Read CHAPTER III of Left at Home / The Heart's Resting Place, free online book, by Mary L. Code, on


Mrs. Vivyan’s morning-room was on the pleasant sunny side of the house, and was a very favourite retreat of her little boy. Indeed there was one corner of it which he considered as especially his own. It was a little sofa near the window, rather hidden in a recess, so that any one might be lying there and not be seen. Perhaps this idea of privacy was one thing which made Arthur like it; and then it was near the window, from which he could see the garden and the birds; and he liked to watch the sun sparkling on the pond, and making diamond showers of the fountain, which sometimes he would persuade the gardener to do for him.

And now, with his new deep trouble weighing on his heart, he sought his usual refuge. Nobody was in the room as Arthur and his companion, Hector, came in, Arthur throwing himself wearily on the sofa, and Hector making himself comfortable on the rug.

“Oh, dear!” groaned Arthur, after a while; “I don’t think mother cares very much. Come here, sir; do you care?”

Hector came, and obediently lay down near the sofa.

“Father doesn’t care much, that I’m pretty sure of,” continued Arthur; “but I don’t mind that so much. I wonder will mother miss me in India. I wonder will you miss me, Hector, old boy. You ought, and you will too, I expect. Do you think you will, Hector? Speak to me, do!”

But Hector only gravely wagged his tail.

“Oh, dear! I wish a great deal,” said Arthur.

Just then there was a rustling noise at the door, and Arthur lay very still and quiet as he saw that it was his mother who was coming in. He was hidden on his sofa, so she did not see that he was there.

Presently she took her work from the table, and sat down in a low chair by the fire; and Arthur watched her as she sat there, and gazed at her sweet, gentle face.

He could not understand all that was there; but he could see enough to make him very sorry that he had said “Mother doesn’t care much.”

There was such a look of patient sweetness there, and the eyes that she now and then lifted up were deep with an expression of pain, only over it all peace was shedding a softness and beauty that he could feel. He watched her for a long time in silence, until at last a look of intense pain seemed to furrow her brow, and suddenly she buried her face in her hands, and he could just hear her say, “My darling, my darling!”

Arthur started up, and as she heard the sound she looked over to where he was.

“My dear little Arthur, I did not know any one was in the room.”

“Mamma, I did not mean to hide to look I mean, to listen. I forgot I ought to have said I was here. Mother, may I say what I was thinking before you came in?”

“Yes, darling. I always like to hear your thoughts.”

“I was just thinking that you didn’t seem to care so very much.”

“What about?” asked his mother.

“Oh, about all those dreadful things about dear little Mildred having died, and about my being left all by myself.”

It was not just directly that Mrs. Vivyan was able to answer, and then she said:

“When you are older, darling, you will find out that it is not always the people who talk and cry most, who feel things most; and that there is such a thing as saying ‘Thy will be done,’ and of not giving way to all our feelings for the sake of others.”

“Ah, yes; that is what I ought to do,” said Arthur with a deep sigh.

“Arthur, dear,” said Mrs. Vivyan presently, looking straight into the fire, and closing her hands very tightly, “don’t ever think I do not care or feel. Oh, you never can know how much I have felt! You know nothing about the hungry feeling in my heart when I think of my darling, darling little baby, whom God is taking care of now; and how, when I see the little bed she used to lie on, and her little frocks and shoes, I feel something biting in my heart, and as if I must have her in my arms again. And about you, my own precious boy, God knows how I feel, as I never could express to you; but I can tell Him, and I do.”

And Arthur’s mother buried her face again in her hands, and burst into an agony of weeping. He had never seen her cry like that before, and it was something quite new to him to see his sweet, gentle mother so moved. He hardly knew what to say to her; so he rose from his sofa, and coming close up to her chair, he threw his arms with a fervent embrace around her, and said softly:

“Never mind, my own dear mother; I will try and bear it.”

And then Arthur cried too; for the bitterness of what it would be to bear it came over him.

“God will bless us both in it, my darling,” said his mother; “and He will take care of us while we are separated, and bring us back to each other again some day, I trust. But Arthur, my own, am I leaving you in a loving Saviour’s arms? Are you there, folded in His everlasting arms?”

“Mother,” said Arthur in a faltering voice, “I do really believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. I am nearly sure I do. But I don’t feel happy. I don’t think much about Him, and it makes me feel frightened when I think about dying.”

“But He says, ‘Trust, and not be afraid,’ and He says, ’I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.’ Oh, Arthur, I do leave you in His arms! for I am sure you are there if you trust in Him; and perhaps He is taking me away so that you may feel His arms, and that it is a very sweet thing to be there, and to be loved and taken care of for ever. As I do,” she added, “in the midst of all my sorrows.”