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my wife would have been spared to me. It was my great misfortune, that I had not, and so God, in His infinite wisdom, took her home to himself. From the first hour of her attack, my wife had a fixed conviction that she should never look upon the land again; but death had no terrors for her; and when I would seek to encourage her with a hope, that with the passing away of the storm would vanish her illness, she would shake her head, and smiling--always so serenely and as cheerfully as was her wont in her hey-day of health and happiness, say to me:
“No-no, my husband. I am going home, and you will bury me in the sea.”
The wild gale grew more wildly furious, until the third day, when it exceeded by ten-fold all that I had ever seen or read of in accounts of tropical tornadoes. Without-on deck, the scene was terrific beyond the descriptive power of language. Within, all was absolute confusion, terror and dismay. Strong men that had never succumbed to deathly sea-sickness before, were stricken down, utterly helpless—the Doctor, Purser, Pay Master, Cabin and Ward Room Stewards, were prostrated as helpless as new-born babes-stern necessity called the Captain, Lieutenants and other Ward Room Officers to their duties on deck, and I was left there in the closely shut, dimly lighted, stifling cabin alone with my now helpless, and fast sinking wife. Ten times during the first hours of that awful night, I was dashed violently across the cabin by the spiteful" send” of the tortured ship, clasping in my arms the loved form of my fading angel. Ten times we were washed from the sofa on which I was seeking to guard my treasure, drenched by the floods of brine that came pouring in upon us through shattered ports and broken shutters.
But always Minnie smiled, and whispered low—“Bury me in the sea, husband.”
At midnight, on that terrible 31st of October night, it seemed as if three of nature's mightiest elements had massed and concentrated all their might for the total destruction of that gallant ship and every board. The deep bellowing of thunder was continuous, the vivid flashes of electric fire so incessant, that the very heavens seemed in a blaze, while the rain poured down in overwhelming torrents, the mighty gale shrieked in more terrific gusts, the mad surges dashed down upon the reeling, quivering ship ten times more furiously, and amidst this awful elemental war, as the hands of the great clock on the bulk-head of the cabin pointed to midnight, Minnie smiled more sweetly, I thought, than she had done through all her suffering, put her arms about my neck, drew her lips close to mine and whispered:
Bury me in the sea, love-Lord Jesus, I am coming,” and then she went to sleep so gently that for a quarter of an hour I did not know that
home to her God. Unaided, alone, unseen but by the All-Seeing eye of Omnipotence, I performed the last offices for the dead. All alone, I clothed my Minnie in her bridal robe and veil, sewed securely about her form the strong hempen ocean-shroud, lashed securely to the foot of the death-hammock, the heavy cannon balls that were to sink her far down to her coral tomb in the lower depths of the sea, and then all through the remainder of that dreadful night, and up to noon on the following day, I clung to the side of the berth in which I had placed my dead wife, and so far as I could,
my angel had
held her inanimate form decently steadied against the rude shocks of the surging ship.
At high noon, on that—to me memorable Sabbath November 1st, the solemn call passed fore and aft the ship—“Ho! all hands to bury the dead." The body was placed on the plank at the lee gang-way and held in position by four of the Ward Room Officers, and all of the crew who could be spared from duty, gathered close around.
There was no chaplain in the ship, the great-hearted commander utterly quailed under the solemn responsibility, and—there was that Sabbath noon presented on the deck of that armed ship, such a scene as one looks upon but once in a life-time-a husband addressing an assembled crew of ironhearted men, beside the body of his dead wife-reading the beautiful service of the Episcopal Church, devoted to the burial at sea, and the assem- · bled crew standing reverentially with bowed, uncovered heads, the ship heaving and plunging like a mad monster, the red lightnings gleaming, the thunder pealing, and rain falling in torrents, and then with his hand giving the signal to launch into the mad, yelling waves all that was mortal of the angel he had so loved and lost. The inner end of the plank was raised, the shrouded form departed, the ship passed on, and all that was mortal of my angel Minnie, whose pure spirit had but twelve hours previously gone up to its Heavenly home, was descending there alone, seeking the sepulchre, that in life she had chosen, far down in the blue depths of the Caribbean Sea.
EARTH TO EARTH.
' Earth to earth, and dust to dust,
" Age on age shall roll along
O'er this pale and mighty throng,
"THE FAIR GLEANER OF MOAB."*
A certain writer on the history of Ruth says:-“This sweet picture of agricultural life is a rich, oriental gem, sparkling with clear and beautiful lustre; far down to us, from the distant, mutilated, dark and bloody records of the early history of our race.” There is so much poetical beauty and so much instruction in this simple tale of rural life, that it may justly be considered one of the most beautiful and instructive of Bible histories.
In the character of “the fair gleaner of Moab,” we behold all the beautiful and amiable qualities, which are so estimable in a young person, and which so endear to the hearts of friends the possessor. Her virtues shine more brightly, when we consider the trying circumstances in which she was placed so early in life; and the opposition she must consquently have met with in her efforts to maintain “a conscience void of offence.” After all, the only test of character is found in adversity or affliction; when there is no temptation to evil, it is no difficult matter to abstain from it; and they alone who can, like our “fair gleaner," through sad change and heavy affliction, retain "the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit,” „deserve an eulogy on their virtues.
Not the least admirable trait in her character is the fortitude with which she was enabled to bear with sorrows, such as have consigned many hearts to years of hopeless melancholy. She had just emerged from a glad, beauteous, and hopeful girl, to a bright and blushing bride; she had known only the pleasures of life, and an early love; had “led the dance and song as careless as the summer leaf the wild wind bears along,” and “her dancing, step but kept time to inward gladness;” until by the hand of death she was left "a pale drooping widow in the depth of desolate and hopeless poverty.”
Then she found herself transformed to a woman full of care and sorrow; yet “every disappointment taught a truth; for still is knowledge bought with wretchedness. “So sinks the spirit of those days, so do our early dreams fade unfulfilled, so does our hope turn into memory, the one so glad, the other such despair.” The “sable pall” had changed places with "the flower-crowned bridal,” and she found herself suddenly bereft of one, for whose sake she had forsaken her childhood's home, and in whom she had hoped to find a helper through the journey of life.
And her hopes for the future were so sadly changed, she must have felt that life had few charms for her; but, instead of idly brooding over her sorrows, and the darkness of the future, she endeavored to comfort, by her kindness, one who had felt the rod of affliction still möre heavily than
* An Essay read at a recent Exhibition given by the Pupils of Marshall Collegiate Institute, Mercersburg, Pa.
herself. How like the blessed Saviour who, even in the agonies of crucifixion, remembered his afflicted friends! They display a very selfish spirit, who, forgetting their duties to themselves and their fellow beings, so wrap themselves up in their grief, as though they would say, "Was ever sorrow like unto mine." Let us remember that the best medicine for affliction is to do good to our fellow-men; and we shall find our sorrows heal while we endeavor to heal those of others.
The loveliness of her character is exhibited most strikingly in the affectionate deportment of Ruth toward an aged and widowed friend. It has been said that youth is never more lovely than when engaged in ministering to the happiness and comfort of age. Her affection is rendered more lovely by its disinterestedness; for, while she might have spent happy and prosperous days with her own family and in her own land, she cheerfully bade these adieu, that she might be with her friend, although she must have seen before her only poverty and toil. That love which would follow a friend only through good report, for selfish gain, and forsake him at an hour when sympathy and kindness are most needed and best appreciated, is as false as it is disgraceful and selfish.
What friendship could be stronger, then, than that which expressed itself in the words, “Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee; for whither thou goest, I will go ; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God; where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, if aught but death part thee and me.”
Friendship has chosen for its emblem the ivy, which clothes the fallen tree and the ruined castle. The affection of our “fair gleaner” bears a striking resemblance to this beautiful evergreen, which nothing is able to separate from the tree around which it has once entwined itself; which clothes the object with its own foliage, in that inclement season when its blackened boughs are covered with hoar-frost; the companion of its destinies, which makes its posture its own, even though it be in the dust of humility. Many have a wrong idea of the character of true friendship; a friend will say to a loved one, “ My life is bound up in yours. Should death overtake
you, I could only wish to die with you; for life would be an intolerable burden, bereft of thee.” They forget that each has a part to act is in the world's great field of battle,” and that there are higher and pobler aims in life than living only for those we love. For such we would hold up the example of one of the firmest of earthly friends, who acknowledged that the king of terrors and naught beside, was able to separate her from her friend.
Plerty had again smiled upon the land of Judea, and, ere they arrived at the early home of Naomi, the ripened barley was waiting to be gathered in. In her character as gleaner of the fields, she is like
“A dream of poetry, that may not be
Written or told-exceedingly beautiful.” Pride may hold her calling low, but for her duty exalted it, and with a contented mind she cheerfully went to glean in the fields of Bethlehem. The
energy with which she endeavored to sustain her life, and that of her friend, by the labor of her hands, is worthy of example. She was not dismayed at the dark and future before her, but at once engaged in an active industry, with the fruits of which she hoped to brighten its gloom. Let us remember that labor is the great law of life, that
“ Labor is rest from the sorrows that greet us;
Rest from the petty vexations that meet ús;
Modesty, gratitude for kindness in her poverty, and humility in more comfortable circumstances, are also strongly portrayed in this beautiful character; but that which renders it most beautiful is her devotion to Israel's God. It is this which gives to all other good qualities their brightbess.
It is probable that her first knowledge of the true God she received through her Christian friend, who was in this capacity a spiritual mother, and hence they were sisters in the faith. It was the power of Christian fellowship which prompted her rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than remain with her idolatrous kindred. It was by this blessed knowledge that she received comfort in her afflictions, and for which she was willing to forego the pleasures and follies of her girlhood. In meek submission to the will of Heaven, she engaged in her “humble toil and heavenward duty;" feeling the glow of love in her heart as she contemplated the works of her Father's hand.
And the Lord rewarded her piety, even in this life, in raising her from her lowly condition to be the wife of him who had been her benefactor; and in raising up one of Israel's best kings; who had reason to thank his God for the blessed precepts and holy example of his Christian ancestor. And last, though by no means least, she had the distinguished honor of having for a descendant the Saviour of mankind, at whose nativity the seraphic choir sang "Glory to God in the highest; on earth, peace; good will toward men.'
IN THE COOL COUNTRY.
BY THE EDITOR.
Not rural sights alone, but rural sounds,
There is a proverb which expresses exactly what we wish to say in the way of introducing the reader to our subject. Not for its classic beauty, but for its blunt plainness, we quote it: “Every dog has his day.” When properly widened, this proverb also means, that every man, and of course every woman also, comes to his turn in the bitter and the sweet of life.
We mean to say that in the winter it is rather pleasant to be in the cities. The houses break the storm, and the cutting north-west wind; while plenty of stoves make the in-door life of our city cousins rather com