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1.- THE TWO ROADS.
(Jean Paul Frederic Richter was born in Wunsiedel, in Germany, March 21, 1763, and died November 14, 1825. He wrote a number of works, mostly in the form of novels, which are remarkable for a peculiar combination of imagination, tenderness, quaint humor, philosophic spirit, and curious learning. He is an extremely popular writer among his cwn countrymen, but much of the flavor of his writings evaporates in a translation. His personal character was generous and amiable. He is frequently called by his first two names, Jean Paul.]
1. It was New-Year's night. An aged man was standing at a window. He raised his mournful eyes towards the deep-blue sky, where the stars were floating, like white lilies, on the surface of a clear, calm lake. Then he cast them on the earth, where few more hopeless beings than himself now moved towards their certain goal'— the tomb.
2. Already he had passed sixty of the stages? which lead to it, and he had brought from his journey nothing but errors and remorse. His health was destroyed, his mind vacant, his heart sorrowful, and his old age devoid of comfort.
3. The days of his youth rose up in a vision 3 before him, and he recalled the solemn moment when his father had placed him at the entrance of two roads, — one leading into a peaceful, sunny land, covered with a fertile harvest, and resounding with soft, sweet songs; the other leading
the wanderer into a deep, dark cave, whence there was no issue", where poison flowed instead of water, and where serpents hissed and crawled.
4. He looked towards the sky, and cried out in his agony, “O youth, return! O my father, place me once more at the entrance to life, that I may choose the better way!” But his father and the days of his youth had both passed away.
5. He saw wandering lights floating away over dark marshes, and then disappear. These were the days of his wasted life. He saw a star fall from heaven, and vanish in darkness. This was an emblem of himself; and the sharp arrows of unavailing remorse® struck home to his heart. Then he remembered his early companions, who entered on life with him, but who, having trod the paths of virtue and of labor, were now honored and happy on this NewYear's night.
6. The clock, in the high church tower, struck, and the suund, falling on his ear, recalled his parents' early love for him, their erring son; the lessons they had taught him ; the prayers they had offered up in his behalf. Overwhelmed with shame and grief, he dared no longer look towards that heaven where his father dwelt; his darkened eyes dropped tears, and with one despairing effort, he cried aloud, “Come back, my early days! come back!”
7. And his youth did return; for all this was but a dream which visited his slumbers on New-Year's night. He was still young; his faults alone were real. He thanked God fervently that time was still his own; that he had not yet entered the deep, dark cavern, but that he was free to tread the road leading to the peaceful land where sunny barvests wave.
8. Ye who still linger on the threshold' of life, doubting which path to choose, remember that, when years are passed, and your feet stumble on the dark mountain, you
will cry bitterlys, but cry in vain, “O youth, return! O, give me back my early days!”
1 GOAL. A post or mark set to bound | 5 ĒM'BLEM. A picture or object rep. a race; end.
resenting one thing to the eye and 3 STĀG'EŞ. Steps or degrees of ad- another to the understanding. vance or progress.
16 RE-MÖRSE'. Reproach of conscience, 8 VI''ŞIỌN. An imaginary uppearance, 7 THRESH'QLD. A door-sill; begin
as seen in a dream or in sleep. I ning ; entrance. 1 Is'sye (ish'shụ). Egress; passage out. 8 BIT'TER-LY. Sorrowfully.
II. – A CHILD'S DREAM OF A STAR.
DICKENS. (Charles Dickens is a living English novelist, of great original genius and world-wide popularity. His most striking characteristic is a peculiar and original vein of humor. He also excels in scenes which paint sickness and death, especially of the lovely and young.]
1. THERE was once a child, and he strolled about a good deal, and thought of a number of things. He had a sister, who was a child too, and his constant companion. These two used to wonder all day long. They wondered at the beauty of the flowers; they wondered at the height and blueness of the sky; they wondered at the depth of the bright water; they wondered at the goodness and the power of God, who made the lovely world.
2. They used to say to one another, sometimes, “Supposing all the children upon earth were to die, would the flowers, and the water, and the sky, be sorry?” They believed they would be sorry. For, said they, the buds are the children of the flowers, and the little playful streams, that gambol down the hill-sides, are the children of the water; and the smallest bright specks, playing at hide-and-seek in the sky all night, must surely be the children of the stars; and they would all be grieved to Bee their playmates, the children of men, no more.
3. There was one clear, shining star, that used to como out in the sky before the rest, near the church spire', above the graves. It was larger and more beautiful, they thought, than all the others, and every night they watched for it, standing hand in hand at a window. Whoever saw it first, cried out, “I see the star!” And often they cried out both together, knowing so well when it would rise, and where. So they grew to be such friends with it, that, before lying down in their beds, they always looked out once again, to bid it good night; and when they were turning round to sleep, they used to say, “God bless the star!”
4. But while she was still very young, - 0, very, very young, — the sister drooped, and came to be so weak that she could no longer stand in the window at night; and then the child looked sadly out by himself, and, when he saw the star, turned round and said to the patient, pale race on the bed, “I see the star!” and then a smile would come upon the face, and a little, weak voice used to say, “God bless my brother and the star!”
5. And so the time came, — all too soon, — when the child looked out alone, and when there was no face on the bed; and when there was a little grave among the graves, not there before; and when the star made long rays down towards him, as he saw it through his tears.
6. Now, these rays were so bright, and they seemed to make such a shining way from earth to heaven, that when the child went to his solitary bed, he dreamed about the star; and he dreamed that, lying where he was, he saw a train of people taken up that sparkling4 road by angels. And the star, opening, showed him a great world of light, where many more such angels waited to receive them.
7. All these angels, who were waiting, turned their beaming eyes upon the people who were carried up into