Слике страница

She kneels on yonder window bench
And taps upon the pane;

Those fingers sound upon my heart

As on my ear the rain.

One smile, a rainbow crowns the skies,
The cloud of mist departs,

And sunshine flashes from her eyes,-
My Queen of Hearts.

The boughs are bending o'er our heads,
The moss is green below,

Her hair in ringlets round her cheeks
The playful breezes blow.
The druid seems no more a myth,

The wood before us parts;
What joy to walk forever with
My Queen of Hearts!

The music floods across my dream,
The lights thro' branches shine;
Beside me, 'neath the palm, there stands
A being half divine.

A question,-Cupid makes me bold;

I bless him for his darts,

For two he shot, and now I hold
My Queen of Hearts.


"Lizie Anne! 'Fore I go out in one o' them tipply sailin' boats agin! I don't wonder ma'd never let us go out when we were young, for it's forever of Miss Jemima's First Sail a-risin' an' a-sinkin', an' I'd like to ha' lost my equilibrium!" Down sat Miss Jemima with a thud, and nervously unwound several layers of thick veiling from her face.

"There, Jemimie, set down, dear, it's be'n unpleasant warm to-day-" Miss Eliza never dared to show anything more than the most formal interest, for evident curiosity brougnt no returns from Jemima. The full glory of a startling communication was only ripe for the telling when she had worked her hearer into a proper state of suspense. Miss Jemima did not heed her sister's remark, but sat back quite limp. The scarlet poppies on her bonnet looked parched and wind-tossed. Miss Eliza knitted.

"Ef it hadn't be'n for them high-flyin' New York gals, I'd never ha' stepped foot an' sole inside one o' them egg-shells with a sail ez good ez a feather a-careerin' an' a-blowin' araound. But the young uns at the boardin'-place wanted to git up a party, and were a-talkin' somethin' about a chapy-rone, an' I 'low'd they wuz signifyin' me by their snickerin's an' glances, an' I riz right up stiff; all I could think of was that roan mare of pa's, which he kep' in the barn, an' which wuz a burden to his old age. But I didn't let 'em see ez I took a mite o' notice o' sech remarks, when up gits Mr. De somethin' or other with a long tail to his name-got it at college likely, where he got all the rest o' hisself,-an' he lopes over to me, an' says with a flourish that he hoped I'd 'company them thet afternoon out sailin'. Wal!-"

Miss Jemima looked up to see whether her sister was evincing more than the ordinary interest. She was knitting still with a placid smile on her face.

"Wal, I nearly keeled over, it come so suddint. An' you know up in Farmington bein' ez there wuz no water, we never'd be'n edercated to boatin'; an' I don't know ez we would ha' be'n anyway of there had be'n water, seein' ez ma's inclinations wuz for the land. "Tany rate, there's no more sailin' fer me or mine after this day's experience!"

A pause no signs of anything unusual in Miss Eliza's demeanor. Jemima drew a long sigh and wiped her forehead. "Hev some smellin' salts, Jemimie."

"Thanks, it does kinder go to my head."

"Wal, ez I wuz sayin'," proceeded the narrator, "I kinder hesitated, knowin' ez you wuz out spendin' the day, an' I wuz 'bout to decline on ma's principles, when one o' them gals giggled right out, an' thet settled it, an' I says, says I, stiff an' polite, thet I should be most happy to go; an' wal, I went. But them gals! Sakes alive! they jest tore off their collars an' tucked up their sleeves, an' never thought o' wearin' hats! We'd allers be'n brought up to believin' that the elements wuz injurious to the complexion, an' so I wore a veil ez becomin' a lady. But they looked like boiled lobsters an' most unladylike. They were forever ravin' 'bout the scenery an' sech, but I didn't see much to rave about! Wal, of all the ways of locymotion this wuz the tiresomest. What enjoyment there wuz I couldn't I couldn't make out jest why we didn't go faster. 'Peared


to be plenty o' wind from the feelin' of my hat. Land, it didn't no more shade my face-allers a-careerin' 'raound with the sail. We sorter cat-stitched across the harbor, so to speak, only not ez reg'lar ez I worked my crazy-quilt,-tackin', they called it—why, I couldn't see, 'ceptin' it wuz ez nervous an' back-breakin' a bizness ez tackin' down carpets, only slower.”

"Wal, I wuzn't hardly settled on my cushins, Lizie, an' my cricket fixed for my rheumatic leg, when Cap'n'd shout out somethin' 'bout 'lee', an' 'fore I knowed it, the big stick a-hangin' to the sail'd come on a line for my head. We all ducked our heads an' changed sides, the gals forever a-gigglin' an' a-haulin' over my things. I wuz for stayin' on one side an' keepin' the balance ez I'd read in the papers 'bout them accidents where everybody raced to one side and capsized. But we kep' a-bobbin' back an' forth like a pendulum till I began to feel a bit stirred up an' skeered. Then they began talkin' 'bout 'boxin' the compass'-an' I up an' says quick an' sharp that we'd better keep the compass in sight an' not box it up, if we didn't do nothin' else, seein' ez we were 'parently tossin' araound neither one way nor 'tother, an' a-makin' no headway, an' they set up sech a laugh et that, an' began explainin' 'bout north, northeast by east, east-northwest, till I was thet glad when the boom come raound an' we all changed. Wal, we hitched along, a-boomin' an' a-tackin' an' et last 'peared to be gettin' nigh land when we up an' stuck in a mud bank. Thet's the worst o' sailin' naow. Drivin' a hoss, you see the humps an' obsticles, but to go long bein' afeared somthin'd take you unawares 'd bring my grey hairs to the grave, not thet I'm not on the way naow,” and Jemima smoothed her rumpled false curls.

Eliza looked up inquiringly. "Hev' some water, Jemimie, do. You're gettin' hoarse."

Miss Jemima looked at her sister sharply and proceeded.

"Mr. De-De-Bois called and halood an' the gals giggled an' blew the tin horn. 'Peared to me they acted altogether too frivylous seein' ez any minnit might ha' been the last. Finally some one hed sense enough to interpret our signs o' distress and come out with a boat an' I may say I wuz thankful to step foot on dry land. Wal, the clam-bake I won't tell you about ez I didn't see ez it wuz anyways different from the kind we hev down home, for all we went sech a way for it."

"Now, Jemimie," said her sister, "you know it wuz the sail they went for."

"Yes, but I calc'lated to hev somethin' to go fer at the end," said Jemima. "Wal, I never wuz so hot in my life. I reckoned it would be breezy, but land! it was hot ez the desert of Sahary only there wuz no sand-an', goodie me, it feels already ez ef I'd had a hot iron on my face. Don't it look red?"

"Yes-er-er, did you come home all right?" questioned Miss


"Eliza Anne Macauley!" came the rejoinder, "ain't you ashamed o' yourself? 'Pears ez ef you hadn't no control over your feelin's." She sat down stiffly. Eliza took up her work. After a sufficient time had elapsed to impress her sister with the importance of her narration, Miss Jemima proceeded.

"Wal, the gals 'lowed they'd go in bathin', and wuz for hevin' me come too, but I wuz 'feared o' takin' my death o' cold, so I sat on a rock an' kep' 'em in sight for fear the undertow'd take one or 'tother of 'em off. So we passed the time o' day accordin' to our respective pleasures an' at last stepped in the boat aimin' for home. They said we wuz runnin' before the wind, but I couldn't quite make out how we could be a-goin' fast enough to keep ahead o' the wind. Howsomever, we wuz scuddin' along ez smooth ez ice, an' a-singin' dancy tunes-college songs, I guess they wuz, I don't know what else they could ha' be'n-when fust thing we knowed, we stopped bump short, an' I couldn't see nothin' in the way of an obsticle. Then all of a suddint it come over me that maybe it wuz a shark or a whale or somethin' which wuz a-catchin' a-holt of the hinder part of the boat, an' it giv me sech a fright thinkin' about it thet I didn't notice what wuz goin' on, till I ketched sight o' the Cap'n a-goin' over the side, an' fust thing I knew I wuz a-holdin' on to his foot an' a-screamin' out he wuz bein' drownded. And what did he do, but jerk it out o' my hand a-hollerin' thet he wuz goin' into the water a-purpose, coz we wuz histed up on a projectin' rock, an' he wuz a-goin' to shuv us off. Wal, the gals were huddled together, all white, an' not speakin' a word, till one o' the men up an' says thet the tide's a-goin out, and seein's we were balanced on the top o' the rock, we'd topple over soon's the water was gone.

"Wal, the gals they were thet skeered, an' set up sech a screamin' an' a-carryin' on most unladylike, so's they couldn't hear the Cap'n a-tellin' them to go to one side, so's to take the weight off the top of the rock. Wal, we lunged to one side,

an' we lunged to the other, an' I lost my bonnet off my head, an' Cap'n hove under the boat with his oar and like to ha' broken it, an' come nigh drowndin' before my very eyes, an' one o' the gals dropped her best handkerchief in the water, an' o' course her man wuz for swimmin' after it, an' we all on us ready to drown any minute, an' I feelin' one o' my old spells sure a-comin' onan-an'-we didn't budge an inch. There we wuz 'bout a stone's throw from land, an' nobody to swim but the Cap'n an' one man, and we women folks 'd hev to stay out on the watery deep ez far ez I could see, an' prob'ly be drownded ef nothin' else happened, with nothin' to eat but gingy bread an' candy."

By this time Miss Eliza's feet were twitching excitedly in her roomy slippers. This was the only way she could show any emotion without attracting her sister's attention.

Jemima continued. "We tooted horns, which wuz foolish seein' ez there wuz no one in sight, while I wuz expectin' every minute to be tipped over an' drownded an' was a-waitin' to hev visions of my past misdeeds come before my mind, ez they say happens to folks who are drowndin'. But all I could rec❜lect was the time I stole ma's company chocolate cake and ran behind the shed and then felt so queer inside thet I couldn't eat it. Ez I wuz sayin', I wuz a-waitin' for the jedgment day, when all on a suddint, the boat giv a heave an' off we went! Haow we got home at last I don't know, for I wuz a-thankin' kind Providence for our deliverance and a-wonderin' haow we got out o' bein' drownded. One thing, them New Yorkies didn't make no more noise. I reckon they wuz stunned and I guess it did 'em good!"

Miss Eliza Anne had not been knitting for several minutes, and her eyes were fixed on her sister in the intensity of her interest. As there came a pause she asked

"And is that all? Ain't there somethin' more?"

"More!" gasped Jemima, "more! Wal, I should think thet wuz enough! Come within an inch o' drowndin' a stone's throw from land! All, indeed! I guess thet's the last sail for me!" And Miss Jemima held the smelling salts to her nose.


« ПретходнаНастави »