Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

'cause somepin' kind o' said to me it was all right; and somepin' kind o' said I'd git all these things here, too—on'y I won't need 'em, ner the money, nor nothin'. How did you get the money ? That's all !”

The boy had by this time approached the bed, and was gazing curiously upon the solemn little face.

“What's the matter with you, Sis?” he asked in wonderment; "ain't you glad?"

“I'm mighty glad, Jamesy,” she said, the little, thin hands reaching for his own. “Guess I'm too glad, 'cause I can't do nothin' on'y jist feel glad; and somepin' kind o' says that that's the gladdest glad in all the world. Jamesy!”

"Oh, pshaw, Sis! Why don't you tell a feller what's the matter?" said the boy, uneasily.

The white hands linked more closely with the brown, and the pure face lifted to the grimy one till they were blent together in

a kiss.

[ocr errors]

"Be good to father, fer you know he used to be so good to us." “O Sis! Sis!" "Molly!"

The squabby, red-faced woman threw herself upon her knees and kissed the thin hands wildly and with sobs.

"Molly, somepin' kind o' says that you must dress me in the morning—but I won't need the hat, and you must take it home for Nanniem Don't cry so loud; you'll wake father.”

I bent my head down above the frowzy one and moaned-moaned.

“And you, sir,” went on the failing voice, reaching for my hand, "you—you must take this money back-you must take it back, fer I don't need it. You must take it back and-and-give it-give it to the poor.” And even with the utterance upon the gracious lips the glad soul leaped and fluttered through the open gates.

THE SNOW-SHOWER

BY WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT

Stand here by my side and turn, I pray,

On the lake below thy gentle eyes; The clouds hang over it, heavy and gray,

And dark and silent the water lies;
And out of the frozen mist the snow
In wavering flakes begins to flow;

Flake after flake
They sink in the dark and silent lake.

See how in a living swarm they come

From chambers beyond that misty veil ; Some hover a while in air, and some

Rush prone from the sky like summer hail. All, dropping swiftly or settling slow, Meet, and are still in the depths below;

Flake after flake Dissolved in the dark and silent lake.

Here delicate snow-stars, out of the cloud,

Come floating downward in airy play. Like spangles dropped from the glistening crowd

That whiten by night the milky way;

There broader and burlier masses fall;
The sullen water buries them all-

Flake after flake-
All drowned in the dark and silent lake.

And some, as on tender wings they glide

From their chilly birth-cloud, dim and gray, Are joined in their fall, and, side by side,

Come clinging along their unsteady way;
As friend with friend, or husband with wife
Makes hand in hand the passage of life;

Each mated flake
Soon sinks in the dark and silent lake.

Lo! while we are gazing, in swifter haste

Stream down the snows, till the air is white, As, myriads by myriads madly chased,

They fling themselves from their shadowy height The fair, frail creatures of middle sky, What speed they make, with their grave so nigh:

Flake after flake, To lie in the dark and silent lake!

I see in thy gentle eyes a tear;

They turn to me in sorrowful thought; Thou thinkest of friends, the good and dear,

Who were for a time, and now are not; Like these fair children of cloud and frost, That glisten a moment and then are lost,

Flake after flakeAll lost in the dark and silent lake.

Yet look again, for the clouds divide;

A gleam of blue on the water lies;
And far away, on the mountain-side,

A sunbeam falls from the opening skies,
But the hurrying host that flew between
The cloud and the water, no more is seen;

Flake after flake,
At rest in the dark and silent lake.

I have read that those who listened to Lord Chatham felt that there was something finer in the man than anything which he said. Sir Philip Sidney, the Earl of Wessep, Sir Walter Raleigh, are men of great figure, and of few deeds. We can not find the smallest part of the personal weight of Washington in the narrative of his exploits. The purest literary talent appears at one time great, at another small, but character is of a stellar and undiminishable greatness. What others effect by talent or by eloquence, this man accomplishes by some magnetism. “Half his strength he put not forth.” His victories are by demonstration of superiority, and not by crossing of bayonets. He conquers, because his arrival alters the face of affairs. “'O Iole! how did you know that Hercules was a god ? ‘Because,' answered Iole, 'I was content the moment my eyes fell on him. When I beheld Theseus, I desired that I might see him offer battle, or at least guide his horses in the chariot race; but Hercules did not wait for a contest; he conquered whether he stood, or walked, or sat, or whatever thing he did.'” Man, ordinarily a pendant to events, only half attached, and that awkwardly, to the world he lives in, in these examples appears to share the life of things, and to be an expression of the same laws which control the tides and the sun, numbers and quantities.

From Character.-RALPH WALDO EMERSON.

[ocr errors]

THE RIDE OF THE THREE THOUSAND

BY HENRY SCOTT CLARK

My active career as a soldier was at an end, as time proved, but it chanced that I was to play a part-small though it was—in the closing act of the ill-starred enterprise by which so many were undone. Of that I shall speak; but before I do so I must tell how it fared with those from whom I had been separated by the treachery of Vawter.

So far as concerned that locality where my mother lived I had been willing enough to remain more an on-looker than to be a participant in events. But once beyond it I can truthfully assert that I would have taken my place with my fellows without any qualms of conscience, and with no motive for action than the commands of my general. As it is, it almost seems to me—so keen was my interest—that I galloped with them along the roads by which they made their desperate progress, and that I participated in the misfortunes by which they were at last overwhelmed.

The advance felt its way toward Corydon that first morning in Indiana, and well in front were my own men, contrary to what I had planned for them. But of that they were ignorant. A few hundred legionaries, with a courage far greater than their strength, sought to check this audacious rebel host. From their rude, hastily constructed breastworks they sent forth a very gallant fire. But it was snuffed out like a match in a tempest, and the men who pulled the triggers were first enveloped in the cloud of gray, then disarmed and cast aside. This was the first obstacle since the invasion was

« AnteriorContinuar »