Слике страница
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

"Is it very wide ?” I asked.

Oh, not more 'n a good stretch from here to the dry land --but deep; over six feet, I should say--and rising." “But the bed, Bobbery,” I said, “and the other things.”

Well, we must just leave them until it's all right again." “Will it ever be all right?" I asked. “Why, yes, of course,” said Bobbery.

He was such a splendid chap, sir, was Bobbery, and so clever! He took the two chairs that were drifting about the rooin, and tied them close together, and then we waded across to the window, and stood upon the sill.

“I think it's jolly good fun,” said Bobbery. “If you could. only see how your boat 's bobbing up and down in front here! Get in quick, or I can't bold her. Here! port her helm, or something! Are you all right?”

“It's splendid," I said ; come along."

But when Bobbery put his foot on to the unsteady raft, she went down on one side with a plunge. “Never mind,” he said: "you've just got to push yourself ashore with this pole, as straight as you can go, and I will follow.”

I thought that was trne, or I never would have left Bobbery. I took the pole he gave me, and went out on the resta less waters, that I felt were blood-red where the setting sun had touched them. People on the opposite side cheered, and cried, and called me, and Bobbery behind called out once or twice, “Ship ahoy!" in a shrill voice, that I knew and loved better than anything on earth, and once I heard him say faintly-he seemed so far away—“In port at last.”

At last!

The people on shore had ceased their shouts of excite. ment and encouragement, the light had died utterly away.

In an awful silence, and an awful darkness, I jumped to land, and held out my two hands.

“Bobbery! Bobbery!" I cried, “I want to thank you."

Did Bobbery hear, sir, do you think? Do people hear anything, do people understand anything, after they have gone away?

I only knew that the awful silence was turning me to stone, that the awful darkness was rising like a stone wall between me and Bobbery-and I was afraid. When I called, no one

answered me, and I was glad. If his voice was silent, any other voice would have maddened me just then, and I wanted nothing more to tell me all the truth. I learned through the silence on land and sea how God had answered my prayer.

They told me afterward how the plank he was launching to help himself to the shore drifted away from his hand, and was out of sight directly, how they would have saved him if they could, and how, when they began to shout to hin directions, he made a sign for silence, and stood straight upon the sill, with the sunset creeping all about him, and the waters washing at his feet. They wondered why he had made no effort to reach the shore with me-they used to wonder for long after, why he had stood so silent, with his eager eyes, and restless feet so strangely still. I knew, of course; but what right had any one else to come between me and Bobbery? It wouldn't have done any one any good to know what I knew-that Bobbery wouldn't let me lose the faintest chance; thought my blind, helpless life quite as well worth saving as his own. I would have done the same for him, sir, any day-for Bobbery and me, we were always fond of each other.

The story's been longer than I thought, sir, but just the evening, and the floods again, and your wanting to know about the cross, brought it back to me like the same evening somehow-and it's company like to talk of the lad.

And Bobbery? he just died, sir; and the folks thought such a deal of him that they collected a bit to set me up, and I took half of the money just to put up this little cross by the river-side--for we always divided the coppers, sir; and I haven't forgotten him-not in these two years! That's all, sir-just all about Bobbery.

--Harper's Bazar.

ANNIE PROTHEROE.-W. S. GILBERT.

A LEGEND OF STRATFORD-LE-BOW.

Oh! listen to the tale of little Annie Protheroe.
She kept a small post-office in the neighborhood of Bow;
She loved a skilled mechanis, who was famous in his day-
A gentle executioner whose name was Gilbert Clay,

I think I hear you say, “A dreadful subject for your rhymes!"
() reader, do not shrink--he diln't live in modern times!
He lived so long ago (the sketch will show it at a glance)
That all his actions glitter with the lime-light of romance.
In busy times he labored at his gentle craft all day-
"No doubt you mean his Cal-craft” you amusingly will say-
But, no-he didn't operate with common bits of string,
He was a Public Headsman, which is quite another thing.
And when his work was over, they would ramble o'er the lea,
And sit beneath the frondage of an elderberry tree;
And Annie's simple prattle entertained him on his walk,
For public executions formed the subject of her talk.
And sometimes he'd explain to her, which charmed her

very much, How famous operators vary very much in touch, And then, perhaps, he'd show how he himself performed

the trick, And illustrate his meaning with a poppy and a stick. Or, if it rained, the little maid would stop at home, and look At his favorable notices, all pasted in a book, And then her cheek would flush-her swimming eyes would

dance with joy In a glow of admiration at the prowess of her boy. One summer eve, at supper-time, the gentle Gilbert said (As he helped his pretty Annie to a slice of collared head), "This reminds me I must settle on the next ensuing day The hash of that unmitigated villain, Peter Gray.” He saw his Annie tremble and he saw his Annie start, Her changing color trumpeted the flutter at her heart; Young Gilbert's manly bosom rose and sank with jealous fear, And he said, “ ( gentle Annie, what's the meaning of this

here?And Annie answered, blushing in an interesting way, You think, no doubt, I'm sighing for that felon, Peter Gray: That I was his young woman is unquestionably true, But not since I began a-keeping company witli you.” Then Gilbert, who was irritable, rose and loudly swore He'd know the reason why if she refused to tell him more; And she answered (all the woman in her flashing from her

eyes), "You musn't ask no questions, and you won't be told no lies! "Few lovers have the privilege enjoyed, my dear, by you, Of chopping off a rival's head and quartering him too! Of vengeance, dear, to-morrow you will surely take your fill!" And Gilbert ground his molars as he answered her, “I will!”

66

Young Gilbert rose from table with a stern determined look,
And, frowning, took an inexpensive hatchet from its look;
And Annie watched his movements with an interested air-
For tho morrow-for the morrow he was going to prepare!
He chipped it with a hammer and he chopped it with a bill,
He poured sulphuric acid on the edge of it, until
This terrible Avenger of the Majesty of Law
Was far less like a hatchet than a dissipated saw.
And Annie said, “O Gilbert, dear, I do not understand
Why ever you are injuring that hatchet in your hand ?"
He said, “ İt is intended for to lacerate and fay
The lock of that unmitigated villain, Peter Gray!"
“Now Gilbert,” Annie answered, “ wicked headsman, just

beware-
I won't have Peter tortured with that horrible affair;
If you appear with that, you may depend you'll rue the day.”
But Gilbert said, “Oh, shall I ?" which was just his nasty way.
He saw a look of anger from her eyes distinctly dart,
For Annie was a woman, and had pity in her heart!
She wished him a good evening-he answered with a glare;
She only said, “ Remember, for your Annie will be there!"
The morrow Gilbert boldly on the scaffold took his stand,
With a vizor on his face and with a hatchet in his hand,
And all the people noticed that the engine of the law
Was far less like a hatchet than a dissipated saw.
The felon very coolly loosed his collar and his stock,
And placed his wicked head upon the handy little block.
The hatchet was uplifted for to settle Peter Gray,
When Gilbert plainly heard a woman's voice exclaiming,

“Stay!" 'Twas Annie, gentle Annie, as you'll easily believe. "O Gilbert, you must spare him, for I bring him a reprieve, It came from our Home Secretary many weeks ago, And passed through that post-office which I used to keep

at Bow. “I loved you, loved you madly, and you know it, Gilbert Clay, And as I'd quite surrendered all idea of Peter Gray, I quietly suppressed it, as you'll clearly understand, For I thought it might be awkward if he came and claimed

my hand. "In anger at my secret (which I could not tell before), To lacerate poor Peter Gray vindictively you swore; I told you if you used that blunted axe you'd rue the day, And so you will, old fellow, for I'll marry Peter Gray !"

[And so she did.

A HOUSE NOT MADE WITH HANDS.-EARL MARBLE.

When a man dies the people ask, “ What property has he left behind him?" But the angely, as they bend over his grave, inquire, “What good deeds basi thuu sent before thee?"- MUHAMMED.

"Abijah Dunn! Abijah Dunn!

Where art ihou this bright summer morn?
Awake and greet the rising sun,

Whose rays both earth and sky adorn.”
Beneath his porch, since toddling child,

I oft had lingered for awhile,
Charmed by his glance, as woman's mild,

And more than sweetest woman's smile.
"Abijah Dunn! Abijah Dunn!"

So shot a summons through the air
Long hours before my later one

To see the sun's bright rising glare.
"Abijah Dunn!" This summoned him

To greater glory than the sun's, -
When over the horizon's rim,

Far up the sky he glowing runs.
"Abijah Dunn!" The midnight bleak

Stood still a moment as the Voice
Came down the old man's soul to seek,

And bear to realms where all rejoice.
"Abijah Dunn !" The hovel dark

Brief moments surged with spirit light,
And then, forever, cares that cark

Were drowned in blisses that requite.
"Abijah Dunn! come higher up!

Thine earthly house meets not thy needs;
Dire want has filled thine earthly cup,

But Heaven's o'erflows with souls of deeds;
Thine earthly hut possessions built,

Of which, alas! but poor thy part:
Thy Heavenly house, with richest gilt

Adorned, is built of what thou art.
"Abijah, great Jehovah's son!

For such thy name's significance,
Thy Father, here, Abijah Dunn,

Hath kept thee an inheritance,
And taken from thy life below

A thought or act, as love did warm,
Its walls to deck; as thou didst grow,

Its shape enlarged to grander form.
"Abijah Dunn! Abijah Dunn!

That window toward morn's brightest skies,

« ПретходнаНастави »