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"I don't know," replied Spriggins, faintly.
He obeyed the rash advice. But no sooner did Fanny feel the whip, than like Gilpin,
“ Away went Spriggins out of breath,
And sore against his will”greatly to the delight of all the students, and to the mortification of Miss Cribbs. She in vain endeavored to keep up with him, while the ridiculousness of the scene was increased by some impertinent youth in North Middle, who shouted from the window, “A race! two to one on Spriggins.”
Meanwhile our hero sped on his rapid way through College Street, flying two feet into the air at every step of his horse. He expected every moment to be thrown off; so he clung with the tenacity of desperation, grasping the pommel of the saddle in one hand, while the other held the rein. Down the street he went, his coat tails streaming in the wind, his long hair floating on the breeze. The boys stopped, stared and hurrahed; and, as Miss Cribbs came cantering after, one of them said,
“Bless me, Bill, if them 'ere aint the same man and woman as was caught in the graveyard. P'raps if I stop his horse he'll give me another quarter."
Accordingly the freckled-faced boy with dilapidated trowsers ran after Spriggins, waving a torn remnant of a hat, and shouting “Whoa! Whoa!” at the top of his voice. Whether Fanny heeded this injunction, or thought it best of her own accord to slacken her pace, is not certainly known. At any rate, near the entrance of Tutor's Lane, she subsided into a walk so suddenly, as to throw Spriggings nearly over her head. Miss Cribbs soon came up, glowing with mortification and excitement.
“Mr. Spriggins," said she, “can't you manage your horse! If you cannot, I think we had better return."
“I think I shall have no further difficulty,” replied he, humbly. “ I don't see what was the matter."
“Well,” said she, “if you think you can manage your horse I would like to finish the ride. But pray don't subject me to any more such ridiculous scenes.” Then thinking she had spoken rather harshly, she added, “ But one cannot help such things sometimes, especially with a
“I am sorry
"I think I shall have no further difficulty, as I said before, but," he added, a little touched by what she had said, “if you wish it we will return."
“ If you please,” answered she, we will ride on. I have all confidence in your ability. Pardon my hasty words.” And the mollified Spriggins rode on. But better, far better, would it have been if he had returned. Is it asked why? For the following reason.
They had not gone far in Tutor's Lane before Spriggins' horse manifested symptoms of uneasiness. She would “shy out” toward every grassy plot they passed. He could listen to none of his fair companion's conversation, so busily was he occupied in keeping his horse in the road. At last Miss Cribbs noticed his perplexity, and said inquiringly,
“ Your horse appears to trouble you again ?" “ Yes, I think we must go back," said he, “I can't get along with her.”
that you succeed no better," answered she. “I think we may as well turn back immediately."
But no sooner did Fanny feel the rein pulled to turn her around, than, darting out on one side of the road, she proceeded to put in execution the feat that she had been contemplating,—that of rolling. Roll she would, though Spriggins shouted and twitched as before. He dared not use his whip for fear of another flight, so to escape breaking his leg he jumped from the horse and let her roll.
Miss Cribbs looked vexed and yet tried to conceal her vexation by laughing nervously.
“ I am glad there is no one looking on,” said she. “Catch your horse as soon as you can, Mr. Spriggins, and let us ride home.”
But when Fanny had finished her rolling she began to feed. No sooner did Spriggins approach her with the intention of capture, than she threw up her head, kicked up her heels, and trotted off to another place. Again and again was the process repeated with the like result. Each time, however, they came nearer the city. At last Miss Cribbs lost all patience.
“Mr. Spriggins," said she, “never ask a lady to ride with you again till you have learned to ride yourself. I shall return alone. Good bye.” So saying she rode away, leaving Spriggins in loneliness and despair.
He made one or two more endeavors to catch his horse, but they were unsuccessful. He then went after some assistance, and soon met the two boys before mentioned. With their assistance he soon captured the straying Fanny.
Spriggins gave the boy with the dilapidated trowsers twenty-five
cents for riding her to the livery stable, while Peleg Washington Spriggins himself walked home in a state of mind better imagined than described.
He met Miss Cribbs in the street next day, and she gave him a most decided cut.
Respect for the Dead.
The dead are sleeping everywhere. The care-worn wanderer, and the infant that has seen its single summer's sun, though they rest in the same slumber, rest not together. The grave allows not even the luxury of communication to its prisoners. As each enters the narrow house alone, he dwells alone forever. Each separate inhabitant of the buried world owns his peculiar resting place. The countless throng of the departed have peopled every recess of the earth, yet no two sleep together. The churchyard bones lie near each other, yet they are all apart. And in sea, and snow, and desert,—on mountain top and beneath green churchyard turf sleep on the dead, yet sleep alone.
And for this lone and silent sleep men have a due, though ofttimes unconscious reverence. They have said from their inmost hearts, from an impulse too deep and too near the life for reason's probing, that for the dead there should be a resting place. They have felt that earth, the mother of us all, was but receiving us back to the bosom that nourished us, when she opened her arms to receive her children. They have deemed it sacrilege to refuse the last rites to the departed, and fancied that to impious neglect, their shades appeared in forms of terror from wandering on the “Night's Plutonian shore." They have not agreed in a cold uniformity of observance, but in forms strange, and sad, and beautiful they have expressed the universal feeling of the heart. The Dane of old whose spirit partook of the fierceness and grandeur of his fancied gods, sought his grave in the sea. In the thickest of the fight, and as he knows, the fatal fight, he cries : “ Thou Danish path of fame and might,
Oh, gloomy sea !
Oh, gloomy sea!
With thee ! And many a sailor, who has made its billows his home, and its tumult his delight, longs for no more quiet tomb than the depths of its everlasting waters.
In old times, they burned the body, and it vanished like the spirit in the clouds of funeral smoke, and turned again into that vital air which
was the support of all living things, and the fancied abode and passage way of the innumerable spirits of the skies. Thus all that was mortal of the poet Shelly mingled again with its kindred ætherial substance, while his ashes were buried beneath the walls of Rome, and under his loved Italian sky. There is a fascination about such funeral rites, and we are tempted to return to the simple service of the Greek, who preserved the object of affection from the horrors of corruption, and deposited in a funeral urn the ashes of the dead.
Yet the Christian service has its saddening charms, and many a heart while it shudders at the sea's cold sepulchre or at the funeral urn, will yet love the Burial Service, and the quiet beauty of the churchyard in its vernal glories. John Keats, in his sorrows of the heart, could yet feel and long for its calm repose, when he said that he "felt the daisies growing over him."
Thus all times and classes have felt the respect due to the remains of the departed. The starving wretches who toil in English mines lay up the savings of a short and pitiful life, that after death, which daily threatens in the fire damp or in the surer progress of consumptive maladies, they may but meet with the rites of burial. And the Irish mother who strangles her child in the madness of her famine, that she may obtain the assistance of the “ Burial associations,” illustrates that innate principle of man's nature which makes it the sad privilege of bereaved affection and the duty even of the stranger to care for the dead.
Whence comes this feeling and what influence does it exert upon us ?
It was the remark of an accomplished scholar that the word “Death” surpasses all others in the language, in strange and terrible significance. It has a sound that none other has ; once heard, it cannot be forgotten. It veils too, an idea the most solemn in all its associations that the mind can conceive of here. To the wondering gaze of childhood, death has a strange and awful brow, stern and pitiless; and too often has unsolaced grief weighed the young heart down. Our childish, seemingly inborn fears become the settled reverence of maturity, and even to him who gazes calmly through the gates of life into brighter realms beyond, there is an uncertain foreboding, which while it does not weaken faith makes death a solemn and an awful change.
Besides the innate fear, the natural change that marks the departure of the spirit is saddening and awe-inspiring.
“That sad and shrouded eye
That fires not, wins not, weeps not now,