A German Immigrant Girl Shares Her Adventure
Mrs. Gertrude Linndon shares her adventure of leaving her homeland in Germany for a new life in America in the late 1800s.
ONE day, early in the Summer of 1860, as I was standing at an open window in my room admiring the freshness and beauty of the scene without, I heard the gate at the opposite side of the house open and shut, and immediately after the sound of steps upon the walk leading to the house.
I turned to another window to see who was coming, and found a stranger, a woman in middle life and very plainly dressed, but possessing a face which at once awakened interest.
There were traces of care and sorrow upon it, but the expression was refined and intellectual, and I could plainly see that it must once have been remarkably beautiful.
When I gave her admittance, she introduced herself as Mrs. Linndon, and inquired if I knew of any one who wished to hire sewing done. I did not, but requested her to be seated, for she looked sad and weary, and I felt confident that the lot of a laborer was one to which she had not always been accustomed. I also asked her to take off her hat and shawl and rest awhile, for the day was exceedingly warm.
" 1 should be happy to do so if I had time," she replied in a sweet voice, but with a strong German accent; "for it is very unpleasant traveling, in this scorching sun."
" It will be cooler in an hour or two, I think," I returned.
She listened to my words with evident pleasure, and finally decided to stop awhile. Her manner perfectly accorded with the refined look of her face, and as I observed her easy, graceful ways, I could not but feel an increasing desire to know something of her history.
And this knowledge I obtained during the few hours she remained with me on that day, and at other seasons, for she soon obtained a situation near, and I frequently saw her afterward.
The following pages contain this history, though I have not attempted to give it in her own impassioned language, for it would be impossible to give more than a faint idea of the depth of feeling manifested by this unfortunate woman, as she rehearsed in tears, the joys, follies, and sorrows of her past life.
One day, the one on which I first saw her, while relating to me some incidents which had occurred after her separation from her husband, she spoke of a certain song which had been a great favorite with her father, and which she had learned, and frequently played and sang for his diversion during the long days they had spent together.
That her story was a truthful one, I had not, from the first, a doubt. Yet every additional proof of it would be gratifying, I thought.
Accordingly, I asked her if she would not play that song for me, meantime observing her closely to see if she manifested any embarrassment at the unexpected question, for the instrument stood in an adjoining room and she did not know there was one in the house.
But I looked in vain for any evidence of it, for she acceded with perfect readiness to my request, and took the proffered seat, and played and sang the song with artistic finish, while the tears streamed down her cheeks in memory of the days which it so vividly brought before her mind.
But this will suffice for an introduction, and we will proceed to the story of Mrs. Gertrude Linndon.
Chapter I : Birth and Childhood
My father was a native of the city of --- which is situated on the sea-coast in the northern part of Germany. He was a merchant and conducted his business with so much skill and energy that he soon amassed a fortune from the allowance which his father made him, when he first began business for himself.
At my grandfather's death, my father also found himself sole heir to his father's tine estates, for another brother who, if he had lived, would have been co-heir with him, bad perished the year before on a voyage to India.
Thus my father, while yet young, found himself in the possession of wealth seemingly inexhaustible, and he began, for the first time, to think that he might now cease to exert himself as he had hitherto done.
He soon decided, also, upon having an establishment of his own, and then began to look about him for some one to preside gracefully over it, and to share with him the joys and sorrows of life.
He was greatly aided in coming to a satisfactory conclusion in this matter, by the recollection of a college classmate to whom he had once been sincerely attached, and whose untimely death a few years previous he had deeply lamented.
The name of this youth was Bertrand Leslie. He was talented, handsome, and good, yet possessed of a fiery, passionate temper, over which, when suddenly roused, he had but little control.
Notwithstanding this, he had so good a heart, and was so sincere in his repentance, and generous in making amends when he thought he had done wrong, and was withal so true and upright in principle, that this one fault was overlooked by his friends and acquaintances, and he was, in spite of it, a universal favorite.
It sometimes happened, however, that he met with those as sensitive and high-spirited as himself, and with whom, if he did not guard against it, some difficulty was pretty certain to arise.
While he was in college, and when he had about half completed his college course, at the beginning of a term, a new student entered the institution not unlike Bertrand in his temperament, though by no means his equal in noble heart qualities.
He also prided himself upon being a sprig of nobility, a lineal descendant of some great historic personage, and was extremely haughty and overbearing in his manner toward others.
My father at once foresaw the difficulties which might arise should these two come in collision, and often cautioned Bertrand against being too much in the society of young H., or, at least, not to lose sight of prudence if he should give offense.
This caution was heeded for a lime, but was totally forgotten one day when the two happened to be debating some matter of interest to them both, when he was, as usual, haughty and insolent, and Bertrand being off his *guard, gave vent to his excited feelings, and was equally insulting or more so in return.
My father, who was present, went up to Bertrand as a friend and, excusing himself to H., drew him away to the quiet of his own room, remarking, as he did so, that they were both too much excited to talk the matter over calmly, and had better defer it to some other time.
When Bertrand became calm 'he thanked my father for his friendly interference in his behalf, and admitted that he had indeed been hasty; whereupon my father advised him to go at once to H. and make a manly and Christian acknowledgment of his error.
While they were still conversing upon the subject, some one called at the door of their room and handed a letter to Bertrand. As be opened and perused it, a deathly pallor overspread his fine features, and, without speaking, he handed it to my fattier to read.
It was a challenge to a duet from H., who could not brook the insults which Bertrand had given him, and he demanded satisfaction.
"You surely will pay no heed to this unreasonable demand," said my father, when he had finished reading the note.
" I do not know," returned Bertrand; " I certainly do not wish to be thought a coward. 1 Pray, counsel me what to do."
"You certainly can not need advice in regard to so plain a duty. It is at variance with the spirit of Christianity; and, moreover, dueling is forbidden by the rules of this institution."
"That is true," replied Bertrand, "and yet if should refuse to fight this duel, I should be branded as a coward, and that is a thing which you know I could not endure."
" No one who knows you, Bertrand, would for a moment believe it was a Jack of courage that caused you to decline."
" I don't know about that," said be slowly, and, after a short pause, added; "let me decline for any reason whatever, and I should be called a coward. I should be obliged to leave the school, or remain through the course an object of ridicule; for H. has friends here, and his money would buy more, who could be prejudiced against me, and such a life as that would be to me simply unendurable.
No I" said he emphatically, " I will prove to them that I am not a coward," and his eyes flashed with the fire which glowed in his dauntless soul as he arose to go and pen a reply.
My father entreated him not to send it, for, said he, "You are no match for H. in dueling, and you have no right to place your life in such jeopardy, to say nothing of your friends, to whom your death would be such a crushing blow."
"Have no fears for me," he returned; "you will see me here a week hence as well as now, and happier by far, for my honor will then be vindicated."
And animated by this delusive hope, and in spite of my father's remonstrances, be sent the letter giving acceptance to the fatal challenge. After it was gone east recall, he seemed to realize more fully the fearful step he had taken, though he tried to feign indifference.
My father, however, was not deceived by it in the least, and after they had retired for the night, and Bertrand supposed my father was asleep—which he was not—he arose and paced back and forth all night long in an adjoining room, which happened to be empty at that time, engaged, without doubt, in the painful task of taking mental leave of dear absent friends, in case it should be his fate to fall, for he was an only and idolized son, and he had an only sister, whom he seemed to regard with the warmest affection.
The morning of the day upon which the duel was to be fought dawned fair and cloudless. At an early hour the parties repaired to a wood at some distance from the school, and where my father's worst fears In regard to the termination of the scene were soon realized.
As he had predicted, it was an unequal contest, and before the bell bad rung for the opening of school, poor Bertrand lay pale and lifeless on a couch in my father's room.
The affair, which had been privately conducted, now became public, and 14. was at once expelled from the school and sent home in disgrace, while my father undertook the painful task of apprising the parents of Bertrand, who lived in a distant city, of the sad occurrence, and of conveying his remains to them.
I have often heard my father say that the grief of these aged parents and the sister—then a young girl of about twelve or fourteen years—over the inanimate form of one whom they had so fondly cherished, presented the most touching scene he ever witnessed.
The sweet face of the young girl, who manifested such heart-felt sorrow over her lost brother, long haunted my father after his return to school, and afterward, when he became absorbed in business, he used often, he said, to find himself thinking of it. It closely resembled that of the unfortunate Bertrand, and yet it was unlike it.
She apparently possessed all those qualities which had made him so general a favorite, and yet there were no evidences of the fiery temper which had been the besetting sin of his life, and which had taken him to an untimely grave.
As time rolled on, he thought less frequently of her, however, for he became more deeply engrossed with the often baffling pursuits of business, and he had, moreover, determined if possible to become rich and influential before setting up an establishment of his own.
But he never for once Lost sight of her; and when, at his father's death, he suddenly found himself in the possession of means sufficient for the gratification of every reasonable wish, his thoughts again turned to her and when he had seen her, and found that she had, both mentally and physically, more than fulfilled the promise of her youth, he determined to woo, and if possible to win her.
This accomplished, as soon as practicable he secured a situation near his native city which happened to be for sale at that time, and which was indeed a most charming spot.
It commanded not only a view of the city and the surrounding country, but of the port where flocked the ships of all nations with their many colored flags and curious devices.
This home was at length pronounced complete in all its arrangements, and then my father brought thither his chosen bride. How often have I heard him speak of the blissful years which followed, each one of which proved more clearly than the last that he had chosen wisely and well!
I remember but little about her, however, for, before I had reached my fourth year, she was no more. Her death was a severe blow to my father, and one from which it was long before he recovered.
Besides, he knew not what to do with me. None of my grandparents were living, or other friends to whom I could go, and he did not deem it judicious to leave me wholly to the care of servants.
But as there seemed to be no better way, I was finally left in the care of a servant who had been my mother's nurse, and who had hitherto proved faithful to every trust.
nd she proved equally faithful to me, or meant to. My father also watched carefully over me, and so kind and indulgent was he that no wish which my childish fancy suggested was left unfulfilled.
My nurse I believe would as soon have thought of committing a crime as of refusing to grant a wish of mine, however unreasonable. And in this way 1 was exposed to many dangers, for I had inherited something of the high spirit which had proved so fatal to my mother's brother, and I needed a guardian who had the wisdom and firmness to chasten and subdue it.
But my father saw nothing of this danger, or at least did not fully realize it, for he had again plunged into business in order to drown the sorrow occasioned by the death of my mother, and I seldom saw him until after my business hours were over.
Then never had aught to ruffle my temper, and I was so pleased to see him, and was made so happy by the affectionate caresses which he bestowed upon me, that he seldom saw occasion to reprove me.
And in this way time passed until I became old enough to have a governess. But so accustomed had I become by that time to having my wish a law, that I used frequently to have serious difficulties with her.
If she went to my father with any complaint it made matters but little better, for he loved me so well that be could not find it in his heart to punish me, or do more than to advise me to be a good and obedient child.
This advice I meant to follow, and I then thought I did—though I now see that 1 did not as I ought—for there was nothing I would not have done to please my good, kind, indulgent father.
Chapter II : School Days
When I was about sixteen my father began to talk of sending me from home to an excellent school, a few miles distant, in order to enable me to secure that fashionable polish to my education which is thought to be so desirable.
I was delighted with this project, and could think or talk of nothing else until the much wished for time arrived for me to start.
I had then seen but little of the world, and knew nothing at all of the laborious life of a student in an institution where the teachers are thorough and exacting, and I dreamed only of a fairy palace peopled with the most lovely beings imaginable. But I was doomed to a sore disappointment. I had been there but a short time before I heartily wished myself at home again.
In time, however, I became interested in some of my studies, and I also formed some agreeable acquaintances, and these reconciled me in a measure to my banishment from the ease and comforts of home.
Yet I used often to entreat my father to allow me to return home, but be who had been so indulgent at all other times was immovable now. He could not yield to my request, he said, for be wished me to become an educated and %accomplished woman.
I was, moreover, under a good and Christian influence, and it was out of the tenderest regard for my well-being that he insisted upon my remaining in school. I knew that what he said was true, and disliking to displease him I returned, though, if I had followed my own inclinations, I should have remained at home.
Among other privileges which my father granted me for the sake of making my school life less irksome was that of spending the boll-days and Saturdays at home. 0, how much I enjoyed those precious seasons?
I used to wait impatiently for those days to roil round, and filially to count the hours up to the time when I was to see the carriage approach which was to convey me back to my own delightful home, where I believe every one sincerely loved me, and where, at all events, every wish of mine was a law.
There were no arbitrary rules for me to follow, and no one to whose will I was called upon to bend my own.
Oh, if I had only known then that the discipline I was under in that school Was of all things that which I most needed, how much trouble and sorrow it would have saved me.
Had I possessed this knowledge then, I had not been today a homeless wanderer in a foreign land. But, alas ! no friendly warning was given, no band outstretched to save me from the dread abyss which was yawning for my unwary feet.
The time at length arrived when my education was pronounced finished by my various tutors, and I returned to my father's house. I had truly enjoyed the advantages of superior instruction and wisest counsel, and when I left school I fully intended to live a new life.
"Never again," I thought, " will I give way to my temper, or live so selfish and idle a life as I have formerly done."
But, alas ! I undertook in my own strength that which I could only have accomplished with the aid of God's Holy Spirit.
Soon after my return home I began to look forward to my entrance into society with much interest. Many of my classmates who had left school with me were residents of my native city, and we frequently called upon and visited each other.
I used also to receive a visit often from a young girl whose acquaintance I had formed at school, and whose friendship I prized more highly than all others. Her name was Constance Linndon. She entered the school after I had been some time a member, and had had time to become thoroughly acquainted with the ways of the institution.
When I first met her, if I had not been captivated by her beauty and grace, and the apparent sweetness of her disposition, my heart would have gone out to leer, for she was far from home, among strangers and homesick, and I remembered so well my own feelings under similar circumstances that I fully sympathized with her in her sorrow, and strove by every means to make her feel at home and happy. Thus began a friendship sincere, and destined to he lasting. The memory of it even now thrills me with joy.
I can hardly tell why it was that we became so much attached to each other. We were in every way unlike by nature, and the training which we had each received had also been in many respects different.
She was the daughter of pious parents, both of whom were living, and she had been carefully trained to the strict performance of every filial and Christian duty.
Indeed, she was of a disposition so mild and gentle, so affectionate and good, that very little discipline must have sufficed to make her what she was, a true and noble girl.
This friendship increased as time passed, and I frequently invited her home with me to spend a day when there was no school. These visits she seemed greatly. to enjoy.
She was naturally quiet and retiring in her manners, and with few besides myself in the school did she become intimately acquainted, and she wept bitterly at my departure from the institution where she was still to remain.
I was equally sad at thought of parting from her. But we agreed to write often to each other, and, moreover, she was to spend, as often as convenient, the Saturdays with me, and this arrangement in a measure reconciled us to the change.
Whenever it was not convenient for her to come to me I sent for her, and I need not say how much we enjoyed those delightful seasons. Never shall 1 forget those days, for they are among the happiest of my life.
On one of these visits she brought with her a brother, who had come to spend a few days with her and in the city. She bad seen none of her friends since leaving home, and was overjoyed at his appearance.
Anxious to make his visit as pleasant as possible, she proposed spending a day at my home, where she knew she was always welcome.
On that morning I had been out making some calls. Indeed, ever since my return from school I had been much in society. My time was almost constantly occupied with company, either at home or abroad.
It was a bright, lovely day, and when I came in I had laid aside my bat and shawl, and taken my favorite seat at a window which looked out upon the hay.
The view from this window was exceedingly fine. Far off in the distance were a line of hills lifting their gray outlines against the bright blue sky. Nearer at hand, on one side, lay the city spread out like a beautiful panorama, while on the other rolled the deep blue waters of the bay.
On this broad expanse of water were floating vessels of various sizes and descriptions, and many a boat with its freight of pleasure seekers -was this morning visible.
As I glanced over this lovely scene I began to think of Constance, and to wonder if she would come on that day as usual. " What a splendid day for a sail on the bar," r thought, as the fresh Spring air, laden with the perfume of a thousand bursting leaves and buds, floated in at the open window.
It was now getting late, and I had begun to fear that something had occurred to prevent her coming, when I heard the sound of footsteps in the bail.
o confident was I that it was Constance who had come that I flew out to meet her, and in a moment we were in each other's arms, as happy as though an age instead of one week had passed since we last met.
I supposed she was alone. as usual, and did not observe her brother, who was a few steps behind, until she turned to present him to me. I was for a moment abashed to think of the unceremonious manner in which I had received my guest, but speedily regained my self-possession, and gave them a welcome.
He was a tall, noble-looking man, with dark hair and eyes, and in appearance was a perfect gentleman. I soon found, also, that he possessed a well-stored and highly cultivated mind, Though but a few years older than his sister, he had added greatly to his store of knowledge by travel in foreign climes.
Constance and I were so intimately acquainted, and he so intelligent and agreeable, that it was not long before we were conversing almost as freely as though we had been acquainted for months, and before the dinner hour arrived I had mentally decided that he was the most interesting person I had ever met. After an early dinner we went out for a sail upon the bay.
The wind favored us, and we bad a delightful ride. Next we enjoyed a stroll around our grounds, visiting one spot after another where a more varied and extensive view of the surrounding scenery could be had.
Soon after this my father returned from his business, and joined us in the library, where we spent the evening. First we had music, and then Esmond—for this was his name—and my father engaged in a long conversation upon business, foreign countries which they had each visited, and other topics of interest to them, while Constance and I improved the time in chatting over past times, and other matters which happened to interest us at that time.
When the time arrived for Constance and her brother to return my father invited him to call again—for he was to spend a few days in the city on business—and I observed that he looked well pleased with the invitation, and promised to accept it. In a few days he called again. Then followed other calls, and still others.
One day we would have a drive, another a sail upon the bay, and the few days which he was to have staid in the city lengthened into weeks, and still he seemed reluctant to go.
I will attempt no description of these delightful days—the brightest I ever knew. Let it suffice to say that when we parted I had promised to become his bride in the coming Autumn.
Chapter III : Joys And Sorrows
THE few months which intervened between Esmond's departure, and the time set for the wedding, rolled swiftly away. Bright and blissful were the hours, and undarkened by a single shadow. It is true that it gave me pain to think of parting from my kind, good father, but he promised to visit me often in my new home, and I already anticipated the time when lie should come to live with me.
"One's wedding day," said my father to me one day just previous to my marriage, "should be the happiest of their life," and accordingly nothing was left undone that his purse could afford to make mine brilliant and delightful:
The new home to which my husband took me was in the southern part of Germany. It was very unlike the one I had left, for it was an inland town, and the surrounding scenery was far from being as grand and imposing; but the city itself was not less beautiful, and the home which Esmond had prepared for us was an that the most fastidious could have desired.
Constance was now out of school, living with her parents in a mansion not far from ours, and with her so near, with a frequent visit from my father, and with the best and noblest husband in the world, I should be very happy, I thought. And surely no one could ask for more happiness than we enjoyed during the first few years of our married life.
No husband could be kinder than mine, I thought, and no children lovelier than the two which God had given to us. But this bright dream was not always to last. In the course of time things arose which occasioned hart! thoughts and feelings between us.
I had seldom, when at home, had my patience taxed, or had occasion to bend my will to another; and now, when my husband seemed to me to be unreasonable, I would sometimes lose my patience.
It was a long time before I said any thing about this to any one, but one Summer, when home on a visit, I determined before leaving to open my heart to my father and seek his advice.
It so happened that a convenient opportunity soon presented itself, and I told him-all. He listened kindly to my story, and when I had finished he said," I am truly grieved to hear of this, Gertrude, for I had supposed you were living very happily. Are you quite sure that you, too, have never been unyielding and unreasonable?"
" I don't know," I said. " I have never meant to be."
" I presume not, my dear," he returned, " but it is such an easy matter to be mistaken. The heart, as saith the Scriptures, is 'deceitful above all things,' and very few of us understand ourselves as we ought. You will not take offense if I talk very plainly, will you, daughter ?"
I assured him that I would not, and he proceeded,
"I have sometimes feared that I was not faithful in the performance of my duty to you in the early part of your life, You were, as you know, left motherless, and the tenderness which I felt for you prevented me oftentimes from reproving you when it had been better for you if I had been less indulgent.
When I discovered that you had inherited something of the high spirit possessed by your mother's poor, unfortunate brother Bertrand, I should have seen that it was early and thoroughly subdued. But I fear that my love for you has made me blind to my duty. If so, may God forgive me ?"
"Why, father," I said, "you talk as if the whole blame in this trouble between Esmond and myself rested upon me."
" No, I did not mean that; but in order to cure a wound it is sometimes necessary to probe it. And I would have you look thoroughly into this matter, and find where the fault really
You love your husband and desire peace?"
'I do," I said, "above all things."
"And if you found that any share of the blame was yours, would be willing to admit it, and would strive not to err in the same way again ?"
"I should," I replied.
"Let me say, then, my dear child, that I fear you, too, have been unyielding, and have too frequently given way to your angry passions, and that this is, in part at least, the cause of the trouble between you. But you now know your fault, and I trust will try to remedy it.
You have been a good, affectionate daughter, and I am confident will make equally as good a wife, if you will strive to bear in mind the caution have given you. Remember that he who mirth his spirit is better than be that taketh a city,'
Whatever Esmond's faults may be you can aim to do right, and so bear an approving conscience, and rest assured that the surest way to win him from his errors is a kind and patient forbearance on your part."
" But, father, I have in the past tried to do right, and yet we have not been happy." "Have you ever sought strength from on high to aid you in this matter, my daughter?"
"No, I have not, father."
"Then let me counsel you to seek it at once. Here is another duty in which I fear I have been also too remiss. I should long ago have led you to Him who is an ever-present help in time of trouble.' But his gracious invitations to 'come unto him' are never withdrawn, and if you will but go to him he will surely bless you."
And thus the conversation continued for some time, but when it was finally finished, and I was left alone, I thought "how easy it would be to do right, if I could always be with my father, he is so kind, and wise, and loving," and for a moment I wished I had never left his home for another.
But it was only for a moment, and then I began to reflect upon what he had been saying. "Is it true," I thought, "that so much of the fault is mine as his words seemed to imply ? If so it shall be so no longer. Never again shall Esmond have occasion to find fault with my temper, if it is in my power to prevent it.
But if I can not prevent it shall I seek that aid from above which my father so warmly urges?" And for a moment I was almost drawn to kneel as in childhood, and ask God to forgive my past, and to guide me in the future. But I hesitated, and finally said, "If I am again so drawn, and feel the need of this assistance, then will I seek it."
I was waiting for a more convenient season, and so allowed the golden hour to pass which, improved, had saved me from the terrible future. For, had I then, when my heart was tender, and when God seemed so I near, and so willing to bless, given my heart to him, and afterward habitually sought his aid when temptations arose, all would have been well.
But I went forward in my own strength as in the past. The next morning, when I bade my father good-by, and stepped into the carriage which was to take me and my two little ones back to our home, I felt very confident that I was going to succeed in keeping the new resolutions which I had formed.
When we reached home my husband gave me a warm and cordial greeting, which I returned with heartfelt joy. I did not tell him of the resolutions which I had been forming, but I intended at once to put them into practice.
And I almost longed, in the weeks that followed, for some trial of my patience to occur so that I could test their strength. But for a long time I waited in vain. Never did peace and harmony exist for so long a time in our family as at this period.
In the course of time, however, difficulties arose calling for the exercise of my newly acquired power. Sometimes I could resist the temptation to yield to my angry passions with a success that fairly surprised myself.
At other times I would fail, and was almost ready to give up in despair the thought of ever being able to gain the control of my temper. I bad not done so in youth, I thought, and I certainly could not expect to now. Yet I continued to hope that 'a determined will would, in time, accomplish something.
I sometimes think that if my husband could have known how much I had to contend with, how earnestly I was striving to overcome a naturally high spirit, together with the faults of my early training, or rather want of training, he would have been more patient with me at this time. But he did not seem to, and I never explained it to him, as I now sometimes wish I had done.
One day at this period of my life the children were not weal, and had been unusually cross and troublesome all day. I had had my patience severely taxed, and before night had become exceedingly weary and nervous.
It so happened that Esmond on this day had also been greatly tried with numberless vexations in his business; and besides, through the villainy of a partner, had met with some serious losses; and these things were not calculated to put him in an amiable mood.
Soon after he came home at night he began to find fault with something I had been doing. I bore it patiently at first, but after a little both of ,as became angry, when Esmond said something that was so harsh and aggravating, that I lost all control of myself, and struck him in the face. In a moment after I would have given worlds if I could have recalled the act.
He did not speak, but stood looking at me like one who could not credit his senses. At length he broke the silence. " Gertrude," said he, in a tone in which he had never addressed me before, "
I can endure this no longer. I can not have my children brought up under the influence of such examples as this, and we must separate."
He said no more, and I knew from his manner that nothing I could say would avail me any thing. I had sealed my destiny. I felt that my sun of earthly happiness was set forever.
And so it indeed proved. In a few days I was back at my father's house, and in the settlement which followed, it was too easily shown that my temper, uncontrollable as it was, unfitted me for the care of children, as well as the performance of other important duties.
I had not realized the extent of my loss till this hour. I was never again to have the privilege of folding to my heart the two little ones who were dearer to me than my own life, and never again to hear their sweet voices as they lisped the name of mother, or made my heart joyous with their childish prattle.
They would be brought up by strangers, perhaps, and taught to cherish no affectionate remembrances of their own mother, who still loved them so dearly.
My husband, with whom I had spent so many blissful hours, and whom I still loved, though I thought he had been hasty and unjust with me, would never again call-me to his side; and sadder than all things else, was the thought that I was cast back in disgrace upon the hands of my poor father, who was now in the decline of life.
I had formerly rejoiced in the thought that it was in my power to make his life bright and peaceful as age advanced, and now to bring him only grief was more than I could endure.
In the days that followed I have no recollection of what passed, for I sank under the weight of my grief, and was for a long time delirious. When I again became conscious, my father was bending kindly over me, together with the servants who had ministered to my wants from infancy, and my first thought was that I was still a child.
But suddenly the truth flashed through my mind, and in a few moments I was again delirious. After a few days, however,.I recovered my reason and began to nerve myself to endure the joyless life which was henceforth to be mine.
From my father I received naught but unwearied kindness, while I was looked upon by the servants as one who had been most unjustly treated. Each seemed striving, by increased kindness and devotion, to make me forget as far as possible my great misfortune.
I was most grateful for this kindness, and strove in every way to manifest my appreciation of it; but for me there was no forgetfulness, no joy.
One day, when I had so far recovered from my illness as to be able to walk about the house, 1 went to the bay window, which with me had always been a favorite spot, in the hope of seeing something that, to some extent at least, would help to disperse the gloom that rested upon my mind.
But as I cast my weary eyes over the bright scene without, it served only to remind rue of the happy, innocent days of my childhood, and to make me sadder, if possible, than before. Moreover, it was the same place where, a few months before, my father had so earnestly striven to lead me to the Savior.
If I had then sought Divine aid, I thought, I should have been able to resist the temptations which subsequently came, and to which, without it, I had yielded. But I had not, and there was now no hope of earthly happiness for me, and it seemed as if God would not now listen to my petitions for pardon and peace if I should go to him.
A book, which had the appearance of having been much used, and which I recognized as my father's Bible, lay in the window near where I sat. It was the one from which he daily read, and I had often observed the sweet, heavenly expression of his face as he arose from a perusal of it, and knew that it betokened the peace and serenity of his soul.
As I took it up, I felt a new and intense desire to drink in the same way from that fountain of peace and joy. But my heart again sank within me at thought of my unworthiness.
I felt that in God's sight I was the chief of sinners, and I dared hope for nothing but his frowns. And a feeling akin to despair began to settle down upon my heart.
With this feeling I opened the book, and on the page to which I opened a leaf was turned down to the following verse: "Come unto me, alt ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
In an instant my soul was melted, I felt that it was indeed the voice of God speaking to me, and that there was, even now, hope of rest and peace. A sweet sense of God's infinite love and compassion filled my heart, and I obeyed the uncontrollable impulse I felt to kneel down and pour out my soul to him in prayer.
AU the contrition that I felt for the errors of my past life, all the boundless love and gratitude that welled up out of my heart to Him for this blessed assurance of his never-failing love, I tried to express in this prayer.
And I felt that it was hard and accepted, for, when I arose, that " peace of God which passeth all understanding" filled my soul, and I knew that, whatever might be before me in the future, I now bad one unfailing source of light and joy.
Chapter IV : Unexpected Changes
About three years after my return to my father's house, I began to notice a depression of spirits unusual in him, and, although he said nothing as to its cause, and tried to appear cheerful in my presence, I could not be blind to the fact that something weighed heavily upon his mind, I longed to know the cause, but did not like to question him.
One day when he returned from business, I met him in the hall, as was my 1 custom, when he asked me to go with hint to the library, for he had something he wished to say to me. I led the way, and wheeled his easy-chair into a comfortable and pleasant corner, and when we were seated, he said :
" You have, perhaps, observed, Gertrude, that have not of late enjoyed my usual peace of mind."
"Yes, father," I replied, "and I have desired to know the cause so that I might do something to cheer and comfort you. But I have thought that if it was any thing you wished me to know, you would speak of it of your own accord."
" I should have explained it to you before, but I did not wish to give you needless pain. I have been hoping that the gathering storm would pass over, but today I am convinced that my worst apprehensions are to be realized.
A train of causes, which it would be unnecessary for me to explain, have brought my affairs into a state which must inevitably end in ruin. My goods, without doubt, will soon be in the hands of my creditors.
I hope to retain this our home, but I am not confident that I shall be able to do so, for I shall cancel every debt if it requires the last penny : and I hope, my daughter, you will prepare yourself for the worst."
"0, is that all, father ?" I exclaimed, feeling a sense of relief at what he said; for in my anxiety in the few days past I had imagined deeper sorrows.
"All I my child," he repeated. "Is not the loss of my goods, and, without doubt, this home, where we have lived so long and around which cluster so many delightful and sacred associations, enough I"
" Do not, my dear father, misunderstand me. I do not undervalue these things, but I have had much anxiety about you of late, and have sometimes feared that your health was failing, and that the time was approaching when I was to lose you, my best and only earthly friend, and I was rejoiced to find that it was only the loss of your wealth.
If the worst comes, and we lose. all, even to this home, we could still be L happy, for we should have each other left; and you know not how gladly I should improve such an opportunity to prove to you the gratitude I feel for the kindness you have ever lavished upon me, especially in my hour of need.
Indeed, I believe nothing could make me happier than to labor for you. I have health and strength, and there are many ways in which a person with the education which you gave me could earn more than enough to supply our needs."
"But, my child, have you considered what it would be to leave this home where you were born, and to give up the ease and luxuries to which you have been accustomed from infancy, and to toil for the means of subsistence ?"
" I should not grieve for these things, father, except for your sake. You know I have long since ceased to look for happiness in this life, save what I find in your society, and in the performance of my duties to my fellow beings and to God. In fact, I have sometimes thought that if I had something to do I should be happier, for it would help to draw my mind away from my sorrows."
It was late before he retired that night, but when he did so, I had the inexpressible pleasure of seeing him look happier and appear more like himself than he had done for weeks; and I was very thankful for having been able to lighten his heart, and felt that in so doing I had lightened my own.
But when I came to sit down in my own room alone and contemplate the probable future—the loss of my beautiful home, and the relinquishment of the pleasures and privileges to which I bad so long been accustomed—the bitter, regretful tears, in spite of me, would flow.
But I dried them as quickly as possible, for this calamity, I thought, for my father's sake, must be bravely endured; and I began as well as I could to lay my plans for the future.
In a few days we should, without doubt, be without food or shelter, and I must act at once, for my father was too far advanced in life to begin business anew, even if he had the means.
Chapter V : The New Home
THERE was a neat cottage on the sea-shore not far from our dwelling, which I had often admired as I walked or rode in that direction. Its surroundings were tasteful, and it commanded a beautiful view of the surrounding country. If that could be secured, I thought, it would make us a comfortable and pleasant home. Then I should try to obtain employment as a teacher.
But in case I should fail to find it, what there was left for me to do I knew not. All at once a thought of the jewels which my father had given me in my girlhood, and which I had not worn for so long that I had almost forgotten that I possessed them, came into my mind, and I took up my lath') and went to a drawer in which I kept my choicest treasures. I took from thence the casket in which years ago I had placed them, and there they all were, as bright and beautiful as when I laid them away.
I had ceased to wear them, because their brightness seemed to mock my misery, and the sight of them now brought up mournful memories of happier days. I would fain have kept them for the sake of the past, but the price they would bring would furnish food and shelter for my father in his old age, and they must go.
I !aid them out one by one until I came to a diamond necklace which my father had presented to me on my eighteenth birthday. That was the Summer of my first acquaintance with Esmond, and I had then worn it on many delightful occasions. " I will part with the rest first," I thought, "and if necessity requires it, this also, but till then I will keep it,"
I estimated what the others would probably bring, and concluded I should have sufficient to purchase the cottage, if it was to be had, and for our support for a considerable length of time. This removed a great weight from my mind.
I determined, however, to say nothing of this to my father, for I wished if possible to give him a pleasant surprise. And this I thought I could easily do, for he was so absorbed with his business that he would not notice my movements.
The next morning I sought, as the night before, to cheer and comfort him, and to prepare him as far as I could for whatever the future might have in store for him.
And it was well that he was thus in a measure prepared, for in a few days goods, home, every thing save a few articles, among which was my piano, that his creditors in kindness spared to us, was gone.
As soon as I saw that all must go, I disposed of my jewelry for a good sum, and went to the cottage to see what could be done there. Luckily it could be bought, and for a moderate price, and I had our goods removed to it at once, supplying by purchases whatever was needed to make it pleasant and comfortable.
I determined to keep one servant, who had long been with us, and who would have clung to us as long as her services seemed necessary, even with no prospect of any remuneration, and she entered heartily into all my plans. With our combined efforts we soon had every thing in perfect order.
The front and principal room of the cottage was a large and truly pleasant room, with a view from the windows not unlike that from my old home. On the floor of this room we placed a bright carpet, and covered the walls with our pictures, which, by the way, were among the things sacred to us. In this room we also placed the piano, with a sofa and chairs to match, with my father's easy-chair and books, together with numerous other articles, which I had caused to be purchased because I knew he prized and would miss them.
When all was so nearly in order that I thought I could finish alone, I sent Dora into the kitchen to prepare dinner. " Be sure," I said "to have an unusually good one, and be particular to have my father's favorite dishes."
She went about it with a will, and I knew it would be forthcoming. In due time the savory odors proceeding from that quarter proclaimed the good things being prepared for the table.
Meanwhile, in order to have every thing look as pleasant and homelike as possible, I laid the cloth for dinner in the room which we bad just been fitting up, and really every thing looked cheerful and inviting. When all was in readiness, I put on my hat and went in search of my father.
It was the day of the sale of our home and household goods, and it was all over and the people gone. I found him wandering with a sad, heart-broken look about the empty, cheerless apartments. " Come, father," I said, " let us go and have a walk down by the sea-shore."
" No, my child," he replied sadly, " I must go in search of some lodgings for us somewhere, though where the means to pay for it is coming from Heaven alone knows."
"But come and take this walk with me first," I urged, and without scarcely seeming to know which way he was going, he allowed me to lead him away. In a few minutes we were at the little gate before the cottage.
"No, Gertrude, I can not stop to-night," he began as he saw me about to open the gate. " It will be night now before we shall get to the City"
"Please me in this, father," I replied, "and I will urge you no farther."
He reluctantly consented, and I went forward and up the steps to the porch, which was nearly hidden by climbing roses and honeysuckles, just then in blossom, and which filled the premises with their delightful fragrance.
From this porch a door opened into the room awaiting us, and when my. father reached the threshold and saw upon the walls his favorite pictures, with a hundred other dear and familiar objects, together with the table full of smoking viands, all of which looked so cozy and inviting, he seemed, in part, to comprehend what I had been doing, but was too nearly overcome with conflicting emotions to trust himself to speak. "
Does not this look comfortable and homelike, father?" I said cheerfully, when I saw the tears begin to trickle down his face, and wishing to have him joyful rather than sad.
" It does, indeed, and is a refuge unspeakably welcome to me in this dark hour. But whence came the money to pay for this, my dear child?"
" I will tell you, father; but first let us have dinner, which will be getting cold if we stop to talk longer." And as we ate I told him of all my doings in the few days past, and that my jewels had brought not only enough to purchase the house, and all the things he saw around him, but enough for our support for a long time to come. And I doubt if either of us in many years had passed a happier hour than that which we spent over our first meal in the cottage.
And as the days and weeks passed on, I had the pleasure of seeing a look of peace and content settling down upon my father's face, which, in time, wholly displaced the haggard, careworn expression it had so long worn.
I was also happier than I had ever expected to be again in This life. I devoted my time principally to those things which I knew would tend to make my father contented and happy.
Sometimes I would read to him from some interesting author, at others I would play his favorite pieces in music, or stroll with him along the charming walks of the sea-side.
But this pleasant dream was destined to be of short duration. When we had been at the cottage about four months, my father was attacked with a fever that was prevailing in the city, and in a few weeks I was bereft of my last earthly friend. I was now more desolate than ever before. Dora still clung to me, however, and together we lived till the following Spring.
By that time my funds—into which my father's illness had made large inroads—were so low that I could no longer support us both. I then began to turn my thoughts to teaching again, for I could not yet bring my mind to part with my diamond necklace.
The thought, however, of going into the city among those with whom I had associated in my brighter days, to seek employment, was so humiliating to me, that at times I was almost tempted to let it go.
While I was still undecided as to what course to pursue, Dora told me one day that she had decided to go to America to a brother, who, with his family, lived in a thriving German settlement, and had become wealthy, and from whom she had just heard, and warmly urged me to accompany her.
At first the proposition seemed a wild one, but by degrees it became familiars "Why should I not go ?" I began after a time to think. "I had no relative, no friend, not a single tie to bind me to my native land, and there was no reason why I should desire to remain in a place where every thing I saw served to remind me of the joys or sorrows of the past."
One day I had occasion to go to a store to make some purchase, when I met on the street one of my former friends and associates, and who still moved in the wealthy and exclusive circle to which I had formerly belonged. She passed me without even a look of recognition.
From this time I was no longer undecided. If I became a teacher, as I should soon be obliged to, I should without doubt often meet my acquaintances, and the thought of being treated in that way I could not endure.
Dora was delighted with my conclusion, and we at once set about making preparations for our long journey. I improved the first opportunity that I found to dispose of my cottage and furniture, and which brought me money enough to take us across the ocean, and to supply my needs for some time after.
When we were fairly out upon the open sea, and I saw the last faint outline of my native land disappearing, I could not but feel unspeakably sad to think I was to see it no more, though if I had remained I had no reason to hope for more happiness than I had enjoyed in the past, for I had never once heard from my husband and children, and probably never should.
The first few days of our voyage the weather was fair, and no one seemed much affected by the change from the land to the bosom of the sea. But after awhile it was our lot to encounter a fierce and threatening gale. At first we watched it with intense interest, for many of us had never before witnessed a storm at sea.
And it was truly a grand and imposing sight to see the huge foam-capped billows rising in their fury seemingly to the very clouds, then sinking again to such fearful depths.
But the feeling of interest or of awe which it at first inspired soon gave place to that of fear, for the storm was not only endangering the vessel to some extent, but the lives of the passengers, who, with scarcely a single exception, began to suffer intensely from sea-sickness.
Dora was among the first to feel the effects of the gale. And so great a sufferer was she from the first that I early began to despair of her recovery. I ministered to her wants until I, too, was overcome with the terrible sickness, when others who were able took my place and did what they could for her. But no remedy proved effective, and before the storm, which lasted several days, had subsided, my poor, faithful Dora was no more.
Bitter, indeed, were the tears which I shed when the kind-hearted sailors committed her body to the deep. She had been a kind, true friend, and to lose her was to lose all.
If I had dreamed that such a calamity was in store for me I should not have launched out into the world as I had. But I had not, and earnestly as I wished myself back in the father-land it was useless to repine, for there was now no alternative for me but to go forward to the strange, unknown land to which we were rapidly approaching.
Chapter VI : Life In America
When I reached New York I wrote to Dora's brother of her death, for he lived in another city; but I did not go there as we bad intended, for I felt that I had no claims upon his hospitality. Besides, I was not sure that I might not sometime return to Germany if I did not meet with success here.
I also wrote an account of poor Dora's death to a sister of hers, who was still living as a servant in my native city, and who had once been a valued servant in my father's house, I did not at once seek a situation in New York, for I was still feeble from the effects of my journey, but hired a comfortable lodging in which I intended to remain until I recovered my strength.
But it would not do to wait too long, for my funds were rapidly vanishing, and as soon as possible I began to look about me to see what I could find to do. I desired a situation as a teacher, but failed to find one, though I made applications in many directions, because every post was filled. I next sought for music scholars in various places, and in this I was rather more successful.
I secured a few, but earned only enough barely to supply my wants. It was very hard work for me, too, for I was unaccustomed to labor, as well as to the exposure to the weather which I was sometimes obliged to endure in going from house to house to give my lessons.
Life seemed sometimes a weary burden, but I did not forget that, but for my own sin—that of giving way to my hasty temper—I should still have been an inmate of my own delightful home, surrounded by my own dear little ones, as well as the comforts and luxuries to which I had been always accustomed.
I believed God's dealings with me to be only just, and I strove to bear with patience and resignation my sad lot. One day, after I had been teaching several months, I returned home from giving lessons and found a letter upon my table from Germany. I knew it to be from Augusta, Dora's sister, and I hastily broke the seal, for I longed to hear once more from home.
It was a reply to the one I had sent apprising her of Dora's death. After speaking affectionately of her sister she wrote the news of the day, and of such other matters as she thought I would be pleased to hear, and ended by warmly urging me to return to Germany, for, as she said, "-she could not endure the thought of my being so alone and friendless in a foreign land."
She was a warm-hearted girl, and while a servant in our family had become very much attached to both my father and myself. In fact, I had taken her more into my confidence, and told her more of my heart-history than any other person save my father.
But after his failure she had been obliged to seek a new home, though she still seemed to cherish for us the most affectionate regard, and used often to visit us at the cottage.
It gave me heart-felt pleasure to receive this letter, and the thought of it made me cheerful for days after. It was the first ray of light that had shone upon my darkened pathway for a long, long time, I felt very grateful for her kind interest in my welfare, yet I had no strong desire to return to Germany. Besides, I could not go for want of money.
True, I could dispose of my necklace, but that I had determined never to touch while my health remained good, but to keep it to use in case I should be sick or infirm.
During the following Winter I strove to increase my number of pupils, but this I found it very difficult to do, because teachers of music were so plenty. Yet I kept hoping that Providence would open some way by which I could earn something more than a scanty subsistence.
A few weeks after this I observed, one day in a newspaper from a distant city, a notice that a governess was wanted in a certain family, and that a good salary would be paid, etc.
I resolved at once to respond to this call, for such a life would be far easier and pleasanter than the life I was then living, and the labor, without doubt, more remunerative.
I thought at first I would write, but a letter might possibly fail to reach them, and so I determined to go in person and try to secure the place. I did not wish to lose time lest some one should be there before me, so I made arrangements to start on the following day,
When I arose the next morning I saw, upon looking out, that the sky was overcast with dark, ominous-looking clouds, and that a fine, drizzling rain was falling. I at first thought I could not go, for I had no umbrella, and thought I could not spare the money to buy one; but remembering that to wait a day might be to lose the opportunity to better my condition, I took a hasty breakfast, and with my satchel, in which I had placed the night before my necklace and other effects, in my hand I started out, thinking that by walking rapidly I might reach the railroad depot without getting very wet.
But it soon began to rain harder, and I was obliged to undertake my journey with my clothing damp; and as there was no 'tire in the car affording me an opportunity to dry it, I soon became chilly, and knew that I was taking a severe cold.
But I hoped it would soon pass off; and as I rode along began to indulge in a thousand fancies respecting the strange city and people to which I was going, and to hope that my days of want and privation were over.
Just before sundown I reached the city of my destination. The rain was over, and I went to a convenient hotel where I procured a refreshing supper, after which I made some change in my apparel, and went out in search of the people I wished to see. I had no difficulty in finding them, but, alas I a terrible disappointment awaited me; they had that day engaged a governess.
Disheartened and wretched, with my bright hopes all crushed to the earth, I went back to my hotel. If I had been informed of this through a letter I should not have felt the disappointment so keenly; but now I had seen the truly refined and agreeable family in their beautiful home that had advertised, and as I compared in my mind a home with them to the life of toil and exposure which I had been living in New York, and to which I must now return, the latter looked doubly repulsive.
Besides, I had taken a heavy cold, and now began to feel feverish and sick; but I retired, hoping that a night's rest would refresh me, and that things would look brighter in the morning. But I was too sick and weary to sleep, and when morning dawned I was unable to rise, and could scarcely speak'.
In the course of the forenoon I had a visit from Mrs. G., the wife of the proprietor of the hotel, whom a servant had informed of my illness, and I explained to her as well as I could my situation.
She seemed rather a pleasant woman, I thought, and appeared friendly, particularly after I assured her that I had it in my power to reward them for any trouble I might make.
And it was well that I saw her thus early, for the fever with which I was attacked increased rapidly in violence, and before night I was unconscious of any thing that was passing around me. A physician was soon called, I was afterward told, who ministered to my necessities, and I have every reason to believe that Mrs. G. was kind and faithful to me, and caused others to be, while I was unconscious.
One day, after I had fully regained my reason, I was reflecting upon my desolate condition, and upon my indebtedness to my physician as well as to the family which had been so kind to me in my extremity, and the thought of my necklace for the first time occurred to me.
I turned my head as well as I could—for I was still very feeble—toward the corner where I had left my satchel, and, seeing that it was still there, I asked the proprietor's little daughter, who chanced to be in the room at the time, to bring it to me.
I had left it securely locked, and had since been too ill to think of it; but, ah me ! I saw at a glance that it had been opened. I was not equal to the task of looking for the box containing the necklace myself, and I asked the little girl to do so for me. But she assured me that there was no box there.
Still I clung to the hope that she might have overlooked it, and I had her lay the things out one by one upon the bed so that I could see for myself. But, alas! it was a vain search. When I was convinced that it was really gone I was for a moment too utterly wretched to think at all with any clearness, but the next I began to fully realize my loss.
When I was well I had found it very difficult to secure employment, and had never been able to earn any thing more than a living; and now I was sick, and helpless, and robbed of the only means of supplying my wants that I could ever hope to have, and which I had so carefully saved against such a possible day.
As these and like thoughts crowded into my mind, I felt that my lot was truly a deplorable one and I almost wished that my Heavenly Father had seen fit in my illness to take me to himself. I had never before seen so dark an hour, and if I had not in other days learned to put my trust in him, I should have sunk into despair.
I explained my loss to Mrs. G., who sympathized with me in my misfortune, and promised to do what she could to help me recover my lost treasure. But I had little faith that it I would ever be found, and it was not.
As soon as I regained, in part, my wasted strength, I began to make inquiries for something to do. Mrs. G. happened to be in want of a sewing girl, and, though I should have preferred teaching of some kind, I gladly embraced the opportunity to return the kindness I had received of her, and to settle the debt that had been accumulating since my illness.
At first I found it impossible to sew more than part of the day, but as my strength increased I improved the hours to the uttermost, and in time had the satisfaction of feeling that the terrible debt, which at first it had seemed so impossible for me to cancel, was rapidly diminishing, and would, without doubt, in a short time be fully paid.
This was finally accomplished, and then I went to my physician in the hope of being as fortunate in finding a way of paying him. But, as my services were not needed in his family, he kindly told me that I need give myself no trouble in regard to his bill. If, in the future, I found it convenient to pay him I might do so, otherwise to think no more of it.
If he had known how like balm his blessed words fell upon my weary heart, I have no doubt but that he would have felt repaid for his kindness. I thanked him as well as I could, and assured him that if I ever had a dollar I could spare it should be laid aside for him.
I now returned to Mrs. G., who I knew intended to make some calls, on that day. She promised to see what she could do for me while gone, and I waited with much impatience for her return.
But she was not as successful as she had hoped to be in finding me employment, for sewing girls and teachers of every description, were so plenty that it was impossible to find a niche that was not already filled.
I was disappointed at this; yet my faith in the promise, " I will never leave thee nor forsake thee," was still undimmed, and I believed that some way would in good time appear by which I could escape from my perplexities.
Previous to this day I had never thought of going into the country, but I now began to entertain the idea, and it seemed reasonable to me, as it also did to Mrs. G., to whom I mentioned the plan, that I might be more successful there than in the city.
Accordingly I put up what few things I had left and started out, and this brings me to the morning on which formed your acquaintance.
Chapter VII : The Conclusion
After the completion of this narrative by Mrs. Linndon, I began to entertain the hope that she would some day hear from her husband and children, and eventually obtain-assistance from, or be united to them again.
And I had some thoughts of trying to do something for her with that end in view, for she had truly been purified through suffering, and I believed could be naught to them but a precious blessing.
But He who watches over the destinies of his children with an eye that never slumbers, and who permits none to suffer more than is for their best good, sent in his own appointed time deliverance to this unfortunate woman.
Before the close of the Summer I saw her coming one morning with a hasty step, and bearing in her hand a letter. As she drew near I saw that her face was fairly radiant with joy, and I knew that she had some good news to communicate. "She has heard from her family," I thought at once, and I was right.
The letter was a reply to one she had written to Augusta during her illness, and it seems that the kind-hearted girl had been greatly distressed at the thought of her mistress's friendless, homeless condition, and began at once to entertain the thought of doing something for her relief.
In the letter, which Mrs. Linndon gave me to read, after same introductory passages she says : "At first I could think of no way in which it was possible for me to aid you, but one day it occurred to me that if I could procure a situation as a servant in your husband's house, I might, in turn, be able to accomplish something in your favor.
I resolved at once to carry out the plan if it was in my power to do so. And fortune favored me, or, rather, let me say that the Lord went before me and prepared my way for me, and here am in your farmer home, and engaged as a nurse for your children.
" I have informed Mr. Linndon that I knew you, and where you are, and also of other things, such as I thought might influence him in your favor. He had never heard of your father's death or failure, but supposed you were still living with him, and in affluence, and he seemed deeply affected to hear that you were so unhappily situated. From this and some other things I infer that his affection for you is still alive, though I know not what he intends to do.
When the children found that I knew their mamma they were perfectly wild with delight, and have talked of nothing else since. They have evidently been taught to think affectionately of you, and more than once I have heard them telling their papa how much they wished to see you, and asking him if you would not some time come back to them, etc.
" Constance, Mr. Linndon's sister, who, though she is married, still lives with her parents, who, it seems, could not consent to part with her, comes in frequently to see the children, and has made many kind inquiries in regard to you, and is, I think, also anxious for your return.
Everything here, I should judge, remains about as when you went away, and if you were only here how happy I should be! I hardly know why I think so, but I have the impression that Mr. Linndon intends to write you, either to send relief, or request you to return home. Yet I may be mistaken. Hoping I am not, I remain, as ever,
"Your obedient servant,
"AUGUSTA VAN AMBROSE."
And Augusta's conjecture proved true. In a few days Mrs. Linndon received from her husband the following letter. It had been written before Augusta's, but had been delayed somewhere on the way:
"My Dear Gertrude,---I have just heard, for the first time, of your father's failure and death, and of your unfortunate situation in a foreign land. I have been informed of it by Augusta Van Ambrose, who is now a servant in my house, and from several conversations I have had with her I am convinced that I have been hasty, and fear that I have deeply wronged a true and noble heart. If you can forgive this, and still desire to return to me, I shall be happy to receive you.
" I will come to America for you if you desire it; but if you are as anxious to see us as the children and I are to see you, you will not delay. I send you with this five hundred dollars, which will be ample enough to defray the expenses of your journey home if you come at once. If you have any debts I will settle those afterward. Please write me when you will sail, and I will meet you at the port.
"Your affectionate husband,
" Osmond Linndon."
It was well this letter did not reach Mrs. Linndon till after Augusta's had in a measure prepared her for the reception of such joyful tidings; for it might have proved too startling for one of her delicate nervous organization. The idea of waiting she could not for a moment entertain, and after settling her bill with Dr. M., and generously dispensing presents to those who had befriended her, she started for home. I have since heard of her safe arrival in the bosom of her family.
Wiey, Rev. I. W., D.D., "A German Immigrant Girl Shares Her Adventure," in The Ladies' Respository: A Monthly Periodical Devoted to Literature and Religion, Volume XXX, Series RD, Volume V, Carlton and Lanahan, New York, January 1870