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A Wanderer in the Sprit Lands, by Franchezzo (A. Farnese), [1896], at

CHAPTER XIV.--A Father's Love.

After this there came for me a time of happiness, a season of rest and refreshment upon which I shall not dwell; its memories are all too sacred to me, for those days were spent near to her I loved, and I had the happiness of knowing that she was conscious of much, though not all, I said to her, and I spent so much of my time on earth that I had none to explore the wonders of that Land of Dawn of which I had become an inhabitant.

And now a fresh surprise awaited me. In all my wanderings since my death I had never once seen any of my relatives nor the friends who had passed before me into the spirit land. But one day when I came as usual to see my beloved, I found her full of some mysterious message she had received, and which she was to give me herself. After a little she told me that it was from a spirit who had come to visit her, and who said he was my father and that he wished her to give his message to me. I was so overcome when she said this that I could scarcely speak--scarcely ask what his message was. I had so loved my father upon earth, for my mother had died when I was so young that she was but a faint tender memory to me. But my father! he had been everything to me. He had had such pride and joy in all my successes, such hopes for my future; and, then, when I had made shipwreck of my life, I knew that I had broken his heart. He did not long survive the crushing of all his hopes, and since his death I had only thought of him with pain and shame of heart. And now when I heard that from beyond the gates of Death he had come to my beloved and spoken to her of me, I feared lest his words might be but a lament over his buried hopes, his degraded son, and I cried out that I could not dare to meet him, yet I longed to hear what he had said, and to know if there was in it a word of forgiveness for me, his son, who had so deeply sinned.

How shall I tell what his words had been? How say what I felt to hear them? They fell upon my heart as dew upon a thirsty land, those words of his, and are far, far too precious to be given to the world, but surely the father in the parable must have welcomed back his prodigal son in some such words as these! Ah! how I cried out to my beloved when I heard those words, and how I longed to see that father again and be taken once more to his heart as when I was a boy! And as I turned away I beheld his spirit standing by us, just as I had seen him last in life, only with a glory of the spirit world upon him such as no mortal eyes have ever seen. My father--so long parted from me, and to meet again thus! We had no words to greet each other with but "My father" and "My son," but we clasped each other to the heart in a joy that required no words.

When our feelings had calmed down again we began to speak of many things, and not least of her whose love had led me so far upon my upward path, and then I learned that this beloved father had helped, watched over, and protected us both; that he had followed me during all my wanderings both on earth and in the spirit land, and had protected and comforted me in my struggles. Unseen himself he had yet been near, and unceasing in his efforts and his love. All this time when I had so shrunk from the thought of meeting him he had been there, only waiting an opportunity to make himself known, and he had come at last through her who had so much of my love, in order that he might thereby link us all three more closely together in the joy of this reunion.

Next: Chapter XV.--A New Expedition Proposed