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you all, and my still greater delight at finding my early love ever constant to my memory, and ready to meet me on the very spot on which we parted nearly eight years ago. I only presented myself at the vicarage this morning, when I sent for my kind friend, who came at once, and has with Mr. Marsden kept my secret faithfully. I will with great pleasure do my best to fill the post of organist this evening and join once again in the service of the Church of England with those I love best; my adventures you must hear to-night.”
Very, very warm was the welcome bestowed upon the long absent friend, but one there was who trembled too much to stand, and who gliding from Norah's side felt his way quietly to his old corner. Captain Arbuthnot quickly followed him, as the party were augmented by the Westons. They returned arm in arm, with no trace of agitation on the face of either, and quietly took their places, the one at the organ, the other by the side of her who was henceforth to be bis, and melody filled the church ; and again in the evening when they met to return thanks for the rich harvest gathered in, old Jennings was there, and old Tomson and his wife, and many from neighbouring villages, and all who were not bedridden or too young to be present, as the organ pealed forth the voluntary; Mr. Weston intoned the prayers; then came the anthem ; never was it played with more masterly touch. In his heart Captain Arbuthnot felt every word, and he played as he felt, while the choir sang with fervour the beautiful words, " O rest in the LORD, wait patiently for Him, and He shall give thee thy heart's desire.”
Miss Marsden bowed her head upon her hands and wept: she had waited, and found the fulfilment of the promise at last. A full harvest of joy was in her heart, and in the hearts of those others who had waited. The Vicar preached from the words, “Rejoice in the LORD alway, and again I say, rejoice," and the Hallelujah chorus at last brought to a close one of the most delightful Harvest Thanksgivings. When the tones of the organ died away, the congregation, many of
, whom stayed to listen to the music, to wonder at the stranger who had played, and to admire the decorations, were further surprised to see Miss Marsden coming down the church leaning on his arm. The first who recognised Captain Arbuthnot was old Jennings ; he met him in the porch, and with every expression of delight in his countenance and manner held out his toilworn hand. Captain Arbuthnot grasped it heartily, and shook it warmly.
“I am very glad to see you again, my good old friend,--how are
Oh, cap'en, thanks be to God that I see this day. I ha’ not despaired, sir, I ha’ waited, and now I know that the great sorrow of dear Miss Marsden's life be over, I can wish for nought else, and on my birthday too, I be eighty-seven to-day,—this be a keepin' of my birthday, God bless ye both."
. “I will come and see you to-morrow, and we will have a long chat, and you shall hear all about my life,—you do not work, do you?”
No, cap'en, I ha' one of the almshousen close by, thanks to your dear young lady, and there I am to be until God takes me, as I humbly hope, to Him. You'll gie the cap'en the apples, miss ?”
“Certainly I will, Jennings, and now good night, you will soon be home; good-bye until to-morrow."
“Good night,” said the old man, making his reverence, “joyful am I to see this day.”
“There goes a good old man, a man in whom there is no guile," said the Vicar, who had joined Miss Marsden and her lover," and there are many more waiting to give you kindly greeting. Ah, here is one.”
As he spoke Mrs. Frere held out her hand. She was much affected; she had known Captain Arbuthnot many years, and she deeply respected him. The remembrance of the love he had borne for her children now departed, agitated her, but the cordial yet quiet greeting of the long absent one soon restored her to her usual composure, and she joined the happy party gathered round the vicarage firefor the evenings were cold-and listened to Captain Arbuthnot as he related his adventures. He stated that on reaching his vessel he went on board, and sailing out of harbour purposed returning with the pilot boat, when after a few hours' illness his first mate died, and he was compelled to take the command of his ship. He wrote, but the letter did not reach her to whom it was addressed. Before reaching his destination, a fearful storm caused the wreck of the vessel, “ The Stormy Petrel," and all on board perished with the exception of the captain and three sailors. These were washed ashore on an uninhabited island, and there lived for six years without a chance of escape. Two of the sailors died, but the third remained until three days before the captain's release, when he too died. Then in sadness and almost in despair he waited, and on the third day from the death
of his last companion, & vessel came in sight, his signals of distress were seen, a boat put out and took him on board. The joy of his rescue rendered him insensible, and when consciousness returned he found himself in the hospital of a missionary station in Africa. Here he remained for many months hovering between life and death, and when he recovered sufficiently he wrote again to England. He had no reply; he then began to teach the English language at the Station, but at last he reached the coast, and worked his passage to his native land; and as he terminated his thrilling narrative, he said,
“As long as I live, my thoughts will be those of continual praise to my God, a harvest thanksgiving of joy in my heart, for have I not indeed reaped largely of His tender mercies, granted to me His unworthy servant ?”
At a late hour these dear friends separated only to meet on the morrow with renewed joy; but before Captain Arbuthnot could pay his visit to old Jennings, news was brought that he had that morning been found dead in his bed. For him there would be no more Harvest Thanksgivings on earth, he had indeed gone home to join the oneeternal thanksgiving psalm.
A few days later Mr. Branstone read the funeral service over his old parishioner-he was the oldest man in the village--and with mingled feelings of pain and pleasure he committed his body to the dust, there to await a joyful resurrection at the coming of the LORD. Captain Arbuthnot attended the funeral, and the old man had no other
A few weeks later Norah, Eva, and Emily were bridesmaids to Miss Marsden, and the villagers mustered again in the church to see the union of those who were deservedly so loved by rich and poor. Merrily rang the bells, and heartily cheered the people as the carriage drove off, while they look forward to yet another wedding next year.
Emily and Eva sat together under a weeping ash on the lawn in front of the Hall on the succeeding morning.
“How wonderful it is that all this should have happened in so short a time.”
It was Eva who spoke, and Emily replied,
"I am thinking of what papa said, that all have cause to rejoice. Now I know we have nothing but rejoicing just now, but could we still rejoice, dear Eva, if we were poor and ill and neglected ? or if like dear Arthur we were blind ?”
Yes, dear, for if we are like him we shall have an inward rejoicing above all earthly joy, and so it is with Aunt Lena and Uncle Frankyou know he is uncle to us both now, is it not delightful ? if uncle had not had the hope of eternal life I think he must have died on that desolate island.”
“I am so glad dear Arthur and Norah are happy together, -we are sisters in truth now, are we not ?”
“Yes, until death; we shall often be with these dear ones, we love them, but not more dearly than they love us, I am sure.”
A voice calling “Eva, Emily,” caused them to jump up quickly, and they were soon lost to sight.
On the following Sunday the Vicar in his sermon alluded to the stirring events of the past weeks, and said,
“Even as you, my friends, waited for the ripening of your corn and fruits, so our dear friends whom I have named waited, resting in the promise of the LORD, and they have not waited in vain. To one among us the end has been realized in Heaven; the others have their prayers granted upon earth. Remember, my dear brethren, that we have daily cause for rejoicing in the tender mercies of our GOD, special cause of rejoicing in that His Son JESUS CHRIST offered Himself for us upon the Cross, and I trust an endless cause of rejoicing in our salvation by faith in the 'Lamb of God, Who taketh away
the sin of the world. May we be gathered into the Heavenly garner as corn ready for the reaper ; believe, and ye shall be saved. JESUS says, 'I am thy salvation,' and • There is none other Name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.'
“The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved."-Jer. viii. 20.
LORD of the golden harvest,
King of a world so fair,
Humbly implore Thy care.
The summer fruits are gone ;
The calm bright moon has shone.
As Job, when all things prospered,
Prayed for those loved and dear,
LORD, we implore Thee, hear.
Our hearts are dull and thankless
For each new added boon,
Ere wanes this harvest moon.
Yon trees bewail our coldness,
With living leafy tears,
And years are heaped on years.
Lo, at Thy feet we kneel,
CALLED TO A WORK.
ONE of the strangest mysteries in our existence is the manner in which events deemed improbable are sometimes brought about, as it seems by other than human agency. We often class these events under the head of " special providences," as if they were exceptions to the rule of providential guidance; but it is a fact that God's care is more evident in some instances than others to the dim vision of humanity, and that at certain times His will seems almost unmistakably declared.
I lately happened to receive a letter from a friend, stating that she was tired of leading a desultory young lady's life, with no object but just the passing pursuits that chanced to fall in her way, and was anxious to take up some really good work in life, which should, like virtue, bring its own reward. She had thought of many voluntary and gratuitous schemes of usefulness, such as teaching or nursing, but felt incompetent to undertake any she had as yet contemplated, and now conceived the idea that she might possibly do something in an Institution for the Blind. Could I help her in this ? she asked, she knew of no one else to whom she could apply for advice or information.