|Chapter Title||If love's unwon, then friendship is denied.|
|Newspaper Title||Sydney Mail (NSW : 1860 - 1871)|
|Trove Title||Which Wins? A Tale of Life's Impulses|
W H ICH WINS? I
A. TALE OF LIFE'S IMPUL8B8. I DT ARIEL, I
Chapteh XXII. I' I' love's unwos, tV«a friendship to d-mlo4.' I
Henry came to ua often ; at first once or twice ft week, and then day by day at last. So completely changed from Henry Barrett of lut year was he, that 1 had need to learn him over again, and did it with the same species of wondering interest with which I have in late years- reperused a book that I had read once in my childhood ; deep meaning merging from that which was once simply deep mystery ; sadness shadowing over what once seemed shallow mirth, and moat provoking mirth in what was once moat sober earnest. Ah ! the stern manner, the mood of dog. malic language, the stern tone, were still characterise
tics ol this my young me s companion, out naa 1 before missed the heavy, tender glances and the caressing undertones, or were they new come since our last paiting f Was he wont to clasp my pasiive hand just so at meeting r— wont to leave his last steady look behind him in just that manner when we parted i I knew not that it was so, and yet neither clasp nor look came to me as a thing quite new. Well, well, it was plain to me that he was sad, and that mBdc me Bad also ; but yet— but yst woman's worst kind of perjury is when, loving one man truly, she — even for woman's holy pity— takes a gift of another's love, merely because he is sad, forsooth ! Oh, good man, choose sadness rather thin such a woman's foolish compliance, for a bitter and weary possession is the heart that hankers for a lost affec tion. Well, Henry came ; his low, full voice was a common sound in our home, his presence at our table an expected event, end I was happier that it was so. I sang my sweetest songs for hiB ear, as in old times, still with the concealed remembrance of another and a dearer listener, and I talked earnest, spirit-raising talk with him that invigorated my soul for action. My mother disliked him at first ; but Blowly, with tender and forbearing gentleness, he won not only her love but a large power over her for good, llow I thanked him— how I could have blessed him aloud in the fullness of my heart-deep thankfulness, when X saw the gradual but distinct change in her conduct. She loBt the wild glance of unconquered restlessness, and would sit for hours at her sewing, with her head bent down, the quiet shade of gentle thought upon her face, and an occasional and slow-Btealing tear escaping down her flushed check. The desire to wander died away, and the degrading bottle was discarded, and my mother became, in a veiy few weeks, very nearly all that I had longed for, hoped, and prayed for. It was she who laid the Bible on the table by the place at which Henry generally sat ; it was she who, with the soft authority of an elder, suggested the reading which he only waited a suggestion to begin. One im provement followed another : first, her faltering lips engoged in our nightly conveisalions ; then a low voice, faint and sweet as a wandering wind on a cummer's eve, stole into the hymn that Henry and I sung together ; then, entering suddenly, 1 surprised her touching XJna some sweet child's hymn of trust in Jesus. At last my mother's still tears on many a night when I alone saw her kneeling beside Una's little bed, her full-orbed joyful eyes, and her almoBt breathlessly calm manner, told to ue both, what she did not tell in words, that victory was won. Victory was won I Go, mother of one ewe-lamb, dearer to thee than thy own life ; kneel beside his little cot while day by day the firm and rounded limbs grow limp and attenuated, the smooth skin wan and wrinkled, the vivacious features drawn by pain, the blue eve blank, and the dear smile vanished. When thy darling's tendril-curls become straightened with the last death-damp ; if thou seest the blood rush to cheek and lip, the brightness to his eye, and strength to his useless limbs ; if God, in his pitying forbearance to thy beautiful idolatry, retumeth thine idol into thine arms— oh, enraptured mother, wilt thou cry aloud in thy joy that victory is won J Yet, look thou on the unpierced future, and .moderate thine exultation ; Ood alone knoweth if this victory be not to thy child a terrible loss. Victory ! go, be loved child of a doting parent, and hang in agony above the glazing eye oi that dear one in the dying hour. Dwell fearfully on the thought of the cola, dark grave, in which you must soon hide that feeble thing which has cherished you so fondly, and of the drear bitter world which you must so soon face alone, inexpeiienced and unloved. And thou, poor weeper, if health suddenly descends on thy prostrated parent and kisses him into life and love again, wilt thou not ri joice and cry that victory is won : Poor child ! all this is natural, yet beware that thou rejoice with moderation, for this that thou deemest a blessing may bring but trials to thy future lot. Victorv ! Toiler against a rugged world, dost thou rejoice that wealth is won and chink thy gold with pleasure ? Beware ! wealth has cares, temptations, ana weary woe, as well as sure pleasures. Thinker, dwelling by day and by night on a noble theme, hast thou at last attained its comprehension, and exultest thou r Oh, take care, high and glorious in the eyea of man rose Babel of old, but the builders — what of them r But victory ! victory ! thrice over victory ! I might cry in thia new joy of mine. The yielding of a soul to God— foreordsined we know, sure to have happened we know, but then tee could not know it until it did happen, and so, while God in Heaven smiles calmly in acknowledgment of his ful filled will, while angels strike their harps in joy for the attainment of that which they witnessed in pro greSBion, we — amazed by the wondrous changes— can only burst into acclamations of victory. Mother, it is as if thy child, being restored to life, was also sure of life immortal ; child, it is as if thy parent should live for ever ; worker, it is as if thy hard-won wealth could buy an inheritance in heaven ; thinker, it is as if thou hadst learnt the ' new song ' when a soul is won for God ; for the victory is sure victory, and victory for ever. Ana this gladness I owed to the instrumentality of Henry Barrett, nor only this alone. Una loved him from the first with passionate child-fervour, clung about him when he came, and drew in his conversa tion with eager attention, digesting it into received thoughts ana opinions when ne was gone. And he, observing this, studied to give her mind appropriate food, exerted himself to guide her thoughts aright, and devoted more hours to her education than I could have snatched from my occupations, even if I had been able tc convey to her the same lessons that he could. In short, Henry blessed us all, while himself seemed ever sad and weary. And I, with an overflowing thankfulness in my heart, did not dare to express it in any way for fear those sad eyes might draw from me an ever to be regretted concession. Gratitude in return for kindnesses, prayers in return for blessing, but love goeth out simply to clasp hands with love, Henry Barrett.