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Ours, Loved, And "Gone Before"
by [?]

The light of her young life went out,
As sinks behind the hill
The glory of a setting star;
Clear, suddenly, and still.


YOU ask me to tell you of her, the sweet friend we have loved and lost. You impose on me a difficult task; I find it so harrowing to my feelings, and I also find that my pen is inadequate to the tribute my heart would pay.

I would that the privilege of knowing and loving her had been yours, for to know her was to love her.

In former letters I told you something of her; how she came to us a lovely bride of just nineteen summers; how anxiously we looked for her first appearance in church, for they arrived late Saturday evening, and no one had seen her. I told you how my heart went out to her as I looked on her sweet, bright, yet somewhat timid face; there was a perfect witchery in her eyes. I felt that I could gaze into them for ever; there was about them a spell, a fascination that I have never seen in others; they laughed as they looked at you, and yet they were not merely laughing eyes; perhaps the long, drooping lashes somewhat modified the expression, and helped to give the peculiarity so strikingly their own.

Her dress and whole appearance were captivating; the simple light straw hat, with the little illusion veil, and the pure white dress fitting so prettily the slender form. I could hardly wait for the next day, so anxious was I to see and speak with her, for I loved her already.

I had been prepared to love her, for our young pastor had told us much of his future bride. You know our house was one of his homes, and to us he had spoken often and enthusiastically of his Mary. It seemed to me that first Sabbath, that his prayers were particularly impressive, and his thanks to the Author and Giver of every perfect gift unusually appropriate; he seemed overpowered by a weight of gratitude and love.

How I admired the two as I glanced from one to the other! And I know that many prayers went up from that assembled congregation for long life and blessings on them.

It was a beautiful home that had been prepared for her. Her furniture had been sent on previous to their marriage, and our little band had vied with each other in arranging with a view both to taste and comfort. How we did wish for a peep into her own home, to get a hint with regard to arranging her things, so as to be home-like!

You know there is often so much in association, and we would have loved the new strange place to have a familiar look to her at first sight. Oh! what visions we conjured up as we arranged the room which was to serve both as parlour and dining-room; for the house was small, and Mr. B.’s study must be on the first floor. There was the best place for the piano between the windows, which looked into the garden; we heard in anticipation the sweet voice which was to fill the little room with melody, as the roses and flowers of June now filled the garden with fragrance. The pretty fire-screen must stand in a conspicuous corner, for that spoke particularly of home, and of the hours delightfully passed in the dear family circle while tracing it stitch by stitch; and I fancied that into each bright flower which stood out so life-like from the canvas some emotion of her heart had been indelibly wrought. How many lovely home associations will the pretty fire-screen bring up!

How we arranged, and disarranged, and re-arranged, before all was to our minds; and how we hoped, when all was finished, that it would look as charming to her as it did to us! And we were not disappointed; for, on the following Monday, when we called to see her, nothing could exceed the enthusiasm of her expression and gratitude; everything was lovely, perfect; she saw all en couleur de rose.