I know that I look ill, for I am ilL I fesl that my days are numbered." " Mother !" . "It is true, Reeoe; and I am content that 't should be so." "And yet you tell me not to worry! I oannot understand you, mother." "Surely it is not difficult to understand, Reece. I feel that I bave livad my life. Tha end of all things is death; sooner or later it must come, and we should be prepared when our time is at hand. My time approaches, and I am ready, for my work on earth is finished. And you, also, my son, should become reconciled to the thought of losing me." With a gentle touch she brushed back the hair from bis forehead with her baud, smiling sadly, yet wistfully. A lump roie in Rseoe's throat. " Are you anxious to leave me?" he eaid, in a pained voioe. " Far from it! but there is no help for it, Reece; and I know also thns I need have no nisgivings about you. You are a mas, honoured by all who know you. I' have but one wish now, and that is to see you happily married before I die." "I want no one but you, mother,"exclaimed Reece. • "Yon think eo now, but wait a little! And besides, has it never struck you, Rssce, that I miss your father ? During all the long years since he died f have never ceased to miss him, and now that I feel assured of a spsedy reunion is it strange that I should be ready to lay down my life? And is it net a little selfish of you to desire to keep me with you always. . If I thought you needed me, Reece, it would be different; but the world lies before you. I have done my best to prepare you for it, and it remains with yourself whether your life is made or marred. Do not think me unkind, Reece, for speaking thus. I love you with all a mother's tenderness ; £ am proud of my boy, and his joys and sorrows are also mine. But your father had my first love, and now that I fesl I am not altogether neoessary to your life I would go benoe &ud be with Him who ruleth all things, and with my husband. Come, Reeoe ! Let us go in." Reece rose silently and kissed his mother with great tenderness. She returned the kiss, and, leaning on his arm, walked slowly to the honse. From one of the windows Margaret watched them with a growing cadnesa at her heart. She knew that mother and son would soon be parted, and she grieved for Reece and for herself.