And thou, Solomon, my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve Him with a perfect heart, and with a willing mind.
Arise, therefore, and be doing, and the Lord be with thee.
Wisdom is the principle thing, therefore get wisdom.
Mine house shall be called an house of prayer.
Oh dear, oh dear! I didn’t think I would ever write in my diary when I felt so sorrowful as I do tonight. I have just made a great blot on the paper, but I cannot help it, the tears won’t stay back. I am not going to write here anymore. I can’t write in any book for awhile, and I am sure I cannot ever write in this one again: I am just going to shut it up and lay it away. I don't want to burn it, for it has father's name in it a good deal.
Just to think how everything can change in one little month! Last month I had a birthday party and was so merry. It doesn’t seem to me as though I could ever be merry again.
We are going away from Locust Shade. Going to the city to live. We four girls who have been together all our lives are to be separated. They all stay here and have good times, but I am to go away to a great lonely city. We are poor now, and I can't go to school any more. At least, not now. Ben says he is going to work, and earn money, and take care of us, and in a little while I can go again. But Ben is only a boy.
He is all we have now, though. Dear father is gone. God called him away to Heaven almost two weeks ago: it seems like two years. Oh, but I ought not to cry so much. I do try to be cheerful when I am down-stairs. When I can't stand it any longer, I rush away up here and cry alone. Our B.R.N. Society is broken up. Or no, not broken up, either, for I have promised to go right on and have a reading all by myself, and try to mind the verses, and all that, but it will be very different.
I shall try, though, to do it, for I do think the verses have helped me. And this month they are just wonderful! That first one was what father said to Ben just two days before he died. I was studying the verse, and father called me and asked me to say it slowly to him. Then when Ben came in he called him and repeated it to him, very solemnly, putting his name in the place of Solomon. "And thou, Benjamin my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve Him with a perfect heart, and with a willing mind. I can't leave you any better word than that," father said. "I hope you will serve him ten times better than your father has, and always with a willing mind. Then we shall meet in Heaven and talk it all over." He said a good deal more; and Ben cried. But I don't believe he will ever forget that verse.
My verse is just as wonderful. The next day father talked with me about how I must be brave and strong, and help mother all I could. "You are the oldest daughter at home," he said, "and mother must learn to depend on you. There are ever so many ways in which you will find that you can help her. Here is my good-bye message, and I hope you will never forget it. 'Arise, therefore, and be doing, and' the Lord be with thee.'"
I tried hard to keep back the tears, so I could hear every word that father said, and he talked so beautifully to me! He said I was to call that verse mine, and that whenever I felt like sitting down and crying, and being discouraged, I must think of him saying to me "Arise, therefore, and be doing, and the Lord be with thee." It is that verse which has helped me so much during these two sad weeks. Mother says I have been a comfort to her. That she did not know I could help her about so many things. I guess I have said over those words twenty times in an hour, some days. Ben says he is just so.
"I tell you what, Gertrude," he said to me last night, "you and I have business before us, if we live up to those two verses. There will be no chance to sit down and mope. And father will be disappointed if we don't live them." So we are going to try, Ben and I, as hard as ever we can. But I don't mean to write in this journal any more. It makes me cry. It is too much mixed up with the happy days when I was a little girl. I don't feel like a little girl now.
This evening mother and I had a long talk. I told her about Ben's verse, and mine. She cried a good deal, but she did not look very unhappy. She kissed me and said father had left a fortune to us. That it would save Ben and me for this life, and for Heaven if we followed his directions. Then she asked for my verses and studied them quite awhile, and said, "I think, Gertrude, I will take this for mine: ' Mine house shall be called an house of prayer.' We will try in our new home not to do anything, or say anything, or even think anything that we cannot speak to God about and ask His help."
So now we have each of us a verse; only mother has another, a special one. She says this is her house verse, but that father left one for her own private help. That someday perhaps she will tell me what it is, but she wants to keep it to herself now.
Tomorrow we are going away. Mother is to be forewoman in a ladies' store. How very strange that seems! I am to be one of the cash girls, and learn how to make trimming, and crochet work. Ben is to go into another store. The girls are just as kind as they can be. They say they will write to me every week, and tell me all about the school, and the Sabbath-school, and everything. I have promised to write a letter something like a journal to them, telling them about things and how the verses match, what happens to me, and all that. We have a good many plans, but it seems as though nothing was real sure any more. Only this: I belong to Jesus Christ, and am going to "arise" and "be doing" everything that I think he would like to have me. Then, some day, we are all going home to Heaven, to be with father. When I see him I want to be able to say: "Father, I did it all, as well as I could." Good-by old journal! I am sorry for many things I have said to you: but you have some nice times, and some dear names, and some good verses to take care of.
I hope that you have enjoyed this little book as much as I. There have been many lessons to learn with Gertrude, and even though it was written over a hundred years ago, it still applies today!