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out of the swamp, he was a sight to be seed. Mud all over—plastered from top to toe, and the little green frogs stickin' on to at every pint. Napoleon said he 'd got his uniform on. He was considerable mortified, and considerable mad; and I overheerd him sayin' somethin' about its bein' better for old women to stay to hum.
"That's a fact, Gen'ral!" sez I. "Why didn't you stay?"
The Gen'ral he never took any notice of what I sed, but made the best of his way home, and in a half an hour he cum back agin, all drest up in another suit. We went to Hall's store, and sot on the barrels and boxes, and made bokays and crowners, and talked and injoyed ourselves. Napoleon and Mary Ann were dreadful peart together, and I heerd him tell her that there war'n't a May flower in all creation that would compare with her I
Arter we 'd got the things all fixed, we started to march to the common—the band of musicfellers playin', and the flags a-blowin' in the wind. Mr. Hall walked with me a pieoe of the way; but he had to see to somethin', he said, and he brought up his nephew, from New York, and produced him to me. Mr. Fitzy Greene his name was.
"Wall, Mrs. Bordergrass, so it seems that we are at last on root for the common," sez he.
"On a root ?" sez I. "Bless your soul, Mr. Fitzy Greene, no we ain't; we 're on the road!"
"I beg your pardon, marin," sez he; "I was mistaken!"
"Wall, no wonder," sez I; "it's dark enuff to mistaken anybody; and mebby yon 're nigh sighted? some folks is! Now Julietta Jane can't see an inch afore her nose, but she won't own it, because, ye see, she wants everybody to think she 's parfect I"
"Indeed; I regret the accident very much. It must be very sad I" sez he.
'' Land sake I what accident's happened now, I wonder? Another steamboat bust ?" sez I.
"O no," sez he; "don't be alarmed; I was only sympathizin' with Julietta Jane."
"I'm obliged to ye, I'm shore," sez I; "and as to bein' alarmed, why, I never borrer the least mite of trouble I Now, the other day, when I lent my flat-irons to yer Aunt Hall, I knowed they 'd be ruinated, but I didn't mourn about it. 'They 're in the hands of Providence,' sez I; and share enuft" they was; for yesterday she brunged 'em home with both handles missin'."
By this time we 'd got to the common; and there was seats all built up behind the great
pole, and a table sot out the grandest that ever was I It actilly made my mouth water to see it. The May-pole was as high as a libertypole; sot rite up in the middle of the lot, and hung over with wreaths of spruce, and evergreen, and red ribbins! It looked mighty nice, I can tell you; and made anybody, with the blood of the patriarchs in their bosoms, think of the times that tried men's souls; when Columbus went a-sailin' clean on to America, when he didn't know there was sich a place anywhere. Land sake I what would have become of Watermelonville if he hadn't diskivered America 1
Wall, to cum back to the pint, there was quite a hullabaloo about choosing a gal for the Queen o' May. Every one wanted his own way; and every gal wanted to be queen; and they got into quite an annermated disgression about it. Everybody was a-talkin' to once, and they made more noise than the tower of Babel.
"Let Mr. Fitzy Greene choose the queen!" sez a voice louder 'n the rest.
"Yes, yes 1 let Mr. Fitzy Greene select I" sez a dozen voices all together. And Mr. Fitzy Greene stepped out, and begun to look up and down the rows of gals, and feel of his whiskers to an orful rate.
"Don't!" sez I. "You '11 get 'em all out; and there 's no great quantity of 'em now 1"
He looked round at everybody, but I guess he didn't know I spoke, for he didn't say nothin', but kept on starin' at the feminines.
"Ahem! hem!" sez he, clearin' his throat; "wall, railly, there's so many angelic syllabubs here, that I can't fix my eyes on one more luminary than another I"
"Land sake, Mr. Fitzy Greene 1" sez I, "ohoose the one you love the best!"
"There is little difficulty in doing that!" sez he, making a flourish at me. "Mrs. Bordergrass, I select you I"
"Gracious goodness !" sez I; "you mustn't love me! I 'm a married woman with two children I Reuben would knock the breath out of your body if he knowed it!"
I was aotilly skairt; but the folks only Lifted, and said Reuben needn't know it. But my conscience wouldn't be easy on it; ye Bee, I didn't like the idee of bein' desateful to my husband. It ain't a good plan. Mr. Fitzy Greene and some of the others took a big wreath of posies, and hemlock, and sich, and put it rite onto my head—near about ruinated my new oap I and then they put bokays into my apron strings, and bokays into my hair, and all over me, till I felt like Jest nothin' at all, and
didn't know whether I was myself or somebody else.
They sot me up on a pile of pine boughs— they called it a throne—but it war'n't a mite easy settin' there, and the pitch stuck my gownd fast: and then they all popped down on their knees, and called me "Yer majesty," and "Yer Highness, " till I thought they'd all turned into crazytics. Just as the most of 'em was agettin' up, Renben Bordergrass rushed onto the common, pantin' and puffin' like all possest! My heart stood stock still, for I was skairt nigh about out of my senses—Reuben has got an orfal temper when it is up!
"Gracious!" sez I, "I guess I've ketched it, now!"
"Phena," sez Renben, rushin' rite through the company, and grabbin' me by the arm— "Phena, what are they a-doin' to ye?"
"Nothin'," sez I, "only crownin' of me!"
"It's no such thing!" sez he; "they're a gwine to burn ye at the stake, jest as they did Juhu Rogers; and I 'll murder every one of 'em if they don't stop it! Phena," sez he, "you're my fast and last beloved, and I 'll cut the dickens but I 'll save you I Liberty or death!" sez he, in an airthquake voice.
"Massy on us," sez I, "the man's cemented !''
Renben he held on to my arm like the toothache, and dragged me rite off of the heap of brush, and after him at a smashin' rate. He
kicked right and left, at every body that stood in his way, and with his hair a-flyin', and his mouth wide open, he went on. Mr. Fitzy Greene tried to perpose between us, but it wasn't no use; Reuben trod down everything, and my crowners and flummadiddles flew in every direction. I was jest as mortified as anybody could be, but Reuben said that was precisely the way they did in books—the heroes allers reskewed the heroesses, and at the cost of his life, he was bound to do jest as they did!
I gin yer Uncle Reuben a real lectur' when we got home, and exploterated things to him, and I think he was a leetle mite ashamed of his actions.
"Wall, Phena," sez he, "I thought they weren't doin' of ye any good, and to tell the truth I hain't liked the idee of Deacon Grant's toteing over here to ask you to go! You know, Phena, that the deacon is as perlite as an organ grinder to the wimmen!"
Only think of Reuben's being jellus! Goodness knows I never had a thought of anybody but Reuben when he was a-livin', but I don't know as it's any hurt to be sociable with onmarried men, now poor Renben's dead and gone! I never shall marry agin—of course not—I couldn't think of dedicatin' Renben's blessed memory so much, but I do think a sight of Deacon Grant'b poor, motherless, orfan children!
BY AUGUSTA H. fORTHRf.
Wi are wont to look upon a great city with astonishment and admiration; it seems to us a vast museum of art, an aggregation of the wonders of civilization. And yet we cannot walk the length of a single street without beholding many things strongly suggestive of the age of barbarism; indeed, I take the responsibility of asserting that this very age is itself the age of barbarism ; for, look yon, now, the shop upon the corner here is a barber's shop, and the window is full of barberous-looking objects. Here is a row of wig-blocks; some of them are provided with faces, features, and complexions such as we are in the habit of wearing, while others seem to be in a transition state, not yet having fully assumed the likeness of our humanity. Complexions have they, but no features, save that in the middle of where
the face will be when the thing emerges from its present tadpole state is a slight prominence to mark the location of the nose. I suppose that in process of time the other features will take sight by this prominence, and gradually marshall themselves into proper shape and position around it. But, whatever be the present privations of these singular-looking objects, they are spared one great trial—the inconveniencn and mortification attendant upon premature baldness. "On the top of the head," where the hair "ought to grow," it does, grow, glossy and abundant. So we may rest assured that these piles of ringlets lying about here were not cut from their temples. Here is a pair of moust aches —I wonder whose lip has been robbed of this pretty ornament f Perhaps it was two Tartar's, perhaps the very one that Witch No. 3 in Mac
lieth would have chosen as an ingredient in a curtain famous mess of broth, in the concoction of which she officiated as head cook. I need not here give her receipt for that same pottage; it is known the world over. There is lying hair in all kinds of shapes, braids, bands, curls; and suspended from a string across the window is a mass in no shape at all—long, loose, untrimmed; does not the sight of this remind us of the fearful-looking objects sometimes seen in the cabin of the savage Indian warrior? I have a horrible fear that even here some unfortunate female has been scalped; and behind that half undrawn curtain I see the wretch who I am confident has done the awful deed. Even now he has in his hand a sharp, glittering razor, while in the seat before him sits a helplesslooking gentleman, waiting, for aught I know, to have his throat cut.
One of these wig-blocks bears the face and features of a young lady. Her eyes are blue, her cheeks are rosy, and she is, withal, so pretty that we are almost willing to believe her to be a reality. Our imagination is pained at the thought of applying to her the remarkable lines of one of our earliest New England versifiers of the Psalms of David. Speaking of the idols of the heathen, he says :—
"Eyes have they, but they gee not;
To this pretty young lady, if she only had a body, we would willingly accord an entity, a personality. Why is she thus bereft of her body, and who has done it? That wretch with the razor in his hand? And did he sell it to the doctor for dissection? Ah, no! for I see that the cloak manufacturer opposite has got it. You can see it now, standing in his store, dressed in pink cambric skirts, and wearing on the shoulders a splendid cloth cape. But do not suppose that the privilege of wearing handsome clothing, and being exhibited by half a dozen white-handed clerks, and admired by that group of ladies is enough to compensate the young woman for this unnatural divorce of her head from her body. What seems very remarkable is this, that those ladies, though they continue to look so critically at the hang of her cloak, and mark so carefully every fold and button, do not seem to notice that she has lost her head. The fact is, they are so accustomed to such sights, they so constantly frequent these "habitations of cruelty" that their hearts are as hard as a piece of the "nether millstone."
Next door is the office of a dentist. He is a wonderful man in his way. Have your grinders ceased because they are few f he will supply
all vacancies. Are they only decayed and full of holes? he will prosecute therein a series of mining operations, and then fill in with the precious metal till you are worth more than you ever were before. But you see what he has for a sign of his calling—a whole set of teeth, upper and under j aw. I wonder how he came by them. Is he so wicked as sometimes to take advantage of the helplessness of a patient, and rob him of these, his only natural weapons of offence and defence? He certainly might do so, if he pleased; I do not think we can place ourselves in any situation whatever where we are so entirely at the mercy of another as when we are under the hands of a dentist. In the beginning he cuts off all chance for remonstrance on our part by taking possession of our mouth, the organ by which we usually make known our miseries. We are not allowed even to "grin and bear it," for he holds fast to our jaw. We must bear it as we can, and not increase the tension of a muscle. We are as helpless and incapable as clay in the hands of the potter, our free moral agency is gone, our personal dignity of no account whatever. If we retain any degree of consciousness, it only helps us to recognize the pleasant fact that we are gagged, bound and delivered over to our tormentor. That terrible dentist's chair! If it have nerves, as I mistrust it has, and becomes thereby a sympathetic partaker of all the tortures inflicted and endured within its capacious depths, how fearful must be the sum total of its experience!
Presently we come to the office of the corn doctor. His sign has for a device a bare human foot, cut off at the ankle. So that's the way he "removes corns without pain;" cuts off the foot first. He may, without much risk, warrant that the "corns will not reappear." But I am resolved, if my foot shall offend me, to bear the offence as meekly as I can rather than try his desperate remedy.
Leaning against one of the glasses of colored liquid in the apothecary's window is a placard which reads thus — "Rat Exterminator sold here." It is my opinion that whoever undertakes to exterminate the family of rats fails to comprehend fully the vastness of the undertaking. We must not suppose, because we came here poor pilgrims, and "drave out the Canaanites before us," that we can drive out everything that is likely to interfere with our calculations. Supposing we have the power, I am not sure that we have the right to exterminate a family which is perhaps as respectably ancient as our own. Rats have, no THE SONG OF THE "LOCOMOTIVE.'
doubt existed in this world ever since it was made; there is certainly presumptive evidence to show that Noah provided against the extinction of the race at the Deluge by furnishing lodging room and refreshments to one pair in the Ark. If he failed to do this, they were certainly shrewd enough to get on board unbeknown to him, and, once on board, their naturally strong foraging propensities would insure them a subsistence. Rats are not afraid to venture on board of any craft that floats. I have no doubt that they, with the other gentry, "went over with William the Conqueror," nor that they were in the Mayflower, and came ashore here with the Pilgrim Fathers. Probably they fondly hope to remain here as long as the descendants of the Pilgrims shall last. Yet this apothecary coolly talks of exterminating them.
Now we have reached that part of the street which runs out into the suburbs, and private residences begin to appear. Here is one built in picturesque style. With its ample grounds filled with shrubbery, it would look very inviting, but, alas! on either side of the gateway is a heavy stone pillar, and on the top of each pillar is stationed a bronze lion, in the attitude of repose, it is true; but that they are wide awake I have not the least doubt. These two fierce animals 'are probably expected to keep guard over the premises; if we should venture too near, I suppose they would roar at us; if we should attempt to pass through the gate, they would probably pounce down upon us. But, important as their mission undoubtedly is, their life must be, on the whole, rather dull; much of the time, certainly, they can have nothing better to do than to practice fierce looks and sharpen their claws, in anticipation of an adversary. I wonder if the lady of this castlelike mansion has any more variety to her life. I wonder if, like the old-time models, she occupies herself exclusively in manufacturing tapestry and watching impatiently for her lord's return. By and by I suppose she will see him, all clad in steel, riding through this gateway at the head of his retainers. But lo! even now he comes—that is, his thin, dyspeptic body comes, and so much of his soul as he has not left locked up with his ledgers. At his approach vanishes entirely this vision of the Middle Ages. An instant since, I thought I saw griffins and dragons peeping forth from this wall, and inviting us to accompany them on an excursion to an age yet more remote, but at the sight of modern broadcloth they fled. Vol. Lxiv.—5
They fed me with fire and heap'd me with coal,
Oh, then, when I thought to be free and go forth—
I was free—yet a slave—as I hurried along, Still dragging behind me that pale hnman throng; I knew that they fear'd me, and laughed out loud As I thought of that trembling, fear-shaken crowd. We soon left tho town, black and smoking behind; And I bore them along in the teeth of the wind That went howling and roaring among the tall trees, But further on fell to a calm, sighing breeze. For thro' valleys with meadow and smiling fields deck'd, I now hurried onward, free, mad, and unchecked ; Then a high mountain suddenly rose on the view— , I doubted I could not go over or through; And to seek a way round It I felt was too late— I was bound to one road and that fearfully straight; I deem'd that I now. should be dashed in the air, And gave what I thought my last shriek of despair; In a moment a cavern, wide, awful, and black, I was forced to plunge into—I could not turn back.
Still forward I sped through that dim dreary place, As though with myself I were running a race; For nothing opposed me, none crossed my long path— All seemed to have fled far away from my wrath. Soon a shrink, like my own, woke the cavern's repose, And a deep rumbling noise in the distance arose; Then I saw coming onward a dull, glowing light, That luridly lit up the hideous night; I saw I 'd a brother—we laughed as we pass'd, For our greeting was quick as the rush of the blast.
My strength and my power so proudly I knew, |
That I strove to be rid of the load which I drew;
Ancibst But Good.—At thy first entrance upon thy estate keep a low sail, that thou mayest rise with honor; thou canst not decline without shame; he that begins where his father ends will end where his father began.
"In two months—mind, now; I shall not wait a day longer."
"Oh, I cannot"—she could not say "be married" yet; she blushed with the bare thought—"leave aunty, you know, so soon."
"And how long would you like to be separated from me, little girl, if you had your own way?"
That was putting the question in another form; she did not want to be separated a day, for that matter. Two months even seemed a terrible dreariness, but sixmonths'engagements were thought about right in Rockville, where Maria Fierson had spent most of her days; quite as little time as would suffice for the mountains of plain sewing that always precede a wedding. And then it was all so sudden; she had only known Morgan Ash six weeks, and they had been two days engaged; he was talking about being married already. It was very delightful to be singled out, and waited upon, and cared for by the finest-looking man in the neighborhood; and, after she had begun to look for him, and be disappointed if he did not come, or feel a horribly gnawing pain if he sat or walked with any one else, and to watch his face when he could not see it, and to think his voice the deepest, richest voice she had ever listened to, it was more than delightful, unspeakable happiness to be told by him that he had loved her from the first moment they had met on that memorable picnic, and be implored to love him in return. It was entreaty wasted on the part of Morgan Ash, special pleader as he aspired to be. Marie—as lie had called her for the last week whenever there was no one by to hear—had not the least intention of denying his suit. She had always looked forward to being loved and engaged at pome time in her life, for she had an affectionate nature, that craved an object for its devotion. She thought those of her acquaintances who were engaged the most enviable of people; they had some one to take them everywhere, without any talk being made about it; they were constantly receiving beautiful presents, and Marie had a genuine girl's love for trinkets, and beautiful books and pictures, and bouquets. Then those charming visits; if the lover did
not happen to reside at Rockville, every one knew that he had come, for "brother," or "uncle," or "Cousin Will" had met him at the station, and when Marie was "tying her bonnet under her chin," for church-going service, she would see the happy pair pass, arm in arm, looking like Adam and Eve restored to Paradise, and clothed much more becomingly than when they had left it.
When Morgan Ash took a slender little chased ring from his watch-chain, and put it on her hand, and said, "So long as you wear this, Marie, you are mine," visions of such delightful things passed through her mind, but marriage seemed a long way off. The vista through which she looked at it was green and full of sunshine and singing birds, but it grew narrow and indistinct as it went on, and almost shut out the goal. Now, tchave it brought forward so suddenly, it almost took her breath away! She wished Morgan had not spoken of it; for two days and nights she had been perfectly happy, but this troubled her.
"You are not afraid of me, Marie?"
"0 no I" And she nestled closer to him, lest he should really think so, and be hurt.
"Then you are not afraid to trust yourself and your happiness to my keeping?"
"0 no; it isn't that."
"You need not be, Marie; it will be the first thought of my heart to make you happy always, you dear little creature."
And Morgan Ash really meant it, as he stroked her brown hair, and then held up the smooth, oval chin to look into her brown eyes. It was a happy face, blushing, and dimpling with smiles as she looked up at him. There were no lines of care, or ill-health, or sorrow; it was fresh and fair, and full in coloring and outline.
"We shall be the two happiest people in the world, Marie, and I shall be the most miserable man in existence until I have you safely by me."
All of which was very well in its way. It had been said and believed before, and it will bo again. When we wives look over the fact, and try to think over a day or a week that we should be quite willing to live over, I think we rest upon the time when we listened to such words as these, and said to ourselves. "What