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Duck Lake
Chapter XVII. Good-bye, my Boy; I Love you

‘AND you are not going to prosecute that man for shooting you!’ exclaimed the Warden to Mr. Hewitt that evening.

‘What’s there to prosecute him for? He couldn’t be made better by a thousand years in jail.’

‘Why, man, if all men acted in this way we might close up our jails and send our magistrates and constables on an eternal holiday.’

‘Oh, happy day, to be honestly desired, eh, Mr. Warden?’

‘Well, you are merry to-night,’ said Mr. Fitzgerald. ‘I’ll bet your shoulder hurts and burns like fire. Are you merriest when your body is most twisted with pain?'

‘Why, my friend, think of the rest that I have enjoyed and the number of servants I have had to-night to run around and do my work! And then God has been so good.’

'I am afraid that you are over-excited. Be careful, my boy.’

'Mr. Fitzgerald, please don’t!'

'Don’t what?’

'Don’t play the tempter, and rob God of His praise. We have certainly been shaken up in body, but God has graciously visited this place to-day, and I hope that you will not miss His blessing.’

'Well,’ confessed the Warden, 'this is all new to me. I’ve attended a few religious services, and have heard preachers declaim about the promised outpouring of the Spirit of God, but I never saw it on this wise before.’

'May you do so again and again/ said the preacher.

'It is certainly touching and hallowing. I wish Horace had been here to-night. You have been a great blessing to him. You have been to us all, and we hope that you will not receive any permanent ill from your wound.’

‘You are very kind to say all this, but I shall be up to-morrow. Chubb wants me and my mission needs me.’

‘Then I’ll send Horace and his wife over here to keep you in bed,’ declared the Warden, ‘and I’ll leave Jonas here to keep you down until they come. Come, Green, you have been as quiet as a lamb to-night. You haven’t let a bleat out of you, except to Chubb. Come and help me put Hewitt to bed.’

‘All right,’ responded the teacher, promptly rising from his seat beside the bed; ‘but my thoughts have not been idle, Mr. Fitzgerald. I believe Hewitt will make new men out of all of us.’

‘Hello, another convert, eh?’ said the Warden, cheerily. ‘Now look out, men! Mr. Hewitt’s arm is as touchy as quick. Jonas, that’s the man. You can be as brave as a lion and as delicate as a dove.’

So Mr. Hewitt was carefully undressed and placed beside Chubb in the Parsonage bed. The teacher and the Warden soon afterward took their departure. The teacher went back to inform Mr. and Mrs. Miller what had become of Jennie, and warmed their godly souls with a tender account of what had taken place. Mr. Miller’s prayer that night was full of shouting, and his praises took many practical forms.

The Warden spent the night with his cousin, though he could hardly restrain that impetuous individual from going over at once to see the preacher. It was with difficulty he persuaded him that he had left Hewitt all right, with Jonas to wait on him, and warned him that his visit would only disturb him.

So, with Jonas as their nurse, Chubb and Mr. Hewitt passed the night. Their sufferings were too many and too intense for perfect sleep, but their hours of wakefulness were not all unrelieved pain.

Chubb seemed as happy as the preacher, and as the morning light was breaking in the east he confided to his bed-fellow—

‘When pa kissed me good-bye last night, he said, “Good-bye, my boy, I love you.”

‘Wasn’t that fine?’ commented the preacher.

Then there was a long pause in the conversation. The light was growing brighter and brighter.

‘And—and I love him too,’ added Chubb, bravely.

‘God bless you, Chubb, and make your love perfect.’

Chubb watched the increasing light with interest. He seemed to forget all about his pain-racked body. Then, as the sun rose, in delight he exclaimed—

‘Oh, Mr. Hewitt, was ever the sun so beautiful? He seems to shine right into my insides.’

‘Yes, Chubb, forgiving love shines right into the heart, and leaves no darkness at all. That is the light that Jesus gives us, and it is sweet and blessed all the time.’

‘Then I want this Jesus light all the time. Just listen to the birds singing, and my heart is also singing.’

‘Let us have a song too, Chubb.’

Softly at first the preacher sang—

‘There’s sunshine in my soul to-day,
More glorious and bright
Than glows in any earthly sky,
For Jesus is my light.’

Then more rapturously he sang the chorus, and Chubb joined him—

‘Oh, there’s sunshine, blessed sunshine,
While the peaceful, happy moments roll;
When Jesus shows His smiling face,
There is sunshine in my soul.’

From his couch Jonas jumped up in a hurry.

‘Beg pardon. Jonas,’ said the preacher, ‘for arousing you. It was very selfish and thoughtless of us, but Chubb and I are so happy that we just couldn’t help it.’

‘Some more sing,’ said Jonas.

‘And Jonas sing too,’ said Chubb.

'Jonas try,’ said the Indian, as the sun lit up a smile upon his swarthy features.

So the preacher sang on—

‘There’s music in my soul to-day,
A carol to my King;
And Jesus, listening, can hear
The songs I cannot sing.

There’s springtime in my soul to-day,
For when the Lord is near
The dove of peace sings in my heart,
The flowers of grace appear.

There’s gladness in my soul to-day,
And hope, and praise, and love,
For blessings which He gives me now,
For joys laid up above.’

At the end of each stanza the chorus was repeated. Thus Jonas was enabled to pick up the words and melody, and something more. For the spirit of love and happiness in the others was contagious.

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