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Touching Incidents: Part 3

By S.B. Shaw


      In traveling we often meet with persons of different nationalities and languages; we also meet with incidents of various character, some sorrowful, and others joyful and instinctive. One of the latter character I witnessed recently while traveling upon the cars. The train was going west, and the time was evening. At a station a little girl about eight years old came aboard, carrying a little budget under her arm. She came into the car and deliberately took a seat. She then commenced an eager scrutiny of faces, but all were strange to her. She appeared weary, and placing her budget or a pillow, she prepared to try and secure a little sleep. Soon the conductor came along collecting tickets and fare. Observing him, she asked him if she might lie there. The gentlemanly conductor replied that she might, and then kindly asked for her ticket. She informed him that she had none, when the following conversation ensued. Said the conductor:

      "Where are you going?"

      "l am going to heaven," she answered.

      "Who pays your fare?" he asked again.

      She then said: "Mister, does this railroad lead to heaven, and does Jesus travel on it?"

      "I think not," he answered. "Why did you think so?"

      "Why, sir, before my ma died she used to sing to me of a heavenly railroad, and you looked so nice and kind that I thought this was the road. My ma used to sing of Jesus on the heavenly railroad, and that He paid the fare for everybody, and that the train stopped at every station to take people on board; but my ma don't sing to me any mere. Nobody sings to me now; and I thought I'd take the cars and go to ma. Mister, do you sing to your little girl about the railroad that goes to heaven? You have a little girl haven't you?"

      He replied, weeping: "No, my little dear, I have no little girl now. I had one once, but she died some time ago, and went to heaven." "Did she go over this railroad, and are you going to see her now? " she asked.

      By this time every person in the coach was upon their feet, and most of them were weeping. An attempt to describe what I witnessed is almost futile. Some said: " God bless the little girl." Hearing some person say that she was an angel, the little girl earnestly replied: "Yes, my ma used to say that I would be an angel some time.

      Addressing herself once more to the conductor, she asked him: "Do you love Jesus? I do; and if you love him, he will let you ride to heaven on His railroad. I am going there, and I wish you would go with me. I know Jesus will let me into heaven when I get there, and he will let you in too, and everybody that will ride on his railroad -- yes, all these people. Wouldn't you like to see heaven, and Jesus, and your little girl?"

      These words, so pathetically and innocently uttered, brought a great gush of tears from all eyes, hut most profusely from those of the conductor. Some who were traveling on the heavenly railroad shouted aloud for joy.

      She now asked the conductor: "Mister, may I lie here until we get to heaven?

      "Yes, dear, yes," he answered. "Will you wake me up then, So that I may see my ma, and your little girl, and Jesus?" she asked, "for I do so much want to see them all. "The answer came in broken accents, but in words very tenderly spoken: "Yes, dear angel, yes. God bless you." "Amen" was sobbed by more than a score of voices. Turning her eyes again upon the conductor, she interrogated him again: "What shall I tell your little girl when I see her? Shall I tell her that I saw her pa on Jesus' railroad? Shall I?"

      This brought a fresh flood of tears from all present, and the conductor knelt by her side, and, embracing her, wept the reply he could not utter. At this juncture the brakeman called out "H-------" The conductor arose and requested him to attend to his (the conductor's) duty at the station, for he was engaged. That was a precious place. I thank God that I was a witness to this scene, but I was sorry that at this point I was obliged to leave the train.

      We learn from this incident that out of the mouths of even babes God hath ordained strength, and that we ought to be willing to represent the cause of our blessed Jesus even in a railroad coach.


      Rev. Dosh I wish to relieve my heart by writing to you, and saying that that angel visit on the cars was a blessing to me, although I did not realize it in its fullness until some hours after. But blessed be the Redeemer, I know now that I am His, and He is mine. I no longer wonder why Christians are happy. Oh, my joy, my joy! The instrument of my salvation has gone to God. I had purposed adopting her in the place of my little daughter, who is now in heaven. With this intention I took her to C----b and on my return trip I took her back to S----n, where she left the cars. In consultation with my wife in regard to adopting her, she replied " Yes, certainly, and immediately too, for there is a Divine providence in this. Oh," said she, "I never could refuse to take under my charge the instrument of my husband's salvation."

      I made inquiry for the child at S----n, and learned that in three days after her return she died suddenly, without any apparent disease, and her happy soul had gone to dwell with her ma, my little girl, and the angels in heaven I was sorry to hear of her death, but my sorrow is turned to joy when I think my angel-daughter received intelligence from earth concerning her pa, and that he is on the heavenly railway. Oh sir, methinks I see her near the Redeemer. I think I hear her sing "I'm safe at home, and pa and ma are coming;" and I find myself sending back the reply: "Yes, my darling, we are coming, and will soon be there." Oh, my dear sir, I am glad that I ever formed your acquaintance may the blessing of the great God rest upon you. Please write to me, and be assured, I would he most happy to meet you again. -- Rev. J.M. Dosh, in Christian Expositor.


      You ask me "How did you come into these new notions of giving?"

      Well, it was this way A year ago this winter our house took fire. It was in the middle of the night, and we were all asleep. The flames were first discovered by a poor neighbor, who at once gave the alarm, and then burst in the door. The house was full of smoke, and the fire had already attacked the staircase which led to the rooms in which we were still sleeping. It seems almost a miracle that we were got out alive. We were dazed and suffocated, and it was only the heroic courage and strength of our neighbor that brought us down the blazing stairway into the open air. But it nearly cost him his life. Indeed, we thought the man, gasping there for breath, would die on the spot. Intent on protecting us, he had exposed himself so that he was terribly burned about the arms and chest. lie had, too, drawn into his lungs the almost furnace-like air. As he stumbled out of the door with the last child in his arms, he fell down, utterly spent. I shall never forget the anguish of that hour. He had saved us, but himself seemed dying -- dying for our sakes. All thought of our misfortune at once left us. The best physicians were summoned, and we bore him tenderly to his own house. When the immediate danger had been averted, it became plain that it would take careful nursing of many months to bring him back to his ordinary health, if, indeed, he had not become disabled for life.

      And now it was our turn. He was a laborer, and his family were wholly dependent on his daily earnings. It did not take us long to decide upon our course. In fact, there was no debate or counseling about it. The immediate and common thought of each of us, down to the youngest child, was, that we should at once take the whole care of this family upon ourselves. They were now allied to us by a tie stronger than any bond of kindred, and we did not for a moment hesitate what to do.

      I had a business that gave us a comfortable support, though we had followed the custom of our acquaintances generally, of living in a liberal way, quite up to the extent of our means. But we did not stay to ask whether we could afford it or not. We just settled it at once that this should be done first, and then we would somehow contrive to live on what remained.

      We arranged that the women of our family should relieve the heart-broken wife of the poor man from all household cares, that she might devote herself wholly to him. They were very tenderly attached, and no one could care for him as she could.

      "It was just like Jo," she said, as she patiently sat by his bedside; "he never thinks of himself." But a happy smile flitted across her wan face, as she added, " I wouldn't have him different."

      My oldest daughter soon secured a class in music, and the next one found a place in a kindergarten. It was a great, delight to me, and a stimulus to my own efforts, to see how intent the younger children were, each one of them, to earn or save something for the great purpose which had now come into our hearts. It sometimes brought the tears to see especially how Charlie, the last one saved, took wholly upon himself to look after one of the children of our brave friend, a boy about a year younger than himself, he could enjoy nothing, neither garment, schoolbook nor plaything, until he had seen to it that his little mate was fitted out as he himself was. And often this was done at a real sacrifice by the little fellow.

      Indeed, this was the way with us all. It did not occur to us to ask whether we could do what we had undertaken without feeling it. We wanted to feel it. We could not take upon ourselves any of the bodily anguish of this poor suffering man; suffering for our sakes. But it was a genuine satisfaction to be doing something for him, at some cost to ourselves, some real self-denial, that should be as constant as was the pain he was enduring. We somehow felt that it was the only way we could emphasize to our own hearts our great obligation, and show to him our gratitude; the only way in which we could in some small measure - it seemed very small to us sometimes-suffer with him in his great sufferings for us. I do not say that there was no conflict in doing this.

      After the excitement of the first few days was passed, it was often necessary to reinforce our variable impulses by calling up to our minds a sense of duty. The close quarters into which we had moved were inconvenient. Our former tastes and luxurious indulgences now and then stoutly asserted themselves. They had grown into headstrong habits, and it sometimes cost a real conflict to put them down.

      There was one untidy and expensive habit, which, it seems to me, I never could have broken off, had it not been for this new power that had come into my life. Upon a little calculation I found that it cost me more than a hundred dollars a year. This might be saved. It was a defiling and unwholesome thing, and I could not but feel a loss of self-respect every time I gave way to its use. But I had no idea it had gained such a mastery over me; and when the intense craving for my daily indulgence came on, the battle would certainly have gone against me had I not been wont to say to myself: "It is for his sake -- for his sake!" That one word gave me the victory, and it was a real deliverance.

      There was another stout fight I had to make.

      One day a business friend of mine drove up with his well-matched span, and took me to see the new house he was building. I was glad to look it over, for I had planned that, some day, I would build such a house for myself. The rooms were spacious and many. The outlook from the bay windows was delightful. No modern convenience or appliance for comfort had been omitted. It was not strange that for a time my former desire for such a mansion-like residence came upon me with almost overpowering strength. It was a moment of weakness. The spirit of self-indulgence came back to its old home, and before I was aware, the chafing and impatience of my heart at the new expenses laid on me grew into a tumult; but it was only for a moment. As I walked away, and began to come to myself, and to see what I was really thinking about, what do you suppose I did?

      Just stood still and hated myself for about half an hour!

      Oh, what indignation! What clearing of myself! Yea, what revenge! To make sure that I had utterly rid myself of meanness of this contemptible thought, I immediately went with my wife and bargained for a neat cottage in the next block, arranging easy terms which I could meet in the year to come; and then directed that the deed should be given to my brave, suffering deliverer, the first day he should be able to walk out. I felt as if I had grievously wronged him, and that nothing short of this would satisfy the demands of the case.

      As our friend began to he able to walk, we found that there was something weighing upon his mind. It soon came out that he was the superintendent of a little Mission School which he had gathered in a neglected part of the town. Somehow it had come to him that in his absence it had sadly run down. You may be sure the whole teaching-force of our family was turned into that school the very next Sunday. I am ashamed to say that it was new business to us; but for his sake we were there, and we threw our whole souls into it.

      And it was a great satisfaction to see how like medicine it was to the poor man, to hear our weekly report of the growing interest and numbers. And when in the winter there came a blessed revival, his joy knew no bounds. It was noticeable that from that time on, he showed a marked improvement. There was a natural, but unlooked for result from the self-denials and solicitudes of this year. We were drawn, not only to this man, who was making a brave fight for life in at the next door-for we were continually running in and out- but we were also drawn to each other as we had never been before. A new tenderness and patience came into our lives. Somehow the common service and sacrifice upon which all our hearts were set, softened us and brought us together in a sympathy and oneness of feeling which was altogether new; and thus it proved to be the happiest period of our domestic life.

      It is a year now since that terrible night. Our neighbor, to our great joy, has so far recovered that he has moved to the new house, and will soon be back again to his accustomed work.

      Yesterday, as I looked over the footings of my inventory found, to my surprise, that after all, it had been one of my most successful years. Indeed, I had scarcely ever had so large a balance in hand. This was altogether unexpected. There had been no marked successes, or special interpositions.

      But I could see, on looking back, that my own business habits had been toned up by the necessities which faced us; that needless expenses had been cut off; that my business men had steadily improved, and that I had been somehow kept from mistakes and bad adventures, and misplaced credits. Indeed, we have a settled and sweet consciousness that the hand of a good Providence had been constantly with us.

      Last evening, as it was the anniversary of the fire, we gave up the accustomed hour of family worship to a review of the experiences. It was a delightful and precious season. We felt with humble gratitude, that we had come up to a higher plane of life, and no one of us desires to go back to the old way of self-indulgence. There had been quietly growing in our hearts for some months, the thought: If for this man's sake, why not even more for Christ's sake?

      When we had read at our morning worship such passages as the 53rd of Isaiah, or the closing scenes of our Lord's life in the Gospels, and many expressions in the Epistles, the sufferings, sometimes the intense anguish in at the next door of which we were often the witness, and which were almost never out of our thoughts seemed to make very real to us our Lord's sacrifice and sufferings for us. We were also much moved by the beautiful patience of our neighbor, and by his joy in what he had done. He seemed to feel, with all his lowliness, a sense of having somehow gained an ownership in us, and in a quiet way, he rejoiced over us as if we were the trophies of a great victory. We were, indeed, as "brands plucked from the burning;" and this often led us to turn to the Lord Jesus, with much yearning and tenderness of soul. And there would sometimes appear to us, with the vividness of a new revelation, the words: "Ye are bought with a great price;" "Ye are not your own." And so, at the close of our review, there came out, in a formal covenant, the purpose which had thus been quietly growing in all our hearts, that we would never, any more, live unto ourselves; that we would keep right on doing for our Lord, just what we bad been doing for this man. It seemed easy and natural, and the most reasonable thing in the world, that for the next year, and for all the years, we would make Christ's business our business; that we would take to our hearts the things that were nearest to His heart; that henceforth His Church, His poor, His little ones, and the salvation of the world, for which His soul is still in travail, should be the chief care of our lives.

      Our daughters have wrought and hung on the walls of our rooms a motto. It is only a faint reflection of that which is deeply, and we believe, permanently graven on our hearts:


      And so I have answered your question: How did you come into these new notions of giving? -- S.J. Humphrey.


      I remember a day during one winter that stands out like a boulder in my life. The weather was unusually cold, our salary had not been regularly paid, and it did not meet on needs when it was. My husband was away traveling from one district to another much of the time. Our boys were well, but my little Ruth was ailing, and at best none of us were decently clothed. I patched and repatched, with spirits sinking to their lowest ebb. The water gave out in the well, and the wind blew through the cracks in the floor.

      The people in the parish were kind, and generous, too, but the settlement was new, and each family was struggling for itself. Little by little, at the time I needed it most, my faith began to waver. Early in life I was taught to take God at His word, and I thought my lesson was well learned. I had lived upon the promises in dark times, until I knew, as David did, "who was my Fortress and Deliverer." Now a daily prayer for forgiveness was all that I could offer. My husband's overcoat was hardly thick enough for October, and he was often obliged to ride miles to attend some meeting or funeral. Many times our breakfast was Indian cake, and a cup of tea without sugar. Christmas was coming; the children always expected their presents. I remember the ice was thick and smooth, and the boys were each craving a pair of skates. Ruth, in some unaccountable way, had taken a fancy that the dolls I had made were no longer suitable; she wanted -a nice large one, and insisted in praying for it. I knew it was impossible; but, oh! How I wanted to give each child its present. It seemed as if God had deserted us, but I did not tell my husband all this. He worked so earnestly and heartily, I supposed him to be as hopeful as ever. I kept the sitting-room cheerful with an open fire, and tried to serve our scanty meals as invitingly as I could.

      The morning before Christmas, James was called to see a sick man. I put up a piece of bread for his lunch -- it was the best I could do -- wrapped my plaid shawl around his neck, and then tried to whisper a promise, as I often had, but the words died away upon my lips. I let him go without it. That was a dark, hopeless day. I coaxed the children to bed early, for I could not bear their talk. When Ruth went, I listened to her prayer; she asked for the last time most explicitly for her doll, and for skates for her brothers. Her bright face looked so lovely when she whispered tome: "You know I think they'll be here early tomorrow morning, mamma," that I thought I could move heaven and earth to save her from disappointment. I sat down alone, and gave way to the most bitter tears.

      Before long James returned, chilled and exhausted. He drew off his boots; the thin stockings slipped off with them, and his feet were red with cold. "I wouldn't treat a dog that way; let alone a faithful servant," I said. Then, as I glanced up and saw the hard lines in his face and the look of despair, it flashed across me, James had let go, too. I brought him a cup of tea, feeling sick and dizzy at the very thought. He took my hand, and we sat for an hour without a word. I wanted to die and meet God, and tell Him his promise wasn't true; my soul was so full of rebellious despair.

      There came a sound of bells, a quick stop, and a loud knock at the door. James sprang up to open it. There stood Deacon White. "A box came for you by express just before dark. I brought it around as soon as I could get away. Reckoned it might be for Christmas; at any rate, they shall have it tonight. Here is a turkey my wife asked me to fetch along, and these other things I believe belong to you. There was a basket of potatoes and a bag of flour. Talking all the time, he hurried in the box, and then with a hearty good-night rode away. Still, without speaking, James found a chisel and opened the box. He drew out first a thick red blanket, and we saw that beneath was full of clothing. It seemed at that moment as if Christ fastened upon me a look of reproach. James sat down and covered his face with his hands. "I can't touch them," he exclaimed; "I haven't been true, just when God was trying me to see if I could hold out. Do you think I could not see how you were suffering? And I had no word of comfort to offer. I know now how to preach the awfulness of turning away from God." "James," I said, clinging to him, "don't take it to heart like this; I am to blame, I ought to have helped you. We will ask Him together to forgive us." "Wait a moment dear, I cannot talk now;" then he went into another room. I knelt down, and my heart broke; in an instant all the dark-ness, all the stubbornness rolled away. Jesus came again and stood before me, but now with the loving word: "Daughter!" Sweet promises of tenderness and joy flooded my soul. I was so lost in praise and gratitude that I forgot everything else. I don't know how long it was before James came back, but I knew he too had found peace. "Now, my dear wife," said he, "let us thank God together;" and then he poured out words of praise; Bible words, for nothing else could express our thanksgiving. It was eleven o'clock, the fire was low, and there was the great box, and nothing touched but the warm blanket we needed. We piled on some fresh logs, lighted two candles, and began to examine our treasures. We drew out an overcoat; I made James try it on; just the right size, and I danced around him; for all my light heartedness had returned. Then there was a cloak, and he insisted in seeing me in it. My spirits always infected him, and we both laughed like foolish children. There was a warm suit of clothes also, and three pair of woolen hose. There was a dress for me, and yards of flannel, a pair of arctic overshoes for each of us, and in mine was a slip of paper. I have it now, and mean to hand it down to my children. It was Jacob's blessing to Asher: "Thy shoes shall be iron and brass, and as thy days so shall thy strength be." In the gloves, evidently for James, the same dear hand had written: "I, the Lord thy God, will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee: Fear not, I will help thee." It was a wonderful box, and packed with thoughtful care. There was a suit of clothes for each of the boys, and a little red gown for Ruth. There were mittens, scarfs, and hoods; down in the center, a box; we opened it, and there was a great wax doll.

      I burst into tears again; James wept with me for joy. It was too much; and then we both exclaimed again, for close behind it came two pair of skates. There were books for us to read; some of them I had wished to see; stories for the children to read, aprons and underclothing, knots of ribbon, a gay little tidy; a lovely photograph, needles, buttons, and thread; actually a muff, and an envelope containing a ten-dollar gold piece. At last we cried over everything we took up. It was past midnight, and we were faint and exhausted even with happiness. I made a cup of tea, cut a fresh loaf of bread, and James boiled some eggs. We drew up the table before the fire; how we enjoyed our supper! And then we sat talking over our life, and how sure a help God always proved. You should have seen the children the next morning; the boys raised a shout at the sight of their skates. Ruth caught up her doll, and hugged it tightly without a word; then she went into her room and knelt by her bed. When she came back she whispered to me: "I knew it would be here, mamma, but I wanted to thank God just the same, you know." "Look here, wife, see the difference." We went to the window, and there were the boys out of the house already, and skating on the crust with all their might. My husband and I both tried to return thanks to the church in the East that sent us the box, and have tried to return thanks unto God every day since.

      Hard times have come again and again, but we have trusted in Him; dreading nothing so much as a doubt of His protecting care. Over and over again we have proved that, "They that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing." -- Christian Witness.


      The following instance is given in the experience of a correspondent of The Christian, which occurred in the latter part of November 1864, while traveling with her aged father and two small girls

      "We started from New Hampshire on Thursday morning, expecting to have ample time to get through to Indiana be-fore Saturday night; but, after we crossed the St. Lawrence River, the next day, I think, there was a smash-up on a freight train which hindered our train about two hours. I began to feel anxious, as I knew our limited means would not permit us to stop long on the way. After the cars had started again I inquired of the conductor what time we should get to Toledo, fearing we should not reach there in time for the down train. He said it would be impossible to gain the time:

      Soon they changed conductors, and I made a similar inquiry, getting about the same answer. Still I hoped, till we reached the Detroit River. Here I found that, though they had put on all the steam they dared to, they were almost an hour be-hind time, so I should have to stay over till Sunday night.

      "After getting seated in the cars on the other side, I ventured to ask the conductor if we should get to Toledo in time for the down train. He readily said: 'No, madam; impossible! If we put on all the steam we dare to, we shall be more than half an hour behind time. If we were on some trains, we might hope they would wait; but on his, never! He is the most exact conductor you ever saw. He was never known to wait a second, say nothing about a minute, beyond the time.' I then inquired if we could not stay at the depot. Me said: 'No; you would all freeze to death, for the fire is out till Sunday evening.'

      "A gentleman sitting in front of us said he would show us a good hotel near by, as he was acquainted there. I thanked him, but sunk back on my seat. Covering my eyes with my hand, and raising my heart to God, I said: 'O God, if thou art my Father, and I am thy child, put it into the heart of that conductor to wait till we get there.'

      "Soon I became calm, and fell asleep, not realizing that God would answer my poor prayer; but, when we reached Toledo, to the astonishment of us all, there stood the conductor, wanting to know the reason why he had to wait; when our conductor told him there was a lady with her crippled father and two little daughters, who were going down on that train.

      Soon as all were out of the car, both conductors came with their lanterns, and gave their aid in helping my father to the other train, where they had reserved seats by keeping the door locked. All was hurry and confusion to me, as had my eye on father, fearing he might fall, it being very slippery, when the baggage master said: "Your checks, madam!" I handed them to him, and rushed into the car; but, before I got seated, the car started, and I had no checks for my baggage. Again my heart cried out: "O Thou that hearest prayer, take care of my baggage!" believing He could do that as well as make the conductor wait. In a few moments the conductor came to me with a face radiant with smiles, saying: "Madam, I waited a whole half hour for you; a thing I never did before since I was a conductor, so much as to wait one minute after my time." He said: "I know it was your father that I was waiting for, because there was nothing else on the train for which I could have waited." I exclaimed, in a half-suppressed tone, "Praise the Lord!" I could not help it; it gushed out. Then he said: "At the very moment all were on board, and I was ready to start, such a feeling came over me as I had never had in my life before. I could not start. Something kept saying to me, you must wait; for there is something pending on that train you must wait for. I waited, and here you are, all safe." Again my heart said, Praise the Lord! And he started to leave me, when I said: "But there is one thing." "What is it?" was his quick reply. "I gave the baggage-master my checks, and have none in return." "What were the numbers?" I told him. "I have them," he said, handing them to me; "but your baggage will not be there till Monday morning. We had no time to put it on, we had waited so long." -- Selected.


      She arose suddenly in the meeting, and spoke as follows:

      "Married to a drunkard! Yes, I was married to a drunkard. -- Look at me! I am talking to the girls."

      We all turned and looked at her. She was a wan woman, with dark, sad eyes, and white hair, placed smoothly over a brow that denoted intellect.

      "When I married a drunkard, I reached the acme of misery," she continued. "I was young, and oh, so happy! I married the man I loved, and who professed to love me. He was a drunkard, and I knew it knew it, but did not understand it. There is not a young girl in this building that does understand it, unless she has a drunkard in her family; then, perhaps, she knows how deeply the iron enters the soul of a woman, when she loves, and is allied to a drunkard; whether father, husband, brother or son. Girls, believe me, when I tell you, that to marry a drunkard, to love a drunkard, is the crown of all misery. I have gone through the deep waters, and know. I have gained that fearful knowledge at the expense of happiness, sanity, almost life itself.

      Do you wonder my hair is white? It turned white in a night, 'bleached by sorrow,' as Marie Antoinette said of her hair. I am not forty years old, yet the snows of seventy rest upon my head; and upon my heart-ah! I cannot begin to count the winters resting there," she said, with unutterable pathos in her voice.

      "My husband was a professional man. His calling took him from home frequently at night, and when he returned, he returned drunk. Gradually he gave way to temptation in the day, until he was rarely sober. I had two lovely little girls and a boy." Here her voice faltered, and we sat in deep silence listening to her story. "My husband had been drinking deeply. I had not seen him for two days. He had kept away from his home. One night I was seated beside my sick boy; the two little girls were in bed in the next room, while beyond was another room, into which I heard my husband go, as he entered the house. The room communicated with the one in which my little girls were sleeping. I do not know why, but a feeling of terror took possession of me, and I felt that my little girls were in danger. I arose and went to the room. The door was locked. I knocked on it frantically, but no answer came. I seemed to be endowed with superhuman strength, and, throwing myself with all my force against the door, the lock gave way and the door flew open. Oh, the sight! The terrible sight! " She wailed out in a voice that haunts me now; and she covered her face with her hands, and when she removed them it was whiter and sadder than ever.

      "Delirium tremens! You have never seen it, girls; God grant that you never may. My husband stood beside the bed, his eyes glaring with insanity, and in his hand a large knife. "Take them away!" he screamed. "The horrible things, they are crawling all over me. Take them away, I say!" and he flourished the knife in the air. Regardless of danger, I rushed up to the bed, and my heart seemed suddenly to cease beating. There lay my children, covered with their life-blood, slain by their own father! For a moment I could not utter a sound. I was literally dumb in the presence of this terrible sorrow. I scarcely heeded the maniac at my side -- the man who had wrought me all this woe. Then I uttered a loud scream, and my wailings filled the air. The servants heard me and hastened to the room, and when my husband saw them, he suddenly drew the knife across his own throat. I knew nothing more. I was borne senseless from the room that contained the bodies of my slaughtered children, and the body of my husband. The next day my hair was white, and my mind so shattered that I knew no one."

      She ceased! Our eyes were riveted upon her wan face.

      Some of the women present sobbed aloud, while there was scarcely a dry eye in that temperance meeting. We saw that she had not done speaking, and was only waiting to subdue her emotion to resume her story.

      "Two years," she continued, "I was a mental wreck; then I recovered from the shock, and absorbed myself in the care of my boy. But the sin of the father was visited upon the child, and six months ago my boy of eighteen was placed in a drunkard's grave; and as I, his loving mother, stood and saw the sod heaped over him, I said: "Thank God! I'd rather see him there than have him live a drunkard;" and I turned unto my desolate home a childless woman -- one on whom the hand of God had rested heavily.

      "Girls, it is you I wish to rescue from the fate that overtook me. Do not blast your life as I blasted mine; do not be drawn into the madness of marrying a drunkard. You love him! So much the worse for you; for married to him, the greater will be your misery because of your love. You will marry and then reform him, so you say. Ah! A woman sadly overrates her strength when she undertakes to do this. You are no match for the giant demon 'drink,' when he possesses a man's body and soul. You are no match for him, I say. What is your puny strength beside his gigantic force? He will crush you, too. It is to save you, girls, from the sorrows that wrecked my happiness, that I have unfolded my history to you. I am a stranger in this great city. I am merely passing through it; and I have a message to bear to every girl in America never marry a drunkard!

      I can see her now, as she stood there amid the hushed audience, her dark eyes glowing, and her frame quivering with emotion, as she uttered her impassioned appeal. Then she hurried out, and we never saw her again. Her words, "fitly spoken," were not without effect, however, and because of them there is one girl single now. -- Selected.


      An evangelist said: "A little girl of eight years was sent on an errand by her parents. While on her way, she was attracted by the singing of a gospel meeting in the open air, and drew near. The conductor of the meeting was so struck with the child's earnestness that he spoke to her, and told her about Jesus. She being the child of Roman Catholics, did not know much about Him, but the gentleman told her of His love to her. On returning home her father asked her what had detained her. She told him, and he cruelly beat her, forbidding her to go to any such meeting again. About a fortnight afterwards, she was so taken up with what she had previously heard of Jesus, that she forgot all about her message. She saw the same gentleman, who again told her more about the Savior. On her return home, she again told her father, as before, where she had been, and that she had not brought what she had been sent for, but that she had brought Jesus. Her father was enraged, and kicked the poor little creature until the blood came. She never recovered from this brutal treatment. Just before she breathed her last, she called her mother and said: "Mother, I have been praying to Jesus to save you and father." Then pointing to her little dress, she said: "Mother, cut me a bit out of the blood-stained piece of my dress." The mother, wondering, did so. "Now," said the dying child, "Christ shed His blood for my sake, and l am going to take this to Jesus to show Him that I shed my blood for His sake." Thus she died, holding firmly the piece of her dress, stained with her own blood. The testimony of that dear child was the means of leading both father and mother to Christ. -- Selected.


      "No," said the lawyer, "I shan't press your claim against that man; you can get some one else to take your case, or you can withdraw it, just as you please."

      "Think there isn't any money in it?"

      "There would probably he some money in it, but it would, as you know, come from the sale of the little house the man occupies and calls home; but I don't want to meddle with the matter, anyhow."

      "Got frightened out of it, eh?"

      "No, I wasn't frightened out of it."

      "I suppose likely the old fellow begged hard to be let off?"

      "Well, yes, he did."

      "And you caved, likely?"

      "No, I didn't speak a word to him."

      "Oh, he did all the talking, did he?"


      "And you never said a word?"

      "Not a word."

      "What in creation did you do?"

      "I believe I shed a few tears."

      "And the old fellow begged you hard, you say?"

      "No, I didn't say so; he didn't speak a word to me"

      "Well, may I respectfully enquire whom he did address in your hearing?"

      "God Almighty."

      "Ah, he took to praying, did he?"

      "Not for my benefit, in the least. You see" and the lawyer crossed his right foot over his left knee, and began stroking his lower leg up and down, as if to state his case concisely; "you see, I found the little house easily enough, and knocked at the outer door, which stood ajar; but nobody heard me, so I slipped into the hall, and saw, through the crack of another door, just as cozy a sitting-room as there ever was. There on a bed, with her silver head way up high on the pillows, was an old lady, who looked for all the world just as my mother did the last time I ever saw her on earth.

      Well, I was right on the point of knocking, when she said as clearly as could be: "Come, father, begin; I'm ready." And down on his knees by her side went an old, white-haired man, still older than his wife, I should judge; and I could not have knocked then for the life of me. Well, he began; first he reminded God they were still His submissive children, mother and he; and no matter what He saw fit to bring upon them they shouldn't rebel at His will! Of course, 'twas going to be terrible hard for them to go out homeless in their old age, especially with poor mother so sick and helpless; but still they'd seen sadder things than ever that would be. He reminded God, in the next place, how different all might have been if only one of their boys might have been spared them; then his voice kind of broke, and a thin, white hand stole from under the coverlet, and moved softly over his snowy hair; then he went on to repeat, that nothing could be so sharp as the parting with those three sons unless mother and he should be separated. But at last he fell to comforting himself with the fact that the dear Lord knew it was through no fault of his own, that mother and he were threatened with the loss of their dear little home, which meant beggary and the alms-house; a place they prayed to be delivered from entering, if it could be consistent with God's will. And then he fell to quoting a multitude of promises concerning the safety of those who put their trust in the Lord; yes, I should say he begged hard; in fact it was the most thrilling plea to which I ever listened. And at last he prayed for God's blessing on those who were about to demand justice" -- The lawyer stroked his lower limb in silence for a moment or two, then continued more slowly than before: "And, I believe, I'd rather go to the poor-house myself, tonight, than to stain my heart and hands with the blood of such a prosecution as that."

      "Little afraid to defeat the old man's prayer, eh?" queried the client.

      "Bless your soul, man, you could not defeat it!" roared the lawyer. "It doesn't admit of defeat! I tell you, he left it all subject to the will of God; but he left no doubt as to his wishes in the matter; claimed that we were told to make known our desires unto God; but of all the pleading I ever heard that beat all. You see, I was taught that kind of thing myself in my childhood; and why I was sent to hear that prayer I'm sure I don't know, but I hand the case over."

      "I wish," said the client, twisting uneasily, "you hadn't told me about the old fellow's prayer."

      "Why so?"

      "Well, I greatly want the money the place would bring, but was taught the Bible all straight when I was a youngster; and I'd hate to run counter to such a harangue as that you tell about. I wish you hadn't heard a word of it; and another time I wouldn't listen to petitions not intended for your ears."

      The lawyer smiled.

      "My dear fellow," he said, "you're wrong again; it was intended for my ears, and yours, too, and God Almighty intended it. My old mother used to sing about God's moving in a mysterious way, I remember."

      "Well, my mother used to sing it, too," said the claimant, as he twisted his claim-papers in his fingers. "You can call in, in the morning, if you like, and tell mother and him the claim has been met."

      "In a mysterious way," added the lawyer, smiling. -- Selected by Mrs. E. C. Best.

Back to S.B. Shaw index.

See Also:
   Touching Incidents: Introduction and Preface
   Touching Incidents: Part 1
   Touching Incidents: Part 2
   Touching Incidents: Part 3
   Touching Incidents: Part 4
   Touching Incidents: Part 5
   Touching Incidents: Part 6
   Touching Incidents: Part 7
   Touching Incidents: Part 8
   Touching Incidents: Part 9
   Touching Incidents: Part 10
   Touching Incidents: Part 11
   Touching Incidents: Part 12
   Touching Incidents: Part 13
   Touching Incidents: Part 14
   Touching Incidents: Part 15
   Touching Incidents: Part 16


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