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The two Pictures.
by Fanny Howard.

‘ There had whispered a voice, 'twas the voice of God.
I love thee! I love thee! pass under the rod.

’ Come, Willie, let mamma put on your pretty new dress. And stand still like a darling, while I curl your hair; there, now you are ready to have your likeness taken; and what a pretty picture mamma's pet will make! So thought a young mother, while she gazed with a parent's pride on her little boy, as he stood before her in all the radiancy of infant beauty, his cheeks dyed with the joyous light of childhood.

Willie's mother was about leaving her native land, to seek a home with the stranger, as she thought how pleased her dear old mother would be to have a likeness of her grandson, so that she could look upon his sweet face whenever her heart wearied for him; so there was a pretty little scarlet dress made for the occasion, and a new hat bought; and now mamma has put them on, and is going to take him to sit for his likeness.

But, another picture was taken of mother's little darling; and oh! could she have raised the veil from it, as it hung, shrouded by the dark mists of the future, how her heart would have shrunk within her to have witnessed the change that had passed over the face of her boy.

There, in a tiny coffin, 'mid the folds of the scarlet dress, lay little Willie! but the warm pulses of life had ceased to beat, and the roses had faded from the waxen face, while the long silken fringes had fallen softly over the blue eyes, hiding their joyous light forever; a few flowers were clasped within the little hands, while some were scattered around him, sweet emblems of the beautiful form that lay there so very still.

The shades of evening are falling softly around; the joyous songs of the sweet birds are hushed; they have folded their wearied wings and gone to rest; little Willie's merry laugh is no longer heard; his feet have ceased to dance about the floor; he, too, has gone to sleep, and the happy mother softly murmurs a lullaby at the side of his couch.

Night now has thrown its dark mantle over the sleeping earth, the mother has laid down on the couch by her child, and deep though her slumbers are, something more than wonted disturbs them. Can it be that dark forebodings of evil are shading the light of her dreams? See, how her lips quiver, while she murmurs the name of her little son; now she clasps her hands wildly and springs from the bed.

The moon has arisen in all her beauty, and her beams are falling over the face of little Willie; but oh, God! the agony their light reveals to the heart of the poor mother, as they rest on the pinched features of the child. The eyes are half open and fixed; large drops have gathered on the brow, half shaded by the flaxen curls, while from the half compressed lips comes a smothered gurgling sound, then a mournful wail — the parting adieu of the mournful spirit.

The doctor arrives, but he shakes his head, and turns from the agonizing glance of the mother, as he exclaims ‘"too late!"’

He has no hope to offer, for well does he know that the work of death is nearly finished.

The morning opened in splendor, shedding its golden light over the beautiful flowers, while their blossoms expanded beneath the warmth of its glorious rays. The little birds awoke, and from the boughs of the trees filled the air with sweet melody; and the pet bird that lay trembling and convulsed in the arms of its mother, during the night, awoke from the sleep of death, and unfolding its little wings, sang one of the songs of Paradise as it soared above to nestle on the breast of Jehovah.

The mother sits all alone in her chamber — her heart is desolate; for the couch is empty by the side of her bed, and a vacant little chair stands in the corner. Sad thoughts arise as she gazes mournfully on the picture before her, bearing the impress of the beauty reflected there only one day previous. The features seem full of life in the mimic face, the bright eye, the glow of health, and the playful smile of innocence, vain delusions of mortality — all are there! Then she turns to a little coffin that lies on a table near by, the lid is moved aside, and a waxen figure, bearing a true resemblance to the likeness in her hand, meets her eye; but a light beams over the face reflected not on the other; an angel, when he bore the spirit away, stamped with the seal of Heaven!

Young mother! many a heart sympathizes with you to-day, and fervent are the pleadings that ascend to the throne on high, in your behalf. Yes! pleading that the Nazarene may pass by, and while he gives you strength for your day, he may say to the dark waves that surround you, ‘"Peace, be still."’

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