WILKINS ON ACCOMPLISHMENTS.
A DUOLOGUE. JOHN QUILL.
Mr. Wilkins. Mrs. Wilkins, of all the aggravating women I ever came across, you are the worst. I believe you'd raise a riot in the cemetry if you were dead, you would. Don't you ever go prowling around any Quaker meeting, or you'll break it up in a plug muss. You? Why you'd put any other man's back up until he broke his spine. Oh! you're too annoying to live; I don't want to bother with you. Go to sleep.
Mrs. Wilkins. But, Wilkins dear, just listen a minute. We must have that piano, and—
Mr. W. Oh! don't "dear" me; I won't have it. You're the only dear thing around here—you're dear at any price. I tell you once for all that I don't get any new piano, and Mary Jane don't take singing lessons as long as I'm her father. There! If you don't understand that I'll say it over again. And now stop your clatter and go to sleep; I'm tired of hearing you cackle.
Mrs. W. But, Wilk—
Mr. W. Now don't aggravate me. I say Mary Jane shan't learn to sing and plant another instrument of torture in this house, while I'm boss of the family. Her voice is just like yours; it's got a twang to it like blowing on the edge of a piece of paper.
Mrs. W. Ain't you ashamed, Wilk—
Mr. W. It's disgrace enough to have you sitting down and pretending to sing, and trying to deafen people, without having the children do it. The first time I heard you sing I started round to the station-house and got six policemen, because I thought there was a murder in your house, and they were cutting you up by inches. I wish somebody would! I wouldn't go for any policeman now, not much!
Mrs. W. I declare, you are a perfect brute!
Mr. W. Not much, I wouldn't! But Smith, he told me yesterday that his family were kept awake half the night by the noise you made; and he said if I didn't stop those dogs from yowling in my cellar, he'd be obliged to complain to the board of health.
Mrs. W. What an awful story, Mr Wilk—
Mr. W. Then I told him it was you, and you thought you could sing; and he advised me as a friend to get a divorce, because he said no man could live happily with any woman who had a voice like a cross-cut saw. He said I might as well have a machine-shop with a lot of files at work in my house as that, and he'd rather any time.
Mrs. W. Phugh! I don't care what Smith says.
Mr. W. And you a-talking about a new piano! Why, haven't we got musical instruments enough in the house? There's Holofernes Montgomery been blowing away in the garret for ten days with that old key bugle, until he got so black in the face that he won't get his colour back for a month, and then he only gets a spurt out of her every now and then. He's blown enough wind in her to get up a hurricane, and I expect nothing else but he'll get the old machine so chock full that she'll blow back at him some day and burst his brains out, and all along of your tomfoolery. You're a pretty mother, you are! You'd better go and join some asylum for feeble-minded idiots, you had.
Mrs. W. Wilkins! I declare you're too bad, for—
Mr. W. Yes—and there's Bucephalus Alexander, he's got his head full of your sentimental nonsense, and he thinks he's in love with a girl round the corner, and he meanders about and tries to sigh, and won't eat his victuals, and he's got to going down into the cellar and trying to sing "No one to love" in the coal-bin; and he like to scared the hired girl out of her senses, so that she went upstairs and had a fit on the kitchen door-mat, and came near dying on my hands.
Mrs. W. That's not true, Mr. Wil—
Mr. W. And never came to until I put her head under the hydrant. And then what does Bucephalus Alexander do but go round, night before last, and try to serenade the girl, until the old man histed up the sash and cracked away at Bucephalus Alexander with an old boot, and hit him in the face and blacked his eye, because he thought it was two cats a-yelping. Hang such a mother as you are! You go right to work to ruin your offspring.
Mrs. W. You're talking nonsense, Wilk—
Mr. W. You're about as fit to bring up children as a tadpole is to run a ferry boat, you are! But while I'm alive Mary Jane takes no singing lessons. Do you understand? It's bad enough to have her battering away at that piano like she had some grudge against it, and to have her visitors wriggle around and fidget and look miserable, as if they had cramp colic, while you make her play for them and have them get up and lie, and ask what it was, and say how beautiful it is, and steep their souls in falsehood and hypocrisy all on account of you. You'll have enough sins to answer for, old woman, without that.
Mrs. W. I never did such a thing, and you—
Mr. W. Yes—and you think Mary Jane can play, don't you? You think she can sit down and jerk more music than a whole orchestra, don't you? But she can't. You might about as well set a crowbar to opening oysters as set her to playing on that piano. You might, indeed!
Mrs. W. You talk like a fool, Wilkins!
Mr. W. Play! She play? Pshaw! Why, she's drummed away at that polka for six months and she can't get her grip on it yet. You might as well try to sing a long-metre hymn to "Fisher's Hornpipe," as to undertake to dance to that polka. It would jerk your legs out at the sockets, certain, or else it would give you St. Vitus' dance, and cripple you for life.
Mrs. W. Mr. Wilkins, I'm going to tell you a secret.
Mr. W. Oh! I don't want to hear your secrets—keep them to yourself.
Mrs. W. It's about Mary Jane's singing.
Mr. W. What?
Mrs. W. Mary Jane, you know—her singing.
Mr. W. I don't know, and I don't want to; she shan't take lessons, so dry up.
Mrs. W. But she shall take them!
Mr. W. I say she shan't!
Mrs. W. She shall, and you can't help it.
Mr. W. By George! What do you mean? I'm master in this house I'd like you to know.
Mrs. W. Yes—but she's been taking lessons for a whole quarter, while you were down town, and I paid the bill out of the market money.
Mr. W. Well! I hope I may be shot! You don't mean to say that? Well, if you ain't a perfectly abandoned wretch, hang me! Farewell, Mrs. Wilkins, farewell! I'm off by the first express-train for the West! I'll stop at Chicago, where the cars wait fifteen minutes for refreshments and a divorce—I'll take the divorce, that will be indeed refreshing! Farewell! F-a-r-e-well! Fare-r-r-r-r-r-r-well! Mrs. Wil-l-l-l-l-l-l-kins!
THE MARINERS WIFE.
WM. JULIUS MICKLE.
THIS WAS A FAVOURITE RECITATION OF THE LATE
City girls on a vacation
Juno, Miss coloured help.
Scene.—Miss Pease's best room. Table, c., back. Chairs, r. and l. Rocking-chair, c. Chair directly in front of the table.
Enter, l., Juno; costume, calico dress, handkerchief about her head in shape of a turban, broom in her hand.
Juno. Bress my soul! Nebber see, in de whole co'se ob my life, sich a galloping set as dem are city gals—nebber! For all de worl', jes like a flock ob sheep. Shoo! away dey go, from de cellar to de top ob de house—pell-mell inter de barn. Skipterty shoo, ober de fields; skersplash into de brook; don't keer for nuffin nor nobody. Can't keep de chairs straight, nor de flo' clean nor nuffin. (Looks off, R.) Now, now, now, jes look a dar! jes look a dar! See 'em scootin' round, chasin' dat are poor orphanless calf, what ain't got no mudder. Never did see nuffin like it, nebber. (Sweeps violently.)
Jenny. (Outside, R.) Ha, ha, ha! If you don't stop, girls, I shall die.
Bessie. (Outside, R.) Ha, ha, ha! O, dear, there goes my hat!
Sadie. (Outside, R.) Ha, ha, ha! Do see him jump!
[All three enter, R, laughing.
Jenny. O, isn't this splendid! A country life for me.
Bessie. It's glorious! I could live here forever.
Sadie. So could I. No more city life for me.
Juno. my soul! Goin' fur to stay here forebber! I'll jes' pack up my jewelry, and slope, for sartin'.
Jenny. Ah, there's Juno. O, Juno, isn't it most dinner-time? I'm so hungry!
Bessie. So am I—ravenous.
Sadie. I'm starving; slowly, but surely, starving.
Juno. Dinner! Why, bress my soul! yer hain't got yer breakfast digesticated yet. Well, I nebber, in de whole co'se ob my life, seed sich eaters—nebber. Six biscuit, four b'iled eggs apiece, and chicken; chicken by de dozen for dar breakfast; and now want dar dinner! Bress my soul! Doesn't yer git nuffin to eat in de city?
Sadie. O, yes, plenty; but not such biscuits as Juno makes.
Jenny and Bessie. Never, never!
Jenny. And eggs, girls! None cooked as Juno cooks them.
Bessie and Sadie. Never, never!
Bessie. And chickens! never so nice as those broiled by Juno.
Jenny and Sadie. Never, never!
Juno. Doesn't yers, honies? (Grinning.) Dat's mean; dat's raal mean. Well, poor dears, I s'pose yers is hungry. Now you jes' wait and see what Juno can find for a lunch.
Jenny. "A little flattery, now and then, is relished by the wisest men."
Bessie. And the darkest of our sex, Jenny.
Sadie. Yes; and "a soft answer turneth away wrath." O, ain't we having a splendid time, girls?
Jenny. How kind of our parents, after eight months' hard study, to send us to this delightful place!
Sadie. O, it's splendid. We want nothing here.
Bessie. No, indeed. There's nothing left in that dry, hot city to be regretted.
Jenny. Stop. There is one thing I should like.
Sadie and Bessie. What is that?
Jenny. One of mother's pickles.
Sadie and Bessie. What! a pickle?
Jenny. Yes. I'm dying for one of mother's sour, peppery pickles.
Sadie. O, don't, Jenny. Do you want to make me homesick?
Bessie. My mouth puckers at the thought. I want to go home.
Enter, R., Sissy Gabble, a very small girl, with a very large cape bonnet on her head, and a tin pail in her hand.
Sissy. If yer pleath, Mith Peath, if, if—Mith Peath, if you pleath—
Jenny. Why, who in the world is this?
Sadie. What do you want, little girl?
Sissy. Mith Peath, if you pleath, if, if—Mith Peath, to home, my mother thed—my mother thed. What did my mother thed? O, my mother thed, if Mith Peath is to home, to give Mith Peath her com—her com—to give Mith Peath her com—
Jenny. Her compliments?
Sissy. Yith ma'am, I geth tho; and tell Mith Peath, the thent her thome of her pickleth.
Sadie and Bessie. Pickles! O, you dear little thing!
Jenny. O, isn't she a darling! (They all crowd round Sissy, take off her bonnet, kiss and hug her.) Isn't she splendid?
Bessie. I'll take the pail, little girl.
Sissy. (Putting pail behind her.) Yith marm; I geth not. My mother thed I muthn't give it to nobody but Mith Peath.
Bessie. Well, take off the cover, little girl. The pickles will spoil.
Sissy. I geth not. My mother's pickleth never thpoil.
Jenny. The little plague! Say, Sissy; do you like candy?
Sissy. Candy? Merlatheth candy?
Sissy. Ith it pulled?
Jenny. Yes, indeed; pulled white as snow. Give me the pail, and I'll find you a long stick of it.
Sissy. You ain't Mith Peath; and I don't like merlatheth candy white ath thnow. Where ith Mith Peath?
Sadie. Little girl, don't you want some red and white peppermints?
Sissy. No, I don't. I want Mith Peath.
Bessie. Or some splendid gum drops?
Sissy. No. I want Mith Peath.
Enter Miss Pease, l.
Miss P. And here she is, Sissy Gabble. What have you for me? (The girls fall back in confusion, and whisper together.)
Sissy. Thome pickleth, Mith Peath, my mother thent you, with her com—her com—her com—
Miss P. Her compliments, Sissy. I understand. I'm very much obliged to her for sending them, and to you, Sissy, for bringing them so carefully. Here, Juno!
Enter, Juno, l.
Juno. Yes, missis. Why, bress my soul! if dar ain't Sissy Gabble! Come right here, yer dear chile.
Miss P. Take her to the kitchen, Juno. Perhaps you can find a cake for her.
Juno. Guess I can, missis, sure for sartin. Come, Sissy Gabble, come right along wid Juno.
Sissy. Thay, Juno, who ith them? (Pointing to girls.)
Juno. Why, bress yer soul, dem ar's de young ladies from de city, on dar vex—vex—on dar vexation. O, Sissy, dar drefful sweet.
Sissy. Thweet, Juno? I thpothe tho; they've got thuch loth of candy. But they didn't git my pail, tho!
Juno. Come along to de kitchen. Come.
[Exeunt Juno and Sissy, l. The girls gather about Miss Pease.
Jenny. O, Miss Pease, I'm so glad Mrs. Gabble sent you those pickles, I'm so fond of them!
Bessie. Yes, Miss Pease; they're so nice!
Sadie. O, they're splendid! Do give us a taste.
Miss P. Stop, stop young ladies. While I cannot but be grateful to Mrs. Gabble for her kindness, I wish it had taken some other shape. I have long been of the opinion that pickles are unwholesome, and have never allowed them to be placed upon my table. And I am sure I should be disobeying the instructions I received from your parents—to provide you only wholesome food—did I permit you to taste them. For the present, I shall leave them here. (Places pail on the table.) If you believe I have your interest at heart, you will not touch that which I have condemned. I know I can trust you.
Bessie. Well, I declare! The mean old thing!
Jenny. It's too bad! Nothing but blasted hopes in this world!
Sadie. Well, I don't care, I'm a going to have one of those pickles, if I die for it.
Jenny. Why, Sadie Bean, you don't mean it!
Sadie. Yes, I do. I know they are wholesome, and my mother always allows me to eat them.
Bessie. I wouldn't touch one for the world. How impolite it would be, after Miss Pease has forbidden it!
Sadie. No; she didn't forbid it. She said, if we thought she had our interest at heart, we wouldn't touch the pail. Now I don't believe she has, when she wants to deprive us of such a luxury. I'm determined to have a pickle.
Jenny. You are wrong, Sadie, to think of such a thing. A Precious Pickle you'll make. (Sits on sofa.)
Bessie. Nothing would tempt me. (Sits on sofa.) How can you, Sadie?
Sadie. Pooh! Cowards! It's just as easy as croquet, when you make up your mind. (Lifts cover, and takes out pickle.) A Precious Pickle. I'll taste, Jenny. Ain't they beauties?
Jenny. Quick, quick, Sadie; somebody's coming!
Sadie. Dear me! (Claps on cover, runs and sits on sofa between Jenny and Bessie.)
Enter Juno, l.
Juno. Bress my soul! dars Missis Gabble a runnin up de walk like all possessed. Speck her house afire, sure for sartin.
Sadie. (Tasting pickle.) O, ain't it nice! Bessie, run and get one.
Bessie. No, indeed; I shall do no such thing.
Jenny. O, Sadie, I wouldn't believe you could do such a thing.
Sadie. O, pshaw! It's all envy; you know it is.
Enter R., Juno, followed by Mrs. Gabble, who wears a calico dress, has her sleeves rolled up, her apron thrown over her head, and has altogether the appearance of having just left the wash-tub.
Mrs. G. Yes, Juno, poor Mr. Brown has shuffled off this mortal—what's it's name? (Looks at girls.) O, how do you do? I don't know how much he's worth, but they do say—Why, Juno, you've got a new calico—Fine day, young ladies.—They do say—Well, there, I oughtn't to speak of it. Got your washing out, Juno? I've been all day at that tub; and—Where's Miss Pease? I can't stop a minute; so don't ask me to sit down. (Sits in rocking-chair and rocks violently.)
Juno. Yes, Missy Gabble, Missy Pease to home. Send her right up, sure for sartin. Bress my soul, how that woman do go on, for sartin.
Mrs. G. Ah, poor Mrs. Brown, with all them young ones. I wonder where my Sis is.
Jenny. I think she's in the kitchen, Mrs. Gabble.
Mrs. G. You don't say so? Stuffing herself, I'm sure. And poor Mr. Brown lying dead in the next house—and there's my washing waiting for soap—and there's Mrs. Jones hasn't sent my ironing-board home; and mercy knows how I'm to get along without it.
Enter Miss Pease, l. During the dialogue between Miss Pease and Mrs. G., Sadie slyly eats her pickle, offering it to Jenny and Bessie, who at first shake their heads, afterwards taste; the pickle is passed among them, and devoured before the conclusion of the conversation.
Miss P. Ah, Mrs. Gabble! I'm glad to see you. (Takes chair and sits beside her.)
Mrs. G. And poor Brown is gone!
Miss P. Mr. Brown dead? This is sad news.
Mrs. G. I should think it was—and there's Skillet, the butcher, chopped off his thumb—and Miss Pearson fell down stairs and broke her china sugar-bowl—sp'ilt the whole set. As I told my husband, these expensive dishes never can be matched—and speaking of matches, Mrs. Thorpe is going to get a divorce. Jest think of it! I met her going into Carter's shop this morning. She had on that pink muslin he gave her for a birthday present—Jenkins has got a new lot of them, only a shilling a yard—speaking of yards, old Cooper tumbled into that miserable well in his back yard this morning. They pulled him out—speaking of pulling, Miss Tibbet was in to the dentist's this morning for a new set of teeth, and—Have you seen my Sis?
Miss P. O, yes. She's in the kitchen with Juno. And, speaking of Sissy, reminds me that I must thank you for sending me—
Mrs. G. My pickles? Yes. Well, I'm glad you got 'em. But I didn't have a bit of good luck with 'em. And, speaking of pickles, O, Miss Pease, that villain, Smith, the grocer, has been taken up. He's going to be hung. Nothing can save him.
Miss P. Mr. Smith arrested! For what pray?
Mrs. G. P'isoning! Jest think of it! And he a deacon in the church, and has such a splendid span of horses, and such an elegant beach wagon. I declare, the last time he took us to the beach I nearly died eating soft-shelled crabs; and my husband tumbled overboard, and Mr. Brown got sunstruck; and now he's gone! Dear me, dear me! And my washing ain't out yet.
Miss P. But tell me, Mrs. Gabble, what is it about the poisoning?
Mrs. G. Why, he or somebody else has been putting prussic acid in his vinegar, just at the time, too, when everybody's making pickles; and there's no end of the p'isoning he will have to answer for. Mrs. Jewel's just sent for the doctor, and Mrs. Poor's been dreadful all day, and Dr. Baldtop's flying round from house to house; and, O, dear—there's my washing! Who'll be the next victim nobody knows, I'm sure.
Sadie. (Jumping up.) O, dear! O, dear! Send for the doctor, quick! I'm dying, I know I am. (Runs across stage and sinks into chair, R.)
Miss P. (Running to her.) Bless me child, what ails you?
Sadie. I don't know; I can't tell. The doctor, quick!
Mrs. G. Deary me, she's took sudden, just for all the world like Susan Richie.
Jenny. (Jumping up.) Water, water! Give me some water! I shall die if I don't have some water. (Runs down and sinks into chair, L.)
Mrs. G. (Jumping up and running to her.) Gracious goodness! here's another! It's something dreadful, depend upon it. When folks is took sudden—
Bessie. (Jumping up.) O, my throat! I'm burning up! Give me some ipecac. Quick, quick, quick! (Runs round stage, then sinks into chair, C.)
Mrs. G. There goes another! It's something dreadful, depend on it.
Miss P. What does this mean? Here, Juno, Juno! Quick!
Enter Juno, l.
Juno. Here I is, Missy Pease.
Sadie. Run for the doctor, quick, Juno!
Juno. (Running, R.) Bress my soul! I'll fetch him.
Jenny. No, no! Get me some water—quick!
Juno. (Running L.) To be sure, honey; to be sure.
Bessie. No, no, Juno! some ipecac, or a stomach pump.
Juno. Pump, pump! Want de pump? I'll fetch it, I'll fetch it. Bress my soul, I'll fetch something.
Mrs. G. Well, if this ain't drefful!—washing-day, too—and the undertaker's jest as busy as he can be—there never was so much immortality in this place, never. Poor critters! poor critters!
Miss P. Girls, what does this mean?
Sadie. O, Miss Pease, such agony!
Bessie. O, dear, what will become of me?
Jenny. O, this dreadful parching in the throat!
Mrs. G. O, I know it, I know it. I told my husband that something dreadful was a goin' to happen when he sold that colt yesterday.
Miss P. Sadie, what is the meaning of this. Your pulse is regular, your head cool, and your tongue clear.
Sadie. O, Miss Pease, it's those dreadful pickles.
Mrs. G. Yes, indeed, it is a drefful pickle—and so sudden, jest for all the world like poor Mr. Brown's sudden took, and these always seem to end fatally at some time or other—Dear me, dear me, and my wash—
Miss P. Pickles! Have you disobeyed me?
Sadie. I couldn't help it, Miss Pease; they looked so tempting. But I only took one.
Bessie. And I only tasted that.
Jenny. I only had one good bite.
Sadie. And we are poisoned!
Bessie. O, dear! poisoned!
Jenny. Yes, poisoned!
Miss P. How, poisoned?
Sadie. Mrs. Gabble says the vinegar was poisoned by Mr. Smith.
Mrs. G. Smith—vinegar—p'isoned! The land sakes! And I a good church member—and my washing—and poor Mr. Brown, tew. Well, I never! I'd have you to know that I bought no vinegar of Mr. Smith, I made my own.
Sadie. And your pickles were not poisoned?
Mrs. G. No, indeed. Never did such a thing in my life.
Sadie. O, dear! I'm so glad! (Jumping up.)
Bessie. I won't have the ipecac. (Rises.)
Jenny. My throat is decidedly better. (Rises.)
Enter Juno with a pail of water and a dipper.
Juno. Bress my soul, de pump was fastened down so tight couldn't git it up. Here's a pail of water; if dat won't do I'll git a tub.
Miss P. No matter, Juno. I think 'twill not be needed. Young ladies, I am very sorry—
Sadie. Please, Miss Pease, do not speak of it. I alone am to blame for transgressing your command, for such we should consider it, as you are for the present our guardian. Forgive me, and in future I will endeavour to control my appetite, and comply with your wishes.
Mrs. G. Well, I declare, I don't see the harm in eating pickles. My girls eat their weight in 'em, and they're just as sweet-tempered as—
Miss P. Their mother. Mrs. Gabble, it is not a question of harm, but of obedience, here. You see, the young ladies accept me as their guardian, and I only forbid that which I think their parents would not approve.
Mrs. G. And there's my washing in the suds! Where's my Sis.
Enter Sissy Gabble, l., with a large slice of bread, covered with molasses.
Sissy. Here I ith, mother. Mith Peath thed I might have thumthin, and I like bread, and 'latheth.
Juno. Bress my soul! dat are chile jest runnin' over with sweetness, sure for sartin.
Mrs. G. Yes; and the 'lasses running all over the clothes! Come, Sissy, let's go home. I'm sorry, Miss Pease, you don't like pickles; and I'm sorry, young ladies, they disagree with you. And I'm sorry, Miss Pease, I left my washing.
Miss P. Now don't be sorry at all, Mrs. Gabble. I'm always glad to see you. Your gift was well-intended, and the young ladies have suffered no harm, perhaps received a wholesome lesson.
Sadie. I think we have. I shall be very careful what I touch.
Jenny. O, dear! such a fright! I shall never get over it.
Bessie. O, Sadie, you thought it was so nice!
Jenny. Yes, such a Precious Pickle!
Mrs. G. Of course it was. My pickles are the best made in town—precious nice, I tell you. Mrs. Doolittle always sends in for 'em when she has company; and the minister says they're awful soothing arter sermon.
Sadie. O, certainly; I've no doubt of it. But I've found that stolen fruit is not the sweetest, and that mischievous fingers make trouble when they clutch what mine sought, and made a Precious Pickle.
After once reading this sweet little poem, the student will need no prompting to teach him that it is not possible for him to deliver it with too much genuine emotion:
HIS book is all that's left me now!
Tears will unbidden start,—
With faltering lip and throbbing brow,
I press it to my heart.
For many generations past,
Here is our family tree;
My mother's hand this Bible clasped;
She, dying, gave it me.
Ah! well do I remember those
Whose names those records bear,
Who round the hearthstone used to close
After the evening prayer,
And speak of what these pages said,
In tones my heart would thrill!
Though they are with the silent dead,
Here are they living still!
My father read this holy book
To brothers, sisters dear;
How calm was my poor mother's look,
Who learned God's word to hear.
Her angel-face—I see it yet!
What thronging memories come!
Again that little group is met
Within the halls of home!
Thou truest friend man ever knew,
Thy constancy I've tried;
Where all were false I found thee true,
My counsellor and guide.
The mines of earth no treasure give
That could this volume buy:
In teaching me the way to live,
It taught me how to die.
LOUISA M. ALCOTT.
I WANT something to do."—This remark being addressed to the world in general, no one in particular felt it his duty to reply; so I repeated it to the smaller world about me, received the following suggestions, and settled the matter by answering my own inquiry, as people are apt to do when very much in earnest.
"Write a book," quoth my father.
"Don't know enough, sir. First live, then write."
"Try teaching again," suggested my mother.
"No, thank you, ma'am; ten years of that is enough."
"Take a husband like my Darby, and fulfil your mission," said Sister Jane, home on a visit.
"Can't afford expensive luxuries, Mrs. Coobiddy."
"Turn actress, and immortalize your name," said Sister Vashti, striking an attitude.
"Go nurse the soldiers," said my young neighbor, Tom, panting for "the tented field."
Arriving at this satisfactory conclusion, the meeting adjourned; and the fact that Miss Tribulation was available as army nurse went abroad on the wings of the wind.
In a few days a townswoman heard of my desire, approved of it, and brought about an interview with one of the sisterhood I wished to join, who was at home on a furlough, and able and willing to satisfy inquiries.
A morning chat with Miss General S.—we hear no end of Mrs. Generals, why not a Miss?—produced three results: I felt that I could do the work, was offered a place, and accepted it; promising not to desert, but to stand ready to march on Washington at an hour's notice.
A few days were necessary for the letter containing my request and recommendation to reach head-quarters, and another, containing my commission, to return; therefore no time was to be lost; and, heartily thanking my pair of friends, I hurried home through the December slush, as if the Rebels were after me, and, like many another recruit, burst in upon my family with the announcement,—"I've enlisted!"
An impressive silence followed. Tom, the irrepressible, broke it with a slap on the shoulder and the grateful compliment,—"Old Trib, you're a trump!"
"Thank you; then I'll take something,"—which I did, in the shape of dinner, reeling off my news at the rate of three dozen words to a mouthful; and as every one else talked equally fast, and all together, the scene was most inspiring.
As boys going to sea immediately become nautical in speech, walk as if they already had their sea-legs on, and shiver their timbers on all possible occasions, so I turned military at once, called my dinner my rations, saluted all new-comers, and ordered a dress-parade that very afternoon.
Having reviewed every rag I possessed, I detailed some pieces for picket duty while airing on the fence; some to the sanitary influences of the wash-tub; others to mount guard in the trunk; while the weak and wounded went to the Work-basket Hospital, to be made ready for active service again.
To this squad I devoted myself for a week; but all was done, and I had time to get powerfully impatient before the letter came. It did arrive, however, and brought a disappointment along with good-will and friendliness; for it told me that the place in the Armory Hospital that I supposed I was to take was already filled, and a much less desirable one at Hurly-burly House was offered instead.
"That's just your luck, Trib. I'll take your trunk up garret for you again; for of course you won't go," Tom remarked, with the disdainful pity which small boys affect when they get into their teens.
I was wavering in my secret soul; but that remark settled the matter, and I crushed him on the spot with martial brevity,—"It is now one; I shall march at six."
I have a confused recollection of spending the afternoon in pervading the house like an executive whirlwind, with my family swarming after me,—all working, talking, prophesying, and lamenting while I packed such of my things as I was to take with me, tumbled the rest into two big boxes, danced on the lids till they shut, and gave them in charge, with the direction,—"If I never come back, make a bonfire of them."
Then I choked down a cup of tea, generously salted instead of sugared by some agitated relative, shouldered my knapsack,—it was only a travelling-bag, but do let me preserve the unities,—hugged my family three times all round without a vestige of unmanly emotion, till a certain dear old lady broke down upon my neck, with a despairing sort of wail,—"O my dear, my dear! how can I let you go?"
"I'll stay, if you say so, mother."
"But I don't; go, and the Lord will take care of you."
Much of the Roman matron's courage had gone into the Yankee matron's composition, and, in spite of her tears, she would have sent ten sons to the war, had she possessed them, as freely as she sent one daughter, smiling and flapping on the door-step till I vanished, though the eyes that followed me were very dim, and the handkerchief she waved was very wet.
My transit from The Gables to the village depot was a funny mixture of good wishes and good-bys, mud-puddles and shopping. A December twilight is not the most cheering time to enter upon a somewhat perilous enterprise; but I'd no thought of giving out, O, bless you, no!
When the ingine screeched "Here we are!" I clutched my escort in a fervent embrace, and skipped into the car with as blithe a farewell as if going on a bridal tour,—though I believe brides don't usually wear cavernous black bonnets and fuzzy brown coats, with a hair-brush, a pair of rubbers, two books, and a bag of gingerbread distorting the pockets.
If I thought that people would believe it, I'd boldly state that I slept from C. to B., which would simplify matters immensely; but as I know they wouldn't, I'll confess that the head under the funereal coal-hod fermented with all manner of high thoughts and heroic purposes "to do or die,"—perhaps both; and the heart under the fuzzy brown coat felt very tender with the memory of the dear old lady, probably sobbing over her army socks and the loss of her topsy-turvy Trib.
At this juncture I took the veil, and what I did behind it is nobody's business; but I maintain that the soldier who cries when his mother says "Good by" is the boy to fight best, and die bravest, when the time comes, or go back to her better than he went.
"When last seen, he was considerably intoxicated.... and was found dead in the highway."—Republican and Democrat of May 17.
NLY sixteen, so the papers say,
Yet there on the cold, stony ground he lay;
'Tis the same sad story we hear every day—
He came to his death in the public highway.
Full of promise, talent, and pride,
Yet the rum fiend conquered him; so he died.
Did not the angels weep over the scene?
For he died a drunkard—and only sixteen,
Oh! it were sad he must die all alone:
That of all his friends, not even one
Was there to list to his last faint moan,
Or point the suffering soul to the throne
Of grace. If, perchance, God's only Son
Would say, "Whosoever will may come."
But we hasten to draw a veil over the scene,
With his God we leave him—only sixteen.
Rumseller, come view the work you have wrought:
Witness the suffering and pain you have brought
To the poor boy's friends. They loved him well,
And yet you dared the vile beverage to sell
That beclouded his brain, his reason dethroned,
And left him to die out there all alone.
What if 'twere your son instead of another?
What if your wife were that poor boy's mother,
And he only sixteen?
Ye free-holders who signed the petition to grant
The license to sell, do you think you will want
That record to meet in the last great day,
When the earth and the heavens shall have passed away,
When the elements, melted with fervent heat,
Shall proclaim the triumph of Right complete?
Will you wish to have his blood on your hands
When before the great throne you each shall stand,
And he only sixteen?
Christian men! rouse ye to stand for the right,
To action and duty; into the light
Come with your banners, inscribed "Death to rum."
Let your conscience speak. Listen, then, come;
Strike killing blows; hew to the line;
Make it a felony even to sign
A petition to license; you would do it, I ween,
If that were your son, and "only sixteen,"
P ATRICK. Well, Captain, whereabouts in the wide world are we? Is it Roosia, Proosia, or the Jarmant oceant?
Captain. Tut, you fool; it's France.
Patrick. Tare and ouns! do you tell me so? and how do you know it's France, Captain dear?
Captain. Because we were on the coast of the Bay of Biscay when the vessel was wrecked.
Patrick. Throth, I was thinkin' so myself. And now, Captain jewel, it is I that wishes we had a gridiron.
Captain. Why, Patrick, what puts the notion of a gridiron into your head?
Patrick. Because I'm starving with hunger, Captain dear.
Captain. Surely you do not intend to eat a gridiron, do you?
Patrick. Ate a gridiron; bad luck to it! no. But if we had a gridiron, we could dress a beefsteak.
Captain. Yes; but where's the beefsteak, Patrick?
Patrick. Sure, couldn't we cut it off the pork?
Captain. I never thought of that. You are a clever fellow, Patrick. (Laughing.)
Patrick. There's many a thrue word said in joke, Captain. And now, if you will go and get the bit of pork that we saved from the rack, I'll go to the house there beyant, and ax some of them to lind me the loan of a gridiron.
Captain. But, Patrick, this is France, and they are all foreigners here.
Patrick. Well, and how do you know but I am as good a furriner myself as any o' them.
Captain. What do you mean, Patrick?
Patrick. Parley voo frongsay?
Captain. O, you understand French, then, is it?
Patrick. Throth, you may say that, Captain dear.
Captain. Well, Patrick, success to you. Be civil to the foreigners, and I'll be back with the pork in a minute.
[He goes out.
Patrick. Ay, sure enough, I'll be civil to them; for the Frinch are always mighty p'lite intirely, and I'll show them I know what good manners is. Indade, and here comes munseer himself, quite convaynient. (As the Frenchman enters, Patrick takes off his hat, and making a low bow, says:) God save you, sir, and all your children. I beg your pardon for the liberty I take, but it's only being in disthress in regard of ateing, that I make bowld to trouble ye; and if you could lind me the loan of a gridiron, I'd be intirely obleeged to ye.
Frenchman (staring at him). Comment!
Patrick. Indade it's thrue for you. I'm tathered to paces, and God knows I look quare enough; but it's by rason of the storm that dhruve us ashore jist here, and we're all starvin'.
Frenchman. Je m'y t—(pronounced zhe meet).
Patrick. Oh! not at all! by no manes! we have plenty of mate ourselves, and we'll dhress it, if you be plased jist to lind us the loan of a gridiron, sir. (Making a low bow.)
Frenchman (staring at him, but not understanding a word.)
Patrick. I beg pardon, sir; but maybe I'm undher a mistake, but I thought I was in France, sir. An't you all furriners here? Parley voo frongsay?
Frenchman. Oui, monsieur.
Patrick. Then, would you lind me the loan of a gridiron, if you plase? (The Frenchman stares more than ever, as if anxious to understand.) I know it's a liberty I take, sir; but it's only in the regard of bein' cast away; and if you plase, sir, parley voo frongsay?
Frenchman. Oui, monsieur, oui.
Patrick. Then would you lind me the loan of a gridiron, sir and you'll obleege me?
Frenchman. Monsieur, pardon, monsieur—
Patrick. (Angrily). By my sowl, if it was you was in disthress, and if it was to owld Ireland you came, it's not only the gridiron they'd give you, if you axed it, but something to put on it too, and a dhrop of dhrink into the bargain. Can't you understand your own language? (Very slowly.) Parley—voo—frongsay—munseer?
Frenchman. Oui, monsieur; oui, monsieur, mais—
Patrick. Then lend me the loan of a gridiron, I say, and bad scram to you.
Frenchman (bowing and scraping). Monsieur, je ne l'entend—
Patrick. Phoo! the divil sweep yourself and your long tongs! I don't want a tongs at all, at all. Can't you listen to rason?
Frenchman. Oui, oui, monsieur: certainement, mais—
Patrick. Then lind me the loan of a gridiron, and howld your prate. (The Frenchman shakes his head, as if to say he did not understand; but Patrick, thinking he meant it as a refusal, says, in a passion:) Bad cess to the likes o' you! Throth, if you were in my counthry, it's not that-a-way they'd use you. The curse o' the crows on you, you owld sinner! The divil another word I'll say to you. (The Frenchman puts his hand on his heart, and tries to express compassion in his countenance.) Well, I'll give you one chance more, you old thafe! Are you a Christhian, at all, at all? Are you a furriner that all the world calls so p'lite? Bad luck to you! do you understand your mother tongue? Parley voo frongsay? (Very loud.) Parley voo frongsay?
Frenchman. Oui, monsieur, oui, oui.
Patrick. Then, thunder and turf! will you lind me the loan of a gridiron? (The Frenchman shakes his head, as if he did not understand; and Pat says, vehemently:) The curse of the hungry be on you, you owld negarly villian! the back of my hand and the sowl of my fut to you! May you want a gridiron yourself yet! and wherever I go, it's high and low, rich and poor, shall hear of it, and be hanged to you!
This fine poem is full of points for brilliant declamation; at times there should be a flow of rapid narration, rising frequently into shouts of exultation:
OME, see the good ship's anchor forged—'tis at a white heat now:
The bellows ceased, the flames decreased—though on the forge's brow
The little flames still fitfully play through the sable mound,
And fitfully you still may see the grim smiths ranking round;
All clad in leathern panoply, their broad hands only bare—
Some rest upon their sledges here, some work the windlass there.
The windlass strains the tackle chains, the black mound heaves below,
And red and deep a hundred veins burst out at every throe!
It rises, roars, rends all outright—O, Vulcan, what a glow:
'Tis blinding white, 'tis blasting bright—the high sun shines not so!
The high sun sees not, on the earth, such fiery fearful show;
The roof-ribs swart, the candent hearth, the ruddy lurid row
Of smiths that stand, an ardent band, like men before the foe
As, quivering through his fleece of flame, the sailing-monster slow
Sinks on the anvil—all about the faces fiery grow.
"Hurrah!" they shout, "leap out—leap out;" bang, bang the sledges go;
Hurrah! the jetted lightnings are hissing high and low—
A hailing fount of fire is struck at every quashing blow;
The leathern mail rebounds the hail, the rattling cinders strow
The ground around: at every bound the sweltering fountains flow
And thick and loud the swinking crowd at every stroke pant "Ho!"
Leap out, leap out, my masters; leap out and lay on load!
Let's forge a goodly anchor—a bower thick and broad;
For a heart of oak is hanging on every blow, I bode,
And I see the good ship riding, all in a perilous road—
The low reef roaring on her lee—the roll of ocean poured
From stem to stern, sea after sea; the mainmast by the board;
The bulwarks down, the rudder gone, the boats stove at the chains!
But courage still, brave mariners—the bower yet remains!
And not an inch to flinch he deigns, save when ye pitch sky-high;
Then moves his head, as though he said, "Fear nothing—here am I."
Swing in your strokes in order, let foot and hand keep time;
Your blows make sweeter music far than any steeple's chime.
But while you sling your sledges, sing—and let the burden be,
"The anchor is the anvil king, and royal craftsmen we:"
Strike in, strike in—the sparks begin to dull their rustling red;
Our hammers ring with sharper din, our work will soon be sped.
Our anchor must soon change his bed of fiery rich array,
For a hammock at the roaring bows, or an oozy couch of clay;
Our anchor must soon change the lay of merry craftsmen here,
For the "Yeo-heave-o'!" and the "Heave-away!" and the sighing seaman's cheer;
When, weighing slow, at eve they go—far, far from love and home;
And sobbing sweethearts, in a row, wail o'er the ocean foam.
In livid and obdurate gloom he darkens down at last;
A shapely one he is, and strong, as e'er from cast was cast.
O, trusted and trustworthy guard, if thou hadst life like me,
What pleasures would thy toils reward beneath the deep green sea!
O, broad-armed diver of the deep, whose sports can equal thine?
The good ship weighs a thousand tons, that tugs thy cable line;
And, night by night, 'tis thy delight, thy glory day by day,
Through sable sea and breaker white, the giant game to play.
O, lodger in the sea-king's halls, couldst thou but understand
Whose be the white bones by thy side, once leagued in patriot band!
O, couldst thou know what heroes glide with larger steps round thee,
Thine iron sides would swell with pride; thou'dst leap within the sea!
Give honor to their memories who left the pleasant strand,
To shed their blood so freely for love of father-land—
Who left their chance of quiet age and grassy church-yard grave
So freely, for a restless bed amid the tossing wave—
O, though our anchor may not be all I have fondly sung,
Honor him for their memory, whose bones he goes among!
O NE of the many popular delusions wespecting the Bwitish swell is the supposition that he leads an independent life,—goes to bed when he likes, gets up when he likes, d-dwesses how he likes, and dines when he pleases.
The public are gwossly deceived on this point. A weal swell is as m-much under authowity as a p-poor devil of a pwivate in the marines, a clerk in a government office, or a f-forth-form boy at Eton. Now I come under the demon—demonima—(no,—thop,—what is the word?)—dom—denom—d-denomination, that 'th it—I come under the d-denomination of a swell—(in—in fact—a howwid swell—some of my friends call me, but that'th only their flattewy), and I assure you a f-fellah in that capacity is so much westained by rules of f-fashion, that he can scarcely call his eyeglath his own. A swell, I take it, is a fellah who t-takes care that he swells as well as swells who swell as well as he, (there's thuch lot of thwelling in that thentence,—ha, ha!—it's what you might c-call a busting definition). What I mean is, that a f-fellah is obliged to do certain things at certain times of the year, whether he likes 'em or no. For instance, in the season I've got to go to a lot of balls and dwums and tea-fights in town, that I don't care a bit about, and show myself in the Park wegularly evewy afternoon; and latht month I had to victimize mythelf down in the countwy,—shooting (a bwutal sort of amusement, by the way). Well, about the end of October evewy one goes to Bwighton, n-no one knowth why,—that'th the betht of it,—and so I had to go too,—that's the wortht of it,—ha, ha!
Not that it's such a b-bad place after all,—I d-dare say if I hadn't had to go I should have gone all the same, for what is a f-fellah to do who ith n't much of a sportsman just about this time? There 'th n-nothing particular going on in London. Evewything is b-beathly dull; so I thought I would just run down on the Southeastern Wailway to be—ha, ha!—Bwightoned up a bit. (Come, th-that's not bad for an impromptu!)
B-Bwighton was invented in the year 1784, by his Woyal Highness George P-Pwince of Wales,—the author of the shoebuckle, the stand-up collar (a b-beathly inconvenient and cut-throat thort of a machine), and a lot of other exthploded things. He built the Pavilion down there, which looks like a lot of petrified onions from Bwobdinag clapped down upon a guard-house. There'th a jolly sort of garden attached to the building, in which the b-band plays twice a week, and evewy one turns in there about four o'clock, so I went too (n-not too o'clock, you know, but f-four o'clock). I—I'm vewy fond of m-martial music, mythelf. I like the dwums and the t-twombones, and the ophicleides, and all those sort of inshtwuments,—yeth, ethpethelly the bwass ones,—they're so vewy exthpiring, they are. Thtop though, ith it expiring or p-perthpiring?—n-neither of 'em sound quite right. Oh! I have it now, it—it's inthspiring,—that'th what it is, because the f-fellahs bweathe into them!
That weminds me of a widdle I made down there (I—I've taken to widdles lately, and weally it'th a vewy harmleth thort of a way of getting thwough the morning, and it amuthes two f-fellahs at onth, because if—if you athk a fellah a widdle, and he can't guess it, you can have a jolly good laugh at him, and—if he—if he doth guess it, he—I mean you—no—that is the widdle—stop, I—I'm getting confuthed,—where wath I? Oh! I know. If—if he doth guess it.... however it ithn't vewy likely he would—so what's the good of thupposing impwobabilities?) Well, thith was the widdle I made,—I thed to Sloper (Sloper's a fwiend of mine,—a vewy gook thort of fellah Sloper is,—I d-don't know exactly what his pwofession would be called, but hith uncle got him into a b-berth where he gets f-five hundred a year,—f-for doing nothing—s-somewhere—I forget where—but I—I know he does it),—I said to Sloper, "Why is that f-fellah with the b-bassooon l-like his own instrument?" and Sloper said, "How—how the dooth should I know?" (Ha, ha!—I thought he'd give it up!) So I said to Sloper, "Why, b-because they both get blown—in time!" You thee the joke, of course, but I don't think Sloper did, thomhow; all he thed was, "V-vewy mild, Dundreary,"—and t-tho—it was mild—thertainly, f-for October, but I d-don't thee why a f-fellah should go making wemarks about the weather instead of laughing at m-my widdle.
In this pwomenade that I was speaking of, you see such a lot of thtunning girls evewy afternoon,—dwessed twemendous swells, and looking like—yes, by Jove! l-like angels in cwinoline,—there 'th no other word for it. There are two or thwee always will l-laugh, somehow, when I meet them,—they do now weally. I—I almost fancy they wegard me with intewest. I mutht athk Sloper if he can get me an introduction. Who knowth? pwaps I might make an impwession,—I'll twy,—I—I've got a little converthathional power,—and theveral new wethcoats.
Bwighton is filling fast now. You see dwoves of ladies evewy day on horseback, widing about in all diwections. By the way, I—I muthn't forget to mention that I met those two girls that always laugh when they thee me, at a tea-fight. One of 'em—the young one—told me, when I was intwoduced to her,—in—in confidence, mind,—that she had often heard of me and of my widdles. Tho you thee I'm getting quite a weputathun that way. The other morning, at Mutton's, she wath ch-chaffing me again, and begging me to tell her the latetht thing in widdles. Now, I hadn't heard any mythelf for thome time, tho I couldn't give her any vewy great novelty, but a fwiend of mine made one latht theason which I thought wather neat, tho I athked her, When ith a jar not a jar? Thingularly enough, the moment she heard thith widdle she burtht out laughing behind her pocket-handkerchief!
"Good gwacious! what'th the matter?" said I. "Have you ever heard it before?"
"Never," she said emphatically, "in that form; do, please tell me the answer."
So I told her,—When it ith a door! Upon which she—she went off again in hystewics. I—I—I never did see such a girl for laughing. I know it's a good widdle, but I didn't think it would have such an effect as that.
By the way, Sloper told me afterwards that he thought he had heard the widdle before, somewhere, but it was put in a different way. He said it was: When ith a door not a door?—and the answer, When it ith ajar!
I—I've been thinking over the matter lately, and though I dare thay it—d-don't much matter which way the question is put, still—pwaps the last f-form is the betht. It—it seems to me to wead better. What do you think?
Now I weckomember, I made thuch a jolly widdle the other day on the Ethplanade. I thaw a fellah with a big New—Newfoundland dog, and he inthpired me—the dog, you know, not the fellah,—he wath a lunatic. I'm keeping the widdle, but I don't mind telling you.
Why does a dog waggle hith tail? Give it up? I think motht fellahs will give that up!
You thee, the dog waggles hith tail becauth the dog's stwonger than the tail. If he wath n't, the tail would waggle the dog!
Ye-th,—that 'th what I call a widdle. If I can only wecollect him, I thall athtonish those two girls thome of these days.
A little meek-faced, village child,
Sat singing by her cottage door at eve
A low, sweet sabbath song. No human ear
Caught the faint melody,—no human eye
Beheld the upturned aspect, or the smile
That wreathed her innocent lips while they breathed
The oft-repeated burden of the hymn,
"Praise God! Praise God!"
A seraph by the throne
In full glory stood. With eager hand
He smote the golden harp-string, till a flood
Of harmony on the celestial air
Welled forth, unceasing. There with a great voice,
He sang the "Holy, holy evermore,
Lord God Almighty!" and the eternal courts
Thrilled with the rapture, and the hierarchies,
Angel, and rapt archangel, throbbed and burned
With vehement adoration.
Rose the majestic anthem, without pause,
Higher, with rich magnificence of sound,
To its full strength; and still the infinite heavens
Rang with the "Holy, holy evermore!"
Till, trembling with excessive awe and love,
Each sceptred spirit sank before the Throne
With a mute hallelujah.
But even then,
While the ecstatic song was at its height,
Stole in an alien voice,—a voice that seemed
To float, float upward from some world afar,—
A meek and childlike voice, faint, but how sweet!
That blended with the spirits' rushing strain,
Even as a fountain's music, with the roll
Of the reverberate thunder.
Lit up the beauty of each angel's face
At that new utterance, smiles of joy that grew
More joyous yet, as ever and anon
Was heard the simple burden of the hymn,
"Praise God! praise God!"
And when the seraph's song
Had reached its close, and o'er the golden lyre
Silence hung brooding,—when the eternal courts
Rang with the echoes of his chant sublime,
Still through the abysmal space that wandering voice
Came floating upward from its world afar,
Still murmured sweet on the celestial air,
"Praise God! praise God!"
FOUND my friend in his easy chair,
With his heart and his head undisturbed by a care;
The smoke of a Cuba outpoured from his lips,
His face like the moon in a semi-eclipse;
His feet, in slippers, as high as his nose,
And his chair tilted back to a classical pose.
I marvelled much such contentment to see—
The secret whereof I begged he'd give me.
He puffed away with re-animate zest,
As though with an added jollity blest.
"I'll tell you, my friend," said he, in a pause,
"What is the very 'identical' cause.
"Don't fret!—Let this be the first rule of your life;—
Don't fret with your children, don't fret with your wife;
Let everything happen as happen it may,
Be cool as a cucumber every day;
If favourite of fortune or a thing of its spite,
Keep calm, and believe that all is just right.
"If you're blown up abroad or scolded at home,
Just make up your mind to let it all come:
If people revile you or pile on offence,
'Twill not make any odds a century hence.
For all the reviling that malice can fling,
A little philosophy softens the sting.
"Run never in debt, but pay as you go;
A man free from debt feels a heaven below;
He rests in a sunshine undimmed by a dun,
And ranks 'mid the favoured as A No. 1.
It needs a great effort the spirit to brace
'Gainst the terror that dwells in a creditor's face.
"And this one resolve you should cherish like gold,
—It has ever my life and endeavour controlled,—
If fortune assail, and worst comes to worst,
And business proves bad, its bubbles all burst,
Be resolved, if disaster your plans circumvent,
That you will, if you fail, owe no man a cent."
There was Bunsby's deep wisdom revealed in his tone,
Though its depth was hard to fathom I own;
"For how can I fail," I said to myself,
"If to pay all my debts I have enough pelf?"
Then I scratched my sinciput, battling for light,
But gave up the effort, supposing 'twas right;
And herein give out, as my earnest intent,
Whenever I fail to owe no man a cent.
SEEDY old beggar asked alms of me
As he sat 'neath the shade of a wayside tree.
He was beggared in purse and beggared in soul,
And his voice betrayed a pitiful dole,
As he sang a song, to a dismal pitch,
With the burden, "If things was only sich!"
"If things was only sich," said he,
"You should see what a wonderful man I'd be;
No beggar I, by the wayside thrown,
But I'd live in a palace and millions own,
And men would court me if I were rich—
As I'd be if things was only sich."
"If things was only sich," said he,
"I'd be lord of the land and lord of the sea;
I would have a throne and be a king,
And rule the roast with a mighty swing—
I'd make a place in Fame's bright niche;
I'd do it if things was only sich."
"If things was only sich," said he,
"Rare wines I'd quaff from the far countree,
I'd cloth myself in dazzling garb,
I'd mount the back of the costly barb,
And none should ask me wherefore or which—
Did it chance that things was only sich."
"If things was only sich," said he,
"I'd love the fairest and they'd love me;
Yon dame, with a smile that warms my heart,
Might have borne with me life's better part,
But lost to me, here in poverty's ditch,
What were mine if things was only sich."
Thus the old beggar moodily sung,
And his eyes dropped tears as his hands he wrung.
I could but pity to hear him berate,
In dolorous tones the decrees of Fate,
That laid on his back its iron switch,
While he cried, "If things was only sich."
"If things was only sich!"—e'en all
Might the past in sad review recall;
But little the use and little the gain,
Exhuming the bones of buried pain,
And whether we're poor or whether we're rich,
We'll say not, "If things was only sich."
E. L. BEERS.
The opening verses should be given in a low, almost plaintive tone; when the flag is seen, the exclamations should be ejaculated with spirit and rapturous delight. Care should be taken not to give the negro patois too broad, or it may prove a defect; where properly spoken it is really a beauty:
OVE my arm-chair, faithful Pompey
In the sunshine bright and strong,
For this world is fading, Pompey—
Massa won't be with you long;
And I fain would hear the south wind
Bring once more the sound to me,
Of the wavelets softly breaking
On the shores of Tennessee.
"Mournful though the ripples murmur
As they still the story tell,
How no vessels float the banner
That I've loved so long and well.
I shall listen to their music,
Dreaming that again I see
Stars and stripes on sloop and shallop
Sailing up the Tennessee;
"And, Pompey, while old Massa's waiting
For Death's last dispatch to come,
If that exiled starry banner
Should come proudly sailing home.
You shall greet it slave no longer—
Voice and hand shall both be free
That shout and point to Union colors
On the waves of Tennessee."
"Massa's berry kind to Pompey;
But old darkey's happy here.
Where he's tended corn and cotton
For dese many a long gone year.
Over yonder, Missis' sleeping—
No one tends her grave like me:
Mebbe she would miss the flowers
She used to love in Tennessee.
"'Pears like, she was watching Massa—
If Pompey should beside him stay,
Mebbe she'd remember better
How for him she used to pray;
Telling him that way up yonder
White as snow his soul would be,
If he served the Lord of Heaven
While he lived in Tennessee."
Silently the tears were rolling
Down the poor old dusky face,
As he stepped behind his master,
In his long-accustomed place.
Then a silence fell around them,
As they gazed on rock and tree
Pictured in the placid waters
Of the rolling Tennessee;—
Master, dreaming of the battle
Where he fought by Marion's side,
When he bid the haughty Tarleton
Stoop his lordly crest of pride;—
Man, remembering how yon sleeper
Once he held upon his knee,
Ere she loved the gallant soldier,
Ralph Vervair of Tennessee.
Still the south wind fondly lingers
'Mid the veteran's silver hair;
Still the bondman close beside him
Stands behind the old arm-chair,
With his dark-hued hand uplifted,
Shading eyes, he bends to see
Where the woodland, boldly jutting,
Turns aside the Tennessee.
Thus he watches cloud-born shadows
Glide from tree to mountain-crest,
Softly creeping, aye and ever
To the river's yielding breast.
Ha! above the foliage yonder
Something flutters wild and free
"Massa! Massa! Hallelujah!
The flag's come back to Tennessee!"
"Pompey, hold me on your shoulder,
Help me stand on foot once more,
That I may salute the colors
As they pass my cabin door.
Here's the paper signed that frees you,
Give a freeman's shout with me—
'God and Union!' be our watchword
Evermore in Tennessee!"
Then the trembling voice grew fainter,
And the legs refused to stand;
One prayer to Jesus—and the soldier
Glided to the better land.
When the flag went down the river
Man and master both were free;
While the ring-dove's note was mingled
With the rippling Tennessee.
MAY 27, 1863. GEO. H. BOKER.
ARK as the clouds of even,
Ranked in the western heaven,
Waiting the breath that lifts
All the dread mass, and drifts
Tempest and falling brand
Over a ruined land;—
So still and orderly,
Arm to arm, knee to knee,
Waiting the great event
Stands the black regiment.
Down the long dusky line
Teeth gleam and eye-balls shine,
And the bright bayonet,
Bristling, and firmly set,
Flashed with a purpose grand,
Long, ere the sharp command
Of the fierce rolling drum
Told them their time had come,
Told them what work was sent
For the black regiment.
"Now," the flag-sergeant cried,
"Though death and hell betide,
Let the whole nation see
If we are fit to be
Free in this land; or bound
Down, like the whining hound,—
Bound with red stripes of pain
In our cold chains again!"
Oh! what a shout there went
From the black regiment!
"Charge!" trump and drum awoke,
Onward the bondmen broke:
Bayonet and sabre stroke
Vainly opposed their rush.
Through the wild battle's crush,
With but one thought aflush,
Driving their lords like chaff,
In the guns' mouths they laugh;
Or at the slippery brands
Leaping with open hands,
Down they tear man and horse,
Down in their awful course;
Trampling with bloody heel
Over the crashing steel,
All their eyes forward bent,
Rushed the black regiment.
"Freedom!" their battle-cry,—
"Freedom! or learn to die!"
Ah! and they meant the word,
Not as with us 'tis heard,
Not a mere party shout:
They gave their spirits out;
Trusted the end to God,
And on the glory sod
Rolled in triumphant blood.
Glad to strike one free blow,
Whether for weal or woe;
Glad to breathe one free breath,
Though on the lips of death,
Praying—alas! in vain!—
That they might fall again,
So they could once more see
That burst to liberty!
This was what "freedom" lent
To the black regiment.
Hundreds on hundreds fell;
But they are resting well;
Scourges and shackles strong
Never shall do them wrong.
O, to the living few,
Soldiers, be just and true!
Hail them as comrades tried;
Fight with them side by side;
Never in field or tent,
Scorn the black regiment.
Mr. Hanks, a Deaf Gentleman.
John Clod, a Countryman.
Patsy Flinn, an Irishman.
Scene.—A Quiet Place in the Country.
Enter Ralph Ready, r., with School-books.
Ralph. Twenty minutes of nine. I can take it easy this morning. How glad I am I staid at home last night and studied "Spartacus." It's Declamation Day, and I want to win the highest mark. If I fail, it will not be for want of study. I believe I'm all right. (Declaims.)
"Ye call me Chief—"*
Enter Charley Cheerful, l.
Charley. (Clapping his hands.) Bravo! Bravo! Spartacus. "They do well to call you chief!" number one in arithmetic, history, and geography; and to-day I've no doubt we shall call you number one in declamation.
Ralph. Ah, Charley, glad to see you. Are you all ready for the contest?
Charley. Yes, Ralph. (Declaims.)
"Again to the battle, Achaians;
Our hearts bid the tyrants defiance."
Ralph. I see "a foeman worthy of my steel." Well, Charley, good luck to you.
Charley. The same to you. I believe we are about equally matched. I want to take the highest mark, but if I am to be defeated, there's no one to whom I'd sooner surrender the "victor's laurels" than to you.
Ralph. And I can heartily say the same of you; but we must both look out. John Ray told the boys yesterday he was bound to have the highest mark.
Charley. I don't fear him.
Ralph. But he's a good declaimer, Charley.
Charley. I'll acknowledge that; but you know he's a terrible fellow for putting off study until the last moment. It was only yesterday morning Master Jones decided to have declamation to-day. The only time we had to prepare was yesterday noon, last night, and this morning.
Ralph. Time enough, Charley.
Charley. Certainly. But I know John Ray hasn't employed it. Yesterday noon he went boating; last night I'm afraid he visited Hopkins's melon patch; and this morning I saw him from my window playing ball.
Ralph. Then we've not much to fear from him; but here he is, puffing like a porpoise.
Enter John Ray, l., with a book.
John. Hallo, boys! what's the time?
Charley. Eighteen minutes of nine. All ready for the declamation?
John. Not yet; there's time enough.
Ralph. Time enough! What have you selected?
John. "Tell's Address." I'm going to pitch into it now. I can do it in eighteen minutes.
Charley. Why, you haven't left it till now?
John. Of course I have. Time enough, I tell you. I've got a locomotive memory, you know. None of your slow coaches. I shall only have to read it over two or three times.
Ralph. But why didn't you take it up before?
John. What's the use? I went boating yesterday; and last night I went—somewhere else.
Charley. Yes! you took a meloncholy walk. Hey, John?
John. What do you mean by that?
Charley. No matter. You'd better study Tell's Address, if you expect to be ready by nine o'clock.
John. So I had. Well, you run along, and let me have this place to myself. It's a quiet place. So good by. I'll see you by nine o'clock, with Tell's Address perfect.
Charley. Well, good luck to you. Come Ralph.
Ralph. I say, Ray; what's the proverb about the "thief of time"?
John. Who do you call a thief?
Ralph. A slow coach, that will rob you of your laurels spite of your locomotive memory. Come along Charley.
[Exeunt Charley and Ralph r.
John. Now, who told them I was after melons last night. (Opens book.) "Tell's Address." Won't I astonish those lads! What's the use of wasting time in study before it's needed? (Reads.)
"Ye crags and peaks, I'm with you once again."
Enter Mr. Hanks, l.
Mr. Hanks. Look here, boy; where's Mr. Simmons's house?
John. O, bother! Over by the mill.
Mr. H. Hey?
John. Over by the mill.
Mr. H. Over that hill? Good gracious! You don't mean I've got to travel as far as that, do you, in the hot sun?
John. No, no; it's only a little ways.
Mr. H. Only a little blaze! It's an awful hot morning.
John. O, dear! this old fellow is as deaf as a post. (Very loud.) Mr.—Simmons—lives—down—by—the—mill.
Mr. H. O, he does! Why didn't you say so before? Down that way? (Points r.)
John. (Loud.) Yes! To—the—right! That—old—wooden—one—ahead!
Mr. H. Who do you call an old wooden head?
John. O, dear! I never shall get that piece. You don't understand. I—said—wooden—house.
Mr. H. Hey?
John. O, dear! O, dear! (Points r.) That's Mr. Simmons's—house—down—there!
Mr. H. O, yes. Thank you, thank you. I'm a little hard of hearing.
John. I see you are. Suffering from a cold?
Mr. H. Hey?
John. O, what a nuisance! Is it—from a cold you—suffer?
Mr. H. Old buffer, indeed! Be more respectful to your elders, young man; more respectful.
John. I've got rid of him at last, and five minutes gone. O, dear! (Reads.)
"Ye crags and peaks, I'm with you once again!"
Enter Mr. Hanks, r.
Mr. H. Did you say right or left?
John. Good gracious! the man's back! To—the right! To the right! Follow the stream.
Mr. H. Hey?
Mr. H. Follow my nose! You're an impudent scamp! I'll ask you no more questions.
John. I hope you won't. This comes of trying to do a good-natured act. O, dear! that address! (Reads.)
"Ye crags and peaks, I'm with you once again!"
Enter John Clod, l.
Clod. I say, sonny; yer hain't seen nothin' of a keow, have yer, here or hereabouts?
John. No, I haven't seen no cow.
Clod. Well, don't git mad. It's plaguy strange where that are keow has travelled tew. Brand new keow dad brought hum from market yesterday. What on airth shall I do? She's a brindle, short horns. Yeou hain't seen her?
John. No, I haven't seen her. I've seen no cows or cattle of any kind. It's no use stopping here.
Clod. Well, I dunno what's to be did. Marm, she dropped her bakin', and scooted one way; dad quit ploughin', and scooted another; and I've been scootin' every which way. Ain't heard a keow moo—mooing, have yer?
John. I don't believe there's a cow within forty miles of here.
Clod. Sho! yer jokin' neow. Neow, see here; I kinder think yeou dew know somethin' about that keow. Jest tell me where she is, and I don't mind ginning yer fo'pence.
John. I tell you again, I know nothing about your cow. I'm studing my lesson; and if you don't clear out and leave me in peace, I shall never get it.
Clod. Sho! Well, I don't want to hender ye, but I should like to know what's become of that are keow.
John. Gone at last. Was ever a fellow so plagued! I've only got eight minutes, and I must study. (Goes to back of stage, and walks up and down, studying.)
Enter Patsy Flinn, l.
Patsy. Begorra, it's a foine irrant I's on ony way. It's all along iv thim watthermillons, bad luck to 'em! Slaping swately on my bid last night thinking uv the bould b'ys that fit, blid, and run away from Canady, I heerd a v'ice in the millon patch, "Here's a bouncer, b'ys." Faix, didn't I lept out uv that bid, and didn't I hurry on my clo'es, and didn't I take a big shtick, and didn't I run fur the patch, and didn't I find nobody? To be sure I did! So this morning, Mr. Hopkins sinds me to the school-house to find the b'ys that invadid the sacred retrait, which is the millon-patch. But how will I find thim? Begorra, I should know that v'ice; and I'll make the whole school shtand up togither one by one and shout, "Here's a bouncer!" that I will.
John. (Coming down r. of stage.) Now let's see how much I know. (Declaims.)
"Ye crags and peaks, I'm with you once again!"
Patsy. By my sowl, that's the v'ice of my dr'ams!
"I hold to you the hands you first beheld,
To show they still are free."
Patsy. Fray, is it, begorra! Ye'll not hould thim long, me b'y!
"Methinks I hear
A spirit in your echoes answer me."
Patsy. Begorra, ye'll soon hear an Irish echo ax ye something else!
"And bid your tenant welcome to his home
Patsy. Begorra, you're wilcome to no more watermillons, ye'll find!
"Ye guards of Liberty!"
Patsy. Ye little blackguard!
"I'm with you once again! I hold my hands to you,
To show they still are free!"
Patsy. Begorra, they're stained with watermillons, sure!
"I rush to you,
As though I could embrace you!"
(Runs into Patsy's arms.)
Patsy. Come on, I'm waiting for you! O, you blackguard! O, yes spalpeen! I've got yes!
John. Who are you? What do you want? Let me go!
Patsy. Niver! Ye must go along wid me, my fine lad; there's a bill a waiting for you at farmer Hopkins's.
John. Farmer Hopkins! But I shall be late for school.
Patsy. O, niver mind the school. You'll get a little uv it there, from a nice big cowhide.
John. Let me go, I say!
Patsy. Quit your howling, and come along.
John. I won't. Help! Help! Help!
Enter Charley and Ralph, r.
Charley. What's the matter, Ray?
Ralph. Hallo, Patsy! What's to pay now?
Patsy. A small bill for watermillons, Master Ralph.
Ralph. O, I see; you're found out, Ray!
John. Well, I wan't the only one in the patch last night.
Ralph. But you're the only one found out; so you must take the consequences.
Charley. Master Jones sent us to look for you; it's five minutes after nine.
John. O, dear, what's to become of me!
Ralph. You must get to school at once. Patsy, I'll be answerable for John Ray's appearance at Farmer Hopkins's after school. Won't that do?
Patsy. To be sure it will. I can depind upon you, Master Ralph. But mind and cape an eye on that chap; fur it's my opinion he's a little cracked; he's bin ravin' about crags, and peaks, and liberty like a full-blooded Fenian. I'll go home and practise a bit wid that cowhide.
Charley. Well, John, got your piece?
John. Got my piece? No. I've been bothered to death!
Ralph. You've been keeping company with the "thief of time."
John. I'd like to know what you mean by that.
Ralph. I'll tell you. You should have studied your piece yesterday noon; but, instead of that, you went boating. You should have studied last night; but instead of that, you got into a scrape, which promises to make trouble for you; and this morning you played ball instead of taking time for your work.
John. Well, I meant to have studied it yesterday, but I thought I had plenty of time. I wanted a little recreation.
Charley. Yes, John; but you should look out for the lessons first, and not neglect them. Come, let's go to school.
John. And be at the foot of the class. I don't like this.
Ralph. You'll find a remedy for it in the copy-book.
John. What is it?
Ralph. A warning to the dilatory—"Procrastination is the thief of time."
* The dialogue can be lengthened, if necessary, by allowing Charley and Ralph to declaim the whole of their pieces.
T. H. EVANS.
FARMER had a field of corn of rather large extent,
In tending which, with anxious care, much time and toil he spent;
But after working long and hard, he saw, with grief and pain,
His corn began to droop and fade, because it wanted rain.
So sad and restless was his mind, at home he could not stop,
But to his field repaired each day to view his withering crop.
One day, when he stood looking up, despairing, at the sky,
Two little rain-drops in the clouds his sad face chanced to spy.
"I very sorry feel," said one, "to see him look so sad;
I wish I could do him some good; indeed, I should be glad.
Just see the trouble he has had; and if it should not rain,
Why, all his toil, and time, and care he will have spent in vain."
"What use are you," cried number two, "to water so much ground?
You're nothing but a drop of rain, and could not wet one mound."
"What you have said," his friend replied, "I know is very true;
But I'm resolved to do my best, and more I cannot do.
I'll try to cheer his heart a bit: so now I'm off—here goes!"
And down the little rain-drop fell upon the farmer's nose.
"Whatever's that?" the farmer cried. "Was it a drop of rain?
I do believe it's come at last; I have not watched in vain."
Now, when the second rain-drop saw his willing friend depart,
Said he, "I'll go as well, and try to cheer the farmer's heart."
But many rain-drops by this time had been attracted out,
To see and hear what their two friends were talking so about.
"We'll go as well," a number cried, "as our two friends have gone.
We shall not only cheer his heart, but water, too, his corn.
We're off! we're off!" they shout with glee, and down they fell so fast.
"O bless the Lord!" the farmer cried, "the rain has come at last."
The corn it grew and ripened well, and into food was dressed,
Because a little rain-drop said, "I'll try, and do my best."
This little lesson, children dear, you'll not forget I'm sure;
Try, do your best, do what you can—angels can do no more.
HERE once was a toper—I'll not tell his name—
Who had for his comfort a scolding old dame;
And often and often he wished himself dead,
For, if drunk he came home, she would beat him to bed.
He spent all his evenings away from his home,
And, when he returned, he would sneakingly come
And try to walk straightly, and say not a word—
Just to keep his dear wife from abusing her lord;
For if he dared say his tongue was his own,
'Twould set her tongue going, in no gentle tone,
And she'd huff him, and cuff him, and call him hard names,
And he'd sigh to be rid of all scolding old dames.
It happened, one night, on a frolic he went,
He stayed till his very last penny was spent;
But how to go home, and get safely to bed,
Was the thing on his heart that most heavily weighed.
But home he must go; so he caught up his hat,
And off he went singing, by this and by that,
"I'll pluck up my courage; I guess she's in bed.
If she a'nt, 'tis no matter, I'm sure. Who's afraid?"
He came to his door; he lingered until
He peeped, and he listened, and all seemed quite still,
In he went, and his wife, sure enough, was in bed!
"Oh!" says he, "it's just as I thought. Who's afraid?"
He crept about softly, and spoke not a word;
His wife seemed to sleep, for she never e'en stirred!
Thought he, "For this night, then, my fortune is made:
For my dear, scolding wife is asleep! Who's afraid?"
But soon he felt thirsty; and slyly he rose,
And, groping around, to the table he goes,
The pitcher found empty, and so was the bowl,
The pail, and the tumblers—she'd emptied the whole!
At length, in a corner, a vessel he found!
Says he, "Here's something to drink, I'll be bound!"
And eagerly seizing, he lifted it up—
And drank it all off in one long, hearty sup!
It tasted so queerly; and what could it be?
He wondered. It neither was water nor tea!
Just then a thought struck him and filled him with fear:
"Oh! it must be the poison for rats, I declare!"
And loudly he called on his dear, sleeping wife,
And begged her to rise; "for," said he, "on my life
I fear it was poison the bowl did contain.
Oh dear! yes, it was poison; I now feel the pain!"
"And what made you dry, sir?" the wife sharply cried.
"'Twould serve you just right if from poison you died;
And you've done a fine job, and you'd now better march,
For just see, you brute, you have drunk all my starch!"
R. Bogardus "gin a treat,"
And a green goose, best of birds to eat,
Delicious, savory, fat and sweet,
Formed the dish the guests to greet;
But such, we know,
Is small for a "blow,"
And many times around won't go;
So Mr. Bogardus chanced to reflect,
And with a wisdom circumspect,
He sent round cards to parties select,
Some six or so the goose to dissect,
The day and hour defining;
And then he laid in lots of things,
That might have served as food for kings,
Liquors drawn from their primal springs,
And all that grateful comfort brings
To epicures in dining.
But Mr. Bogardus's brother Sim,
With moral qualities rather dim,
Copied the message sent to him,
In his most clerkly writing,
And sent it round to Tom, and Dick,
And Harry, and Jack, and Frank, and Nick,
And many more, to the green goose "pick"
Most earnestly inviting;
He laid it on the green goose thick,
Their appetites exciting.
'Twas dinner time by the Old South Clock;
Bogardus waited the sounding knock
Of friends to come at the moment, "chock,"
To try his goose, his game, his hock,
And hoped they would not dally;
When one, and two, and three, and four,
And running up the scale to a score,
And adding to it many more,
Who all their Sunday fixings wore,
Came in procession to the door,
And crowded in on his parlor floor,
Filling him with confusion sore,
Like an after-election rally!
"Gentlemen," then murmured he,
"To what unhoped contingency
Am I owing for this felicity,
A visit thus unexpected?"
Then they held their cards before his eyes,
And he saw, to his infinite surprise,
That some sad dog had taken a rise
On him, and his hungry friends likewise,
And whom he half suspected;
But there was Sim,
Of morals dim,
With a face as long, and dull, and grim,
As though he the ire reflected.
Then forth the big procession went,
With mirth and anger equally blent;
To think they didn't get the scent
Of what the cursed missive meant
Annoyed some of 'em deeply;
They felt they'd been caught by a green goose bait,
And plucked and skinned, and then, light weight,
Had been sold very cheaply.
Keep your weather eye peeled for trap,
For we never know just what may hap,
Nor if we shall be winners;
Remembering that one green goose
Will be of very little use
'Mongst twenty hungry sinners.
E all have heard of Dr. Redman,
The man in New York who deals with dead men,
Who sits at a table,
And straightway is able
To talk with the spirits of those who have fled, man!
And gentles and ladies
Located in Hades,
Through his miraculous mediation,
Declare how they feel,
And such things reveal
As suits their genius for impartation.
'Tis not with any irreverent spirit
I give the tale, or flout it, or jeer it;
For many good folk
Not subject to joke
Declare for the fact that they both see and hear it.
It comes from New York, though,
And it might be hard work, though,
To bring belief to any point near it.
Now this Dr. Redman,
Who deals with dead men,
Once cut up a fellow whose spirit had fled, man,
Who (the fellow) perchance
Had indulged in that dance
Performed at the end of a hempen thread, man;
And the cut-up one,
(A sort of a gun!)
Like Banquo, though he was dead, wasn't done,
Insisted in very positive tones
That he'd be ground to calcined manure,
Or any other evil endure,
Before he'd give up his right to his bones!
And then, through knocks, the resolute dead man
Gave his bones a bequest to Redman.
In Hartford, Conn.,
This matter was done,
And Redman the bones highly thought on,
When, changed to New York
Was the scene of his work,
In conjunction with Dr. Orton.
Now mark the wonder that here appears:
After a season of months and years,
Comes up again the dead man,
Who in a very practical way,
Says he'll bring his bones some day,
And give them again to Redman.
When, sure enough
(Though some that are rough
Might call the narrative "devilish tough"),
One charming day
In the month of May,
As Orton and Redman walked the street
Through the severing air,
From they knew not where,
Came a positive bone, all bleached and bare.
That dropped at the doctor's wondering feet!
Then the sprightly dead man
Knocked out to Redman
The plan that lay in his ghostly head, man:
He'd carry the freight,
Unheeding its weight;
They needn't question how, or about it;
But they might be sure
The bones he'd procure
And not make any great bones about it.
From that he made it a special point
Each day for their larder to furnish a joint!
From overhead, and from all around,
Upon the floor, and upon the ground,
Low bones, and high bones,
Jaw bones, and thigh bones,
Until the doctors, beneath their power,
Ducked like ducks in a thunder-shower!
Armfuls of bones,
Bagfuls of bones,
Cartloads of bones,
No end to the multitudinous bones,
Until, forsooth, this thought gained head, man,
That this invisible friend, the dead man,
Had chartered a band
From the shadowy land,
Who had turned to work with a busy hand,
And boned all their bones for Dr. Redman!
Now, how to account for all the mystery
Of this same weird and fantastical history?
That is the question
For people's digestion,
And calls aloud for instant untwistery!
Of this we are certain,
By this lift of the curtain,
That still they're alive for work or enjoyment,
Though I must confess
That I scarcely can guess
Why they don't choose some useful employment.
* Dr. Redman, of New York, was a noted medium, and it was said that, for a while, wherever he might be, bones would be dropped all about him, to the confusion and wonder of everybody. These bones, he said, were brought him by a spirit, whose bones were of no further use to him.
Miss Priscilla Precise,
Principal of a genteel Boarding
Mrs. Lofty, a fashionable Lady.
Scene.—Parlor in Miss Precise's Establishment.
Piano R., Lounge L., Chairs C.
Enter Hetty, Fanny, and Lizzie, R., laughing.
Hetty. O, such a fright!
Fanny. Such a stupid!
Lizzie. I never saw such a ridiculous figure in the whole course of my life!
Hetty. I should think she came from the back-woods.
Fanny. Who is she, any way?
Lizzie. She's the daughter of the rich Mr. Jones, a man, who, three years ago, was the proprietor of a very small saw-mill away down east. He managed to scrape together a little money, which he invested in certain railroad stocks, which nobody thought would ever pay. They did, however, and he has, no doubt to his own astonishment, made a great deal of money.
Hetty. And that accounts for Miss Precise's partiality. Well, I'm not going to associate myself with her; and I mean to write to father this very day, and tell him to take me home. She dresses so ridiculously!
Lizzie. And talks so horridly!
Fanny. And plays so wretchedly!
Hetty. O, girls, don't you think I caught her at the piano this morning playing Yankee Doodle and whistling an accompaniment!
Lizzie. Good gracious! what would Miss Precise say. If there's anything she forbids, it's whistling.
Hetty. Yes, and such a reader! I heard her reciting Longfellow's Excelsior; and such reading, and such gestures! (Recites.)
"The shades of night were falling fast,
As through an All-pine village past—"
Fanny. O, it's ridiculous!
Lizzie. And then her dress! O, girls, I've made a discovery!
Fanny. What is it? What is it?
Hetty. O, do tell us!
Lizzie. Well, then, you must be secret.
Fanny and Hetty. Of course, of course!
Lizzie. Well, yesterday, at just twelve o'clock, I was in the hall; the door-bell rang; I opened it; there was a box for Miss Hannah Jones; I took it; I carried it to her room; I opened—
Fanny and Hetty. The box?
Lizzie. The door; she wasn't there. I put it on the table; it slipped off; the cover rolled off; and such a sight!
Fanny. What was it?
Hetty. O, do tell us!
Fanny and Hetty. What? What?
Hetty. Chignons? Why, Miss Precise has forbidden our wearing them.
Fanny. O, it's horrible!
Lizzie. Ain't it? And I did want one so bad!
Hetty. But she cannot wear them.
Lizzie. We shall see! Now comes Miss Precise's trial. She has taken Hannah Jones because her father is rich. She worships money; but if there is anything she hates, it is chignons. If she can stand this test, it will be the best thing in the world for us. Then we'll all have them.
Hetty. Of course we will.
Fanny. But I don't like the idea of having such an interloper here. She's no company for us.
Enter Miss Precise, l. She stands behind the Girls with folded arms.
Hetty. Indeed she isn't! I think Miss Precise is real mean to allow her to stay.
Lizzie. She'd better go where she belongs,—among the barbarians!
Miss Precise. And pray, whom are you consigning to a place among the barbarians, young ladies?
Hetty. Good gracious!
Fanny. O, dear! O, dear!
Lizzie. O, who'd have thought!
(They separate, Hetty and Fanny, l., Lizzie, r., Miss Precise, c.)
Miss P. Speak, young ladies; upon whom has your dread anathema been bestowed?
Lizzie. Well, Miss Precise, if I must tell, it's that hateful new pupil, Miss Jones. I detest her.
Fanny. I can't abide her.
Hetty. She's horrible!
Lizzie. So awkward!
Fanny. Talks so badly!
Hetty. And dresses so ridiculously!
Lizzie. If she stays here, I shan't!
Fanny. Nor I.
Hetty. Nor I.
Miss P. Young ladies, are you pupils of the finest finishing-school in the city? Are you being nursed at the fount of learning? Are you being led in the paths of literature by my fostering hands?
Lizzie. Don't know. S'pose so.
Miss P. S'pose so! What language! S'pose so! Is this the fruit of my teaching? Young ladies, I blush for you!—you, who should be the patterns of propriety! Let me hear no more of this. Miss Jones is the daughter of one of the richest men in the city, and, as such, she should be respected by you.
Lizzie. She's a low, ignorant girl.
Miss P. Miss Bond!
Hetty. With arms like a windmill.
Miss P. Miss Gray!
Fanny. A voice like a peacock.
Miss P. Miss Rice!
Hetty, Lizzie, and Fanny. O, she's awful!
Miss P. Young ladies! I'm astonished! I'm shocked! I'm thunderstruck! Miss Jones is my pupil. She is your associate. As such, you will respect her. Let me hear no more of this. Go to your studies. I highly respect Miss Jones. Imitate her. She's not given to conspiracies. She's not forever gossiping. Be like her, and you will deserve my respect. To your studies. Miss Jones is a model for your imitation.
Hetty. Did you ever!
Fanny. No, I never!
Lizzie. A model for imitation! Girls, we'll have some fun out of this. Imitate Miss Jones! I only hope she'll put on one of her chignons.
Enter Hannah Jones, r., extravagantly dressed, with a red chignon, followed by Mrs. Lofty.
Hannah. Come right in, marm; this is our setting-room, where we receive callers. Take a seat.
(Mrs. Lofty sits on lounge.)
Mrs. Lofty. Will you please call your mistress at once?
Hannah. My mistress? Law, neow, I s'pose yeou take me for a hired gal. Yeou make me laugh! Why, my pa's richer than all the rest of 'em's pas put together. I deon't look quite so scrumptious as the rest o 'em, p'r'aps, but I'm one of the scholars here.
Mrs. L. I beg your pardon. No offence was intended.
Hannah. Law, I don't mind it. Yeou see our folks come from deown east, and we haven't quite got the hang of rich folks yit. That's why I'm here to git polished up. Miss Precise is the schoolmarm, but she's so stiff, I don't expect she'll make much of me. I do hate airs. She makes the girls tend tu door, because she's too poor to keep help.
Mrs. L. Will you please speak to her? I have not much time to spare, as this is my charity day.
Hannah. Charity day! Pray, what's that?
Mrs. L. I devote one day in the week to visiting poor people, and doing what I can to alleviate their misfortunes.
Hannah. Well, marm, that's real clever in you. I do like to see rich folks look arter the poor ones. Won't you please to let me help you? I don't know the way among the poor yit, but I'm going to find out. Here's my pocket-book; there's lots uv money in it; and if you'll take and use it for the poor folks, I'll be obleeged. (Gives pocket-book.)
Mrs. L. O, thank you, thank you! you are very kind; I will use it, for I know just where it is needed. Can you really spare it?
Hannah. Spare it? Of course I can. I know where to git lots more; and my pa says, 'What's the use of having money, if you don't do good with it?' Law, I forgot all about Miss Precise. You just make yourself to home, and I'll call her. [Exit, l.
Mrs. L. A rough diamond. She has a kind heart. I hope she'll not be spoiled in the hands of Miss Precise. (Opens pocket-book.) What a roll of bills! I must speak to Miss Precise before I use her money. She may not be at liberty to dispose of it in this wholesale manner.
Enter Miss Precise, l.
Miss P. My dear Mrs. Lofty, I hope I have not kept you waiting. (Shakes hands with her, then sits in chair, c.)
Mrs. L. O, no; though I'm in something of a hurry. I called to ask you if you could take my daughter as a pupil.
Miss P. Well, I am rather full just now; and the duties of instructor are so arduous, and I am so feeble in health——
Mrs. L. O, don't let me add to your trials. I will look elsewhere.
Miss P. No, no; you did not hear me out. I was going to say I have decided to take but one more pupil.
Mrs. L. What are the studies?
Miss P. English branches, French, Italian, German, and Spanish languages, and music; all taught under my personal supervision.
Mrs. L. Quite an array of studies; almost too much for one teacher.
Miss P. Ah, Mrs. Lofty, the mind—the mind is capable of great expansion; and to one gifted with the power to lead the young in the flowery paths of learning, no toil is too difficult. My school is select, refined; nothing rough or improper is allowed to mingle with the high-toned elements with which I endeavour to form a fashionable education.
Mrs. L. I should like to see some of your pupils.
Miss P. O, certainly. You will take them unawares; but I flatter myself you will not find them unprepared. (Strikes bell on piano.)
Enter Fanny, dressed as before, but with large, red chignon on her head.
Miss P. This is Miss Fanny Rice. Mrs. Lofty, Fanny. There you see one of my pupils who has an exquisite touch for the piano, a refined, delicate appreciation of the sweetest strains of the great masters. Fanny, my dear, take your place at the piano, and play one of those pieces which you know I most admire. (Fanny sits at piano, plays Yankee Doodle, whistling an accompaniment.) What does this mean? (Turns and looks at Fanny, starts, puts her eye-glass to her eye.—Aside.) Heavens! that child has one of those horrible chignons on her head!—(Aloud.) Miss Rice, why did you make that selection?
Fanny. (Imitates Hannah's manner of speaking.) Cos I thought you'd like it.
Miss P. "Cos?" O, I shall die! And why did you think I should like it?
Fanny. Cos that's the way Hannah Jones does.
Miss P. Send Miss Gray to me. (Follows Fanny to door.) And take that flaming turban off your head. I'll pay you for this!
[Exit Fanny, l.
Mrs. L. Your pupil is exceedingly patriotic in her selection.
Miss P. Yes; there's some mistake here. She's evidently not on her good behaviour.
Enter Hetty Gray, l., with red chignon.
Ah, here's Miss Gray. Mrs. Lofty, Miss Gray. She has a sweet voice, and sings sentimental songs in a bewitching manner. Miss Gray, take your place at the piano, and sing one of my favourites.
(Hetty sits at piano, plays and sings.)
"Father and I went down to camp
Along with Captain Goodin,
And there we saw the boys and girls
As thick as hasty-puddin."
Miss P. Stop! (Looks at her through eye-glass.) She's got one of those hateful things on too,—chignons! Is there a conspiracy? Miss Gray, who taught you that song?
Hetty. Miss Hannah Jones, if you please.
Miss P. Go back to your studies, and send Miss Bond to me. (Takes her by the ear, and leads her to the door.)
Hetty. Ow! you hurt!
Miss P. Silence, miss! Take off that horrid head-dress at once.
[Exit, Hetty, L.
Mrs. Lofty, how can I find words to express my indignation at the conduct of my pupils? I assure you, this is something out of the common course.
Enter Lizzie, L., with red chignon.
Here is one of my smartest pupils, Miss Bond. Mrs. Lofty, Miss Bond. She particularly excels in reading. Miss Bond, take a book from the piano and read, something sweet and pathetic! something that you think would suit me.
Lizzie takes a position, L., opens book, and reads, in imitation of Hannah's voice.
What is it that salutes the light,
Making the heads of mortals bright,
And proves attractive to the sight?
Miss P. Good gracious! is the girl mad?
What moves the heart of Miss Precise
To throw aside all prejudice,
And gently whisper, It is nice?
Miss P. Chignon, indeed! Who taught you to read in that manner?
Lizzie. Hannah Jones.
Miss P. O, this is too bad! You, too, with one of these horrid things on your head? (Snatches it off, and beats her on head with it.) Back to your room! You shall suffer for this!
[Exit Lizzie, L.
Mrs. L. Excuse me, Miss Precise, but your pupils all wear red chignons. Pray, is this a uniform you have adopted in your school?
Miss P. O, Mrs. Lofty, I'm dying with mortification! Chignons! I detest them; and my positive orders to my pupils are, never to wear them in the house.
Hannah. (Outside, L.) Wal, we'll see what Miss Precise will say to this.
Enters with a red chignon in each hand, followed by Lizzie, Hetty, and Fanny.
Miss P. Good gracious! More of these horrid things!
Hannah. Miss Precise, jest look at them! Here these pesky girls have been rummaging my boxes, and putting on my best chignons that pa sent me only yesterday. Look at them! They're teetotally ruined!
Miss P. Why, Miss Jones, you've got one on your head now!
Hannah. Of course I have. Have you got anything to say against it?
Miss P. O, no; only it don't match your hair.
Hannah. What of that? Pa always goes for the bright colours, and so do I.
Lizzie. Miss Precise, I thought pupils were forbidden to wear them.
Miss P. Well, yes—no—I must make exceptions. Miss Jones has permission to wear them.
Lizzie. Then I want permission.
Hetty. And so do I.
Fanny. And so do I.
Miss P. First tell me what is the meaning of this scene we have just had.
Lizzie. Scene? Why, didn't you tell us to take Miss Jones as a model for imitation? Haven't we done it?
Miss P. But Miss Jones doesn't whistle.
Hannah. Whistle? I bet I can. Want to hear me?
Miss P. No. She don't sing comic songs.
Hannah. Yes, she does.
Lizzie. Yes, and she wears chignons. As we must imitate her, and hadn't any of our own, we appropriated hers.
Miss P. Shame, shame! What will Mrs. Lofty say?
Mrs. L. That she rather enjoyed it. I saw mischief in their eyes as they came in. And now, girls, I'm going to tell you what Miss Jones does that you don't know. A short time ago she placed in my hands her pocket-book, containing a large roll of bills, to be distributed among the poor.
Lizzie. Why, isn't she splendid?
Hetty. Why, she's "mag."
Fanny. O, you dear old Hannah. (Kisses her.)
Mrs. L. I'm going to send my daughter here to school, and I shall tell her to make all the friends she can; but her first friend must be Hannah Jones.
Hannah. Well, I'm sure, I'm obleeged to you.
Lizzie. O, Miss Precise, we are so sorry we have acted so! Let us try again, and show Mrs. Lofty that we have benefited by your instruction.
Miss P. Not now. If Mrs. Lofty will call again, we will try to entertain her. I see I was in the wrong to give you such general directions. I say now, imitate Hannah Jones—her warm heart, her generous hand.
Mrs. L. And help her, by your friendship, to acquire the knowledge which Miss Precise so ably dispenses.
Lizzie. We will, we will.
Miss P. Only, ladies, avoid whistling.
Hetty. Of course, of course.
Miss P. And comic songs!
Fanny. O, certainly.
Lizzie. And there is one more thing we shall be sure to avoid.
Miss P. What is that?
Lizzie. The wearing of red chignons.
EEDY Knife-grinder! whither are you going?
Rough is the road,—your wheel is out of order,—
Bleak blows the blast; your hat has got a hole in 't,
So have your breeches!
Weary Knife-grinder! little think the proud ones,
Who in their coaches roll along the turnpike-
Road, what hard work 't is crying all day 'Knives and
Scissors to grind O!
Tell me, Knife-grinder, how you came to grind knives?
Did some rich man tyrannically use you?
Was it the squire? or parson of the parish?
Or the attorney?
Was it the squire, for killing of his game? or
Covetous parson, for his tithes distraining?
Or roguish lawyer, made you lose your little
All in a lawsuit?
(Have you not read the Rights of Man, by Tom Paine?)
Drops of compassion tremble on my eyelids,
Ready to fall as soon as you have told your
Story! God bless you! I have none to tell, sir,
Only last night, a drinking at the Chequers,
This poor old hat and breeches, as you see, were
Torn in a scuffle.
Constables came up for to take me into
Custody; they took me before the justice;
Justice Oldmixon put me in the parish-
Stocks for a vagrant.
I should be glad to drink your Honor's health in
A pot of beer, if you will give me sixpence;
But for my part, I never love to meddle
With politics, sir.
I give thee sixpence! I will see thee hang'd first,—
Wretch! whom no sense of wrongs can rouse to vengeance—
Sordid, unfeeling, reprobate, degraded,
[Kicks the Knife-grinder, overturns his wheel, and exit in a transport of enthusiasm and universal philanthropy.]
Father Taylor once said, "'Tis of no use to preach to empty stomachs."
HE parson preached in solemn way,
—A well-clad man on ample pay,—
And told the poor they were sinners all,
Depraved and lost by Adam's fall;
That they must repent, and save their souls.
A hollow-eyed wretch cried, "Give us coals!"
Then he told of virtue's pleasant path,
And that of ruin and of wrath;
How the slipping feet of sinners fell
Quick on the downward road to h——,
To suffer for sins when they are dead;
And the hollow voice answered, "Give us bread!"
Then he spoke of a land of love and peace,
Where all of pain and woe shall cease,
Where celestial flowers bloom by the way,
Where the light is brighter than solar day,
And there's no cold nor hunger there.
"Oh," says the voice, "Give us clothes to wear!"
Then the good man sighed, and turned away,
For such depravity to pray,
That had cast aside the heavenly worth
For the transient and fleeting things of earth!
And his church that night, to his content,
Raised his salary fifty per cent.
BY C. B. SOUTHEY.
READ softly—bow the head;
In reverent silence bow;
No passing bell doth toll,
Yet an immortal soul
Is passing now.
Stranger! however great,
With lowly reverence bow;
There's one in that poor shed,
One by that paltry bed,
Greater than thou.
Beneath that beggar's roof,
Lo! Death doth keep his state;
Enter—no crowds attend;
Enter—no guards defend
This palace gate.
That pavement, damp and cold,
No smiling courtiers tread;
One silent woman stands,
Lifting with meagre hands
A dying head.
No mingling voices sound—
An infant wail alone:
A sob suppressed—again
That short, deep gasp, and then
The parting groan.
Oh! change!—Oh! wondrous change!—
Burst are the prison bars—
This moment there, so low,
So agonized, and now
Beyond the stars!
Oh! change—stupendous change!
There lies the soulless clod!
The sun eternal breaks—
The new immortal wakes
Wakes with his God!
N O matter what horse-car, but it happened that I had to go a mile or two, and held up my cane to attract the attention of the driver or the conductor of one of them, which I did, after some difficulty. I am bound to say it was not on the Touchandgo road, for the officers employed there have an instinctive knowledge whether a man wishes to ride or not, and indeed often by the magic of the upraised finger they draw people in to ride who had hardly any previous intention of it. I have been attracted in this way, and found myself to my astonishment, seated in the car, confident that I had signified no disposition to do so. In this instance, however, I would ride, and got in.
There were the usual passengers in the car—the respectable people going out of town, who were reading the last editions of the papers, the women who had been shopping, the servant girls who had been in to visit their friends, feeling no interest in one another, and all absorbed in their own reflections, as I was. I was thinking seriously, when—my eye was attracted by some glittering object on the floor, beneath the opposite seat.
Of course everybody is attracted by glitter. A piece of glass in the moonlight may be a diamond, and show is far ahead of substance in influencing men, from the illusion which affects short-sighted vision. Thus this glittering object. What was it?—a diamond pin dropped by a former passenger? No, it could not be this, because it appeared to be round, and bigger than a pin stone could be. Could it be a bracelet? No, for it was too small. I directed my gaze more earnestly towards it in my doubt, and saw that it was a QUARTER, bright and sparkling with the freshness of new mint about it, so it seemed.
This I determined to make mine at the first chance, for a woman was sitting very near it, and I dreaded any confusion I might cause, by a sudden plunge, through the motion of the cars; so, whistling at a low breath, as if indifferent, but keeping my eye upon the prize, I awaited the opportunity that should insure me the coveted one-and-sixpence. It soon came: the bell rang, and the lady opposite, with her arms full of bundles, walked out, leaving the object of my ardent regard more distinctly in view. It seemed to me that every one in the car had an eye on that quarter, which I felt was mine by right of discovery, and which I was determined to have.
As the coach started I rose and fairly tumbled over into the just-vacated seat, taking care to drop in such a way as to screen the glittering bait. I looked at my fellow-passengers, and found that all were staring at me, as though they were reading my secret. The conductor had come inside the door, and was looking at me, and a heavy gentleman on the same seat with me leaned far out on his cane, so that he could take in my whole person with his glance, as though I were a piece of property on which he had to estimate. I felt my face burn, and a general discomfort seized me, as a man sometimes feels when he has done a wrong or a foolish act; though I couldn't think the act I was about to perform was wrong, and no one could say it was foolish in one to try to get a quarter of a dollar in this day of postal currency. At length I stooped down as if to adjust something about my boot, and slipped the object of my solicitude into my hand, unseen, as I believed.
"What is it?" asked the conductor.
"What's what?" said I, with affected smartness.
"What you just found," he persisted.
"I was pulling my pants down over my boot," I prevaricated.
"That's all humbug," said he; "you found something in the car, and it belongs to the company."
"Prove that I found any thing," said I, angrily.
"Young man," said the voice of the big man who was leaning on his cane, still looking at me, "it is as bad to lie about a thing as it is to steal. I saw you pick something up, and to me it had the appearance of money." He struck his cane on the floor as he spoke, and grasped it firmer, as if to clinch his remark.
"Yes," said the conductor; "and we don't want nothing of the kind here, and what's more, we won't have it; so hand over."
"My fine fellow," said I, prepared for a crisis, "I know my rights, and, without admitting that I have found any thing, I contend that if I had, in this public conveyance, which is as public as the street to him who pays for a ride in it, that which I find in it is mine after I have made due endeavour to find out its owner. Money being an article impossible to identify, unless it is marked, if I had found it, it would have been mine—according to Whately, Lycurgus, and Jew Moses."
"Hang your authorities," said he; "I don't know any thing about 'em, but this I know,—that money belongs to the Touchandgo Horse Railroad Company, and I'll have it. Ain't I right, Mr. Diggs?" addressing a gentleman with glasses on, reading the Journal.
"I think you are," replied he, looking at me over the top of his spectacles, as though he were shooting from behind a breastwork; "I think the pint is clear, and that it belongs to the company to advertise it and find out the owner."
"Well," I put in, "suppose they don't find the owner; who has it?"
"The company, I should think," said he, folding his paper preparatory to getting out.
"That's it," said the conductor, taking up the thread as he put the passenger down; "and now I want that money." He looked ugly.
"What money?" I queried.
"The money you picked up on the floor."
I saw that I was in a place of considerable difficulty, involving a row on one side and imputation of villany on the other, and studied how to escape.
"Well," said I, "if, in spite of the authorities I have quoted, you insist upon my giving this up which I hold in my hand,—the value of which I do not know,—I shall protest against your act, and hold the company responsible."
"Responsible be——blowed," replied he, severely; "shell out."
The people in the car were much excited. The fat man on the seat had risen up, though still in sitting position, and balanced himself upon his toes to get a better view. I unclosed my hand and deposited in the conductor's a round piece of tin that had been punched out by some tin-man and hammered smooth bearing a close resemblance to money!
The disappointment of every one was intense. The conductor intimated that if he met me in society he would give me my money's worth, the fat man muttered something about my being an "imposture," several lady passengers looked bluely at me, and only one laughed heartily at the whole affair, as I did. It was a queer incident.
ISTER Socrates Snooks, a lord of creation,
The second time entered the married relation:
Xantippe Caloric accepted his hand,
And they thought him the happiest man in the land,
But scarce had the honeymoon passed o'er his head,
When, one morning, to Xantippe, Socrates said,
"I think, for a man of my standing in life,
This house is too small, as I now have a wife:
So, as early as possible, carpenter Carey
Shall be sent for to widen my house and my dairy."
"Now, Socrates, dearest," Xantippe replied,
"I hate to hear every thing vulgarly my'd;
Now, whenever you speak of your chattels again,
Say, our cow house, our barn yard, our pig pen."
"By your leave, Mrs. Snooks, I will say what I please
Of my houses, my lands, my gardens, my trees."
"Say our," Xantippe exclaimed in a rage.
"I won't, Mrs. Snooks, though you ask it an age!"
Oh, woman! though only a part of man's rib,
If the story in Genesis don't tell a fib,
Should your naughty companion e'er quarrel with you,
You are certain to prove the best man of the two.
In the following case this was certainly true;
For the lovely Xantippe just pulled off her shoe,
And laying about her, all sides at random,
The adage was verified—"Nil desperandum."
Mister Socrates Snooks, after trying in vain,
To ward off the blows which descended like rain—
Concluding that valour's best part was discretion—
Crept under the bed like a terrified Hessian:
But the dauntless Xantippe, not one whit afraid,
Converted the siege into a blockade.
At last, after reasoning the thing in his pate,
He concluded 't was useless to strive against fate:
And so, like a tortoise protruding his head,
Said, "My dear, may we come out from under our bed?"
"Hah! hah!" she exclaimed, "Mr. Socrates Snooks,
I perceive you agree to my terms by your looks:
Now, Socrates—hear me—from this happy hour,
If you'll only obey me, I'll never look sour."
'T is said the next Sabbath, ere going to church,
He chanced for a clean pair of trousers to search:
Having found them, he asked, with a few nervous twitches,
"My dear, may we put on our new Sunday breeches?"
H. W. LONGFELLOW.
ISTEN, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-Five:
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.
He said to his friend—"If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North-Church tower, as a signal-light—
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country-folk to be up and to arm."
Then he said good-night, and with muffled oar
Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore,
Just as the moon rose over the bay,
Where swinging wide at her moorings lay
The Somerset, British man-of-war:
A phantom ship, with each mast and spar
Across the moon, like a prison-bar,
And a huge, black hulk, that was magnified
By its own reflection in the tide.
Meanwhile, his friend, through alley and street
Wanders and watches with eager ears,
Till in the silence around him he hears
The muster of men at the barrack-door,
The sound of arms and the tramp of feet,
And the measured tread of the grenadiers
Marching down to their boats on the shore.
Then he climbed to the tower of the church,
Up the wooden stairs, with stealthy tread,
To the belfry-chamber overhead,
And startled the pigeons from their perch
On the sombre rafters, that round him made
Masses and moving shapes of shade—
Up the light ladder, slender and tall,
To the highest window in the wall,
Where he paused to listen and look down
A moment on the roofs of the quiet town,
And the moonlight flowing over all.
Beneath, in the church-yard, lay the dead
In their night-encampment on the hill,
Wrapped in silence so deep and still,
That he could hear, like a sentinel's tread
The watchful night-wind as it went
Creeping along from tent to tent,
And seeming to whisper, "All is well!"
A moment only he feels the spell
Of the place and the hour, the secret dread
Of the lonely belfry and the dead;
For suddenly all his thoughts are bent
On a shadowy something far away,
Where the river widens to meet the bay—
A line of black, that bends and floats
On the rising tide, like a bridge of boats.
Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride,
Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride,
On the opposite shore waited Paul Revere.
Now he patted his horse's side,
Now gazed on the landscape far and near,
Then impetuous stamped the earth,
And turned and tightened his saddle-girth;
But mostly he watched with eager search
The belfry-tower of the old North-Church,
As it rose above the graves on the hill,
Lonely, and spectral, and sombre, and still.
And lo! as he looks, on the belfry's height,
A glimmer, and then a gleam of light!
He springs to the saddle, the bridle he turns,
But lingers and gazes, till full on his sight
A second lamp in the belfry burns!
A hurry of hoofs in a village-street,
A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark,
And beneath from the pebbles, in passing, a spark
Struck out by a steed that flies fearless and fleet:
That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light,
The fate of a nation was riding that night;
And the spark struck out by that steed, in his flight,
Kindled the land into flame with its heat.
It was twelve by the village-clock,
When he crossed the bridge into Medford town,
He heard the crowing of the cock,
And the barking of the farmer's dog,
And felt the damp of the river-fog,
That rises when the sun goes down.
It was one by the village-clock,
When he rode into Lexington.
He saw the gilded weathercock
Swim in the moonlight as he passed,
And the meeting-house windows, blank and bare,
Gazed at him with a spectral glare,
As if they already stood aghast
At the bloody work they would look upon.
It was two by the village-clock,
When he came to the bridge in Concord town.
He heard the bleating of the flock,
And the twitter of birds among the trees,
And felt the breath of the morning-breeze
Blowing over the meadows brown,
And one was safe and asleep in his bed
Who at the bridge would be first to fall,
Who that day would be lying dead,
Pierced by a British musket-ball.
You know the rest. In the books you have read
How the British regulars fired and fled—
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
From behind each fence and farmyard-wall,
Chasing the red-coats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,
And only pausing to fire and load.
So through the night rode Paul Revere;
And so through the night went his cry of alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm—
A cry of defiance, and not of fear—
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo for evermore!
For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness, and peril, and need,
The people will waken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof-beat of that steed.
And the midnight-message of Paul Revere.
This humorous sketch is taken from a work entitled "My Opinions and Betsey Bobbet's."
T HEY have been havin' pleasure exertions all summer here to Jonesville. Every week a'most they would go off on a exertion after pleasure, and Josiah was all up in end to go too.
That man is a well-principled man as I ever see; but if he had his head he would be worse than any young man I ever see to foller up pic-nics, and 4th of Julys, and camp meetin's, and all pleasure exertions. But I don't encourage him in it. I have said to him, time and agin, "There is a time for everything, Josiah Allen, and after anybody has lost all their teeth, and every mite of hair on the top of their head, it is time for 'em to stop goin' to pleasure exertions."
But, good land! I might jest as well talk to the wind. If that man should get to be as old as Mr. Methusler, and be a goin' a thousand years old, he would prick up his ears if he should hear of an exertion. All summer long that man has beset me to go to 'em, for he wouldn't go without me. Old Bunker Hill himself hain't any sounder in principle than Josiah Allen, and I have had to work head-work to make excuses, and quell him down. But, last week, the old folks was goin' to have one out on the lake, on an island, and that man sot his foot down that go he would.
We was to the breakfast-table, a talkin' it over, and says I, "I shan't go, for I am afraid of big water any way."
Says Josiah, "You are jest as liable to be killed in one place as another."
Says I, with a almost frigid air, as I passed him his coffee, "Mebby I shall be drownded on dry land, Josiah Allen; but I don't believe it."
Says he, in a complainin' tone, "I can't get you started onto a exertion for pleasure any way."
Says I, in a almost eloquent way, "I don't believe in makin' such exertions after pleasure. I don't believe in chasin' of her up." Says I, "Let her come of her own free will." Says I, "You can't catch her by chasin' of her up, no more than you can fetch a shower up, in a drewth, by goin' out doors, and running after a cloud up in the heavens above you. Sit down, and be patient; and when it gets ready, the refreshin' rain-drops will begin to fall without none of your help. And it is jest so with pleasure, Josiah Allen; you may chase her up over all the ocians and big mountains of the earth, and she will keep ahead of you all the time; but set down, and not fatigue yourself a thinkin' about her, and like as not she will come right into your house, unbeknown to you."
"Wal," says he, "I guess I'll have another griddlecake, Samantha." And as he took it, and poured the maple syrup over it, he added, gently but firmly, "I shall go, Samantha, to this exertion, and I should be glad to have you present at it, because it seems jest, to me, as if I should fall overboard durin' the day."
Men are deep. Now that man knew that no amount of religious preachin' could stir me up like that one speech. For though I hain't no hand to coo, and don't encourage him in bein' spoony at all, he knows that I am wrapped almost completely up in him. I went.
We had got to start about the middle of the night, for the lake was fifteen miles from Jonesville, and the old horse bein' so slow, we had got to start a hour or two ahead of the rest. I told Josiah that I had jest as lives set up all night, as to be routed out at two o'clock. But he was so animated and happy at the idee of goin' that he looked on the bright side of everything, and he said that we would go to bed before dark, and get as much sleep as we commonly did! So we went to bed, the sun an hour high. But we hadn't more'n got settled down into the bed, when we heard a buggy and a single wagon stop to the gate, and I got up and peeked through the window, and I see it was visitors come to spend the evenin'—Elder Wesley Minkly and his family, and Deacon Dobbins' folks. Josiah vowed that he wouldn't stir one step out of that bed that night. But I argued with him pretty sharp, while I was throwin' on my clothes, and I finally got him started up. I hain't deceitful, but I thought, if I got my clothes all on before they came in, I wouldn't tell 'em that I had been to bed that time of day. And I did get all dressed up, even to my handkerchief pin. And I guess they had been there as much as ten minutes before I thought that I hadn't took my night-cap off. They looked dretful curious at me, and I felt awful meachin'. But I jest ketched it off, and never said nothin'. But when Josiah came out of the bedroom, with what little hair he has got standin' out in every direction, no two hairs a layin' the same way, I up and told 'em. I thought mebby they wouldn't stay long. But Deacon Dobbins' folks seemed to be all waked up on the subject of religion, and they proposed we should turn it into a kind of a conference meetin'; so they never went home till after ten o'clock.
It was most eleven o'clock when Josiah and me got to bed agin. And then jest as I was gettin' into a drowse, I heard the cat in the buttery, and I got up to let her out. And that rousted Josiah up, and he thought he heard the cattle in the garden, and he got up and went out. And there we was a marchin' round most all night. And if we would get into a nap, Josiah would think it was mornin', and he would start up and go out to look at the clock. I lost myself once, for I dreampt that Josiah was a droundin', and Deacon Dobbins was on the shore a prayin' for him. It started me so, that I jest ketched hold of Josiah and hollered. It skairt him awfully, and says he, "What does ail you, Samantha? I hain't been asleep before to-night, and now you have rousted me up for good. I wonder what time it is?" And then he got out of bed again, and went out and looked at the clock. It was half-past one, and he said "he didn't believe we had better go to sleep again for fear we would be too late for the exertion, and he wouldn't miss that for nothin'."
"Exertion," says I, in a awful cold tone; "I should think we had had exertion enough for one spell."
But I got up at 2 o'clock, and made a cup of tea as strong as I could, for we both felt beat out, worse than if we had watched in sickness.
But, as bad and wore out as Josiah felt bodily, he was all animated in his mind about what a good time he was a goin' to have. He acted foolish, and I told him so. I wanted to wear my brown and black gingham, and a shaker; but Josiah insisted that I should wear a new lawn dress that he had brought me home as a present, and I had got just made up. So, jest to please him, I put it on, and my best bonnet. And that man, all I could do and say, would wear a pair of pantaloons I had been a makin' for Thomas Jefferson. They was gettin' up a military company in Thomas J.'s school, and these pantaloons was white with a blue stripe down the sides, a kind of uniform. Josiah took a awful fancy to 'em; and, says he,
"I will wear 'em, Samantha; they look so dressy."
Says I, "They hain't hardly done. I was goin' to stitch that blue stripe on the left leg on again. They haint finished as they ought to be, and I would not wear 'em. It looks vain in you."
Says he, "I will wear 'em, Samantha. I will be dressed up for once."
I didn't contend with him. Thinks I, we are makin' fools of ourselves by goin' at all, and if he wants to make a little bigger fool of himself, I won't stand in his light. And then I had got some machine oil onto 'em, so I felt that I had got to wash 'em any way, before Thomas J. took 'em to school. So he put 'em on.
I had good vittles, and a sight of 'em. The basket wouldn't hold 'em all. So Josiah had to put a bottle of red rhaspberry jell into the pocket of his dress coat, and lots of other little things, such as spoons, and knives, and forks, in his pantaloons and breast pockets. He looked like Captain Kidd, armed up to the teeth, and I told him so. But, good land, he would have carried a knife in his mouth if I had asked him, he felt so neat about goin', and boasted so, on what a splendid exertion it was going to be.
We got to the lake about eight o'clock, being about the first ones there; but they kep' a comin', and before 10 o'clock we all got there. There was about 20 old fools of us, when we got all collected together. And about 10 o'clock we sot sail for the island. Josiah havin' felt so animated and tickled about the exertion, was worked up awfully when, just after we had got well out onto the lake, the wind took his hat off and blew it away. He had made up his mind to look so pretty that day, and be so dressed up, that it worked him up awfully. And then the sun beat down onto him: and if he had had any hair onto his head it would have seemed more shady. But I did the best I could by him; I stood by him, and pinned on his red bandanna handkerchief onto his head. But as I was a fixin' it on, I see there was something more than mortification that ailed him. The lake was rough, and the boat rocked, and I see he was beginning to be awful sick. He looked deathly. Pretty soon I felt bad too. Oh, the wretchedness of that time! I have enjoyed poor health considerable in my life, but never did I enjoy so much sickness, in so short a time, as I did on that pleasure exertion to the island. I suppose our bein' up all night a'most made it worse. When we reached the island we was both weak as cats.
I set right down on a stun, and held my head for a spell, for it did seem as if it would split open. After awhile I staggered up onto my feet, and finally I got so I could walk straight, and sense things a little. Then I began to take the things out of my dinner basket. The butter had all melted, so we had to dip it out with a spoon. And a lot of water had swashed over the side of the boat, so my pies, and tarts, and delicate cake, and cookies, looked awful mixed up, but no worse than the rest of the company's did. But we did the best we could, and begun to make preparations to eat, for the man that owned the boat said he knew it would rain before night, by the way the sun scalded. There wasn't a man or a woman there but what the perspiration jest poured down their faces. We was a haggered and melancholy lookin' set. There was a piece of woods a little ways off, but it was up quite a rise of ground, and there wasn't one of us but what had the rheumatiz, more or less. We made up a fire on the sand, though it seemed as if it was hot enough to steep the tea and coffee as it was.
After we got the fire started, I histed a umberell, and sat down under it, and fanned myself hard, for I was afraid of a sunstroke.
Wal, I guess I had sat there ten minutes or more, when all of a sudden I thought, Where is Josiah? I hadn't seen him since we had got there. I riz right up and asked the company, almost wildly, "If they had seen my companion, Josiah?" They said "No, they hadn't." But Celestine Wilkins' little girl, who had come with her grandpa and grandma Gowdey, spoke up, and says she, "I seen him a goin' off towards the woods; he acted dreadfully strange, too, he seemed to be a walkin' off sideways."
"Had the sufferin's we had undergone made him delirious?" says I to myself; and then I started off on the run towards the woods, and old Miss Bobbet, and Miss Gowdey, and Sister Minkley, and Deacon Dobbins' wife, all rushed after me. Oh, the agony of them 2 or 3 minutes, my mind so distracted with forebodin's, and the perspiration a pourin' down. But, all of a sudden, on the edge of the woods we found him. Miss Gowdey weighed 100 pounds less than me; had got a little ahead of me. He sat backed up against a tree in a awful cramped position, with his left leg under him. He looked dretful uncomfortable, but when Miss Gowdey hollered out: "Oh, here you be; we have been skairt about you; what is the matter?" he smiled a dretful sick smile, and says he: "Oh, I thought I would come out here and meditate a spell. It was always a real treat to me to meditate."
Jest then I came up, a pantin' for breath, and as the women all turned to face me, Josiah scowled at me, and shook his fist at them 4 wimmen, and made the most mysterious motions with his hands towards 'em. But the minute they turned 'round he smiled in a sickish way, and pretended to go to whistlin'.
Says I, "What is the matter, Josiah Allen? What are you off here for?"
"I am a meditatin', Samantha."
The wimmen happened to be a lookin' the other way for a minute, and he looked at me as if he would take my head off, and made the strangest motions towards 'em; but the minute they looked at him he would pretend to smile that deathly smile.
Says I, "Come, Josiah Allen, we're goin' to have dinner right away, for we are afraid it will rain."
"Oh, wal," says he, "a little rain, more or less, hain't a goin' to hinder a man from meditatin'."
I was wore out, and says I: "Do you stop meditatin' this minute, Josiah Allen."
Says he: "I won't stop, Samantha. I let you have your way a good deal of the time; but when I take it into my head to meditate, you hain't a goin' to break it up."
Says I: "Josiah Allen, come to dinner."
"Oh, I hain't hungry," says he. "The table will probably be full. I had jest as leves wait."
"Table full!" says I. "You know jest as well as I do that we are eatin' on the ground. Do you come and eat your dinner this minute."
"Yes, do come," says Miss Bobbet.
"Oh," says he, with that ghastly smile, a pretendin' to joke; "I have got plenty to eat here, I can eat muskeeters."
The air was black with 'em; I couldn't deny it.
"The muskeeters will eat you, more likely," says I. "Look at your face and hands."
"Yes, they have eat considerable of a dinner out of me, but I don't begrech 'em. I hain't small enough, I hope, to begrech 'em one meal."
Miss Bobbet and the rest turned to go back, and the minute we were alone he said:
"Can't you bring 40 or 50 more wimmen up here? You couldn't come here a minute without a lot of other wimmen tied to your heels!"
I began to see daylight, and then Josiah told me.
It seems he had set down on that bottle of rhaspberry jell. That blue stripe on the side wasn't hardly finished, as I said, and I hadn't fastened my thread properly; so when he got to pullin' at 'em to try to wipe off the jell, the thread started, and bein' sewed on a machine, that seam jest ripped right open from top to bottom. That was what he had walked off sideways towards the woods for. Josiah Allen's wife hain't one to desert a companion in distress. I pinned 'em up as well as I could, and I didn't say a word to hurt his feelin's, only I jest said this to him, as I was a fixin' 'em: "Josiah Allen, is this pleasure?" Says I: "You was determined to come."
"Throw that in my face again, will you? What if I wuz? There goes a pin into my leg. I should think I had suffered enough without your stabbin' of me with pins."
"Wal, then, stand still, and not be a caperin' round so. How do you suppose I can do anything with you a tousin' round so?"
"Wal, don't be so agrevatin', then."
I fixed 'em as well as I could, but they looked pretty bad, and then, there they was all covered with jell, too. What to do I didn't know. But finally I told him I would put my shawl onto him. So I doubled it up corner-ways, as big as I could, so it almost touched the ground behind, and he walked back to the table with me. I told him it was best to tell the company all about it, but he jest put his foot down that he wouldn't, and I told him if he wouldn't that he must make his own excuses to the company about wearin' the shawl. So he told 'em that he always loved to wear summer shawls; he thought it made a man look so dressy.
But he looked as if he would sink all the time he was a sayin' it. They all looked dretful curious at him, and he looked as meachin' as if he had stole a sheep, and he never took a minute's comfort, nor I nuther. He was sick all the way back to the shore, and so was I. And jest as we got into our wagons and started for home, the rain begun to pour down. The wind turned our old umberell inside out in no time. My lawn dress was most spilte before, and now I give up my bunnet. And I says to Josiah:
"This bunnet and dress are spilte, Josiah Allen, and I shall have to buy some new ones."
"Wal! wal! who said you wouldn't?" he snapped out.
But it wore on him. Oh, how the rain poured down. Josiah havin' nothin' but his handkerchief on his head felt it more than I did. I had took a apron to put on a gettin' dinner, and I tried to make him let me pin it on to his head. But says he, firmly:
"I hain't proud and haughty, Samantha, but I do feel above ridin' out with a pink apron on for a hat."
"Wal, then," says I, "get as wet as sop if you had ruther."
I didn't say no more, but there we jest sot and suffered. The rain poured down, the wind howled at us, the old horse went slow, the rheumatiz laid holt of both of us, and the thought of the new bunnet and dress was a wearin' on Josiah, I knew.
After I had beset him about the apron, we didn't say hardly a word for as much as 13 miles or so; but I did speak once, as he leaned forward with the rain a drippin' offen his bandanna handkerchief onto his white pantaloons. I says to him in stern tones:
"Is this pleasure, Josiah Allen?"
He gave the old mare a awful cut, and says he: "I'd like to know what you want to be so agrevatin' for?"
I didn't multiply any more words with him, only as we drove up to our door-step, and he helped me out into a mud puddle, I says to him:
"Mebby you'll hear to me another time, Josiah Allen?"
And I'll bet he will. I hain't afraid to bet a ten-cent bill that that man won't never open his mouth to me again about a Pleasure Exertion.
IST afther the war, in the year '98,
As soon as the boys wor all scattered and bate,
'Twas the custom, whenever a pisant was got,
To hang him by thrial—barrin' sich as was shot.
There was trial by jury goin' on by daylight,
There was martial-law hangin' the lavins by night.
It's them was hard times for an honest gossoon:
If he missed in the judges—he'd meet a dragoon;
An' whether the sodgers or judges gev sentence,
The divil a much time they allowed for repentance,
An' it's many's the fine boy was then on his keepin'
Wid small share iv restin', or atin', or sleepin',
An' because they loved Erin, an' scorned to sell it,
A prey for the bloodhound, a mark for the bullet—
Unsheltered by night, and unrested by day,
With the heath for their barrack, revenge for their pay;
An' the bravest an' hardiest boy iv them all
Was Shamus O'Brien, from the town iv Glingall.
His limbs were well set, an' his body was light,
An' the keen-fanged hound had not teeth half so white;
But his face was as pale as the face of the dead,
And his cheek never warmed with the blush of the red;
An' for all that he wasn't an ugly young bye,
For the divil himself couldn't blaze with his eye,
So droll an' so wicked, so dark and so bright,
Like a fire-flash that crosses the depth of the night!
An' he was the best mower that ever has been,
An' the illigantest hurler that ever was seen,
An' his dancin' was sich that the men used to stare,
An' the women turn crazy, he done it so quare;
An' by gorra, the whole world gev it into him there.
An' it's he was the boy that was hard to be caught,
An' it's often he run, an' it's often he fought,
An' it's many the one can remember right well
The quare things he done: an' it's often I heerd tell
How he lathered the yeomen, himself agin four,
An' stretched the two strongest on old Galtimore.
But the fox must sleep sometimes, the wild deer must rest,
An' treachery prey on the blood iv the best;
Afther many a brave action of power and pride,
An' many a hard night on the mountain's bleak side,
An' a thousand great dangers and toils over past,
In the darkness of night he was taken at last.
Now, Shamus, look back on the beautiful moon,
For the door of the prison must close on you soon,
An' take your last look at her dim lovely light,
That falls on the mountain and valley this night;
One look at the village, one look at the flood,
An' one at the sheltering, far distant wood;
Farewell to the forest, farewell to the hill,
An' farewell to the friends that will think of you still;
Farewell to the pathern, the hurlin' an' wake,
And farewell to the girl that would die for your sake,
An' twelve sodgers brought him to Maryborough jail,
An' the turnkey resaved him, refusin' all bail;
The fleet limbs wor chained, an' the sthrong hands wor bound,
An' he laid down his length on the cowld prison-ground,
An' the dreams of his childhood kem over him there
As gentle an' soft as the sweet summer air,
An' happy remembrances crowding on ever,
As fast as the foam-flakes dhrift down on the river,
Bringing fresh to his heart merry days long gone by,
Till the tears gathered heavy and thick in his eye.
But the tears didn't fall, for the pride of his heart
Would not suffer one drop down his pale cheek to start;
An' he sprang to his feet in the dark prison cave,
An' he swore with the fierceness that misery gave,
By the hopes of the good, an' the cause of the brave,
That when he was mouldering in the cold grave
His enemies never should have it to boast
His scorn of their vengeance one moment was lost;
His bosom might bleed, but his cheek should be dhry,
For undaunted he lived, and undaunted he'd die.
Well, as soon as a few weeks was over and gone,
The terrible day iv the thrial kem on,
There was sich a crowd there was scarce room to stand,
An' sodgers on guard, an' dhragoons sword-in-hand;
An' the court-house so full that the people were bothered,
An' attorneys an' criers on the point iv bein' smothered;
An' counsellors almost gev over for dead,
An' the jury sittin' up in their box overhead;
An' the judge settled out so detarmined an' big,
With his gown on his back, and an illegant new wig;
An' silence was called, an' the minute it was said
The court was as still as the heart of the dead,
An' they heard but the openin' of one prison lock,
An' Shamus O'Brien kem into the dock.
For one minute he turned his eye round on the throng,
An' he looked at the bars, so firm and so strong,
An' he saw that he had not a hope nor a friend,
A chance to escape, nor a word to defend;
An' he folded his arms as he stood there alone,
As calm and as cold as a statue of stone;
And they read a big writin', a yard long at laste,
An' Jim didn't understand it, nor mind it a taste,
An' the judge took a big pinch iv snuff, and he says,
"Are you guilty or not, Jim O'Brien, av you plase?"
An' all held their breath in the silence of dhread,
An' Shamus O'Brien made answer and said:
"My lord, if you ask me, if in my life-time
I thought any treason, or did any crime
That should call to my cheek, as I stand alone here,
The hot blush of shame, or the coldness of fear,
Though I stood by the grave to receive my death-blow
Before God and the world I would answer you, no!
But if you would ask me, as I think it like,
If in the rebellion I carried a pike,
An' fought for ould Ireland from the first to the close,
An' shed the heart's blood of her bitterest foes,
I answer you, yes; and I tell you again,
Though I stand here to perish, it's my glory that then
In her cause I was willing my veins should run dhry,
An' that now for her sake I am ready to die."
Then the silence was great, and the jury smiled bright,
An' the judge wasn't sorry the job was made light;
By my sowl, it's himself was the crabbed ould chap!
In a twinklin' he pulled on his ugly black cap.
Then Shamus' mother in the crowd standin' by,
Called out to the judge with a pitiful cry:
"O, judge! darlin', don't, O, don't say the word!
The crathur is young, have mercy, my lord;
He was foolish, he didn't know what he was doin';
You don't know him, my lord—O, don't give him to ruin!
He's the kindliest crathur, the tendherest-hearted;
Don't part us forever, we that's so long parted.
Judge, mavourneen, forgive him, forgive him, my lord,
An' God will forgive you—O, don't say the word!"
That was the first minute that O'Brien was shaken,
When he saw that he was not quite forgot or forsaken;
An' down his pale cheeks, at the word of his mother,
The big tears wor runnin' fast, one afther th' other;
An' two or three times he endeavoured to spake,
But the sthrong, manly voice used to falther and break;
But at last, by the strength of his high-mounting pride,
He conquered and masthered his grief's swelling tide,
"An'," says he, "mother, darlin', don't break your poor heart,
For, sooner or later, the dearest must part;
And God knows it's betther than wandering in fear
On the bleak, trackless mountain, among the wild deer,
To lie in the grave, where the head, heart, and breast,
From thought, labour, and sorrow, forever shall rest.
Then, mother, my darlin', don't cry any more,
Don't make me seem broken, in this, my last hour;
For I wish, when my head's lyin' undher the raven,
No thrue man can say that I died like a craven!"
Then towards the judge Shamus bent down his head,
An' that minute the solemn death-sentince was said.
The mornin' was bright, an' the mists rose on high,
An' the lark whistled merrily in the clear sky;
But why are the men standin' idle so late?
An' why do the crowds gather fast in the street?
What come they to talk of? what come they to see?
An' why does the long rope hang from the cross-tree?
O, Shamus O'Brien! pray fervent and fast,
May the saints take your soul, for this day is your last;
Pray fast an' pray sthrong, for the moment is nigh,
When, sthrong, proud, an' great as you are, you must die.
An' fasther an' fasther, the crowd gathered there,
Boys, horses, and gingerbread, just like a fair;
An' whiskey was sellin', and cussamuck too,
An' ould men and young women enjoying the view.
An' ould Tim Mulvany, he med the remark,
There wasn't sich a sight since the time of Noah's ark,
An' be gorry, 'twas thrue for him, for devil sich a scruge,
Sich divarshin and crowds, was known since the deluge,
For thousands were gathered there, if there was one,
Waitin' till such time as the hangin' 'id come on.
At last they threw open the big prison-gate,
An' out came the sheriffs and sodgers in state,
An' a cart in the middle, an' Shamus was in it,
Not paler, but prouder than ever, that minute.
An' as soon as the people saw Shamus O'Brien,
Wid prayin' and blessin', and all the girls cryin',
A wild wailin' sound kem on by degrees,
Like the sound of the lonesome wind blowin' through trees.
On, on to the gallows the sheriffs are gone,
An' the cart an' the sodgers go steadily on;
An' at every side swellin' around of the cart,
A wild, sorrowful sound, that id open your heart.
Now under the gallows the cart takes its stand,
An' the hangman gets up with the rope in his hand;
An' the priest, havin' blest him, goes down on the ground,
An' Shamus O'Brien throws one last look round.
Then the hangman dhrew near, an' the people grew still,
Young faces turned sickly, and warm hearts turn chill;
An' the rope bin' ready, his neck was made bare,
For the gripe iv the life-strangling chord to prepare;
An' the good priest has left him, havin' said his last prayer,
But the good priest done more, for his hands he unbound,
And with one daring spring Jim has leaped on the ground;
Bang! bang! goes the carbines, and clash goes the sabres;
He's not down! he's alive still! now stand to him, neighbours!
Through the smoke and the horses he's into the crowd,—
By the heavens, he's free!—than thunder more loud,
By one shout from the people the heavens were shaken—
One shout that the dead of the world might awaken.
The sodgers ran this way, the sheriffs ran that,
An' Father Malone lost his new Sunday hat;
To-night he'll be sleepin' in Aherloe Glin,
An' the divil's in the dice if you catch him ag'in.
Your swords they may glitter, your carbines go bang,
But if you want hangin', it's yourself you must hang.
He has mounted his horse, and soon he will be
In America, darlint, the land of the free.
The "Colored Debating Society" of Mount Vernon, Ohio, had some very interesting meetings. The object of the argument on a particular evening was the settlement, at once and forever, of the question.
Mr. Larkins said about as follows: "Mr. Chaarman, what's de use ob a swoard unless you's gwyne to waar? Who's hyar dat's gwyne to waar? I isn't, Mr. Morehouse isn't, Mrs. Morehouse isn't, Mr. Newsome isn't; I'll bet no feller wot speaks on the swoard side is any ideer ob gwyne to waar. Den, what's de use ob de swoard? I don't tink dar's much show for argument in de matter."
Mr. Lewman said: "What's de use ob de pen 'less you knows how to write? How's dat? Dat's what I wants to know. Look at de chillun ob Isr'l—wasn't but one man in de whole crowd gwine up from Egyp' to de Promis' Lan' cood write, an' he didn't write much. [A voice in the audience, "Who wrote de ten comman'ments, anyhow, you bet." Cheers from the pen side.] Wrote 'em? wrote 'em? Not much; guess not; not on stone, honey. Might p'r'aps cut 'em wid a chisel. Broke 'em all, anyhow, 'fore he got down de hill. Den when he cut a new set, de chillun ob Isr'l broke 'em all again. Say he did write 'em, what good was it? So his pen no 'count nohow. No, saar. De swoard's what fotched 'em into de Promis' Lan', saar. Why, saar, it's ridiculous. Tink, saar, ob David a-cuttin' off Goliah's head wid a pen, saar! De ideer's altogedder too 'posterous, saar. De swoard, saar, de swoard mus' win de argument, saar."
Dr. Crane said: "I tink Mr. Lewman a leetle too fas'. He's a-speakin' ob de times in de dim pas', when de mind ob man was crude, an' de han' ob man was in de ruff state, an' not tone down to de refinement ob cibilized times. Dey wasn't educated up to de use ob de pen. Deir han's was only fit for de ruff use ob de swoard. Now, as de modern poet says, our swoards rust in deir cubbards, an' peas, sweet peas, cover de lan'. An' what has wrot all dis change? De pen. Do I take a swoard now to get me a peck ob sweet taters, a pair ob chickens, a pair ob shoes? No, saar. I jess take my pen an' write an order for 'em. Do I want money? I don't git it by de edge ob de swoard; I writes a check. I want a suit ob clothes, for instance—a stroke ob de pen, de mighty pen, de clothes is on de way. I'se done."
Mr. Newsome said: "Wid all due 'spect to de learned gemman dat's jus' spoke, we mus' all agree dat for smoovin' tings off an' a-levelin' tings down, dere's notting equals de swoard."
Mr. Hunnicut said: "I agrees entirely wid Mr. Newsome; an' in answer to what Dr. Crane says, I would jess ask what's de use ob drawin' a check unless you's got de money in de bank, or a-drawin' de order on de store unless de store truss you? S'pose de store do truss, ain't it easier to sen' a boy as to write a order? If you got no boy handy, telegraf. No use for a pen—not a bit. Who ebber heard of Mr. Hill's pen? Nobody, saar. But his swoard, saar—de swoard ob ole Bunker Hill, saar—is known to ebbery chile in de lan'. If it hadden been for de swoard ob ole Bunker Hill, saar, whaar'd we niggers be to-night, saar? whaar, saar? Not hyar, saar. In Georgia, saar, or wuss, saar. No cullud man, saar, should ebber go back, saar, on de swoard, saar."
Mr. Hunnicut's remarks seemed to carry a good deal of weight with the audience. After speeches by a number of others, the subject was handed over to the "committee," who carried it out and "sot on it." In due time they returned with the followin' decision:
"De committee decide dat de swoard has de most pints an' de best backin', an' dat de pen is de most beneficial, an' dat de whole ting is about a stan'-off."
S. C. CLEMENS.
Y ES, I've had a good many fights in my time," said old John Parky, tenderly manipulating his dismantled nose, "and it's kind of queer, too, for when I was a boy the old man was always telling me better. He was a good man and hated fighting. When I would come home with my nose bleeding or with my face scratched up, he used to call me out in the woodshed, and in a sorrowful and discouraged way say, 'So, Johnny, you've had another fight, hey? How many times have I got to tell ye how disgraceful and wicked it is for boys to fight? It was only yesterday that I talked to you an hour about the sin of fighting, and here you've been at it again. Who was it with this time? With Tommy Kelly, hey? Don't you know any better than to fight a boy that weighs twenty pounds more than you do, besides being two years older? Ain't you got a spark of sense about ye? I can see plainly that you are determined to break your poor father's heart by your reckless conduct. What ails your finger? Tommy bit it? Drat the little fool! Didn't ye know enough to keep your finger out of his mouth? Was trying to jerk his cheek off, hey? Won't you never learn to quit foolin' 'round a boy's mouth with yer fingers? You're bound to disgrace us all by such wretched behaviour. You're determined never to be nobody. Did you ever hear of Isaac Watts—that wrote, "Let dogs delight to bark and bite"—sticking his fingers in a boy's mouth to get 'em bit, like a fool? I'm clean discouraged with ye. Why didn't ye go for his nose, the way Jonathan Edwards, and George Washington, and Daniel Webster used to do, when they was boys? Couldn't 'cause he had ye down? That's a purty story to tell me. It does beat all that you can't learn how Socrates and William Penn used to gouge when they was under, after the hours and hours I've spent in telling you about those great men! It seems to me sometimes as if I should have to give you up in despair. It's an awful trial to me to have a boy that don't pay any attention to good example, nor to what I say. What! You pulled out three or four handfuls of his hair? H'm! Did he squirm any? Now if you'd a give him one or two in the eye—but as I've told ye many a time, fighting is poor business. Won't you—for your father's sake—won't you promise to try and remember that? H'm! Johnny, how did it—ahem—which licked?"
"'You licked him? Sho! Really? Well, now, I hadn't any idea you could lick that Tommy Kelly! I don't believe John Bunyan, at ten years old, could have done it. Johnny, my boy, you can't think how I hate to have you fighting every day or two. I wouldn't have had him lick you for five, no, not for ten dollars! Now, sonny, go right in and wash up, and tell your mother to put a rag on your finger. And, Johnny, don't let me hear of your fighting again!'"
"I never see anybody so down on fighting as the old man, was, but somehow he never could break me from it."
JOHN H. YATES.
Additional effect may be given to this piece by any one who can impersonate the old man.
ELL, wife, I've been to church to-day—been to a stylish one—
And, seein' you can't go from home, I'll tell you what was done;
You would have been surprised to see what I saw there to-day;
The sisters were fixed up so fine they hardly bowed to pray.
I had on these coarse clothes of mine, not much the worse for wear,
But then they knew I wasn't one they call a millionaire;
So they led the old man to a seat away back by the door—
'Twas bookless and uncushioned—a reserved seat for the poor.
Pretty soon in came a stranger with gold ring and clothing fine;
They led him to a cushioned seat far in advance of mine.
I thought that wasn't exactly right to seat him up so near,
When he was young, and I was old and very hard to hear.
But then there's no accountin' for what some people do;
The finest clothing nowadays oft gets the finest pew,
But when we reach the blessed home, all undefiled by sin,
We'll see wealth beggin' at the gate, while poverty goes in.
I couldn't hear the sermon, I sat so far away,
So, through the hours of service, I could only "watch and pray;"
Watch the doin's of the Christians sitting near me, round about;
Pray God to make them pure within, as they were pure without.
While I sat there, lookin' 'round upon the rich and great,
I kept thinkin' of the rich man and the beggar at his gate;
How, by all but dogs forsaken, the poor beggar's form grew cold,
And the angels bore his spirit to the mansions built of gold.
How, at last, the rich man perished, and his spirit took its flight,
From the purple and fine linen to the home of endless night;
There he learned, as he stood gazin' at the beggar in the sky,
"It isn't all of life to live, nor all of death to die."
I doubt not there were wealthy sires in that religious fold,
Who went up from their dwellings like the Pharisee of old,
Then returned home from their worship, with a head uplifted high,
To spurn the hungry from their door, with naught to satisfy.
Out, out with such professions! they are doin' more to-day
To stop the weary sinner from the Gospel's shinin' way
Than all the books of infidels; than all that has been tried
Since Christ was born at Bethlehem—since Christ was crucified.
How simple are the works of God, and yet how very grand;
The shells in ocean caverns, the flowers on the land;
He gilds the clouds of evenin' with the gold right from his throne,
Not for the rich man only—not for the poor alone.
Then why should man look down on man because of lack of gold?
Why seat him in the poorest pew because his clothes are old?
A heart with noble motives—a heart that God has blest—
May be beatin' Heaven's music 'neath that faded coat and vest.
I'm old—I may be childish—but I love simplicity;
I love to see it shinin' in a Christian's piety.
Jesus told us in His sermons in Judea's mountains wild,
He that wants to go to Heaven must be like a little child.
Our heads are growin' gray, dear wife; our hearts are beatin' slow;
In a little while the Master will call us for to go.
When we reach the pearly gateways, and look in with joyful eyes,
We'll see no stylish worship in the temple of the skies.
JOHN H. YATES.
A companion to the foregoing.
ELL, wife, I've found the model church! I worshipped there to-day!
It made me think of good old times before my hairs were gray;
The meetin' house was fixed up more than they were years ago,
But then I felt, when I went in, it wasn't built for show.
The sexton didn't seat me away back by the door;
He knew that I was old and deaf, as well as old and poor;
He must have been a Christian, for he led me boldly through
The long isle of that crowded church to find a pleasant pew.
I wish you'd heard the singin'; it had the old-time ring;
The preacher said, with trumpet voice: "Let all the people sing!"
The tune was "Coronation," and the music upward rolled,
Till I thought I heard the angels striking all their harps of gold.
My deafness seemed to melt away; my spirit caught the fire;
I joined my feeble, trembling voice with that melodious choir,
And sang as in my youthful days: "Let angels prostrate fall;
Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown him Lord of all."
I tell you, wife, it did me good to sing that hymn once more;
I felt like some wrecked mariner who gets a glimpse of shore;
I almost wanted to lay down this weather-beaten form,
And anchor in that blessed port, forever from the storm.
The prechen'? Well, I can't just tell all that the preacher said;
I know it wasn't written; I know it wasn't read;
He hadn't time to read it, for the lightnin' of his eye
Went flashin' 'long from pew to pew, nor passed a sinner by.
The sermon wasn't flowery; 'twas simple Gospel truth;
It fitted poor old men like me; it fitted hopeful youth;
'Twas full of consolation for weary hearts that bleed;
'Twas full of invitations to Christ and not to creed.
The preacher made sin hideous in Gentiles and in Jews;
He shot the golden sentences down in the finest pews;
And—though I can't see very well—I saw the falling tear
That told me hell was some ways off, and heaven very near.
How swift the golden moments fled within that holy place;
How brightly beamed the light of heaven from every happy face;
Again I longed for that sweet time when friend shall meet with friend,
"When congregations ne'er break up, and Sabbath has no end."
I hope to meet that minister—that congregation, too—
In that dear home beyond the stars that shine from heaven's blue;
I doubt not I'll remember, beyond life's evenin' gray,
The happy hour of worship in that model church to-day.
Dear wife, the fight will soon be fought—the victory soon be won;
The shinin' goal is just ahead; the race is nearly run;
O'er the river we are nearin', they are throngin' to the shore,
To shout our safe arrival where the weary weep no more.
N OW, ladies and gentlemen, I have the honour of putting up a fine pocket-handkerchief, a yard wide, a yard long, and almost a yard thick; one-half cotton, and t'other half cotton too, beautifully printed with stars and stripes on one side, and the stripes and stars on t'other. It will wipe dust from the eyes so completely as to be death to demagogues, and make politics as bad a business as printing papers. Its great length, breadth and thickness, together with its dark colour, will enable it to hide dirt, and never need washing. Going at one dollar? seventy-five cents? fifty cents? twenty-five cents? one bit? Nobody wants it! Oh, thank you, sir! Next, gentlemen—for the ladies won't be permitted to bid on this article—is a real, simon pure, tempered, highly-polished, keen-edged Sheffield razor; bran spanking new; never opened before to sunlight, moonlight, starlight, daylight or gaslight; sharp enough to shave a lawyer or cut a disagreeable acquaintance or poor relation; handle of buck-horn, with all the rivets but the two at the ends of pure gold. Who will give two dollars? one dollar? half a dollar? Why, ye long-bearded, dirty-faced reprobates, with not room on your phizzes for a Chinese woman to kiss, I'm offering you a bargain at half a dollar! Well, I'll throw in this strop at half a dollar! razor and strop! a recent patent; two rubs upon it will sharpen the city attorney; all for four bits; and a piece of soap, sweeter than roses, lathers better than a school-master, and strong enough to wash all the stains from a California politician's countenance, all for four bits. Why, you have only to put the razor, strop and soap under your pillow at night, and wake up in the morning clean shaved. Won't anybody give two bits, then, for the lot? I knew I would sell them! Next, ladies and gentlemen, I offer three pair socks, hose, stockings, or half-hose, just as you're a mind to call them, knit by a machine made on purpose, out of cotton wool. The man that buys these will be enabled to walk till he gets tired; and, provided his boots are big enough, needn't have any corns; the legs are as long as bills against the corporation, and as thick as the heads of the members of the legislature. Who wants 'em at one half dollar? Thank-ee, madame, the money. Next I offer you a pair of boots made especially for San Francisco, with heels long enough to raise a man up to the Hoadley grades, and nails to ensure against being carried over by a land slide; legs wide enough to carry two revolvers and a bowie-knife, and the upper of the very best horse leather. A man in these boots can move about as easy as the State Capitol. Who says twenty dollars? All the tax-payers ought to buy a pair to kick the council with, everybody ought to buy a pair to kick the legislature with, and they will be found of assistance in kicking the bucket especially if somebody should kick at being kicked. Ten dollars for legs, uppers and soles! while souls, and miserable souls at that, are bringing twenty thousand dollars in Sacramento! Ten dollars! ten dollars! gone at ten dollars! Next is something that you ought to have, gentlemen,—a lot of good gallowses—sometimes called suspenders. I know that some of you will, after a while, be furnished at the State's expense, but you can't tell which one, so buy where they're cheap. All that deserve to be hanged are not supplied with a gallows; if so, there would be nobody to make laws, condemn criminals, or hang culprits, until a new election. Made of pure gum-elastic—stretch like a judge's conscience, and last as long as a California office-holder will steal; buckles of pure iron, and warranted to hold so tight that no man's wife can rob him of his breeches; are, in short, as strong, as good, as perfect, as effectual and as bona-fide as the ordinance against Chinese shops on Dupont Street—gone at twenty-five cents.
'VE heard a good joke on Emerald Pat,
Who kept a few brains and a brick in his hat;
He was bound to go hunting; so taking his gun
He rammed down a charge—this was load number one;
Then he put in the priming, and when all was done,
By way of experiment, he thought he would try
And see if by perchance he might hit the "bull's eye."
He straightened himself until he made a good figure,
Took a deliberate aim and then pulled the trigger.
Click! went the hammer, but nothing exploded;
"And sure," muttered Paddy, "the gun isn't loaded."
So down went another charge, just as before,
Unless this contained a grain or two more;
Once more he made ready and took a good aim
And pulled on the trigger—effect quite the same.
"I wonder, can this be, still shootin'?" said Pat;
"I put down a load, now I'm certain of that;
I'll try it again, and then we shall see!"
So down went the cartridge of load number three.
Then trying again with a confident air,
And succeeding no better, he gave up in despair.
Just at that moment he happened to spy
His friend, Michael Milligan, hurrying by.
"Hello, Mike! Come here and try on my gun;
I've been trying to shoot until I'm tired and done!"
So Mike took the gun and picked up the powder,
Remarking to Pat, "it would make it go louder."
Then placing it firmly against his right arm,
And never suspecting it might do him harm,
He pointed the piece in the proper direction,
And pulled on the trigger without more reflection,
When off went the gun like a county election
Where whisky and gin have exclusive selection
Of those who are chosen to guard the inspection—
There's a great deal of noise—and some little inspection,
And Michael "went off" in another direction.
"Hold on!" shouted Pat, "Hold on to the gun,
I put in three loads, and you fired off but one!
Get up, and be careful, don't hold it so level,
Or else we are both us gone to the—cemetery!"
"I'm goin'," says Michael, "it's time that I wint,
I've got meself kicked and I'll just take the hint."
Now, old boys, and young, here's a moral for you;
Don't make Pat your pattern whatever you do.
Don't carry too much in the crown of your hat;
Of all things you lodge there beware of the bat!
I don't mean the little mouse flying in the air,
The ladies so fear that may get into their hair,
But the dangerous brick bat, so much worse than that,
Nobody can wear it that isn't a "flat,"
And then don't forget it is one of Old Nick's
Diabolical methods of playing his tricks
On foolish young men who become "perfect bricks;"
He don't give the hint until after he kicks!
H. W. LONGFELLOW.
ELL me not, in mournful numbers,
"Life is but an empty dream!"
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.
Life is real! life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
"Dust thou art, to dust returnest,"
Was not spoken of the soul.
Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act that each to-morrow,
Find us farther than to-day.
Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating,
Funeral marches to the grave.
In the world's broad field of battle.
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!
Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act—act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o'erhead.
Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time.
Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.
Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing
Learn to labour and to wait.
A LL worldly shapes shall melt in gloom, the sun himself must die, before this mortal shall assume its immortality! I saw a vision in my sleep that gave my spirit strength to sweep adown the gulf of Time! I saw the last of human mould that shall Creation's death behold, as Adam saw her prime! The Sun's eye had a sickly glare, the earth with age was wan; the skeletons of nations were around that lonely man! Some had expired in fight—the brands still rusted in their bony hands; in plague and famine some. Earth's cities had no sound or tread, and ships were drifting with the dead to shores where all was dumb. Yet, prophet-like, that Lone One stood, with dauntless words and high, that shook the sere leaves from the wood as if a storm passed by, saying—"We are twins in death, proud Sun! thy face is cold, thy race is run, 'tis mercy bids thee go; for thou ten thousand years hast seen the tide of human tears—that shall no longer flow. What though beneath thee, man put forth his pomp, his pride, his skill; and arts that made fire, flood, and earth, the vassals of his will?—yet mourn I not thy parted sway, thou dim, discrownèd king of day; for all those trophied arts and triumphs, that beneath thee sprang, healed not a passion or a pang entailed on human hearts. Go! let Oblivion's curtain fall upon the stage of men! nor with thy rising beams recall life's tragedy again! Its piteous pageants bring not back, nor waken flesh upon the rack of pain anew to writhe, stretched in Disease's shapes abhorred, or mown in battle by the sword, like grass beneath the scythe! Even I am weary in yon skies to watch thy fading fire: test of all sumless agonies, behold not me expire! My lips, that speak thy dirge of death, their rounded gasp and gurgling breath to see, thou shalt not boast; the eclipse of Nature spreads my pall, the majesty of Darkness shall receive my parting ghost! The spirit shall return to Him who gave its heavenly spark; yet think not, Sun, it shall be dim when thou thyself art dark! No! it shall live again, and shine in bliss unknown to beams of thine; by Him recalled to breath, who captive led captivity, who robbed the grave of victory, and took the sting from Death! Go, Sun, while mercy holds me up on Nature's awful waste, to drink this last and bitter cup of grief that man shall taste,—go! tell the night that hides thy face thou saw'st the last of Adam's race on earth's sepulchral clod, the darkening universe defy to quench his immortality, or shake his trust in God!"
JOHN G. WHITTIER.
STRONG and mighty Angel,
Calm, terrible and bright,
The cross in blended red and blue
Upon his mantle white!
Two captives by him kneeling,
Each on his broken chain,
Sang praise to God who raiseth
The dead to life again!
Dropping his cross-wrought mantle,
"Wear this," the Angel said;
"Take thou, O Freedom's priest, its sign—
The white, the blue, the red."
Then rose up John de Matha
In the strength the Lord Christ gave,
And begged through all the land of France
The ransom of the slave.
The gates of tower and castle
Before him open flew,
The drawbridge at his coming fell,
The door-bolt backward drew.
For all men owned his errand,
And paid his righteous tax;
And the hearts of lord and peasant
Were in his hands as wax.
At last, outbound from Tunis,
His bark her anchor weighed,
Freighted with seven score Christian souls
Whose ransom he had paid.
But, torn by Paynim hatred,
Her sails in tatters hung;
And on the wild waves rudderless,
A shattered hulk she swung.
"God save us!" cried the captain,
For naught can man avail:
O, woe betide the ship that lacks
Her rudder and her sail!
"Behind us are the Moormen;
At sea we sink or strand:
There's death upon the water,
There's death upon the land!"
Then up spake John de Matha:
"God's errands never fail!
Take thou the mantle which I wear,
And make of it a sail."
They raised the cross-wrought mantle,
The blue, the white, the red;
And straight before the wind off-shore
The ship of Freedom sped.
"God help us!" cried the seamen,
"For vain is mortal skill;
The good ship on a stormy sea
Is drifting at its will."
Then up spake John de Matha:
"My mariners, never fear!
The Lord whose breath has filled her sail
May well our vessel steer!"
So on through storm and darkness
They drove for weary hours;
And lo! the third gray morning shone
On Ostia's friendly towers.
And on the walls the watchers
The ship of mercy knew—
They knew far off its holy cross,
The red, the white, the blue.
And the bells in all the steeples
Rang out in glad accord,
To welcome home to Christian soil
The ransomed of the Lord.
So runs the ancient legend
By bard and painter told;
And lo! the cycle rounds again,
The new is as the old!
With rudder foully broken,
And sails by traitors torn,
Our country on a midnight sea
Is waiting for the morn.
Before her, nameless terror;
Behind, the pirate foe;
The clouds are black above her,
The sea is white below.
The hope of all who suffer,
The dread of all who wrong,
She drifts in darkness and in storm,
How long, O Lord! how long?
But courage, O my mariners!
Ye shall not suffer wreck,
While up to God the freedman's prayers
Are rising from your deck.
Is not your sail the banner
Which God hath blest anew,
The mantle that de Matha wore,
The red, the white, the blue?
Its hues are all of heaven—
The red of sunset's dye
The whiteness of the moonlit cloud,
The blue of morning's sky.
Wait cheerily, then, O mariners,
For daylight and for land;
The breath of God is on your sail,
Your rudder in His hand.
Sail on, sail on, deep freighted
With blessings and with hopes;
The saints of old with shadowy hands
Are pulling at your ropes.
Behind ye, holy martyrs
Uplift the palm and crown;
Before ye, unborn ages send
Their benedictions down.
Take heart from John de Matha!—
God's errands never fail!
Sweep on through storm and darkness,
The thunder and the hail!
Sail on! The morning cometh,
The port ye yet shall win;
And all the bells of God shall ring
The good ship bravely in!
ANN S. STEPHENS.
HENCE come those shrieks so wild and shrill,
That cut, like blades of steel, the air,
Causing the creeping blood to chill
With the sharp cadence of despair?
Again they come, as if a heart
Were cleft in twain by one quick blow,
And every string had voice apart
To utter its peculiar woe.
Whence came they? from yon temple where
An altar, raised for private prayer,
Now forms the warrior's marble bed
Who Warsaw's gallant armies led.
The dim funereal tapers throw
A holy lustre o'er his brow,
And burnish with their rays of light
The mass of curls that gather bright
Above the haughty brow and eye
Of a young boy that's kneeling by.
What hand is that, whose icy press
Clings to the dead with death's own grasp,
But meets no answering caress?
No thrilling fingers seek its clasp?
It is the hand of her whose cry
Rang wildly, late, upon the air,
When the dead warrior met her eye
Outstretched upon the altar there.
With pallid lip and stony brow
She murmurs forth her anguish now.
But hark! the tramp of heavy feet
Is heard along the bloody street;
Nearer and nearer yet they come
With clanking arms and noiseless drum.
Now whispered curses, low and deep,
Around the holy temple creep;
The gate is burst; a ruffian band
Rush in and savagely demand,
With brutal voice and oath profane,
The startled boy for exile's chain.
The mother sprang with gesture wild,
And to her bosom clasped her child;
Then with pale cheek and flashing eye
Shouted with fearful energy,
"Back, ruffians, back, nor dare to tread
Too near the body of my dead;
Nor touch the living boy—I stand
Between him and your lawless band.
Take me, and bind these arms, these hands,
With Russia's heaviest iron bands,
And drag me to Siberia's wild
To perish, if 'twill save my child!"
"Peace, woman, peace!" the leader cried,
Tearing the pale boy from her side,
And in his ruffian grasp he bore
His victim to the temple door.
"One moment!" shrieked the mother; "one!
Will land or gold redeem my son?
Take heritage, take name, take all,
But leave him free from Russian thrall!
Take these!" and her white arms and hands
She stripped of rings and diamond bands,
And tore from braids of long black hair
The gems that gleamed like starlight there;
Her cross of blazing rubies last
Down at the Russian's feet she cast.
He stooped to seize the glittering store—
Upspringing from the marble floor,
The mother, with a cry of joy,
Snatched to her leaping heart the boy.
But no! the Russian's iron grasp
Again undid the mother's clasp.
Forward she fell, with one long cry
Of more than mortal agony.
But the brave child is roused at length,
And breaking from the Russian's hold,
He stands, a giant in the strength
Of his young spirit, fierce and bold.
Proudly he towers; his flashing eye,
So blue, and yet so bright,
Seems kindled from the eternal sky,
So brilliant is its light.
His curling lips and crimson cheeks
Foretell the thought before he speaks;
With a full voice of proud command
He turned upon the wondering band:
"Ye hold me not! no, no, nor can!
This hour has made the boy a man!
I knelt before my slaughtered sire,
Nor felt one throb of vengeful ire.
I wept upon his marble brow,
Yes, wept! I was a child; but now—
My noble mother, on her knee,
Hath done the work of years for me!"
He drew aside his broidered vest,
And there, like slumbering serpent's crest,
The jeweled haft of poniard bright
Glittered a moment on the sight.
"Ha! start ye back! Fool! coward! knave!
Think ye my noble father's glaive
Would drink the life-blood of a slave?
The pearls that on the handle flame
Would blush to rubies in their shame;
The blade would quiver in thy breast,
Ashamed of such ignoble rest.
No! Thus I rend the tyrant's chain,
And fling him back a boy's disdain!"
A moment and the funeral light
Flashed on the jeweled weapon bright;
Another, and his young heart's blood
Leaped to the floor, a crimson flood.
Quick to his mother's side he sprang,
And on the air his clear voice rang:
"Up, mother, up! I'm free! I'm free!
The choice was death or slavery.
Up, mother, up! Look on thy son!
His freedom is forever won;
And now he waits one holy kiss
To bear his father home in bliss—
One last embrace, one blessing—one!
To prove thou knowest, approvest thy son.
What! silent yet? Canst thou not feel
My warm blood o'er my heart congeal?
Speak, mother, speak! lift up thy head!
What! silent still? Then art thou dead?
——Great God, I thank Thee! Mother, I
Rejoice with thee—and thus—to die!"
One long, deep breath, and his pale head
Lay on his mother's bosom—dead.
W HEN she came to work for the family on Congress street, the lady of the house sat down and told her that agents, book-peddlers, hat-rack men, picture sellers, ash-buyers, rag-men, and all that class of people, must be met at the front door and coldly repulsed, and Sarah said she'd repulse them if she had to break every broomstick in Detroit.
And she did. She threw the door open wide, bluffed right up at 'em, and when she got through talking, the cheekiest agent was only too glad to leave. It got so after awhile that peddlers marked that house, and the door-bell never rang except for company.
The other day, as the girl of the house was wiping off the spoons, the bell rang. She hastened to the door, expecting to see a lady, but her eyes encountered a slim man, dressed in black and wearing a white necktie. He was the new minister, and was going around to get acquainted with the members of his flock, but Sarah wasn't expected to know this.
"Git!" exclaimed Sarah, pointing to the gate.
"Beg pardon, but I would like to see—see—"
"Meander!" she shouted, looking around for a weapon; "we don't want any flour-sifters here!"
"You're mistaken," he replied, smiling blandly. "I called to—"
"Don't want anything to keep moths away—fly!" she exclaimed, getting red in the face.
"Is the lady in?" he inquired, trying to look over Sarah's head.
"Yes, the lady is in, and I'm in, and you are out!" she snapped; "and now I don't want to stand here talking to a fly-trap agent any longer! Come lift your boots!"
"I'm not an agent," he said, trying to smile. "I'm the new—"
"Yes, I know you—you are the new man with the patent flat-iron, but we don't want any, and you'd better go before I call the dog."
"Will you give the lady my card, and say that I called?"
"No, I won't; we are bored to death with cards and handbills and circulars. Come, I can't stand here all day."
"Didn't you know that I was a minister?" he asked as he backed off.
"No, nor I don't know it now; you look like the man who sold the woman next door a dollar chromo for eighteen shillings."
"But here is my card."
"I don't care for cards, I tell you! If you leave that gate open I will have to fling a flower-pot at you!"
"I will call again," he said, as he went through the gate.
"It won't do any good!" she shouted after him; "we don't want no prepared food for infants—no piano music—no stuffed birds! I know the policemen on this beat, and if you come around here again, he'll soon find out whether you are a confidence man or a vagrant!"
And she took unusual care to lock the door.
OLL, toll, toll!
Thou bell by billows swung,
And, night and day, thy warning words
Repeat with mournful tongue!
Toll for the queenly boat,
Wrecked on yon rocky-shore!
Sea-weed is in her palace halls—
She rides the surge no more.
Toll for the master bold,
The high-souled and the brave,
Who ruled her like a thing of life
Amid the crested wave!
Toll for the hardy crew,
Sons of the storm and blast,
Who long the tyrant ocean dared;
But it vanquished them at last.
Toll for the man of God,
Whose hallowed voice of prayer
Rose calm above the stifled groan
Of that intense despair!
How precious were those tones,
On that sad verge of life,
Amid the fierce and freezing storm,
And the mountain billows strife!
Toll for the lover, lost
To the summoned bridal train
Bright glows a picture on his breast,
Beneath th' unfathomed main.
One from her casement gazeth
Long o'er the misty sea:
He cometh not, pale maiden—
His heart is cold to thee?
Toll for the absent sire,
Who to his home drew near,
To bless a glad, expecting group—
Fond wife, and children dear!
They heap the blazing hearth,
The festal board is spread,
But a fearful guest is at the gate:—
Room for the sheeted dead!
Toll for the loved and fair,
The whelmed beneath the tide—
The broken harps around whose strings
The dull sea-monsters glide!
Mother and nursling sweet,
Reft from the household throng;
There's bitter weeping in the nest
Where breathed their soul of song.
Toll for the hearts that bleed
'Neath misery's furrowing trace;
Toll for the hapless orphan left,
The last of all his race!
Yea, with thy heaviest knell,
From surge to rocky shore,
Toll for the living—not the dead,
Whose mortal woes are o'er.
Toll, toll, toll!
O'er breeze and billow free;
And with thy startling lore instruct
Each rover of the sea.
Tell how o'er proudest joys
May swift destruction sweep,
And bid him build his hopes on high—
Lone teacher of the deep!
W EN you come to see a owl cloce it has offle big eyes, and wen you come to feel it with your fingers, wich it bites, you fine it is mosely fethers, with only jus meat enuf to hole 'em to gether.
Once they was a man thot he would like a owl for a pet, so he tole a bird man to send him the bes one in the shop, but wen it was brot he lookt at it and squeezed it, and it diddent sute. So the man he rote to the bird man and said Ile keep the owl you sent, tho it aint like I wanted, but wen it's wore out you mus make me a other, with littler eyes, for I spose these eyes is number twelves, but I want number sixes, and then if I pay you the same price you can aford to put in more owl.
Owls have got to have big eyes cos tha has to be out a good deal at nite a doin bisnis with rats and mice, wich keeps late ours. They is said to be very wise, but my sisters young man he says any boddy coud be wise if they woud set up nites to take notice.
That feller comes to our house jest like he used to, only more, and wen I ast him wy he come so much he said he was a man of sience, like me, and was a studyin arnithogaly, which was birds. I ast him wot birds he was a studyin, and he said anjils, and wen he said that my sister she lookt out the winder and said wot a fine day it had turn out to be. But it was a rainin cats and dogs wen she said it. I never see such a goose in my life as that girl, but Uncle Ned, wich has been in ole parts of the worl, he says they is jes that way in Pattygong.
In the picture alphabets the O is some times a owl, and some times it is a ox, but if I made the picters Ide have it stan for a oggur to bore holes with. I tole that to ole gaffer Peters once wen he was to our house lookin at my new book, and he said you is right, Johnny, and here is this H stan for harp, but hoo cares for a harp, wy don't they make it stan for a horgan? He is such a ole fool.
[In reciting this sweetly beautiful little poem its noble truths should be uttered with emphatic, but not noisy elocution. There is sufficient variety in the different stanzas for the speaker to display much taste and feeling.]
OD might have bade the earth bring forth
Enough for great and small,
The oak-tree and the cedar-tree,
Without a flower at all.
We might have had enough, enough
For every want of ours,
For luxury, medicine and toil,
And yet have had no flowers.
The one within the mountain mine
Requireth none to grow;
Nor does it need the lotus-flower
To make the river flow.
The clouds might give abundant rain;
The nightly dews might fall,
And the herb that keepeth life in man
Might yet have drunk them all.
Then wherefore, wherefore were they made,
All dyed with rainbow-light,
All fashioned with supremest grace
Upspringing day and night:—
Springing in valleys green and low,
And on the mountains high,
And in the silent wilderness
Where no man passes by?
Our outward life requires them not—
Then wherefore had they birth?—
To minister delight to man,
To beautify the earth;
To comfort man—to whisper hope,
Whene'er his faith is dim,
For who so careth for the flowers
Will much more care for him!
G OOD morning, Doctor; how do you do? I haint quite so well as I have been; but I think I'm some better than I was. I don't think that last medicine you gin me did me much good. I had a terrible time with the ear-ache last night; my wife got up and drapt a few draps of Walnut sap into it, and that relieved it some; but I didn't get a wink of sleep till nearly daylight. For nearly a week, Doctor, I've had the worst kind of a narvous head-ache; it has been so bad sometimes that I thought my head would bust open. Oh, dear! I sometimes think that I'm the most afflictedest human that ever lived.
Since this cold weather sot in, that troublesome cough, that I have had every winter for the last fifteen year, has began to pester me agin.
(Coughs.) Doctor, do you think you can give me anything that will relieve this desprit pain I have in my side?
Then I have a crick, at times, in the back of my neck so that I can't turn my head without turning the hull of my body. (Coughs.)
Oh, dear! What shall I do! I have consulted almost every doctor in the country, but they don't any of them seem to understand my case. I have tried everything that I could think of; but I can't find anything that does me the leastest good. (Coughs.)
Oh this cough—it will be the death of me yet! You know I had my right hip put out last fall at the rising of Deacon Jones' saw mill; its getting to be very troublesome just before we have a change of weather. Then I've got the sciatica in my right knee, and sometimes I'm so crippled up that I can hardly crawl round in any fashion.
What do you think that old white mare of ours did while I was out plowing last week? Why, the weacked old critter, she kept a backing and backing, on till she back'd me right up agin the colter, and knock'd a piece of skin off my shin nearly so big. (Coughs.)
But I had a worse misfortune than that the other day, Doctor. You see it was washing-day—and my wife wanted me to go out and bring in a little stove-wood—you know we lost our help lately, and my wife has to wash and tend to everything about the house herself.
I knew it wouldn't be safe for me to go out—as it was a raining at the time—but I thought I'd risk it any how. So I went out, pick'd up a few chunks of stove-wood, and was a coming up the steps into the house, when my feet slipp'd from under me, and I fell down as sudden as if I'd been shot. Some of the wood lit upon my face, broke down the bridge of my nose, cut my upper lip, and knock'd out three of my front teeth. I suffered dreadfully on account of it, as you may suppose, and my face ain't well enough yet to make me fit to be seen, specially by the women folks. (Coughs.) Oh, dear! but that ain't all, Doctor, I've got fifteen corns on my toes—and I'm afeard I'm a going to have the "yallar janders." (Coughs.)
[This sweetly mournful refrain, should be delivered with sad earnestness; as though the speaker was describing the fate of his own family.]
HEY grew in beauty side by side,
They filled our home with glee;
Their graves are severed, far and wide,
By mount, and stream, and sea.
The same fond mother bent at night
O'er each fair sleeping brow;
She had each folded flower in sight,
Where are those dreamers now?
One, 'midst the forests of the West,
By a dark stream is laid,—
The Indian knows his place of rest,
Far in the cedar shade.
The sea, the blue lone sea, hath one,
He lies where pearls lie deep;
He was the loved of all, but none
O'er his low bed may weep.
One sleeps where southern vines are drest
Above the noble slain:
He wrapt his colours round his breast,
On a blood-red field of Spain.
And one—o'er her the myrtle showers
Its leaves, by soft winds fanned;
She faded 'midst Italian flowers,—
The last of that bright band.
And parted thus they rest, who played
Beneath the same green tree;
Whose voices mingled as they prayed
Around one parent knee!
They that with smiles lit up the hall,
And cheered with song the hearth,—
Alas! for love, if thou wert all,
And nought beyond, oh, earth!
P LEDGE with wine—pledge with wine!" cried the young and thoughtless Harry Wood. "Pledge with wine," ran through the brilliant crowd.
The beautiful bride grew pale—the decisive hour had come, she pressed her white hands together, and the leaves of her bridal wreath trembled on her pure brow; her breath came quicker, her heart beat wilder.
"Yes, Marion, lay aside your scruples for this once," said the Judge, in a low tone, going towards his daughter; "the company expect it, do not so seriously infringe upon the rules of etiquette;—in your own house act as you please; but in mine, for this once please me."
Every eye was turned towards the bridal pair. Marion's principles were well known. Henry had been a convivialist, but of late his friends noticed the change in his manners, the difference in his habits—and to-night they watched him to see, as they sneeringly said, if he was tied down to a woman's opinion so soon.
Pouring a brimming beaker, they held it with tempting smiles toward Marion. She was very pale, though more composed, and her hand shook not, as smiling back, she gratefully accepted the crystal tempter and raised it to her lips. But scarcely had she done so when every hand was arrested by her piercing exclamation of "Oh, how terrible!" "What is it?" cried one and all, thronging together, for she had slowly carried the glass at arm's length, and was fixedly regarding it as though it were some hideous object.
"Wait," she answered, while an inspired light shone from her dark eyes, "wait and I will tell you. I see," she added, slowly pointing one jewelled finger at the sparkling ruby liquid, "A sight that beggars all description; and yet listen; I will paint it for you if I can: It is a lonely spot; tall mountains, crowned with verdure, rise in awful sublimity around; a river runs through, and bright flowers grow to the waters' edge. There is a thick, warm mist that the sun seeks vainly to pierce; trees, lofty and beautiful, wave to the airy motion of the birds; but there, a group of Indians gather; they flit to and fro with something like sorrow upon their dark brow; and in their midst lies a manly form, but his cheek, how deathly; his eye wild with the fitful fire of fever. One friend stands beside him, nay, I should say kneels, for he is pillowing that poor head upon his breast.
"Genius in ruins. Oh! the high, holy looking brow! Why should death mark it, and he so young? Look how he throws the damp curls! see him clasp his hands! hear his thrilling shrieks for life! mark how he clutches at the form of his companion, imploring to be saved. Oh! hear him call piteously his father's name; see him twine his fingers, together as he shrieks for his sister—his only sister—the twin of his soul—weeping for him in his distant native land.
"See!" she exclaimed, while the bridal party shrank back, the untasted wine trembling in their faltering grasp, and the Judge fell, overpowered, upon his seat; "see! his arms are lifted to heaven; he prays, how wildly, for mercy! hot fever rushes through his veins. The friend beside him is weeping; awe-stricken, the men move silently, and leave the living and dying together."
There was a hush in that princely parlor, broken only by what seemed a smothered sob, from some manly bosom. The bride stood yet upright, with quivering lip, and tears stealing to the outward edge of her lashes. Her beautiful arm had lost its tension, and the glass, with its little troubled red waves, came slowly towards the range of her vision. She spoke again; every lip was mute. Her voice was low, faint, yet awfully distinct: she still fixed her sorrowful glance upon the wine-cup.
"It is evening now; the great white moon is coming up, and her beams lay gently on his forehead. He moves not; his eyes are set in their sockets; dim are their piercing glances; in vain his friend whispers the name of father and sister—death is there. Death! and no soft hand, no gentle voice to bless and soothe him. His head sinks back! one convulsive shudder! he is dead!"
A groan ran through the assembly, so vivid was her description, so unearthly her look, so inspired her manner, that what she described seemed actually to have taken place then and there. They noticed also, that the bridegroom hid his face in his hands and was weeping.
"Dead!" she repeated again, her lips quivering faster and faster, and her voice more and more broken; "and there they scoop him a grave; and there without a shroud, they lay him down in the damp reeking earth. The only son of a proud father, the only idolized brother of a fond sister. And he sleeps to-day in that distant country, with no stone to mark the spot. There he lies—my father's son—my own twin brother! a victim to this deadly poison. Father," she exclaimed, turning suddenly, while the tears rained down her beautiful cheeks, "father, shall I drink it now?"
The form of the old Judge was convulsed with agony. He raised his head, but in a smothered voice he faltered—"No, no, my child, in God's name, no."
She lifted the glittering goblet, and letting it suddenly fall to the floor it was dashed into a thousand pieces. Many a tearful eye watched her movements, and instantaneously every wine-glass was transferred to the marble table on which it had been prepared. Then, as she looked at the fragments of crystal, she turned to the company, saying:—"Let no friend, hereafter, who loves me, tempt me to peril my soul for wine. Not firmer the everlasting hills than my resolve, God helping me, never to touch or taste that terrible poison. And he to whom I have given my hand; who watched over my brother's dying form in that last solemn hour, and buried the dear wanderer there by the river in that land of gold, will, I trust, sustain me in that resolve. Will you not, my husband?"
His glistening eyes, his sad, sweet smile was her answer.
The Judge left the room, and when an hour later he returned, and with a more subdued manner took part in the entertainment of the bridal guests, no one could fail to read that he, too, had determined to dash the enemy at once and forever from his princely rooms.
Those who were present at that wedding, can never forget the impression so solemnly made. Many from that hour forswore the social glass.