Ada's life romance. 131
" I think, dear, our Ada grows more angelic and
thoughtful of our happiness every time we see her. She
was always a lovely child, but not as she is now. Have
you observed it, Mary?"
'' Oh! yes," and the wife looked into her husband's
beaming face with a smile, but a tear fell unobserved on
her work. The mother remembered that her darling
never told her now how happy she was. When her head
lay on her lap, she sometimes said,
" Mother, dear, tell me of all that is noble in life ;
how we may be purified by sorrow ; it was a sorrow to
lose my little babe ; teach me how to meet her."
And, with fast falling tears, the mother would talk,
and Ada would weep quietly, very quietly and softly,
until there was no bitterness within her. Then she would
go to her splendid home, and with gentle patience give
Betsy her accustomed lessons in reading and writing.
When her head reposed on her pillow on such nights as
these, the recording angel wrote, "Another deed of love
is born from her great sorrow."
Ada rarely realized this. She realized that the gaunt
demons of unbelief and despair were seeking after her
soul, and that they had made a desolation there, and
tempted every slumbering evil, while they had withered
her every flower. But the months went on, still silently
dropping their records into the book of life, until another
year had completed its cycle. Ada had sought her re-
treat after a busy day, and with a pensive smile had
drawn forth her life romance. Thus she wrote : â€”
" When these quiet evening hours come, and I am
alone, a tide of great and irrepressible regret rushes
in2 Ada's life romance.
tlirough my soul. Sometimes it is terrible in its useless,
devouring might, and again it flows more quietly and
dreamily. I often fear the bird of resignation will never
fold its wings above my heart. I shall never be really
happy again ; perhaps, alas ! never content and capable
of gratitude for the sad gift of existence. I wish to
be ; none know, but myself, how great are my efforts to
banish the memories of that golden, gleaming vision,
and to enter heartily into all that is about me. I think
the greatest woe is past ; that I have drank all that is
most bitter in my life's cup ; yet it seems very sad to
know that the sweetness was all drained before ; is all
gone ! hopelessly gone ! Yet I ought to be thankful
that it is less dreadful to exist ; that I do not momently
*draw the breath of fear,' as I did when my self-decep-
tion was being dissolved; thankful that I know it is vain
to make those heart-breaking efforts to win back that
love ; yes, thankful that I am in no suspense ; sick no
longer from hope deferred ; in no new despair when his
capricious tenderness vanishes into coldness. Certainly
I know what to rely upon. I know that it is best for
me to interest myself in others' welfare, to think as
little of him and of myself as possible, as far as it is
consistent with every duty. Another reason I have to
be thankful â€” my anger towards him has ceased ; my
burning, maddening sense of injury. I have simply
made a mistake. I thought he loved me for what I
was ; he probably thought he loved me somewhat, too ;
but it was only that my face was new, and bright with
joyousness and love for him. It w^ould, I think, have
been the same with any other little maiden he had mar-
Ada's life romance. 133
ried. Then it is some consolation that I spare another
young and noble heart from this quiet breaking. Why-
should it not be I as well as any other ? Yes, I know
that I can bear it, and mayhap it makes me a comforter
to the suffering. Ah ! I love them in their pain with a
tenderness so infinite, compared with what it used to be.
To-day I w^ent to see Kate Suthington. Ah ! that her
love should still have power to tear her heart like a vul-
ture ; she bears up before others with a noble dignity,
and Henry Williams is a weak and erring man to her
view, now ; he has lost the key wherewith he unlocked
a soul too noble for him. But in her own words â€”
" ' Oh, Ada ! that the world should have lost its love-
liness ; that I should only have learned what happiness,
beauty, life were, to have lost them !'
" Then I talk to her from my soul's depths. I cast
about to find some recompense for all this, and I believe
words of great faith and wonderful hope break from my
lips ; words that charm me with some deep, strange,
all-powerful feeling that God is doing all things well.
I feel serene and very peaceful after this, when Kate
lays her head on my breast, folds her arms around me,
"'You do me good, Ada! Yes, there may, there
must be a something deep in all this, that we cannot
see ; perhaps when the ground has been broken and
ploughed more deeply, gold may be found.'
" Then we take out our sewing, and talk of the books
we have read, or one reads to the other, and we part
with a cheerful glow thrown over our souls from thia
1S4 Ada's life romance.
Five years later, one serene afternoon found Ada
Ward within her favourite room. No outward changes
of great moment had befallen her, save that the furni-
ture was not so fresh. One might have thought but a
day had passed. Her lovely face was more spiritual ;
more assured and earnest in its expression ; in her eyes
a world of trust and deep hopefulness might be found.
At this moment they beamed upon Kate Suthington
with a loving, laughing, triumphant look.
"Ah, Katy darling !" she said, "there is not a hap-
pier mortal on earth than you, traitoress as you have
been to your first love ; and this new husband of yours,
has he erected another Eden in your life?"
" Perhaps so," answered Katy, with a soul-illumined
" And you have learned to believe with me, that the
pain of life may be transition, but that happiness is a
real entity ; something that shall come some day to the
earnest spirit ; perhaps here ; perhaps not until our life
has opened amid the everlasting beauty."
"I believe it; and should I lose it again, I would
simply wait, and strive to work diligently, that others,
as well as myself, might gain their greatest good."
" It is very beautiful to see great happiness," said
Ada, softly ; "it is an earnest of our life in heaven,
and a revealing of what our natures are capable of. It
enables us to measure God's love better, and gives us a
glimpse of something divine."
After Kate had gone to her happy home, Ada wrote
in her journal as follows : â€”
"Katy darling has been here this afternoon; dear
Katy, sweet Katj, happy Katy. I think she has no
idea of the degree in which she brightens my life ; it
used to give me a pang when I saw happiness, such as
mine was, one brief while, but it is so different now ; it
gives me a glow of such heartfelt pleasure. I say to
myself, ' Not yet, a wise Father permits it to them ; but
you know your own heart, and God knows that you may
need a discipline very different from theirs ; but be pa-
tient and grateful, the joy is coming.' Oh ! sometimes
I feel a boundless hope and rapture when I look up to
God, and realize the great love with which He has or-
dered my lot. I think I never should have taken a
broad glance at life ; never should properly have fitted
myself for another world, if this had been as happy as
I wished it. How differently do I write in this, my life
romance, from what I expected to, when I began it;
but with all its sad experience, I have found a wealth
in life that makes me often wonder. I have wept with
gratitude that this priceless gift has been vouchsafed
me, that it will never have an end. Oh ! wonderful to
live amid fresh recurring joys, for ever ; such as no pen
can describe ; to be bathed in love, and ever performing
deeds of love ! To be able, every day of my life, to
strive, with God's help, to perfect and beautify this
future, and sometimes to be able to arouse others to this
noble strife !
" Ungrateful that I was ! I once felt that my life was
a blasted one. What does it signify if one suffer? I
sometimes ask myself when the cross is folded to my
heart heavily. I learn very soon that ' He that goeth
forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless
136 Ada's life romance.
return again, bringing his sheaves with him !' Thei'e
are so many quiet pleasures given me, I look upon them
sometimes as all extras. I think ' this is the world whero
the battle must be fought, and yet so many little joys to
cheer us.' Eternally shall I thank God that he has
taught me to fight this conflict â€” that the morning of my
day was sorrowful, in order that a ripening eternity
should be joyful. This morning I went to see one of
my sick neighbours â€” she had lost a beloved husband. I
said what I could to comfort her, but she answered,
" Ah ! Mrs. Ward, I could speak to you, as you do tc>
me, if I were young, rich, happy, one of the favoured oi
the earth !"
" I said that even I might make myself miserable if
I forgot what blessings I had â€” and that the ^ favoured of
the earth were not always the favoured of Heaven.' But
she would listen to nothing of this â€” her vision was bounded
to a few fleeting years â€” they were life to her â€” she had
no soaring hopes beyond. I came away thinking I was very
rich, because I hoped I had an investment for a dearer,
nobler life â€” yet I will try to open a vein of comfort for
this afllicted one â€” perhaps she may in time believe how
earnestly I desire her good. I meet with so many noble
spirits, and often these dear ones confide to my ear
heart-stories full of interest and pathos, and it is a holy
pleasure to weep and wonder, and forget my own heart-
story the while, or only remember what of worth has
survived it. When I read books that go to my heart, 1
feel with one who has reached the haven where her genius
is no longer thwarted, ' Life is richly worth living for !'
It is true that my days are very much of one colour, and
there's work enough to do. 137
housfcliold love does not bless me within my own home,
yet it is noble to strive to be faithful amid all this, and
to hope I am still of some use. My little life romance
is of a gray shade, but it is only the first chapters I am
writing here â€” it will be finished, where ? In heaven, I
hope ! Finished ? Ah, never ! Its beauty shall increase,
its glory of life shall be too dazzling to be written with
an earthly pen ; nevertheless, the romance shall go on,
and never reach its end, in the world that is eternal !"
Ada had written her last chapter on earth ; the sun-
shine that awoke her, was amid the Everlasting Beauty.
When she had put away her writing materials, a strange
pain shot through her heart ; ere she could leave the
room, it had ceased to beat.
THERE'S WORK ENOUGH TO DO.
The blackbird early leaves its rest
To meet the smiHng morn,
And gather fragments for its nest,
From upland, wood, and lawn.
The busy bee, that wings its way]
'Mid sweets of varied hue,
At every flower would seem to sayâ€”
" There's work enough to do."
The cowslip and the spreading vine^
The daisy in the grass,
The snow-drop and the eglantine,
Preach sermons as we pass.
The ant, within its cavern deep,
Would bid us labour, too.
And writes upon its tiny heap â€”
" There's work enough to do."
The planets, at their Maker's will,
Move onward in their cars,
For Nature's wheel is never still â€”
Progressive as the stars !
The leaves that flutter in the air,
And Summer's breezes woo,
One solemn truth to man declare â€”
" There's work enough to do."
Who then can sleep when all around
Is active, fresh, and free ?
Shall man â€” creation's lord â€” be found
Less busy than the bee ?
Our courts and alleys are the field.
If men would search them through.
That best the sweets of labour yield,
And " work enough to do."
To have a heart for those who weep.
The sottish drunkard win ;
To rescue all the children, deep
In ignorance and sin ;
To help the poor, the hungry feed.
To give him coat and shoe ;
To see that all can write and read â€”
Is "work enough to do."
The time is short â€” the world is wide.
And much has to be done;
This wondrous earth, and all its pride,
Will vanish with the sun !
The moments fly on lightning's wings.
And life's uncertain, too ;
We've none to waste on foolish thingsâ€”
" There's work enough to do."
" Veroxica !" â€” " Veronica !"
Yes ; I heard them calling and searching for me â€”
hither and thither with confused exclamations and laugh-
ter. I heard also the hurried tread of feet upon the
great staircase, the opening and closing of doors, and
occasional bursts of music from the rooms below. Yet
I heeded not the festivity and gladness, and remained
secure in the deep window overlooking the gardens, and
shaded by the heavy silken curtains.
It was a festal night at Glockenburn â€” a night of re-
joicing, for my father had but a few hours previous
brought back to his stately mansion, a new bride. For
this reason, was there music and gayety, brilliant lights,
beaming faces and joyous greetings.
But I stood aloof from it all â€” proudly alone, with a
heart full of evil emotions. I, of all of them, owned
no thraldom save my will, that one great self of my
nature. Revering with absorbing devotion the sacred
memory of my dead mother, I could not acknowledge
another in her place. Child though I was, I had long
been the only mistress of Glockenburn, and should I thus
surrender my royal sceptre into stranger hands ? I who
should have been sole sovereign, sole heiress of Glocken-
All the bitterness and pride of my spirit rushed forth
at these thoughts, and my whole frame quivered with
emotion. Envy, hatred, and all evil passions, crowded
140 THE STEP-DAUGHTER.
around my heart. I plucked one by one tlie red roses
that clambered about the lattice, and, tearing them in
pieces, dashed them down into the walk below.
Again could I distinguish the voices of my gay cousins,
calling repeatedly and with impatience â€” '' Veronica !
Veronica ! where art thou?"
But I closed my lips firmly, standing upright and
proudly in the full moonlight, behind the curtains. Pre-
sently steps came nearer, and a hand was laid upon the
lock of my door. I knew that they would find me now ;
that they would drag me forth in their giddy mood. So I
stepped from my concealment and stood calmly awaiting
Instantly the door burst open, and a gay troop hurried
into the apartment. A glad shout greeted my appear-
ance â€” then again they grew silent, remaining uncertain
and wavering as they looked upon me.
Haughtily, and with angry defiance in my eyes, I stood
in their midst.
" Why have you sought me ?" I cried, passionately.
" Why break in upon my solitude, and disturb me with
your merriment ? I go not with you â€” my foot shall not
cross the threshold of that door."
My cousins and their young guests shrank back in
amazement at my words. Even the merry Genevieve,
their leader, was abashed.
" Veronica !" said my father in a stern voice, as he
stepped into the apartment â€” '' you are no longer a child,
to indulge in such caprice, I command you to follow me."
His clouded brow and tones of displeasure left me no
alternative. I obeyed.
THE STEP-DAUGHTER. 141
With a beating heart and disordered dress I followed
the laughing throng down the broad stairs, through the
lighted corridors, even tc the festal rooms below. I
looked around upon the gay groups that hovered through-
out the rooms. All wore smiles upon their countenances,
and were clothed in gala-dresses. My dark robe and
unbraided hair ill accorded with the rich costumes and
shining fabrics which ever and anon floated past me in
the dance. Still I passed onward in the wake of my
conductors, silently and with scornful tread.
At the upper extremity of the long room, underneath
a bridal canopy of white hangings and roses, stood a
slight and graceful figure. She wore rich robes of shin-
ing satin, a veil of lace, and a crown of nuptial flowers.
Very fair and very beautiful she looked in her snowy
attire. I had never dreamed of aught so lovely. Her
face was more beautiful than that of the Madonna in the
chapel, more angelic than that of the pictured saint in the
calendar of the Passover.
She was the new bride, she was â€” my stepmother.
Had she been less lovely, I might have forgiven her
usurpation of my rights. But that very loveliness aroused
my hatred, and augmented the indomitable pride within
We stood directly before her. I felt that all eyes were
upon me, that all ears awaited the sound of my voice.
She stepped hastily forward â€” a blush was upon her
cheek, and she outstretched both her fair hands to me.
I did not reciprocate the movement. I did not even
lift the bridal veil to my lips, as was customary, or salute
the jewelled cross which hung upon hei arm.
142 THE STEP-DAUGHTER.
Bowing low in mock reverence, and with a haughty flush
upon mj brow, I spoke clearly, but coldly :
^' You are welcome â€” quite welcome to Glockenburn.
I wish you all happiness, and greet you with a bridal
Her hands dropped beside her ; the blush died upon
her cheek, and she turned away with suffused eyes. My
fiither gazed upon me with anger in his glance, yet no
word escaped his lips. The guests exchanged whispers
one with another, and my cousins stood awe-struck around
me. I broke from their midst and rushed to my apart-
I donned my gayest attire, bound my waist with a
golden cord, and braided my long, dark hair with jewels.
Flushed and excited, I stood before the mirror and viewed
myself reflected therein. My eyes gleamed with unna-
tural brilliancy, my cheeks were crimson, and illuminated
my dark face. I could not believe that I was the same
calm, passionless Veronica of yore.
I did not stop to consider my new character, but de-
scended again the staircase, and stood once more in the
bridal hall. I was the gayest of them all. I whirled in
the giddy dance, keeping pace with the music in impetu-
ous delight. My senses were bewildered ; my brain on
fire. I was scarcely aware of my own existence. Yet
w^herever I turned, I felt that a spell was upon me. Yes,
I felt the mournful gaze of those wondering blue eyes,
although I saw them not. I knew that my step-mother
watched my every motion with a sorrowful and earnest
The last lights were extinguished, the music hushed,
THE STEP-DAUGHTER. H3
the guests departed. I gained my own room unmolested,
and, hastily disrobing, threw myself upon my couch. I
cast aside the crimson curtains, and allowed the moon-
light to fall in upon me. I dared not look back upon
my past actions, lest I should repent. Feverish, and
with an exhausted spirit, I closed my eyes. That night,
a vision appeared unto me. I dreamed that a white
figure bent over me with folded hands, and it said,
" Veronica, I greet thee with a bridal greeting !"
It was the feast of the Pentecost. The great hall
was lined with green branches, and garlands were hung
upon the walls. The little chapel was adorned also with
evergreen, and the altar of the Madonna was wreathed
in myrtle and palm. A beautiful Christ, of white marblp,
was placed on the shrine, It wore a crown of roses, and
was surrounded by waxen lights. The silver basket,
containing the broken bread, was beside it, covered with
an embroidered cloth of fine linen. My young cousins
were robed in white, looking peaceful and happy, and
wearing little knots of blue flowers in their bosoms.
My step-mother, also, was more beautiful than- before ;
even paler and gentler. Since the evening of the bridal,
we had ever avoided each other. She, sadly and timidly ;
I, disdainfully and proudly. My father's lips were closed
He no longer smiled upon me. Neither did he speak.
My cousins, awed by my unpardonable conduct, kept
aloof, and did not molest me with their gayety.
The great clock on the staircase struck two, the hour
for prayer. My apartment was adjoining the little
chapel, and there I sat alone, with no white robe about
144 THE STEP-DAUGHTER.
me, and no blue flowers resting upon my unquiet breast.
I could hear the sound of the organ, swelling out its mel-
low notes upon the air, as my step-mother played the
*' All praise Thee," the divine hymn. How touchingly
its deep tones spoke to me ! melting my heart and teach-
ing of the grace, the glory, the majesty of my Creator.
Then there was a great hush, a stillness profound,
and I knew that they were at prayer. I threw myself
upon my knees. I covered my face with my hands,
and wept the first tears of remorse and anguish that
had ever dimmed my eyes. Oh ! how great was my
sin and self-abasement ! How immeasurably great the
wickedness of my heart ! I took my rosary from my
bosom, and bedewed it with tears as I prayed to the
Holy Mary, and to my mother in heaven, to bless me
and to guide me to repentance.
Again I listened. I heard my father bless the broken
bread, and my cousins responding fervently *' amen."
Then my step-mother's voice spoke clearly and dis-
" Peace and good-neighbourhood be between us, my
And again they responded cheerfully and earnestly,
"Peace and good-neighbourhood."
'' Oh ! how those words thrilled to my heart. I
longed to join with them, also, to rest my weary head
upon my step-mother's bosom, and whisper those words
of love and amity. Crushed and humbled, I bowed
myself in the dust, and cried aloud for forgiveness.
Thus, for a great length of time, I remained in anguish
and despair, my face hidden among the cushions of the
THE STEP-DAUGHTER. 145
couch. At last, some one lifted the latch of my door ;
jet I heeded it not. Light footsteps echoed across the
floor, and the rustle of garments disturbed me. I lifted
my head â€” my step-mother stood beside me.
She still wore her white robes, and her long hair
waved upon her shoulders. Her beautiful face looked
down upon me with a pensive, angelic expression.
" Peace and good-neighbourhood," she uttered, gently.
Her voice was tremulous with emotion, and there were
traces of tears upon her countenance. Those tears had
been shed for me â€” in secret and in sorrow.
There was no pride in my heart now. I took both
her hands in mine, and drew her gently down beside
me. Her lair hair fell about me, and I laid my weary
head upon her bosom.
" Peace and good-neighbourhood, my mother,'" I whis-
She encircled me with her arms, and I could feel her
warm tears upon my cheek ; and thus we remained in
an unspeakable trance of joy.
At last, my step-mother spoke. She said,
"Veronica, I also have erred and suffered; there-
fore, have I less to forgive. Once, in my pride of heart,
did I turn a deaf ear to His holy purposes and love
But the beloved voice and angel-teachings of a departed
one have pointed out to me the path of rectitude. And
now am I unceasingly thankful for the beautiful examples
and glorious wisdom of our Saviour."
My step-mother ceased speaking, and embraced mo
fervently. Twilight was already curtaining the windows,
when we descended the stairs arm in arm. The halls
146 OH, WATCH YOU WELL BY DAYLIGHT.
were lighted, and a glad gleam went shining upon the
walls and intertwining among the gay garlands. My
young cousins crowded around me once again, and my
father stood smiling in their midst. With a subdued
spirit, I knelt at his feet and received his blessing.
" Peace and good-neighbourhood," whispered the
pretty Genevieve, at my side, and she crowned me with
a wreath of myrtle blossoms.
I looked around at my young cousins, with theii
white robes and happy faces ; at my step-mother, beau-
tiful and loving ; at my father, with his kind eyes ful]
of tears. Then I stood up among them, and with a
thankful spirit cried unto them all,
" Peace and good-neighbourhood."
OH, WATCH YOU WELL BY DAYLIGHT.
Oh, watch you well by daylight â€”
By daylig-ht you may fear,
But keep no watch in darknessâ€”^
For angels then are near ;
JFor Heaven the sense bestoweth
Our walking life to keep,
But tender mercy showeth,
To guard us in our sleep.
Then watch you well by daylight,
By daylight you may fear,
But keep no watch in darkness â€” â€¢
For angels then are near.
FIRESIDE AFFECTIONS. 147
Oh, watch you well in pleasure â€”
For pleasure oft betrays,
But keep no watch of sorrow,
When joy withdraws its rays ;
For in the hour of sorrow,
As in the darkness drear,
To Heaven intrust the morrow.
For the angels then are near.
Oh, watch you well by daylightâ€”