|Rights||No Copyright - United States (NoC-US)|
|Publisher||Digitized by J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah|
|Article Title||Light out of Darkness|
LIGHT OUT OF DARKNESS. The home of George Burgess was neat and tasteful, and might have been a happy one had it no bee for himself. He was one of those dark, bilious men of melancholy temperament that are never happy themselves and keep others from being so if they can. He was a cabinet-maker by trade, and, ten years before our story opens, had gone into business for himself. During the next year he became acquainted with pretty Nellie Peters. She was a mechanic's daughter of unusual intelligence, and was brought up carefully by one of the best of mothers, and trained in all the mysteries of housekeeping. Being of a sprightly turn, she mingled in all the gayeties of her school companions, and, being full of fun and frolic, no one was allowed to be gloomy or sad where she was. It was a mystery to many how Nellie became attached to George and married him, he was so different from herself. Yet it might be because he was her opposite in everything that she was drawn toward him. HE was a man of good morals and saving habits and it was a pity that he was always looking on the dark side of everything. After a year's courtship, George married Nellie and went to housekeeping in an humble and unpretentious manner. He had need of all his money in his business, so Nellie managed everything prudently, and thought if they were comfortable that she did not care for luxuries. They hired a small tenement, and furnished it as neatly and cheaply as good taste and comfort would allow. Said cheerful Nellie (unreadable) George, after you have been in business ten years, if you do as well as you have been doing the last year, we can have a larger tenement and furnish it in better style. Until then I will be satisfied with what we have, and be happy, too, I am sure." Nellie had never seen much of George's gloom before marriage, as he had always tried to appear as well as he could in his visits to her during his year's wooing. But soon after marriage she was forced to notice his moods. He often came home in a state of gloom and despondency, apparently caused by business cares, that alarmed poor Nellie. Sometimes he would not speak to her during, the whole evening. She thought to herself, "Oh, dear he is sorry he married me, I know he is! Oh, what shall I do? I am tempted to go home." Then again she would think: ‘It must be his business that is worrying him; I will be as patient as I can; some time he will be different" She tried to be the most careful housekeeper so that George would not get discouraged, and always kept their home bright and cheerful. He knew and appreciated her good qualities, but would not tell her so, or take the trouble to change his disposition to make her happy. They had been married nearly a year when little Georgy was born. ‘Now," thought Nellie, ‘my husband will be different. He will take so much comfort in the evenings with the baby that he will not have time to be sad. His own dear baby, named for himself, too!" She was sure that the cure for George had come. Everything went well enough for a few weeks. One evening George came home sooner than usual. Supper was not quite ready, and the baby had the colic. The poor little fellow was crying, and Nellie was doing all she could to pacify him, and at the same time get things ready for George. But he was out of sorts, and could not understand "why the baby should take this time, just when he came home, to make such a row. It must be that Nellie did not understand taking care of him. He wished in his soul the baby had never been born; and it if kept on so, he hoped he would cry himself to death." This shocked Nellie, and the poor child could hardly restrain her tears. But after awhile the baby slept. Nellie put supper on the table, and George ate it without saying anything more. When the baby woke up, instead of taking it form Nellie he said: "Keep that noisy thing away from me! I hate crying babies!" This was another blow to the young mother. She could not see why George did not like his own child, even if he did cry. Thus matters went all through little George's infancy, and if Nellie had not possessed one of the sweetest tempers in the world, she could not have borne with cheerfulness her husband's coldness and ill-temper. When Georgy was two years old, another boy was born to them. Nellie received the little fellow with thankfulness, but with many misgivings as to how his father would appreciate the gift. George tried for a while to control his unhappy temper; but the old habit clung to him, and Nellie was no happier in little Harry's babyhood than she was in Georgy's. All this time George was steadily gaining ground in his business, and God had favored him wonderfully in many ways-not the least by any means in having so good and wise a wife, and two such beautiful children. I will not stop to relate the many unpleasant hours poor Nellie passed during the infancy of little Harry. Suffice it to say that George was never more disagreeable than at this time. They still resided at the place where they first went to housekeeping. Nellie never murmured at her want of room, or the plainness of the furniture, taking it for granted than when her husband was able to move to a larger house he would do so, and feeling that if he were only kind to her and the little ones she would be happy even if her home was still poorer than it was. One morning George came in and asked Nellie if she could get ready in half an hour to look at a house with him. "I think," said he, "That we have lived here long enough. WE will see if we cannot do better." Nellie was not long in getting ready, and they were soon riding toward the suburbs of the city. The house was pleasant, set well Back from the street, with a pretty garden in front and climbing vines running over and around the pillars of the piazza. They at once decided to buy it. Nellie was delighted, and thought, ‘if George would only change his disposition what a happy home we might have!" She said something of this to him that evening, but he did not make any answer; yet she hoped and prayed that with the change in homes would come a change of heart as well. During the next few weeks Nellie was very busy in getting into the new home. Everything was finally settled in nice order, from the kitchen to the attics. Her parlors were furnished in good style. George had made many expensive additions o the furniture, showing that he was kindly disposed toward his family when his moods were not upon him. Soon after this little Nellie made her appearance, bringing joy to her mother's heart. Nellie was now obliged to keep a servant. George was willing she should save herself, and have everything to make her comfortable; but no child was ever allowed to play or sing, or even laugh aloud, when he was in the house. She dreaded seeing her old friends; he was silent in their presence; he left the room or the house when callers entered, and to ask any one to dinner or tea was a crime that she would have to suffer for by his leaving her alone through the evening. And yet he considered himself one of the best of husbands! Things went on in this manner until they had been married eight years. God had blessed their lives with four lovely children, two boys and two girls, Georgy, the oldest, was seven, a still pale boy of a studious habit, mature for his age and fond of his books. Harry was five; a beautiful child, with broad, open brown, great truthful blue eyes, and yellow curls clustering around his temples. The next was little Nellie; fair as Harry, and just as forward- full of (unreadable) years old, and a general favorite. The next was little Josie, one year old, a little blue-eyed thing, just beginning to frame words. She watched the others and tried to imitate them. Nellie felt rich in her little treasures, thinking that if only George would see their cunning ways, and enter into their little joys and sorrows, what a happy home theirs would be. She felt afraid that their father's example would spoil her boys, and perhaps drive them form home when they became older. She was in the habit of telling the children to have a good romp and make all the noise they liked before it was time for their father to come home. Elsie Reagan, the hired girl, loved the little ones, and often entered into their play. She thought it was very hard that "the poor craturs? [creatures] was not allowed to laugh and make merry as children loved to do." So she gave them every change to have a good time. One evening they were having their normal? happy romp when Nellie was surprised by hearing her husband's step. Soon he came in, and throwing himself on a lounge, he said: "What in the name of common sense is going on here? You will have the police upon us. Such a bellow! A man had better be dead than have to live in such an uproar!" Nellie tried to explain that the children were only having a little frolic; they slept better for it; but he called Georgy to him and said if he ever heard such a noise again he would horsewhip him and Harry too. Little Nellie came and tried to kiss her father, but he pushed her away rudely. The poor child cowered down in a corner, all her merriment quenched in tears. Supper was placed upon the table and the little group assembled around the board, each of the children with a bowl of bread and milk. After keeping silence some time, little Harry spoke: "Papa, Johnny Wilson says his father is richer than you, and you is ugly, he said. I told him I would fight him if he called my papa ugly again." Thus encouraged by Harry, Georgy added: "Papa, please buy me a new ball Willie Smith has got a new one. It is real nice, and his father plays ball with him and Robbie." "oh,' said little Nellie, "papa, Aunt Lizzie say you must brin' me to see her. She has somethin' nice for me; will you brin' me?" "For Heaven's sake, Nellie, will you shut these children's mouths? If I have to listen to this confusion every night I will not come home at all! Do you think I am made of iron?" Nellie would a great deal rather have had his ill-temper visited upon her than upon the children; but she hurried them off to bed, after hearing their prayers. George was gloomy and morose for several days. Nellie said nothing to him bout his language to the children, yet he knew he was to blame, and was sorry, but was too proud to acknowledge his fault. The next day little Joe Seavy, Harry's favorite playmate, died of scarlet fever. He and Harry had played together the day he was taken sick. In a few days after this Harry came in from play complaining of feeling ill. His mother gave him a bath and laid him in bed. He went to sleep, and when his father came in he went to see him. Said he: "Harry, are you sick, dear?" "Yes, I be some sick. Joe Seavy's gone to heaven, an' I'm goin' too. Nellie is too; she said so. "You must not say such things, my little boy." "Oh yes, Nellie an' me is goin' up to heaven; then we can sing and play all we want to. Papa?" "What is it, my son?" "When you was a little boy like me, didn't you play and talk" "Yes, my son." "Then why is you so mad ‘cause we play?" George, conscience-stricken, did not know what to say. "Papa!" "What dear?" "when me and sister goes up to heaven will you let Georgy and baby play, and mamma and Elsie too?" "Oh, my dear boy, I am not going to let you and sister go to Heaven now. You must wait until papa and mamma go first. I am going now to bring the doctor. You must lie still and be good, and the doctor will make you all well." The doctor came; shook his head, pronounced it a case of scarlet fever with very bad symptoms. He warned the mother to keep the other children away from him. She did so, but feared for little Nellie, as they had been much together, and were of the same temperament. Harry grew delirious during the night, and was never conscious again until he died, on the night of the fifth day. Just before he passed away he called, "Nellie, sister, come!" and laid down his little curly head to raise it no more on earth. One more cherub was added to the heavenly choir. Two days before Harry died, Nellie fell ill with the same disease. At first the doctor had some hopes of her, but they were soon dissipated. She lived but a week longer than Harry. And the two little blossoms were buried in one grave, and joined little Joe Seavy in the heaven of celestial joy and harmony. Poor Nellie buried her beloved ones out of sight like one without feeling; her faculties seemed paralyzed. Her husband seemed nearly distracted with grief and regret-grief for the loss of the little ones, and remorse for happiness he had denied them. The next day Nellie became ill, and for many weeks also hovered on the brink of the grave; but through her husband's prays and kind attention, and a naturally good constitution, she began to recover, and finally came back to take up the burden of life. Surely her husband's home was quiet enough now for even him, for it was a long time before her merry voice rang out in songs of joy and praise. George became a changed man. His words and actions were dictated by kindness. He became gentle and loving with his wife and children. Since then God has blessed them with other children, but his heart yearns toward the two little treasures that sleep together in the quiet graveyard, whose spirits are singing songs of praise before the throne of the Lamb for ever and ever.-Selected.