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Eighty-Seven by Pansy

Eighty-Seven (1887)

by Pansy

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Class of '87: Greeting!

Dear Classmates: Having journeyed through the years together, and accomplished the four years' course of reading, as we are now about to part company, I come to you with the promised book dedicated to "Our Class."

I have taken great pleasure in writing it, and hope most earnestly that it will be to you a pleasant souvenir of our Alma Mater.

Perhaps just here is the appropriate place in which to thank many hundreds of you for the helpful letters which you sent to aid me in the preparation of our book. That they were decided helps, you, the writers, have only to read the book, to be convinced; for the incidents found therein were taken from your own letters, which contained statements of facts. I have simply grouped within a few lives, the actual experiences of many. It was my earnest desire to write a book for the '87's which should, in a slight degree, at least, illustrate the manner in which helping hands might be extended by members of the C. L. S. C., reaching lives where they least expected, and setting in motion influences which should tell for eternity. It is not the least of my pleasures that, in writing this book, I have been able to leave the region of plain fiction and revel in the realm of facts. It is delightful to be able to say to you, that wherever you may chance to find suggestive hints through the book as to ways of helping, you may understand that it is not theory, but practice; not what might possibly be done, but what has been done, by the membes of the class of '87; though, in order to make the dates of my story symmetrical, I have been obliged to remove many of the doings of the '87's back into the past, thus apparently giving the honor to the classes of '84, '85, and '86, which properly belong to the '87's. But this you will understand.

And now, trusting that we who gather in the classic groves of the Mother Chautauqua may have the honor of passing through the golden gate together; and hoping and praying that not only we who gather there, but all the great company of those faithful ones who must of necessity abide at home, may meet one day, and pass under the flowery arches of our Father's love, through the golden gate of the Celestial City, "to go no more out forever," I subscribe myself,

Yours, in the Master's service and reward,

First words
They were both barefooted, and, to all intents and purposes, bareheaded. She carried in her hand a much-faded, little old-fashioned sun-bonnet, the strings of which had been chewed a little, and then smoothed out, as though the chewer were penitent. He tossed carelessly from hand to hand, or occasionally pitched a long way ahead of him, a much-solied, much-torn, nearly rimless straw hat.
...won't you try to get your thoughts entirely away from any church, and from any other persons than yourself and the Lord Jesus Christ? Let us talk about you two; he has asked you to let him come into your heart and live there, helping you each hour to think the thought, speak the word, do the act, which in your judgment enlightened by him, would be the nearest right. What he wants of you is the decision to take him as your friend and follow his directions whether they are hard or easy. What I am asking you is whether you will accept him and agree to follow his lead.
She had admitted into her heart for one woman a feeling which was nearly akin to hatred, and had fostered the feeling until it had taken deep root - had, in a certain sense, gotten possession of her; and young as she was, she was passing through the struggle known to some older and fiercer natures - the struggle involved in the solemn sentence, "If ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Heavenly Father forgive you."
Longfellow's Ladder

... All common things, each day's events,
That with the hour begin and end,
Our pleasures and our discontents,
Are rounds by which we may ascend.

The heights by great men reached and kept,
Were not attained by sudden flight;
But they while their companions slept,
Were toiling upward in the night.

It had been of no use to try to hide longer behind the neglects of others. They might not have done their duty, but his eyes being opened he could distinctly see how God himself looking down the years of his life before they had been lived, had planned the way; given him a father whose memory had been in many ways a blessing; given him church and Sabbath-school privileges enough to lead him if he had not chosen blindness; given him a little book two inches square, full of invitations which he had not heeded; given him Miss Putnam’s life of strict integrity, Miss Putnam’s Bible which he had treasured and neglected; Miss Force’s unselfish helpfulness; Dr. Decker’s daily practical Christianity – there was no use in trying to count the milestones of the way, yet how certainly it had been marked out for him, strewn with invitations over which he had trod as thought they had been weeds, up to that culminating hour of his life when it had been as though the very spirit of God had said, “Now gather the threads of the young man’s past and present, woven in one complete chain, tighten it about him on this solemn night while the death-angel tarries in the room where he watches, and make one last effort for his soul; NOW the two roads part; now the decision must be made.” … I felt as certain that those repeated appeals … had been planned by an unseen hand to gather about me that night for a final call, as I feel certain now that if I had declined again, I should have had no other call. It was my last invitation home.
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