Page:Female Prose Writers of America.djvu/212

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186
E. OAKES SMITH.

Mary saw the tears trickle, but the nature of them was soothing and holy.

“I shall never forget thee, Mary; wherever in the mysteries of God I may be transferred, the holiness of thy affection will cause this cheerless earth, in which and for which I have suffered so much, to be none other than the Paradise of God;” and stooping downward he touched the tears, which had fallen upon the earth, and they became a chaplet of lilies with which he bound the head of Mary.

“Dost thou remember the gems I once gave thee, Mary? Then I had power over only the element of fire, which burns and consumes, or hardens to the rock, but now the water and the life are mine—behold these lilies—wear them—for thou art worthy.”

He turned his steps as if to depart.

“Shall we meet again?” implored the child.

The youth lifted his head sorrowfully. “Shall we meet again?” he repeated; “for thy sake, for mine, I have questioned too. The knowledge of the future was once mine, but I resigned it as thou didst thy dangerous knowledge, and now the eternal world is hidden from me; I tread the valley of darkness more dismayed, than even a human soul; now—now, O that I could see! What is faith to the once prescient Archangel?” and he cast himself to the earth, overcome with his terrible thoughts.

“Shall we not meet again?” Oh! in the long eternal years shall I not yearn for the look, the tone, for which even now I peril my redemption? What is that terrible future? How shall the soul exist floating onward for ever and for ever, with a universe of suns receding from its path, if it bear not with it the known and the loved? How will it shiver and shrink from the gray twilight of the eternal, unless folded in the wings of a love which, though born of earth, leads onward to God? Mary, Mary”—his voice ceased, and he fell prostrate to the earth.