Front Cover
 Half Title
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 List of Illustrations
 Sybil's sacrifice
 The brave daughter: A story of...
 The young doctor of Munich: A traveller's...
 The only son
 Clothilde: A story of the French...
 The wanderer
 Back Cover

Title: Sybil's sacrifice and other choice stories for the young
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00053285/00001
 Material Information
Title: Sybil's sacrifice and other choice stories for the young
Physical Description: 120 p., 1 leaf of plates : ill. (some col.) ; 17 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Bowen, C. E ( Charlotte Elizabeth ), 1817-1890 ( Attributed name )
Maurand, C ( Engraver )
Ferogio ( Illustrator )
W. P. Nimmo, Hay, & Mitchell ( Publisher )
Morrison and Gibb ( Printer )
Publisher: W.P. Nimmo, Hay, & Mitchell
Place of Publication: Edinburgh
Manufacturer: Morrison and Gibb
Publication Date: 1884
Subject: Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Filial piety -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Children's stories   ( lcsh )
Children's stories -- 1884   ( lcsh )
Bldn -- 1884
Genre: Children's stories   ( lcsh )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: Scotland -- Edinburgh
Statement of Responsibility: with twelve illustrations.
General Note: Possibly written by Mrs. C.E. Bowen.
General Note: Illustrations engraved by C. Maurand after Ferogio and frontispiece printed in colors.
Funding: Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00053285
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002238268
notis - ALH8765
oclc - 67293455

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Cover 1
        Cover 2
    Half Title
        Page i
        Page ii
    Title Page
        Page iii
        Page iv
    Table of Contents
        Page v
    List of Illustrations
        Page vi
    Sybil's sacrifice
        Chapter I
            Page 1
            Page 2
            Page 3
            Page 4
            Page 5
            Page 6
            Page 7
            Page 8
        Chapter II
            Page 9
            Page 10
            Page 11
            Page 12
            Page 13
            Page 14
            Page 15
            Page 16
        Chapter III
            Page 17
            Page 18
            Page 19
            Page 20
            Page 21
        Chapter IV
            Page 22
            Page 23
            Page 24
            Page 25
            Page 26
            Page 27
    The brave daughter: A story of the plague in London
        Chapter I
            Page 28
            Page 29
            Page 30
            Page 31
            Page 32
            Page 33
            Page 34
            Page 35
            Page 36
            Page 37
        Chapter II
            Page 38
            Page 39
            Page 40
            Page 41
            Page 42
            Page 43
            Page 44
            Page 45
        Chapter III
            Page 46
            Page 47
            Page 48
            Page 49
            Page 50
            Page 51
            Page 52
            Page 53
            Page 54
            Page 55
        Chapter IV
            Page 56
            Page 57
            Page 58
            Page 59
            Page 60
            Page 61
            Page 62
            Page 63
            Page 64
            Page 65
            Page 66
            Page 67
    The young doctor of Munich: A traveller's story
        Chapter I
            Page 68
            Page 69
            Page 70
            Page 71
            Page 72
            Page 73
        Chapter II
            Page 74
            Page 75
            Page 76
            Page 77
            Page 78
            Page 79
            Page 80
            Page 81
        Chapter III
            Page 82
            Page 83
            Page 84
            Page 85
            Page 86
            Page 87
            Page 88
            Page 89
            Page 90
            Page 91
            Page 92
    The only son
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
    Clothilde: A story of the French Revolution
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
    The wanderer
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
    Back Cover
        Cover 1
        Cover 2
Full Text


The Baldwin Library
-- ._ .



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A-7 ** ->



oirice Stories for ftbt ounig.

With Zwelve Illusttations.








TION, 100



The Widow's Retirement and Resignation, 8

Erskine prepares Sybil for a Sacrifice by the Grave of
her Mother, 16

Lord Leven pleads his right to the hand of the Daughter, 24

Street Scene dining the Plague of London, 31

An Apparition, guilt-appalling, o .

A pious Votive-offering, I

Karl and his patient Instructor, .. 85

Karl Swoons away : a Reaction, 90

A Victim to Filial Disobedience, 98

An Executioner of the Revolution, Io2

The Wanderer descries a Home, 12

His Mother's Greeting, 8




MONG the many men of talent and genius
who adorn the English bar, Mr Erskine, a
wealthy judge and magistrate in London,
was at one time distinguished for his superior intellect
and the strict sense of honour which ruled his every
action. Deeply versed in the science of law, gifted
with a keen penetration, equal only to his love of
study, and indefatigable in the exercise of his duties,
this gentleman was an honour to his profession and
an oracle among his friends.
Esteemed and respected by the public, his home
was made happy by his own virtues and those of his
family. His circle was a small one, and consisted
only of his wife, whom he loved with the tenderest
affection, and one daughter, Sybil, who was seemingly
destined to equal her mother in grace and kindness


Mr Erskine would have preferred to live in retire-
ment The pleasures of the world had very little
attraction for him. However, for the sake of his wife,
he would occasionally indulge in those amusements
which are happiness to some people, much as if they
were necessary evils. He went into society, and
resigned himself to the task of making himself
agreeable; but when it was all over, he would return
joyfully to his own quiet, but truly happy home, which
was only rendered dearer to him by the contrast with
the outer world.
One evening he had promised to accompany Mrs
Erskine to a ball, and he wished to keep his promise.
But we shall see presently of what serious results this
trifling circumstance was the cause.
Mr Erskine was at that time engaged with an im-
portant law-plea. It was concerning the inheritance
of fifty thousand pounds, the possession of which was
disputed by two relatives. The one was a rich foreign
merchant, who had come to London for the purpose
of having the matter settled, and who dazzled the city
by his splendour and wealth, and flattered himself
that he was making an impression on his judges by
his grandeur. The other was a poor widow, so timid
that she was hardly able to resist the opposition of


her rich kinsman, and so poor that the loss of this
law-plea would leave her and her daughter in the
deepest want and misery.
All Mr Erskine's sympathies would have gone for
the widow, if a judge has any right to have sym-
pathies at all. He had given the affair his utmost
attention, and studied all the outs and ins of the case
with the greatest care; and the day after the ball he
was to read his report of it in court.
In thinking of the important duty he had to fulfil,
he was on the point of renouncing the ball. This
idea haunted him for a long time; it seemed that
those precious hours which were to be frittered away
in pleasure were claimed by duty; that they would be
more usefully employed in studying the affair upon
which the fate of a family depended than by mingling
in the giddy throng, whose mirth would bewilder his
brain, while it could not reach his heart. But just as
he was engaged with these reflections, Mrs Erskine
entered his study, all ready dressed for the great
event, and radiant with the anticipated pleasure she
was about to partake of. He did not wish to dim
her joy, and so, laying aside all his scruples, Mr
Erskine prepared to accompany his wife.
The report, however, which was to be read neat


day before the court, was scarcely commenced. He
called an old clerk to his aid, who very often served
him in the capacity of secretary, and who, by his
honesty as well as by his intelligence, merited his full
confidence. He installed him in his own study,
placed all the deeds relating to the affair before him,
explained them to him, showed him what books to
consult, entrusted the beginning of the report to him,
and begged him to finish it.
"I am going to look after my wife," said Mr
Erskine; "do you, my friend, look after my work.
When I return to-night I shall find you here, and
you will commit your work to me; and to-morrow,
like the peacock in the fable, I shall present myself
in court dressed in your feathers."
The old clerk smiled at his patron's pleasantry, and
set himself to his work with all vigour and earnest-
Mr Erskine did not weary during the ball, for his
wife was happy; but the thought of this lawsuit
crossed his mind two or three times, and troubled
h;m a little. In the midst of this gay and brilliant
throng, who crowded those splendid glittering rooms,
blazing with light and beauty-in the midst of all
this wealth, this sparkling of diamonds, rich flowers,


and the happy sounds of mirth and joy, he thought
of the poor widow who, in her modest dwelling,
waited anxiously for the dawning of the morrow,
and, for one moment, this thought troubled him.
"I would, perhaps, have acted more wisely," he
said to himself, "if I had remained at home and
finished the report myself; if my secretary forgets
any of the circumstances; if he does not see the
matter in the same light as I; if he grows weary or
lets any of the papers stray, we are lost. I would
like to leave early and help him to finish his work."
He was about to put his desire into execution, but
as he approached to ask his wife to retire from the
scene, he saw her the centre of an admiring group,
and he hesitated to shorten her happiness; he had
not even the heart to express his wish; and so he
remained and endeavoured to distract his thoughts.
But the presence of the rich foreign merchant, who
was one of the guests, was painful to him; and the
thought of the poor widow, spending her night in
anxious prayer, ever and anon returned to him.
But everything comes to an end in this world, and
so did this ball, and Mr Erskine returned to his home
at four o'clock in the morning.
The secretary was fast asleep in the study, but


beside him were the deeds seemingly in the most
perfect order, and the report finished. Whatever
desire Mr Erskine may have had to search into the
matter before him, with this experienced man, was
frustrated, for he could only get the shortest replies
to his questions. As for himself, he hardly cared to
rouse the tired and sleepy secretary, for he was har-
assed and weary with his own unaccustomed fatigue.
The sounds of music still floated in his ears; his
eyes were still dazzled by the brilliant lights, lustrous
diamonds, rare flowers, and the rich plumes of the
beautiful guests. The image of the foreign merchant
in the midst of this gay scene haunted him, and
appeared to follow him like an importunate phantom.
It was with the greatest difficulty that he collected
his ideas sufficiently to hastily read over the report,
which he was about to give to the world as his own
However, he succeeded so far: by degrees his
ideas were cleared, and calmness returned to his
bewildered senses. The report appeared to him to
be perfectly plain and reasonable; the logic was
sound, and the conclusions unmistakable. The
matter seemed clear as light; but it was the foreigner
who would gain the day.


4 .
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,_ ,,"

I, -, r.


"Poor woman sighed Mr Erskine, as he finished.
It was now eight o'clock; he snatched a hasty break-
fast, sadly collected the deeds, took up his report of
the case, and hurried away to the court.
The widow anxiously awaited the verdict which
was to decide her fate. Mr Erskine discovered her
pale eager face in the crowd of spectators, and sighed
again; but he had a duty to perform, and he could
not avoid it. It was with a firm but regretful voice
that he read aloud his report : by its conclusions, the
poor widow lost the case.
The stranger merchant departed to his native land
with this new accession to his wealth, and the widow
retired into a humble garret, where she employed her
time in working for her own living and that of her
In a very few months afterwards, Mr Erskine lost
his wife.


Six years went past, and Time, the great healer of
all our wounds, and which brings balm to our troubled
hearts, had somewhat softened the keen grief which
this melancholy loss had causP. Mr Erskine loved


Sybil, his only daughter, more than ever, for she had
now become, not only in her charming features, but
also by her amiable character, the living image of her
mother. Sybil was sought in marriage at this time by
a wealthy young nobleman, Lord Percy Leven.
The illustrious name of his ancient family, and his
large fortune, were his smallest recommendations to
Mr Erskine's favour, who, as well as his daughter, knew
how to appreciate his noble and amiable character.
This alliance was very soon to be concluded, and
Mr Erskine considered himself the happiest of m-n.
One day, immersed in business, and occupied by a
question of law, he wished to seek for some light on
the subject in some volumes he had not opened for
many years : he removed many ponderous tomes
from his library shelves. Behind some books, which
had been allowed to lie idle for a long time, he dis-
covered a paper. This astonished him not a little,
for one of Mr Erskine's ruling principles was, that
order is not only a precious quality, but a virtue, and
everything in his house was in its proper place.
He took up the paper and looked at it attentively.
During this examination a mortal coldness spread
through his veins; a cloud dimmed his sight, and he
let the paper fall from his hands. He gathered


together all his strength, seized it again, and read
it from beginning to end. And then he was certain
of the misfortune that had befallen him.
This paper was an authentic and unmistakable evi-
dence, from which it clearly resulted that the fortune
adjudged to the stranger, some years before, in reality,
and without a doubt, belonged to the widow.
But how had the paper got there ? was the question.
Doubtless, on the night of that unfortunate ball he had
allowed it to escape his notice, when he entrusted
the rest of the deeds to the care of his secretary; or,
perhaps this man had lost it in making some search
and consulting those very books. There was no
other means of explaining the mystery, for the secre
tary had now been dead two years. And, besides:
what good could any explanation do now?
Thus Mr Erskine's neglect had caused the ruin of
a family!
If a thunderbolt had fallen at his feet, he would
have been less bewildered, less stunned than he was
by this discovery. Conscience did not say to him,
as it might perhaps have said to some gifted with a
less stern sense of virtue and honour, that the fault was
a common one. So pitiable an excuse was impos-
sible, and never crossed Mr Erskine's mind. He well


knew that the decision come to by the court on this
case had only been brought about by his report, for
it was from his report that his colleagues had formed
their verdict.
A very different idea struck him. He thought
that, guilty of such extreme carelessness, he had
almost acted as a prevaricator of the truth; that such
a piece of forgetfulness was equivalent to a subtrac-
tion, and that his negligence had, in this instance, all
the appearance of crime. At this thought he shud-
dered. Although his fault had only been witnessed
by God, who had power to read every thought of his
heart, he experienced for one moment the confusion
of an innocent man who, by his imprudence, has
given wicked people the opportunity of supposing
him guilty.
Then his thoughts returned to the unhappy victim
of his neglect, deprived for six long years of a fortune
which belonged to her, and condemned to endure all
the anguish and hardship of want and misery.
With this, a sudden thought darted to his mind, and
spread a ray of comfort and consolation- on the dark
clouds of grief which overshadowed him. Can I
not repair my fault yet ? he asked himself.
He seated himself at his desk. He calculated


minutely the value of the property, the inheritance of
which had been disputed, the interest during six
years, and the interest upon the interest.
"Altogether, I have deprived this poor widow of
something very like a hundred thousand pounds.
And now that I know the wrong I have done, I
am a thief if I do not try my best to repair it."
He then made another calculation: how much
would his fine estate in Devonshire be worth? At
how much would his richly-furnished London house
be valued ? To those sums he added twenty thou-
sand pounds, which he had kept in reserve for Sybil's
marriage portion, and he trembled with fear and hope
as he completed his computation.
At last it was finished, and the sum total of his
fortune was known-one hundred thousand pounds.
He breathed calmly, and his oppressed heart was
once more free.
I shall preserve my honour by repairing the evil
I have done. I can no longer dread reproach either
from God or my conscience; for to-morrow the
reparation will be completed. I shall restore
to this unfortunate family, with the wealth which
belongs to them, the joy and peace of which
I have so long deprived them. I renounce


without regret a fortune which I could not retain
without crime. I have never been proud of being
rich, and I trust I will have no pride in being poor.
I shall accomplish this duty which justice and honour
impose upon me without any feeling of vanity; and I
will ask for no help from man-neither their assistance,
which would humiliate me, nor their praises, which I
do not deserve."
It was, however, necessary to descend from the
noble heights of his virtue to family considerations.
It was then that Mr Erskine experienced a grievous
struggle, for he fancied he was robbing his daughter
by this step. His resolution, however, was not
shaken, but he could not help regretting, for her
sake, the loss of all his wealth, which seemed such
a small sacrifice in his own eyes.
Had he reared her amidst wealth and luxury only
to reduce her to poverty and want ? for very soon all
that would remain to him would be his dead wife's
fortune, which was a very modest one. And this
marriage, which would have brought such happiness
to the father and daughter, would now be impossible.
What would Sybil say? How would she be able to
resign herself to such a change in her destiny, to such
a grievous sacrifice ?

- -


Tormented by those bitter thoughts, Mr Erskine
did not leave his study all day; he would not receive
any one, and sat up all through the long midnight
hours, pleading as his excuse that he was busy.

THE next morning, Mr Erskine called his daughter
to his side.
"." Come, my dear Sybil," said he, with a solemn-
voice and sorrowful smile; "come with me to your
mother's grave and pray for a moment."
They went to the beautiful quiet cemetery on foot,
and on their way they passed Lord Leven's house.
This young man had now become the greatest cause
of anxiety to Mr Erskine, for he knew how much his
daughter loved him, and he trembled for the future
that was before her.
The father and daughter acquitted themselves of
the pious duty they had come there to fulfil. Mr
Erskine asked pardon for the wrong he had so
unwittingly done, and entreated heaven to soften
the blow which was about to fall upon his young
and innocent daughter, that might perhaps blight
her happy life for ever.


Then they returned to their home, and Mr Erskine
led his daughter to his library, seated himself beside
her, and spoke thus:
Some person whom you know very well, my dear
Sybil, is placed in a very delicate position, and, with
a motive which I will afterwards explain to you, he
wishes to have your advice. He is a magistrate, and
by his fault he has ruined an honest family. For a
long time he was quite ignorant of the fact-indeed
he has only known it for some hours; but his fault,
as well as the unfortunate circumstances which
have resulted from it, are still unknown to the world.
He wishes to know what you think he should do,
and he consults you through me: so, speak, my
I pity him with all my heart," said Sybil, for he
must have suffered much for the sorrow he has so
innocently been the cause of. But there is no need
of hesitation; he ought immediately to repair his
fault-that is to say, he ought to restore to this
family, without delay, all that he has deprived them
But the sum is an enormous one: it is equal to
his whole fortune, and if he hands it over to strangers,
he sacrifices his own children."


"His children! If they have any sentiment of
honour, would they accept from their father a
fortune which does not belong to them? If they
have so little heart as to manifest their regret, then
I shall pity their poor father more than ever: he will
have lost more than his fortune."
My dear Sybil, is this, then, your honest advice ?"
asked Mr Erskine. "You think his duty is to make
immediate restitution?"
"Yes, dear papa, most undoubtedly I do."
"Ah, well, my daughter, come to my heart, and
comfort me; for this unhappy magistrate who has
neglected his duty-this father who has ruined his
daughter, is I!"
Then Sybil threw herself into her father's arms,
and while she covered him with caresses, she said to
him all the tenderest things her filial love could
inspire. The fortune which was to be snatched away
from her, the happiness which she had thought so
near, did not occupy her for one instant. She had
no other thought than that of helping her father in
the accomplishment of his sacrifice, and of making
it as light as possible to him.
In this moment, Mr Erskine enjoyed a proud
pleasure, superior to all those which fortune could


give him, and he almost ceased to reproach himself
with a fault which had brought him so much happi-
ness. But, nevertheless, his sad reflections from time
to time damped his joy.
"And this marriage is, alas! no longer possible,"
said he to Sybil. "Without any fortune, without
even the hope of one in the future, our delicacy of
feeling would not permit us to think of it for a
moment. It is indeed a great misfortune, for he is
so truly noble and worthy."
"Do not speak to me of marriage, dear father,"
replied Sybil. I do not know whether I am sorry
yet or not; I hardly like to think of it at all. All
that I know, my father, is that your daughter has now
become necessary to make your old age happy:
I will never leave you, and I shall be called Miss
Erskine all my life. You have given me this name,
and I do not wish to change it."
And so this noble, generous girl devoted herself
entirely to her father. She admired his virtue, though
she never thought that it was equalled by her own.
The same evening they both agreed that their
house, their pretty estate, and all their wealth, would
be placed at the disposal of the poor widow. All
the wealth and splendour which surrounded them


had already become distasteful to them, and they
longed to enter upon their new and humble life.
Next day, Mr Erskine wended his way to the
widow's home, explained to her the error that had
been committed, and announced to her in what
way he intended to repair it.
The prospect of prosperity did not dazzle this poor
widow, whom adversity had not discouraged. She
carefully examined the deed which Mr Erskine pre-
sented to her; she assured herself that it was
unmistakable, and that the sacrifice so nobly offered
by the magistrate was a just one.
"Sir," said she, gently and calmly, as if she were
only occupied by some very ordinary affair, "your con-
duct does not surprise me; but what you wish to
accomplish as an act of justice, I can only accept in
the light of a benefit. You were quite free to keep
your fortune, and I have the right to refuse it; how-
ever, I accept this favour at your hands. Only be as
generous with me, and, as I have shown myself agree-
able to yield to your wishes, allow me to ask you to
share it with me."
Mr Erskine had foreseen this offer, but he was too
proud to accept it. There was a struggle for gene-
rosity between those two individuals, both so distin.


guished for their lofty character, in which Mr Erskine
remained conqueror.
That same evening, he installed the widow and her
daughter in his splendid house, and he and Sybil went
and took possession ofa very small home in the suburbs,
but which the latter thought both pretty and conve-
nient, and quite large enough for their wants. This
devoted daughter anticipated all her father's wishes,
and made herself happy because it was her duty to be
so, and because she could not testify any regret with
her new position without tacitly reproaching her father
and causing him sorrow.
What more was necessary to those two noble
hearts? The reward of their virtue was in them-
selves, and they needed no other.


HEAVEN, which often grants to virtue only the
inward reward of peace and satisfaction, which re-
mains a secret from the outer world, wished for this
once to make an exception to the general rule. It
wished to honour the world's prosperity by granting
its riches to this family ; and this is how it happened.


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Lord Leven heard of all that had come to pass,
and was both surprised and angry.
What have I done," he asked himself, that Mr
Erskine should treat me with such coldness ? Could
he ever suspect me of feeling any change of sentiment
towards his daughter because the only wealth she
can now bring to me is the glory of such a noble
action !"
Full of generous wrath, he hastened to Mr Ers-
kine's house. He forced himself within the door,
closed to all those from whom they might expect
which was either useless reproaches or idle and im-
prudent praises.
"Sir," said the young man to the father, "when
you promised me Miss Erskine's hand, when she con-
descended to inform me that her choice was in accord-
ance with yours, I believed that events, whatever they
might be, would never have power to change a deter-
mination founded upon love and esteem. If you had
been created a peer of the realm, would you have
drawn back your word? No! Ah, well! no more
can you do so now, under the pretext that you are
no longer a rich man. Have I less right to your
daughter's hand than this widow has to your for-
tune? Furthermore, sir," he added, warmly, "you


are unjust towards me; you give rise to suspicions in
which you seem to share yourself. Will the public
not already give me credit for having renounced your
daughter's hand because you have renounced your
fortune? How can they know whether it was you
who wished to break your word, or I who was about
to violate mine ? And it is you, sir, who have been
the cause of all this !-you, for whom I have always
professed such a deep respect, such a true affection !"
Then, seeing that Mr Erskine appeared moved, he
added, quickly-
Oh let me call you my father Give me back
her whom I love so much, and whom I admire as
much as I love Do not let my wealth be any hin-
drance : is it my fault that I am rich ? Lay aside this
pride, which threatens to ruin me and perhaps her
too! Can she fear to owe too much to her future
husband ? It is on my side that all the obligations
will be. I sometimes felt as if I were her equal, but
now I feel that she is far above me."
The stern magistrate could no longer resist such
noble entreaties. Sybil very soon became Lady
Even, and her devotion to her husband did not in
the least diminish that which she had promised to her


Thus Mr Erskine found the sweetest reward of his
noble conduct in the happiness of his daughter.
But do not let us abuse this example. Let us re-
member that our love of virtue should always be
disinterested; and may this old maxim be the prin-
ciple upon which we regulate our life-
"Let us do our duty, happen what may 1"




DITH FALKLAND was a good and amiable
girl. She had the misfortune to lose her
mother when she was very young, and soon
after, she was sent away from her home, and from
the father she loved so fondly.
But what was the cause of this separation ? you will
Mr Falkland's eldest son had married a wicked,
selfish, ambitious woman, who, establishing herself
in the house of her father-in-law, took the reigns of
government into her own hands. After the death of
her young husband, she still preserved her authority,
and abused it so much, that she persuaded Edith's


father, over whom she had a great ascendancy, to
send his daughter away from her home. And so 'Mr
Falkland, yielding to the entreaties of his unamiable
daughter-in-law, sent Edith to live with an old aunt
at York, under the pretext of taking care of her in
her old age, but really with the expectation that the
young girl would one day inherit all her large fortune..
Edith was no sooner out of the house than her
wicked sister-in-law set herself to work, and did all
she could to alienate her from her father's heart; and
for the purpose of furthering her designs, she sup-
pressed all the letters that passed between them.
And so Mr Falkland naturally inferred from his
daughter's unaccountable silence that she was cher
fishing resentful and bitter feelings against him; and
as for Edith, she could only believe that her father
had become indifferent to her, and no longer loved
But yet she could not quite believe it: her pure
and tender heart struggled against such a painful
thought, and she tried hard to cast it from her, and
believe in her father's love; but it made the young
girl very miserable to be so cruelly neglected by her
only parent on earth.
Edith was soon roused from the melancholy she


had fallen into, by the deafening report which spread
itself through the whole of England: it was, that a
terrible plague had broken out in London.
This report proved to be only too true. It was in
the autumn of 1665 that this terrible plague burst
forth in London, which desolated the southern part
of this vast city, and in less than a month's time
carried off a hundred thousand inhabitants.
At York, as throughout the whole of England, the
fatal news was communicated with much caution and
reserve. The authorities and the editors of the news-
papers agreed to conceal the calamity as much as
possible, or, at least, to soften matters and lighten
their gravity.
But this horrible plague spread with such frightful
rapidity, and the reports became so alarming, that it
was soon quite impossible to prevent the news of it
spreading, and in spite of all the precautions they
had taken to conceal the truth from Edith, it very
soon reached her.
The young girl was at first almost stunned with
terror; but her love soon rose above all other feel-
ings, and gave her a strength and courage beyond
her years. Her resolution was immediately taken,
and, without any deliberation or hesitation, she deter-



mined to do her duty, and hasten to her father,
whatever the consequences might be.
Edith foresaw the objections her proposal might
meet with from her aunt, but the brave girl felt her
entreaties must prevail, and as there was no time to
lose, she sought her at once.
"The plague is in London, dear aunt !" said the
girl, her white face and trembling lips speaking all
the dread and agony she was trying to conceal.
"My father is there, and my place ought to be at his
side. If he is exposed to contagion, I must try to
keep him safe from it; and if he is ill, I shall nurse
him. No other person in all the wide world has so
much right to care for and to be near him as I, and
to none can this duty be so sacred. I will set out
this evening on my journey."
"Edith, I forbid you doing such a mad action !"
said the old lady, sternly.
0 aunt what else can I do ?" pleaded the girl.
"If I wrote, I might never get an answer; and while
I was waiting for one, who knows what might hap-
pen You say my father has perhaps left London,
and that he is in safety; but how can I be sure of
this? I cannot bear this suspense, and, to put an
end to this horrible uncertainty, I must go imme-


diately. Do not fear for me, aunt. I will not rashly
put myself in the way of danger; and if I hear on
the way that my father has left London, I shall
return immediately to you. If he is still there, I
will do my duty !"
Her aunt seeing that argument was of no avail,
and that Edith's resolution was not to be broken,
could only yield to her strong will, for, in her heart,
she admired the girl's devotion.
"My dear child," said she, "you are rushing wil-
fully into a danger from which others flee; and, alas !
who knows if I may ever see you again in this world ? "
And the old lady's eyes were full of tears at the
thought of the bright young girl going amidst scenes
of sorrow and sickness from which she might never
Recollect, Edith, religion itself teaches us that
we should not unnecessarily expose ourselves to
danger," continued the aunt. "If you think it your
duty to expose your life for the sake of your father,
you must, at least, use all the precautions to preserve
you from infection which prudence can dictate."
Whilst the brave girl made a few hasty preparations
for her journey, her aunt collected some bottles of
medicine and other little articles that might be useful


to her. The old lady's tears flowed plentifully as she
folded her niece to her heart, and promised to pray
for her day and night. Then calling upon heaven
to bless the girl's mission, and committing her to
the protection of Him who doeth all things well,
she let her niece depart.
Edith set out on her journey, accompanied by a
servant and an old nurse, who were quite willing
to follow their young mistress's footsteps so far, but
they had solemnly declared that they would not
penetrate into those quarters of the town where the
plague raged. Edith did not expect this from them;
for though she had a right to expose her own life,
she knew she had none to theirs.
As they approached London, they met crowds of
fugitives all eagerly departing from the scene of death.
Rich and poor, old and young, men, women, and chil-
dren, were all hastening from the city, which seemed to
yawn behind them like some great sepulchre. Each
had carried away what was most precious to them,
though there were many dear ones left behind in the
arms of death, whom nothing could now arouse from
their silent sleep; and so they gazed with mingled
terror and astonishment upon the little party ad-
vancing towards the city of destruction.


The faces of those fugitives were the images of de-
spair; many were bathed in tears, and uttered inar-
ticulate cries of distress as they pursued their hasty
flight, while others cast anxious and sorrowful glances
behind them, as if they were accusing themselves of
having left behind them the beings whom they loved
best on earth, or reproaching themselves with the
selfishness of their flight. There were those also
among that terror-stricken crowd whose pale cheeks,
blue lips, and hollow eyes, told the sad tale that,
all unconscious as they might be, they were bearing
with them the terrible evil which they were so eager
to avoid.
The spectacle was a melancholy one, but far from
weakening Edith's courage, it only redoubled it. She
remembered her aunt's advice and good counsel not
to rush heedlessly into danger, or rashly expose her-
self to infection; and so, instead of immediately going
into the heart of the city, she halted at a place where
she might be likely to get sure and certain accounts
of all that had taken place. Meanwhile she de-
spatched one of the servants into the little town of
Southwark, where the plague had not yet penetrated,
to make inquiries about her father, and bring her back
all the tidings she could get of this fearful pestilence.


After some hours' absence, the servant returned and
informed Edith that it had not yet penetrated into the
great suburb of Southwark, which was separated from
the rest of London by the Thames. Edith, there-
fore, immediately repaired to this village, whither her
two followers consented to accompany her.
The streets were filled with groups of people, who
were relating to each other the frightful ravages com-
mitted by the plague, to which they added horrible
details of crime and cruelty, committed, not only by a
crowd of villains and thieves in their thirst for rob-
bery and pillage, but, still worse, by the watchmen
and nurses, greedy for the spoil of the unfortunate
victims who had no longer power to defend them-
selves. Edith listened to the tales of horror, and
shuddered as she heard them, but felt that her pre-
sence was more needful than ever.
The plague had for some days been devastating in
a frightful manner the parish of St Giles-in-the-Field,
in which quarter her father's house was situated. Had
he left London? Was he attacked by the deadly dis-
ease ? Were his family and servants near him ? were
questions Edith asked herself and all around her.
But no one could tell.
She then resolved to satisfy herself. As soon as


night approached she left her servants in Southwark,
and, by dint of a large bribe, succeeded in procuring
a man with a coach and horse, who promised to con-
duct her to this fatal spot; and having passed the
river, she penetrated into the quarter invaded by the


EDITH saw nothing but the utmost desolation and
terror on her way.
It was in the beginning of August, with not
a breath of wind to cool the burning air, and not a
drop of rain had fallen for more than two months.
The heat was intense and overpowering: even the
very horse which dragged the rickety old carriage in
which Edith was seated seemed exhausted by its
exertions. They stopped at a small hotel, some little
distance from St Giles-in-the-Field, which was situated
in an open space, having no communication with the
neighboring buildings, and therefore as healthy as
one could expect at such a time. Edith remained
there for a short time to rest the horse and make
further inquiries after her father. Alas! her fears
were only too well confirmed! Mr Falkland had


been attacked by the plague; his worthless daughter-
in-law had left him to his fate, and, profiting by his
misfortune, had carried off a quantity of money, silver
plate, jewels, and all that she could lay her hands on,
under the pretence that, like others, their family was
going to leave London. The servants had fled from
the house at the first approach of the plague; one
faithful old servant alone remained near the unfor-
tunate Mr Falkland.
Edith's grief was great when she heard those tid-
ings, but she congratulated herself on having obeyed
without hesitation the voice which had called her to
her father's side, who had, alas! been so cruelly be-
trayed and forsaken. She had thought of resting here
for a short while, but now her only wish was to be
near him, and she set about placing all her parcels
in the carriage again.
"What are you doing, miss?" inquired her host,
who had been watching her in amazement. Do you
really believe that you will be allowed to enter your
father's house? You will not be permitted to do so.
All communication is prohibited with those miserable
creatures who have been seized with the plague; no
one is allowed to go out of the house, and no one is
allowed to enter; numerous watchmen are appointed


to see that those strict but necessary orders are put
into execution."
Edith had never heard of those regulations before;
but, in spite of all the good advice her kind host gave
her, she was only more and more anxious to accom-
plish her design; and instead of her courage failing,
it only grew stronger with every fresh disappointment.
A few minutes more and she was hastening towards
her desolate home, with the good man's prayers
ringing in her ears.
When Edith arrived at St Giles-in-the-Fields, she
could scarcely recognize the place she had left only
two years before. All the houses were shut up, and
most of the doors bore a red cross with this inscrip
tion: "Lord, have mercy upon us!" telling all too
plainly that the dire calamity had reached those dwell-
ings. The streets were deserted, and the pavement
was covered with long grass and rank weeds, which
flourished and spread themselves everywhere, now
that all was silent and there were no busy feet to
check their growth. Now and then a pale face
would look out of the darkened windows, and the
trembling lips would feebly utter the words, "Pray
for us !"
Men bearing red wands in their hands, an indica


tion that it was dangerous to approach them, slowly
traversed the streets, uttering the horrible cry, which
made every one shudder, "Bring out your dead!"
Behind them came the dead-carts, on which they
hastily heaped the unfortunate victims of the plague,
and bore them rapidly away to bury them in their
silent graves, without a prayer, or a blessing, or any
religious ceremony whatever, which might have been
some sad but small consolation to those who re-
gretted their loss.
Edith shuddered with fear when she saw the first
of those funeral cars approach, she hardly dared to
confess even to herself the terrible idea that had
come to her. How do I know but what this car,
already laden with so many victims, does not con-
lain my dear father's body?" was the thought that
had taken possession of her mind. The idea almost
maddened her, and she entreated the driver to re-
double his speed: to tell the truth, he obeyed very
willingly, for he was eager to make his escape from
the fatal place.
The clock of St Giles's had just struck nine when
Edith arrived in the street in which her father's house
was situated. The windows looked on to the street,
but the house itself formed the corner of a narrow


lane. It was here that Edith asked her guide to set
her down, in order to avoid attracting attention. As
soon as she was on her feet she hastened to the door,
and there she saw the terrible red cross: quite near
at hand stood a watchman charged with preventing
any one from going out or in an infected house.
Edith was quite at a loss how she could persuade
this man to infringe upon his orders, which he was
obliged to execute under the severest penalties.
However, she resolved to address him; he would
at least be able to tell her if her father still lived,
and she might possibly be able to inspire him with
some pity for a daughter who had hastened to her
sick, perhaps dying, father. She dared not offer
him money; for she trembled lest he might be one
of the thieves of whom she had heard, and that, if
he saw she had money in her possession, he might
kill her as well as her father.
Edith had brought a small lantern in the carriage
with her, which she now held in her hand; for at
that time London was not lighted with gas as it is
now, and many of its streets were very dark and
gloomy even in a summer evening. She was dressed
in black from head to foot, with the exception of a
white veil similar to that worn by nuns. She had


adopted this precaution in order that her father
might not recognize her, for she feared that her
sudden arrival might perhaps affect him too deeply.
And so she hoped that he might imagine she was one
of those Sisters of Charity who were at this time so
distinguished for their gentle kindness and unselfish
The darkness, the unexpected apparition--above
all, the paleness of the features standing out in such
a ghastly contrast to the black clothes, and the
lantern which she held in her hand, made the
watchman start and tremble. He thought he was
gazing upon some supernatural vision, and the
strong man's heart for a moment failed him. And
so Edith stood white and silent before the door of
her home, face to face with this man, who looked
at her with such an expression of startled fear. A
single word from him would put an end to the
horrible anxiety which tortured her. But she must
first ask the question, and as she tried to do so, her
voice died away on her lips.
"Are you wanting anything?" asked the watch-
man at last, whose fear was now dissipated, and who,
by the brightness of the lantern, read on the girl's
face all the anxiety to which she was a prey.


"Mr Falkland ?" asked Edith, with a feeble
voice, speaking the only word she had power to
"Yes," answered the watchman, "this is his house
"Does he still live ?"
"I cannot tell; but I think so; I hope so."
"God be praised!" cried Edith, with a sob.
The watchman seemed to be touched with com-
passion, and spoke very gently to the trembling
But you must not deceive yourself," added he,
in a kind voice; "there. is no great hope. The
servant who remained beside him must be dead,
for I have neither seen nor heard anything for some
hours. The doctor who attended Mr Falkland did
not think he could cure him, and he has now fallen
a prey to the disease himself."
But notwithstanding all that was terrible in these
tidings, Edith felt her courage rise, and her heart
grow braver than ever.
"I entreat you to allow me to go into the house.
I have come more than a hundred miles to be near
him. I have come to nurse him, to save him-I am
his daughter!"


His daughter !" exclaimed the watchman. "Ah,
young lady, I would allow you if I could; but no, I
cannot, I dare not. I am forbidden to do it, and it
is impossible."
"Take pity upon me," implored Edith; do not
refuse me, I entreat you. Open the door for me,
and do not prevent a daughter from seeing her
father, perhaps from saving him. I implore you,
in the name of the God above, in whose hands are
all things, and in the name of your mother, if, hap-
pier than I, you still possess one."
"Ah yes," said the watchman, with tears in his
eyes, I still have my dear mother, and if she was
in danger, I would give my life for hers. No, I have
not strength to refuse you any longer. Enter, then,"
said. he, looking round to see if there was no one
to observe him, and may the blessing of Heaven
go along with you "
The watchman opened the door, though not
without some difficulty, for something lying behind
seemed to impede its progress; and Edith was dis-
mayed and horrified, upon entering, to recognize the
body of the faithful old servant, the only being who
had proved true to her father in his great extremity,
now lying stiff and cold on the hard stone floor of


the hall. Edith overcame her emotion as best she
could and, whilst the watchman called upon the
conductors of the dead-cart to take away the corpse,
she hastened to her father's room. When she arrived
at the door, she stopped one moment to listen, but
not a sound was to be heard. So Edith turned the
handle softly, and slipped into the silent chamber.

THE room was dark and gloomy, and, to judge from
the heaviness of the atmosphere, the windows had
not been open for many days. Edith approached
the bed with a beating heart, and listened an-
xiously for some moments. Then she heard the sick
man breathe, and a faint murmur even escaped
his lips. Life, then, was not extinct! There was
still some hope! And she had only arrived in time.
Edith did not stay to think; she must act, and there
was no time to lose. She returned to the door, from
which the dead-cart had just departed, bearing away
the body of their tried and honest servant, who had
perished in fulfilling her duty,-not her duty as a
servant, but the duty which we all owe to one
another by the laws of love and kindness.


Edith showed the watchman the place where she
had left the carriage, and begged him to bring her
all the different parcels she had left in it, and first
of all, to hand her the basket of medicines her aunt
had so thoughtfully put together for her before
leaving York. The watchman requested her not
to show herself at the door while she waited, for
fear of it being known that he had disobeyed his
stern injunctions, which forbade him to allow a
stranger to approach an infected dwelling. A few
seconds more, and he brought Edith the box for
which she was waiting so impatiently.
She returned to the sick-chamber with the help
she had brought to the stricken man. It was a
dreary look-out for the young girl, and she had only
herself to rely upon. But she never wavered; she
had asked help from above, even from her Father in
heaven, and her faith in Him remained bright and
unclouded. Gathering together all her courage, she
lighted a candle, and, approaching the bed, gently
drew back the heavy curtains.
Till now, Edith had not seen her father's face,
but when her eyes rested on the dear features, and
she observed how wasted they were, and how sadly
changed, she could not help uttering an exclamation


of horror. The cry seemed to touch a chord in the
sick man's heart, and awake him from a kind of
lethargic sleep. He turned his head uneasily, and
moaned a few words, which Edith could not catch,
and then the eyelids once more closed wearily, and
all was still again.
Edith took hold of the hand which lay on the
coverlet, and, feeling the skin was hot and dry,
and the pulse beating irregularly, she resolved to
give her patient a sudorific draught.
This task was by no means a difficult one, for the
poor sick man offered no resistance, and immediately
drank what she presented to his lips. Then she
opened the window to admit the cool soft evening
air. This soon made the close atmosphere of the
sick room fresher and less unhealthy, and when she
had arranged the pillows and smoothed the bed-
clothes, Edith thought her unconscious patient
seemed to rest more comfortably and contented.
Edith employed the whole of that night in watch-
ing the invalid, and putting the house into something
like order. She arranged a large airy room for her
father's reception, whenever he was able to leave
his own, which she fondly hoped would not be very
long. She put clean linen on the bed, and did


everything she could think of to have things ready
and comfortable. She watched over her father
attentively, and provided for all his wants. It was
impossible for the sick, helpless man to eat; a little
wine and water was all that sustained his strength.
And so the night passed, and the day following, and,
as Edith tended her patient, each moment strength-
ened and brightened her hope.
The watchman had come in the morning and
taken away the key of the house, promising to return
again at nine o'clock at night.
The sick man had passed the day tranquilly
enough. He had given no sign of returning con-
sciousness, but he was quiet and peaceful, and had
several gentle refreshing sleeps.
Towards eight o'clock in the evening, while Edith
was sitting impatiently watching the flight of time,
and wearying for the hour to approach when she
would again see her kind friend the good watchman,
Mr Falkland awoke.
Martha he called, in a voice stronger than his
daughter had hoped to hear at first. At this little
word, Edith trembled with joy and hope, and quickly
drawing down her long veil to hide her features, she
advanced to the bed.


"I am here, sir," said she, speaking very low, lest
the sound of her voice might betray her.
"Poor Martha!" said Mr Falkland; "I am so
thankful to see you again, for I was so afraid you
would go away like the rest, and leave me here all
alone to die. But no, no !I remember now. Yes;
I was afraid you were going to die, for you have been
ill too, have you not ?"
"Yes, sir, very ill; but I am better now, and I
hope you will soon be well again too."
I do not much care, Martha, whether I ever get
well or not. What have I to live for? I have no
one to love me now; no one, alas No; they have
all gone, and I am here alone But, Martha, what
do you think about it yourself? It seems to me I
am a little better, and the air of this room feels so
much fresher and purer since I went to sleep. I
think I can remember of some one often giving me
drinks when I was so thirsty and could not speak;
was it you, Martha? It could not be my daughter-
in-law; oh, no, no it must have been you, Martha,"
said the sick man.
Yes, sir," answered Edith, hardly able to control
her emotion.
She would fain have thrown her arms round her


father's neck, and pressed her warm kisses of love and
gratitude on his forehead, as she told him how she
had come to watch over and care for him, and never
leave him again; but she durst not, for fear of agitat-
ing and exciting him beyond his strength. Edith
knew full well that life and death trembled in the
balance, and so she stifled her feelings and calmed
her bursting heart as well as she could.
"Will you give me something to eat, Martha?"
asked Mr Falkland, presently.
Edith brought forward the food she had ready
waiting for him, fed him, and then shook up the
pillows for the night.
All this time the sick man had been watching her
I cannot see you very well yet, Martha," said Mr
Falkland again. "My sight is very weak, and I feel
as if I were looking through a cloud."
"It will all come in good time, sir, doubtless;
and, in the meantime, we must praise and thank God
for having preserved your life "
"Yes, Martha, you are right. If He spares me,
thanks are due to Him alone. We all cling to life,
even at the very last, and I think I would be glad
enough to get well, though I have nothing to love


and comfort me in my old age. It is all my own fault.
though, Martha; yes, my own fault. But I have some-
thing to tell you, Martha; if I die, you must-
But I will tell you that afterwards, for I am tired
now." And even as he spoke, he fell asleep.
A few moments afterwards, nine o'clock struck.
Edith heard the house door open, and soon after a
gentle knock announced the arrival of the excellent
"What tidings?" asked he; and the good man
received the answer joyfully.
"And how is your mother?" asked Edith, in her
Very well; perfectly well as yet. When I go to
see her, I take good care to change my clothes first,
for fear of carrying the infection. I have told her
of you; she admires you; she loves you and prays
for you with her whole heart."
As he finished those words, Mr Falkland moved
again, and the watchman retired.
"Martha," he called, whose voice is that I heard
speaking just now ?"
It was the watchman, sir; a good, honest, faith.
ful man. When you are well, you must reward him
for his devotion."


"Reward him, Martha? How will I ever re-
ward him ? There is one person, though, who
will reward him, if she ever knows he has done
anything for me; she will reward you likewise,
"Who, sir?"
"Who? My daughter! Did you not know I had
a daughter?" asked Mr Falkland; and heaving a
deep sigh, he fell into a peaceful slumber.
He awoke again about three o'clock, and Edith
understood from the sound of his voice that he had
gained new strength.
Martha," said he again, "what was I speaking
to you about when I fell asleep? Ah, yes, I re-
member; I was telling you that my daughter would
reward you. Yes, I am certain she will; for though
I have not received a single line from her since she
left me, I am sure she still loves me, and will be
very, very sorry when she hears she has no longer a
As Edith listened to her father's words she gave
a convulsive sigh, which seemed to startle and sur-
prise Mr Falkland.
What is the matter with you, my good Martha ?"
asked he.


You spoke of your death, sir, just now. I cannot
bear the idea."
"But you know, Martha, we must look forward to
what may happen, and try to bear it patiently. I
would like to live a little longer, perhaps, but if I do
not, I am sure my daughter will reward you for all
the kind care you have taken of me. I am so glad
you have got over your illness so easily, and now you
run no risk from being beside me, for one cannot
take this terrible disease twice, they say. And now
I congratulate myself on having sent my dear Edith
away from me. I know her so well; she would not
have wished to leave me here, and how anxious and
fearful I would have been for her! But, thank God,
she is hundreds of miles from here, and pretty safe.
She will not know that her poor father is in danger,
and I hope she will not hear of it till I am quite well
again, or till-she has no father left on earth."
"Do you think she would come to you if she
knew you were so ill?"
"Do I think it? Ah, Martha, you do not know
my daughter, and how she used to love me, if you ask
such a question."
How sweet those words were to Edith's heart. All
the long weary months she had believed herself


neglected and forsaken, were all forgotten in the joy
of the present moment.
I have never received any letters from her," con,
tinued Mr Falkland, "not one word of love since
she left me. But I am beginning to see through
things a little better now, and I am convinced she
has written to me two or three times, only her poor
little letters have been kept from me by some one-
we won't say who."
Oh, yes," exclaimed Edith, too deeply moved to
contain herself, "she has written to you often, very
"How do you know that?" asked Mr Falkland
quickly .
I only think so, sir, after all you have told me."
"Yes, yes, she loved me very much,-I know that;
and how have I rewarded her love? Ah, how blind
I have been, unhappy father that I am !"
Edith was trembling all the while for the conse-
quences of this excitement, and she now insisted that
the invalid should be silent. The sick man yielded
to her remonstrances, and presently he was sleeping
as peacefully as a child.



SEEING her father resting so tranquilly, Edith, who
was worn out with fatigue and overcome with emotion.
laid herself down to snatch a few moments' repose.
She had hardly closed her eyes since she left York-
shire, and now stood in great need of rest.
The sick man's sleep was generally restless and
broken, but this night was an exception, and he slept
as he had not slept for long.
Martha," said he to his nurse next morning, "I
am going to entrust you with an important commis-
sion. In a cabinet, in the next room, you will find a
small wooden box ornamented with steel; no one
would dare to touch it when I fell ill, because they
knew that two days previously I had shown it to my
man of business, and that he took a note of the con-
tents. Inside of it are diamonds and other family
jewels, and also a considerable sum of money both
in bank-notes and gold. All that belongs to my
daughter. As soon as I have closed my eyes, you
will place that box in Mr Williams' hands,-that is the
lawyer's name,-and then you will go to York. You
will see my dear Edith, and you will say to her from
me that I was so happy she was not here at this time


of danger and death, but that I regretted having sent
her away from her home. Tell her also that I was
convinced she had not done wrong; that I have
always loved her the same as ever; and that, in my
last hour, I gathered together all the little strength I
had left to bless her."
This was too much for Edith's full heart, and
burying her face in the bed-clothes, she sobbed vio-
My good Martha, do not weep," said Mr Falkland.
"Edith will love you, I am sure, and she will look
after your future; but we will put an end to this con-
veisation, which is so painful to both of us."
During the day Edith remarked with pleasure that
her'father's sight was gradually improving, a very
evident proof of the return of strength. She saw it
would soon be very difficult for her to conceal who
she really was; he was too weak yet to bear any
great emotion with safety, or she would not have
hesitated to make herself known; but another motive
also detained her. Her father would be anxious at
seeing her thus exposed to the infection of this terrible
malady, and this anxiety might perhaps retard his
convalescence. And so she resolved on continuing
to pass herself off for Martha as long as it was pos-


sible; but, as we shall presently see, her secret was
not to last very long.
Towards midnight, just as twelve o'clock had
struck from the church of St Giles, Edith heard
a noise at the back part of the house, which looked
into the garden. Her father had just fallen asleep,
and his regular breathing was the only sound that
broke upon the stillness of the silent midnight
hours. Edith listened attentively for a few minutes,
her heart beating so loudly all the while that it
seemed to deafen everything else. But at last there
was no doubt that some one had entered the house
from the small garden behind.
A terrible thought came to Edith's mind. Perhaps
it was one of those thieves who went about robbing
the dead and the dying! She heard footsteps cross
the hall and ascend the staircase. Motionless with
fear, and almost breathless, she did not know what to
do. One thought alone presented itself to her. She
darted towards the cabinet, and seized the little box
of which her father had spoken. She thought if she
gave it up willingly, the robber would perhaps spare
the sick man's life and her own.
At the same moment a furtive step crossed the land.
ing, and the door was quietly and cautiously opened,






Hil lP


Who is there?" asked the sick man, waking out
of his sleep.
Edith advanced from the inner chamber, the door
of which led into her father's room. It was very
narrow, and, like the rest of the chamber, covered
with tapestry. The apartment was lighted only by
the feeble rays of a lantern which the robber carried
in his hand, and this now shone full in the young
girl's face.
This apparition seemed to strike him with a super-
stitious terror. On seeing Edith advance all at once
upon him, with her long white veil floating behind
her, and her pale features looking white and ghastly
by the light of the lantern, it seemed to the guilty
man as if the wall itself had opened and displayed
to his view the guardian spirit that watched over the
treasure he had come with the intention of stealing,
and he hurried from the room, rapidly descended the
staircase, and fled.
Thus saved in a most unexpected manner, Edith
quickly returned the box to its place, though she still
feared the robber's return. She was about to open
the window and call upon her old friend the watch.
man, when an exclamation from the sick man arrested
her attention. The light of the lamp she was carrying


shone full in her face, for in her haste and fear she
had forgotten to replace her veil, and so Mr Falkland
had at last recognized her.
"0 God it is indeed she! It is my daughter!
Ah my dear Edith, come to me!" cried the sick
man, holding out his arms.
She would have thrown herself on his breast, but
all at once Mr Falkland repulsed her with a gesture
of horror.
No, no, no Alas my daughter, it would be a
fatal embrace."
. At the same moment the street-door opened, and
some one entered.
God be praised," said Edith, it is the watchman!
He will defend us if the thief returns."
It was indeed the watchman; and when he learned
the new danger to which Edith had just been exposed,
and the miraculous manner in which she had escaped
it, he congratulated her most heartily.
"Those wretches," said he, "are generally armed
with poniards, and if their unfortunate victims still
breathe, they quickly put an end to their lives, for fear
of afterwards being recognized and handed over to
justice. But fear nothing from henceforth. This
thief will certainly not dare to return; but to assure


you of your safety, and make you feel more secure,
we will barricade the door that leads into the garden."
The watchman then called one of his companions,
and together they rendered the fortress impenetrable.
"Besides all that," said Simson, "I will attach a
little bell to the window here, and if any one disturbs
you, you have only to ring it. I will not be far dis-
tant, and whenever I hear it I will hasten to your
Thus fully reassured, and seeing that the emotion
caused by her presence had apparently not been
attended by any evil consequences, Edith felt almost
overwhelmed by the weight of blessings which had
been so bountifully showered upon her.
Her father was soon able to be transported into the
comfortable room she had made ready for him. This
task the good watchman and his comrade took upon
themselves, and it was a real pleasure to their kind
hearts to help this devoted daughter, who had so
bravely endangered her own life for the sake of her
sick father.
Edith's joy was at its height when she saw the dear
invalid fairly installed in the new bed, with its clean
white curtains, breathing the pure fresh air, and show-
ing all the symptoms of convalescence. She could


find no words to express her gratitude to God, to
render Him thanks for all His goodness; and it was
only by silence and tears that she could testify all
the thankfulness she felt.
And now the days went rapidly by-time seemed
to fly past on wings, and to be always too short to this
happy father and loving daughter, who had so much
to tell and to ask each other.
Every evening the kind watchman paid them a
visit, and supplied them with all necessary articles
of food.
On the tenth day the invalid was pronounced to be
completely cured. Edith's nursing had indeed been
most effectual, and her father was again restored to
comparative health and strength. Edith shuddered
as she thought what might have become of him if she
had not listened to the voice of duty, and hastened to
his side. Sick, helpless, and alone, where would he
have been ? It was joy enough to see her father well
again, but it was a still greater joy to think that, under
God, he owed his life to her. Those were Edith's
thoughts as she went to rest that night, and she
enjoyed a sweeter repose than she had tasted for
The next morning she awoke with feelings of


unmingled joy. She had now the double certainty
of his safety and the assurance of his love.
This joy, however, was not without a care. The
different shocks Mr Falkland had sustained had been
too violent for his present state of weakness. He was
seized with another illness-a long fever-which,
though it did not inspire his nurse with any fears for
his life, still delayed the progress of his recovery and
increased his feebleness. Edith was anxious to re-
move her father as soon as possible from the infected
air of London to some quiet country nook, where
the pure air and warm sunshine would soon restore
all his former energy.
The wished-for time came at last. By the watch-
man's intercession, Edith obtained a certificate from
a doctor, appointed by Government, testifying to her
father's complete convalescence, and giving him per-
mission to leave London and go where he pleased.
Before leaving the city, where the plague still raged
fearfully, Edith wished to pay a visit to the mother
of the kind watchman who had befriended her. Her
father accompanied her, and bestowed upon this
honest woman and her excellent son a sufficient sum
to enable them to live in comfort for the rest of their


Mr Falkland very soon regained his former vigour,
thanks to his daughter's tender care; and he lived
many happy years afterwards.
The wicked daughter-in-law never again appeared
before Mr Falkland, and if she had, he would not
have consented to see her; but, at Edith's request,
he granted her a considerable income.
Some little time after, Mr Falkland had the happi-
ness of giving his daughter a husband who seemed
worthy of her. He was a man of rank and wealth,
and, in addition to those gifts, he possessed a noble
heart. This husband was justly proud of his wife's
brave conduct, and, to perpetuate her memory, he
had two portraits of her painted by the most cele-
brated artist of the day.
In one of those portraits Edith was represented,
dressed in black, with her white veil floating round
her, just as she had appeared before her father when,
under poor Martha's name, she had nursed him
with the tenderest care. The other represented her
at the door of her father's house, lantern in hand,
begging the watchman to allow her to enter. In
the background of the picture the fatal dead-cart is
seen approaching.
Those two pictures, which are of great beauty and


value, still decorate the walls of the stately castle
which is yet in possession of Edith's descendants.
One of our friends, while making a tour through
England, having been struck with admiration by
those two paintings, asked and obtained an explana-
tion of them, and has transmitted to us the simple
and touching little story which we have now given
to our readers.





N the pretty valley of Altenotting, on the
confines of Bavaria, stands a little chapel,
"called the Chapelle de la Dame Noire,"
which is reverenced throughout the whole of Ger-
many, and pilgrims come from far and wide to visit
I had been travelling for some years in Germany,
and amongst other celebrated places, I paid my
respects to the Chapel of Altenotting. The building
is of a round form, and surrounded by arcades. The
outer walls are covered with pictures, which represent
some of the evils which flesh is heir to-such as fire,
shipwreck, battles, sickness, and death. I entered


the chapel. The interior was lighted by an infinite
number of silver lamps, whose bright rays falling on
the golden and jewelled ornaments and devices,
formed a beautiful and brilliant contrast to the
obscurity of the exterior arcade. Under a lamp,
the red flame of which darted from two silver hearts
twined together, knelt a number of devotees.
Above the altar stands the famous effigy of the
virgin, carved in ebony, and sparkling with diamonds.
Around her are the richest offerings, heaped together
with the most lavish profusion-sceptres, crowns,
golden cups, jewelled crosses, and beautiful vases of
every shape and variety in silver and bronze. I was
fairly dazzled by the splendour of the scene, and
while I examined all those rich things, my attention
was attracted by the sound of a voice a few steps
from me, addressing a prayer to the virgin in accents
of the most profound and reverent gratitude.
The voice belonged to an old gray-haired man,
who from his dress appeared to be a Bavarian farmer.
He was returning thanks for deliverance from
some great affliction-what, I could not exactly make
out; but his words excited my curiosity. I felt
myself irresistibly attracted towards this old man.
His silver locks crowning the wrinkled forehead, the


fire which still darted from his aged eyes, the sound
of his trembling voice, and the sobs which escaped
from his full heart, overflowing with happiness and
gratitude, all served to interest me deeply. I fol-
lowed him from the chapel. In his hand he held a
painting, which he was about to add to the number
which already adorned the chapel; and, in presence
of a numerous crowd, he placed it under the arcade.
I advanced and asked to see this pious offering.
The old man was represented as undergoing some
operation in the hands of an oculist, and was sur-
rounded by all his family, who, from their kneeling
attitude, seemed to be offering up their prayers for
the success of the operation. The oculist was a very
young man, whose features expressed a more lively
and tender interest than is generally evinced by those
men, whose feelings are often hardened by a constant
familiarity with suffering. The picture was well exe-
cuted and full of interest, and I gazed at it long and
"Who is this fortunate surgeon whose efforts have
been so blessed by heaven ?" I asked, at length.
He is not a surgeon, sir," answered the old man,
in a tone of mingled pride and love. "No; he is
no oculist you see there; it is my Karl, my son "

i ;








"Your son ? I asked, with some surprise.
Yes; that young man who is trying to hide
himself in the crowd. There he is, he who, by God's
help, has restored his father's sight !"
"I am a stranger to you and your country," said I
to him, "but I can admire virtue wherever I go, and
of whatever nation it may be. To every true-born
Englishman, every noble and generous man is a
brother. Let me have the pleasure of your acquaint-
ance, young man, I beg of you, and tell me all that
you have done."
Karl appeared confused and troubled by this
speech: he blushed, and wished to draw back among
the crowd, but he felt himself detained by a gentle
pressure of the hand. It was the venerable priest of
Altenotting, who, attracted by our conversation, had
joined us.
I shall tell you, sir, the story, which will, in some
measure, explain to you the father's trouble and the
modesty of the son. I am not over good at that
sort of thing," added the kind old priest, "but I
hope Karl will finish the tale which I am going to
And the silent crowd listened eagerly to a tale,
every circumstance of which was already known to


them, but which they all seemed both willing and
happy to hear again. Their glances turned with
interest, sometimes on the speaker, sometimes on
the old man and his son, and often upon me, as if
they were enjoying the emotion I must naturally be
feeling; for they were all doubly proud of a miracu-
lous cure which rendered glory to their chapel, and
of an action which reflected honour on the whole
The following chapter is, as near as possible, the
story related by the old priest.


"THIS old man, Wilhelm Stroer, brought up from the
earliest years of his childhood in the fear of God and
the love of his parents, has reared and educated his
own young family upon the same principles. He has
transmitted to his children the virtues he inherited
from his parents-a noble heritage, which is worth
more than all the riches and splendours of rank. I can
speak thus before him without any fear of puffing him
up with pride and presumption, for they are feelings
totally unknown to his pure heart. Wilhelm Stroer


and his son are models of excellence to all our humble
valley. Is not this true, my friends?"
A unanimous shout of assent rang through the air,
and the priest continued-
God, whom we ought to thank and praise at all
times, whether He grants or refuses our requests, has
abundantly blessed Wilhelm's labours. His barns and
cellars are overflowing with the gifts which Providence
has showered upon him so lavishly, his flocks are con-
tinually increasing, and all the desires of his heart have
been fulfilled. Perhaps he was too proud of his tem-
poral prosperity and of the good conduct of his
children; perhaps he had forgotten to attribute all
his happiness to the Great Being who gave it to
him, and from whose unerring hand come all our
joys and sorrows. Whatever may have been the
cause, God sent affliction to him; but it is not for
erring mortals like us to judge the Almighty. By and
bye a veil spread itself over his sight, which day by
day grew darker, and enveloped him in an impenetrable
gloom. Soon he could only discern the brightness of
the sun as through a thick cloud, and the dear fea-
tures of the loved ones around him were shrouded in
a mist; and this darkness, which was always increas-
ing, threatened to become an eternal night. How


often has he come, conducted by one of his sons,
to prostrate himself in this chapel, and pray for
help It was from Heaven alone that he looked for
aid; he obstinately refused all other assistance.
Wilhelm, have recourse to medical skill,' I said
to him over and over again; take the advice of some
experienced surgeon. Yes, it is God alone who can
cure you, but, in order to do so, He will employ the
hand of man. Take care; it is tempting the Almighty
to refuse the help of man.'
'Ah, well,' he answered, 'let His will be done!
I do not believe in the skill of doctors, and the very
idea of placing myself in their hands makes me
shudder. If it is God's will that I be blind, I will
bless Him still, and kiss the rod which smites me.'
"You recollect, Wilhelm, that you spoke thus?"
said the priest, breaking off to address himself to the
good old man. "Your sentiments were honourable,
my friend, but you were wrong nevertheless."
I remember it as well as if it had been yesterday,"
answered Wilhelm; "but do you recollect what I said
to you afterwards? 'The doctor who will operate on
Wilhelm Stro6r has not yet taken his degree !' And
was I not right after all ?"
Every one smiled as they looked at Karl, who


shared the general hilarity; and the priest con-
"While Wilhelm StroEr saw the cloud which dark-
ened his sight thicken around him, and his steps be-
coming more and more uncertain every day, his family
abandoned themselves to the deepest alarm and grief.
Karl, above all, the youngest of his sons, thought by
day and dreamt incessantly by night of the misfortune
which threatened his father. Often he had begged and
entreated of him to call in the help of art and science,
but all of no avail. Often he had called upon Heaven
to change his father's resolution or arrest the progress
of the disease, but his prayers remained unanswered.
With the father's misfortune the son's melancholy
increased every day.
"One early autumn evening Karl entered my garden,
as I was standing gazing at the sun going down to his
rest amidst a mass of purple and golden clouds. His
eyes wandered sadly over the magnificent panorama
which spread itself around us in all its beauty, and on
the glowing heavens, all glorious and resplendent with
the rays of the setting sun. The air had never seemed
clearer, the light purer, nor the verdant tints of nature
more admirably shaded.
"'Ah, sir!' said Karl to me, with a sigh, 'how


beautiful nature is! and yet I reproach myself with
the pleasure I feel in contemplating it. I am almost
ashamed of tasting a joy that my father, to whom I
owe everything, cannot share in. Blind! ah, what
a calamity-what a grief for him He will never see
us any more. It is for our sakes he will most regret
the loss of his sight. Oh I would sacrifice my life
if it would restore to my father this precious gift from
"The boy buried his head in his hands, and I
could see the hot tears dropping one by one through
the closed fingers.
'Keep up your heart,' said I; 'sooner or later
your father will be obliged to resign himself to the
care of a doctor. If we succeed in overcoming his
obstinacy, we will not have far to go for a doctor.
Ten leagues from here, at Munich, the famous Schil-
ling resides, whose marvellous cures have for long
been the admiration of all Europe.'
"' At Munich-Schilling !' exclaimed Karl, quickly.
'You think, then, sir, that there is a possibility of
him curing my father. It is then quite true that the
oculist's art has some power. Tell me-oh! tell me
quickly -all that you know about this wonderful


I repeated to the boy all that had been told me
of Doctor Schilling, and of the astonishing success
that had attended his efforts, Karl listening to me all
the while with the most profound attention.
Will the science of this skilful man die with him,
do you think?' he asked all at once. 'Perhaps he
will not care to communicate the secrets of his pro-
fession to any one.'
"' You are wrong, my friend,' I replied. 'Like
all men of superior genius, Schilling's kindness and
humanity are as great as his other talents; he loves
his profession for the profession itself, and for the
good it enables him to do to his fellow-creatures, and
not for the wealth and glory he derives from it. He
has a few disciples-small in number, it is true-but
And would he admit the son of a farmer among
the favoured few ? The very proposition of such
a thing would doubtless seem presumptuous to him.'
"'You are wrong again, my boy. If you invite
Schilling to come to your house, he will follow you
as willingly into your humble farm as he would into
the stateliest castle in the land.'
"'He come here that would be useless, I fear.
My father would obstinately refuse to place himself


under his care. No, sir, no; it is quite another idea
I am thinking of. I must go to Munich. Doctor
Schilling will teach me his art, and then I will return
and cure my father-yes, cure him! Oh I he will not
refuse to yield to me; he will not repulse a hand that
is dear to him,-a hand which you yourself will ask
Heaven to bless. Come, sir-come to the chapel, and
pray God to grant me success in my undertaking.
Bless me this evening; I shall set out to-morrow.'
"I was utterly confounded. A young man, com-
paratively ignorant, and till now so timid and retiring,
was he capable of carrying out such a brave resolu-
tion, I asked myself. I pointed out the many diffi-
culties he would have to encounter. How was he
to obtain permission to attend the learned doctor's
classes ? How would he be able to understand
them with his imperfect education? How would his
hands, accustomed only to hard labour and rough
work, acquire the lightness and expertness necessary
for such nice experiments ? How would he be able
to live in this capital and conform himself to the re-
fined tastes and habits of his fellow-students ? How
would he console and deceive his father, for Wilhelm
must suspect nothing of the truth, or all would be
impossible and useless ?


"But Karl listened to all those representations
unmoved. God himself had inspired him with the
faith which hopeth all things. I gave him my pio-
mise of secrecy, took upon myself the task of explain-
ing his absence to his family, as best I might, and he
"His father, greatly distressed at his absence,
shook his head sadly when I tried to give a plausible
excuse for Karl's departure. Very soon he became
quite blind; and as he sat in his old arm-chair, he
would bitterly lament the loss of his youngest son-
his Benjamin, as he called him.
O Karl, Karl, it is in a moment like this that you
have left me,' the old man would cry. Now that
I can no longer see you, I am to be deprived also of
the consolation of hearing your voice! Amid the
darkness of night which surrounds me, it is now in
vain that I seek for my youngest child to guide my
steps. He has left me here alone !'
"Noble boy! Thus, unmerited suspicions and
cruel reproaches heaped upon him by the whole
valley, and credited even by his father himself, were
the only reward of his virtue: he had no other con-
fidant than me, no other witness but God.
"But he must now give you some details of his


stay at Munich, and you will like better to receive
them from his own lips."
Karl protested for some time, but at last yielding
to my entreaties, he finished the story which the old
pastor had commenced.

"I PASSED fifteen months at Munich. I dared not
ask my family to provide me with money for a journey
the cause of which I could not explain, and so in
order to live, I was obliged to employ part of my
precious time, which was all too short for my difficult
studies, in the performance of little services which
would bring me some small remuneration. Notwith-
standing all my privations, however, I managed to
live, and my entreaties obtained me permission from
Dr Schilling to enrol myself as one of his followers.
It is hard enough work, sir, that of studying in
the midst of want and misery, of enduring the agonies
of hunger at the same time as the torments of
thought, and of forcing one's self to undergo a hard
day's work when they are worn-out and exhausted by
the fatigues of the night. For many long weary
months such has been my fate; but I do not com-


plain of it. I hardly thought of it then; the only
thought which ruled all my actions, and took posses-
sion of my whole being, rendered me insensible to
all others.
"What was hardest of all to me was, that the
learned lessons of my master were hardly accessible
to my feeble intellect. The more I tried to expand
the resources of my mind to understand them, the
less I seemed to succeed. Then I saw for the first
time that what my good friend the pastor had told
me was true, and that in order to make any progress
in a science, it is necessary to learn it at an early
age. My class-fellows immediately understood what
Doctor Schilling said to us, precisely because they
knew Latin and Greek. Accustomed from child-
hood almost to reason and draw conclusions, they
would seize a meaning and draw an inference where
I could only hear sounds which utterly perplexed and
bewildered me.
"But my kind master paid as much attention to
me as to the rest of his pupils, and comprehending
my difficulty, he had pity upon me. While speaking
to my fellow-disciples, he thought much of me and
my feeble powers, and, in the course of his lessons,
he descended from the height of his theories to the


weakness of my intelligence. He read my embarrass-
ment in my eyes, and would say :-' Let us com-
mence again: there is one among you who has not
quite understood all that I have said.' Meanwhile,
almost melted to tears by so much kindness, and
ashamed at seeing all their looks fixed upon me, I
redoubled my attention, and the good doctor would
repeat the same instruction in another and simpler
language which I could understand. Oh, what a
master how talented and how kind !
Unfortunately for me, his pupils, with whom I
was in a small measure compelled to associate, were
very far from resembling him. Hundreds of times
their behaviour would have induced me to abandon
my resolution, had not God himself sustained my
They were ashamed and irritated at seeing me
among their number, and they openly conspired to
force me to fly. Insults and threats,-nothing was
spared; but when they saw that my resolution was
invincible, they renounced their violence, and con-
tented themselves with jeers and scoffs.
"I listened to all their railing jests upon the poor
peasant who wished to transform himself into a
doctor with something very like indifference. My

_ I, I I',,i,:Ii ,1 ___-__


hands, which were brown and hardened by work-
ing in the fields, were beyond everything a fruitful
source of amusement and merriment for those fine
gentlemen in their delicate lavender kids.
"Sir, it was thus that they amused themselves at
my expense : they thought it nothing but a capital
opportunity of distinguishing their wit and brilliant
powers of repartee; but to me it was mockery-bitter,
cruel mockery,-it was bad taste, it was scorn !
"But what mattered all their scorn to me ? They
did not know for what reason this poor country boy
aspired to the science of medicine, and I took good
care not to let them suspect it either. One sweet
hope consoled me for everything, and I bore all their
malice and cruelty with patience.
"More than once, however, I must confess to you,
this patience was sorely tried; more than once I was
tempted to throw aside my forbearance and meekness,
and defy my enemies, or at least pay them back in
their own coin, but I thought of my father, and I was
calmed. All would be lost if I was sent back by the
"At last the time arrived when I thought myself
experienced enough, and I revealed my secret to my
kind master, the good Doctor Schilling. He folded


me in his arms with all the tenderness of a father, and
prophesied that I would be successful. My com-
panions, to whom he had intimated the motive which
brought me there, suddenly changed their demeanour
towards me. At my departure they all accompanied
me in a sort of triumphal procession, and as I said
farewell to them, there was not one of them who did
not receive in a friendly grasp of the hand a free and
full pardon for all they had made me suffer.
"I arrived here. My good friend the pastor
wished much to serve as intercessor for me, and ex-
plain my happy return to my father, and everything
connected with my absence; but I feared resistance
on his part, and so I did not try it.
"' Oh, my son, it is not then in vain that I have
put my trust in God alone,' said my father, when the
first joyful greetings were over. 'It is God himself
who has sent you back to me in answer to my
prayer. Is it not by a miracle that a poor peasant
has been converted into an experienced doctor?
Come, my Karl, I am ready, and put myself in youi
When my father spoke to me thus, I must confess
to you, sir, I shuddered. To the confidence with
which my success and the praises of my master had

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inspired me, all at once succeeded a deep despair, a
mortal fear. It appeared to me as if my art, that I
had spent so many months in learning, was about to
fail me, and that my hand was about to forget its
cunning. At the very moment when the operation
was going to commence, in the midst of the solemn
silence which reigned around me, my sight became
dim, my heart beat violently within my breast, and my
hands, which in the hospital of Munich, and in pre-
sence of Doctor Schilling, had always been sure and
certain, those hands now trembled like a woman's.
Horror-struck, I meditated deeply; my heart raised
itself to God in fervent prayer. I hardly know what
passed then, sir. I cannot tell what invisible hand
directed mine in that awful moment of suspense;
but the next thing I heard was a cry; I saw my
father throw himself on his knees, my ears received
those words, 'You have cured me !' and I fell faint-
ing into the arms of my brothers.
"People have advised me to return to Munich to
seek fame and fortune in Doctor Schilling's illustrious
career. But, no; science has already given me all
I wished from her. She has no such comparable joy
to offer me as I owe to her. I wish for no other
glory than that of assisting my father in his labours.


of being instructed by his virtues, and, if I can, to
imitate them."
Such was the story of the devoted son. I thanked
him with tears in my eyes, and parted from him with
difficulty, for I felt that I already loved him like a
brother. The venerable pastor and the good old
Wilhelm seemed to me friends whom I had known
for years. And yet we parted perhaps never to meet
again; but the memory of this young man's noble
deed is ever with me, and I have related this simple
tale of Wilhelm StroEr and his son, with the earnest
hope and desire that it may be interesting to somen
young readers.

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