By Della Turtle
As far back as I can recall, I remember the little woman that folk called “Aunt Jane”. She was “mail with green eyes and curly hair which had once been dark brown but was now streaked with gray. She had a small face which no doubt had been a pretty smiling face, but as far back as I can remember, it looked hard and bitter-just like her heart which was bitter and as cold and hard as a piece of steel.
Aunt Jane’s son and daughter by her first marriage were married and had families of their own. She had a son in his late teens by her last marriage. His father died when be was small and he began working at a very early age to help support himself and his mother. If Aunt Jane had even a peck of love for anyone it was for her youngest son, but it’s hard to believe that she bad any love for anyone-not even herself.
She apparently did not want any friends, nor did she have many-if any, that is-besides my mother who treated her and her son with kindness. (My mother was good to everyone). And it was my mother who talked her into the notion of going to see a doctor, after she had begun losing strength and weight and took a very bad cough which steadily grew worse. I do not know what the doctor told her but I remember he gave her several different kinds of medicine and when she came back she stopped and showed the medicine to my mother and then she threw It into the fire and burned it. “There’s no use taking it,” she said, “I have galloping Consumption”. (In these days we call it quick T. B.).
Aunt Jane had a nerve like Iron and a backbone like steel, but in spite of it all she grew worse from day to day until she was no longer able to do the house work and care for herself and son. Then my mother sent me to stay with her days while her son worked.
The shack they lived in was more than dirty, it was filthy. I was only a girl in my teens but I scrubbed the floors, pots and pans, and cleaned windows and everything until my hands became so rough and chapped that they would bleed, but the little old shack looked a lot cleaner. I was not a Christian but the Lord protected me from taking that dreadful disease or any other sickness.
None of the neighbors ever came to see Aunt Jane and no one came to talk with her and try to lead her to the Lord. A few times she was brought pie or something to eat but no one came closer than the steps.
Oh! had I only been a Christian myself and had I only known that her time had almost run out, and that she was so near the end of her life here on this earth! But I did not know that her time was so short, and even now I am amazed when I think of how strong her voice remained until the end.
While I went about the work there in the house she talked to me, and the day before she departed this life she, talked, talked, talked about her past life.
“I have not always been as I am now. When I was very young I became a Christian. I went to church and lived a good clean life. At church I sang in the choir, and folk said I had a beautiful voice, one that was heard above the others. I could sing well and I loved to sing. And then H. – – – came along and began to flatter me. He often came into my home to see me. He was very handsome and I was very young. He was several years older than I but my parents did not object in the least to his attention to me. How could they have been so awfully blind? I was too young to marry but In a short while we were married and then I began to ‘learn what he was really like, and my hell on earth started. He drank and cursed me continually. He cursed when he was drunk and cursed when he was sober. It was curse, curse almost every breath. Nothing pleased him and he often hit and abused me in different ways. I got so sick of it all until I began fighting back. I quit going to church, and then I got so I would do almost anything. I was so terrible, life was continually a torment. I lived with him until I had two children and I could not endure It any longer. In those days there was no work for women to do and no such thing as alimony. I could not provide for the children, so I left them with him. It was 211 1 knew to do.
Several years later I married a good man but I could never love him. My heart was dead. I should have known that I could never love again. In a few years he died and left me with a little boy. I had no way to provide for the child but I held on to him and turned myself loose. Many times down through the years I’ve sold myself in shame. gold the use of my body to men just for food and shelter for myself and child. I just wanted you to know that I once was a good Christian girl, until H…. came along and ruined my life.”
I left Aunt Jane’s house that evening not knowing that she was so near the end. When I came back In the morning she- had passed to the great beyond. I hope that our great God in His mercies sometime in the night forgave her many sins and drew her back into his fold again, (it could have been possible) and yet she could have passed away without God and without friends. Who knows? Only God.
Only six persons were present when Aunt Jane’s body was hauled to the little cemetery and placed under the sod. Oh, how different everything might have been had she not married an unbeliever, a vile drunkard. She might have had a kind loving husband and fine obedient children, all working together and serving the Lord instead of a wasted. Tormented life, end perhaps lost in the end.
The Bible says: “Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers.” I say to one and all- Beware, beware, Satan would like to trap you.
This Material Has Been Published By Pilgrim Tract Society. The Above Material Has Been Copyrighted And May Be Used For Study And Research Purposes Only.