* * * * *
* * * * *
* * * * *
The elevation is shown in fig. 1, the ground-plan in fig. 2.
Accommodation.—The plan shows a porch, a; a lobby, b; living room, c; kitchen, d; back-kitchen, e; pantry, f; dairy, g; bed-closet, h; store-closet, i; fuel, k; cow-house, l; pig-stye, m; yard, n; dust-hole, q.
The Scotch are great admirers of this style, as belonging to one of their favorite public buildings, which is said to have been designed by the celebrated Inigo Jones. The style is that of the times of Queen Elizabeth, and King James VI. of Scotland and I. of England.
* * * * *
PHILADELPHIA, JANUARY, 1851.
* * * *
THE CONSTANT; OR, THE ANNIVERSARY PRESENT.
BY ALICE B. NEAL.
It has an excellent influence on one's moral health to meet now and then in society, or, better still, in the close communion of home life, such a woman as Catherine Grant. She influences every one that comes within the pure atmosphere of her friendship, and as unconsciously to them as to herself. She never moralizes, or commands reform. There is no parade of her individual principle in any way, but she always acts rightly; and, if her opinion is called forth, it is given promptly and quietly, but very firmly.
Yet, though even strangers say this of her now, there was a time when few suspected the moral strength of her character. Not that principle was wanting; but it had never been called forth. She moved in her own circle with very little remark or comment. She was cheerful, and even sprightly in her manner, and her large blue eyes, as well as her lips, always spoke the truth. I do not know that she was ever called beautiful; but there was an air of ladyhood about her, from the folding of her soft brown hair to the gloving of a somewhat large but exquisitely-shaped hand, that marked her at once as possessing both taste and refinement.
I remember that friends spoke of her engagement with Willis Grant as a "good match," and rather wondered that she did not seem more elated with the prospect of being the mistress of such a pleasant little establishment as would be hers, for she was one of a large family of daughters, and her father's income as a professional man did not equal that of Willis, who was at the head of one of our largest mercantile houses. But it was in her nature to take things calmly, though she was young, and all the kindness of his attentions, and the prospect of a new home, as much as any happy bride could have done. It was a delightful home—not so extravagantly furnished as Willis would have chosen it to be, but tasteful, and withal including many of those luxuries and elegancies which we of the nineteenth century are rapidly, too rapidly, learning to need. Willis declared that no one could be happier than they were; and, strange as it may seem, the envious world for once prophesied no cloud in the future.
But we have nothing to do with that first eventful year of married life—the year of attrition in mind and character, when two natures, differing in many points, and these sharpened as it were by education, are suddenly brought into immediate contact. There were some ideals overthrown, no doubt—it is often so; and some good qualities discovered, which were unsuspected before. The second anniversary of the wedding-day was also the birth-day of a darling child, and the home was more homelike than ever.
Yet Willis Grant was seldom there. It was not that he loved his wife the less—that her beauty had faded, or her temper changed. She was the same as ever—gentle, affectionate, and thoughtful for his wishes; and he appreciated all this. But before he had known her, in those wild idle days of early manhood, when the spirit craves continual excitement, and has not yet learned that it is the love of woman's purer nature which it needs, Willis had chosen his associates in a circle which it was very difficult to break from, now that their society was no longer essential to him. He was close in his attention to business; his great, success had arisen from industry as well as talent; but when the counting-house was closed, there was no family circle to welcome him, and the doors of the club-house were invitingly open.
True, it was one of the most respectable clubs of the city, mostly composed of young business men like himself, who discussed the tariffs and their effects upon trade over their recherche dinners, and chatted of European politics over their wine. And this reminds us of one thing that argues much, if not more than anything else, against the club-house system, that is so rapidly gaining favor in our cities. It accustoms the young man just entering life to a surrounding of luxury that he cannot himself consistently support when he begins to think of having a home of his own. He passes his evenings in a beautiful saloon, where the light is brilliant, yet tempered; where crimson curtains and a blazing fire speak at once of comfort and affluence of means. There are no discomforts, such as any one meets with more or less, inevitably, in private families—nothing to jar upon the spirit of self-indulgence and indolence which is thus fostered. The dinners, in cooking and service, are unexceptionable; and there are always plenty of associates as idle and thoughtless, and as good-natured, as himself, to make a jest of domestic life and domestic virtues. And, by-and-by, there is a stronger stimulus wanted, and the jest becomes more wanton over the roulette table or the keenly contested rubber; and the wine circulates more freely as the fire of youth goes out and leaves the ashes of mental and moral desolation. Ah no! the club-house is no conservator of the purity of social life, and this Catherine Grant soon felt, as night after night her husband left her to the society of her own thoughts, or her favorite books, to meet old friends in its familiar saloons, and show them that he at least was none the less "a good fellow" for being a married man!
It was all very well, no doubt, to be able to break away from the pleasant parlor, and the interesting woman who was the presiding genius of his household, and spend his evenings in the society of gay gallants who talked of horses and Tedesco's figure, or the gray-headed votaries of the whist table, who played the game as if the presidency depended upon "following lead," and each trump was a diamond of inestimable worth, to be cherished and reserved, and parted with only at the last extremity. Sometimes a thought of comparison would arise, as he sat with elevated feet beside the anthracite fire, and gazed steadfastly on his patent leathers. Sometimes the idle jests and the heartless laughter would jar upon his ear; and the cigar was suffered to die out as, in thoughts of wife and child, he forgot to put it to his lips. But the injustice of his conduct, in thus depriving them of his society, did not once cross his mind, until he was involuntarily made the witness of a visit between Catherine and a lady who had been her intimate friend before marriage.
He had returned hurriedly one morning in search of some papers left in his own room, dignified by the name of study, though it must be confessed that he passed but little time there. It communicated with Catherine's apartment, which was just then occupied by the two ladies in confidential chat.
"And so you won't go to Mrs Sawyer's to-night?" said Miss Lyons, who had thrown herself at full length upon a couch, and was idly teazing the baby with the tassel of her muff. "How provoking you are! You might as well be dead as married! It's well for your husband that I'm not in your place. Why, every one's talking about it, my child, how you are cooped up here, and Willis at the club-house night after night. Morgan told me he was always there, and asked me what kind of a wife he had—whether you quarreled or flirted, that he was away from you so much."
Had the heedless speaker glanced up from her play with little Gertrude, she would have seen her friend's face suffused with a slight flush, for the last was a view of the case entirely new to her. But she said, quietly as ever—
"'Everybody' might be in better business, Nell; and why is it well for Willis that you are not in my place?"
"Why? Because I'd pay him in his own coin; he should not have the game all in his own hands. If he went to the club, I'd flirt, that's all, and we'd see who would hold out the longer."
"Bad principle, Nelly. 'Two wrongs,' as the old proverb says, 'never make a right;' and yet I am sorry I said that, for so long as it gives Willis pleasure, and he is not drawn from his business by it, it is no wrong, though there is danger to any man in confirmed habits of 'good-fellowship,' as it is called. No one could see that more plainly than I do, or dread it more. Of course, when we love a person it is natural to wish to be with him as much as possible; and I must confess I am a little lonely now and then. But your plan would never succeed, nor would it be wise to annoy my husband with complaints. Nothing provokes a man like an expostulation."
"And what do you do, then?"
"Nothing at all but try to make his home as pleasant as possible, and when he is weary of his gay companions he will return to me with more interest."
"Well, well," broke in her visitor; "Morgan can make up his mind to a very different state of things. I shall stipulate, first of all, that he must give up that abominable club-house."
"And do you intend to lay your flirting propensities on the same altar of mutual happiness?"
Willis did not hear the reply, for he stole softly away, annoyed, as he thought, at having been a listener to what was not intended for his ears. But there was a little sting of self-reproach at his selfish desertion of home, and, more than all, that Catherine should have been blamed for offences that any one who had known her would never have attributed to her.
"Ah, by the way, Kate," he said that evening, turning suddenly, as she stood arranging her work-table beneath the gas light, "how about that invitation to Mrs. Sawyer's? It was for to-night, if I recollect?"
"I sent regrets, of course, as you expressed no wish to go; and, to tell the truth, I would much rather pass the evening quietly here with you. How long it is since we have had one of those nice old-fashioned chats! Not since baby has been my companion."
This was said in a cheerful tone, as a reminiscence, not as a reproach; and yet Willis felt the morning's uncomfortable sensations return, though he tried to dispel them by stooping to kiss her forehead. Nevertheless, he ordered his coat, as the servant came in to remove the tea things, and took up his gloves from the table. The very consciousness of being in the wrong prevented an acknowledgment, even by an act so simple as giving up one evening's engagement.
"And here she comes!" he said, as the nurse drew the cradle from an adjoining room, so lightly that the little creature did not move or stir in her sweet sleep. And when his wife threw back the light covering, and said, "Isn't she beautiful, Willis?" as only a young mother could say it, it must be confessed that he thought himself a very fortunate man to have two such treasures, and he could not help saying so.
"I love to have the little thing where I can watch her myself; so, when there is no one in, nurse spares her to me, and we sit here as cosily as possible. I could watch her for hours. Sometimes she does not move, and then she will smile so sweetly in her sleep—and only look at those dear little dimpled hands, Willis!"
And yet Willis took the coat when it came, though with a guilty feeling at heart. The greater the self-reproach, the more the pride that arose to combat it; and he drew on his gloves resolutely.
"Don't sit up for me," he said, as he had said a hundred times before; and in a moment the hall door shut with a clang, as he passed into the street. Catherine echoed the sound with a half sigh. The morning's conversation rose to her recollection, and she had hoped, she scarce knew why, that Willis would remain with her that evening. But she checked the regretful reverie, and took up the pretty little sock she was knitting for Gertrude, and soon became engrossed in counting and all the after mysteries of this truly feminine employment.
Willis was ill at ease. He met young Morgan on the steps, and returned his bow very coldly. His usual companions were absent, and, after haunting the saloon restlessly for an hour, he strolled down to his counting-house. He knew that the foreign correspondence had just arrived, and, as he expected, his confidential clerk was still at the desk. And here he found, much to his dismay, that the presence of one of the firm was immediately necessary in Paris, and that, as the partner who usually attended to this branch of the business was ill, the journey would devolve on him. He was detained until a late hour, and as he turned his steps homeward the scene that he had left there rose vividly to his mind. He hurried up the steps, hoping to find Catherine still there, but the room was empty, and the fire, glowing redly through the bars of the grate, was the only thing to welcome him. He stood a long time, leaning his elbow on the marble of the mantel, and thought over many things that had happened within the last few years—the many happy social evenings he had passed at that very hearth; the unvarying love and constancy of his wife; of his late neglect, for he could call it by no gentler name; and then came the thought that he must leave all this domestic peace, which he had valued so little—and who knew what might chance before he should return? He kissed his sleeping wife and child with unwonted tenderness, as he entered their apartment, and thought that they had never been so dear to him before.
It would be their first protracted separation, and Catherine was sad enough when its necessity was announced to her. But all preparations were hastened; and, at the close of the week, they were standing together in the dining-room, the last trunk locked, and the carriage waiting at the door that was to convey Willis to the steamer.
"And mind you do not get ill in my absence, Kate," he said, as he smoothed back her beautiful hair, and looked down fondly in her face. "If you are very good, as they tell children, I will send you the most charming present you can conceive of, or that Paris can offer, for the anniversary of our wedding-day. Too bad that we shall be separated, for the first time; but three months will soon pass away."
And Catherine smiled through the tears that were trembling in her eyes, at the half sad, half playful words; and a wifelike glance of trustfulness told how very dear he was.
There is nothing very romantic nowadays in a voyage to Europe. It has become a commonplace, everyday journey. You step to the deck of the steamer with less fear and trembling of friends than was once bestowed on a passage down the Hudson, and before you are fairly recovered from the first shock of sea-sickness, you have reached the destined port. But, for all that, longing eyes watch the rapid motion of the vessel as it lessens in the distance, and many a prayer is wafted to its white sails by the sighing night-wind. There are lonely hours to remind one that the broad and silent sea is rolling between us and those we love, and we know that it is sometimes treacherous in its tranquillity.
It is then we bless the quiet messengers that come from afar to tell us of their well-being—when, the seal, with its loving device, is pressed to trembling lips, and the well-known hand recalls the form of the absent one so vividly. So, at last, the long-looked-for letters came with tidings of the safe arrival of Mr. Grant at his destination, and the hope that his return would be more speedy than had been anticipated. A month passed slowly away, and little Gertrude had been her mother's best comforter in absence. Every day some new intelligence lighted her bright eyes, and Catherine could trace another token of resemblance to the absent one. But, suddenly, the child grew ill, and the pain of separation was augmented as day by day the mother watched over her alone.
It was her first experience of the illness of childhood, and it required all her strength and all her calmness to be patient, while sitting hour after hour with the moaning infant cradled in her arms, unable to understand or relieve its sufferings, and tortured by the dull look of apathy which alone answered to her fond or despairing exclamations. She had forgotten that the birthday of the infant was so near—that first birthday—and the anniversary which they had twice welcomed so joyfully. At last the crisis came; the long night closed in drearily, and the physician told her that, ere morning, there would be hope or despair. Those who have thus watched can alone understand the agony of that midnight vigil; how every breath was counted, and every flush marked with wild anxiety. And Catherine sat there, forgetting that food or rest was necessary to her, conscious only of the suffering of her child, and picturing darkly to herself the loneliness of the future, should it be taken from her. How could she survive the interval that would elapse before her husband's return? and how dreary would be the meeting which she had hitherto anticipated with so much pleasure!
She was not to be so sorely tried. The hard feverish pulse gave place to a gentler beating; the fever flush passed away; and the regular heaving of a quiet sleep gave token at length that all danger to the child was over.
Then, for the first time, Catherine was persuaded to seek rest for herself, and all her anxiety was forgotten in a deep and trance-like slumber.
When she awoke there were letters and packages lying beside her bed, directed by her husband; and after she had once more assured herself that it was no dream the child was really safe, she opened them eagerly. The letter announced that the business was happily adjusted, and that his return might be looked for by the next steamer. Meantime, he said, he had sent some things to amuse her, and more particularly the choice gift for the anniversary of their marriage. It was the morning of that very day! She had not thought of it before. She stooped to place a birthday kiss upon the fair but wasted little face beside her, and then tore open the envelops. There were many beautiful things, "such as ladies love to look upon," and at the last she came to a small package marked, "For our wedding day." It contained a little jewel case; but there was nothing on the snowy satin cushion but a pair of daintily wrought clasps for the robe of the little child, marked, "with a father's love;" and then, as she was replacing them, a sealed envelop caught her eye. There was an inclosure directed to a name she was not familiar with, and a few lines penciled for herself:—
"DEAR KATE: I have searched all over Paris, and could not find anything that I thought would please you better than the inclosed, which is my resignation of club membership. Will you please send it to the president, and accept the true and earnest love of YOUR ABSENT HUSBAND."
Then he had not been unmindful of her silent regret; he still loved his home, and the dangerous hour of his temptation was passed! Had she not great reason for the gush of love and thankfulness that filled her heart and renewed her strength that happy morning—her child saved, and her husband, as it were, restored to her? Ere he came, the little one was fast regaining her bright playfulness, and became a stronger tie between Willis Grant and his happy home. I do not know that you and I, dear reader, would have learned the secret of his renewed devotion to his wife, had he not told Nelly Lyons himself that "Kate's way was the best, and she had better try it with Morgan, if ever he showed an undue fondness for the club after their marriage." Of course, the volatile girl could not help telling the story, and when two know a thing, as we are all aware, it is a secret no longer.
* * * * *
BY JAMES CARRUTHERS.
"It is a marvel," remarked the youth Silas to his companion, "that, after so many years of unremitting application, favored by the combination of extraordinary advantages, I should yet have accomplished nothing. Scholarly toil, indeed, is not without its meet reward. But in much wisdom is much grief, when it serves not to advance the well-being of its possessor."
"I have remarked, as thou hast," returned the companion of Silas, "how sorely thou hast been distanced in thy life's pursuit by those who came after with far less ability and fewer advantages; and, if thou wilt believe me, have read the marvel. Last noon, while in attendance on the Syrian race, I observed that the untamed, high-mettled steed, that, in his daring strength and almost limitless swiftness, scorned his rider's curb, though traveling a space far more extended than the appointed course, and, surmounting every hill, left the race to be won by the well-governed courser that obeyed the rein, and, in the track marked out for his progress, reached the goal."
* * * * *
ERAS OF LIFE.
BY MRS. A.F. LAW
"We receive this child into the congregation of Christ's flock, and do sign her with the sign of the cross—in token that hereafter she shall not be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ crucified, and manfully fight under his banner against sin, the world, and the devil; and to continue Christ's faithful soldier and servant, unto her life's end."—BAPTISMAL SERVICE OF P.E.C.
In the house of prayer we enter, through its aisles our course we wend, And before the sacred altar on our knees we humbly bend; Craving, for a young immortal, God's beneficence and grace, That, through Christ's unfailing succor, she may win the victor race. Water from baptismal fountain rests on a "young soldier," sworn By the cross' holy signet to defend the "Virgin-born." May she never faint or falter in the raging war of sin, And, encased in Faith's tried armor, a triumphant conquest win! To the Triune One our darling trustingly we now commend, And for full and free salvation, from our hearts pure thanks ascend.
* * * *
"Hail! sacred feast, which Jesus makes— Rich banquet of his flesh and blood: Thrice happy he who here partakes That sacred stream, that heavenly food."
With a bearing meekly grateful, slow approach the sacred feast, And, with penitential gladness, take, by faith, this Eucharist. Hark! how sweetly, o'er it stealing, come the sounds of pardoning love! Winning back to paths of virtue all who now in error rove. Here is food for all who languish, and for those who, fainting, thirst— Free, from Christ, the Living Fountain, crystal waters ceaseless burst! Come, ye sad and weary-hearted, bending 'neath a weight of woe— Here the Comforter is waiting his rich blessings to bestow! None need linger—all are bidden to this "Supper of the Lamb:" Come, and by this outward token, worship God, the great "I AM!"
* * * *
"One sacred oath hath tied Our loves; one destiny our life shall guide; Nor wild nor deep our common way divide!"
Choral voices float around us, music on the night air swells; Hill and dell resound with echoes of the gleeful wedding bells! Ushered thus, we haste to enter on a scene of radiant joy— List'ning vows in ardor plighted, which alone can death destroy. Passing fair the bride appeareth, in her robes of snowy white, While the veil around her streameth, like a silvery halo's light; And amid her hair's rich braidings rests the pearly orange bough, With its fragrant blossoms pressing on her pure, unclouded brow. Love's devotion yields the future with young Hope's resplendent beam; And her spirit thrills with rapture, yielding to its blissful dream!
* * * *
"Death, thou art infinite!" "All that live must die, Passing through nature to Eternity."
Now we chant a miserere which proclaims the end of man— Telling, in prophetic language, "Life," at best, "is but a span!" Scarcely treading, slowly enter, reverently bend the knee— List the Spirit's inward whisper, and from worldly thoughts be free. Here we view a weary pilgrim, cradled in a dreamless sleep; Human sounds no more shall reach her, for its spell is "long and deep!" Gaze upon the marble features! Mark how peacefully they rest! Anguished thought, and sorrow's heavings, all are parted from that breast! Soon on mother earth reposing, this cold form shall calmly lie, Till, by God's dread trump awakened, it shall mount to realms on high.
* * * * *
FOUR SONNETS TO THE FOUR SEASONS.
BY MARY SPENSER PEASE.
From mountain top, and from the deep-voiced valley, The snow-white mists are slowly upward wreathing: Now floating wide, now hovering close, to dally With sportive winds, around them lightly breathing, Till, in the quickening Spring-shine through them creeping, Their gloomy power dissolves in warmth and gladness; While swift, new tides through Nature's heart-pulse sweeping. Floods all her veins with a delicious madness. Warmed into life, a world of bright shapes thronging— Young, tender leaf-buds in fresh greenness swelling, Flower, bird, and insect, with prophetic longing, Pour forth their joy in tremulous hymns upwelling: Thus, Love's Spring sun dispels all chill and sorrow With joyful promise of Love's fullest morrow.
* * * *
Sweet incense from the heart of myriad flowers, Sweet as the breath that parts the lips of love, Floats softly upward through the sunny hours, Hiving its fragrance in the warmth above: Big with rich store, the teeming earth yields up The increase of her harvest treasury; While golden wine, from Nature's brimming cup, Quickens her pulse to love-toned melody. Full choired praise from countless glad throats break, More dazzling bright doth gleam night's dewy eyes; A newer witchery doth the great moon wake; More mellow languisheth the bending skies: Thus, through the heart Life's Summer-sun comes stealing, Spring's wildest promise in Love's fulness sealing.
* * * *
Athwart the ripe, red sunshine fitfully, Like withering doubts through Love's warm, flushing breast, With wailing voice of saddest augury, Sweeps from the frozen North a phantom guest. With icy finger on each yellow leaf Writes he the history of the dying year. Love's harvest reaped, the grainless stalk and sheaf— Like plundered hearts, unkerneled of sweet cheer— Lie black and bare, exposed to rudest tread: While still, with semblance of the Summer brave, Soft, pitying airs float o'er its cold death-bed; Bright flowers and motley leaves flaunt o'er its grave: As in Earth's Autumn—so, through weeping showers, Love sighs a mournful requiem over bygone hours.
* * * *
Locked in a close embrace, like that of Death, Earth's pulseless heart reposes, mute and chill; Within her frozen breast, her frozen breath, In its forgotten fragrance, slumbereth still: Sapless her veins, and numb her withered arms, That still, outstretched, stand grim mementos drear Of her once gorgeous and full-leaved charms. Of flower and fruit, all increase of the year: Voiceless the river, in ice fretwork chained; Hushed the sweet cadences of bird and bee; Dumb the last echo to soft music trained, And warmth and life are a past memory: Thus, buried deep within dull Winter's rime, Love dreamless sleeps through the long Winter-time.
* * * * *
LIFE IN THE WOODS.—A SONG.
BY GEO. P. MORRIS.
A merry life does the hunter lead! He wakes with the dawn of day; He whistles his dog—he mounts his steed, And sends to the woods away! The lightsome tramp of the deer he'll mark, As they troop in herds along; And his rifle startles the cheerful lark, As she carols his morning song.
The hunter's life is the life for me! That is the life for a man! Let others sing of a home on the sea, But match me the woods if you can. Then give me a gun—I've an eye to mark The deer, as they bound along! My steed, dog, and gun, and the cheerful lark, To carol my morning song.
* * * * *
WHAT IS LIFE?
BY MARY M. CHASE.
One sunshiny afternoon, a little girl sat in a wood playing with moss and stones. She was a pretty child; but there was a wishful, earnest look in her eye, at times, that made people say, "She is a good little girl; but she won't live long." But she did not think of that to-day, for a fine western wind was shaking the branches merrily above her head, and a family of young rabbits that lived near by kept peeping out to watch her motions. She threw bread to the rabbits from the pockets of her apron, and laughed to see them eat. She laughed, also, to hear the wild, boisterous wind shouting among the leaves, and then she sang parts of a song that she had imperfectly learned—
"Hurrah for the oak! for the brave old oak, That hath ruled in the greenwood long!"
and the louder the wind roared, the louder she sang. Presently, a light-winged seed swept by her; she reached out her pretty hand and caught it. It was an ugly brown seed; but she said, as she looked at it—
"Mother says, if I plant a seed, may be it will grow to be a tree. So I will see."
Then she scraped away a little of the mellow earth, and put the seed safely down, and covered it again. She made a little paling around the spot With dry sticks and twigs, and then a thoughtful mood came over her.
That brown seed is dead now, thought she; but it will lie there in the dark a great while, and then green leaves will come up, and a stem will grow; and some day it will be a great tree. Then it will live. But, if it is dead now, how can it ever live? What a strange thing life is! What makes life? It can't be the sunshine; for that has fallen on these stones ever so many years, and they are dead yet: and it can't be the rain; for these broken sticks are wet very often, and they don't grow. What is life?
The child grew very solemn at her own thoughts, and a feeling as if some one were near troubled her. She thought the wind must be alive; for it moved, and very swiftly, too, and it had a great many voices. If she only could know now what they said, perhaps they would tell what life was. And then she looked up at the aged oaks, as they reared their arms to the sky, and she longed to ask them the question, but dared not. A small spring leaped down from a a rock above her, and fled past with ceaseless murmurs, and she felt sure that it lived, too, for it moved and had a voice. And a strong feeling stirred the young soul, a sudden desire to know all things, to hold communion with all things.
Now the day was gone, and the child turned homewards; but she seemed to hear in sleep that night the whispered question, "What is life?" She was yet to know.
The seed had been blown away from a pine tree, and it took root downward and shot green spears upward, until, when a few summers had passed, it had grown so famously that a sparrow built her nest there, among the foliage, and never had her roof been so water-proof before. There, one day, came a tall, fair girl, with quick step and beaming eyes, and sat down at its root. One hand caressed lovingly the young pine, and one clasped a folded paper. How she had grown since she put that brown seed into the earth! She opened the paper and read; a bright color came to her cheeks, and her hand trembled—
"He loves me!" said she. "I cannot doubt it."
Then she read aloud—
"When you are mine, I shall carry you away from those old woods where you spend so much precious time dreaming vaguely of the future. I will teach you what life is. That its golden hours should not be wasted in idle visions, but made glorious by the exhaustless wealth of love. True life consists in loving and being loved."
She closed the letter and gazed around her. Was this the teaching she had received from those firm old oaks who had so long stood before the storms? She had learned to know some of their voices, and now they seemed to speak louder than ever, and their word was—"Endurance!"
The never-silent wind, that paused not, nor went back in its course, had taught her a lesson, also, in its onward flight, its ceaseless exertion to reach some far distant goal. And the lesson was—"Hope."
The ever-flowing spring, whose heart was never dried up either in summer or winter, had murmured to her of—"Faith."
She laid her head at the foot of the beloved pine and said, in her heart, "I will come back again when ten years are passed, and will here consider whose teachings were right."
It was a cold November day. A rude north wind raved among the leafless oaks that defied its power with their rugged, unclad arms. The heavy masses of clouds were mirrored darkly in the spring, and the pine, grown to lofty stature, rocked swiftly to and fro as the fierce wind struck it. Down the hill, over the stones, and through the tempest, there came a slight and bending form. It was the happy child who had planted the pine seed.
She threw herself on the dry leaves by the water's edge, and leaned wearily against the strong young evergreen. How sadly her eyes roved among the trees, and then tears commenced to fall quickly from them. She was very pale and mournful, and drew her rich mantle closely around her to shield her from the wind. It had been as her lover had said. She had gone out into the world, had tasted what men call pleasure, had put aside the simple lessons she had learned in her childhood, to follow his bidding, to live in the light of his love. Ten years had dissolved the dream. The young husband was in his grave; the child she had called after him was no more. Weary and heart-broken, she had hurried back to the home she had left, and the haunts she had cherished.
She embraced the young pine, tenderly, and exclaimed—
"Oh, that thy lot was mine! Thou wilt stand here, in a green youth, a century after I am laid low. No fears perplex thee, no sorrows eat away thy strength. Willingly would I become like thee."
At last she grew calm; and the old question which she had never found answered to her satisfaction—"What is life?"—sprang up into her mind. All the deeds of past days moved before her, and she felt that hers had not been a life worthy of an immortal soul. She heard again the voices of the trees, the wind, and the stream, and a measure of peace seemed granted to her. "Endurance—Hope—Faith," she murmured. She rose to go.
"Farewell, beloved pine," she said. "God knows whether I shall see thee again; but such is my desire. With his help, I will begin a new existence. Farewell, monitors who have comforted me. I go to learn 'what is life.'"
In a distant city, there dwelt, to extreme old age, a pious woman, a Lydia in her holiness, a Dorcas in her benevolence. Years seemed to have no power over her cheerful spirit, though her bodily strength grew less. Great riches had fallen to her lot; but in her dwelling luxury found no home. A hospital—a charity school—an orphan asylum—all attested her true appreciation of the value of riches. In her house, many a young girl found a home, whose head had else rested on a pillow of infamy. The reclaimed drunkard dispensed her daily bounty to the needy. The penitent thief was her treasurer. Prisons knew the sound of her footstep. Alms-houses blessed her coming. She had been a faithful steward of the Lord's gifts.
Eighty-and-eight years had dropped upon her head as lightly as withered leaves; but now the Father was ready to release his servant and child. Her numerous household was gathered around her bed to behold her last hour. On the borders of eternity, a gentle sleep fell upon her. She seemed to stand in a lofty wood, beside a towering pine. A spring bubbled near, and soft breezes swept the verdant boughs. She looked upon the tree, glorious in its strength, and smiled to think she could ever have desired to change her crown of immortality for its senseless existence. Then the old question—"What is life?"—resounded again in her ears, and she opened her eyes from sleep and spoke, in a clear voice, these last words—
"He that believeth in the Son hath everlasting life. This is the true life for which we endure the trials of the present. For this we labor and do good works. A man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things he possesseth; for to be spiritually-minded is life. I have finished my course; my toil will be recompensed an hundredfold; and I go to Him whose loving kindness is better than life."
* * * * *
A POETICAL VERSION.
OF A PORTION OF THE SECOND CHAPTER OF JOEL.
BY LADD SPENCER.
In Zion blow the trumpet, Let it sound through every land; And let the wicked tremble, For the Lord is nigh at hand. Alas! a day of darkness— A day of clouds and gloom— Approaches fast, when all shall be As silent as the tomb!
As the morn upon the mountains, There comes a mighty train, The like of which hath never been. And ne'er shall be again. A burning fire before them, And behind a raging flame— Alas, that beauty so should be Enwrapt in sin and shame!
The earth doth quake before them, The sun withdraws its light; The heavens and earth are shrouded In darkest, deepest night. Then weep, ye evil doers, Let tears of anguish flow; Your evil deeds have brought you A load of endless woe!
* * * * *
BY T.S. ARTHUR.
A lady, past the prime of life, sat, thoughtful, as twilight fell duskily around her, in a room furnished with great elegance. That her thoughts were far from being pleasant, the sober, even sad expression of her countenance too clearly testified. She was dressed in deep mourning. A faint sigh parted her lips as she looked up, on hearing the door of the apartment in which she was sitting open. The person who entered, a tall and beautiful girl, also in mourning, came and sat down by her side, and leaned her head, with a pensive, troubled air, down upon her shoulder.
"We must decide upon something, Edith, and that with as little delay as possible," said the elder of the two ladies, soon after the younger one entered. This was said in a tone of great despondency.
"Upon what shall we decide, mother?" and the young lady raised her head from its reclining position, and looked earnestly into the eyes of her parent.
"We must decide to do something by which the family can be sustained. Your father's death has left us, unfortunately and unexpectedly, as you already know, with scarcely a thousand dollars beyond the furniture of this house, instead of an independence which we supposed him to possess. His death was sad and afflictive enough—more than it seemed I could bear. But to have this added!"
The voice of the speaker sank into a low moan, and was lost in a stifled sob.
"But what can we do, mother?" asked Edith, in an earnest tone, after pausing long enough for her mother to regain the control of her feelings.
"I have thought of but one thing that is at all respectable," replied the mother.
"What is that?"
"Why, mother!" ejaculated Edith, evincing great surprise, "how can you think of such a thing?"
"Because driven to do so by the force of circumstances."
"Taking boarders! Keeping a boarding-house! Surely we have not come to this!"
An expression of distress blended with the look of astonishment in Edith's face.
"There is nothing disgraceful in keeping a boarding-house," returned the mother. "A great many very respectable ladies have been compelled to resort to it as a means of supporting their families."
"But, to think of it, mother! To think of your keeping a boarding-house! I cannot bear it."
"Is there anything else that can be done, Edith?"
"Don't ask me such a question."
"If, then, you cannot think for me, you must try and think with me, my child. Something will have to be done to create an income. In less than twelve months, every dollar I have will be expended; and then what are we to do? Now, Edith, is the time for us to look at the matter earnestly, and to determine the course we will take. There is no use to look away from it. A good house in a central situation, large enough for the purpose, can no doubt be obtained; and I think there will be no difficulty about our getting boarders enough to fill it. The income, or profit, from these will enable us still to live comfortably, and keep Edward and Ellen at school."
"It is hard," was the only remark Edith made to this.
"It is hard, my daughter; very hard! I have thought and thought about it until my whole mind has been thrown into confusion. But it will not do to think forever. There must be action. Can I see want stealing in upon my children, and sit and fold my hands supinely? No! And to you, Edith, my oldest child, I look for aid and for counsel. Stand up, bravely, by my side."
"And you are in earnest in all this?" said Edith, whose mind seemed hardly able to realize the truth of their position. From her earliest days, all the blessings that money could procure had been freely scattered around her feet. As she grew up, and advanced towards womanhood, she had moved in the most fashionable circles, and there acquired the habit of estimating people according to their wealth and social standing, rather than by qualities of mind. In her view, it appeared degrading in a woman to enter upon any kind of employment for money; and with the keeper of a boarding-house, particularly, she had always associated something low, vulgar, and ungenteel. At the thought of her mother's engaging in such an occupation, when the suggestion was made, her mind instantly revolted. It appeared to her as if disgrace would be the inevitable consequence.
"And you are in earnest in all this?" was an expression, mingling her clear conviction of the truth of what at first appeared so strange a proposition, and her astonishment that the necessities of their situation were such as to drive them to so humiliating a resource.
"Deeply in earnest," was the mother's reply. "We are left alone in the world. He who cared for us, and provided for us so liberally, has been taken away, and we have nowhere to look for aid but to the resources that are in ourselves. These, well applied, will give us, I feel strongly assured, all that we need. The thing to decide is, what we ought to do. If we choose aright, all will, doubtless, come out right. To choose aright is, therefore, of the first importance; and to do this, we must not suffer distorting suggestions nor the appeals of a false pride to influence our minds in the least. You are my oldest child, Edith; and, as such, I cannot but look upon you as, to some extent, jointly, with me, the guardian of your younger brothers and sisters. True, Miriam is of age, and Henry nearly so; but still you are the eldest—your mind is most matured, and in your judgment I have the most confidence. Try and forget, Edith, all but the fact that, unless we make an exertion, one home for all cannot be retained. Are you willing that we should be scattered like leaves in the autumn wind? No! you would consider that one of the greatest calamities that could befall us—an evil to prevent which we should use every effort in our power. Do you not see this clearly?"
"I do, mother," was replied by Edith in a more rational tone of voice than that in which she had yet spoken.
"To open a store of any kind would involve five times the exposure of a boarding-house; and, moreover, I know nothing of business."
"Keeping a store? Oh, no! we couldn't do that. Think of the dreadful exposure!"
"But in taking boarders we only increase our family, and all goes on as usual. To my mind, it is the most genteel thing that we can do. Our style of living will be the same. Our waiter and all our servants will be retained. In fact, to the eye there will be little change, and the world need never know how greatly reduced our circumstances have become."
This mode of argument tended to reconcile Edith to taking boarders. Something, she saw, had to be done. Opening a store was felt to be out of the question; and as to commencing a school, the thought was repulsed at the very first suggestion.
A few friends were consulted on the subject, and all agreed that the best thing for the widow to do was to take boarders. Each one could point to some lady who had commenced the business with far less ability to make boarders comfortable, and who had yet got along very well. It was conceded on all hands that it was a very genteel business, and that some of the first ladies had been compelled to resort to it, without being any the less respected. Almost every one to whom the matter was referred spoke in favor of the thing, and but a single individual suggested difficulty; but what he said was not permitted to have much weight. This individual was a brother of the widow, who had always been looked upon as rather eccentric. He was a bachelor, and without fortune, merely enjoying a moderate income as book-keeper in the office of an insurance company.
But more of him hereafter.
* * * *
Mrs. Darlington, the widow we have just introduced to the reader, had five children. Edith, the oldest daughter, was twenty-two years of age at the time of her father's death; and Henry, the oldest son, just twenty. Next to Henry was Miriam, eighteen years old. The ages of the two youngest children, Ellen and Edward, were ten and eight.
Mr. Darlington, while living, was a lawyer of distinguished ability, and his talents and reputation at the Philadelphia bar enabled him to accumulate a handsome fortune. Upon this he had lived for some years in a style of great elegance. About a year before his death, he had been induced to enter into some speculation that promised great results. But he found, when too late to retreat, that he had been greatly deceived. Heavy losses soon followed. In a struggle to recover himself, he became still further involved; and, ere the expiration of a twelve-month, saw everything falling from under him. The trouble brought on by this was the real cause of his death, which was sudden, and resulted from inflammation and congestion of the brain.
Henry Darlington, the oldest son, was a young man of promising talents. He remained at college until a few months before his father's death, when he returned home, and commenced the study of law, in which he felt ambitious to distinguish himself.
Edith, the oldest daughter, possessed a fine mind, which had been well educated. She had some false views of life, natural to her position; but, apart from this, was a girl of sound sense and great force of character. Thus far in life, she had not encountered circumstances of a nature calculated to develop what was in her. The time for that, however, was approaching. Miriam, her sifter, was a quiet, gentle, retiring, almost timid girl. She went into company with reluctance, and then always shrunk as far from observation as it was possible to get. But, like most quiet, retiring persons, there were deep places in her mind and heart. She thought and felt more than was supposed. All who knew Miriam, loved her. Of the younger children we need not here speak.
Mrs. Darlington knew comparatively nothing of the world beyond her own social circle. She was, perhaps, as little calculated for doing what she proposed to do as a woman could well be. She had no habits of economy, and had never, in her life, been called upon to make calculations of expense in household matters. There was a tendency to generosity rather than selfishness in her character; and she rarely thought evil of any one. But all that she was need not here be set forth, for it will appear as our narrative progresses.
Mr. Hiram Ellis, the brother of Mrs. Darlington, to whom brief allusion has been made, was not a great favorite in the family—although Mr. Darlington understood his good qualities, and very highly respected him—because he had not much that was prepossessing in his external appearance, and was thought to be a little eccentric. Moreover, he was not rich—merely holding the place of book-keeper in an insurance office, at a moderate salary. But, as he had never married, and had only himself to support, his income supplied amply all his wants, and left him a small annual surplus.
After the death of Mr. Darlington, he visited his sister much more frequently than before. Of the exact condition of her affairs, he was much better acquainted than she supposed. The anxiety which she felt, some months after her husband's death, when the result of the settlement of his estate became known, led her to be rather more communicative. After determining to open a boarding-house, she said to him, on the occasion of his visiting her one evening—
"As it is necessary for me to do something, Hiram, I have concluded to move to a better location, and take a few boarders."
"Don't do any such thing, Margaret," her brother made answer. "Taking boarders! It's the last thing of which a woman should think."
"Why do you say that, Hiram?" asked Mrs. Darlington, evincing no little surprise at this unexpected reply.
"Because I think that a woman who has a living to make can hardly try a more doubtful experiment. Not one in ten ever succeeds in doing anything."
"But why, Hiram? Why? I'm sure a great many ladies get a living in that way."
"What you will never do, Margaret, mark my words for it. It takes a woman of shrewdness, caution, and knowledge of the world, and one thoroughly versed in household economy, to get along in this pursuit. Even if you possessed all these prerequisites to success, you have just the family that ought not to come in contact with anybody and everybody that find their way into boarding-houses."
"I must do something, Hiram," said Mrs. Darlington, evincing impatience at the opposition of her brother.
"I perfectly agree with you in that, Margaret," replied Mr. Ellis. "The only doubt is as to your choice of occupation. You think that your best plan will be to take boarders; while I think you could not fail upon a worse expedient."
"Why do you think so?"
"Have I not just said?"
"Why, that, in the first place, it takes a woman of great shrewdness, caution, and knowledge of the world, and one thoroughly versed in household economy, to succeed in the business."
"I'm not a fool, Hiram!" exclaimed Mrs. Darlington, losing her self-command.
"Perhaps you may alter your opinion on that head some time within the next twelve months," coolly returned Mr. Ellis, rising and beginning to button up his coat.
"Such language to me, at this time, is cruel!" said Mrs. Darlington, putting her handkerchief to her eyes.
"No," calmly replied her brother, "not cruel, but kind. I wish to save you from trouble."
"What else can I do?" asked the widow, removing the handkerchief from her face.
"Many things, I was going to say," returned Mr. Ellis. "But, in truth, the choice of employment is not very great. Still, something with a fairer promise than taking boarders may be found."
"If you can point me to some better way, brother," said Mrs. Darlington, "I shall feel greatly indebted to you."
"Almost anything is better. Suppose you and Edith were to open a school. Both of you are well—"
"Open a school!" exclaimed Mrs. Darlington, interrupting her brother, and exhibiting most profound astonishment. "I open a school! I didn't think you would take advantage of my grief and misfortune to offer me an insult."
Mr. Ellis buttoned the top button of his coat nervously, as his sister said this, and, partly turning himself towards the door, said—
"Teaching school is a far more useful, and, if you will, more respectable employment, than keeping a boarding-house. This you ought to see at a glance. As a teacher, you would be a minister of truth to the mind, and have it in your power to bend from evil and lead to good the young immortals committed to your care; while, as a boarding-house keeper, you would merely furnish food for the natural body—a use below what you are capable of rendering to society."
But Mrs. Darlington was in no state of mind to feel the force of such an argument. From the thought of a school she shrunk as from something degrading, and turned from it with displeasure.
"Don't mention such a thing to me," said she fretfully, "I will not listen to the proposition."
"Oh, well, Margaret, as you please," replied her brother, now moving towards the door. "When you ask my advice, I will give it according to my best judgment, and with a sincere desire for your good. If, however, it conflicts with your views, reject it; but, in simple justice to me, do so in a better spirit than you manifest on the present occasion. Good evening!"
Mrs. Darlington was too much disturbed in mind to make a reply, and Mr. Hiram Ellis left the room without any attempt on the part of his sister to detain him. On both sides, there had been the indulgence of rather more impatience and intolerance than was commendable.
* * * *
In due time, Mrs. Darlington removed to a house in Arch Street, the annual rent of which was six hundred dollars, and there began her experiment. The expense of a removal, and the cost of the additional chamber furniture required, exhausted about two hundred dollars of the widow's slender stock of money, and caused her to feel a little troubled when she noted the diminution.
She began her new business with two boarders, a gentleman and his wife by the name of Grimes, who had entered her house on the recommendation of a friend. They were to pay her the sum of eight dollars a week. A young man named Barling, clerk in a wholesale Market Street house, came next; and he introduced, soon after, a friend of his, a clerk in the same store, named Mason. They were room-mates, and paid three dollars and a half each. Three or four weeks elapsed before any further additions were made; then an advertisement brought several applications. One was from a gentleman who wanted two rooms for himself and wife, a nurse and four children. He wanted the second story front and back chambers, furnished, and was not willing to pay over sixteen dollars, although his oldest child was twelve and his youngest four years of age—seven good eaters and two of the best rooms in the house for sixteen dollars!
Mrs. Darlington demurred. The man said—
"Very well, ma'am," in a tone of indifference. "I can find plenty of accommodations quite as good as yours for the price I offer. It's all I pay now."
Poor Mrs. Darlington sighed. She had but fifteen dollars yet in the house—that is, boarders who paid this amount weekly—and the rent alone amounted to twelve dollars. Sixteen dollars, she argued with herself, as she sat with her eyes upon the floor, would make a great difference in her income; would, in fact, meet all the expenses of the house. Two good rooms would still remain, and all that she received for these would be so much clear profit. Such was the hurried conclusion of Mrs. Darlington's mind.
"I suppose I will have to take you," said she, lifting her eyes to the man's hard features. "But those rooms ought to bring me twenty-four dollars."
"Sixteen is the utmost I will pay," replied the man. "In fact, I did think of offering only fourteen dollars. But the rooms are fine, and I like them. Sixteen is a liberal price. Your terms are considerably above the ordinary range."
The widow sighed again.
If the man heard this sound, it did not touch a single chord of feeling.
"Then it is understood that I am to have your rooms at sixteen dollars?" said he.
"Yes, sir. I will take you for that."
"Very well. My name is Scragg. We will be ready to come in on Monday next. You can have all prepared for us?"
Scarcely had Mr. Scragg departed, when a gentleman called to know if Mrs. Darlington had a vacant front room in the second story.
"I had this morning; but it is taken," replied the widow.
"Ah! I'm sorry for that."
"Will not a third story front room suit you?"
"No. My wife is not in very good health, and wishes a second story room. We pay twelve dollars a week, and would even give more, if necessary, to obtain just the accommodations we like. The situation of your house pleases me. I'm sorry that I happen to be too late."
"Will you look at the room?" said Mrs. Darlington, into whose mind came the desire to break the bad bargain she had just made.
"If you please," returned the man.
And both went up to the large and beautifully furnished chambers.
"Just the thing!" said the man, as he looked around, much pleased with the appearance of everything. "But I understood you to say that it was taken."
"Why, yes," replied Mrs. Darlington, "I did partly engage it this morning; but, no doubt, I can arrange with the family to take the two rooms above, which will suit them just as well."
"If you can"—
"There'll be no difficulty, I presume. You'll pay twelve dollars a week?"
"Only yourself and lady?"
"Very well, sir; you can have the room."
"It's a bargain, then. My name is Ring. Our week is up to-day where we are; and, if it is agreeable, we will become your guests to-morrow."
"Perfectly agreeable, Mr. Ring."
The gentleman bowed politely and retired.
Now Mrs. Darlington did not feel very comfortable when she reflected on what she had done. The rooms in the second story were positively engaged to Mr. Scragg, and now one of them was as positively engaged to Mr. Ring. The face of Mr. Scragg she remembered very well. It was a hard, sinister face, just such a one as we rarely forget because of the disagreeable impression it makes. As it came up distinctly before the eyes of her mind, she was oppressed with a sense of coming trouble. Nor did she feel altogether satisfied with what she had done—satisfied in her own conscience.
On the next morning, Mr. and Mrs. Ring came and took possession of the room previously engaged to Mr. Scragg. They were pleasant people, and made a good first impression.
As day after day glided past, Mrs. Darlington felt more and more uneasy about Mr. Scragg, with whom, she had a decided presentiment, there would be trouble. Had she known where to find him, she would have sent him a note, saying that she had changed her mind about the rooms, and could not let him have them. But she was ignorant of his address; and the only thing left for her was to wait until he came on Monday, and then get over the difficulty in the best way possible. She and Edith had talked over the matter frequently, and had come to the determination to offer Mr. Scragg the two chambers in the third story for fourteen dollars.
On Monday morning, Mrs. Darlington was nervous. This was the day on which Mr. Scragg and family were to arrive, and she felt that there would be trouble.
Mr. Ring, and the other gentlemen boarders, left soon after breakfast. About ten o'clock, the door-bell rang. Mrs. Darlington was in her room at the time changing her dress. Thinking that this might be the announcement of Mr. Scragg's arrival, she hurried through her dressing in order to get down to the parlor as quickly as possible to meet him and the difficulty that was to be encountered; but before she was in a condition to be seen, she heard a man's voice on the stairs saying—
"Walk up, my dear. The rooms on the second floor are ours."
Then came the noise of many feet in the passage, and the din of children's voices. Mr. Scragg and his family had arrived.
Mrs. Ring was sitting with the morning paper in her hand, when her door was flung widely open, and a strange man stepped boldly in, saying, as he did so, to the lady who followed him—
"This is one of the chambers."
Mrs. Ring arose, bowed, and looked at the intruders with surprise and embarrassment. Just then, four rude children bounded into the room, spreading themselves around it, and making themselves perfectly at home.
"There is some mistake, I presume," said Mrs. Scragg, on perceiving a lady in the room, whose manner said plainly enough that they were out of their place.
"Oh no! no mistake at all," replied Scragg. "These are the two rooms I engaged."
Just then Mrs. Darlington entered, in manifest excitement.
"Walk down into the parlor, if you please," said she.
"These are our rooms," said Scragg, showing no inclination to vacate the premises.
"Be kind enough to walk down into the parlor," repeated Mrs. Darlington, whose sense of propriety was outraged by the man's conduct, and who felt a corresponding degree of indignation.
With some show of reluctance, this invitation was acceded to, and Mr. Scragg went muttering down stairs, followed by his brood. The moment he left the chamber, the door was shut and locked by Mrs. Ring, who was a good deal frightened by so unexpected an intrusion.
"What am I to understand by this, madam?" said Mr. Scragg, fiercely, as soon as they had all reached the parlor, planting his hands upon his hips as he spoke, drawing himself up, and looking at Mrs. Darlington with a lowering countenance.
"Take a seat, madam," said Mrs. Darlington, addressing the man's wife in a tone of forced composure. She was struggling for self-possession.
The lady sat down.
"Will you be good enough to explain the meaning of all this, madam?" repeated Mr. Scragg.
"The meaning is simply," replied Mrs. Darlington, "that I have let the front room in the second story to a gentleman and his wife for twelve dollars a-week."
"The deuce you have!" said Mr. Scragg, with a particular exhibition of gentlemanly indignation. "And pray, madam, didn't you let both the rooms in the second story to me for sixteen dollars?"
"I did; but"—
"Oh, very well. That's all I wish to know about it. The rooms were rented to me, and from that day became mine. Please to inform the lady and her husband that I am here with my family, and desire them to vacate the chambers as quickly as possible. I'm a man that knows his rights, and, knowing, always maintains them."
"You cannot have the rooms, sir. That is out of the question," said Mrs. Darlington, looking both distressed and indignant.
"And I tell you that I will have them!" replied Scragg, angrily.
"Peter! Peter! Don't act so," now interposed Mrs. Scragg. "There's no use in it."
"Ain't there, indeed! We'll see. Madam"—he addressed Mrs. Darlington—"will you be kind enough to inform the lady and gentleman who now occupy one of our rooms"—
"Mr. Scragg!" said Mrs. Darlington, in whose fainting heart his outrageous conduct had awakened something of the right spirit—"Mr. Scragg, I wish you to understand, once for all, that the front room is taken and now occupied, and that you cannot have it."
"It's no use for you to waste words, sir! What I say I mean. I have other rooms in the house very nearly as good, and am willing to take you for something less in consideration of this disappointment. If that will meet your views, well; if not, let us have no more words on the subject."
There was a certain something in Mrs. Darlington's tone of voice that Scragg understood to mean a fixed purpose. Moreover, his mind caught at the idea of getting boarded for something less than sixteen dollars a-week.
"Where are the rooms?" he asked, gruffly.
"The third story chambers."
"I don't want to go to the third story."
"Very well. Then you can have the back chamber down stairs, and the front chamber above."
"What will be your charge?"
"That will do, Peter," said Mrs. Scragg. "Two dollars a week is considerable abatement."
"It's something, of course. But I don't like this off and on kind of business. When I make an agreement, I'm up to the mark, and expect the same from everybody else. Will you let my wife see the rooms, madam?"
"Certainly," replied Mrs. Darlington, and moved towards the door. Mrs. Scragg followed, and so did all the juvenile Scraggs—the latter springing up the stairs with the agility of apes and the noise of a dozen rude schoolboys just freed from the terror of rod and ferule.
The rooms suited Mrs. Scragg very well—at least such was her report to her husband—and, after some further rudeness on the part of Mr. Scragg, and an effort to beat Mrs. Darlington down to twelve dollars a-week, were taken, and forthwith occupied.
* * * *
Mrs. Darlington was a woman of refinement herself, and had been used to the society of refined persons. She was, naturally enough, shocked at the coarseness and brutality of Mr. Scragg, and, ere an hour went by, in despair at the unmannerly rudeness of the children, the oldest a stout, vulgar-looking boy, who went racing and rummaging about the house from the garret to the cellar. For a long time after her exciting interview with Mr. Scragg, she sat weeping and trembling in her own room, with Edith by her side, who sought earnestly to comfort and encourage her.
"Oh, Edith!" she sobbed, "to think that we should be humbled to this!"
"Necessity has forced us into our present unhappy position, mother," replied Edith. "Let us meet its difficulties with as brave hearts as possible."
"I shall never be able to treat that dreadful man with even common civility," said Mrs. Darlington.
"We have accepted him as our guest, mother, and it will be our duty to make all as pleasant and comfortable as possible. We will have to bear much, I see—much beyond what I had anticipated."
Mrs. Darlington sighed deeply as she replied—
"Yes, yes, Edith. Ah, the thought makes me miserable!"
"No more of that sweet drawing together in our own dear home circle," remarked Edith, sadly. "Henceforth we are to bear the constant presence and intrusion of strangers, with whom we have few or no sentiments in common. We open our house and take in the ignorant, the selfish, the vulgar, and feed them for a certain price! Does not the thought bring a feeling of painful humiliation? What can pay for all this? Ah me! The anticipation had in it not a glimpse of what we have found in our brief experience. Except Mr. and Mrs. Ring, there isn't a lady nor gentleman in the house. That Mason is so rudely familiar that I cannot bear to come near him. He's making himself quite intimate with Henry already, and I don't like to see it."
"Nor do I," replied Mrs. Darlington. "Henry's been out with him twice to the theatre already."
"I'm afraid of his influence over Henry. He's not the kind of a companion he ought to choose," said Edith. "And then Mr. Barling is with Miriam in the parlor almost every evening. He asks her to sing, and she says she doesn't like to refuse."
The mother sighed deeply. While they were conversing, a servant came to their room to say that Mr. Ring was in the parlor, and wished to speak with Mrs. Darlington. It was late in the afternoon of the day on which the Scraggs had made their appearance.
With a presentiment of trouble, Mrs. Darlington went down to the parlor.
"Madam," said Mr. Ring, as soon as she entered, speaking in a firm voice, "I find that my wife has been grossly insulted by a fellow whose family you have taken into your house. Now they must leave here, or we will, and that forthwith."
"I regret extremely," replied Mrs. Darlington, "the unpleasant occurrence to which you allude; but I do not see how it is possible for me to turn these people out of the house."
"Very well, ma'am. Suit yourself about that. You can choose between us. Both can't remain."
"If I were to tell this Mr. Scragg to seek another boarding-house, he would insult me," said Mrs. Darlington.
"Strange that you would take such a fellow into your house!"
"My rooms were vacant, and I had to fill them."
"Better to have let them remain vacant. But this is neither here nor there. If this fellow remains, we go."
And go they did on the next day. Mrs. Darlington was afraid to approach Mr. Scragg on the subject. Had she done so, she would have received nothing but abuse.
Two weeks afterwards, the room vacated by Mr. and Mrs. Ring was taken by a tall, fine-looking man, who wore a pair of handsome whiskers and dressed elegantly. He gave his name as Burton, and agreed to pay eight dollars. Mrs. Darlington liked him very much. There was a certain style about him that evidenced good breeding and a knowledge of the world. What his business was he did not say. He was usually in the house as late as ten o'clock in the morning, and rarely came in before twelve at night.
Soon after Mr. Burton became a member of Mrs. Darlington's household, he began to show particular attentions to Miriam, who was in her nineteenth year, and was, as we have said, a gentle, timid, shrinking girl. Though she did not encourage, she would not reject the attentions of the polite and elegant stranger, who had so much that was agreeable to say that she insensibly acquired a kind of prepossession in his favor.
As now constituted, the family of Mrs. Darlington was not so pleasant and harmonious as could have been desired. Mr. Scragg had already succeeded in making himself so disagreeable to the other boarders that they were scarcely civil to him; and Mrs. Grimes, who was quite gracious with Mrs. Scragg at first, no longer spoke to her. They had fallen out about some trifle, quarreled, and then cut each other's acquaintance. When the breakfast, dinner, or tea bell rang, and the boarders assembled at the table, there was generally, at first, an embarrassing silence. Scragg looked like a bull-dog waiting for an occasion to bark; Mrs. Scragg sat with her lips closely compressed and her head partly turned away, so as to keep her eyes out of the line of vision with Mrs. Grimes's face; while Mrs. Grimes gave an occasional glance of contempt towards the lady with whom she had had a "tiff." Barling and Mason, observing all this, and enjoying it, were generally the first to break the reigning silence; and this was usually done by addressing some remark to Scragg, for no other reason, it seemed, than to hear his growling reply. Usually, they succeeded in drawing him into an argument, when they would goad him until he became angry; a species of irritation in which they never suffered themselves to indulge. As for Mr. Grimes, he was a man of few words. When spoken to, he would reply; but he never made conversation. The only man who really behaved like a gentleman was Mr. Burton; and the contrast seen in him naturally prepossessed the family in his favor.
The first three months' experience in taking boarders was enough to make the heart of Mrs. Darlington sick. All domestic comfort was gone. From early morning until late at night, she toiled harder than any servant in the house; and, with all, had a mind pressed down with care and anxiety. Three times during this period she had been obliged to change her cook, yet, for all, scarcely a day passed that she did not set badly-cooked food before her guests. Sometimes certain of the boarders complained, and it generally happened that rudeness accompanied the complaint. The sense of pain that attended this was always most acute, for it was accompanied by deep humiliation and a feeling of helplessness. Moreover, during these first three months, Mr. and Mrs. Grimes had left the house without paying their board for five weeks, thus throwing her into a loss of forty dollars.
At the beginning of this experiment, after completing the furniture of her house, Mrs. Darlington had about three hundred dollars. When the quarter's bill for rent was paid, she had only a hundred and fifty dollars left. Thus, instead of making anything by boarders, so far, she had sunk a hundred and fifty dollars. This fact disheartened her dreadfully. Then, the effect upon almost every member of her family had been bad. Harry was no longer the thoughtful, affectionate, innocent-minded young man of former days. Mason and Barling had introduced him into gay company, and, fascinated with a new and more exciting kind of life, he was fast forming associations and acquiring habits of a dangerous character. It was rare that he spent an evening at home; and, instead of being of any assistance to his mother, was constantly making demands on her for money. The pain all this occasioned Mrs. Darlington was of the most distressing character. Since the children of Mr. and Mrs. Scragg came into the house, Edward and Ellen, who had heretofore been under the constant care and instruction of their mother, left almost entirely to themselves, associated constantly with these children, and learned from them to be rude, vulgar, and, in some things, even vicious. And Miriam had become apparently so much interested in Mr. Burton, who was constantly attentive to her, that both Mrs. Darlington and Edith became anxious on her account. Burton was an entire stranger to them all, and there were many things about him that appeared strange, if not wrong.
So much for the experiment of taking boarders, after the lapse of a single quarter of a year.
(To be continued.)
* * * * *
DEATH OF A YOUNG LADY OF SIXTEEN.
BY MRS. L.G. ABELL.
Oh, I cannot, cannot think of her without a starting tear; So late, in youthful loveliness, I felt her presence near: Her healthful form of fairest mould, I seem to see her still, And to hear her sweet and gentle voice, as the voice of summer rill.
Her eye of blue, like azure sky of clear pure light above, With soft silk fringes on the lids, shading the deepest love, Was a light that gleamed from out the heart, and its rainbow hues revealed— A ray from its own full happiness, too full to be concealed.
At twilight's calm and silent hour, on the hushed lake's quiet breast, I saw her gliding joyously, as glide the waves to rest— And music, too, was on the air, soft as Eolian strain; But I thought not then that Death was near, a victim soon to gain.
Oh, can it be that this is life!—a thing so frail as this! Like a lovely flower that only smiles to give one thought of bliss— That blooms in light and beauty a fleeting summer day, Then closes up its sweetness, and passes thus away?
How still she lies! her ringlets droop, of pale and soft brown hair— Parted upon her marble brow, they fall neglected there; Her cold hands folded on her breast, her round arms by her side— How sad all hearts that knew her well that she so soon has died!
How she is missed from out each spot where she so late has been; Her silent chamber thrills the heart with keenest throbs of pain; Her music, too, of voice and string seems ling'ring on the ear, Only to fill the heart with woe that its sound ye cannot hear.
How long life looked to her; its far and distant day Seemed like the rosy path she trod, and perfumed all the way; No tear but those for others' woe had ever dimmed her eye, For her youth was cloudless as the morn, and bright as noonday sky.
But ah! how soon the light is quenched that shone so sweetly here— And oh! if love to God was hers, it glows in a brighter sphere! That strange, mysterious spark of mind, shrined in the frailest clay, Now flames amid the seraph band in a "house" that will not decay.
This world we know is full of tombs, covered with fairest flowers; But yet how soon we all forget, and think them rosy bowers! We build our hopes of pleasure here, select a fairy spot; But Death soon proves to our pierced souls that he has not forgot!
Oh! wisely, wisely let us learn that this earth is not our home; 'Tis but the trial-place of life—a race that's swiftly run:— Our precious hours are links of gold in that mysterious chain, That fastens to our life above its pleasure or its pain.
Reclining on a Saviour's arm, we then walk safely here; He whispers holiest words to us, and wipes the falling tear: If Death appears, He takes away his cruel, poisonous sting— Then for a home of perfect bliss He plumes the spirit's wing.
* * * * *
THE JUDGE; A DRAMA OF AMERICAN LIFE.
BY MRS. SARAH J. KANE.
PERSONS OF THE DRAMA.
JUDGE BOLTON. HENRY BOLTON, son of the Judge. DR. MARGRAVE, REV. PAUL GODFREY, Classmates and friends of the Judge. PROF. OLNEY, Teacher of a Classical School. FREDERICK BELCOUR, son of Madame Belcour. CAPT. PAWLETT, friend of Fred. Belcour. LANDON, Counselor at Law. SHERIFF. CLERK OF THE COURT. CRIER OF THE COURT. OFFICERS OF THE COURT. TWELVE JURYMEN. DENNIS O'BLARNEY, servant of Dr. Margrave. MICHAEL MAGEE, servant of the Judge. CITIZENS, MESSENGERS OF THE COURT, WATCHMEN, &c. MADAME BELCOUR, a widow, cousin of the Judge, and presiding in his household. BELINDA, daughter of Madame Belcour. LUCY, daughter of the Judge. MRS. OLNEY, wife of Prof. Olney. ISABELLE, reputed daughter of Prof. Olney. RUTH, waiting-maid at Judge Bolton's.
SCENE—partly in the city; partly at Rose Hill, near the city.
TIME OF ACTION, twenty-four hours, commencing at 10 o'clock, A.M., and ending at the same hour on the following day.
SCENE I.—A Doctor's study. Books and instruments scattered around. Table in the centre, strewn with books and pamphlets. DR. MARGRAVE seated by the table, cutting the leaves of a pamphlet.
DR. MARGRAVE. Thus, ever on and on must be our course: Even as the ocean drinks a thousand streams, And never cries "enough!"—the human mind Would drain all sources of intelligence, Yet ne'er is filled, and never satisfied. And theory succeeds to theory As regular as tides that ebb and flow. This treatise will disprove the last I read. Shade of Hippocrates! what creeds are formed, What antics practiced with your "Healing Art!" I will not sport with fate, nor tamper thus With man's credulity and nature's strength. No: I will gently coincide with nature, And give her time and scope to work the cure— Strengthening the patient's heart with trust in God, And teaching him that genuine health depends On true obedience to the natural laws Ordained for man—not on the doctor's skill.
Enter DENNIS, with a card to the Doctor.
DENNIS. The gentleman awaits you in the hall.
DR. MARGRAVE (reading the card). "Reverend Paul Godfrey"—my old college chum! Is't possible! (To DENNIS.) Bring him up, instantly. [Exit DENNIS.
I have not seen him since our hands were clasped In Harvard Hall:—I wonder if he'll know me. (Enter REV. PAUL GODFREY.) Ah! welcome! welcome!—You are Godfrey still. The changes of—how many years have passed Since last we parted?
GODFREY. Thirty years;—and you—
MARGRAVE. Are altered, you would say. I know it well. My hair, that then was black as midnight cloud, Is now as white as moonbeams on the snow. The image that my mirror gives me back I scarce believe my own—so pale and worn. Would you have known me had we met by chance?
GODFREY. Ay, ay—among a million—if you spoke. There's the old touch of kindness in your voice; And then your eye from its dark thatch looks out Like beacon-light, soul-kindled, as of yore. Warm hearts will hold their own, tho' frosts of age May lay their blighting fingers on our hair.
MARGRAVE. Thank Heaven 'tis so!—But you are little changed, Save the maturing touch that manhood brings When health and strength have won the victory, And laid their trophies on the shrine of mind!
GODFREY. My lot has been amid the wild, fresh scenes Of Nature's wide domain; where all is free. Life seems t' inhale the vigorous breath required To struggle with the elements around, And thus keeps Time at bay. Like good old Boone, The patriarch hunter, in the forest wilds I've found that God supplied, and healed, and blessed. Men live too fast in cities.
MARGRAVE. Not if they Would give their energies a noble aim. The opportunities to compass good, And good effected—these are dates that give The sum of human life.
GODFREY. True; most true. It is in cities where men congregate, And good and evil strive for mastery, The sternest strength of soul must needs be tested. But all that stirs the passions makes us old. 'Twould wear me out—this round of ceaseless toil, In the same range of artificial life; And I must greet you with a traveler's haste, And back to my free forest home again.
MARGRAVE. 'Tis well that every part and scene in life Can find its actors ready for the stage, And well that our wide land has scope for all. And yet to feel that those who raised together Their hope-swelled canvass when life's voyage began— Like ships, storm-parted, on the world's rough sea— Can sail no more in sweet companionship! 'Tis a sad thought! Of all our college friends, But one, beside myself, is here to greet you.
GODFREY. Who is he?—There is one would glad my heart. When college scenes arise, yourself and Bolton—
MARGRAVE. 'Tis he I mean.
GODFREY. What, Bolton? Harry Bolton? I heard some fellow-travelers in the cars Talking of one Judge Bolton, as the man Who filled his orb of duty like the sun— Shining on all, and drawing all t' obey. Surely this cannot be our Harry Bolton— The frank, warm-hearted, but most wayward youth. Whose mind was like a comet—now all light. Anon, away where reason could not follow. He surely has not reached this grave estate Of Judge!
MARGRAVE. The same, the same—our Harry Bolton. And better still, a man whom all men honor.
GODFREY. I must see him. Let us go at once. I feel A joy like that of Joseph's when he found That his young brother Benjamin had come. Though now the order is reversed, for here The youngest claims the honors.
MARGRAVE. No, not so. Your order should be first in estimation, And always is, where men are trained for heaven And mine would be the second, were we wise, And followed Nature as you follow God. And Law is the third station on the mount, When men are placed as lights above life's path And Bolton is, in truth, a light and guide.
GODFREY. Where shall I find him?
MARGRAVE. In his place, to-day, The seat of Justice. We'll go—it is not far The cause is one of special interest: I'll give its history as we pass along. Wilt go?
GODFREY. Ay, surely, surely. I am ready now. It is the very place and time to see him. [Exeunt.
* * * *
SCENE II.—A street. Crowds of people hurrying on.
Enter PROFESSOR OLNEY and FREDERICK BELCOUR.
OLNEY. You say the sentence will be passed to-day?
BELCOUR. Most certainly; and crowds will press to hear it Judge Bolton has a world-wide reputation, And 'tis a cause to rouse his eloquence.
OLNEY. I wish I could be there.
BELCOUR. What should hinder? 'Twould but detain you for an hour or two.
OLNEY. My pupils stand between. Yet Isabelle Might hear the recitations; she does this Often, when I am ill. A dear, good child: She thinks her learning of no more account, Save as the means to help me in my tasks, Than though she only could her sampler sew Yet she reads Latin like a master, and In Greek bids fair to be a Lizzy Carter. If she but knew I was detained—
BELCOUR. A note Would tell her this. Write one, and I will send it. Here's paper, pencil— [Taking them from his pocket, OLNEY writes.
OLNEY. I shall trouble you.
BELCOUR. No trouble in the least. Now, hurry on. The court-room will be filled. I'll send the note— [Exit OLNEY.
Or bear it, rather. She shall see me, too Before she has the letter from my hand. A proud, ungrateful girl:—reject my love! [Turns to go out.
Enter CAPTAIN PAWLETT
PAWLETT How, Belcour—what's the matter? You go wrong. 'Tis to the court-house all the world is going.
BELCOUR (impetuously). Let the world go its way, and me go mine We've parted company, the world and I. When Fortune frowns, the wretch is left alone
PAWLETT. Ah! true—I've heard of some embarrassments—
BELCOUR. Embarrassments!—A puling, milliner phrase! One of those tender terms we coin to throw A sentimental interest round the bankrupt;— As though he may recover if he choose. Why, Pawlett, man, I'm ruined, if the plan I've formed to-day should fail. It shall not fail. I will succeed. And Isabelle once mine, With cash to bear us to a foreign land, I care not for the rest, though death and hell Should stand at the goal to seize me. [Exit violently.
PAWLETT (looking after him). The fool! He's in a furious mood—and let him rave— He'll never win his way with Isabelle. My chances there are better, but not good. Young Bolton's in my way. He loves her well; And she, I fear, loves him. But then his father Is proud as Lucifer, and selfish too. Ambition makes the generous nature selfish. He'll ne'er consent his only son should wed The portionless daughter of a pedagogue. No, no. I'll tot these bitter waters out. I'll give the judge an inkling of the matter. I'll write a note—he'll think it comes from Belcour. If I can drive young Bolton from the field, Then Isabelle is mine.—I'll do it.
(As PAWLETT is going out, Enter DR. MARGRAVE and REV. PAUL GODFREY.)
GODFREY. You say Judge Bolton lives in princely style. Is he a married man?
MARGRAVE. He has been married;— Most happily married, too. His wife was one Of those pure beings, gentle, wise, and firm. That mould our sex to highest hopes and aims. He loved her as the devotee his saint: And from the day he wed he trod life's path As one who came to conquer.
GODFREY. I see it now. The motive to excel was all he needed. He had a vigorous mind, a generous heart, An innate love of goodness and of truth. But he was wayward, and he hated tasks. Such men must have an aim beyond themselves, Or oft they prove but dreamers. And with such, Woman's companionship, dependence, love, Are like the air to fire:—the smouldering flame Of genius, once aroused, sweeps doubts away, And brightens hope, till victory is won.
MARGRAVE. 'Twas thus with Bolton. To his keeping given The weal of one so dear—then he bore on, Gathering from disappointments fruitful strength, As winter's snows prepare the earth for harvest. And when his angel wife was taken from him, She left him pledges of her love and trust, A son of noble promise, and a daughter To nestle, dove-like, in her father's heart, And keep her place for ever. She is blind!
GODFREY. I marvel not that Bolton has excelled, And won a station of the highest trust, If his warm heart enlisted in the work: But the small cares, the constant calculations Required to make, at least to keep, a fortune— I never should have looked to him for these.
MARGRAVE. 'Twas luck that favored him; or Providence, As you would say. A friend of his and ours. De Vere, the young West Indian in our class— You must remember him—he left to Bolton All his estate. A hundred thousand pounds 'Twas said he would inherit.
GODFREY. How happened this? De Vere returned to Cuba, there to marry?
MARGRAVE. He did, and had a family. But all His children died save one, and then his wife. And so he hither came to change the scene. Bolton, just widowed then, received his friend With more than brother's kindness, for their griefs Bound them, like ties of soul, in sympathy. De Vere was ill, and, with his motherless babe, He found in Bolton's home the rest he sought. And there he died, and left his little daughter To his friend's guardian care; and to his will A codicil annexed, unknown to Bolton, That gave him all if Isabelle should die Before she reached the age of twenty-one, And die unmarried.
GODFREY. She is dead, then?
MARGRAVE. She is. Her life was like the early rose, That bears th' frost in its heart. The bud is fair; The strength to bloom is wanting; so it dies But come, we shall be late.
GODFREY. What crowds are going! And Irishmen!—Are these so fond of Justice?
MARGRAVE. Ay; where they feel she holds an even scale, And is the friend alike of rich and poor, They yield a prompt obedience, and become Americans. Our motto is—"The law." [Exeunt.
* * * *
SCENE III.—The Court-room. A crowd of people. PRISONER in the dock. His Wife, an infant in her arms, and his Sister, both in deep mourning, near him. LANGDON, counsel for the prisoner; SHERIFF; CLERK of the Court; CRIER of the Court; CONSTABLES. Enter JUDGE BOLTON, followed by two other JUDGES. All take their places on the bench. Then enter DENNIS and MICHAEL.
DENNIS (staring at the JUDGE). I' faith, 'tis a purty thing to be a judge, And sit so high and cool above the crowd. And your good master well becomes his seat. He looks, for all the world, like Dan O'Connell.
MICHAEL. He looks like a better man, and that's himself. I wish he was judge of Ireland.
DENNIS. So do I; And my good masther was her doctor too. They'd set the ould country on her legs right soon. He's coming now. Pointing to DR. MARGRAVE, who is entering, followed by REV. PAUL GODFREY.
MICHAEL. Who's with your master? He looks as he had mettle in his arm.
DENNIS. He is my master's friend—a sort o' priest.
MICHAEL. And sure can battle with the fiend himself. He looks as strong as Samson.
DENNIS. Well for him Living away in the West, 'mong savages, And bears, and wolves, and—
CRIER OF THE COURT. Silence!
MARGRAVE (turning to GODFREY, who is gazing at JUDGE BOLTON). You seem surprised. Has he outlived the likeness Kept in your mind? Seems he another man?
GODFREY. He is another man. The soul has wrought Its work, as 'twere, with fire, and purified The dross of selfish passion from his aims. I read the victory on his open brow, And in the deep repose of his calm eye.
MARGRAVE. His was a noble nature from the first.
GODFREY. He had a searching mind, a strong, warm heart, And impulses of nobleness and truth. But Nature sets her favorite sons a task: We are not good by chance. Bolton had pride— An overweening pride in his own powers. This pride obeys the will; and when the brain Is mean and narrow, like a low-roofed dungeon, And only keeps one image there confined— The image of self—the heart soon yields its truth, And makes this self its idol, aim, and end. Such is the Haman pride that mars the man, And makes the wise contemn and hate him too— Hate and contemn the more, the more he prospers.
MARGRAVE. This is not Bolton's picture?
GODFREY. No. His pride, Now his strong lion will has curbed the jackals— Those appetites and vanities of self That mark the coxcomb rare wherever seen— Is all made up of generous sentiments, The father's, citizen's, and patriot's pride.
MARGRAVE. You read him like a book.
GODFREY. An art we learn Of reading men when we have few books to read.
CRIER OF THE COURT. Silence!
Enter two OFFICERS OF THE COURT, attending the twelve JURYMEN, who take their seats. A crowd follows. PROFESSOR OLNEY trying to press through the crowd: young HENRY BOLTON makes room for him.
YOUNG BOLTON. Stand here, Professor Olney—take this place; Here you will not be crowded. Ah! your cough Is troublesome to-day. Pray, take this seat; You'll see as well, and be much more at ease.
PROFESSOR OLNEY (taking the seat). Thank you! thank you! This is kind, indeed. I am not well to-day, but could not lose This chance of listening to your father's voice. His eloquence is classic in its style; Not brilliant with explosive coruscations Of heterogeneous thoughts at random caught, And scattered like a shower of shooting stars That end in darkness—no; Judge Bolton's mind Is clear, and full, and stately, and serene. His earnest and undazzled eye he keeps Fixed on the sun of Truth, and breathes his speech As easy as an eagle cleaves the air, And never pauses till the height is won. And all who listen follow where he leads.
YOUNG BOLTON. I hope you will be gratified. Are all— All well at home?
PROFESSOR OLNEY (smiling). I should not else be out. And Isabelle will hear the recitations.
YOUNG BOLTON (aside). I'll go, and see, and help her. Not to conquer As Caesar boasted—she has conquered me. I'll go and yield myself her captive. [Exit YOUNG BOLTON.
CRIER OF THE COURT. Silence!
CLERK OF THE COURT. Gentlemen of the jury, are you ready To give the verdict now?
FOREMAN. We are ready.
CLERK OF THE COURT. Prisoner, stand up and look upon the jury. Jury, if and up and look upon the prisoner. The man you now behold has had his trial Before you for a crime. What is the verdict? Is he, the prisoner, guilty or not guilty?
FOREMAN (reading the verdict). Guilty of murder in the second degree.
[A deep silence, broken only by the sobs of prisoner's wife and sister. Prisoner sinks down on his seat. CLERK OF THE COURT records the sentence.
CLERK OF THE COURT. Gentlemen of the jury, listen to The verdict as recorded by the court The prisoner at the bar is therein found For crime committed—and that has been proven— Guilty of murder in the second degree. So say you, Mister Foreman? So say all?
FOREMAN AND JURY. All (bowing).
JUDGE BOLTON. A righteous verdict this, and yet a sad one A fellow-being banished from our midst, To pass his days in utter loneliness Prisoner you've heard the verdict. Have you aught To say why sentence should not now be passed? Speak; you may have the opportunity.
LANGDON counsel for the prisoner, confers with him then addresses the JUDGE.
LANGDON He cannot speak; his heart o'erpowers his tongue; The tide of grief seeps all his strength away, As rising waters drown the sinking boat. And he entreats that I would say for him, The court permitting me, a few last words.
JUDGE BOLTON Go on. You are permitted.
LANGDON. May it please The court, the jury, and all these good people, The prisoner prays that I would beg for him, As on his soul's behalf, your prayers and pardon: That is, while he in penitence will yield To the just punishment the law awards, You'll think of him as one misled—not cruel. The murderous deed his hand did was not done With heart consent—he knew it not. The fiend That rum evokes had entered him, and changed His nature. So he prays you will never brand His innocent boy with this his father's guilt; Nor on his broken-hearted wife look cold, As though his leprous sin defiled these poor And helpless sufferers. Then he prays that all Would lend their aid to root intemperance out, And crush the horrid haunts of sin and ruin, Where liquid poison for the soul is sold! And while the victims of this deadly traffic Must bear the penalty of crimes committed, Even when the light of reason has been quenched, That you would frame a law to reach the tempter, Nor let those go unscathed who cause the crime. And then he prays, most fervently, that all Who may, like him, be tempted by the bowl, Would lake a warning from his fearful fate, And "touch not, taste not" make their solemn pledge, And so he parts with all in charity.