Слике страница
PDF
ePub

Then you'll think it no very great wonder,

Nor so strange, nor so bold a conceit, That unless there's a boy there a-whistling,

Its music will not be complete. It was late in the autumn of '40;

We had come from our far Eastern home Just in season to build us a cabin,

Ere the cold of the winter should come; And we lived all the while in our wagon

That husband was clearing the place
Where the house was to stand; and the clearing

And building it took many days.
So that our heads were scarce sheltered

In under its roof, wben our store
Of provisions was almost exhausted,

And busband must journey for more;
And the nearest place where he could get them

Was vet such a distance away,
That it forced him from home to be absent

At least a whole night and a day.
You see, we'd but two or three neighbors,

And the nearest was more than a mile;
And we hadn't found time yet to know them,

For we had been busy the while.
And the man who had helped at the raising

Just staid till the job was well done;
And as soon as his money was paid him

Had shouldered his axe and had gone. Well, husband just kissed me and started

I could scarcely suppress a deep groan
At the thought of remaining with baby

So long in the house all alone;
For, my dear, I was childish and timid,

And braver ores might well have feared,
For the wild wolf was often heard howling,

And savages sometimes appeared.
But I smothered my grief and my terror

Till husband was off on his ride,
And then in my arms I took Josey,

And all the day long sat and cried, As I thought of the long, dreary hours

When the dark ness of night should fall,
And I was so utterly helpless,

With no one in reach of my call.
And when the night came with its terrors,

To hide ev'ry ray of light,

I hung up a quilt by the window,

And almost dead with affright,
I kneeled by the side of the cradle,

Scarce daring to draw a full breath,
Lest the baby should wake, and its crying

Should bring us a horrible death.
There I knelt until late in the evening,

And scarcely an inch had I stirred, When suddenly, far in the distance,

A sound as of whistling I heard, I started up dreadfully frightened,

For fear 'twas an Indian's call;
And then very soon I remembered

The red man ne'er whistles at all.
And when I was sure 'twas a white man,

I thought, were he coining for ill,
He'd surely approach with more caution-

Would come without warning, and still. Then the sounds, coming nearer and nearer,

Took the form of a tune light and gay, And I knew I needn't fear evil

From one who could whistle that way. Very soon I heard footsteps approaching,

Then came a peculiar dull thump, As if some one was heavily striking

An axe in the top of a stump; And then, in another brief moinent,

There came a light tap on the door, When quickly I undid the fast'ning,

And in stepped a boy, and before
Therri was either a question or answer,

Or either had time to speak,
I just threw my glad arms around him,

And gave him a kiss on the cheek.
Then I started back, scared at my boldness,

But he only smiled at my fright, As he said, “I'm your neighbor's boy, Elick,

Come to tarry with you through the night. “ We saw your husband go eastward,

And made up our minds where he'd gono, And I said to the rest of our people,

"That woman is there all alone, And I ventrira she's awfully lonesome,

And though she may have no great fear, I think for would feel a bit safer

If uniy d w were but near.'

"So, taking my axe on my shoulder,

For fear that a savage might stray Across my path and need scalping,

I started right down this way; And coming in sight of the cabin,

And thinking to save you alarm, I whistled a tune, just to show you

I didn't intend any harm. "And so here I am, at your service;

But if you don't want me to stay, Why, all you need do is to say so,

And should'ring my axe, I'll away." I dropped in a chair and near fainted,

Just at thought of his leaving me then,
And his eye gave a knowing bright twinklo

As he said, “I guess I'll remain.”
And then I just sat there and told him

How terribly frightened I'd been,
How his face was to me the most welcome

Of any I ever had seen;
And then I lay down with the baby,

And slept all the blessed night through,
For I felt I was safe from all danger

Near so brave a young fellow and true. So now, my dear friend, do you wonder,

Since such a good reason I've given, Why I say I shan't care for the music,

Unless there is whistling in heaven?
Yes, often I've said so in earnest,

And now what I've said I repeat,
That unless there's a boy there a-whistling,
Its music will not be complete.

--Harper's Magazine.

AIRY NOTHINGS.-SHAKSPEARE.
Our revels now are ended. These, our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air-into thin air;
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made of, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.

-The Tempesto

THE NEWSBOY'S DEBT.-H. R. HUDSON.

Only last year, at Christmas-time,

While pacing down a city street, ( saw a tiny, ill-clad boy

One of the thousands that we meetAs ragged as a boy could be,

With half a cap, with one good shoe; Just patches to keep out the wind

I know the wind blew keenly too: A newsboy, with a newsboy's lungs,

A square Scotch face, an honest brow, And eyes that liked to smile so well

They had not yet forgotten how: A newsboy, liawking his last sheets

With loud persistence. Now and then Stopping to beat his stiffened hands,

And trudging bravely on again. Dodging about among the crowd,

Shouting his “Extras” o'er and o'er; Pausing by whiles to cheat the wind

Within some alley, by some door. At last he stopped-six papers left,

Tucked hopelessly beneath his armTo eye a fruiterer's outspread store:

Here products of some country farm, And there confections, all adorned

With wreathed and clustered leaves and flowers, While little founts, like frosted spires,

Tossed up and down their minic showers. He stood and gazed with wistful face,

All a child's longing in his eyes; Then started, as I touched his arm,

And turned in quick, mechanic wise, Raised his torn cap with purple hands,

Said, “ Papers, Sir? World ! Herald! Times !" And brushed away a freezing tear

That marked his cheek with frosty rimes. “How many have you? Never mind

Don't stop to count-J'll take them all ; And when you pass niy office here,

With stock on hand, give me a call.”

He thanked me with a broad Scotch smile,

A look half wondering and half glad. I fumbled for the proper "change,

And said, “You seem a little lad "To rough it in the streets like this.”

“I'm ten years old this Christmas-time !" “Your name?" “Jim Hanley.” “Here's a bill

I've nothing else, but this one dime"Five dollars. When you get it changed

Come to my office-that's the place. Now wait a bit, there's time enough:

You need not run a headlong race.
"Where do you live ?” “Most any where.

We hired a stable-loft to-day,
Me and two others.” “And you thought

The fruiierer's window pretty, hey? “Or were you hungry?” “Just a bit,”

He answered, bravely as he might. “I couldn't buy a break fast, Sir,

And had no money left last night." “And you are cold ?” “Ay, just a bit.

I don't mind cold.” Why, that is strange!" He smiled and pulled his ragged cap,

And darted off to get the "change.” So, with a half-unconscious sigh,

I sought my office desk again: An hour or more my busy wits

Found work enough with book and pen. But when the mantel clock struck five

I started with a sudden thought, For there beside my hat and cloak

Lay those six papers I had bought. “Why, where's the boy ? and where's the 'chango

He should have brought au hour ago ? Ah, well! alı, well! they're all alike!

I was a fool to tempt him so. “Dishonest! Well, I might have known!

And yet his face seemed candid too. He would have earned the difference

If he had brought me what was due. But caution often comes too late."

And so I took my homeward way,
Deeming distrust of human kind

The only lesson of the day.
PPPP

« ПретходнаНастави »