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of my own besides these two, I suckled three infants at one time. I was a strong young woman, and had good milk. And God so ordered it that I fed these infants, and buried my own before the end of the second year. God gave me no other child, and we gradually became better and better off. We are now living with the merchant at the mill. I have good wages, and a pleasant life of it. But I've no children of my own.
What should I do alone, without these? How should I not love them?'
With one hand the woman clasped to her breast the little lame child, and with the other she wiped away a tear.
Matrona sighed, and said,
* This bears out the truth of the proverb, “ You will live without father and mother, but you'll not live without God.”
This conversation was going on between them when suddenly, as by sheet lightning, the whole cottage was lighted up from the corner where Michael was sitting. All eyes were turned upon him, and they saw Michael sitting, his hands folded on his knees. He was looking upwards and smiling.
X. When the woman left with the children, Michael rose from his bench and put down his work; he took off his apron, made a bow to the master of the house, and said,
*Forgive me, master. God bas forgiven me; you also forgive me.' And his hosts saw that light streamed forth from Michael's face. Simon rose, bowed to Michael, and said,
• I see, Michael, that you are no ordinary man. I have no right to retain you or to question you. But answer this one question : when I found you and brought you home with me why were you sad ? and when my wife gave you to sup why did you smile on her, and since that time wear a brighter look ? After that, when the gentleman ordered the boots, you smiled a second time, and from that moment wore a brighter look still; and just now, when the woman came in with the little girls, you smiled a third time, and brightened up altogether. Tell me, Michael, how comes it that you shine so, and why did you smile three times?'
And Michael said,
'I shine because I was punished and God has forgiven me. I smiled three times because I had need to learn three words of God. Now I have learnt these words. I learnt one when your wife had pity on me, and that is why I smiled the first time; I learnt the second word when the rich man ordered the boots, and I smiled a second time ; and just now, when I saw the little girls, I learnt the last, the third, and smiled a third time.'
And Simon said,
• Tell me, Michael, why you were punished by God, and tell me those words of God, that I too may learn them.'
It was for this reason,' said Michael, that God punished me, because I disobeyed Him. I was an angel in heaven, and disobeyed God.
'I was an angel in heaven, and the Lord sent me to take a soul away from a woman. I winged my way to the earth and saw a woman lying alone, who had given birth to twins-two little girls. The infants moved about restlessly by the mother's side, and she could not lift them up to her breasts. The woman saw me, understood that God had sent me for a soul, and said to me in tears, "Angel of God! I have but just buried my husband, he was killed by a tree in the wood. I have no sister or aunt or countryman to bring up my orphans, don't take away my soul; let me myself give food and drink to the infants, and bring them up. The children cannot live without father and mother." I listened to the mother, put one infant to her breast, laid the other in its mother's arms, and rose up on my wings to the Lord. I winged my way to the Lord, and said, "I could not take away the souls from their parent. Their father was killed by a tree, their mother gave birth to twins, and prayed me not to take the soul away from her. 'Let me give food and drink to the children, and bring them up,' she said. 'The infants cannot live without father and mother.' I did not take a soul from the mother." And the Lord said, "Go, take a soul from the woman, and learn three words: learn what people have, and what they have not, and what makes people to live. When you have learnt this you will return to heaven." I flew back to the earth and took the soul from the woman.
'The infants fell from the breasts. The dead body rolled over on the bed, crushing one infant and putting out its foot. I rose up above the village, in order to take up the soul to God, when a gust of wind caught my wings, they dropped, and the soul went up to God alone, but I fell by the way to the earth.'
SIMON and Matrona understood now whom they had clothed and fed, and who had lived in their home. They wept for joy and fear, and the angel said,
'I was left in the field naked and alone. I had never known human needs; I had never known hunger or cold before, and I became a man. Hungry and half frozen, I knew not what to do. I saw in the field a chapel made for the worship of God, went up to God's chapel, and thought to shelter myself there. The chapel was locked up; I could not enter. So I sat down behind the chapel to find shelter from the wind. The evening drew on; nearly frozen and hungry, I had quite lost heart, when suddenly a sound caught my ear -a man was passing along the road. He was carrying a pair of boots, and he talked to himself as he went. This was the first mortal face I had seen since I became a man; it filled me with fear, and I turned away my eyes. I heard the man talking to himself about
how he should shelter his body from the cold in winter, and how he should feed his wife and children. “I am perishing of cold and hunger,” I thought to myself, “and a man passes along whose only thought it is how to cover himself and his wife with a skin, and how to get bread for them both. He cannot help me.” The man saw me, knit bis brows, looked more fearful than before, and passed by. I was in despair, when suddenly I heard the man returning on his steps. And when I looked on him I did not know him again : before, I had seen death in his face, but now it had a bright look, and in his face I knew God. He came up to me, clothed me, took me with him, and brought me to his home. I went to his house; a woman came to meet us, and began to speak. The woman had a fearful look, more fearful than the man, and from her mouth there came forth a mortal spirit, the odour of death quite took away my breath. She wished to drive me out into the cold ; I knew she would die if she did so. Suddenly her husband put her in mind of God, upon which a change came over the woman. She gave us to sup,
and when she did so she looked on me. I looked on her also. There was now no death in her; she was alive, and in her I knew God.
• Then I remembered the first word of God, “You shall know what is in people.” I had learnt that in people is love. I was glad, because God had begun to make things clear to me, as He had promised, and I smiled for the first time. But this was all the knowledge I could gather. I had not yet understood what is not given to people, and what makes people to live. 'I began to live with you. A whole year had passed by, when
, one day a man came to order boots, which should last a whole year without wearing down or wearing out. I looked upon him, and lo! I saw at his side my companion, the angel of death. I alone saw that angel, but I knew him, and knew that the sun would not set before he had taken the soul of the rich man. “Man provides for himself for a whole year," I thought to myself, “ but he does not know that he will not live on till the evening.” The second word of God came to my mind, “You shall know what is not given to people.”
'I had learnt already what is in people. Now I knew what is not given to people. It is not given to people to know what is needful for their body. And I smiled a second time. I was glad because I had seen my companion the angel, and because God had shown me the meaning of the second word.
“But I had more to learn still. I had not yet learnt what makes people to live, so I lived on and waited till God would show me the last word. In the sixth year there came two little girls, with a woman, and I knew the children, and knew how those little girls were left alive. I knew and thought to myself, “ The mother begged for her children, and I believed her. I thought the children could not live without father and mother, but a strange woman fed them and brought them up.” When the woman had pity on the strange children, and wept, I saw in her the living God, and understood what makes people to live. I knew, also, that God had declared to me the last word, and had forgiven me. And I smiled a third time.'
The whole of the angel's body was now clearly seen, and it was all clothed in dazzling light, too bright to look upon; and his voice had now a louder ring, and seemed to come from heaven, not from his own lips.
I have learnt,' said the angel, 'that every man lives, not by care for himself, but by love. It was not given to the mother to know what her children needed to live by. It was not given to the rich man to know what he himself was in need of. And it is not given to any man to know if boots for one living or slippers for one dead will be needed by him towards evening.
'I was left alive when I was a man, not because I thought about myself, but because there was love in the man who passed by, and in his wife, and because they pitied and loved me. The orphans were left alive, not because they thought about them, but because there was love in the heart of a strange woman, who pitied and loved them. And all people live, not because they think about themselves, but because there is in people love.
I knew already that God had given people life, and wished that they should live. But now I understood more than this.
'I understood that God was not willing that people should live apart, and that for this reason He had not shown them what each stood in need of, but willed that they should live together, and for this reason had shown them what all needed for their own good and the good of all.
* I understood now that people only seem to live by caring for themselves—that they live by love alone. He who lives in love lives in God, and God in him, because God is love.'
Then the angel sang praises to God, and his voice made th cottage tremble. The ceiling opened, and a pillar of fire stretched upwards from earth to heaven. Simon and his wife and children fell to the ground. And the angel stretched the wings on his back and rose up to heaven.
When Simon came to himself the cottage stood as before, and there was no one in the cottage but the members of his family.
COUNT LÉON TOLSTOY.
OLD SCOTCH JUDGES.
Sly. What, household stuff ?
Sly. Well, we'll see't. Come, madam wife, sit by my side and let the world slip; we shall ne'er be younger.— Taming of the Shren.
160 new books—The Hon. Henry Erskine, Lord Advocate for
Scotland ; his Kinsfolk and Times,' by Lieut.-Colonel Alexander Fergusson; and Memoir of Alexander Seton, Earl of Dunfermline, Seventh President of the Court of Session and Lord Chancellor of Scotland, by Mr. George Seton-call for passing notice on account of their bookmaking and their amusing bits of gossip concerning bygone Scotch judges. For style and treatment they suffer in comparison with Lord Cockburn's works. Scotland has neither a Foss nor a Campbell to record her judges' lives, or to add another sting to death. Colonel Fergusson cannot hold the sword to Campbell, the soldier cannot score a point in his attack on the lawyer. If the Lord Presidents of Scotland knew that Mr. Seton intended to do for them what the other Scotchman did for the Lord Chancellors of England, they would turn in their graves and anticipate the world's end. His volume is respectable, commonplace, and its best page is that representing a facsimile of signatures. But if memoirs of olden times and biographies of our early judges are to be interesting reading, they must be interestingly written. Mr. Seton cannot plead the apology which Colonel Fergusson can, of having written his book at the family's request. Neither writer has praised his subject sky-high, and neither book is a model of workmanship. The soldier's is the most entertaining reading, if you know how to skip at times and land on the stories, the letters, the verses. A man may well grumble at the book ; about a hundred topics are sandwiched between Henry Erskine and his early ancestor. Everything considered, he has made short work of Erskine, and abruptly finishes without even attempting an estimate of his character. It is written in a dry-asdust manner, and seems intended for the Scotch Antiquarian Society, of which Erskine's brother, Lord Buchan, was the originator; the pages are loaded with trifling notes and paltry queries. Harry Erskine, the wit, the high-spirited advocate, the tip-top talker, the pleasant versifier, has not earned this punishment. In the lumbering pages we seldom get his spirit, his relish—and his kinsfolk are sorry companions.
Take this absurdly delightful question, which occurs in a page bearing the mystic heading 'Porridge and Catechism, and no one but an aged officer could possibly have propounded such a conundrum : What better combination' (referring to the heading), or more likely to breed up a Dean of Faculty or Lord Advocate ? '