|Chapter 8||Contents||Chapter 10|
In the feminine temperament, the latter are occasionally developed to an extent almost incredible, and quite unattainable to the other sex. One of these tender chords in my mother's disposition was that of gratitude. If a way of showing her warm appreciation of a kindness could possibly be devised, no pains or exertion in carrying it out were taken into account. Thus, when I first went to school, we had a cousin, who, on finding that I could not be lodged in the preceptor's house, took me into his own, and always treated me with the greatest kindness. Some years after, he became a candidate for a civil post, and begged us to use our influence on his behalf. Straightway our mother left all her own work, and starting out called on all the voters of the neighborhood, not resting until she had secured their support for our friend, who gained the appointment in consequence of these vigorous exertions. The delicacy of our mother's gratitude was peculiarly manifested toward our kind aunt, who, at the cost of much self-denial, had made room for our party in her house. The trifling rent due for our rooms was rigorously put by and paid to the day; for our relative, as we well knew, had only enough property to render her barely independent.
Once more our vacation came around, and we all were united at home. This time food was forthcoming, but on the other hand, the approaching rent-day weighed heavily on our family purse— light as ever— and on my poor mother's mind. Each day she grew more heavyhearted, often saying that the money must be paid in time, for she knew our aunt depended on it.
The term had actually arrived when she gathered us round her one morning, saying, "Come, let us ask God to step into the midst of us and take this matter into His own hands." She then uttered this prayer: "Faithful Savior, Thou knowest this is the rent-day. Once when Thou didst need tribute money, a fish out of the sea was sent to bring it. Wilt Thou let me remain in debt for my rent? I cannot believe it! Far in the great ocean of Thy creation, there are still many thousand fishes who might bring the money I need. Therefore, I beg Thee not to leave me in perplexity, but come and help." We gathered round listening and felt strangely moved, especially we students from the University, whose heads were full of the immutability of nature's laws and the impossibility of any deviation from her rules, together with many similarly wise notions.
"God's clock goes slowly, but correctly," says the proverb, and we were about to discover this truth. We separated; our mother and the girls busied themselves about the house, while we boys gathered in a confidential chat, all the while enter-taining a sort of secret curiosity as to whether any results would follow that prayer. As the morning hours slipped by, we almost decided to give up our watch.
Shortly before noon, however, we were roused by a knock which heralded the entrance of the village pastor, a former friend of our fathers, for whose sake he had always taken a hearty interest in our welfare. To our surprise, he had on his clerical robes. "Ah," said he, in answer to our inquiring looks, "I will soon tell you why I come thus. On my way to the prayer-meeting at church I was met by the postman, bringing a packet from the Dean of Leonberg. I opened it in the vestry, and found a note directing that the enclosed grant of money should be placed in the hands of Madame Paulus, being adjudged her from a charitable fund." The pastor went on to say that he could not tell through whose influence the grant had been accorded, having himself played no part in the matter. "But," he added, "as I knew the gift would be welcome, I could not help running in with it on my way home, so as to share your joy." At this moment our mother entered the room, and the good man asked whether she could say how the grant came to be sent. "I forwarded a petition, Sir," she replied, "not to the dean, however, or indeed to any man at all, but to Him whose cabinet of exchange is established on high."
The kind pastor was visibly moved, and as for us, the tears stood in our eyes, and we all confessed that we had to-day gained a lesson, worth many hundred of our University lectures.
|Chapter 8||Contents||Chapter 10|