Puslapio vaizdai


clair, the drowning of her father and brothers, again among the fishers, when I hurry through the cruelty of her husband, his desertion, his the clean, quiet streets, while the kind people return, Nanna's terror of losing Vala, the fatal nod and smile, and call to each other, (Here typhus, her desolation, and her spiritual an- be David Borson come back again!» guish about Vala's condition. All these things « And Nanna ?» he told John with that powerful eloquence «She is the heart of my longing. I like not born of intense feeling.

to sit in the sunshine and know that Nanna John was greatly moved by the whole is weeping in the dark.) simple, tragic story, but he spoke only on the « Thee must not be discouraged if she be last topic. This roused his indignation, and at first unable to believe thy report.) he said it was a holy anger. He wondered « The hour will come. Nanna was ever a how men, and especially mothers, could wor- seeker after God. She will listen gladly. She ship a God who was supposed to damn little will take the cup of salvation, and drink it children before they were born. He vowed with thanksgiving. We shall stand together that neither Moloch nor Baal, nor any pagan in the light, loving God and fearing God, but deity, had been so brutal. He was amazed not afraid of him.» that ministers believing such a doctrine dared « Would thee like to have a less dangerous to marry. What special right had they to be- way of earning thy bread? My father has a lieve their children would all be elect? And great business in the city, and thee could drive if there was a shadow of doubt on the sub- one of the big drays that go to the docks.» ject, how awful was their responsibility! «I could not. I can carry a ship through Nanna's scruples, he said, were the only any sea she can live in. I could not drive a possible outcome of a conscientious, unselfish Shetland shelty down an empty street. I am soul believing the devilish doctrine; and he only a simple sea-dog. I love the sea. Men cried out with enthusiasm:

say for sure it is in my blood and in my heart. « Nanna is to be honored! Oh, for a con- I must live on the sea. When my hour comes science as tender and as void of offense to- to die, I hope the sea will keep my body in ward God! I will go to Shetland, and kiss the one of her clean, cool graves. If God gives hem of her garment. She is a woman in ten me Nanna, and we have sons and daughters, thousand! »

they shall have a happy childhood and a good « Well, then,” said David, softly, «I shall schooling. Then I will put all the boys in the take comfort to her.»

boats, and the girls shall learn to grow like « To think,» cried John, who was still moved their mother, and, if it please God, they shall by a holy anger-«to think that God should marry good men and good fishers.) have created this beautiful world as a nursery « It seems to me that the life of a fisher for hell; that he should have made such wo- is hard, and withal that it hath but small men as Nanna only to suckle devils! No, no, returns.) David!» he said, suddenly calming himself; « Fishers have their good and their bad « thee never could believe such things of thy seasons. They have their loves and joys and God.»

sorrows. Birth and marriage and death come «I was taught them early and late. I can say to them. They have the same share of God's the Confession of Faith backward, I am sure.) love, the same Bible, the same hope of eter

«Never thee mind catechisms and confes- nal life, that the richest men and women have. sions. The Word of God was before them; It is enough. A fisher's life is a life as free and the Word will be the Word when confes- from temptation as a life can be. He has to sions and catechisms are cast into the dusty trust God a great deal. If he did not, he would museums of ancient things, with all the other very seldom go into the boats at all. I never shackles of the world in bondage. Oh, David, be feel so surely held in the hollow of his hand as sure that thee knows well the Children's Por- when the waves are as high as my masthead, tion in the Scriptures! Nanna must be shown and my boat smashes into the black pit below. that «theirs is the kingdom, and no distinction There is none but God then! Thank you, Friend of elect or non-elect, as I read the title.» John, but I shall live and die a fisherman.»

«I count the hours until I am able to « Would thee care to change Shetland for travel. I long for the sea that stretches some warmer and less stormy climate ? » nor’ard to the ice, and the summer days when « Would a man care to change his own the sunset brightens the midnight. No need father and mother for any other father and to egg me on. I am all the time thinking of mother? Stern and hard was my poor father, the old town growing out of the mist, and I and he knew not how to love; but his memory know how I shall feel when I stand on the pier is dear to me, and I would not break the tie between us-no, not to be the son of a king! « And yet, David ? » My native land is a poor land, but I have « And yet, John, even while I so wronged thought of her green and purple moors among him, he sent from above-he sent you, John; gardens full of roses. Shetland is my home, he took me; he drew me out of many waters, and home is sweet and fair and dear.» for great was his mercy toward me; and he

« Traveling Zionward, David, we have often delivered my soul from the lowest hell. to walk in the wilderness. You have dwelt in Skye and in Shetland; what other lands have

VI. you seen? »

« I have been east as far as Smyrna. I sat A WEEK after this conversation David was there, and read the message of the first and near Lerwick. It was very early in the mornthe last) to its church. And I went to Athens, ing, and the sky was gray, and the sea was and stood where St. Paul had once stood. And gray, and through the vapory veiling the little I have seen Rome and Naples and Genoa and town looked gray and silent as a city in a Marseilles, and many of the Spanish and dream. During the voyage he had thought French ports. I have pulled oranges from of himself always as hastening at once to the trees, and great purple grapes, and even Nanna's house; but as soon as his feet touched while I eat them longed for the oat-cakes and the quay he hesitated. The town appeared the fresh fish of Shetland.»

to be asleep; there was only here and there « Rome and Naples and Athens! Well, a thin column of peat smoke from the chimDavid, thee has been in the fairest cities on neys, and the few people going about their earth.»

simple business in the misty morning were «And yet, Friend John, what hells I saw in not known to him. Probably, also, he had had them! I was taken through great buildings some unreasonable expectation, for he looked where men and women die of dreadful pain. sadly around, and, sighing, said: I saw other buildings where men and women « To be sure, such a thing would never could eat and sleep, and could not think or happen, except in a dream. love or know. I saw drinking-hells and After all, it seemed best that he should go gambling-hells. I saw men in dark and aw- first to Barbara Traill's. She would give him ful prisons, men living in poverty and filth a cup of tea, and while he drank it he could and blasphemy, without hope for this world send one of Glumm's little lads with a mesor the next. I saw men die on the scaffold; sage to Nanna. There was nothing of cowand, John, I often wondered if this world ardice in this determination; it was rather were hell. Are we put here in low, or lower, that access of reverential love which, as it or lowest hell, to work out our salvation, and draws nearer, puts its own desire and will at so at last win our weary way back to heaven?» the feet of the beloved one.

John Priestly was silent for some moments Barbara's door stood open, and she was ere he answered. « If that were so, there is putting fresh fuel under the hanging teastill comfort, David. For if we make our bed kettle. The smell of the peat smoke was in such hells, - mind, we make it, even there homely and pleasant to David; he sniffed it we are not beyond the love and pity of the eagerly as he called out: Infinite One. For when the sorrows of hell « Well, then, mother, good morning! » compassed David of old, he cried unto his She raised herself quickly, and turned her God, and he delivered him from his strong broad, kind face to him. A strange shadow enemy, and brought him forth into a large crossed it when she saw David, but she anplace. So, then, David, though good men swered affectionately: may get into hell, they do not need to stay « Well, then, David, here we meet again!" there.»

And as she hastened the morning meal she « I know that, John. Have I not been in asked question after question about his own (the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps, in welfare and adventures, until David said: that lowest hell of the soul where I had no « There is enough of this talk, mother. God to pray to? For how could I pray to a Speak to me now of Nanna Sinclair. Is she God so cruel that I did not dare to become well? » a father lest he should elect my children to «« Your aunt Sabiston is dead. There was damnation? A God so unjust that he loved a great funeral, I can tell you, for much without foresight of faith or good works, and money she has left to the kirk and the sohated because it was his pleasure to hate, and cieties; and a white stone as high as two men to ordain the hated to dishonor and wrath ? »1 has come from Aberdeen for her grave. Well, 1 Confession of Faith, 3, secs. v-vii. Chap. 16, sec. vii. so it is! And you must know, also, that my son


Vol. LII.-109.



has married, and not to my liking, and so he Then David went out, and Barbara watched is gone from me, and your room is empty and him take the road that led to Nanna's empty ready, if you wish it so; and— »

cottage. The door opened readily to the lifted « Yes. Barbara, keep your room for me, latch, and he entered the forsaken room. The and I will pay you the price of it.)

peat fire had long ago burned itself to ashes, « I will do that gladly, and we shall have and the rose-plant which had been Nanna’s no words about the price.»

delight had withered away on its little shelf « The room is well enough; but, mother! by the window; but the neighbors had swept mother! what is there to hide from me? Speak the floor, and put the simple furniture in with a straight tongue. Where is Nanna ?» order. David drew the bolt across the door,

Then Barbara said plainly, «Nanna is and opened the papers which Nanna had left dead!»

for him. The first was a simple bequest to With a cry of amazed anguish, David him of the cottage and all within it; the leaped to his feet, instinctively covering his second was but a little slip on which the ears with his hands, for he could not bear dying woman had written her last sad messuch words to enter them. «Dead!» he sages to him. whispered; and Barbara saw him reeling and

Oh, my love! my love! Farewell forever! I am swaying like a tottering pillar. She pushed

come to the end of my life. I am going away, a chair toward him, and was thankful that and I know not where to. All is dark. But I have he had strength left to take its support. cast myself at His feet, and said, “Thy will be But she made no outcry, and called in none done! » of the neighbors. Quietly she stood a little way off, while David, in a death-like silence, I am still alive, David. I have been alone all fought away the swooning, drowning wave night, and every breath has been a death pang. which was making his heart stand still, and How can His eternal purpose need my suffering? his limbs fail him. For she knew the nature of Oh, that God would pity me! His will be done! the suffering man-knew that when he came to himself there would be none but God could My love, it is nearly over. I have seen Vala! At intermeddle in his heart's bitterness and loss. last it is peace! peace! His will be done-mercy

After a sharp struggle, David opened his-mercyeyes, and Barbara gave him a draught of cold water; but she offered neither advice nor These pitiful despairs and farewells were consolation; only when David said, “I am written in a large, childish hand, and on a sick, mother, and I will go to my room and lie poor sheet of paper. David spread this paper down on my bed,» she answered, « My dear lad, upon Vala's couch, and, kneeling down, covthat is the right way. Sleep, if sleep you can.) ered it with tears and kisses; but anon he

About sunsetting David asked Barbara for lifted it up toward heaven, and prayed as food, and as she prepared it he sat by the men pray when they feel prayer to be an imopen window, silent and stupefied, dominated mediate and veritable thing; when they detain by the somber inertia of hopeless sorrow. God, and clasp his feet, and cling to his robe, When he began to eat, Barbara took from a and will not let him go until he bless them. china jar two papers, and gave them to him. Christina Yell had seen David enter the «I promised Nanna to put them in your cottage, and after an hour had passed she hands,” she said.

went to the door, intending to speak to him. « When did she die ? »

But she heard the solemn, mysterious voice « Last December, the fourteenth day. I of the man praying, and she went away and went to her early in the morning, for I saw called her neighbors, Margaret Jarl and Elga that there was snow to fall. She was dead Fae, and Thora Thorson and her father-in-law, at the noon hour.»

Magnus Thorson, and they talked of David a « And you saw her go? »

little; and then Magnus, being a very old man, « No; I was afraid of the storm. I left her went alone to see him. And after a while the about ten o'clock. She could not then speak, women were called, and Christina took with but she gave me the papers. We had talked her a plate of fish and bread which she had preof them before. I went into the next cottage, pared, and David was glad of their sympathy. and told Christina Yell that it was the last They sat down outside the door. The tenhour for Nanna, and she said, "I will go to der touch of the gray gloaming softened the her. Already the snow was falling, so I bleak cliffs and the brown moorland, and the hasted across the moor, as there was good heavens were filled with stars. Then softly reason to do.)

and solemnly Christina spoke of Nanna's long

suffering, and of the spiritual despair which be happy, even in the very presence of God, if intensified it.

their sons and daughters were wandering in « It was in season and out of season she the awful outer darkness. And the minister was at Vala’s grave,» said Christina, «and did not think of her pain and her woman's kneeling and lying on the cold ground above heart, -what men do?-and he was angry her; and the end was a cough and fever and with her, as he thought he ought to be; and the slow consumption that wasted her away. Nanna said she wished they would all leave For it is true the child was never baptized, her alone with her sorrow, and so they did.» and there was no comfort for her. And then Then, suddenly and swiftly as a flash of she began to think God had never loved her. light, a word came to David. His heart

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He had let her meet and marry Nicol Sinclair, burned, and his tongue was loosened, and
and by this and that prevented the baptism he then and there preached to the old man
of her child. She lost all hope, and was too and the three women the unsearchable riches
ill to go to the ordinances, and too feared to of the cross of Christ. He glorified God be-
open her Bible, lest she should see her own cause Nanna had learned Christ at the radi-
condemnation in it. And folk wearied of her ant feet of Christ, in the joy and love of the
complaining, I think. The elders stopped redeemed. He took his Bible from his pocket,
coming to see her, for they could not an- and repeated all the blessed words he had
swer the questions she put to them, and she marked and learned. Until the midnight
angered the minister by the same thing. He moon climbed cold and still into the zenith
said women had (no call to speir after the he spoke, and old Magnus Thorson stood up,
«« why » of God's purposes, and she told him leaning on his staff, full of holy wonder, and
plainly one day- for she was fretful with pain the women softly sobbed and prayed at his
and trouble—that she was not thankful to feet. And when they parted there was in
go to hell for the glory and honor of God's every heart a confident acceptance of David's
justice); and, moreover, she said she did not closing words:
wish to go to heaven if Vala was not there; and « Whoever rests, however feebly, on the
she wondered (how fathers and mothers could eternal mercy shall live forever.)

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