« PreviousContinue »
HARD AS STONE.
(Continued from page 371.) H Fritz! Fritz! what will
be the end of this? 1,2 The day after to-mor
row you must depart, and soon after will be plunged in the midst of the terrible con
flict. Who knows how it will go with you, whether you will this time escape with your life? And you have not yet reconciled yourself with God; you have not thought it worth the trouble, by a heartfelt repentance, to endeavour to make your peace with Him! Look at the other lads of the place. Not one of them has sunk so low in the sight of God and of men as you have; and yet all of them have gone to church, many have received the Blessed Sacrament, and can now in comfort and confidence leave the rest to God, feeling that whatever He allows must be well. I implore you, dear Fritz, do as they have done. Do not go into the fire before you have repented for your sins and have received the pardon of your God. You marched forthu against the Danes, and against the Austrians. Each time the Lord has permitted you to return in safety, perhaps only to leave you time for repentance. The Lord our God is a long-suffering God, but His long-suffering has its limits; when it is exhausted His justice must have its sway.
I think that for you the day of longsuffering has passed, unless you now will hear the call of the All-merciful God. I feel as if you would not return from this war uninjured. Oh, then, give your poor mother at least this consolation, to be able to say and to think, “ Well, as God wills; his soul, at all events, is safe.
• When are you going to stop talking
that woman's rubbish? I bave scarcely got my legs out of bed before you begin your sermons. What do I care about the others? They are all old women, methodists, simpletons. Were they not cowards and softhearted fellows, were they real brave men, whose heads and hearts were in the right place, then they would not with downcast eyes be creeping about in the churches; then they would enjoy themselves for the few days that remain, as I am doing. Besides, don't you remember the proverb, " Ill weeds get no harm ? "
Haven't you found its truth? Neither the Danes nor the Austrians did me any harm; these wretched Frenchmen won't do me any, either. And if they did, supposing I was to be shot, what would it matter? You would then be rid of your wicked son, as you often call me; and I—why, I should have ended my life. With the present all is over; as to a future--why, there is none!'
With these words he left his mother standing shocked and miserable, and hastened out. As often as Marie tried to speak to him he silenced her—all was in vain. Without being reconciled to God he marched away.
Hard as a stone he went forth to meet death!
THE division to which Fritz belonged had entered the enemy's territory, and was expecting hourly to be engaged in some action. It marched onwards till orders were given to halt in a hayfield. The chaplains who accompanied the troops, knowing well that they would soon have to go into fire, made use of this time of rest to speak to the men about the uncertain future, and to urge them to make their peace with Heaven. In many hundreds the soldiers stood round, forming a circle, in the centre of which were
the clergymen. One of these delivered a consciousness. Acute pain and great thirst solemn, heart-stirring address, and said that tormented him; he thought that he must if their repentance was a true one, and their die if help did not soon come.
Then he resolution to lead a better life firm and thought of his poor mother, who had spoken honest, then with comfort and confidence to him so seriously, and with almost prothey might go to meet their fate, whatever phetic spirit had foretold him this fate. It that might be. What devotion these war- seemed as if repentance would glide into riors felt for their fatherland—with what his heart; but the evil one drives the good fervent piety and quiet, self-sacrificing feeling away again, and with an oath he courage, they knelt down in solemn silence tries to shake off from him all thoughts of and received the absolution !
death and the future state. Fritz, too, knelt down, but with no weight As well as he is able, he raises himself up of penitent sorrow on his soul, not even at and looks around. What a sight! By the this, which might be his last moment to be gleam of the lanterns which are hovering reconciled to his Father in Heaven; others hither and thither over the plain he beholds did it, and he joined, as he afterwards mock- the horrors of desolation and death. Dead ingly said, in this superstitious folly. Alas! and wounded, the bodies of horses, shattered alas! if Heaven have not mercy on the weapons, helmets and caps, cover the scoffers!
field. Gladly would he have closed his It at Gravelotte, where those
more of this terrible heights had to be scaled; the fearful scene ! But his looks are riveted German troops were repeatedly driven on those lights, which are coming now back, and the batteries hurled death and in this now in that direction, for from destruction into the midst of the Prussian thence he expects help. They are the ranks. At last the wild, desperate courage bearers of the sick, who, by the light of the of the assailants, was crowned with success; lanterns, are visiting the battle-field to but many, many could no longer join in search for the wounded. They find him, too. the shouts of victory which rent the air. He sees also how a soldier with a red cross Alas! how many an eye was closed in death on a white arm-band bends over him; then - how many a merry, youthful soul had fled! he loses all consciousness.
The necessary Many lay groaning around with shattered
bandages are put on him, and he is carried limbs, covered with blood and wounds.
on a stretcher to the nearest spot where Fritz, too, who shortly before had ex- wounds are attended to. Here his wound pressed himself so certain that no French is carefully examined, washed, and bound bullet was meant for him, lay with a broken
up. He is provided, too, with a ticket, on leg on the blood-stained soil, trying with which is noted the nature of his wound, the his last strength to crawl away out of the result of the examination, and the help range of battle.
He had scarcely gone which has been given him; then he is sent more than a few yards when he sank down on to the nearest field-hospital. senseless near some trees.
(Concluded in our next.) Through the great loss of blood he had become senseless. There he lay, the scoffer, forsaken as it seemed by God and man. At last the cold of night restored him to
PERSEVERE AND CONQUER.
Y dear May, I do think some
times you will never be cured of jealousy. It seems to be your chief fault.'
Oh, mother, I do indeed try; but somehow I always fail. I cannot think how it is!
The above words were part of a conversation which took place one morning in the parlour in a little villa in a country town. The first speaker was Mrs. Winter, a lady of between thirty and forty years of age, and she addressed her little daughter, a girl of about ten years of age. The tone was not angry or faultfinding, but that of sympathy and some slight degree of anxiety, while the child spoke with earnest feeling. The dialogue continued,
'I think I know the cause of your failure. You rely on your own strength, and all who do battle in their own, and not in God's strength, are sure to fail.'
'It seems no use trying,' replied the child: 'I feel ready to give up.'
•You make another trial, and if you keep what I have said in your mind, and act upon it, you will yet succeed.'
‘How am I to act upon it, mother ?' rejoined the child, her temper getting the better of her.
By praying to the Lord,' replied the mother quietly. 'Do you not know that to pray it is not necessary to kneel down, nor even to say so many words? You can pray from the heart without either: a thought, a desire sent up to God in time of temptation, calling upon Him for help, will be answered.'
The conversation was interrupted by the
ringing of the dinner-bell, and both mother and daughter hastened to their duties. May was called to the nursery to carry her little sister Katie downstairs. The baby's smiles and winning prattle soon removed the shadow from May's face, and when they entered the dining-room together, both looked so bright and happy that Mr. Winter remarked upon the circumstance.
Why, I declare, May,' he said, what a change in your looks! how different from the little girl who, a few minutes ago, I heard saying it was no good trying to be good-tempered, and she should not try again! Can you guess who that was?
Oh, father !' said May, her colour rising to her face : did you hear me? I did not mean it, indeed I did not !'
One word more of reproach, and she would have burst into tears.
• Come here, May,' said her father kindly, and tell me what you had so hopelessly failed in when I heard you speak those words.'
'In conquering my envy, father,' almost sobbed May. It always seems to me that! everybody loves Lily best, and she gets invited out most, and has the best toys, while I am disliked by everybody, so I can't help feeling jealous.'
May, my darling,' resumed Mr. Winter, people would love you just as much as they do Lily if they could see you trying to overcome your
fault. As I was passing down the road to business I heard two of your little companions talking together. Now do you think you should feel envious if I told you what they said ?'
'I will try not; please tell me, father!
• Well, one little girl said, “I am going to have a party next Monday, which is my birthday, and I should like you to come. I want to ask Lily Winter, and I suppose I must ask her sister too, or else she will