Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub
[graphic]

KALPH WALDO EMERSON.— TAE SCHOOL OF PAILOSOPHY IN THE CHAPEL, ORCHARD GROUNDS, CONCORD. SEE PAGE 101.

AT BAY. The wind was blowing a gale outside, and the rain and and Harry laughed in spite of themselves at the girl's bail pattered threateningly against the windows; but the quickness of repartee. little group gathered round the glowing grate-fire in the “But what is the use, mamma, of thinking of things pleasantest of libraries could afford to clap their hands and that you can't help ?-I mean, poor people." laugh at every fresh gust of wicked old Boreas.

“I suppose," put in Harry, “that if all the rich people They were all housed for the night. Everything about in the world would really do all they can for the poor, them was cheery and comfortable—so comfortable that it there wouldn't be any poverty at all. is scarcely strange that the younger members of the group “Not so much, of course," replied Mrs. Winchester; thought very little of the sufferings of the houseless. “ but there are very few of us, I fear, who do all we can. Harry Win

I want to do chester was

my share, but sixteen-a

such & storm bright, intel.

as this always ligent young

sets me wonman who

dering if I adored his

really have or mother, and

not. I know was upasually

by experience fond of his

what it is to two sisters,

Le poor and Maud and

cold and very Kate; the for.

lonely, and mer twelve

what it is to years old,

be in danger, while Kate,

too, not only the sun beans

from the fury of the family,

of the elewas eight

ments, but The girls

from wild were engaged

beasts and Inin a game of

dians. I am checkers.

quite sure, Harry sat on

children, that a hassock by

I can fully his mother's

appreciate side, and his

and sympalead rested in

thize with her lap, as

every descrirthey gazed

tion of suffersilently into

ing. the fire.

The girls "A terrible

stopped in the night for the

middle of the poor l” said

game,

openmamma, at

mouthed, with last, with

a surprise that shiver.

amounted to "Awful,"

consternation. said Maud,

Harry lifted crowning her

bis head from sister's man

his mother's as she spoke;

knee and "but, after

gazed at her mamma, AT BAY.-" I SNATCHED THE POKER FROM THE FIRE, AND, ARMED WITH THE IRON AT WHITE in silent wonwhat's the HEAT, I PROCEEDED TO WOLF NUMBER ONE."

der. use of thinking about 'em when we can't do 'em any “You, mamma ?" spoke Maud, at last. “You poor and

cold and hungry? Wh5, mamma, I thought we were "Um, um, um !” laughed Harry. “You'll have to send always rich.” Maod to some other school, mamma. Her “aren'ts' and “I knew better than that,” said Harry ; "but I had no 'orfuls' ara something really extraordinary."

idea it was so bad. Tell us something about it, won't you, "Extraordinary, Master Harry," replied Maud, with please ?" perfect good nature, "means more than ordinary, and “A storm like this," said the lady, "always takes me more than ordinary means better than others. So you back to a night in Minnesota, fifteen years ago this very have complimented me, after all, by the use of an improper Winter. At that time your father and Harry, who was then word."

a little over a year old, and myself, lived in a log cabin "Good for Mand !" said Kate, while Mirs. Winchester three miles from the nearest neighbor. We started West

[graphic]
[ocr errors]

all,

good ?"

from Massachusetts, where we both were born, you know, the most perfect quiet—or, rather, I should have enjoyed against the advice and wishes of all of our friends ; but it had it not been for a constant anticipation of evil. I your father was not at that time in very robust health, and supposed this was occasioned by my dread of the lodians his physician advised him to go to Minnesotin. We had a -a dread I never was able to conquer. It was very seldom little money, and with this bought a few acres of land, and that I saw a brave or a squaw approach, and they never partially stocked it. At first we had two workmen em- made any noise. ployed, and as the men-folks were rever far from the cabin, “The first thing I would know the latch would softly I seldem felt afraid. For the first few months everything lift, and an Indian would stand before me. My first went on admirably. Your father's health improved, and, visitor was Deerskin—a brave at least seven feet high and lonely as it was, we grew to like the place more than at large in proportion. Harry was asleep in my arms wben first I had supposed it possible. Scarcely a day passed be entered, and folding his blanket around him, surveyed but one or more Indians called upon us, but they were me from the corner of the room. I laid the baby in the friendly, and a little rice, a bit of sugar, or a cast-off gar. cradle, and, after carefully saluting him, proceeded to the ment sufficed to keep them all in good humor."

preparation of some corn-dodgers, which I knew he was "But you didn't give something to all the Indians that very partial to. I was also very hungry, and being in excalled upon you, did you ?" inquired Kate, who had now cellent health, was able to eat and digest the coarse stuff drawn close to her side.

without the slightest trouble. * Yes, always some little thing. Sometimes they would “When I had finished baking them, I passed an old tin bring a haunch of venison or some game to excbange for plate with several of the dodgers upon it to Deerskin. sugar and rice and meal, and we were usually glad to ac. The reason I gave him the oldest dish I had was because commodate them. We were told, when we first arrived in the Indians always take away with them whatever dish is Minnesota, that it would never do to turn them away placed before them. without the gift of some little thing, and we found it was "nerally I gave them whatever I desired them to have 80. I was always very careful also to be cordial in my in a paper or on a piece of board, but the dodgers were greetings, without appearing to be over-hospitable, for the greasy, and, besides, I knew Deerskin would be pleased Indians are sure to discover anything that savors of with the tin. patting-on for the occasion. As I was saying, for several “Good squaw,' he remarked, after eating the last one. months we got along exceedingly well, and then a change Squaw give brave more.' came. A disease broke out among the cattle, and in almost "I filled the tin again and passed it as politely as I evory case proved fatal. Then we were obliged to dis- would have done to a Crown Princ.. charge our hired men, and manage as well as we could Good squaw,' he said again ; 'no more.' alone. This made it very hard, and very dangerous for "And then he commenced a series of groans and strange me. It was at this time that we suffered for the common noises, which I decided after a moment were made in necessaries of life. Your father caught a terrible cold in imitation of some wild animal. his heroio endeavors to save his cattle, and was confined to “Do you mean wolves, Deerskin ?' I asked, when he the bouse for a month with a low fever that was excoed- finished. ingly distressing for both of us. What cattle remained I “Ho nodded his head gravely, but with satisfaction, had to feed. All the wood we burned I was obliged to and I know that this was what he meant. Then he made cat. It had been hauled into the shed and sawed, but not a motion before the windows and door, which was intended split, and this was by no means the hardest thing I had to warn me in regard to fastenings, and then left the cabin to do."

without another word. "Ob, mamma !" exclaimed the children, in chorus. “My first impulse was to run after him and ask him to

“Never mind, now," said the lady. “It was doubtless remain with me till my husband returned; but then I the best experience I could have had, hard as it was. It kney that I should be almost as afraid of him as of the brought out the weak points in my character and devel. wolves, so with a sensution of relief hard to describe I oped them. I do not regret it, my dears, and you must watched him cross the fields. not. The day preceding the evening I am going to tell “Some squaws dropped in in the course of the afteryou about had been more trying than usual. It seemed to noon, but they had notbing to say about wolves, and I me that a whole tribe of Indians had visited the cabin, the made up my mind that Deerskin might be mistaken in first one arriving before we were out of bed. We had a regard to their nearness. I was expecting your father little corn-meal in the closet and a part of a very reasty every minute, but seven o'clock came and he had not hum. Flour, sugar, molasses, and even our salt, had arrived. given out, and it became necessary for your father to go to "I thought of the wolves, and was frantic with terror. the nearest settlement to make some purchases. He Oh, how hard it was to remain quiet in this little but in the was not able to, but there seemed no alternative, and so wilderness, and reflect that even then my husband might I helped harness our only remaining horse, who was about be dead or dying, and the one who would have given her as able to make the journey as his master.

life to save his at any moment unable to render him the “I shall be home long before night,' said your father, slightest service." as he drove away, and I advise you to keep the door "I shouldn't think you'd think that was good for you," Jocked. I shall feel better to know that you are not said Kato, breaking in upon the story, her sweet eyes full entertaining any of these confounde:, treacherous red- of tears. sking.'

“No doubt it was, my dear, or I should not have bad to “I laughed, and promised to do the best I could, sure bear it,” her mother replied, taking the child's little hand that this advice was by no means wise. I bad seen enough in hers and kissing it fondly. of these strange creatures to know that a door locked “Well," she resumed, "ten o'clock came, and I was against them would be productive of the worst possible still alone. I sang and told stories to Harry in order to results. So I concluded to do as I thought best under keep him awake, for the stillness and suspense was more those most peculiar and trying circumstances.

than I conld bear. The dear little fellow would fall off to "For two hours after your father's departuro I enjored sleep once in a while in spite of my efforts, and then I

[graphic]

listened with my ear to the window until it seemed as if my heart would leap from my mouth,

ENTERTAINING COMPANY, “ I liad fastened the outside shutter as well as I conld, "A BIG feed "-thut is a "good time" in the estimation but I found there was a flaw in one of the bioges that of many. "What did you have for snpper ?" one asks of made it a little insecure. The window was also fastened another who has been "out to tea." In old-fashioned on the inside, and our only door was barred and bolted. settlements, where the neighbors go "visiting," spending

"About eleven o'clock I heard a noise which at first the afternoon, and busy with knitting or some light seemed like the sound of wagon-wheels. Then it ceased sewing, it is often suspected by the hostess that her as suddenly, and I knew I was mistaken. The agony of company has come more for the sake of the supper than that moment can never be described, nor the horror of the for the visit. Sometimes this suspicion is very unjustly next one, when I heard, just at the front of the cabin, a entertained. growling and groaning similar to that made by Deerskin I have myself been very much annoyed by the way in in the afternoon.

which friends I went to visit allowed themselves to be "Then I knew that the wolves were upon us. For a "cumbered with much serving," so that it was almost immoment, but only for a moment, I was like one stupefied. possible to have any reasonable conversation with them. Your father had taken his rifle with him, and there wasn't I like good things to eat when I am hungry, but I feel under the roof a weapon that I could use.

almost insulted if that is the only entertainment offered "I had just been singing 'Little Tommy Tucker' to me. I could get sometbing to eat at home, but rot my Harry, who preferred this to anything in “Mother friends' company. Goose,' when I first heard the growling. I threw him

The best visits among neighbors, in my opinion, are into his cradle, and looked about me for something to often those which are unannounced, and where the visi. fight with. A long poker stood by the fire, and this, with tors do not stay to tea, unless they are sure they are ont the slightest idea of what I should do with it, I desired to do so, and their staying will not make trouble plunged into the red-hot coals.

for the hostess. There is something decidedly vulgar in "I was not a moment too soon, for presently the the great "spread" sometimes made by those who enterwooden shatter flew buck, and a wolf—a horrible, open- tain company. So many kinds of cake and sauce-30 mouthed, blood-curdling creature-stared me in the face. much indigestible stuff to please the sense of taste and In a moment a pane of glass was shivered into atoms. make the visitors ill next day! One more moment, and not only this wolf, but a hundred And yet it is both natural and praiseworthy to wish to nuore, if I judged by the noise, would occupy the cabin. treat our friends to something nice in the way of food. I snatebed the poker from the fire, and thrust the tongs Good eating is a privilege as well as a duty. We must eat into the bottest place, and then, armed with the iron at to live, and so the first question in regard to our food is, white heat, I proceeded to wolf number one.

whether it will “nourish these frail bodies of ons," as "As the monster opened his horrible jaws, I thrust the many a man has prayed at the opening of a meal which poker into his throat. He fell, and another wolf took his could "nourish” only by the working of a miracle. Too place. Oh! would the tongs be hot by the time I needed great a variety is burdensome to both guests and hostese, them, and how should I get from the window to the fire in and it rarely proves the liberality of the one who entertime to prevent the bloodthirsty animals from entering? tains, but shows only too often a love of display and Fire wolves were driven away by the poker, and four, 1 spirit of emulation. There should be enough of everywas sure, had been killed.

thing, and each dish should be good of its kind, especially “For the moment there was a lull in hostilities, and just the bread and other solid articles. as I was making up my mind to jump for the tongs, a suc

If we cannot possibly get a meal for our visitors-the cession of quick shots assured me that somebody had come guests of an afternoon or a single day—without cooking to my relief. Then I heard my husband's voice, and five anything is they are with us which necessitates our minutes afterward he and Deerskiu stood in the cabin. absence from the room for much time, it is best to do so.

“I forgot to tell you that after your father started in the We knew of a case in which two ladies went to pass the day morning it had commenced to rain, and by the middle of with the newly married wife of an old friend. This wife the afternoon there was just such a storm as is raging to- was so overcome by the cccasion, and so "laid herself night. The horse had fallen a couple of miles from the out” to show her appreciation of it, that in preparing an settlement, and would not rise. Your father had to walk elaborate dinner she devoted herself so entirely to it that this distance over a horrible road, and then get help to her visitors only saw her at the table while the meal was return for the wagon.

being eaton, and went away disappointed at not having "All this had taken time, and so in various ways he had accomplished 'the object of their visit, which was to been delayed till the storm had subsided and the moon had become acquainted with their friends' wife. had risen. A mile from home he found Deerskin waiting

When we know beforehand that company is coming, we for him, to warn him of the danger to be apprehended can have everything ready to set upon the table, and so from the wolves.

not spend over half an hour getting supper. The supper ""Good squaw! No hart !' were the Indian's first ready, it is our part to make our guests feel perfectly free words as he entered the cabin. “Great Spirit take care to eat or not of the dishes set before them—to make them good sgsaw, and good squaw's papoose.'

feel by our cordial manners, rather than by words, that "Your father mended the window-shutter and boarded we like to share our best things with them, and are np the broken glass, and then I went to work and got pleased to have them enjoy them, while we will not sapper for the hungry travelers. We had a good cup of make them eat merely to please us, but let is talk about tea, some more dodgers and some molasses-cake, which something besides the food. Cheorful conversation at Deerskin was so fond of that he actually laughed aloud-table promotes digestion. the first time such a thing ever happened.

“The next morning there were found sixteen dead bodies, and when examined, five were found to have been The busybody labors without thanks, talks without killed hy my red-hot poker,”

credit, lives without love, and dies without tears.

[graphic]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ETT CECIL CARTERET'S HEART, -"HE CATCHES IER IN HIS ARMS, BUT THE WARM ENFOLDMENT MEETS WITH BUT THE COLDNESS OF DEATH."

CECIL CARTERET'S HEART. CECIL CARTERET eat in his office in Wall Street, puffing and who danced her way into your heart at the Odéon. But you will leisurely at his cigar, picked up, one after another, the come and see me for the sake of auld laug syne,' because I have letters that had just been brought down from the post- not a single friend or relative to welcome me to my native land, office. With rather an indolent air he cut open envelope because I long to see you; and am but too weak shadow of your

ever faithful

VASHTI." after envelope bearicg the post-marks of Liverpool, Havre, San Francisco and Genoa, not to mention half a dozen nearer home, for it was July, and presumably business and re-read the faintly violet-colored sheet before him. He

He threw aside his cigar-it had gone out. He rend was dull. Two from Doty, of Cincinnati

, circulars from recalled the old days when Vashti Yorke, a little American hotels at Saratoga and the Branch, and— Carteret starts danseuse, who had migrated to Paris and the Odéon, had back a bit, and his dark, level brows contract as he charmed him with her startling beauty and her elfish catches up a big, thick, square envelope, crested in gold, mirth. In fact, she had fascinated many another than the addressed to him in a thin but bold hand. is ,

young student of twenty-two, Artists raved over her, rious as he undoubtedly is about the contents,' he holds sculptors said she would be grand in a few years—the girl the letter between his fingers with an odd smile on his was but fifteen—and managers tried to capture the attrac

tion. lips, a smile half loathing reminiscence, half contemptu

Vashti did not dance so extraordinarily well ; but the ous amusement. Only for a few moments. He reaches it tall, lithe figure, the pallid, marble-like face, with the eyes toward the gas.jet

, and then, with a subtle, impulsive of fire, the sinuous grace—the promise, as it were, that movement, draws it back, tears it open and reads:

breathed like an impalpable atmosphere from "l'Ameri"ON BOARD YACHT FIDÈLE. caine"-were more her charms than any actual beauty of “CECIL: Although we parted ten years ago, I can see your performance. dark, clear eyes flash with surprise, and perhaps with scorn, as

“Whom you loved !" they fall upon this page of mine. It has been a weary life, Cecil, my boy. I sacrificed my all on the altar of my ambition, for I sacri

Carteret glanced down at the letter. He had loved her. ficed you, the only being I over loved, so help me God l–myself

, Oh, surely, madly; with every pulse of his young heart. my youth's freshness, and my dream of bliss. In less than a Ho remembered, with a small shudder, that he had gone month my pride had turned to bitterness, my triumph into mad through a mortal agony the day she was married to the regrets for the heart I had flung aside. Bat to-day, Cecil, I am Russian prince, with

his sixty odd years and his sixty odd toryska, in Russia before I left, three monihs ago. Will you not millions. Yes, he remembered it all, and, remembering, come and see me? I am faded, old, worn. In the Princess Kar- there came back upon his cheek the old hot Ansh, the old toryska you will never recognize the little Vashti whom you loved, I wild throb through all his veins, when he expected to see

« ПредишнаНапред »