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Mrs. Palliser's Dream

Mrs. Palliser's Dream image
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I pfopose to relate Mrs. Palliser's droam lecáuse it brouglit about a uiarked chango h her life. Great as is tho liborty allowsd to a dream, nevertheless I apologizo jcforehand for Mrs. Palliser's dreain. It s not a conrentional good-sooiety dream. l adniit it. TJprotest against any daniaging inferencea about Mrs; Palliser. She Í9 a dear, good, pious littlc wofnau ; aut I leave the drèani to its own mcrits. [ will not even attempt to tell it in a roundabout style, but just say plumply, Vlrs. Palliser dreamed that, sitiing in church, she saw Satan siútifg ncar her, quite at his oase, listening witli an air of artistic enjoyment to the singing, and with an expresion of proprietorship and interest in what was about hún that nade Mrs. Palliser so horribly uncoinfortablo that she could not follow the services. When a dream begins like that, of course you may expect alinost any thing ;o cöme tiext. Mrs. Palliser in her dream was more cüriotis to tnow why he carne ;here, and how He could sit there, than ever was Eve about tho apple ; and her curiosity grew so intolerable that, the service being oven shë toueHed him on the arm and asked hiiii. II JiVIy dear madam," he answered, jiandly, "I often come here. I view thia and one or two similar establishments something as a man does his pet coimtryseat, and when I gct a fit ot' the blues I come here to refresh my faith - in myself. And for the question in yotlr thoughts, madam, that you are too polite to frame n words, yourChrist, to whom you have erected this temple, is not here." " You are a liar, and the father of lies !" retorted Mrs. Palliser, with inoro zeal ;han politcnuss " Granted 'i but the devil can quote Scripture. What did He tell you himself oï soine who begin to say, ' We have eat■u and drank in Thy presence, and Thou jast tanght in our streets ; but He shall sav, Iknow you not wheuce ye are; deyj,rt froin me, all ye werkers of iniquity.' l Mrs. Palliser, it' the prophecy was connned entirely to those wicked Jews, or if among theni will be found any body who sits here, for example."' ïovv, coupled with his words, there was something so unspeakably awful in he sinile with which Jio lookcd down nto Mrs Palliser's wondering face that .he little woinan's heart stood still. She truggled and woke. ïlii1! absurd aud irreverent dream made a, terrible impression on Mrs. Palliser. ihe was unable lo forget it. She told her ïusband, and he pooli-poohed it as noneue That was conclusivo but not satsfafttory. She consulted her pastor. He -miled, and told her that " a dream cometh through the multitude of business." 'But not such dreams," murinured Mrs. Palliser. She grew thin and worii; and ïer husband called in the doctor. The lofttfct deinanded hèv symptoins; and írs. Palliser told her dieam. Tho doc;or said somethiiig about nerVes, gave ïer a prescriptiou, and privately advised Mr. Palliser to take his wife into society, ind try ar.d distract her thoughts: this aeristnt dwelling on pne thing looked a ittle hke Ciania. Winter came - two-faced, as Usual To ;he rioh and the well-to-do it brought ihe"season" and all its spendors and isleasures: leettres,; operas, sleigh-rides, links, red chèefcs, quick leaping blood, long, bracing walks in the clear air; spring, sparkle, elasticity ; cozy curtained rooms, twilights with soft warm air, red fire-light, anrl jst a glimjbse through the panes of tho dying winter's light for contrast ; long evenings close arouud the hearth, all the cozier for the raving wind and driving sleet without : Christmastrees, New-Year's boxes, wine velvet, gold, furs - all these for the rioh ; but for the poor - lower your voice and chauge your note. Winder is a mighty hunter ; the poór are his gaine, and he hunts them liard, and to the death. This winter was no exception. It -was a bitte one. The charitable Ivere busy ; busiest of all Mrs. Palliser; but she still asked herself why Christ should not bo in His church. In an alley lived Matfge Allen, on the third floor of a rear tenement building. She was by no means a model poor vvoman. Her tempor was bad. She was sometimes drunk. Mrs. Palliser's cook vowed that sho stuffed her pockets with tea and sugar. But, however that ntay be, she feil siek. Mrs. Palliser found her looking not only ill, bttt gaunt and starved. So cHd her children. There was no quilt on her bed ; no fire ; no bread ; no tea-kittle ; not even a whole dish. One by one, every thing had goue to the pawnbrokers. Winter had hunted: them down, and was worrying them now in their miserable attic till tho ïandlord should tarn thein out, as he intended to do the day after to-morrow, when he would imih them.Madge told these things in a' dry, hard voice, and with no sign of slthough the sof t -tearted Mrs. Palliser vas in tears. You see, Madgo lived only a block and a half away, and that aggravated the case, to Mrs. Palliser's thinking. She could hardly await the end of the story to run into' ttre streot, order coal, wood, and confíscate tho wholo Palliser diimer, and send around a load of flanne), dishes, etc Hbs paid tho landlord ; she bïought the doctor; she nuïsed Madge herself - the best and tendereat of nurses. In all this glo-.V of kind feelMg Madgo thawod a f.ttle. and one day she said, "1 thank you, I do thank you, Mrs. Pallisor. I don't seo' why you ever took so much trouble for one like me." " For Jesus' sake," answered Mrs. Palliper, softly and quickly, glad of the opportuuity to say so. An .ill-omened liglit sparkled in Madge's eyes. " Whoso sake did you say ?" affecting Budden deafness. " üur Lord and Saviour's," replied Mrs. l'&lliser again, treinbling a little. " And why on His account ?" asked Madge, inighty dryly. " Beeause He - Why, surely j-ou know, Madge. He told us to do so. He was poorer once than you ; He had not ovun a pluce to lay His liead." i'adge threw up her head suornfully. " Now 1 wonder, Mrs. Palliser, to hear you talk like that. I have hoard that story a dozen times from thera us likes to set themselves up and prSach ; but yoti are another sort. You are a good womim, you are ; and why do you want to stuíí' me with a story like that 'i " Mrs. Palliser was still with Burpris " Now, seo here," continucd Ma,dgo rapidly. " I don't wani tó say notliing saucy to one that's been good to me and uiine. But poor folks ain't fools. When we sce ice it is no use telling us it's dogdays, because we know Now you say our Lord was so poor Hisself, and so He had a feeling for the poor folks, and wants Ohristians to have it too, and He counts üs all His brothors and sisters. Oh, I know the rigmarole ; I've lieard it of'ten enough. Now let me teil you how a few of these brotfccrs and sisters are getting On. The woman overhead has two little children. She is honest and works her fingers to the bone to keep thein, and in five days they have had three loaves of bread. The decent man man beiow is a carpenter. He is out of work. He was too poor to buy stuff to make things for hisself. He has a wife and three children - babies, you may say all of them. TheL have pawned all they have. Ho is so poor-looking now I don't suppose they'd trust him with work if thoy had it. She is down with rheumatiz : no rlannels, no flre, no food, is too mufih for her. Thoy are clean beat out, and last week they would have starvod to death but for vliat we poor folks brought them. In yonder the children is crying with cold and chilblains, and never a shoe to their feet. Their mother gocs around witli a basket and sells what she can, but you know how it is, ma'am - where ono will buy, twenty will pass on and never look öt her. Oh " - and the -.vonian's black eyos kindíed - "I wish I could niuke you, and every one that is warm and full, cel ;vhat it is to be starved all over, dizzy and faint, and the wind searching through evory bono, and no hope of any thing be'der, and folks going by you as if thoy was angels and you was vermin, for the way they look at you, any plenty to at and drink, and warm rooms every where in the houses that would no more open to you than the kingdom of heaven, if there was one. Keep thia in your mind, ma'am, as Ihavo done when I ivatched you fine folks come out of your tíhurch. The price of thdlace on your cloak vould take that carpenter's clothes iind tools out of pawn, and start him again. Them ladies bohind you cost more than would make us all happy hero. While your Lord's brothers and tiieMörs are starving, you brush by us with the prieo of what would save us to go and pray to Him, arid tlien you go home, easy and careless and happy, and think well of yourselves if you seud us out twenty-five cents by the servant. Mind, I think folks is right to uso their own, and it's natural to want to look fine and handiome; but there's enough piled on just for show, and that does no good to nobody, to make us all easy. Give us a chance, anyhow. And then you say He is in there listening to you. Why, if He was, and He is what you make him cmt - I can read-, and I read once how Ho drove the poddlers out of the Temple for buying and selling, and what is that to ieaving His own to perish, and never thinking or caring ? Don't teil mo. He ixnt, there, Mrs. Palliser, and what is more youdou't none of you believo it, really, oi expeet Him, as yon say you do. Yov what did He teil you ? Oh, I have not boen to Sunday school for notliing. I can answer folk b ack when come preaching at me ;" and with an air of triumph she repeated : " ' When thou makest a dinner or supper, cali not thy friends, neither thy kinsmen. nor thy rich neighbors; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompense be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, cali the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind; and thou shalt be blessed ; for they can not recompense thee : for thou shalt be recompensed at the resuriection of the just.' Now, there's a lot of Christians living In our neigh borhood- ttíe regular A No. 1 sort. But I don't seo any invitations coming down our alley. They was a different sort as drove up to your house t'other night, Mrs. Pallisor, and that will come scraping in Now-Year's Day to drink your wine and wish you merry j süppose . on that day He carne too, and when Ho'd looked around, and see none of the poor and the sick, He said to you as it says in your bood, ' Inasrnuch as ye did it not to ono of trie least of. these, ye did it not to me ! ' And that is what He would say, accorditig to your own story, and i f you bclioved it, wouldn't you all be sick for and trying' to do different? That you would. You are fc kind woman, Mrs. Palliser, but drop that church talk with me. it's n o good. He isn't there" pointin toward hor wiudow, from which one could see the church spire. " Oh ! Madge, He is." eried Mrs. Pallisesr. " Don't think it. It is true what you say, but tho human heart is so hard that so long as we were warm and fed we would never caro at all, and we wouldn't do cveïi thia little, only for Jesus' sake. It is he who sends and it is wo who, like thoughtless and unwilling children, do as little as we eau, thon run off to our sport. The blame is ours - mine, Madgo. But, please God," sho continued rather to herself than to Madge. " , at least, know now whero to look for my Lord." That evening Mrs Palliser informed her hisbaftd that sho had found out the meaning of her dreain. Madge Allen had told


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Michigan Argus