Page images
PDF
EPUB

92

fairly in it. As soon as she left, Josey looked at me and smiled.

“ Laura thinks I am going to die,” said she; “but I'm not. If I could, I would n't, Sue; for poor father and mother want me, and so will the soldiers by and by.” A weary, heart-breaking look quivered in her face as she went on, half whispering, 6 But I should -I should like to see him!”

In September she went away. I had expected it ever since she spoke of the soldiers needing her. Mrs. Bowen went to the sea-side for her annual asthma. Mr. Bowen went with Josephine to Washington. There, by some talismanic influence, she got admission to the hospitals, though she was very pretty, and under thirty. I think perhaps her pale face and widow's-dress, and her sad, quiet manner, were her secret of success. She worked here like a sprite; nothing daunted or disgusted her. She followed the army to Yorktown, and nursed on the transport-ships. One man said, I was told, that it was “jes’ like havin' an apple-tree blow raound, to see that Mis’ Addison ; she was so kinder cheery an' pooty, an' knew sech a sight abaout nussin', it did a feller lots of good only to look at her chirpin' abaout."

Now and then she wrote to me, and almost always ended by declaring she was " quite well, and almost happy.” If ever she met with one of Frank's men, — and all who were left re-enlisted for the war, he was sure to be nursed like a prince, and petted with all sorts of luxuries, and told it was for his old captain's sake. Mr. and Mrs. Bowen followed her everywhere, as near as they could get to her, and afforded unfailing supplies of such extra hospital stores as she wanted ; they lavished on her time and money and love enough to have satisfied three women, but Josey found use for it all - for her work. Two months ago, they all came back to Dartford. A hospital had been set up there, and some one was needed to put it in operation ; her experience

would be doubly useful there, and it was pleasant for her to be so near Frank’s home, to be among his friends and hers.

I went in, to do what I could, being stronger than usual, and found her hard at work. Her face retained its rounded outline, her lips had recovered their bloom, her curls now and then strayed from the net under which she carefully tucked them, and made her look as girlish as ever, but the girl's expression was gone; that tender, patient, resolute look was born of a woman's stern experience ; and though she had laid aside her widow's-cap, because it was inconvenient, her face was so sad in its repose, so lonely and inexpectant, she scarce needed any outward symbol to proclaim her widowhood. Yet under all this new character lay still some of those childish tastes that made, as it were, the “ fresh perfume” of her nature : everything that came in her way was petted ; a little white kitten followed her about the wards, and ran to meet her whenever she came in, with joyful demonstrations; a great dog waited for her at home, and escorted her to and from the hospital ; and three canaries hung in her chamber ; — and I confess here, what I would not to Laura, that she retains yet a strong taste for sugar-plums, gingerbread, and the "Lady's Book.” She kept only so much of what Laura called her vanity as to be exquisitely neat and particular in every detail of dress; and though a black gown, and a white linen apron, collar, and cuffs do not afford much room for display, yet these were always so speckless and spotless that her whole aspect was refreshing.

Last week there was a severe operation performed in the hospital, and Josephine had to be present. She held the poor fellow's hand till he was insensible from the kindly chloroform they gave him, and, after the surgeons were through, sat by him till night, with such a calm, cheerful face, giving him wine and broth, and watching every indica

tion of pulse or skin, till he really rallied, and is now doing well.

As I came over, the next day, I met Doctor Rivers at the door of her ward.

Really,” said he, “ that little Mrs. Addison is a true heroine!"

The kitten purred about my feet, and as I smiled assent to him, I said inwardly to myself, —

Really, she is a true woman!”

DANIEL GRAY.

By J. G. HOLLAND.

F I shall ever win the home in heaven

I For whoxers were rest a humbly hope and pray,

In the great company of the forgiven

I shall be sure to find old Daniel Gray.

I knew him well; in fact, few knew him better;

For my young eyes oft read for him the Word, And saw how meekly from the crystal letter

He drank the life of his beloved Lord.

Old Daniel Gray was not a man who lifted

On ready words his freight of gratitude, And was not called upon among the gifted,

In the prayer-meetings of his neighborhood.

He had a few old-fashioned words and phrases,

Linked in with sacred texts and Sunday rhymes ; And I suppose that, in his prayers and graces,

I've heard them all at least a thousand times.

I see him now, - his form, and face, and motions,

His homespun habit, and his silver hair, – And hear the language of his trite devotions

Rising behind the straight-backed kitchen-chair.

I can remember how the sentence sounded,

“Help us, O Lord, to pray, and not to faint!” And how the " conquering-and-to-conquer” rounded

The loftier aspirations of the saint.

He had some notions that did not improve him:

He never kissed his children, so they say; And finest scenes and fairest flowers would move him

Less than a horseshoe picked up in the way.

He could see naught but vanity in beauty,

And naught but weakness in a fond caress, And pitied men whose views of Christian duty

Allowed indulgence in such foolishness.

Yet there were love and tenderness within him;

And I am told, that, when his Charley died,
Nor Nature's need nor gentle words could win him

From his fond vigils at the sleeper's side.

And when they came to bury little Charley,

They found fresh dew-drops sprinkled in his hair, And on his breast a rose-bud, gathered early,

And guessed, but did not know, who placed it there.

My good old friend was very hard on fashion,

And held its yotaries in lofty scorn, And often burst into a holy passion

While the gay crowds went by on Sunday morn.

Yet he was vain, old Gray, and did not know it!

He wore his hair unparted, long, and plain, To hide the handsome brow that slept below it,

For fear the world would think that he was vain!

« PreviousContinue »