The Turning-Point

Narrating Experience before Retiring—A Pious Mother—Her Sleepless, Joyful Night—Better Next Day—Worse Again—The Doctor Called—Tossing with Fever—Letting out his Heart—A Teacher or Preacher—Talk on Religion—Winter School—Bates the Teacher —Mrs. Garfield’s Wise Course—Mr. Bates’s Call—Desire to go to Sea again—A Mother’s Tactics—No Mystery in Desire for Seafaring Life—Two Incidents—Growing Morally—Final Decision to get an Education—Turning-point—Great Question Settled—Pleasing Interview with Dr. Robinson—One Poor Suit of Clothes— Eleven Dollars all

Why, James!” exclaimed his mother, when the excitement of their meeting was over, “you look sick.”

“I am sick; and that’s the reason I came home. It’s been a very hard walk for me, I am so weak.”

“How long have you been sick?” inquired his mother, with much anxiety.

“Not long. I’ve got the ague; had it a week or more.”

“The ague!” answered his mother, astonished; “I didn’t know that they ever had the ague on a ship.”

“I have not been on a ship, but on the canal.”

“On the canal!” rejoined his mother, still more surprised. “I thought you was on the lake all this time. How did it happen that you was on the canal?”

James rehearsed his experience on the schooner that he boarded, especially narrating his encounter with the captain, and his haste to escape from such a demon; how he met his cousin, Amos Letcher, of the canal boat “Evening Star” and bargained with him for the position of driver, not omitting his hair- breadth escapes on the boat; concluding by a description of the exposures of the business, in consequence of which he was attacked by the ague.

His mother listened to the narration, which was more interesting to her than a novel, remarking at the close of it:

“God has wonderfully preserved you, and brought you back, in answer to my prayers.”

James was too full to make much reply. He managed, however, to say, “Nobody saved me from drowning, that dark night, but God.” This brief remark sent a thrill of pleasure through his mother’s heart. With all his obedience and excellence of character, James had not given before so much evidence as this that he recognised his personal obligations to God. His mother construed it into genuine religious conviction, and she was rejoiced beyond measure by the revelation.

“You must say no more to-night; you must go to bed, and get some rest,” added his mother. “In the morning I will see how and what can be done for you.”

Both retired; his mother to a restless bed, being too full of joy and grateful thoughts to sleep. She lived over her whole life again during that night, with all its chequered scenes; and she penetrated the future, in imagination, and beheld her dear boy dignifying his manhood by an honourable and useful career. “If he could only become a preacher!” The thought grew upon her in the “night watches.” It became a source of real delight to her; and she thanked God again and again for His goodness. She found more enjoyment in wakefulness and her thoughts on that night, than she could have had in the sweetest sleep. It was the silent communings of a truly Christian heart.

Very early in the morning Mrs. Garfield was at the bedside of her son, anxious to learn how he was. He was in a sound sleep. She waited until the sunlight was bathing his brow, when she entered his room again. Her presence awoke him.

“You’ve had a sweet sleep, James?” she said, inquiringly.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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