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Reprinted Pieces. Charles Dickens

From that hour forth, the child looked out upon the star as on the home he was to go to, when his time should come; and he thought that he did not belong to the earth alone, but to the star too, because of his sister′s angel gone before.

There was a baby born to be a brother to the child; and while he was so little that he never yet had spoken word, he stretched his tiny form out on his bed, and died.

Again the child dreamed of the open star, and of the company of angels, and the train of people, and the rows of angels with their beaming eyes all turned upon those people′s faces.

Said his sister′s angel to the leader:

′Is my brother come?′

And he said, ′Not that one, but another.′

As the child beheld his brother′s angel in her arms, he cried, ′O, sister, I am here! Take me!′ And she turned and smiled upon him, and the star was shining.

He grew to be a young man, and was busy at his books when an old servant came to him and said:

′Thy mother is no more. I bring her blessing on her darling son!′

Again at night he saw the star, and all that former company. Said his sister′s angel to the leader.

′Is my brother come?′

And he said, ′Thy mother!′

A mighty cry of joy went forth through all the star, because the mother was re-united to her two children. And he stretched out his arms and cried, ′O, mother, sister, and brother, I am here! Take me!′ And they answered him, ′Not yet,′ and the star was shining.

He grew to be a man, whose hair was turning grey, and he was sitting in his chair by the fireside, heavy with grief, and with his face bedewed with tears, when the star opened once again.

Said his sister′s angel to the leader: ′Is my brother come?′

And he said, ′Nay, but his maiden daughter.′

And the man who had been the child saw his daughter, newly lost to him, a celestial creature among those three, and he said, ′My daughter′s head is on my sister′s bosom, and her arm is around my mother′s neck, and at her feet there is the baby of old time, and I can bear the parting from her, GOD be praised!′

And the star was shining.

Thus the child came to be an old man, and his once smooth face was wrinkled, and his steps were slow and feeble, and his back was bent. And one night as he lay upon his bed, his children standing round, he cried, as he had cried so long ago:

′I see the star!′

They whispered one another, ′He is dying.′

And he said, ′I am. My age is falling from me like a garment, and I move towards the star as a child. And O, my Father, now I thank thee that it has so often opened, to receive those dear ones who await me!′

And the star was shining; and it shines upon his grave.

OUR ENGLISH WATERING-PLACE

IN the Autumn-time of the year, when the great metropolis is so much hotter, so much noisier, so much more dusty or so much more water-carted, so much more crowded, so much more disturbing and distracting in all respects, than it usually is, a quiet sea-beach becomes indeed a blessed spot. Half awake and half asleep, this idle morning in our sunny window on the edge of a chalk-cliff in the old-fashioned watering-place to which we are a faithful resorter, we feel a lazy inclination to sketch its picture.

The place seems to respond. Sky, sea, beach, and village, lie as still before us as if they were sitting for the picture. It is dead low-water.

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