My Grandmother's Bracelet by Caroline Lee Hentz

We were all seated in a piazza, one beautiful summer's night. The moonbeams quivered through the interlacing vines that crept fantastically over the latticework that surrounded it. My grandmother sat in an arm-chair in the centre of the group, her arms quietly folded across her lap, her hair white and silvery as the moonbeams that lingered on its parted folds. She was the handsomest old lady I ever saw, my revered grandmother, and in the spring of her years had been a reigning belle. To me she was still beautiful, in the gentle quietude of life's evening shades, the dignity of chastened passions, waiting hopes, and sustaining religious faith. I was her favourite grandchild, and the place near her feet, the arm laid across her lap, the uplifted eye fixed steadfastly on her face, constant as the recurrence of the still night hour, told a story of love and devotion on my part, which defied all competition. As I sat this night, leaning on her lap, I held her hand in mine, and the thought that, a few more years, that hand must be cold in the grave, incapable of answering the glowing pressure of mine, made me draw a deep inspiration, and I almost imagined her complexion assumed an ashen hue, prophetical of death. The weather was warm, and she wore a large loose wrapper, with flowing sleeves, left unconfined at the wrist. As I moved her hand, the folds of the sleeve fell back, and something pure and bright glittered in the moonlight. She made a movement to draw down the sleeve, but the eager curiosity of childhood was not to be eluded. I caught her wrist, and baring it to the gaze of all, exclaimed—

"Only think—grandmother has got on a bracelet—a pearl  bracelet! Who would think of her indulging in such finery? Here are two sweet pearl lilies set together in a golden clasp, with golden leaves below them. Why, grandmother, you must be setting up for a bride!"

"It was a bridal gift," replied she, sliding the bracelet on her shrunken arm; "a bridal gift, made long ago. It was a foolish thought, child. I was looking over a casket, where I have deposited the choicest treasures of my youth, and I clasped it on my wrist, to see how my arm had fallen from its fair proportions. My mind became so lost in thinking of the story of this gem, I forgot to restore it to the place where it has so long lain, slumbering with the hoarded memories of other days."

"A story!" we all eagerly exclaimed,—"please tell it—you promised us one to-night."

"Ah! children, it is no fairy tale, about bright genii, and enchanted palaces, and ladies so beautiful that they bewitch every one who comes within the magic reach of their charms. It is a true tale, and has some sad passages in it."

"Grandmother," said I, in a dignified manner, "I hope you don't think me so silly as not to like anything because it is true. I have got over the Arabian Nights long ago, and I would rather hear something to make me feel sorry than glad—I always do feel sad when the moon shines on me, but I can't tell the reason why."

"Hush! Mina, and let grandmother tell her story—you always talk so much," said little Mitty, who sat on the other side of her venerable relative.

The old lady patted with one hand the golden head of the chider, but the arm clasped by the magic bracelet was still imprisoned by my fingers, and as she proceeded in its history, my grasp tightened and tightened from the intenseness of my interest, till she was compelled to beg me to release her.

"Yes," said she, in a musing tone, "there is a story depending on this, which I remember as vividly as if the events were of yesterday. I may forget what happened an hour ago, but the records of my youth are written in lines that grow deeper as time flows over them."

She looked up steadily for a few moments, appearing to my imagination like an inspired sibyl, then began as follows:

"When I was a young girl, I had no brothers or sisters, as you have, but was an only, I might say a lonely child, for my father was dead and my mother an invalid. When I returned  from school, I obtained permission to invite a sweet young cousin of mine, whose name was Eglantine, to be my companion. We were affluent, she was poor; and when my mother proposed to make our house her home, she accepted the offer with gratitude and joy. She was an interesting creature, of a peculiar temperament and exquisite sensibility. She was subject to fits of wonderful buoyancy, and equal despondency; sometimes she would warble all day, gay and untiring as the bird perched on yonder spray, then a soft melancholy would sit brooding on her brow, as if she feared some impending misfortune. This was probably owing to the peculiar circumstances of her infancy, for she was born during her mother's widowhood, and nursed by a mother's tears. A poetical friend had given her the name of Eglantine, and well did her beauty, sweetness, delicacy, and fragility justify the name. In our girlhood we grew together, like the friends of the Midsummer's Night, almost inseparable in body, and never divided in heart, by those little jealousies which sometimes interpose their barriers to young maidens' friendships. But I see little Mitty has fallen asleep already. My story is too grave for the light ears of childhood. I shall be obliged, too, to say something about love, and even you, Mina, are entirely too young to know anything of its influence."

"Oh! but I do know something, grandmother," exclaimed I, impulsively; "that is, I have read—I have thought"—I stammered and stopped, unable to express my own vague ideas.

"You may not be too young to sympathize, but certainly too young to feel," said my grandmother, mildly; "but, ardent and sympathizing as your nature is, it will be hard for you to carry back your mind to the time when all the warm passions and hopes of youth were glowing in my bosom. It is enough to say that there was one who came and rivalled Eglantine in my affections, one to whom I was betrothed, and to whom I was to be shortly wedded. It was on such an eve as this, so clear and bright, that he gave me the pledge of our betrothal, this bracelet of pearl, and clasped it on an arm which then filled the golden circlet. Perhaps you wonder that the first token of love should not have been a ring; but Ronald did not like to follow the track of other men, and even in trifles marked out for himself a peculiar and independent course. That night, when I retired to my chamber, I found Eglantine seated at the open window, apparently absorbed in  the contemplation of the starry heavens. She sat in a loose undress, her hair of pale gold hung unbound over her shoulders, and her head, being slightly thrown back, allowed the moonlight to flood her whole face with its unearthly radiance.

"'You look very beautiful and romantic, dear Eglantine,' said I, softly approaching her, and throwing my arms round her neck; 'but come down from the stars a little while, my sweet cousin, and share in my earthborn emotions.' My heart was too full of happiness, my spirits too excited, not to overflow in unreserved confidence in her bosom. She wept as I poured into her ears all my hopes, my recent vows, and future schemes of felicity. It was her usual manner of expressing deep sympathy, and I loved her the better for her tears. 'All I wonder at and blame in Ronald is,' and I spoke this in true sincerity, 'that he does not love you better than me. Never, till this evening, was I sure of his preference.'

"Eglantine withdrew herself from my arms, and turned her face to the shadow of the wall. There was something inexplicable in her manner that chilled, and even alarmed me. A thought, too painful to be admitted, darted for a moment to my mind. Could she be jealous of Ronald's love for me? Was my happiness to be built on the ruin of hers? No! it could not be. She probably feared my affections might become alienated from her in consequence of my new attachment. Such a fear was natural, and I hastened to remove it by the warmest professions, mingled with covert reproaches for her doubts and misgivings.

"I had a young waiting-maid, who, next to Eglantine, was the especial object of my regard. She was the daughter of a gentlewoman, who, from a series of misfortunes, was reduced to penury, to which was added the helplessness of disease. To relieve her mother from the pressure of immediate want, the young Alice offered herself as a candidate for a state of servitude, and I eagerly availed myself of the opportunity of securing the personal attendance of one so refined in manner and so winning in appearance. Alice now came forward, as was her custom, to assist me in preparing for my nightly rest. She was about to unclasp the bracelet from my wrist, but I drew back my arm. 'No, no, Alice,' said I, 'this is an amulet. Sweet dreams will come to my pillow, beckoned by its fairy power. I cannot sleep without it. See how beautifully the lilies gleam in the moonlight that gilds my couch.' Alice seemed as if she could never weary in admiring the  beauty of the ornament. She turned my arm to shift the rays, and catch the delicate colouring of the pearls, and looped up the sleeve of my night-dress in a fantastic manner, to display it fully to her gaze. Once or twice I thought I saw the eyes of Eglantine fastened upon it with a sad, wistful expression, and the same exquisitely painful thought again darted to my mind. I struggled against its admission, as degrading both to myself and her, and at last fell asleep, with my arm thrown on the outside of the bed, and the bracelet shining out in the pure night-beams. Alice slept in a little bed by the side of mine, for I could not bear that a creature so young and delicate, and so gentle bred, should share the apartments devoted to the servants, and be exposed to their rude companionship. She generally awoke me with her light touch or gentle voice, but when I awoke the next morning, I saw Alice still sleeping, with a flushed cheek and an attitude that betokened excitement and unrest. Eglantine sat at her window, reading, dressed with her usual care by her own graceful fingers. In the school of early poverty she had learned the glorious lesson of independence, a lesson which, in my more luxurious life, I had never acquired. 'Alice must be ill,' said I, rising, and approaching her bedside; 'she looks feverish, and her brows are knit, as if her dreams were fearful.' I bent down over her, and laid my hand upon her shoulder, to rouse her from her uneasy slumbers, when I started—for the precious bracelet was gone. Eglantine laid down her book at my sudden exclamation, and Alice, wakening, looked round her with a bewildered expression. 'My bracelet!' repeated I—'it is gone.' I flew to my couch; it was not there. I looked upon the carpet, in the vain hope that the clasp had unloosed, and that it had fallen during the night. 'Alice,' cried I, 'rise this moment, and help me to find my bracelet. You must know where it is. It never could have vanished without aid.' I fixed my eyes steadfastly on her face, which turned as hueless as marble. She trembled in every limb, and sunk down again on the side of the bed.

"'You do not think I have taken it, Miss Laura?" said she, gasping for breath.

"'I do not know what to think,' I answered, in a raised tone; 'but it is very mysterious, and your whole appearance and manner is very strange this morning, Alice. You must have been up in the night, or you would not have slept so unusually late——

"'Do not be hasty, Laura,' said Eglantine, in a sweet, soothing voice; 'it may yet be found. Perhaps it is clinging to your dress, concealed in its folds. Let me assist you in searching.' She unfolded the sheets, turned up the edges of the carpet, examined every corner where it might have been tossed, but all in vain. In the mean while Alice remained like one stupefied, following our movements with a pale, terrified countenance, without offering to participate in the search.

"'There is no use in looking longer, Eglantine,' said I, bitterly. 'I suspect Alice might assist us effectually to discover it, if she would. Nay, I will not say suspect—I believe—I dare to say, I know—for conscious guilt is written in glaring characters on her countenance.'

"'Do not make any rash accusations, Laura,' cried Eglantine; 'I acknowledge appearances are much against her, but I cannot think Alice capable of such ingratitude, duplicity, and meanness.'

"Alice here burst into a passionate fit of weeping, and declared, with wringing hands and choking sobs, that she would sooner die than commit so base and wicked a deed.

"'Oh! Miss Eglantine,' she exclaimed, 'didn't you take it in sport? It seems as if I saw you in a dream going up to Miss Laura, while she was asleep, and take it from her wrist, softly, and then vanish away. Oh! Miss Eglantine, the more I think of it the more I am sure I saw you,—all in sport, I know,—but please return it, or it will be death to me.'

"The blood seemed to boil up in the cheeks of Eglantine, so sudden and intense was the glow that mantled them.

"'I thought you innocent, Alice,' said she, 'but I see, with pain, that you are an unprincipled girl. How dare you attempt to impose on me the burthen of your crime? How dare you think of sheltering yourself under the shadow of my name?'

"The vague suspicions which the assertion of Alice had excited, vanished before the outraged looks and language of the usually gentle Eglantine. Alice must have been the transgressor, and in proportion to the affection and confidence I had reposed in her, and the transcendent value of the gift, was my indignation at the offence, and the strength of my resolution to banish her from me.

"'Restore it,' said I, 'and leave me. Do it quietly and immediately, and I will inflict no other punishment than your own reflections, for having abused so much love and trust.'

"'Search me, if you please, Miss Laura, and all that belongs to me,' replied Alice, in a firmer tone, 'but I cannot give back what I have never taken. I would not, for fifty thousand worlds, take what was not mine, and least of all from you, who have been so kind and good. I am willing to go, for I would rather beg my bread from door to door, than live upon the bounty of one who thinks me capable of such guilt:' with a composure that strangely contrasted with her late violent agitation, she arranged her dress, and was walking towards the door, when Eglantine arrested her—

"'Alice, Alice, you must be mad to persist in this course. Confess the whole, return the bracelet, and Laura may yet forgive you. Think of your sick mother. How can you go to her in shame and disgrace?'

"At the mention of her mother, Alice wept afresh, and putting her hand to her head, exclaimed—

"'I feel very, very sick. Perhaps we shall die together, and then God will take pity on us. The great God knows I am innocent of this crime.'

"Grandmother," interrupted I, unable to keep silence any longer, "tell me if she was not innocent. I know she must have been. Who could have taken it?"

"Do you think Eglantine more likely to have stolen it from her cousin, who was to her, as it were, another soul and being?"

"Oh! no," I replied, "but I shall feel unhappy till I discover the thief. Please, grandmother, go on. Did Alice really go away?"

"Yes, my child," answered my grandmother, in a faltering voice, "she went, though my relenting heart pleaded for her to linger. Her extreme youth and helplessness, her previous simplicity and truthfulness, and her solemn asseverations of innocence, all staggered my belief in her guilt. It was a mystery which grew darker as I attempted to penetrate it. If Alice were innocent, who could be guilty—Eglantine? Such thought was sacrilege to her pure and elevated character, her tried affection for me, her self-respect, dignity, and truth. Alice returned to her mother, in spite of our permission for her to remain till the subject could be more fully investigated.

"When the door closed upon her retreating form, I sat down by the side of Eglantine, and wept. The fear that I had unjustly accused the innocent, the possibility, nay, the probability that she was guilty, the loss of the first pledge of  plighted love, indefinite terrors for the future, a dim shade of superstition brooding over the whole, all conspired to make me gloomy and desponding. We were all unhappy. Ronald tried to laugh at my sadness, and promised me 'gems from the mine, and pearls from the ocean,' to indemnify me for my loss, yet I watched every change of his expressive countenance, and knew he thought deeply and painfully on the subject. The strange suspicion which had risen in my mind the preceding night, with regard to Eglantine's feelings towards him, revived when I saw them together, and I wondered I had not observed before the fluctuations of her complexion, and the agitation of her manner whenever he addressed her. He had always treated her with the kindness of a brother—that kindness now made me unhappy. I was becoming suspicious, jealous, and self-distrustful, with a settled conviction that some strange barrier existed to my union with Ronald, a destiny too bright and too beautiful to be realized in this world of dreams and shadows. My mother was firm in her belief of the guilt of Alice, who had never been a favourite of hers. Perhaps I lavished upon her too many indulgences, which displeased my mother's soberer judgment. She forbade all intercourse with her, all mention of her name, but she was ever present to my imagination; sometimes the shameless ingrate and accomplished deceiver, at others the eloquent pleader of her outraged innocence. One day Eglantine came to me, and laid her hand on mine with a look of unspeakable dismay—

"'I have heard,' said she, 'that Alice is dying. Let us go to her, Laura, and save her, if it be not too late.'

"What I felt at hearing these words I never can tell,—they pressed upon me with such a weight of grief—her innocence seemed as clear to me as noonday—my own unkindness as cruel as the grave. Quickly as possible we sought the cottage where her mother dwelt, and a piteous spectacle met our eyes. There lay Alice, on a little bed, pale, emaciated, and almost unconscious; her once bright hair dim and matted; her sweet blue eyes sunk and half closed; her arms laid listlessly by her side, the breath coming faint and flutteringly from her parted lips. On another bed lay her poor, heart-broken mother, unable to relieve the sufferings of her she would gladly have died to save. Frantic with grief, I threw myself by the side of Alice, and disturbed the solemn stillness of the death-hour with my incoherent ravings. I declared her innocence; I called upon her to live, to live for my sake, and  throwing my arms wildly round her wasted form, struggled to hold her back from the grave yawning beneath her. It was in vain to cope with Omnipotence. Alice died, even in the midst of my agonies, and it was long before I was able to listen to the story of her illness, as related by her disconsolate mother. She had returned home sick and feverish, and sick and feverish she evidently was on her first awakening, and that wounded spirit, which none can bear, acting on a diseased frame, accelerated the progress of her fever till it settled on her brain, producing delirium, and ultimately death. During all her delirium, she was pleading her cause with an angel's eloquence, declaring her innocence, and blessing me as her benefactress and friend."

Here my grandmother paused, and covered her eyes with her handkerchief. I laid my head on her lap, and the ringlets of little Mitty's hair were wet with my tears. I felt quite broken-hearted, and ready to murmur at Providence for placing me in a world so full of error and woes.

"Did you ever feel happy again, dear grandmother?" asked I, when I ventured to break the silence,—curiosity was completely merged in sympathy.

"Yes, Mina, I have had hours of happiness, such as seldom falls to the lot of woman, but those bright hours were like the shining of the gold that comes forth purified from the furnace of fire. The mother of Alice soon followed her to the grave, and there they sleep, side by side, in the lonely churchyard. Eglantine soothed and comforted me, and endeavoured to stifle the self-upbraidings that ever sounded dolefully to my heart. Alice had been the victim of inexplicable circumstances, and so far from having been cruel, I had been kind and forbearing, considering the weight of evidence against her. Thus reasoned Eglantine, and I tried to believe her, but all my hopes of joy seemed blighted, for how could I mingle the wreath of love with the cypress boughs that now darkened my path? Ronald pressed an immediate union, but I shrunk with superstitious dread from the proposition, and refused the ring, with which he now sought to bind my faith. 'No, no,' I cried, 'the pledges of love are not for me—I will never accept another.'

"My mother grew angry at my fatalism. 'You are nursing phantasies,' said she, 'that are destroying the brightness of your youth. You are actually making yourself old, ere yet in your bloom. See, if there are not actually streaks of gray  threading your jetty hair.' I rose and stood before a mirror, and shaking my hair loose from the confining comb, saw that her words were true. Here and there a gleam of silver wandered through those tresses which had always worn that purple depth of hue peculiar to the raven's plumage. The chill that penetrated my heart on the death-bed of Alice, had thus suddenly and prematurely frosted the dark locks of my youth. My mother became alarmed at my excessive paleness, and proposed a journey for the restoration of my spirits and health. Ronald eagerly supported the suggestion, but Eglantine declined accompanying us. She preferred, she said, being alone. With books at home, and Nature, in the glory of its summer garniture, abroad, she could not want sources of enjoyment. I did not regret her determination, for her presence had become strangely oppressive to me, and even Ronald's manners had assumed an embarrassment and constraint towards her very different from their usual familiarity. The night before our departure I felt more melancholy than ever. It was just such a night as the one that witnessed our ill-starred betrothal. The moon came forth from behind a bed of white clouds, silvering every flake as it floated back from her beauteous face, and diffusing on earth the wondrous secret of heavenly communion. I could not sleep; and as I lay gazing on the solemn tranquillity of the night heavens, I thought of the time when 'those heavens should be rolled together as a scroll, and the elements melt with fervent heat,' and I, still thinking, living, feeling, in other, grander, everlasting scenes, the invisible dweller of my bosom's temple assumed such magnitude and majesty in my eyes, the contemplation became overwhelming and awful. The sublime sound of the clock striking the midnight hour—and all who have heard that sound in the dead silence of the night, can attest that it is sublime—broke in on my deep abstraction. Eglantine, who had lain wrapped in peaceful slumbers, here softly drew back the bed-cover, and rising slowly, walked round with stilly steps to the side where I reclined, and stood looking fixedly upon me. 'Eglantine!' I exclaimed, terrified at her attitude and singular appearance. 'Eglantine, what is the matter?' She answered not, moved not, but remained standing, immovable, with her eyes fixed and expressionless as stone. There she stood, in the white moonlight, in her long, loose night-dress, which hung around her, in her stillness, like the folds of the winding-sheet, her hair streaming down her back in long, lifeless tresses, and lighted up on  her brow with a kind of supernatural radiance—and then those death-resembling eyes! I trembled, and tried to draw the sheet over my face, to shut out the appalling vision. After a few moments, which seemed interminable to me, she bent over me, and taking my right hand, felt of my wrist again and again. Her fingers were as cold as marble. My very blood seemed to congeal under her touch. 'It is gone,' murmured she, 'but it is safe—I have it safe. It fits my wrist as well as hers.' Terrified as I was at this unexpected apparition, my mind was clear, and never were my perceptions more vivid. The mystery of the bracelet was about to be unravelled. Poor Alice's assertion that she had seen Eglantine standing by my side, and taking the bracelet from my wrist, came back thundering in my ears. 'It is gone,' replied Eglantine, in the same low, deep voice, 'but I know where it is laid; where the bridegroom or the bride can never find it. Perhaps the moon shines too brightly on it, and reveals the spot.' Thus saying, she glided across the floor, with spirit-like tread, and opening the door, disappeared. In the excess of my excitement I forgot my fears, and hastily rising, followed her footsteps, determined to unravel the mystery, if I died in the act. I could catch the glimpses of her white garments through the shadows of the winding staircase, and I pursued them with rapid steps, till I found myself close behind her, by the door which opened into the garden. There she stood, still as a corpse, and again the cold dew of superstitious terror gathered on my brow. I soon saw a fumbling motion about the keyhole, and the door opening, she again glided onward towards the summer-house, my favourite retreat, the place where I had received this mysterious bracelet—the place where Flora had collected all her wealth of bloom. She put aside the drooping vines, sending out such a cloud of fragrance on the dewy air, I almost fainted from their oppression, and stooping down over a white rose-bush, carefully removed the lower branches, while the rose-leaves fell in a snowy shower over her naked feet. 'Where is it?' said she, feeling about in the long grass. 'It isn't in the spot where I hid it. If she has found it, she may yet be a bride, and Ronald still her own.' She stooped down lower over the rose-bush, then rising hastily, I saw, with inexpressible agitation, the lost bracelet shining in the light that quivered with ghostlike lustre on her pallid face. With a most unearthly smile she clasped it on her wrist, and left the arbour, muttering in a low voice, 'I will not leave it here—lest she  find out where it lies, and win back her bridal gift. I will keep it next my own heart, and she cannot reach it there.' Once more I followed the gliding steps of Eglantine, through the chill silence of night, till we ascended the stairs, and entered our own chamber. Quietly she laid herself down, as if she had just risen from her knees in prayer, and I perceived by her closed lids and gentle breathing, that a natural sleep was succeeding the inexplicable mysteries of somnambulism."

"She was walking in her sleep, then, grandmother!" I exclaimed, drawing a long breath. "I thought so all the time; and poor Alice was really innocent! And what did Eglantine say the next morning, when she awaked, and found the bracelet on her arm?"

"She was astonished and bewildered, and knew not what to think; but when I told her of all the events of the night, the truth of which the bracelet itself attested, she sunk back like one stricken with death. So many thoughts crowded upon her at once in such force, it is no wonder they almost crushed her with their power. The conviction that her love for Ronald could no longer be concealed, the remembrance of the accusation of Alice, which she had so indignantly repelled, the apparent meanness and turpitude of the art, though performed without any conscious volition on her part, the belief that another had been the victim of her involuntary crime, all united to bow her spirit to the dust. My heart bled at the sight of her distress, and, every feeling wrought up to unnatural strength by the exciting scenes I had witnessed, I promised never to wed Ronald, since the thought of our union had evidently made her so unhappy. Eglantine contended against this resolution with all her eloquence, but, alas! she was not destined long to oppose the claims of friendship to the pleadings of love. Her constitution was naturally frail, a fragility indicated by the extreme delicacy and mutability of her complexion, and the profusion of her pale golden hair. Day by day she faded—night by night she continued her mysterious rambles to the spot where she had first deposited the bracelet, till she had no longer strength to leave her bed, when her soul seemed to commune with the cherubim and seraphim, which, I doubt not, in their invisible glory surrounded her nightly couch. As she drew near the land of shadows, she lost sight of the phantom of earthly love in aspirations after a heavenly union. She mourned over her ill-directed sensibilities, her wasted opportunities, her selfish brooding over forbidden hopes and imaginings.  She gave herself up in penitence and faith to her Redeemer, in submission to her Father and her God; and her soul at last passed away as silently and gently as the perfume from the evening flower into the bosom of eternity."

"Oh! grandmother, what a melancholy story you have told," cried I, looking at the bracelet more intently than ever, the vivid feelings of curiosity subdued and chastened by such sad revealings; "but did not you marry Ronald at last?"

"Yes," replied she, looking upward with mournful earnestness; "the beloved grandfather, who has so often dandled you in his arms, in this very spot where we are now seated, whose head, white with the snows of threescore years and ten, now reposes on the pillow all the living must press,—who now awaits me, I trust, in the dwellings of immortality, was that once youthful Ronald, whose beauty and worth captivated the affections of the too sensitive Eglantine. Many, many years of happiness has it been my blessed lot to share with him on earth. The memories of Alice and Eglantine, softened by time, were robbed of their bitterness, and only served to endear us more tenderly to each other. The knowledge we had gained of the frailty and uncertainty of life, led us to lift our views to a more enduring state of existence, and love, hallowed by religion, became a sublime and holy bond, imperishable as the soul, and lofty as its destinies. I have lived to see my children's children gather around me, like the olive branches of scripture, fair and flourishing. I have lived to see the companion of my youth and age consigned to the darkness of the grave, and I have nothing more to do on earth but to fold the mantle of the spirit quietly around me, and wait the coming of the Son of Man."

I looked up with reverence in my grandmother's face as she thus concluded the eventful history of the Pearl Bracelet, and I thought what a solemn and beautiful thing was old age when the rays of the Sun of Righteousness thus illumed its hoary hair, and converted it into an emblematic crown of glory.