What horror to be a man whose death is the occasion of rejoicing by the millions of Lazaruses he created. May God have mercy on him. If there was ever a man “most in need of God’s mercy” as our Lady spoke of at Fatima it was surely him.
At length the long-expected knock was heard. She hurried to the door, and met her husband; a man whose face was careworn and depressed, though he was young. There was a remarkable expression in it now; a kind of serious delight of which he felt ashamed, and which he struggled to repress.
He sat down to the dinner that had been boarding for him by the fire; and when she asked him faintly what news (which was not until after a long silence), he appeared embarrassed how to answer.
“Is it good.” she said, “or bad?” — to help him.
“Bad,” he answered.
“We are quite ruined?”
“No. There is hope yet, Caroline.”
“If he relents,” she said, amazed, “there is. Nothing is past hope, if such a miracle has happened.”
“He is past relenting,” said her husband. “He is dead.”
She was a mild and patient creature if her face spoke truth; but she was thankful in her soul to hear it, and she said so, with clasped hands. She prayed forgiveness the next moment, and was sorry; but the first was the emotion of her heart.
“What the half-drunken woman whom I told you of last night, said to me, when I tried to see him and obtain a week’s delay; and what I thought was a mere excuse to avoid me; turns out to have been quite true. He was not only very ill, but dying, then.”
“To whom will our debt be transferred?”
“I don’t know. But before that time we shall be ready with the money; and even though we were not, it would be a bad fortune indeed to find so merciless a creditor in his successor. We may sleep to-night with light hearts, Caroline!”
Yes. Soften it as they would, their hearts were lighter. The children’s faces, hushed and clustered round to hear what they so little understood, were brighter; and it was a happier house for this man’s death! The only emotion that the Ghost could show him, caused by the event, was one of pleasure.
This wretched man now faces eternity. God have mercy on his miserable soul through Jesus Christ, the just and merciful judge. And God swiftly deliver his victims to happiness and grant them the joys of heaven and a just government in this life that they may serve Him as saints the better for enduring the Egyptian slavery of their long bondage.