“No, indeed,” said her mother; “that is your greatest fault, Amy.”
” Oh, well, mamma, Rose has enough for both; you must rub us together, as they do light red and Prussian blue, to make a neutral tint. But oh, what a ribboa! oh, mother, what a love of a ribbon!”
“Rose! Rose! look at this ribbon! And oh, those buttons! Fred, I do believe they are for your new coat! Oh, and those studs, father, where did you get them? Whats in that box? a bracelet for Rose, I know! oh, how beautiful! perfectly exquisite! And here—oh!”
Here something happened to check the volubility of the little speaker; for as she hastily, and with the license of a petted child, pulled the articles from the parcel, she was startled to find lying among the numerous colored things a black crape veil. Sombre, dark, and illomened enough it looked there, with pink, and lilac, and blue, and glittering b~jouterie around it!
Amy dropped it with instinctive repugnance, and there was a general exclamation, “Mamma, whats this? how came it here? what did you get this for?”
“Strange!” said Olivia; “it is a mourning veil. Of course I did not order it. How it came in here nobody knows; it must have been a mistake of the clerk.”
“Certainly it is a mistake,” said Amy; “we have nothing to do with mourning, have we?”
“No, to be sure; what should we mourn for?” chimed in little Fred and Mary.
“What a dark, ugly thing it is!” said Amy, unfolding and throwing it over her head; “how dismal it must be to see the world through such a veil as this!”
“And yet till one has seen the world through a veil like that, one has never truly lived,” said another voice, joining in the conversation.
“Ah, Father Payson, are you there?” said two or three voices at once.
Father Payson was the minister of the village, and their nearest neighbor; and not only their nearest neighbor, but their nearest friend. In the afternoon of his years, lifes day with him now stood at that hour when, though the shadows fall eastward, yet the colors are warmer, and the songs of the birds sweeter, than even in its jubilant morning.
God sometimes gives to good men a guileless and holy second childhood, in which the soul becomes childlike, not childish, and the faculties in full fruit and ripeness are mellow without sign of decay. This is that songful land of Beulah, where they who have travelled manfully the Christian way abide awhile to show the world a perfected manhood. Life, with its battles and its sorrows, lies far behind them; the soul has thrown off its armor, and sits in an evening undress of calm and holy leisure. Thrice blessed the family or neighborhood that numbers among it one of these not yet ascended saints! Gentle are they and tolerant, apt to play with little children, easy to be pleased with simple pleasures, and with a pitying wisdom guiding those who err. New England has been blessed in numbering many such among her country pastors; and a spontaneous, instinctive deference honors them with the title of Father.