Cousin Maude Part 20

And now, with one more glance at Maude, we bring our story to a close. It is Easter, and over the earth the April sun shines brightly, just as it shone on the Judean hills eighteen hundred years ago. The Sabbath bells are ringing, and the merry peal which comes from the Methodist tower bespeaks in John a frame of mind unsuited to the occasion. Since forsaking the Episcopalians, he had seldom attended their service, but this morning, after his task is done, he will steal quietly across the common to the old stone church, where James De Vere and Maude sing together the glorious Easter Anthem. Maude formerly sang the alto, but in the old world her voice was trained to the higher notes, and to-day it will be heard in the choir where it has so long been missed.

The bells have ceased to toll, and a family group come slowly up the aisle. Dr. Kennedy, slightly bent, his white hair shading a brow from which much of his former sternness has gone, and his hand shaking but slightly as he opens the pew door and then steps back for the lady to enter, the lady Maude Glendower, who walks not as proudly as of old. She, too, has been made better by adversity, and though she will never love the palsied man, her husband, she will be to him a faithful wife, and a devoted mother to his boy, who in the square, old-fashioned pew sits where his eye can rest upon his beautiful sister, as her snowy fingers sweep once more the organ keys, which tremble joyfully as it were to the familiar touch. Low, deep-toned, and heavy is the prelude to the song, and they who listen feel the floor tremble beneath their feet. Then a strain of richest melody echoes through the house, arid the congregation hold their breath, as Maude De Vere sings to them of the Pa.s.sover once sacrificed for us.

And now, shall we not leave them thus with the holy Easter light streaming up the aisles and the sweet music of the Easter song dying on the air?

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