A poor emigrant had gone to Australia to |make his fortune,| leaving a wife and little son in England. When he had made some money, he wrote home to his wife: |Come out to me here; I send the money for your passage; I want to see you and my boy.| The wife took ship as soon as she could, and started for her new home. One night, as they were all asleep there sounded the dreaded cry of |Fire, fire!| Everyone rushed on deck and the boats were soon filled. The last one was just pushing off then a cry of |there are two more on deck,| arose. They were the mother and her son. Alas! |Only room for one,| the sailors shouted. Which was to go? The mother thought of her far away home, her husband looking out lovingly and longingly for his wife. Then she glanced at the boy, clinging frightened to her skirts. She could not let him die. There was no time to lose. Quick! quick! The flames were getting around. Snatching the child, she held him to her a moment. |Willie, tell Father I died for you!| Then the boy as lowered into the sailor's willing arms. She died for him.
|I DON'T LOVE YOU NOW, MOTHER|
A great many years ago, I knew a lady who had been sick for two years, as you have seen many a one, all the while slowly dying with consumption. She had one child -- a little boy named Henry.
One afternoon I was sitting by her side and it seemed as if she would cough her life away. Her little boy stood by the post of the bed, his blue eyes filled with tears to see her suffer so. By and by the terrible cough ceased. Henry came and put his arms around his mother's neck, nestled his head in his mother's bosom, and said, |Mother, I do love you; I wish you wasn't sick.|
An hour later, the same loving, blue-eyed boy came in all aglow, stamping the snow off his feet.
|Oh, Mother, may I go skating? it is so nice -- Ed and Charlie are going.|
|Henry,| feebly said the mother, |the ice is not hard enough yet.|
|But, Mother,| very pettishly said the boy, |you are sick all the time -- how do you know?|
|My child, you must obey me,| gently said his mother.
|It is too bad,| angrily sobbed the boy, who an hour ago had so loved his mother.
|I would not like to have my little boy go,| said the mother, looking sadly at the little boy's face, all covered with frowns; |you said you loved me -- be good.|
|No, I don't love you now, Mother,| said the boy, going out and slamming the door.
Again that dreadful coughing came upon her, and we thought no more of the boy. After the coughing had commenced, I noticed tears falling thick upon her pillow, but she sank from exhaustion into a light sleep.
In a little while muffled steps of men's feet were heard coming into the house, as though carrying something; and they were carrying the almost lifeless body of Henry.
Angrily had he left his mother and gone to skate -- disobeying her; and then broken through the ice, sunk under the water, and now saved by a great effort, was brought home barely alive to his sick mother.
I closed the doors feeling more danger for her life than the child's and coming softly in, drew back the curtains from the bed. She spoke, |I heard them -- it is Henry; oh, I knew he went -- is he dead?| But she never seemed to hear the answer I gave her. She commenced coughing -- she died in agony -- strangled to death. The poor mother! The boy's disobedience killed her.
After a couple of hours I sought the boy's room.
|Oh, I wish I had not told mother I did not love her. Tomorrow I will tell her I do,| said the child sobbing painfully. My heart ached; tomorrow I knew we must tell him she was dead. We did not till the child came fully into the room, crying, |Mother, I do love you.|
Oh! may I never see agony like that child's, as the lips he kissed gave back no kiss, as the hands he took fell lifeless from his hand, instead of shaking his hand as it always had, and the boy knew she was dead.
|Mother, I do love you now,| all the day he sobbed and cried, |O Mother, Mother, forgive me.| Then he would not leave his mother. |Speak to me, Mother!| but she could never speak again, and he -- the last words she had ever heard him say, were, |Mother, I don't love you now.|
That boy's whole life was changed; sober and sad he was ever after. He is now a gray haired old man, with one sorrow over his one act of disobedience, one wrong word embittering all his life -- with those words ever ringing in his ears, |Mother, I don't love you now.|
Will the little ones who read this remember, if they disobey their mother, if they are cross and naughty, they say every single time they do so, to a tender mother's heart, by their actions if not in the words of Henry, the very same thing, |I don't love you now, Mother.|