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Hand In Hand

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Thcre was a fire in our neighborhood tlie ffrst ni{]t I passod at tho 11 ny nioms'. Tho alarm rang me out of leep; aod tho neit miuuta tbc engincs ruttled pust. Soarcel; had tli e grouud oeased to tremble under ïheir passage wheu the diti'kuesB burst, lik e (l.o dusky calyx of a br.lliant flcwer, aud bloouied out rosö-rod. Mrs. Rnynmiid canie into my room with a Rob Koy tartán throwu on over her nighUgown. It was Oetober, and iho iiights wero chilly. "Yes, the fire is on Coae Strcot," she said. "I thought so ; but wo ojuldu't soe froin our ohmber." As she stond, her stately form was dtfiiied by tbo illuiniuation beyond it, and a glimtnetiug nimbus ourved around tho gilvery huir over her forehead. 1 lay and lonfeed at hor. I cou!d willingly have looked at lier all night, thnt beimtifiilold womaii ! - whosu uge was s the aga of wine, and meunt perfection, bouquet of diameter Shfl lookcd out a I it tic wbile in silence, then bronthtd a faint sigh. "It would be butiful to boo f it caueed uo sulleriug," she 8aid. "Yea!" I replied. She stood n moment lnnger, then turned way from the window. Woulil he come to me 'Í Yen, sho carie, laid a hund on my hair, bent down, and kissed ray furchead. "May tho Lord blfs ns all, my dear 1" ehe said. " Good night !" Mis. Rayumud sdldoui omit'ed that loiivc-takiug with her frieods, eveo when tlie partlng was but for hu hour. "Au hour may meao for ever," she used to say. ''I bftve fouud that out in sevcuty years." A ehe irent, like a peaceful vikion, I thouht of Loigh Hui.t's Abou Ben Aaltent, to whose room the ant;el uauiat light, tnaking !be mooulight in it ' rieh, and like a lilly n bluoin." Then thought g ew dreamy ; and, as tho rose oulid.' changcd tu paseioi.-flo-ver, 1 feil ablet-p under ts iniiling hhudnwa. 'I h ■; lljyiuondn 1 vcd in a chvrming üln r' 'i'i nook, amoug steep baokx thui shut then in from sght of neighborg, jut Dot from hearing. With n"thin-j viside b'H roek, nd trees, and gardei;s, üsteniiiK theri', one c uld I eir the lulse uf liumau life bu!it to and fro without. They hnd a gem of a cottage, iretty gaiden ciowded with fliwers, a jraptry, a Js'orway pruoe-tree balanced jy a catulpa, aiiil au uveuuo of elms reachihg frotn the t rraee-stopg, close to the portioo, down to tho gato. Tliore were fifiy eluis, tweoty-fite on h sid, and they all spr x l:iih and olear from hu ground, iheu lieiit and twiued together iu tho air. I dreamed about .hpin ater F went to s!i.'ep the seci'nd time tlut night ; or, raber, my dreatu repro luccd a rel picture. I eaw a 'ain tliut perlüct pair as they wnlked down o weloouio ma when I carne, the trees ett ing fall over them a islow, golden oprinUlti of loüves, one by one. Uoth iusbund and wife were tll, uobly formed, Lealthy, and silvery-haired, both Deau'.iful with thut beauty whieh comes Torn ohcorful pie'y, perfoot Iove and gyoipathy with ech otder, and the reeolloeiiou of happy ycarg. They liad r wü tu look like duriug the fiftv years ;hey had alked hand in hand, and only thu wouian'a soft brown eycs, and the initnV blue oücí, showod that in youtb one had been a blonde, the o'tber a jrur.etto. Again the suuset shown in tlicir isoes, bri'iging out the fiue stippling ihal time hd (irawu there - Iiiur for sagbtar swect aud uierry, linas for tbought, ior patieuce, fur sadnesn, for sorrow, but uot for hate, or wrath, or euvy bad the tiu'hful graver left. Aud ever as ho wrought, the Eofter touch of 'ttith aud love had half' effaced the ï.aiks. Ho in my dream they camo down agaiu under the lofty arch of tlm, with the light in their facen aud in their sliiuiug ha.r. A peacofui vigiou ! But, stretchiug o:t my hndi to it, it diisolved, aud I awok . It was sunrise, glorious with eclor and stiilnens. and h laiut haze over the landscape made it look lo.-s like a mon ing tlian the pioture oi a moruiug. But, lookiog out, I saw that the elinx, itisitiiil of thair thiok golden lo-ifags. stood bare agiinst tbe fky, bold gwerp of siuewy limb and Irt-mbling hair-lina of twig ñnuly diawn en the g.ure baokfro ml. In the s'.illue of the niglit, every leaf bid dropp' d ai plumb ai it' it had bein a gui'Ka, and uuder raoh tree it vertieul h&pe was glowi;igly emboí'sed on the greeuïwurd. GoingdoWD stuirR, I found my friend B;aüding utnior a sweot-brier trelüs jupt outside the door. Thoy turned immdi ately, with a pleasant we!omo. Huw gtntle and tender their wuys wero ! And yet they were never indolent. "Wi h out hasto, and without reit," seemed to be their moito. ''It wag the Willis Ilouae, on Cone Street, that was burned," Mrs. Ray mond aid. ' The family bTe mt yet returned ir 'Ui their summer visiiing, and only one servaut was there, o po oue van much inoouveuienced but the firumen. Everything was imured. Did you see tho em ? My busband was just quotiiig, a propon, from that poeui on old ure you n-iid us laMt uiglit : 'Aud leaves fall fast, and let the trnthful suu-üglit througli." Look ut tho ;noriii:jg gloiy trellis I II is all purple, thig m ruing. I like that color best when tbi line chili comes into the air. Pink is a eprintr color." I d'.d not fjicak of the firi', since she had dtoppad the subji-ct, for I knpw that in the houe that hmi been burned she had spent the first years of her married life, that tinre her (ivo children hnd been bom and had died. But after breakfast tho asked me to walk round to Coue Street witb her. Mr Ray mond bad an arm-chnir and writingtablo in ui eastern baywindow of the siitiug-room, and theru in Btorningi were alwitjs npcnt, reading aad writ ug. "ForiHiiHtely, one's oorregpoudeueo drops off a little wheo one get? to be seventy-üve years old," ho said. "1 find that I cannot easily dupose of more thau one letter a day. But our friendn are kind. We. have piles of littlo uotcs that require no ftnswer." 1 sat by him while Mn. Roy mond weut to attend to ome housebold dutic-s before goiug out. "IIow impossible il rs to teil just why poople are ing I" I said, aa be left us. "If I say that Mr. Kujinnnd is beautiful, i jjood that her nature in hariiioniou f, ItiJl I have not desciibod hor." "Dou't try to," he replid, with s slow siuile, leauing l.ack and lolding bis hand (ngetber. "Indeed, I soarcely like to describe, or hear describad, one I love, any more thau I would like to nee auttlyzed a flower I cherish. I would ratlier know of tny friende only what they generotiüly reveal (jr whut I involuntaiily perceive. To purposely study a chaiucter, one must ba intrusivo and inquisitive, mast penétrate into recasses aud reserves wbich sliould be aered Thera is a certaiu cosrueneg of foeling in t. Mr Browning snys that 'beiug observad when observation is uot nympathy, 18 just boing tortured,' and Bhe is right. To me, there is no companion more obnoxious than a person ol tliai peering, uriscrupulous xort, wbo scans my form and features as it thore wcre uo sensitiva, observaut soul bebiud thtim, noteB every word, act, impulse, and expremioo, aud is, I know, all the time ongaged Q summiog up my items, aud labeliing me as blouging to a certain clas and genus. Besides, thoso are nol the persons who undorutand human nature. Thut kuowledge is best acquired hy iutuition, uot inquishiou. Souls are to be teen, as soma stars ure, by looking i htt e wmv front them. So trated, iheir shy buams beoome visible to you unawarea." I did not reply ; and, if recolleoting tbat bo inight, unintentionally, have f-i;; 111 _■ I to inclixiü mo aiuong tho "obDOzkiüS," he turned witii a gracious siuile tliat waa hall for me aud half lor her. "Elizabeth i si; cere," he said, prononncing the last word with afuloeig and emphasis that arrentcd my attntion to it. Instiuotivcly, Í glaucod up at the genealogy of a w rd so inipressively in troduoed. tinw cera, without wax; theicfore, pure honey. It was a crown for a wile s bead, that word spoken wilh tcnderness aud honor. 8he onmo in ihen, tying on her bon nat. A wreath of purple velvet ia ay ia her luir, a full black veil feil around her houldor.s, and a. ricb-hued cushmere shawl was wrapped about ïer. She cama to the windoiv, laid her land ou her biifcbund's shoultier, aud said, "üood bye, my dear!" He eebi ed the word, they iooked at eaeh other with a momontary ginile, theii we went out. The ruius of the 6ro were till emokïug wbon wo reached them, but not one Htone nor Umi er was left standing. After a whilo, wo crossod the secluded street, and eatt'ii ourxelves on a mossy ro'k a li tt Ie back ther among the trees. Au old pine, with a crimson arabe.-qu1 of vine ruuning through it, stood gu:i c] over ut aud kept off the sun, the air was melluw and fngritut, and a bird eang now uud ihen. "Evory room of that house was full of memories for me," sbe said dreainily ; and, with her cheuk rcoting upon her mii'l, full iuto a roverie which I did not eeek to interrupt. I could guens how the walls were built up again by her imagination, how the oroased the tbreühoid as a brido, how cioorg opened and shut, 3ow chir8 and table nd picture came :iack to fheir places, how curtains waved ur windows shook in the wind. Sh ;ieard again the stop ou the floor, the voices cchoing, and gaw tha mirrors releetiiijj iheir faces. Somi' ound or turn of thought dis Delled the ghostly fabrio. I could sce n her eyes wben t feil, and they eaw only asiles. But the shook wa not lainful, ouly a oletnu oue. She raised ïer eyea heavenward, with a look of thaukfulue-s, and her mouth sofiened with the reflection of & gladacs3 too deep for miles. "Ych, human love i sweet and antisfying," nhe said ilowly. ' I have fouud it so. With (jod, and ono true i'riend, tbere is uo eartLly trial which we muy not face with fortitude or even with choerfulnoPB. It is the only real blees nji on eurth, tbat couipauiouship." Sbe mused a uioment, thou went on : "Some mimen sy that they could more easily part with their husbaud t'mn with their chilJien. I cauld not; and it seems to me that thoie who could must have beeu disappointed in their busbenda. Our ohildren are given to us to train up, then to sond forth into the world to live their own lire Howover ijreut my bo the mutunl loe nd care, siill they have tbeir owu separate lives ; uud the time comee when, ai God himself ordained, they leave us, and o'eave to soiiii! onu else, io&iu one nearer to them tliau we ure. But nur partners we chüo-e wben both are raaturt', knowing why we chooge, and it is our duiy &s well as our desire to bo firnt with each other, to love aod conQde fully, and uever to be septrated. The most el acting lore oaunot ask fur inoro thun God permite and enjoiu in the raarried couple. 'J'h-y are one, he gajs Yet no one loved their childron mor truly than I did mine," her voioe growing trümuloug. "I had my hopea and droam.about thom. I was a foud mother. But GodV will is better than our wish ; and ; though I grieved, I wa not mad desola'e wlieu I wa made childless, for uiy hugband was lelt to me. If ho hud bueu taken - " She topped, a slight motiou expresgire of Hiuking and tuintnesg pusseil over her, a deaihlike paleii! si cbascd the color from her fuco. "Thank God !"nbe exolaimed, drawing a quick breath. "He knows wbat we can bear. And now, obild, forgite me for making you weep." She stretohed her soft hand, and laid it on mine. That always eemed such a favor from her ! "But your casa was a bappy éxception," I said. "Most pople are disappoini'd in love." "I am afraid it ie often their owr fiiult, " Hhe answerei wiih a sigh. "I am somelimoH antonished and tunified to nee how people misuse thai inost snorei of gifts, the first aflectiun of a human heart. How olten is lova made a hu man heart. How often i love mdo a ubjct cf jest, even by those who wouh shiiuk from boing thought ooarse o houghtless! No atfeotion, howevo uiisplaoed or unressonable, should b ridiouled. It may be wrontr, or pitiable or tragical, but ncver laughable. How ofton the knowledgo that one possesse sueh a power orer th happiuess o another toucher the ranity instead of the icart, or wiun ooutcmpt of jratitude ! How often what waa cugury pursuod, when doubtful, bocoines '■ wortliles when won; uut because it is ; enlly worth luss tnau it seemed, but jeoause the possesaor ia incapablc of ap)rflciiiting its v1ub ! With what cruel selfishness coire desire and hold an I atiaction whioh thoy can never reeiproMt, treating the la-art tlmt helpa to wrin tbeir lives as they treat the ftove hat waroia their rooms, never thinking of it excopt w hin they miss it. What wonder if such find human afiVotion uuatisfyiofff Why, the world is enoumercd and embittered vt-ilh wastod aud nsulted affection !" I quoted Loiigfellow : ■Ta.knotof waated afleetion : aiiectioü never was wasted : If it cnrich not tbc beart of anotlier, ts waters, ï-cturniug Ba k to their sprints, símil fiH them full of refreshnicut.' " She shojk her bead gentiy : "For nee, the poet tuissed his figure, and the mtïi. 'llio añi.-ction tlia1. riges to God, ike mis', froin water, doe, indeed, rcurn in refreihnient But bumna love ons out Jike a ütream, and, if tbrown iack upon its souroe, carrios desolation. hat thought ia contrary to aturo and o Holy Writ. No ; tho mutuul love of lan and woman ia tho great harmonizer f life It ujiikos faitli involuntary, not j Btruggle. It olcvate?, it &oea not ower. If we truly lov ooe, vo aro enderer ever after of all others. la ; iod loved botter, do jou thtiik, beoauae ïere is so little harmonious Ioto on arth ? No ! but lesa. I do not mean bo passing fancy of a superficial admirr, nur the fitful sympathjr of one who oir.en aud goea, nor the divided frieudliip of one whose friendshipg are uiuny, or the flimsy romance that for an bont ees you its yicionary ideal; but tiie tesdfast aflection of one whose nature is ke your own, who loves you pext to 3od, and whose eyes are anoiüted to ee the ideal you aro capable of being, j hrough all the faulti of what you are. t hts uever seemed to c:e that tho prinary thought of God in erfating men nd vromen wan that tlie eat th should be i opled, but that ihey thould bo i muioD for each other. What did the I J reator Kiiy ? '11 is not goud for man to j e alone, Let hs makt tint a heip Uke un'.o imself.' 80 human love was the crnwtinggilt, without vihich evon Paradiíe va uot fierfect. Siucu God was too mniensü for the beurt of man to conain, and would scoroh hiui to aühes if iüib'y possessed by him, as Jove did Seniele, an oqual being wag given, tliut bey might uec, 'us in urose bush, lovu's ivine !' " Wben she stoppod, with her hoad aisei, and a color as rieii as that of 11 luue rose treiubling in hor eheeks, I bent aud Uir-sc:d hei hand. feho smiled upon me : "If I were bui ixteeu years old, my dt'ar, somu uiight all what I have been sayiug roinantio blly. But I am seventy, and I kuow. Trust me ! Do not lose faith in your j jirlish dreauis. They ure true soiuewhere, if not here. Believe ïu every ovely and noble vition you ever had. f you must renounce theiu for a time, lo it bravely, but trust the hereafter." u whilo, I ventured a (jucstion : 'Will jou teil me eoiuethiug of your marriago?" " 'ïis the old story," ehe said smilngly ; "only simpler and happier than noit. Of course, I xpected souie one - ;irls always do - but I exptcted hun eriously. I used to pray for him, whoever he might be, ai:d I gludicd, and aoted, ani kept myself with refereoee to lim. I thruuk from all jeviiug nbout ove, and from git lisli fiirtations I muit ;O tu him with a freth hesit It llover icourrud to me to deceive him. It I iaJ done wrong, I would have tli him irsl. Well I made one or two raisakes, thinking that the right oue bad oouio ; but I soou iound tl cm out, and bire was nothing to regret. At lougtb, when I had boguu to ask myself if thure really was any such person, he carne. When I firet saw James, I ki:ew a once nhat I wanted, There was a suusnn of errible doubt as to whether I wa what he wanted. Then, tbaukn ba to God ! I knew that I did guit him. And so we were married. llow little it is, and how much !" "How much !' he repeated preaently, 1 and looked up the road, as if soma ooe here bad spoken to her. I had not heard a eound, but, followng her glance, I bbw Mr. litiymoud cuming to us. 8he BiDiled, her foe turned irr.movaly bil way. But, as ber ga.e dwelt, it ost itg outward oxpression, aud wben he eachod us fhj Rertined to be more aware of his spiritu il thau his bo-iily presnnoe. [ie was bout to speak, but, 1 1 a r j c i 1 1 tr in :icr face, remaiued üilunt. He su;it d iiii!ït.'l! beide her ss I rose, and held the hand xhe plaood in his. The light Ootober breez bec.amc a living toucb aud a whigper, the gimshirie a benediuiou, the overhanging pinctreo, with its rubric of vine, was a goroll wriUeu with a glad promi.e. The two sut thera, gazing at the ashes of their e&rly home, and tncntaily trod that path again, troni the coming of the bride, down thronh joyful and corrowful time, till thcy reaohed their present selves. She lflt instiuotively whon he came down in i found her with white huir, aud fiuleil eheeks, aud she esnjj soflly, in a voive which btd yet a tromul.'Ui iweetness : "Now we niaiui tottor doun, John, Hui hand in hand we, 11 go; And we'll sleep thegither at the foot, John Andersou, tny jo!" Her yoioe died to a nilvery thread, her heud drooped a little, till ber nithord clicek reatod on bis sboulder. The eyes of both were over-flowing, but the gicies on whioh they gazed touched their teurs with liylit. The next day I left them. A woi.tli ptrnied ; aod it was drawing towurd the laat of Norembur when I receired a cali to tho Kayinonda. I must come quickly, the dt-ar lady wrote. Her husbtnd was üi, and at tbc poiut of dö-tb. Bj som aooident, the lotier was delyed, and Iwo daya had passed before J gtepped öut at the familiar gate, and with u trcmbling licirt, limried up tb atenué. A friend met mo at the door, and I did uot need to be told that I was too Ure. "Mrs. Raynioad is Tery quit," be snid, "bu eeems rather bewildered, and a gieat deal older. Slie doea uot weop, hut aji eontinul!y, 'The Lord knows Í Tho Lord kuowi bent !' aa if soiaething had surprised her, and hnppened differently from what she hd expected. Sho ia with hiin now. Sho sits there nearly all tho time. I wish aha would not, it ia ao oold !" I waited rotlesly for her to como out. It wns too cold for her to itay long, and oow a light anovr, the firnt of the season, whb flling ; not from thickenhig skies, but in loolighted fling, out of ditaohed oloudasaiüng OTe. When I could wait no lunger, I oponed the door of the preat ohiüy room where the doad !ay. TLoro wero flowera all about, and iho cnrtMns were up, lokling iu a ligbt po briglit tht tho catidleflatuee wtre almost invisible, and a largo white eruoifix 8tandÍDjr ihere glowed as i! wrouglit-in fjuld. The upper half of one witidow was open, and biforo that lay Btreicbed the buaband, bia peaoeful f'iue uncovered (bd touched with liht. The wife knelt beside him, her face bid in the pillow on whiob his head reited, her hsin) put up OTer bis breast aud clnsinr{ bia band. I fiad oponed the door gentiy, and she did ROt ítir. I croswed the room witfa noiseless stop, nd stood beside her, not hHving the btart to peak, but looking tearfuily into that uilent face. Tb ligbt B'iow-flakes had drifted in and settled in hú hair, goarcoly eeen in lts wbiteneos. I glunced at those t'.vo haiids, uis and hers, clusped together on hi breaat. Tiu flu:ingsriowflake8 had eettled there, too, over the ünger oí botb, and they had not meltedon eüher. 80 p.'iicetuliy, so joyfully, they had both goue out, band iu band, "luto tlie land of the grent dprted ! Into the Sllent !.hihí."


Old News
Michigan Argus