Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About The Hesperian / (Lincoln, Neb.) 1885-1899 | View Entire Issue (June 9, 1894)
"AND STILL THE SUN IS SHINING.'
And still the sun is shining. Tho birds
are singing. Tho grass grows green and the
clouds sail on in an ocean of blue, bat over
it all the dark angel of death broods and
watches. Is ho always so terrible this
angel of death? Does he not sometimes
come in as angel of mercy, clothed in fair
garments of white, with healing in his wings?
Oh, ho is often kind to men; and he watches
silently and patiently till life has become
too hard to bear and the struggle too great
to endure. Then he steals in softly when
we do not hear him come, and lays a kind
hand on eyes that are tired of earth, and
breathes his gentle message, and is gone.
And men say "Hush I" and hold their
breath. But still tho birds sing, tho grass
shows green and tho white clouds sail on in
an ocean of blue, and over it all tho angel
of death, bearing God's sunshine on his
wings, broods and watches tenderly.
The church bell in the village has just
tolled forty-six. Tho tradesmen and farm
ers, and the tall, rough boys who do not
work have been standing out iu the street
listening. They count the strokes silently.
They ask each other who is dead, and none
knows. They wonder if it is old Grandma
Mason, who has been sick for so long. But
no one can toll them. When tho bell stops
tolling they say, "forty-six," and lounge
back into tho stores to talk it over, and to
say, "Well, things must bo so, in this
world," and then to drift back again to
plain farmers' talk of hogs and cattle, and
It was a May day, beautiful, with tho
bright, warm sunshine, and tho gentle
breeze that seemed to tread tho earth softly.
The trees wore all in leaf, and tho long
winding curves of the little creek trailed like
a green serpent through tho newly plowed
'It was a May day, fair and lovely, as only
May days can be. And yet sunshine, and
singing birds, and soft, seductive breezes do
not always speak of life. There is a whisper
in them that luros one on to rest, in some
fair, bright pluco that weary ones dream of.
It was such a day as would have roused
all tho old longing for freedom in tho heart
of poor Mrs. Gates; it would have made her
grow cross and snappish to the boys because
there was so much work for hor to do; she
would have cried perhaps because she was
so tired and sick of tho old struggle only
now she was lying all calm and untroubled
and at rest in the little darkened sitting room
she had swept and dusted with hor own
hands early that bright May morning.
It camo so suddenly, just as she was get
ting dinner for the boys. They found her
lying on tho floor by the stovo.
"If she had not" worked so hard," the
doctor and tho neighbor women said. But
now it was of no use.
And John Gates sat alono in tho little
darkened room, alono with tho Presence
How happy they had boon at first down
in tho little old house by the crook. If they
had just stayed there and not tried to build
tho now house, she might have boon with
him yot. And now ho had almost paid tho
mortgage and yot sho had worked so hard,
maybe ho might havo made it easier for hor.
He was going to got those parlor chairs sho
wanted when ho sold tho colts but now
it was pretty hard on hor, to lose everything
comfortable and just got tho work. It was
just hard for hor and for him.
Ho gazed long on hor white, still face and
wondered at its calm and poacefulness. Sho
looked as if sho wore happy. It carae to
him dimly that death must bo kinder to hor
than ho had boon, and ho turned away and
whispered, "No, it ain't hard fur hor; she's
Tho village poople hoard that Janet Gates
was dead almost with apathy. Sho was a
farmer's wife, they said, and like thorn all
sho worked too hard. It was a p(ity, just
when the boys noodod hor most, and when
they were all settled in their now house on
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