God's Hand On It


Taken from "Beside the Bonnie Brier Bush" by Ian Maclaren. How providence saw Flora Campbell home...

When Marget came, Flora told her the history of her letter.

"It wass a beautiful night in London, but I will be thinking that
there iss no living person caring whether I die or live, and I wass
considering how I could die, for there iss nothing so hopeless as to
hef no friend in a great city. It iss often that I hef been alone on
the moor, and no man within miles, but I wass never lonely, oh no, I
had plenty of good company. I would sit down beside a burn, and the
trout will swim out from below a stone, and the cattle will come to
drink, and the muirfowl will be crying to each other, and the sheep
will be bleating, oh yes, and there are the bees all round, and a
string of wild ducks above your head. It iss a busy place a moor,
and a safe place too, for there iss not one of the animals will hurt
you. No, the big highlanders will only look at you and go away to
their pasture. But it iss weary to be in London and no one to speak
a kind word to you, and I will be looking at the crowd that iss
always passing, and I will not see one kent face, and when I looked
in at the lighted windows the people were all sitting round the
table, but there wass no place for me. Millions and millions of
people, and not one to say 'Flora,' and not one sore heart if I died
that night. Then a strange thing happened, as you will be
considering, but it iss good to be a Highlander, for we see visions.
You maybe know that a wounded deer will try to hide herself, and I
crept into the shadow of a church, and wept. Then the people and the
noise and the houses passed away like the mist on the hill, and I
wass walking to the kirk with my father, oh yes, and I saw you all
in your places, and I heard the Psalms, and I could see through the
window the green fields and the trees on the edge of the moor. And I
saw my home, with the dogs before the door, and the flowers that I
planted, and the lamb coming for her mik, and I heard myself singing,
and I awoke. But there wass singing, oh yes, and beautiful too, for
the dark church wass open, and the light wass falling over my head
from the face of the Virgin Mary. When I arose she wass looking down
at me in the darkness, and then I knew that there wass service in
the church, and this wass the hymn--

"'There is a fountain filled with blood.'

"So I went in and sat down at the door. The sermon wass on the
Prodigal Son, but there iss only one word I remember. 'You are not
forgotten or cast off,' the preacher said; 'you are missed,' and
then he will come back to it again, and it wass always 'missed,
missed, missed.' Sometimes he will say, 'If you had a plant, and you
had taken great care of it, and it was stolen, would you not miss
it?' And I will be thinking of my geraniums, and saying 'yes' in my
heart. And then he will go on, 'If a shepherd wass counting his
sheep, and there wass one short, does he not go out to the hill and
seek for it?' and I will see my father coming back with that lamb
that lost its mother. My heart wass melting within me, but he will
still be pleading, 'If a father had a child, and she left her home
and lost herself in the wicked city, she will still be remembered in
the old house, and her chair will be there,' and I will be seeing my
father all alone with the Bible before him, and the dogs will lay
their heads on his knee, but there iss no Flora. So I slipped out
into the darkness and cried 'Father,' but I could not go back, and I
knew not what to do. But this wass ever in my ear, 'missed,' and I
wass wondering if God will be thinking of me. 'Perhaps there may be
a sign,' I said, and I went to my room, and I saw the letter. It
wass not long before I will be in the train, and all the night I
held your letter in my hand, and when I wass afraid I will read
'Your father loves you more than efer,' and I will say, 'This is my
warrant.' Oh yes, and God wass very good to me, and I did not want
for friends all the way home.

"The English guard noticed me cry, and he will take care of me all
the night, and see me off at Muirtown, and this iss what he will say
as the train wass leaving, in his cheery English way, 'Keep up your
heart, lass, there's a good time coming,' and Peter Bruce will be
waiting for me at the Junction, and a gentle man iss Peter Bruce,
and Maister Moncur will be singing a psalm to keep up my heart, and
I will see the light, and then I will know that the Lord hass had
mercy upon me. That iss all I have to tell you, Marget, for the rest
I will be saying to God."

"But there iss something I must be telling," said Lachlan, coming
in, "and it iss not easy."

He brought over the Bible and opened it at the family register where
his daughter's name had been erased; then he laid it down before
Flora, and bowed his head on the bed.

"Will you ever be able to forgive your father?"

"Give me the pen, Marget;" and Flora wrote for a minute, but Lachlan
never moved.

When he lifted his head, this was what he read in a vacant space:--

FLORA CAMPBELL.
Missed April 1873.
Found September 1873.
"Her father fell on her neck and kissed her."

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