Page:Aunt Phillis's Cabin.djvu/189

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185
SOUTHERN LIFE AS IT IS.

could have saved him? None but thou, Almighty God!" and she kneeled to pray for, she knew not what.

"Too late, too late!" yet she knelt and alternately prayed and wept.

Again she gazed into the noisy waters—but there was nothing there, and then calling her frightened and weeping children into the house, she determined to set forth alone, for assistance—for what?

* * * * * * *

Oh! how long was that night to Ellen, though she believed her brother remained at C . She did not sleep till late, and sad the awakening. Voices in anxious whispers fell upon her ear; pale faces and weeping eyes, were everywhere around her—within, confusion; and useless effort without. Her uncle wept as for an only son; her aunt then felt how tenderly she had loved him, who was gone forever. The farmer, who had warned him at the tavern-door, smote his breast when he heard his sad forebodings were realized. The young and the old, the rich and the poor, assembled for days about the banks of the creek, with the hopes of recovering the body, but the young rider and his horse were never seen again. Ah! Ellen was an orphan now—father, mother, and friend had he been to her, the lost one. Often did she lay her head on the kind breast of their old nurse, and pray for death.

As far as was in their power, her uncle and aunt soothed her in her grief. But the only real comfort at such a time, is that from Heaven, and Ellen knew not that. How could she have reposed had she felt the protection of the Everlasting Arms!

But time, though it does not always heal, must assuage the intensity of grief; the first year passed after William's death, and Ellen felt a wish for other scenes than those where she had been accustomed to see him. She had now little to which she could look forward.

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