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My Mother
by [?]

“But Mr. Evans is so old,” reiterated Lydia.

“Only thirty,” answered the sister; “and he is such a splendid missionary, dear.”

Love? No one talked of love in that household except the contradictory father, who continually talked of the love of God, but forgot to reflect that love towards his own children.

Human love was considered a non-essential in that family. Beautiful-spirited Elizabeth had hardly heard the word. Even Mr. Evans had not made use of it. He had selected her as his wife more for her loveliness of character than from any personal attraction, and she in her untaught womanhood married him, more for the reason that she desired to be a laborer in Christ’s vineyard than because of any wish to be the wife of this one man.

But after the marriage ceremony, this gentle girl looked boldly into her father’s eyes and said:

“I am going to take Liddy with me into the wilds of Canada.”

“Well, well, well!” said her father, English-fashion. “If she wants to go, she may.”

Go? The child fairly clung to the fingers of this saviour-sister–the poor little, inexperienced, seventeen-year-old bride who was giving up her youth and her girlhood to lay it all upon the shrine of endeavour to bring the radiance of the Star that shone above Bethlehem to reflect its glories upon a forest-bred people of the North!

It was a long, strange journey that the bride and her little sister took. A stage coach conveyed them from their home in Ohio to Erie, Pennsylvania, where they went aboard a sailing vessel bound for Buffalo. There they crossed the Niagara River, and at Chippewa, on the Canadian side, again took a stage coach for the village of Brantford, sixty miles west.

At this place they remained over night, and the following day Mr. Evans’ own conveyance arrived to fetch them to the Indian Reserve, ten miles to the southeast.

In after years little Lydia used to tell that during that entire drive she thought she was going through an English avenue leading up to some great estate, for the trees crowded up close to the roadway on either side, giant forest trees–gnarled oaks, singing firs, jaunty maples, graceful elms–all stretching their branches overhead. But the “avenue” seemed endless. “When do we come to the house?” she asked, innocently. “This lane is very long.”

But it was three hours, over a rough corduroy road, before the little white frame parsonage lifted its roof through the forest, its broad verandahs and green outside shutters welcoming the travellers with an atmosphere of home at last.

As the horses drew up before the porch the great front door was noiselessly opened and a lad of seventeen, lithe, clean-limbed, erect, copper-colored, ran swiftly down the steps, lifted his hat, smiled, and assisted the ladies to alight. The boy was Indian to the finger-tips, with that peculiar native polish and courtesy, that absolute ease of manner and direction of glance, possessed only by the old-fashioned type of red man of this continent. The missionary introduced him as “My young friend, the church interpreter, Mr. George Mansion, who is one of our household.” (Mansion, or “Grand Mansion,” is the English meaning of this young Mohawk’s native name.)

The entire personality of the missionary seemed to undergo a change as his eyes rested on this youth. His hitherto rather stilted manner relaxed, his eyes softened and glowed, he invited confidence rather than repelled it; truly his heart was bound up with these forest people; he fairly exhaled love for them with every breath. He was a man of marked shyness, and these silent Indians made him forget this peculiarity of which he was sorrowfully conscious. It was probably this shyness that caused him to open the door and turn to his young wife with the ill-selected remark: “Welcome home, madam.”

Madam! The little bride was chilled to the heart with the austere word. She hurried within, followed by her wondering child-sister, as soon as possible sought her room, then gave way to a storm of tears.