Effects of Disobedience by Unknown

The following affecting narrative was related by a father to his son, as a warning, from his own bitter experience of the sin of resisting a mother's love and counsel.

What agony was on my mother's face when all that she had said and suffered failed to move me. She rose to go home and I followed at a distance. She spoke to me no more until she reached her own door.

"It is school time now," she said. "Go, my son, and once more let me beseech you to think upon what I have said."

"I shan't go to school," said I.

She looked astonished at my boldness, but replied firmly:—

"Certainly you will, Alfred! I command you!"

"I will not," said I.

"One of two things you must do, Alfred—either go to school this minute, or I will lock you up in your room, and keep you there until you promise implicit obedience to my wishes in the future."

"I dare you to do it," I said; "you can't get me up stairs."

"Alfred, choose now," said my mother, who laid her hand upon my arm. She trembled violently and was deadly pale.

[Illustration: <i>"Take this boy up stairs and lock him in his room."</i>]

"If you touch me, I will kick you!" said I in a fearful rage. God knows I knew not what I said.

"Will you go, Alfred?"

"No," I replied, but I quailed beneath her eyes.

"Then follow me," said she as she grasped my arm firmly. I raised my foot,—O, my son, hear me,—I raised my foot and kicked her—my sainted mother! How my head reels as the torrent of memory rushes over me. I kicked my mother, a feeble woman—my mother. She staggered back a few steps and leaned against the wall. She did not look at me.

"O, heavenly Father," she cried, "forgive him, he knows not what he does." The gardener, just then passing the door, and seeing my mother pale and almost unable to support herself, came in.

[Illustration: "<i>It was my sister</i>."]

"Take this boy up stairs and lock him in his room," said she, and turned from me. She gave me a look of agony, mingled with most intense love, from a true and tender heart that was broken.

In a moment I found myself a prisoner in my own room. I thought for a moment I would fling myself from the open window, but I felt that I was afraid to die. I was not penitent. At times my heart was subdued, but my stubbornness rose in an instant, and bade me not yield yet.

The pale face of my mother haunted me. I flung myself on my bed and fell asleep. Just at twilight I heard a footstep approach my door. It was my sister.

"What shall I tell mother for you?" she said.

"Nothing," I replied.

"O, Alfred, for my sake and for all our sakes, say that you are sorry. She longs to forgive you."

I would not answer. I heard her footsteps slowly retreating, and flung myself on the bed to pass a wretched night.

Another footstep, slower and more feeble than my sister's, disturbed me. "Alfred, my son, shall I come in?" she asked.

I cannot tell what influence made me speak adverse to my feelings. The gentle voice of my mother, that thrilled me, melted the ice from my heart, and I longed to throw myself upon her neck; but I did not. My words gave the lie to my heart when I said I was not sorry. I heard her withdraw. I heard her groan. I longed to call her back, but I did not.

I was awakened from an uneasy slumber by hearing my name called loudly, and my sister stood by my bedside:—

"Get up, Alfred! Don't wait a minute. Get up and come with me, mother is dying!"

I thought I was yet dreaming, but I got up mechanically, and followed my sister. On the bed, pale as marble, lay my mother. She was not yet undressed. She had thrown herself upon the bed to rest, and rising again to go to me she was seized with heart failure, and borne to her room.

I cannot tell you my agony as I looked upon her,—my remorse was tenfold more bitter from the thought that she never would know it. I believed myself to be her murderer. I fell on the bed beside her; I could not weep. My heart burned within me; my brain was on fire. My sister threw her arms around me and wept in silence. Suddenly we saw a motion of mother's hand; her eyes unclosed. She had recovered her consciousness, but not her speech.

"Mother, mother!" I shrieked; "say only that you forgive me."

She could not speak, but her hand pressed mine. She looked upon me, and lifting her thin, white hands, she clasped my own within them, and cast her eyes upward. She moved her lips in prayer, and thus died. I remained kneeling beside that dear form till my sister removed me; but the joy of youth had left me forever.

Boys who spurn a mother's counsel, who are ashamed to own that they are wrong, who think it manly to resist her authority, or yield to her influence, beware. One act of disobedience may cause a blot that a life-time can not wipe out. Wrong words and wrong actions make wounds that leave their scars.

Be warned; subdue the first rising of temper, and give not utterance to the bitter thought. Shun the fearful effects of disobedience. Lay not up for yourselves sad memories for future years.