THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW.
For the touch of grief will render
My wild nature more serene,
Give to life new aspirations—
A new trust in the unseen.
"Henceforth, safe across the river,
I shall see forever more
A beloved, household spirit
Waiting for me on the shore.
Hope and faith, born of my sorrow,
Guardian angels shall become,
And the sister gone before me,
By their hands shall lead me home."
Blurred and blotted, faulty and feeble as the lines were, they brought a look of inexpressible comfort to Beth's face, for her one regret had been that she had done so little; and this seemed to assure her that her life had not been useless—that her death would not bring the despair she feared. As she sat with the paper folded between her hands, the charred log fell asunder. Jo started up, revived the blaze, and crept to the bedside, hoping Beth slept.
"Not asleep, but so happy, dear. See, I found this and read it; I knew you wouldn't care. Have I been all that to you, Jo?" she asked, with wistful, humble earnestness.
"Oh, Beth, so much, so much!" and Jo's head went down upon the pillow, beside her sister's.
"Then I don't feel as if I'd wasted my life. I'm not so good as you make me, but I have tried to do right; and now, when it's too late to begin even to do better, it's such a comfort to know that some one loves me so much, and feels as if I'd helped them."
"More than any one in the world, Beth. I used to