Cure For Low
by T. S. Arthur
FROM some cause, real or imaginary, I felt low spirited. There was
a cloud upon my feelings, and I could not smile as usual, nor speak in
a tone of cheerfulness. As a natural result, the light of my
countenance being gone, all things around me were in shadow. My
husband was sober, and had little to say; the children would look
strangely at me when I answered, their questions, or spoke to them
for any purpose, and my domestics moved about in a quiet manner, and
when they addressed me, did so in a tone more subdued than usual.
This re-action upon my state, only made darker the clouds that
veiled my spirits. I was conscious of this, and was conscious that
the original cause of my depression was entirely inadequate, in
itself, to produce the result which had followed. Under this feeling,
I made an effort to rally myself, but in vain; and sank lower from the
very struggle to rise above the gloom that overshadowed me.
When my husband came home at dinner time, I tried to meet him with
a smile; but I felt that the light upon my countenance was feeble, and
of brief duration. He looked at me earnestly, and, in his kind and
gentle way, inquired if I felt no better, affecting to believe that
my ailment was one of the body instead of the mind. But I scarcely
answered him, and I could see that he felt hurt. How much more
wretched did I become at this. Could I have then retired to my
chamber, and, alone, give my full heart vent in a passion of tears, I
might have obtained relief to my feelings. But, I could not do this.
While I sat at the table, forcing a little food into my mouth for
appearance sake, my husband said—
"You remember the fine lad who has been for some time in our
I nodded my head, but the question did not awaken in my mind the
"He has not made his appearance for several days; and I learned
this morning, on sending to the house of his mother, that he was very
"Ah!" was my indifferent response. Had I spoken what was in my
mind, I would have said—"I'm sorry, but I can't help it." I did not,
at the moment, feel the smallest interest in the lad.
"Yes," added my husband, "and the person who called to let me know
about it, expressed his fears that Edward would not get up again."
"What ails him?" I inquired.
"I did not clearly understand. But he has fever of some kind. You
remember his mother very well?"
"Oh, yes. You know she has worked for me. Edward is her only child,
"Yes. And his loss to her will be almost every thing."
"Is he so dangerous?" I inquired, a feeling of interest beginning
to stir in my heart.
"He is not expected to live."
"Poor woman! How distressed she must be? I wonder what her
circumstances are just at this time. She seemed very poor when she
worked for me."
"And she is very poor still, I doubt not. She has herself been
sick, and during the time it is more than probable, that Edward's
wages were all her income. I am afraid she has suffered, and that she
has not, now, the means of procuring for her sick boy things necessary
for his comfort. Could you not go around there this afternoon, and
see how they are?"
I shook my head instantly, at this proposition, for sympathy for
others was not yet strong enough to expel my selfish despondency of
"Then I must step around," replied my husband, "before I go back to
the store, although we are very busy today, and I am much wanted
there. It would not be right to neglect the lad and his mother under
I felt rebuked at these words; and, with a forced effort, said—
"I will go."
"It will be much better for you to see them than for me," returned
my husband, "for you can understand their wants better, and minister
to them more effectually. If they need any comforts, I would like you
to see them supplied."
It still cost me an effort to get ready; but as I had promised that
I would do as my husband wished, the effort. had to be made. By the
time I was prepared to go out, I felt something better. The exertion
I was required to make, tended to disperse slightly the clouds that
hung over me, and, as they began gradually to move, my thoughts
turned, with an awakening interest, toward the object of my husband's
All was silent within the humble abode to which my errand led me. I
knocked lightly, and in a few moments the mother of Edward opened the
door. She looked pale and anxious.
"How is your son, Mrs. Ellis?" I inquired, as I stepped in.
"He is very low, ma'am," she replied.
"Not dangerous, I hope?"
"The fever has left him, but he is as weak as an infant. All his
strength is gone."
"But proper nourishment will restore him, if the disease is
"So the doctor says. But I'm afraid it is too late. He seems to be
sinking every hour. Will you walk up and see him, ma'am?"
I followed Mrs. Ellis up stairs, and into the chamber where the
sick boy lay. I was not surprised at the fear she had expressed, when
I saw Edward's pale, sunken face, and hollow, almost expressionless
eyes. He scarcely noticed my entrance.
"Poor boy!" sighed his mother. "He has had a very sick spell." My
liveliest interest was at once awakened.
"He has been sick indeed!" I replied, as I laid my hand upon his
white forehead. I found that his skin was, cold and damp. The fever
had nearly burned out the vital energies of his system. "Do you give
him much nourishment?"
"He takes a little barley water."
"Has not the doctor ordered wine?"
"Yes, ma'am," replied Mr. Ellis, but she spoke with an air of
hesitation. "He says a spoonful of good wine, three or four times a
day, would be very good for him."
"And you have not given him any?"
"We have some very pure wine, that we always keep for sickness. If
you will step over to our house, and tell Alice to give you a bottle
of it, I will stay with Edward until you return."
How brightly glowed that woman's face, as my words fell upon her
"Oh, ma'am you are very kind!" said she. "But it will be asking too
much of you to stay here!"
"You did'nt ask it, Mrs. Ellis," I smilingly replied. "I have
offered to stay; so do you go for the wine as quickly as you can, for
Edward needs it very much."
I was not required to say more. In a few minutes I was alone with
the sick boy, who lay almost as still as if death were resting upon
his half closed eye-lids. To some extent, in the half hour I remained
thus in that hushed chamber, did I realize the condition and feelings
of the poor mother whose only son lay gasping at the very door of
death, and all my sympathies were, in consequence, awakened.
As soon as Mrs. Ellis returned with the wine, about a tea spoonful
of it was diluted, and the glass containing it placed to the sick
lad's lips. The moment its flavor touched his palate, a thrill seemed
to pass through his frame, and he swallowed eagerly.
"It does him good!" said I, speaking warmly, and from an impulse of
pleasure that made my heart glow.
We sat, and looked with silent interest upon the boy's face, and we
did not look in vain, for something like warmth came upon his wan
cheeks, and when I placed my hand again upon his forehead, the
coldness and dampness was gone. The wine had quickened his languid
pulses. I staid an hour longer, and then another spoonful of the
generous wine was given. Its effect was as marked as at first. I then
withdrew from the humble home of the widow and her only child,
promising to see them again in the morning.
When I regained the street and my thoughts, for a moment, reverted
to myself, how did I find all changed. The clouds had been
dispersed—the heavy hand raised from my bosom, I walked with a freer
step. Sympathy for others, and active efforts to do others good, had
expelled the evil spirits from my heart; and now serene peace had
there again her quiet habitation. There was light in every part of my
dwelling when I re-entered it, and I sung cheerfully, as I prepared,
with my own hands, a basket of provisions for the poor widow.
When my husband returned in the evening, he found me at work,
cheerfully, in my family, and all bright and smiling again. The
effort to do good to others had driven away the darkness from my
spirit, and the sunshine was again upon my countenance, and reflected
from every member of my household.—Lady's Wreath.