Изображения страниц

self with chewing a little moss, but its salt taste, pleasant at first, only increased her thirst. She must pass the night in the little shanty. Would there be any fear of wild beasts? she had never seen any in their own island, and she was beginning to reason instead of dreaming now. She saw the sheep were very tranquil, and did not huddle together as if afraid, and she knew what timid animals they are. So she trusted nothing would harm her. The gulls stopped their screaming and went to their rest among the rocks; the sun was just sinking on the horizon when Jenny saw a gleam of light — oh! what a throb of joy and pain went through her heart at the well known sight. “It is father's light!” she said.

Then came the chilling thought: all is going on just the same, – don't they miss me? Oh no! she knew too well that Susan was wandering over the whole island in agony, and she imagined how heavily her father climbed the tower stairs without her by his side. But she had heard him say, that if his own son were drifting on the waves, he must

not let the lamp go out for want of trimming, for a thousand men's sons might go to destruction if the light failed them. How sublime seemed to her, now, this simple fidelity to duty. For the first time all the solemn responsibilities of life burst upon her, and alone on that little island she poured out her heart to God in prayers and tears and holy resolutions, if longer life were granted her.

The chill evening breeze came up, she was thinly clad, she must seek the shelter of the house. That was duty now. It was long before she could sleep again, and then at intervals she started and woke, and looked out to see the blessed light streaming over the waters. She looked up and saw the stars shining in heaven. She traced out the great dipper and the North star, by which every sailor guides his ship over the seas.

Cheered and strengthened by these symbols of fidelity and trust, she at length sank into a sweet quiet slumber.



THE woman she leapt into the boat,

And down the river alone did she float;
And fast with the stream the boat proceeds,

And now she has come to the Island of Reeds.

She fell upon her bended knee,

And said, O King! have pity on me,
For I have lost my darling child,
And that's the loss that makes me wild.


ID they miss her ?

Ephraim was delayed a long time on shore by business.

Susan was very busy in her domestic labors, and took only a hasty lunch of bread and milk. “Jenny is off fishing,” she thought," she will bring home a fine mess of cunners and we will have a good supper, for Ephraim will be very hungry, he is gone so long." Having finished her work, she lay down for a little nap, as was her custom on warm days, when she rose very early in the morning.

But when late in the afternoon, Ephraim's boat touched the shore, he missed the light step of his child who usually came running to take his basket or pail, to ask with childlike curiosity where he had been, and to get the kiss and the little gift, if it were only a stick of candy, which he seldom failed to bring her. But no Jenny appeared.

66 Susan! Susan!” he called out to his wife, who was just coming out from the door, " Where is Jenny?

“ I was just coming to look for her,” said Susan. “I suppose she has been fishing, she has been out all day; but it is time she came home now.

Ephraim laid down his bundles, and looked with keen eye all over the island. Not speaking the anxiety they began to feel, they climbed the highest rocks, they went to the hen-house, to the old whistle-house, to little sheltered nooks in the rocks, flattering themselves she might have fallen asleep somewhere. No trace of her appeared. So they wandered searching with ever-increasing terror and dis

may, till Ephraim saw the sun settling in the horizon, and said, “ Susan, I must light the lamp.” As he slowly climbed the weary steps, he thought, “ This light will never shine on her sweet eyes again." How little did he know the thrill which its first ray sent through his child's heart. His simple faithfulness at that hour gave her a lesson which blessed her whole life. They did not give up the search all the evening. Her fishing pole, lines and pail of bait, were all at home, but at last they perceived that the small boat was missing. She must have started for a row, and, losing strength to guide her boat, have drifted out to sea. It was a fearful risk, but among the many vessels and boats constantly passing, some might pick her up. They would not give her up, but oh! how eagerly they longed for the dawn, when freed from duty, Ephraim might continue the search by sea as well as land.

Susan had not closed her eyes that night, but with that calm, prudent courage which a life of faithful and hard duty teaches, she had

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »