THE following afternoon, Father Kino was so much better that he sat out on the remado again for a while. Brother Ramirez was with him. It was as perfect a day as we sometimes see in early June in a northern latitude. The brilliant hues of the heavens had absorbed the lightest clouds, the sun gleamed on the giant tops of the mountains, summit rising above summit, and the whole land was full of those beautiful shadows, broken by rich bursts of sunshine, which make the autumn such a delightful season. The air was clear and warm, and seemed to Father Kino a perfect elixir.
‘‘It should absorb the soul, and fill it with beauty,’’ replied Brother Ramirez, ‘‘the spirit seeks rest in beauty, and when the thought of beauty first comes to us, it suggests flowers and trees, water and mountains, all the features of nature's beautiful landscapes; this is real life, all else is artificial.’’
‘‘I thought when I first came here from Germany, that I would never feel at home among these barren wastes and verdureless hills and mountains, but I have learned to love them, and have found nature even here a great comforter and consoler; they seem to have grown mystic and hallowed, and from them I have gathered a spiritual yearning which seems a link with Divinity.’’
‘‘There are higher things that I hope for than the mere talk of tongues; the Pythagoreans did well to make good to be finite and certain, evil to be infinite and uncertain. My ever hopeful activity has come from the enthusiasm for humanity as well, I hope, as from an inspiration. A great teacher has said
‘‘Nor of any people, my son. It is the heart we wish to reach, and we could not do that by taking away from them the living humanities and giving them the problems of Euclid instead. But in all I have done for them I have been the mere servant, the mere instrument of my Divine Master. In the enthusiasm and love for humanity must ever rest much of the success of mission work; we must recognize in the heathen a man of like passions for good or evil as ourselves.’’
‘‘My object has been to claim them for their Maker; to teach them that it is the divine purpose of life which is the ultimate aim of man's existence, and its justification of the sorrows and misfortunes which here
‘‘Catiche, must always remain with her. She is so young, she knows nothing of sin or sorrow; guard her from both, if possible. The young err often from mistaken zeal or enthusiasm, which time and patience will correct and quiet; be patient with her and tender of her. But I am sure I need not enjoin this upon you, it is your nature to be tender with everything, and I know you must have learned to love Manuelita, not as I did, of course, who have watched every step she has taken for twenty long years, listened with all a father's love for every syllable her gentle lips have uttered, but you must have learned to
How little the good father knew of the tumult that was going on in this poor brother's breast. When he said, ‘‘Be tender and patient with Manuelita,’’ and spoke of his having ‘‘learned to love her,’’ poor Louis Ramirez could with difficulty control his emotion. He had for months been laboring, through partial convalescence, from a moral fever, with such frequent relapses that they had shaken his physical as well as moral nature; his nervous system was completely unstrung. As he paused a few moments to master his emotion sufficiently to be able to reply, Father Kino turned to him and was shocked by the expression of his face.
Something of the same thought had come to Father Kino during this conversation, to impart to Louis Ramirez his discovery of Manuelita's love for Balthazar Carillo, and take counsel with him upon the best course to pursue in discouraging it; but when he saw how wretched and how ill he seemed, he determined to defer it for some other conversation
Noble resolves laid hold upon him and helped to calm this struggle; a stillness fell upon his mind, and his whole moral atmosphere became clear again; a noble strength of purpose subdued all excitability and crushed out all passion from his soul; but again all this would grow weaker and weaker, and he would find himself again upon the level of the old passion. Love is stronger than resolve; its hopes, its desires, its absorptions again filled his soul with an uncontrollable
How all time seemed to this poor soul to converge itself as it were into the burning glass of the moment; his path now chosen must decide his fate—long and earnestly he prayed, ‘‘Oh, my blessed Saviour, by Thy Cross and Passion, let this cup pass from me;’’ and as he repeated these words over and over again, a calmness fell upon him—it seemed to him the calmness of despair; and then a voice came to him, ‘‘Come unto Me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’’ Blessed hope, blessed comfort, he felt.
When he arose from the ground it was quite dark, the crescent of the young moon was just rising above the horizon, silvering the amber clouds as they floated into heaven's blue depths, the dark shadows on the mountains
As he looked upon all nature so quiet, so peaceful, a great calmness that was not the calmness of despair stole upon him: he had fought the battle and his soul had conquered; he could now say, ‘‘Oh, my Father, not my will, but Thine be done.’’
‘‘Yes, Canoche, it is pleasant to see you once more. we have worked many years together, and you must soon work without me, my faithful friend. Brother Ramirez and others, who will come after me, will help you.’’
‘‘And the Christian's God will not desert you, He will send you many friends. I depend much upon you, Canoche, to keep up my teachings among your people, and to live up to them yourself: remember that you can do more by example than by precept. Teach them to be honest, true, merciful; to be industrious, to be contented with what the good God has given them, and how to make the most of it, and in the harmony and simplicity of their lives their hearts will soon see the greatness and tenderness of their Creator.’’
‘‘Teach them that their Saviour is the centre of all religion, and their only hope, and that it was He who told them to love one another. And remember, Canoche, that the same time spent in teaching your lads how to fight and to hunt, will teach them how to read and write, so that they can learn the
‘‘Teach them to love their homes, their wives, to be gentle to them, tender to their children, and teach them to love nature, the mountains, the trees, the grass, the flowers—this is a triple armour against many evils: there is much of the poetic in the Indian character, and nature speaks in so many different languages, and she speaks right to the human heart, and oh, she tells such a beautiful story of the greatness and goodness of God; how merciful it was of him to give us all this beauty and utility combined.’’
‘‘And Canoche, do not forget my church; you must do your best to see to its completion. And now, my good friend, there is one more trust I wish to confide to you. You know how faithful and true my good Catiche has been to me for twenty long years: promise
‘‘And now, Canoche, last, because so near my heart, is my beloved Manuelita. As you value my blessing both here and hereafter, love her, guard her, care for her as you would have done for Panchita, had she been spared to you; she is my treasure, my one little ewe lamb, which I confide to your love and goodness.’’
Night gradually gave place to the first white gleams of dawn, the hour that death loves, while all nature lay asleep, waiting for the coming of the sun. Not a sound fell upon the ear, save that of suppressed sobs. The shadow of death's chill presence filled the barren chamber.
Life flickered on until the increasing warmth of the sun brought forth the mountains slowly from their misty shadows, all earth became roseate, and when every line of suffering had been effaced from his holy face, the spirit of the good man, made perfect, was borne by the "Angel of Death" to its heavenly rest.
|How true to their hearts was that beautiful sleeper!|
|With smiles for the joyful, with tears for the weeper!—|
|Yet evermore prompt, whether mournful or gay,|
|With warnings in love to the passing astray.|