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The old bell had it all its own way up in the steeple. It was the licensed noise of the day. In a long shed behind the church stood a score and half-score of wagons and chaises and carryalls, - the horses already beginning the forenoon's work of stamping, and whisking the flies. More were coming. Hiram Beers had “hitched up," and brought two loads with his new hack; and now, having secured the team, he stood with a few admiring young fellows about him, remarking on the people as they came up.
“There's Trowbridge: he'll git asleep afore the first prayer's over. I don't b’lieve he's heerd a sermon in ten years. I've seen him sleep standin' up in singin'.
“Here comes Deacon Marble! Smart old feller, ain't he ? Wouldn't think it jest to look at him! Face looks like an ear of last summer's sweet-corn, all dried up; but I tell ye he's got the juice in him yit! Aunt Polly's gittin' old, ain't she? They say she can't walk half the time; lost the use of her limbs : but it's all gone to her tongue. That's as good as a razor, and a sight better'n mine; for it never needs sharpenin'.
“Stand away, boys! there's 'Biah Cathcart. Good horses; not fast, but mighty strong, — just like the owner.”
And with that Hiram touched his new Sunday hat to Mrs. Cathcart and Alice; and, as he took the horses by the bits, he dropped his head, and gave the Cathcart boys a look of such awful solemnity, all except one eye, that they lost their sobriety. Barton alone remained sober as a judge.
“ Here comes “Dot-and-Go-One' and his wife. They're my kind o' Christians. She is a saint, at any rate.
“How is it with you, Tommy Taft ? ”
“Fair to middlin', thank’e. Such weather would make a handspike blossom, Hiram ? "
“Don't you think that's a leetle strong, Tommy, for Sunday? P'raps you mean afore it's cut ?”
“ Sartin: that's what I mean. But you mustn't stop me, Hiram. Parson Buell 'll be lookin' for me. He never begins till I git there."
“You mean you always git there 'fore he begins ? "
Next Hiram's prying eyes saw Mr. Turfmould, the sexton and undertaker, who seemed to be in a pensive meditation upon all the dead that he had ever buried. He looked upon men in a mild and pitying manner, as if he forgave them for being in good health. You could not help feeling that he gazed upon you with a professional eye, and saw just how you would look in the condition which was to him the most interesting period of a man's earthly state. He walked with a soft tread, as if he was always at a funeral; and, when he shook your hand, his left
hand half followed his right, as if he were about beginning to lay you out. He was one of the few men absorbed by his business, and who unconsciously measured all things from its standpoint.
“Good-morning, Mr. Turfmould! How's your health ? How's business with you ?”
“Good, the Lord be praised! I've no reason to complain." And he glided silently and smoothly into the church. “There comes Judge Bacon, white and ugly,” said the critical Hiram. “I wonder what he comes to meetin' for. Lord knows he needs it, — sly, slippery old sinner! Face's as white as a lily : his heart's as black as a chimney-flue afore it's cleaned. He'll get his flue burned out if he don't repent, that's certain. He don't believe the Bible : they say he don't believe in God. Wal, I guess it's pretty even between 'em. Shouldn't wonder if God didn't believe in him neither."
Hiram's prejudices were perhaps a little too severe. The judge was very selfish, but not otherwise bad. He would not do à positively bad deed if he could help it; but he neglected to do a great many good ones which other men with warm hearts would have done. But he made up in manner whatever he lacked in feeling. Dressed with unexceptionable propriety, his whole bearing was dignified and kind. No man in the village spoke more musically and gently; no one met you with a greater cordiality. His expressions of kind wishes, and his anxiety to serve you, needed only a single instance of hearty fulfillment to make Judge Bacon seem sincerely and unusually kind. But those who had most to do with him found that he was cold and selfish at heart, inflexible and unfeeling when seeking his rights or interests; and his selfishness was the more ghastly as it clothed itself in the language and manners of gentle good will.
“ He talks to you,” said Hiram, "just as Black Sam lathers you. A kind of smooth rubbing goes on, and you feel soft and satisfied with yourself, and sort o' lean to him, when he takes you by the nose, and shaves and shaves and shaves; and it's so smooth, that
But I tell you, when you git away, your skin smarts. You've been shaved.
“Here come the Bages and the Weekses, and a whole raft from Hardscrabble,” said Hiram, as five or six one-horse wagons drove up. At a glance, one could see that these were farmers who lived to work. They were spare in figure, brown in complexion, - every thing worn off but bone and muscle, — like ships with iron masts and wire rigging. They drove little nubbins of horses, tough and rough, that had never felt a blanket in winter, or known a leisure day in summer.
“Them fellers,” said Hiram, “is just like stones. I don't believe there's any blood or innards in 'em more’n in a crowbar.
They work early, and work all day, and in the night, and keep workin’; and never seem to get tired except Sunday, when they've nothin' to do. You know, when Fat Porter was buried, they couldn't git him into the hearse, and had to carry him with poles; and Weeks was one of the bearers. And they had a pretty heavy time of it, nigh about three hours, what with liftin' and fixin' him at the house, and fetchin' him to the church-door, and then carryin' him to the graveyard; and Weeks said he hadn't enjoyed a Sunday so much he couldn't tell when.
** Hiram,' sez he, 'I should like Sunday as well as week-days if I could work on it; but I git awful tired doin' nothin'.'
“They say,” said Hiram, " that they never do exactly die up in Hardscrabble. They work up and up, and grow thinner and thinner like a knife-blade, till they git so small, that some day they accidentally git misplaced or dropped, and nobody misses 'em : so that they die off in a general way like pins, without any one of 'em making a particular fuss about it. But I guess that ain't so," added Hiram with a grave air, as if fearing that he might mislead the young folks about him. Then, with demure authority, he said, “ Boys, go in: the bell's done tollin', and meetin's goin' to begin. Go in, and don't make a noise; and see you tell me where the text is. I've got to look after these horses, or they'll get mixed up."
This remark was called forth by a squeal and a rattle and backing of wagons, which showed that mischief was already brewing.
Having got the people all safely into church, Hiram bestowed his attention on the horses. The whole green was lined with horses. Every hitching-post, and the railing along the sidewalk and at the fronts of the stores, were closely occupied.
Seeing Pete leaning on Dr, Wentworth's gate, Hiram beckoned him over, and employed him in his general tour of inspection, as a bishop might employ his chaplain. Here the reins had been pulled under a horse's feet; next a horse had got his bridle off; another had backed and filled till the wagon-wheels were cramped; and at each position Hiram issued orders to Pete, who good-naturedly, and as a matter indisputable, did as he was ordered. If Hiram had told Pete to shoulder one of the horses, he would have made the attempt.
“Look here, Pete, if that ain't a shame, then there ain't no truth in the ten commandments! A man that'll drive a horse with a sore shoulder like that is a brute. Just feel how hot it is ! Pete, you get a bucket of water, and put a little warm in it to take off the chill, and wash that off, and take him out of harness. I swow! - and I don't know but I ought to say I swear! for it's Sunday work. Anyhow, if Blakesley don't know any better than that, he ought not to own a horse. There he is in church a-hearin' the gospel, and feelin' all over as comfortable as a cruller; and he's left his horse out here to the flies and the sun, with a shoulder that's a disgrace to Christianity. But that's the way with us pretty much all round: if we are good here, we are bad there. Folks's good and bad is like a board-teeter, - if one end goes up, t'other is sure to go down.”
It was curious to see Pete's superiority to Hiram in the matter of dogs. In several wagons lay the master's dog; and Hiram was not permitted to approach without dispute: but there was not a dog, big or little, cross or affectionate, that did not own the mysterious power that Pete had over animals. Even dogs in whom a sound conscience was bottomed on an ugly temper practiced a surly submission to Pete's familiarity.
It was nearly twelve o'clock when Dr. Wentworth, returning from his round of visits, found Hiram sitting on the fence, his labors over, and waiting for Dr. Buell to finish.
“Not in church, Hiram ? I'm afraid you've not been a good boy."
“ Don't know. Somebody must take care of the outside as well as inside of church. Dr. Buell rubs down the folks, and I rub the horses : he sees that their tacklin' is all right in there, and I do the same out here. Folks and animals are pretty much of a muchness; and they'll bear a sight of takin' care of.”
“Whose nag is that one, Hiram, the roan ?"
“ You needn't say nothin', doctor; but I thought it a pity so many horses shouldn't be doin' any thing. Of course, they don't know any thing about Sunday (it ain't like workin' a creatur' that reads the Bible): so I just slipped over to Skiddy's widder (she ain't been out doors this two months, and I knew she ought to have the air), and I gave her about a mile. She was afraid 'twould be breakin' Sunday. Not a bit,' says I. • Didn't the Lord go out Sundays, and set folks off with their beds on their backs ? and didn't he pull oxen and sheep out of ditches, and do all that sort of thing? If she'd knew that I took the deacon's team, she'd been worse afraid. But I knew the deacon would like it; and if Polly didn't, so much the better. I like to spite those folks that's too particular! There, doctor, there's the last hymn.”
It rose upon the air, softened by distance and the inclosure of the building, rose and fell in regular movement. Even Hiram's tongue ceased. The vireo in the tops of the elm hushed its shrill snatches. Again the hymn rose, and this time fuller and louder,
as if the whole congregation had caught the spirit. Men's and women's voices, and little children's, were in it. Hiram said, without any of his usual pertness,
“ Doctor, there's somethin' in folks singin' when outside the church that makes you feel as though you ought to be inside. Mebbe a fellow will be left outside up there when they're singin', if he don't look out."
When the last verse had ended, a pause and silence ensued. Then came a gentle bustle, a sound of pattering feet. Out shot a boy, and then two or three; and close upon them a bunch of men. The doors were wide open and thronged. The whole green was covered with people, and the sidewalks were crowded.
Tommy Taft met the minister at the door, and put out his great rough hand to shake.
“ Thankee, doctor; thankee: very well done. Couldn't do it better myself. It'll do good, — know it. Feel better myself. I need just such preachin', - mouldy old sinner, — need a scourin' about once a week. Drefful wicked to hev such doctrine, and not be no better; ain't it, doctor ? "
RALPH WALDO EMERSON.
BORN IN 1803, BOSTON, MASS.
Mr. Emerson now lives in Concord, Mass., and writes and lectures at his leisure. Many of his admirers regard him as the greatest thinker and philosopher of his time; others, admitting the power of his genius and his great originality of thought and expression, claim that one quality of a great writer and thinker is the ability to speak to the comprehension of the greatest number, and so do not yield their admiration freely to one whom they often can not fully understand. It is not to be denied that he stands forth as one of the foremost thinkers of the age; and his keen analysis of man and Nature, his comprehensive views of life and its issues, though expressed frequently in a style above the level of the rapid or general render, place him in the front rank of philosophical essayists. He has published several volumes of lectures and essays, and a volume of poems.
We select, from his * Representative Men," Napoleon, or the Man of the World, as serving to illustrate the wonderful vigor of his style, and at the same time being freest from metaphysical speculations and transcendentalism.
NAPOLEON; OR, THE MAN OF THE WORLD.
Among the eminent persons of the nineteenth century, Bonaparte is far the best known and the most powerful, and owes his predominance to the fidelity with which he expresses the tone of thought and belief, the aims of the masses of active and cultivated
It is Swedenborg's theory, that every organ is made up of