Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

richer appreciation of it, also appear in this volume. The suggestions to teachers have been made unusually full and concrete in the desire to throw increased light on the teaching of this, the most important subject in the school curriculum. A list of books for home reading is included, not only for the direction of the child and the guidance of the teacher, but also to obtain the cooperation of parents in fixing in habit the taste for good literature created by the reader itself.

Acknowledgment is gratefully made to Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Company for permission to use, from Dreams in Homespun, "The House by the Side of the Road," by Sam Walter Foss; to Dodd, Mead and Company for “Washington's Inauguration,” from Schouler's History of the United States; to D. Appleton & Company for “The Snow-Shower," by William Cullen Bryant, and to Houghton Mifflin Company for “The Song of the Camp," by Bayard Taylor.

G. A.

Yea, let all good things await
Him who cares not to be great,
But as he saves or serves the state.
Not once or twice in our rough island-story,
The path of duty was the way to glory:
He that ever following her commands,
On with toil of heart and knees and hands,
Through the long gorge to the far light has won
His path upward, and prevailed,
Shall find the toppling crags of duty scaled
Are close upon the shining table-lands
To which our God Himself is moon and sun.

-ALFRED TENNYSON.

THE SIXTH READER

RIP VAN WINKLE

BY WASHINGTON IRVING

[The following Tale was found among the papers of the late Diedrich Knickerbocker, an old gentleman of New York, who was very curious in the Dutch History of the province, and the manners of the descendants from its primitive settlers. His historical researches, however, did not lie so much among books as among men; for the former are lamentably scanty on his favorite topics; whereas he found the old burghers, and still more, their wives, rich in that legendary lore so invaluable to true history. Whenever, therefore, he happened upon a genuine Dutch family, snugly shut up in its low-roofed farm-house, under a spreading sycamore, he studied it with the zeal of a bookworm.]

THE STORY

Whoever has made a voyage up the Hudson, must remember the Kaatskill Mountains. They are a dismembered branch of the great Appalachian family, and are seen away to the west of the river, swelling up to a noble height, and lording it over the surrounding country. Every change of season, every change of weather, indeed every hour of the day, produces some change in the magical hues and shapes of these mountains; and they are regarded by all the good wives as perfect barometers. When the weather is fair and settled, they are clothed in blue and purple, and print their bold outlines on the clear evening sky; but sometimes, when the

1

rest of the landscape is cloudless, they will gather a hood of gray vapors about their summits, which, in the last rays of the setting sun, will glow like a crown of glory.

At the foot of these mountains, the voyager may have descried the light smoke curling up from a village, whose shingle roofs gleam among the trees. It is a little village of great antiquity, having been founded by some of the Dutch colonists, in the early times of the province, about the beginning of the government of the good Peter Stuyvesant (may he rest in peace !) and there were some of the houses of the original settlers standing within a few years, built of small yellow bricks brought from Holland, having latticed windows and gable fronts, surmounted with weathercocks.

In that same village, and in one of these very houses (which, to tell the precise truth, was sadly time-worn and weather-beaten), there lived many years since, while the country was yet a province of Great Britain, a simple, good-natured fellow, of the name of Rip Van Winkle. He was a descendant of the Van Winkles who figured so gallantly in the chivalrous days of Peter Stuyvesant, and accompanied him to the siege of Fort Christina. He inherited, however, but little of the martial character of his ancestors. I have observed that he was a good-natured man; he was, moreover, a kind neighbor, and an obedient, henpecked husband. Indeed, to the latter circumstances might be owing that meekness of spirit which gained him such universal popularity; for those men are most apt to be conciliating abroad, who are under the discipline of shrews at home; a curtain lecture is worth all the sermons in the world for teaching the virtues of patience and long-suffering. A termagant wife may, therefore, in some respects, be considered a tolerable blessing; and if so, Rip Van Winkle was thrice blessed.

Certain it is, that he was a great favorite among all the good wives of the village, who took his part in all family squabbles, and never failed, whenever they talked these matters over in their eve

« AnteriorContinuar »