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A MOTHER'S PRAYER. coiling length far from the presence of those angel the angel ministers have proffered the sad prayer ministers.
that, in loving mercy, sickness of the body inay Then a low soft sound fell from those seraph chase from thy hapless son that greater sickness lips, and played among the mango's fluttering which eateth away his soul. leaves, till it waked the young mother into life again. “My child”-and the Indian accents of endearment mingled with the Auttering of the The Indian, the wild being of passion, turmoil,
strife, lay on the bed of death, while his weeping “ Mine own dear one;" and with the first mother knelt in mute agony beside him. His lips awakening impulse, the Indian's eyes were raised moved in one earnest prayer ; but it was so weak, to heaven, and the Indian's heart rose to God in a so feeble, that it died ere it reached the mother's prayer—a warm and fervent prayer, that the ear. But the thought, this whispered thoughts tender being—the fragile babe, might be heaven's this one strong, dying, uttered wish of sucherown care ; that the child, the poor weak child, treme intensity—the fearful crushing of all mortal might be saved, through heaven's own power, from hopes into an almost hopeless prayer, which, though the dangers of a treacherous world.
too weak to reach the mother's ear-was beard by And that prayer floated on the stilly midnight the pure angel messengers, and by them wasted air; and the seraph wings caught it ere it fell to away before that parting soul; far away, even to earth, and bore it, in its young purity, to heaven's beaven's own throne. sacred realms.
“ One word, Uncas ; one word to whisper hope Years rolled on, and the west wind murmured of an hereafter." . still —"Rest thee, Fayaway; rest thee, rest thee.” But the Indian's tongue was mute. But the wind spoke pot to the mere outer sense “Look up, mine own, my darling ; look on thy now;
to the mother's restless heart. The mother, loved one, and let thine eyes light her babe had grown to boyhood, and life's great pas. drooping spirits into life again." sions showed their germs in him.
But the eyes were closed for ever. under a second form stood beside him-no longer “Only for one moment, one second, I crave a like an angry reptile from which humanity would gleam of life-mercy, mercy !”—and she fell beturn affrighted; but as “ Life,” young, glowing side him for whom she had implored this mercy. “Life," crowned with thrilling pleasures ; radiant The scene changed. The Indian palm grove was with smiles of treacherous brightness. The fleet- no more. The air, the earth, the sea became one ing vision wooed him on; flung her cankering blaze of glory. Myriads of heavenly forms floated chains around him; lulled him with her intoxicat- in liquid air, beings of brightest hue danced in the ing draught, and the mother's voice of warning sunlit beams, as their golden harps rang to their was lost amid the syren accents of temptation. songs of praise. “ Uncas, my child, my life; turn thee to God's
Suddenly, a dusky form appeared, and cast its own truth." And a sigh such as a mother alone can shadow on the scene. breathe came from that mother's heart. Then the “Mine," it said, with gloating malice, as the bright galaxy of angel forms raised their drooping soul of the dead Indian glided from its earthly pinions, and wasted that sigh to heaven's treasury. tenement. “ Mine now, henceforward mine for
“Rest thee,” they said, " rest thee, till thou ever! Dares any one dispute my claim, question art needed for some worthy mission." And again my title to yon fleeting spirit ?" It was questioned; they took their flight to earth, and sought that and the Archangel stood above him. erring boy. But “Life” had thrown a mist “Yes ; that soul belongs to heaven's great realm around him, too dense, too dark for heaven's chil-purchased by treasures such as thou canst not dren to enter; nought could they do but hover produce. Yet, for the great cause of justice, that near him, sorrowing, sorrowing.
decision may not untried be 'gainst thee, we offer thee fair dispute to our words ; outrie us in these
boasted treasures-exceed them but by one iota The boy progressed to manhood. He sought nay, even equal them in either point, of power, the city with its busy life; mingling in its false purity, or rare intrinsic value, and yon disembodied named pleasures ; quaffing the cop of its delights. soul is yours." How those tending angels wafted their visions over He ceased. The mighty trumpet sounded, and his sinking soul !—hoping to save ; hoping in vain; summoned the hosts of heaven to meet in solema for a thing of guilt held him in its tightening grasp, assemblage. Then the golden gates were closed, and urged him on in his mad and riotous course. while seraph wings kept the fluttering soul on earth
“ Uncas, my hope, my joy, repent,"—and the till its last destiny, now to be decided, should be mother clung to her sin-stained child—“Will you proclaimed. rend mine heart in twain with this great grief ?". First the dark spirit advanced, waving his sable And as she sought to catch the glance of biş averted wings which stretched from pole to pole. eye, a tear, a bright, pearly tear fell from her own. “ Behold !” he said, in a voice of pealing thun
Comfort thee, poor mother, comfort thee ; for der. "Look to the distant kingdoms of the earth, that tear is borne to heaven's crystal fountain ; and I and recognise mine empire. From the Icelandic
region to yon elime of burning heat, thence to the fair and pure. Bat, the archangel raised the pole again, all bow to my supremacy, all vauut my coating, and beneath, lurking mid purity, was the power. Hark! while the mingled voices of a damning spot of sin; small, almost inperceptible ; world rise proudly to mine honour, and say but still there, running through each feeling and whether in glorious majesty ye can ontvie that impulse ; blotting each fair page of the unformed sound."
human mind. And the archangel grieved as he Then there arose a chorus of wild voices chauut- traced the trail of the serpent on the fairest things ing the praise of sin. Again and again the mad of earth. shouts ascended, till heaven's portals hurled back Alas! alas ! call ye these pure ? advance ye the impious sounds, and the wearied ear groaned these as the spotless things of thy domain ? these for its death. “There !" and the sable form lost souls, lost, if not redeemed, from thy destroywaved his grim pinions in triumph.
ing power. Heaven's radiant children turned their beaming Then the angelic throng wept ; and their barps eyes, to the golden gates of their blest abode, as hung silently in their drooping hands, till a breath, a gentle murmuring prayer flew thence, and filled a mere breath, ascended from the golden treasury the glowing space; and it passed the angelic of heaven. It wandered to the soul of each child host, their voices took it up and bore it onwards of earth, clinging to the mute sympathy of each, in a great wave of melody. Through every ear and wooing each sinking spirit to speed back it passed ; through every heart it glided,—in a with it into its own blest home in paradise. grand and solemn chaunt-and then, as it again The archangel's trumpet sounded a second time, took its heavenward course, the angels' voices and again the voices of that mighty host prodropped, and alone it sought its rest in paradise. claimed a triumph.
And now the archangel's trumpet proclaimed But to the last contest. Now dark spirit, sum. the first trial over-and a voice was heard requir- mon thy most potent powers to thine aid ; invoke ing the great mandate of decision.
each emissary of thy will; rake the deep myste"Shall the clamouring voices of a recreant ries of the earth ; search the accumulated treaworld, raised in the foul homage of sin, be deemed res of the sea, and produce, if you can, a thing equivalent in power to the warm earnest prayer of of such intrinsic beauty, that the pale lustre of our a mother's heart, offered in His name, who, in our heavenly gems must fade before it. nature in alliance with His Divine nature, defied Look beneath, where yon fluttering soul lingers the origin of evil, and vanquished that dark spirit | 'tween thy realm and mine. Speed quickly on thine even upon his own chosen ground—the world that errand, for the children of light are weary to waft he had strewn with its own wrecks ?
yon spirit to its eternal home. Then came a sound like a myriad whispers The sullen wings of the fiend again moved, and melting into one ; it died on the charmed ear, his bold, undaunted gaze rested on the archangel's and heaven's children knew that to them bad been brow. A storm bore him to earth. Scarcely was he awarded the first great triumph.
lost to sight, ere he again appeared, and hovering The dusky form heard the decree, resting on a in air, held in his hand a phantom vision of the murky thunder cloud; forked lightnings crowning accumulated pleasures of the world-its false his brow; in his hand the murderous thunderbolt. named pleasures--puny ambitions. Yet so bright,
" Enjoy your triumph while ye may,” he said, so beautiful the picture looked, wrought with all "for mine follows in its wake." . To the next test glorious lines, interwoven with the golden threads of purity.
of life, flowered over with stems, and buds, and “Behold! I waft from earth her fairest crea- blossoms of every lovely tint and graceful form, tures; catch their thoughts as they fly towards adding fresh beauty to the lovely scene, that all Heaven, and see if in spotless innocence ye can eyes dwelt in rapture on it; and the sullen orbs of equal those.”
the fallen spirit gleamed with the joy of anticipated The dark wings fanned the air, chilling it with triumph. their angry movements—then they ceased—and a "Yield !” he thundered ; "yield undisputed vicmist arose from earth-like a fleecy cloud it came tory to me now. Canst thou produce that which -onwards and onwards. As it advanced it can compete with this matchless picture ?”—and he opened ; and there, cradled within its snowy pointed to the magic view. bosom, lay childish forms of almost perfect beauty. And now bright sunbeams danced in heaven's
" Stay in thy course !" and the fleecy chariot atmosphere; and the great choir raised their glad rested in air at the stern command of the dark voices in a hymn of praise ; the golden harps, spirit, who waved his sceptre over its lovely touched by those seraph hands, echoed the strains burthen.
as a pale blue vapour of ethereal beauty rose from “Let the imprisoned thoughts flee from the the eternal city of the skies. mortal tenement.” And the thoughts came with Midway in air it bung; and then, as the playful a balmy fragrance, and rested in the archangel's sunbeams linked themselves in a golden chain palm.
around, was seen, resting on its azure surface, one Love, charity, peace, and even hopes and pearly drop of crystal brilliancy. dreams of heaven were there the outer semblance Then from the archangel's palm there darted one
concentrated ray of light and heat straight to that “Not there," he cried, "where guilt, in bold earthly picture—to that cloud-borne tear; and the defiance stands forth, in awful mockery of God." vision of earth shivered before the gleam from On and on farther, dropping the balm of heaven heaven; all its colours blackened ; its golden cords, wherever the good seed could take root and spring. stripped of their tinsel, hung in dingy threads; On, o'er hill and dale, country and city, sea and its flowers, lately so bright with life, now faded, land-on to the glowing Indian plain, where, died — were nought but the wrecks of beauty ! lingering between life and death, lay that once loving
But the tear--the crystal tear-shone but the Indian mother. brighter for heaven's own gleam, reflecting back, "Uncas, my child, my lost darling, would that in its pure lustre, the sunny smile of all creation. thy loved spirit could hover near me, round me, in Millions of futtering wings waved in the vaulted my death-wafting into my soul clear thoughts of skies, and the hosts of creation, the beings of a that pure heaven I only dream of dimly." universe, waited to hear the last decree that the And the wings played round her lovingly, and archangel's voice was allowed to proclaim. wooed her unto rest, and more gleams of truth
"Rare and pure as aught of earth are the entered her fainting soul, and strengthening it, mother's earnest prayer and tear; yet, because of fixed its eyes on heaven. earth, impotent to win heaven's priceless pearl, Through that long night ber weary nature salvation.'" Still, through that warm prayer, halted 'tween life and death; but when the mornblending with the dying utterance of him for whom ing broke, and the great orb of day rose in his 'twas uttered, this great gift of God's imperishable golden majesty, that soul received the welcome love is granted.
mandate of dismissal. “Seraphs, waft on your plamed wings yon Gently the wings played now; gently, more fleeting soul to the blest realm of heaven." gently, till they drooped in solemn sadness, as the
“Uf, impious fiend of darkness," and the arch- soul, with one long gasp, threw off its “mortal angel frowned on the dark form; "off, and learn coil," and, fanned by its spirit guide, took its glad thine iinpotency 'gainst the angel ministers, 'gainst way to heaven. the great mercies of God.”
And shall any say that such things may not be ?
Shall any declare that these angel ministers exist The freed sonl, led by its heavenly guides, stood not, save in the heated fancies of a crazy at the throne of heaven.
brain ? Look to holy writ, where we are told, "Take thy bright angel form, and onwards on "The angels of the Lord encamp round those that thy mission, and the new found seraph plumes fear him ;" yea, round those that fear him, fear his fluttered with joy in the clear atmosphere.
anger, fear his frown, fear to grieve his loving, “Thine be the task, with thy redeemed com- tender spirit; not round the bold undaunted panions, to watch o'er earth's frail children. sinner, who, with fearful weakness, clings to Hover near them in their slumbering as in their earth’s damuing pleasures ; holds to its tempting waking hours; waft into their souls gleams, sins, smiles on its luring phantoms; from such thoughts, hopes of our own blessed kingdom ; the pure ministers of heaven turn weeping, for place in their mortal path warnings against a foul their office is to “minister to those who are beirs career of sin ; and when ye see some sinking of salvation"—those who are the favoured children wretch, in his determined guilt, seeking to cast of God, who, through his mercy, have grasped the aside these friendly obstacles, let your seraph the blessed gist offered to them. prayers fly to the one great source of aid, and seek And must the thought of angel ministers the only help which can avail him. Meet office is it watehing in our path, dropping good into the for the redeemed to act as guardian ministers to mind matured, whose page, blotted by evil, loses the wanderers on earth, 'mongst whom they once the fair impress of good, be deemed irreverent ? existed—most fitting, glorious office—as ministers Would it be called profane to tell the young that of good, workers out of the eternal will of Him angels, good and loving angels, hover round their who bought them with his blood.
earthly path, ever ready, ever waiting to do the To earth that spirit flew, hastening to do his mas- bidding of the one great Master—ever hoping to ter's bidding.
lead lost souls to the blest state that they have Quickly he travelled to the busy city, where themselves attained. Air and space, and every the ceaseless toil and noisy traffic made the weary busy phase of life may be filled with beings invi. ear groan for quiet, and the racked mind almost sible to our dull senses, all working out some crave the one great boon of rest eternal. One of great and lasting purpose--all bent on some inthe bustling throng sought gold by usury ; then perishable end. the angel rested one moment in bis flight, whisper- Could this idea be fully realised, established, ing softly in the guilty ear--and God's own truth both old and young be taught to feel themselves dwelt in that whisper-and made the sordid bar- thus guarded, watched — watched with loving gainer pause in his sin.
thoughts and anxious care-perchance some temptOn went the angel still, and hovered o'er a ing sius might be discarded, and flaring rice haunt of flaring vice; but his plumed pinions veiled forsaken. his shrinking eyes, and bore him swiftly past. Were these guardian ministers felt-believed in
---as an intangible but near reality, many weak standing boldly forth (secure in a protecting inand wavering mortals, searing to grieve their loving fluence round them), range themselves fearlessly natures, loathe to requite their anxious care with thankfully-under the banner of the “Children of base ingratitude, might be led to shan the insi- Light.” dious whispers of the fiend of darkness, and,
Dey as that derata questio, the Civil Service, may clerk in a Government office is as well paid as his seem to superficial politicians and comatose country brethren in the Bank of England, whose duties M.P.'s; trivial as may seem any consideration of are as responsible as those of the civil servants. the daily heart-burnings and hopeless lives of too But this objection will only be made by people many of the working bees in the great hive of Red who know little of such matters, and less of the Tape, there is nevertheless just now abroad a spi- Civil Service; and, moreover, that one-sided rit of inquiry into the manifold abuses which have objection can be thus overruled: the evidence of year by year grown with the growth and strength- Mr. Weguelin, the respected governor of the Bank ened with the strength of our system of executive of England, is only needed to settle the question government. The question now is not whether on that head. a civil servant's meagre salary should or should That gentleman—as quoted by Lord Naas, in not be lessened by enforced deductions, in order the House, July 29th-states that the average bank that, by cheap charity, his declining years should salaries are £196, while the average salaries of be solaced by, should he live to receive it, a pen- public civil servants are only £141. Yet the civil sion—but whether the Civil Service should go on servant has now to undergo the ordeal--no slight as at present-whether a positive “bad” should, one in many cases- of an examination by the in all arithmetical progression, become a hopeless Civil Service Commissiou, while the bank clerk is “worse;" and that this is inevitable, unless the under no apprehensions on that score. work of reform speedily begins, is easily proved. in the face of all this, we are to be told by Sir It is not here proposed to descant upon a by-gone John This and Mr. That, M.P., that the civil sergrievance, the superannuation deductions, whereby vants are overpaid. It is «
more than most since 1834 till last month, the civil servants have ridiculous.” It is, of course, a capital topic for a been robbed of 2 per cent. on salaries under joke to the possessor of ten thousand a-year in £100, and 5 per cent. over that amount-in order a ring.fence, and a seat in parliament, this same that thereby a fund might be created whence the fallacy. But ridicule is not in spite of the worn-out official, if he were fortunate enough to dogma of the sceptical scoffing of philosophy, escape dying in harness, might derive a scanty “the test of truth.” Take the case of a clerk in pension for his later days. That grievance is the Customs or Post-oflice ; say his salary is £80, doubtless by this time well known to most of the rising £6 per annum—that for this sum he is readers of this and other magazines and news expected on all occasions to dress, live, and look papers; and, what is still better, was knocked on like a gentleman ; imagine him a married man-for, the head by a large majority of the House of Com in spite of Malthusian theories, civil servants on mons on July 291h last. But “ the snake, though small salaries will marry sometimes--imagine him, scotched, is not yet killed.” For there is still at as the Civil Service Commission require, a wellwork a system of low salaries for important ser- educated person, attending regularly at his office vices, by the Government demand for much ability, from ten to four, performing duties which, if they and the Government proffer of a salary utterly require but mediocre ability, at least demand appliinadequate for the acquirements sought by the cation and fidelity; and then, look at his coat, Civil Service Commission—that incubus of Dean's which, carefully preserved though it be, is growYard—which examines candidates for appointments ing threadbare-pity poor gentility under diffion subjects for which their official lives will furnish culties—think of the little house at home, where no exercise-which demands great things, and reside the poor official's wife, and possibly offers a coalwhipper's stipend in return! Will children ; and then, call your cab, drive to your the common sense of a great nation long suffer club, and over your '34 port, in a spirit of poetical this miserable anomaly to continue ? If work is economy, say the civil servant is overpaid. Then, to done, let it be well done, let able men be selected and then only, will you be a consistent jackal of for the discharge of duties requiring some ability ; Red Tape. if the labourer be worthy of his hire, in the name But it has been said that the great advantage of common justice and sound policy, let him re- of the Civil Service over other professions is, that ceive a "fair day's wages for a fair day's work." | the widows of the officials are pensioaed. This, It may here be objected that, on the whole, the l however, is, in great part, with the exception of
the “ Tritons" among official " minnows," a hollow | an acquirement which pre-supposes a man of gendelusion. It was said by Mr. Wilson, of the tlemanly education, but obtains for him a poor per Treasury, that widows of civil servants are pen- centage on the money expended by him on that sioned, it was said au contraire, by some fact. education, in the shape of a stipend of some £70 loving member, that these same pensions, for the .-£80 per annum, rising £5 or £10, as he may be most part, existed only in Mr. Wilson's generous lucky or luckless in his nomination to a good or a brain, and the Treasury Secretary paused for a bad office. Such is the Civil Service of to-day ! reply—and found none. That the widows of But it will be here said that I am speaking of great functionaries receive pensions—that govern an evil without hinting at a cure. The remark is ment liberality is too often recklessly bestowed on just in part. To procure a better class of men, noble widows, who need it not, is not to be denied; who would, as more willing workers, do their work but that the Treasury, pitying the poor clerk in better, the salaries must be revised with a view to his life, pensions his widow after his death, is increasing some and decreasing others. Let the à fallacy, fit only to be classed with infantine man who works be paid ; let the drone who takes delusions, one of which is on the material of the snuff, and dozes over his newspaper, in a well"moon." A reference to blue books will prove lined arm chair from ten to four, in a fashionable this.
West-end office, discover that the public have That the work of the civil servant must become other uses for their money than investing it in harder year by year in most departments (say the salaries for sinecurists. Let ability, wherever and Customs, Post-ofice, Inland Revenue, &c.) is a however displayed, be selected for the performance self-evident proposition. In proportion as popu- of such duties as may be indicated by the bias of lation and trade increase, must the civil servant's that ability ; let the ability find a quid pro quo, work increase. It will not be for a moment as. and we shall hear less of red tape mismanagement, serted, by any one who knows anything of the less of abortive attempts, and more of desirable question, that the work of a clerk—in the Cus- conclusions. Let mere seniority, endowed with toms' for instance--can possibly have decreased no better qualification, be no step to promotion. since the days when work was done by deputy, Let imbecility and nepotism sink together. Let and the younger sons of peers fattened upon snug the young gentleman who resides in Belgravia, and sinecures. The revenue of H.M. Customs, in boasts of an acquaintance with Almack's, be assured 1763, was under £2,000,000 ; in 1853 it rose to that in future something more will be required of above twenty two millions and a half sterling. But him than a noble pedigree, and a condescending while business is yearly increasing, any man can attendance at his office daily, to ensure promosatisfy himself on this head by looking over "the tion. Pool of the Thames to-day, and calling to mind Again, if economy be desirable, and donbtless, the disparity existing between the tonnage of in many cases, it is imperative, let not the large " lang syne"—now; and we are yet told by people salary of our lordly sinecurists escape revision. who, having little knowledge, have consequently Let the authorities in Downing-street, ere they more prejudice and less charity, that the Customs' cut and carve at the "poor pay of a Somerset clerks and officers are overpaid. “Facts are House lean annuitant," take counsel as to the stubborn things," and in his favour the poor civil necessity of the existence of other and far more serrant can bring forward some of the stubbornest, lucrative, if less laborious, appointments; the adfor the mental digestion of our men of the Rob- vantage of which reverts solely to the holder, and Peter-to-Pay-Paul-Society.
in nowise to the nation, and the prime object of Another crying evil of the present system is the which, not to speak ill-naturedly, would appear lack of hope. The prospects of any clerk of good to be—the doing nothing, and receiving much ability, but no particular interest, in the Civil for it! Service, are many shades darker than those of bis . Our readers all recollect the trite saying of the brethren employed by private parties. There is witty Sydney Smith, touching the “round men" that other incubus-promotion by seniority, to who had got into the “square holes," and the crush his hopes—a poor £10, in some cases but " square men" who had got into the “round £5, yearly increase of salary; and when he has holes" in life's game of cribbage. The application worn out his health and energies in the service, thereof in this place is obvious. Let the Civil a prospect of some £250 per annum looming in Service be no longer disgraced by the “round men the future, which he may never reach; and, in the square holes." Let us no longer see a mai finally, a pitiful pension, such as a liberal nobleman who, possessing ability for composition, etc., is bestows upon a superannuated gardener, to console pitchforked into some arithmetical department, his declining years; and this is all the civil ser- nolens volens, where that very ability is against vant can get, under the present system, for his "com- him rather than otherwise, and of no service to petent knowledge” of the English, Latin, Greek, his country. Let us no longer see the mere red or French languages, geography, English, Roman, tapeworm, who may, nevertheless, be in his proper and possibly, French or Grecian history (as a capacity an excellent clerk, put into high place, knowledge of these is required for admission into merely because he has dreamed away half a century most of our public offices), and arithmetic, etc.; l of dullness on his stool, while his subordinate and