I hastened after him, fearing some sudden illness. 'What is it?' I asked. 'It is this,' was the reply; 'I am not yet fit to say, "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."'

It is with natural reluctance that I touch upon the last prayer of my husband's life. Many have supposed that he showed, in the wording of this prayer, that he had some premonition of his approaching death. I am sure he had no such premonition. It was I who told the assembled family that I felt an impending disaster approaching nearer and nearer. Any Scot will understand that my statement was received seriously. It could not be, we thought, that danger threatened any one within the house; but Mr. Graham Balfour, my husband's cousin, very near and dear to us, was away on a perilous cruise. Our fears followed the various vessels, more or less unseaworthy, in which he was making his way from island to island to the atoll where the exiled king, Mataafa, was at that time imprisoned. In my husband's last prayer, the night before his death, he asked that we should be given strength to bear the loss of this dear friend, should such a sorrow befall us.

Contents

For Success For Grace At Morning Evening Another For Evening In Time of Rain Another in Time of Rain Before a Temporary Separation For Friends For the Family Sunday For Self-Blame For Self-Forgetfulness For Renewal of Joy

FOR SUCCESS

LORD, behold our family here assembled. We thank Thee for this place in which we dwell; for the love that unites us; for the peace accorded us this day; for the hope with which we expect the morrow; for the health, the work, the food, and the bright skies, that make our lives delightful; for our friends in all parts of the earth, and our friendly helpers in this foreign isle. Let peace abound in our small company. Purge out of every heart the lurking grudge. Give us grace and strength to forbear and to persevere. Offenders, give us the grace to accept and to forgive offenders. Forgetful ourselves, help us to bear cheerfully the forgetfulness of others. Give us courage and gaiety and the quiet mind. Spare to us our friends, soften to us our enemies. Bless us, if it may be, in all our innocent endeavours. If it may not, give us the strength to encounter that which is to come, that we be brave in peril, constant in tribulation, temperate in wrath, and in all changes of fortune, and, down to the gates of death, loyal and loving one to another. As the clay to the potter, as the windmill to the wind, as children of their sire, we beseech of Thee this help and mercy for Christ's sake.

FOR GRACE

GRANT that we here before Thee may be set free from the fear of vicissitude and the fear of death, may finish what remains before us of our course without dishonour to ourselves or hurt to others, and, when the day comes, may die in peace. Deliver us from fear and favour: from mean hopes and cheap pleasures. Have mercy on each in his deficiency; let him be not cast down; support the stumbling on the way, and give at last rest to the weary.

AT MORNING

THE day returns and brings us the petty round of irritating concerns and duties. Help us to play the man, help us to perform them with laughter and kind faces, let cheerfulness abound with industry. Give us to go blithely on our business all this day, bring us to our resting beds weary and content and undishonoured, and grant us in the end the gift of sleep.

EVENING

WE come before Thee, O Lord, in the end of thy day with thanksgiving.

Our beloved in the far parts of the earth, those who are now beginning the labours of the day what time we end them, and those with whom the sun now stands at the point of noon, bless, help, console, and prosper them.

Our guard is relieved, the service of the day is over, and the hour come to rest. We resign into thy hands our sleeping bodies, our cold hearths, and open doors. Give us to awake with smiles, give us to labour smiling.

Prayers Written At Vailima Page 03

Robert Louis Stevenson

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Robert Louis Stevenson
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