Слике страница
PDF
ePub

Down the street the baby hastened

Till he reached the office door.
“I'se a letter, Mr. Postman;

Is there room for any more?
“ 'Cause dis letter's doin' to papa,

Papa lives with God, 'ou know,
Mamma sent me for a letter,

Does 'ou fink 'at I tan go ?”
But the clerk in wonder answered,

“Not to-day, my little man.”
“ Den I'll find anozzer office,

'Cause I must do if I tan.”
Fain the clerk would have detained him,

But the pleading face was gone,
And the little feet were hastening-

By the busy crowd swept on.
Suddenly the crowd was parted,

People fled to left and right,
As a pair of maddened horses

At the moment dashed in sight.
No one saw the baby figure-

No one saw the golden hair,
Tili a voice of frightened sweetness

Rang out on the autumn air.
'Twas too late-a moment only

Stood the beauteous vision there,
Then the little face lay lifeless,

Covered o'er with golden hair.
Reverently they raised my darling,
Brushed

away the curls of gold,
Saw the stamp upon the forehead,

Growing now so icy cold.
Not a mark the face disfigured,

Showing where a hoof had trod;
But the little life was ended-

“Papa's letter" was with God.

MY MOTHER AT THE GATE.-MATILDA C. EDWARDA.

Oh, there's many a lovely picture

On memory's silent wall,
There's many a cherished image

That I tenderly recall!

The sweet home of my childhood,

With its singing brooks and birds, The friends who grew around me,

With their loving looks and words; The flowers that decked the wildwood,

The roses fresh and sweet, The blue-bells and the daisies

That blossomed at my feet-
All, all are very precious,

And often come to me,
Like breezes from that country

That shines beyond death's sea.
But the sweetest, dearest image

That fancy can create,
Is the image of my mother,

My mother at the gate.
There, there I see her standing,

With her face so pure and fair,
With the sunlight and the shadows

On her snowy cap and hair;
I can feel the soft, warm pressure

Of the hand that clasped my own; I can see the look of fondness

That in her blue eyes shone; I can hear her parting blessing

Through the lapse of weary years; I can see, through all my sorrow,

Her own sad, silent tears,— Ah ! amid the darkest trials

That have mingled with my fate,
I have turned to that dear image,

My mother at the gate.
But she has crossed the river,

She is with the angels now,
She has laid aside earth's burdens,

And the crown is on her brow.
She is clothed in clean, white linen,

And she walks the streets of gold. Oh! loved one, safe forever

Within the Saviour's fold,
No sorrowing thought can reach theo,

No grief is thine to-day;
God gives thee joy for mourning,

He wipes thy tears away!
Thou art waiting in that city

Where the holy angels wait, And when I cross the river

I will see thee at the gato!

THE BELL OF ATRI.-H. W. LONGFELLOW.

Atri in Abruzzo, a small town
Of ancient Roman date, but scant renown,
One of those little places that have run
Half up the hill, beneath a blazing sun,
And then sat down to rest, as if to say,
“I climb no farther upward, come what may,”-
The Re Giovanni, now unknown to fame,
So many monarchs since have borne the name,
Had a great bell hung in the market-place,
Beneath a roof projecting some small space,
By way of shelter from the sun and rain.
Then rode he through the streets with all his train,
And, with the blast of trumpets loud and long,
Made proclamation, that, whenever wrong
Was done to any man, he should but ring
The great bell in the square, and he, the king,
Would cause the syndic to decide thereon.
Such was the proclamation of King John.
How swift the happy days in Atri sped,
What wrongs were righted, need not here be said.
Suffice it that, as all things must decay,
The hempen rope at length was worn away,
Unraveled at the end, and, strand by strand,
Loosened and wasted in the ringer's hand,
Till one, who noted this in passing by,
Mended the rope with braids of briony,
So that the leaves and tendrils of the vine
Hung like a votive garland at a shrine.
By chance it happened that in Atri dwelt
A knight, with spur on heel and sword in belt,
Who loved to hunt the wild boar in the woods,
Who loved his falcons with their crimson hoods,
Who loved his hounds and horses, and all sports
And prodigalities of camps and courts,-
Loved, or had loved them; for at last, grown old,
His only passion was the love of gold.
He sold his horses, sold his hawks and hounds,
Rented his vineyards and his garden-grounds,
Kept but one steed, his favorite steed of all,
To starve and shiver in a naked stall,
And, day by day, sat brooding in his chair
Devising plans how best to hoard and spare.
At length he said, “What is the use or need
To keep at my own cost this lazy steed,

Eating his head off in my stables here,
When rents are low and provender is dear?
Let him go feed upon the public ways:
I want him only for the holidays."
So the old steed was turned into the heat
Of the long, lonely, silent, shadeless street;
And wandered in suburban lanes forlorn,
Barked at by dogs, and torn by briar and thorn.
One afternoon, as in that sultry clime
It is the custom in the summer-time,
With bolted doors and window-shutters closed,
The inhabitants of Atri slept or dozed;
When suddenly upon their senses fell
The loud alarum of the accusing bell!
The syndic started from his deep repose,
Turned on his couch, and listened, and then rose
And donned his robes, and with reluctant pace
Went panting forth into the market-place,
Where the great bell upon its cross-beam swung,
Reiterating with persistent tongue,
In half-articulate jargon, the old song,
"Some one hath done a wrong, hath done a wrong!"
But ere he reached the belfry's light arcade,
He saw, or thought he saw, beneath its shade,
No shape of human form of woman born,
But a poor steed dejected and forlorn,
Who with uplifted head and eager eye
Was tugging at the vines of briony.
“Domeneddio!" cried the syndic straight,
“This is the Knight of Atri's steed of state!
He calls for justice, being sore distressed,
And pleads his cause as loudly as the best.”
Meanwhile from street and lane a noisy crowd
Had rolled together like a summer cloud,
And told the story of the wretched beast
In five-and-twenty different ways at least,
With much gesticulation and appeal
To heathen gods, in their excessive zeal.
The knight was called and questioned: in reply
Did not confess the fact, did not deny,
Treated the matter as a pleasant jest,
And set at naught the syndic and the rest,
Maintaining in an angry undertone,
That he should do what pleased him with his own.
And thereupon the syndic gravely read
The proclamation of the king; then said,
“Pride goeth forth on horseback grand and gay,
But coineth back on foot, and begs its way:
LLLL

Fame is the fragrance of heroic deeds,
Of flowers of chivalry and not of weeds!
These are familiar proverbs ; but I fear
They never yet have reached your knightly ear.
What fair renown, what honor, what repute,
Can come to you from starving this poor brute?
He who serves well and speaks not, merits more
Than they who clamor loudest at the door.
Therefore, the law decrees that as this steed
Served you in youth, henceforth you shall take heed
To comfort his old age, and to provide
Shelter in stall, and food and field beside.”
The knight withdrew abashed: the people all
Led home the steed in triumph to his stall.
The king heard and approved, and laughed in glee,
And cried aloud,“ Right well it pleaseth me!
Church bells at best but ring us to the door,
But go not in to mass. My bell doth more:
It cometh into court, and pleads the cause
Of creatures dumb and unknown to the laws.
And this shall make, in every Christian clime,
The Bell of Atri famous for all time."

- Atlantic Monthly

TOO LATE FOR THE TRAIN.

When they reached the depot, Mr. Mann and his wife gazed in unspeakable disappointment at the receding train, which was just pulling away from the bridge switch at the rate of a mile a minute. Their first impulse was to run after it, but as the train was out of sight and whistling for Sagetown before they could act upon the impulse, they remained in the carriage and disconsolately turned their horses' hearls homeward.

Mr. Mann broke the silence, very grimly: “It all comes of having to wait for a woman to get ready.”

“I was ready before you were," replied his wife.

"Great heavens,” cried Mr. Mann, with great impatierce, nearly jerking the horses' jaws out of place,“ just listen to that! And I sat in the buggy ten minutes yelling at you to come along until the whole neighborhood heard me."

“Yes,” acquiesced Mrs. Mann with the provoking piacidity which no one can assume but a woman," and every time I

« ПретходнаНастави »