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

AT REST NOW

“I wonder why Edgar North does not write to me. I can’t think what can have happened to him. Just think, auntie; I know that when his last letter came, the leaves had not all gone from the trees, and now look at the snow.”

Several months had passed away since Arthur and his aunt had come home, and the winter chill and shadows were gathering around. Many letters had found their way to Myrtle Hill from the far-away mother in India, and sometimes, though not so often, answers went back to tell her things about her child that made her glad.

At first Arthur had often had tidings of his absent friend, beginning, “My dear Arthur, I hope you are quite well;” and there was a sadness that spoke in his short notes that Arthur could scarcely understand. But in one of his letters Edgar had said, “I have to be indoors by myself a great deal, and then I think of the things we used to talk about”. That was the last letter that had come from him, and now it was several months ago, and Arthur was wondering at the long silence, as he had written twice in answer to this letter. But many things had taken up his thoughts and his time, and the winter holidays had begun, before he had thought much of his absent friend.

“Aunt Daisy,” said Arthur one morning, about two days after he had seen his lesson books put away for the present, “I really wish I knew what has become of Edgar; I think it is the strangest thing that he never writes to me. People do not generally stop caring about their friends suddenly, do they?”

“No, dear, not generally. Perhaps little boys may be peculiar kinds of creatures, you know,” she said, smiling.

“I am sure, aunt,” said Arthur, looking aggrieved, “you think boys are much nicer than you did once. And, besides, Edgar and I are not little.”

“No, dear,” said his aunt, laughing and kissing him. “I do think they are very nice sometimes; and you are getting a great big fellow, whatever Edgar is.”

“I wish he would write to me,” said Arthur, pausing before he began his breakfast.

“Perhaps he may be ill,” his aunt suggested.

“Perhaps he may be, auntie,” said Arthur thoughtfully. “I wish I knew. Poor Edgar! fancy his being ill all alone.”

“Alone, dear! Why, is he not with his uncle and his aunt?”

“Yes; but then, you know, all aunts are not nice. And there are a lot of cousins. Perhaps you might not want to have me, if you had ever so many children, Aunt Daisy.”

Mrs. Estcourt smiled, and perhaps she thought that Arthur was not so very far from right. Arthur still wondered why no letter came, and at last he had almost made up his mind to write again; but this would be a task not at all to his taste, and one which he would very much rather avoid.

One morning when he came down to breakfast, he saw that there was something on his plate. It really was a letter at last! and, of course, Arthur concluded that it could be from no one but his friend in London.

“A letter for me at last! Well, it is quite time. Now I shall have to answer it, I suppose. Oh! I forgot. Good morning, auntie!”

But when Arthur had gone back to his place, and had examined his letter more closely, he saw that it was not Edgar’s round, plain hand that had directed the envelope.

“Why, aunt,” he said, “I don’t believe it is from Edgar at all. Who can it be from? Edgar does not write that way. That is a lady’s writing. What lady could be writing to me? Mamma is the only one, and her letter could not be from London.”

“Suppose you were to open it,” said his aunt. “Nobody else has any right to do it but you.”

“Well!” said Arthur, drawing a long breath of expectation.

Presently he was deep in the interest of his letter, and it was not for several minutes that he spoke again.

“Well, this is a very queer letter, and I cannot understand it at all. I can make out that Edgar is very, very ill. And, Auntie, do you know he seems to think perhaps he is never going to get well at all,” Arthur said very gravely and sadly.

“Has Edgar written to you himself?” asked his aunt.

“Yes. At least, that is, he said it, and one of his cousins wrote it down. Would you like to read his letter, auntie?”

This was Edgar’s letter to Arthur:

“MY DEAR ARTHUR, My aunt is writing to your aunt, and my cousin Minnie is writing this for me. I am in bed, so I am not able. You see, Arthur, I am very ill, and the doctor says I shall not get better; but I am not afraid now, dear Arthur. Cousin Minnie is very nice. I like her so much; but she has to go away soon. Arthur, I hope you will be able to come. I have prayed that you may; and I think your aunt will let you, because, you see, I am going to die, most likely, and I want to see you again.

“Your affectionate friend,

“EDGAR NORTH.”

“What can he mean, Aunt Daisy? What can he mean by saying, ’I hope you will be able to come’? It is so strange not to explain.”

“Do you think that will help you to understand?” asked his aunt, giving him one of her own letters to read.

“What! Do you mean me to read your letter, auntie? Well!” said Arthur, wondering at this unusual occurrence, and not connecting it at all with his own letter.

Mrs. Estcourt’s letter began ‘Dear Madam,’ and it was some little time before Arthur could understand who it was from, or what it meant. By and by he found that it was from Edgar’s aunt, and that she was wishing him to stay at her house in London, so that he might see her little nephew again. This letter told that Edgar was very ill indeed; that his illness was consumption, and that the doctor expected him to live only a very short time.

It was several minutes before Arthur spoke, after he had read this letter. Breakfast was quite forgotten, and he could hardly understand at first the strange things he had read.

“Now, Arthur dear, you must eat some breakfast before we talk,” said his aunt.

“Aunt Daisy,” he said, when he had finished, “What shall you say, when you answer Edgar North’s aunt’s letter?”

“Well, what shall I say?”

“Auntie,” said Arthur presently, “I am so sorry about Edgar. I never thought he was so very ill. Do you think he is really going to die?”

“Yes, dear. I should think he will not get well. But you need not be sorry, Arthur. Don’t you see, he says he is not afraid; and the world is not such a very bright place that he should be sorry to go, when he knows he has such a home. Don’t you think so, darling?”

“Yes,” said Arthur; but the tears had dimmed his blue eyes, and a sudden feeling in his throat made him stop speaking.

When Mrs. Estcourt was sitting with her work by the drawing-room fire, with Arthur by her side, much more quietly and gravely than was usual with him, he said suddenly:

“But, aunt, when are you going to answer that letter?”

“That is just the question I was asking myself, and the answer was, ‘Now.’ What shall I say, Arthur?”

“Well, don’t you think I had better go?”

“Yes, surely, dear. But how are you going to get there? You cannot travel by yourself.”

“Oh, aunt!” said Arthur, almost in an alarmed tone of voice, “I should hope I am old enough. Why, of course I could. The idea of anybody taking care of me!”

“Well, but,” said Mrs. Estcourt, smiling, “that is just what I have been thinking about all this time. I have been thinking that I should feel very unhappy, if I let you go alone. It may be foolish, Arthur; but, you know, your father and mother gave you to me to take care of for them.”

“I know,” said Arthur impatiently, “they would let me go by myself. I could not bear to have any old man or woman looking after me.”

“They need not be old, you know,” said his aunt. “Now, Arthur,” she added very decidedly, “there is no use saying anything more about it. If you go at all, I must know that some one is in the carriage with you. I need not tell them to take care of you, but I must know that some one will be there; and I know Mrs. Maitland is going to London to-morrow, so I shall find out what train she is going by.” Arthur made an impatient movement; he did not say any more, but a look was on his face that showed what he was feeling. As it happened, he need not have been so disgusted. When the time for starting came, and he was taking his seat in the carriage, he found that the lady had already taken her place there; and it was not so very trying to his feelings as he expected, for Mrs. Estcourt only said, “This is my little nephew, Mrs. Maitland; he is going to London, and I am glad to think he is in your company.”

“She never asked her to take care of me,” said Arthur to himself, “and I am sure she could not think of such a thing herself when she sees me.”

But Mrs. Maitland had sons of her own at home about Arthur’s age, and she knew something about boys and their ways, so that by the time they reached the Paddington Station they were very good friends. Arthur did not at all object to her helping him to get a cab that was to take him to Leicester Lodge, in Kensington.

Indeed, he was obliged to confess to himself, when he found himself alone in the hansom cab that his friend had found for him, that it was very well she had been with him, for when he was standing on the platform, with the din and bustle around him, and the many people stirring in the vast station, he had felt quite bewildered. He had never been in London before, and this was the longest journey he had taken.

It was a very curious feeling that he had when he found himself alone in the cab: at first he could not get quite over the feeling that it was not safe; it seemed to him that it would be so very easy for the driver to go away and leave the horse to take him wherever he liked amongst the crowds of people, and cabs, and omnibuses.

You may be sure that he looked about him well, as they whirled along through street after street, skirting the park and the palace-like houses. He had to guess the names of the places they were passing through, and I dare say some of his guesses would have amused you very much indeed. He was quite sure a hotel that he passed was somebody’s palace, perhaps the Lord Chancellor’s. He did not think it could be Her Majesty’s, because there were no soldiers.

It was quite dark by the time the cab drove up outside Leicester Lodge, and lights were shining above the shutters of the dining and drawing-room windows. The dim light enabled Arthur to see that it was a large house with a small piece of garden-ground in front, and one or two leafless trees, which gave it rather a dreary look.

It was not very long before he found himself standing inside the hall door with his portmanteau. The servant showed him into a small ante-room, and said he would tell the young ladies. Arthur had a curious feeling of not being expected, although he knew he must be, as his aunt had written to Mrs. North the day before.

This was not a very quiet and orderly household evidently; there were traces of that in the room where he was sitting, and he could hear noises on the stairs and in the room overhead that might say the same. Presently there was a scuffling noise in the hall, and after a little while the door was burst quickly open, and more than one curly head peeped in, and was as quickly drawn back, and Arthur could hear a little girl’s voice say, “Oh, Gerald, it was you made me do it; you know it was!”

Arthur felt rather inclined to run out, and see who was there; but he thought it would be better to wait until some older person came.

By and by the door opened again, more quietly this time, and a young lady came into the room. She had a kind look on her face, as she held out her hand to Arthur, and said

“I am so sorry you have been left here alone; but I could not leave the baby, my youngest brother. Won’t you come upstairs to your room?”

Arthur was feeling just a little shy, so he only shook hands with the young lady, and followed her upstairs. On the way, he asked, “Will you tell me how Edgar is?”

“Not very well, to-day; but just now he is asleep, I think. Were you and he great friends?”

“Yes,” said Arthur. “Are you his cousin?”

“One of his cousins. I dare say he told you there were ever so many.”

“Yes; I don’t think he knew how many,” said Arthur.

“No; I should think not,” said Maude, laughing. “I hardly do, sometimes. But I believe altogether we number ten.”

“Oh,” said Arthur, “what, ten brothers and sisters at home?”

“Oh, no; we are very seldom all at home together. Two of my brothers are abroad, and some of the girls are at school. It is a very good thing they are sometimes.”

“There, that is Edgar’s room,” said Miss North, as they passed one of the doors. “We try to keep the noise away from this passage as much as we can; but it is not very easy with so many boys and girls.” This was very true, as just then two boys about Arthur’s own age came bursting through one of the doors, and were stopped by their sister at the entrance of the passage.

“Now, boys, don’t come this way. You know Edgar is asleep. Just tumble down the other stairs, if you must tumble.”

“I suppose you never tear about in that way,” said Maude, with a faint smile.

“Oh, yes, I think I do sometimes,” Arthur answered; “but, of course, it is not so much fun doing it by one’s self.”

They were in Arthur’s room now, which was a small one not very far from Edgar’s; and a locked door, which opened into another room, showed that it was a dressing-room.

“You see, as the children and Edgar are at home, we have only this little room. Will you be able to sleep here, do you think?”

Edgar’s cousin smiled as she spoke, and Arthur thought how very nice it made her look.

“Oh, yes; I should think so,” he said.

“Well, presently you will hear the tea bell. Oh, no; but I forgot! We don’t ring the tea bell now that Edgar is ill. One of the children shall let you know, if you are not down first.”

But after a little while, when no one had come to call him, Arthur opened his door and came down stairs. It did not need any one to tell him which was the room where the young people were, as the sounds that came through the shut door would let any one know that. Arthur paused outside the school-room door, and then he opened it and went in. It was such a strange new scene that he saw, so different from anything he had been accustomed to, and he was almost bewildered by so many boys and girls, most of whom seemed to be laughing and talking together.

There was a long tea-table. The eldest sister was at the head, five younger ones were seated around, and a tall boy was lying on a sofa near the fire reading. Indeed, he did not call himself a boy at all; for he had just left school, and was preparing for some difficult examination.

All the faces round the table were turned towards Arthur as he opened the door; but none of them spoke until Maude, noticing the silence, saw Arthur standing. Then she said, “Gerald, why don’t you speak? or Harold, this is Arthur Vivyan, Edgar’s friend.”

The two boys shook hands, and then Arthur spoke to the three little girls, who were looking as if they would like to speak. Arnold, the eldest, seemed to be half asleep over his book; so they sat down to tea. Arthur was wondering where the father and mother were. It seemed so strange altogether, and he could not help thinking that it was rather a disorderly party. All the children seemed to do very much as they liked, and yet it appeared as if their eldest sister took a great deal of trouble to make them behave properly. She seemed to be constantly putting them right without much effect. Arthur wondered whether this was what gave her face such a tired look.

“Harold, I wish you would let Clara alone. Do take tea properly. Gerald, you know you would not do that if papa were here.” And Maude gave a sigh, as she saw her words had no effect.

“I do wish you would behave properly; what must Edgar’s friend think of you?”

“I dare say he thinks we are something like himself,” said Gerald, “don’t you?”

Arthur laughed, because he did not know what else to do. And then Maude gave a faint laugh.

“What’s the use of keeping on wishing, Maude?” said Arnold, rousing himself. “Why can’t you make them?”

“Well, how would you?” asked Maude.

“Oh, that is quite another thing,” said Arnold, yawning.

“I dare say you could not do it as well as Maude,” said Harold.

“No; very likely not,” said Arnold, laughing, and he returned to his book.

“Well, I wish you would all make haste and finish tea,” said Maude, taking out her watch, “whatever way you do it. Oh, dear, I must make haste, or I shall not be ready in time for dinner. Arnold, you must go. What will papa say if we are not ready when the bell rings?”

Arnold got up as if with an immense effort. “I dare say I shall be ready quite as soon as you are, Maudie. You always get into such a fluster about every thing.”

When the two eldest were gone, the younger ones became still more lively. One of the little girls was more quiet than the rest, and she seemed to think it would be nice and polite to talk to their visitor.

“Do you always have your meals by yourselves?” asked Arthur.

“All except breakfast,” said Minnie. “You see, mamma hardly ever comes out of her dressing-room; she is ill, and papa is away all the day, and he only comes home to dinner at seven.”

“Does he have dinner alone?”

“Oh, no; you know that was the reason Maude was in such a hurry. She and Arnold dine with papa.” Then they were both silent for a little while. Presently Arthur said, “I wonder when I shall be able to see Edgar.”

Minnie hesitated, and then said, “I was just thinking about that. You see, Edgar does not know you have come; and, besides, I think he is asleep; he was just now, and I cannot go and ask Maude.”

“Why not?” said Arthur.

“Oh, because dinner is going on. Papa would not like it.”

“You do what your sister tells you more than the others,” said Arthur, “don’t you?”

“Oh, we all do sometimes,” said Minnie. After a little while she spoke again:

“I don’t think Maude would mind. Perhaps she forgot, and I can tell her about it afterwards. I’ll tell you what we will do; we will go up to Edgar’s door, and then I can go in, and you can stay outside while I see whether he is asleep, and whether I can tell him that you are here. I don’t think Maude will mind. Shall we?”

“Yes,” said Arthur. “I don’t see why she should, because I came on purpose to see Edgar.”

As soon as the other children saw Minnie and Arthur going away, there was a general cry, “Minnie, where are you going?”

“Never mind,” said Minnie resolutely.

“We wanted to have ‘post’. There won’t be enough without you. Come now, stop,” said Harold, putting his hand on the door handle.

“Oh, Harold, do let us go!” said Minnie pitifully.

“Well, tell us where you are going then?” Minnie saw that this was the only chance.

“We are going to Edgar’s room, I shall be back soon, Harold.”

“Yes; but we wanted Arthur Vivyan to play. Boys are twice the fun of girls.”

“But, you know, he came on purpose to see Edgar; and don’t you remember how very, very ill, Edgar is, Harold?” said his sister gravely.

Harold let go his grasp of the door, and Arthur and his new little friend found themselves safely outside.

“Now,” said Minnie, as they stood on the landing at the top of the stairs, “you stop here, and then I will come back in a minute.”

She opened the door very cautiously, and looked in for a moment; then Arthur saw her go inside and shut the door. It was several minutes before she came back.

“I told him,” she said. “Oh, I hope I did not do him any harm. He was so very glad.”

“Why,” said Arthur, “I should think that would be a good thing.”

“But he is so ill, you know. I think you had better go in now. Oh,” she said, just as she was turning away, “if you think him looking very different from what he was last summer, don’t you think you had better not seem surprised? I know my mother never likes people to say anything about her looks.”

“Very well,” said Arthur.

It was only the firelight that brightened Edgar’s room, and it danced and sparkled around, and gave quite light enough for Arthur to see every thing distinctly. The room felt very warm and comfortable as he went in, and the sound of Edgar’s quick, hard breathing was very plain. Arthur drew very quietly near the bedside. Little Minnie’s caution was well given; for it needed an effort on his part to be quiet and composed, as he saw the change in his friend; and he had to try very hard to keep the tears from coming to his eyes. Edgar was lying so very still and quiet; his cheeks were white and sunken, and his eyes looked large, and dark, and shining; but there was a much happier look in them than in the old times when they used to talk together.

“Oh, Arthur,” said Edgar, trying to stretch out his hand, “I am so glad you have come. I did so pray that I might see you again.”

Arthur came and sat down as near him as he could. “Of course I came when you wanted me, and my aunt said I might.”

“Hold my hand, Arthur,” said Edgar, “while I talk to you. You are my brother, you know.”

Arthur took Edgar’s thin, hot hand, and held it in his own sturdy one; and as he looked at him, he could not help it, the tears came into his eyes.

“I know what you are thinking about, Arthur,” said Edgar, “and I know you are trying to seem as if you do not think me very ill; but you need not mind, I know I am, and I know I am going to be with the Lord Jesus very soon.”

“Dear Edgar,” said Arthur, burying his face in the bed-clothes to hide his tears, “I never knew you really were so very ill.”

“Didn’t you?” said Edgar. “No, I suppose not. I did not know it either, until lately, for certain. But it will be so nice in heaven, Arthur, with the Lord Jesus. I shall never be tired, or cross, or have those pains. And the Lord Jesus wants to have me there; that is so nice to think of. You know I have always had a feeling that people would as soon I was away; but I know He really wants to have me in heaven with Himself very much. It makes me love Him so much to think of that. That is one of the things Cousin Amy told me.”

“Who is she? Does she live here?”

“Oh, no; she is not one of these Norths; she is one of my other uncle’s daughters; and she was staying here in the autumn. She taught me more about the Lord Jesus than any one else, except you.”

“Did I?” asked Arthur.

“Why, you know you did. Don’t you remember those walks? I have never forgotten those things, Arthur.”

“But you used to be very miserable then.”

“Yes; but I thought about it all afterwards; and then Cousin Amy was so nice.”

“Tell me some of the things she said,” asked Arthur; “that is, if you can; but perhaps you have talked enough for to-night, Edgar. Perhaps I had better go now.”

“Oh, no,” said Edgar; “do stay; it is so nice having you; and I can talk much better in the evenings. I will tell you some of the nice thoughts I had, if you like. You know I have had so much time to think, Arthur. I have had so many hours by myself, lying here.”

“Have you been here long, then, and by yourself? Oh, Edgar, why couldn’t you have let me know?” asked Arthur reproachfully.

“Oh, because I could not write myself. I became worse so suddenly, you know. It seems such a long, strange time since I came, and since last holidays when I saw you, Arthur. At first it was so horrid; and then I got ill, and then Cousin Amy came, and then Louisa and Minnie came home for the holidays, and now you are here.”

“How was it horrid?” asked Arthur.

“Well, I know they did not much want me. I don’t mean they were unkind; but just think of all the children here. It does not make much difference to Uncle North, because he is away all the day at his office, nor to poor Aunt North either, because she is always ill; but I know Maude has enough to do already; and Arnold says he thinks boys are a great bother. Then the others used to be making such a noise, and taking long walks, and I could not; and they all said I was not happy; but I was just as happy as anywhere else, only I could not be the same as they were.”

“That little girl seems nice,” said Arthur, “the one that told you I was here.”

“Minnie? Oh, yes, she is a dear little thing. But she has only been at home about a fortnight. It was she who got Aunt North to ask you to come. I love her; she has been more kind to me than any of the rest.”

“I expect my little sister Mildred would have been something like her if she had lived,” said Arthur.

“You cannot think how I used to wish for you, Arthur. While Cousin Amy was here I never thought of asking her to write to you for me; besides, it would not have been very much use, when I could not have asked you to come. Maude used sometimes to come up and sit in my room. But I don’t know how it is, I feel rather afraid of Maude; and she has so much to do, and altogether I did not like her to do it. Then when the holidays began she could not come up. But the day after Minnie came home, she came up and talked; and I did not mind asking her anything.”

“Did you ask her to write to me?” asked Arthur.

“Not exactly. One day she asked me, when we were talking about my not going to live, whether there was any one I would like to see; and I said there was one person, and that was you, you know. Then the next time she came she said, ’I’ve asked mamma, Edgar, and she says we may, if Maude can manage.’ I could not think what she meant at first. Was she not a dear little thing?”

“Yes; and then,” said Arthur, very much interested.

“Oh, then she coaxed Maude in some way, and I said the letter, and Minnie wrote it.”

Just then the door opened, and some one appeared with a tray, whom Arthur had not yet seen. This was the nurse, who was a kind person, and came to Edgar’s bedside when she could leave her own charge.

“Oh,” she said, “so you have your friend, Mr. Edgar, I see.”

“Yes, nurse,” said Edgar, “isn’t it nice?”

“But you must not talk too much, you know, sir.”

“I expect he has been talking quite enough,” said Arthur, jumping up; “and I am going now, Edgar, I can come again to-morrow, you know.”

“That’s a good young gentleman,” said nurse.

So Edgar’s thoughts could not be told until the next day.

On the way down stairs, Arthur met Maude; and he began to wonder now whether she would like his having been all this time in Edgar’s room, and whether she would know. Perhaps his thoughts were in his face, for Maude smiled, and said:

“Oh, I know. You have been in Edgar’s room. Minnie told me all about it. What did you think of him?”

“I think he is very, very ill, Miss North.”

“Yes; poor child. It is easy to see he cannot live long. He is very peaceful though.”

Maude sighed as she spoke. Perhaps she was wishing that she was the same herself, and that there was a peace in her heart which the Lord gives, “not as the world giveth.”

“Miss North,” said Arthur, “you did not mind your sister having taken me up stairs, did you?”

“Oh, dear, no. I dare say she knows quite as well as I do what is good for Edgar. She is a very sensible little woman.”

Arthur did not find that the North family were much more subdued and orderly the next day than they had been the evening before. This was holiday time, and with no lessons to do, it could hardly be expected but that there should be a commotion all the day.

Happily the school-room was some distance from the room where the sick boy lay, so very little noise found its way there.

Mrs. North wished to see Arthur the next day. He felt rather shy of going; but as it had to be done, he made up his mind to do it. He thought her something like her daughter Maude, only more quiet and gentle, and there was a sweeter look on her face than Maude usually wore.

When the evening came, a message was sent that Edgar wanted to have Arthur with him again. He was always better at that time; and he would sit up with the pillows around him, and the crimson curtains looking so dark and red behind his pale white face; but the firelight that glowed around, and showed Arthur how thin and sunken his face was, showed him, too, that a calm, happy peace was spreading there, and making it very beautiful.

“Arthur,” said Edgar, “I want you to have my Bible and my watch; will you? and keep them always for my sake.”

“But, Edgar, you don’t know you are going to die; you don’t know it for certain,” said Arthur, his voice trembling a little.

“Oh, yes, I do; I know I am dying; but, you know, Arthur, I am only going to the Lord Jesus, and He wants me so much; for He has died instead of me, and all my sins are washed away in His precious blood. Cousin Amy used to sing something so nice; I cannot remember it all, but some of it was this

“’Like a bairn to its mither, a wee birdie to its nest,
I wad fain be ganging noo unto my Saviour’s breast;
For He gathers in His bosom witless, worthless lambs like me,
And carries them Himsel’ to His ain countree.’

“And that is just the way I feel, Arthur. I feel just going to my home; and I shall never be tired or cross there.”

“I’m sure you are not cross here,” said Arthur. “Edgar, do tell me about your getting so happy.”

“Oh, yes; and I want to tell you about Cousin Amy too. Well, you know, it was rather miserable when first I came, and I had to be up here all alone; and I used to cry so, Arthur, thinking about you I dare say it was like a baby; but I could not help it and about papa. Oh, I did so want to see papa! and it did not make me happy to think about the Lord Jesus and heaven. But Cousin Amy came; and she used to sit here and read me little bits, and hymns; one was that one I said a bit of, and others. And she was so kind; she used to get me nice cool things to take; and sometimes she would fan me, and put her hand on my head when it was so hot; and, oh, I was so sorry when she was gone. One evening I was crying, and then I began thinking about the last verses she had read to me. You know, it was that part about the Lord feeding the multitude; and then He sent the disciples away in a boat, and went by Himself to pray; and I thought if I had been alive then, and that I had known He was away in that mountain by Himself, I would have got out of bed, and would have found my way to Him; and it would have been so nice with nobody there but Himself and me on the great lonely mountain! I should have felt so safe with Him anywhere. And then I began to think what He would have said to me; and I thought it would be, ‘Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.’ Then I would have stayed, you know, because He would not send me away. And I thought He would have put His arms round me; and how safe I would have felt! And then I began thinking that I could do just the same in bed where I was, because He could see and hear just the same; so I said to Him, ’Lord Jesus Christ, I am here at Thy feet;’ and I said to Him that hymn, ‘Just as I am.’ It was so happy. And now to think of all the things He has given me everlasting life, and the forgiveness of my sins, and so much! And, Arthur, I am just keeping there now until I go to sleep, and I shall be with Him for ever.”

“Oh, Edgar,” said Arthur, “I am glad you are so happy.”

Edgar had talked so much that he was exhausted; and he had to lie back on the pillows, breathing very quickly.

So they stayed quiet for a little while; and the firelight glowed and danced on Arthur’s brown curls, and lighted his ruddy cheeks that seemed to make the paleness of Edgar’s greater.

“Edgar,” said Arthur, “you will not be able to come to Ashton Grange now. Don’t you remember when we said you would? I did think it would have been so nice.”

“Yes; I remember,” a little shade passing over Edgar’s face. “I used to think it would be so nice. But, Arthur, it is better to go to the Lord Jesus; it is the Father’s house, you know, and my father and mother are there; and it is my own home.”

Edgar’s voice had been getting weaker while he was speaking the last time; and as Arthur looked at him, it seemed even to him, who knew so little about illness, that Edgar must be worse.

“Edgar,” he said, “I am going now, because I know you are tired; and nurse told me you would want something to eat when I went, so I shall send her to you. Good-night, Edgar, dear Edgar.”

He did not try to keep Arthur that night; and the “good-night” he said to him was faintly spoken; but there was a loving look in his dark eye as he watched his friend to the door.

They neither of them knew how very near Edgar was to “his own home,” and that very soon his weary spirit would rest for ever, where no heart can breathe a sigh, and no sound can enter to say it is not joy.

That night a ransomed one went away from the earth, and God took him. He would never be weary any more, and no pain or trouble would make the lonely child sorrowful. He would never know what it was to be anxious or unhappy; he would have the sweetness of perfect rest, for

“So He giveth His beloved sleep.”

And Edgar knew that the Lord who loved him had a welcome for him in the bright home of everlasting joy; for He has said, “Father, I will that they also whom Thou hast given me be with me where I am.”