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THE SONNET'S WOICE. A METRICAL LE88On BY THE SEASHORE.
Yon silvery billows breaking on the beach
A sonnet is a wave of melody:
Flows in the “octave"; then returning free,
Back to the deeps of Life's tumultuous sea
THE END OF A TRAGEDY. By W. G. ZEIGLER.
ARK BLANDELL mysteriously disappeared in the Summer of 1864. After a thorough but fruitless search of one year, I, his only son and sole heir, at the age of twenty-one came into the possession of a comfortable fortune. This was in Baltimore. Fifteen years elapsed, during which time the fate or whereabouts of my father still remained a dead secret. This strange and material incident in my life formed but one of the links in the career of one shrouded -- from birth in mysteries. I had never known or heard of my mother. Reared in a gloomy, ancient, moss-covered mansion, on one of the most solitary streets of the city, kept under the surveillance of a silent old male servant, tutored by a learned but stoical man until I reached the age of twenty, without companions and but few acquaintances, it is no wonder I grew up a man of retired and melancholic disposition. From earliest childhood shadows and fears crowded my confined way. My surroundings engendered a passion for gloomy, darkened places, and a morbid longing for anything beyond the real. These moody musings had their effect ; I was drawn into the world of the unknown, and at length found myself possessed of the power of communing with the dead; but in all my communings I learned naught of my father. That much is a confession ; now for the incidents I wish to relate. In the Fall of 1879, my health being in a precarious state, I was advised by my physician to try mountain air, as possibly it might be the true elixir to brace up a weakening constitution. I determined forthwith to spend a few months in North Carolina, among the loftiest ranges of the Appalachian System. The trip was accomplished, and two weeks had made a decided change in my condition. At the end of that time, feeling my strength equal to the undertaking, and knowing it would be further increased by such a course, I concluded to make a tour on foot through the most romantic sections of that romantic country. The desire to recover my health by these means was not the only incentive that led me on the tramp; it was more the intense passion within me for the gloomy and awful— not the beautiful—scenes in nature. One glowing afternoon, late in September, in the course
of my wanderings, I stopped for a short rest and a cool drink from a clear spring at a wayside house close upon the rugged, winding highway that leads along the Nautihala River, The scenery on my day's walk had been most magnificent. It had culminated at the point I had now reached in one of the grandest landscapes l had ever viewed, in reality or on canvas. Across the brown, withered garden, over the broken rails of the zigzag fence, my eyes wing their way to the opposite side of the bouldered road, where slim mountain ashes, water-birches and hemlocks stood sentineled along the rocky banks of the wild Nautihala, whose impetuous current, lashed to a silvery whiteness on its rough bed, shone sparkling in shade and sunlight. Then up to and over dark, rich forests, on toward the east, till, of a sudden, a great steep line of mountain-wall, mantled with massive pines, shot up nearly three thousand feet in height, and on its green perpendicular front struck the afternoon sun gloriously bright. And just in the centre of this ridge of rock was a ragged rent, forming a low-cut gap, and through and beyond, in the dim distance, purple ranges, misty under twenty miles of space, softened the rugged aspect of the foreground. White cumuli capped the far-away peaks; clear blue was the vault above. The farmhouse had passed its prime, and was on the sinking side of existence. Still, the interior, as I saw it through the open door, looked tidy. Houses are widely separated among the Nautihala mountains. I was then in the most romantic scenery of the eastern United States, No doubt, I thought, up this mad river, between cliffs that fairly support the clouds, could be discovered scenes to be unsurpassed in gloomy grandeur. Here the road left the river for ever, and plunged into a dense forest between parallel inclosing ranges. The farmhouse, I determined, if possible, to make my headquarters, while for a time I scoured the solitary paths of the mountains. No one but the bright-eyed, rosy-cheeked lass, who had given me a chair on the rough porch, and brought me a pail of cold water from the spring, seemed to be about the place. In answer to queries and requests, I learned that a faint trail led up the river; that the next house in that direction was distant twelve miles; that it was intensely wild ; that her father would be home in the evening, and if I wished I might leave my small bundle there while I took a short stroll, and on my return make a night stop. These arrangements made, I was again in the road, a moment after leaving it to wend my way up the river. As I had traveled but a short distance during the day, I was in trim for a long, rough walk—in the mood for a solitary one—and I decided to take it in spite of the knowledge that daylight could only for a short time be afforded me; but through the clear sky that stretched overhead a full autumnal moon would ride that night with almost the brightness of day. I therefore would be enabled to proceed on my way without any difficulty, and tho ramble would be rendered doubly enjoyable from its being in the most still and hallowed hours of the twenty-four. The path was a rugged one, but I found it no trouble to follow it. On, on I went through a wilderness that grew more picturesque and wild. The ranges on either side the river rose straight and close in dizzy height. The sun had been invisible to me for some time; a heavy shade was resting on the river, when, just at the time that twilight melts into night, I found myself on the entrance to a spot of gloomy and awful magnificence. I was then standing on the narrow path, one hundred
feet or more * river. This path led winding down over tumbled rocks, bare but for the luxuriant moss that covered them, until it struck the level of the stream. The mighty mountain on whose side I stood, still rising steeply to as grand a height as before, here drew back its encroaching feet, leaving a small semicircle of perhaps half an acre of level land, uncovered by trees, except a few black sirs that formed a dark grove at one corner, and two tall mountain-birches springing in the centre of the plot. Across the river, the opposite mountain rose with more frightful precipitousness than heretofore, and towering to a tremendous height, with black pines like unkempt locks on its stony brow, nodded dizzily over the wild waters that lashed along its base. Its face was matted in places with scraggy cedars, trailed over with running vines, and dripping here and there with water from many springs bubbling through fissures in the rocks. The scene was of a character to approach the supernatural, and strange enough to satisfy my soul in its morbid cravings. I descended the steep trail, crossed to the centre of the open glen, and seated myself on a mossed rock under one of the two birches. Deep darkness was gathering ; blacker grew the faces of the leaning mountains, and as from the bottom of an almost fathomless well I looked upward, the small strip of sky visible between the parallel ranges became fast set with stars. I thought not of going further on my walk, or of retracing my steps. By an inexplicable fascination I was held to the spot. Hours passed by while I remained seated there. The moon had entered on the scene, flooding it with mellow, ghostly light; only a breath of a breeze was circling through the pass; grandly roared the Nautihala close beside me, and the hour must have been near midnight, when a strange tremor, like those I feel when putting myself in the mesmeric trance, shook my frame." My eyes became riveted on the slope down which I had threaded my way into the glen. Even the faint tracing of the trail between the tumbled rocks was visible, for the moon shone full on that side the scene. Suddenly I saw the clear figure of a man issue from under the hemlock that waved at the sharp turn on the slope. He stood still at the moment he appeared, and seemed undecided whether to push on or retreat. His indecision lasted but a moment, and then he commenced the descent. At half way down the moon shone more luminously upon his person. At a glance I saw that he was not a mountaineer. A stiff black hat covered his head, his clothes were dark, and evidently a heavy cane was grasped in one of his hands. I could not see his face, for he leaned forward, closely scrutinizing the path. I know not why, but I thought not of hailing him. A sense of mystery seemed to pervade me, and everthing around me; still I thought not of dreams, ghosts, or of my communing spirit—the picture was too real. After an interval of cautious descent, the figure was at the foot of the steep, not forty yards from where I sat, an intent observer of all his movements. Gracious heavens ! I had seen the man before, but, strange as it may seem from what afterward happened, I
knew not where, or who it was I could not divine. His
form seemed familiar to me. His face I had not yet caught a glimpse of. Still I remained silent. Slowly he advanced. He was now just out from under the shadow thrown by the first birch, and close on the rocks lining the river. At that moment a freezing whistle,
like (but louder in its tone) one made by the wild wind
through the gratings of a sepulchre, sounded on the cool, clear air. The traveler on foot stopped and turned in his tracks. As he did so, a sharp rifle report rang out. The traveler staggered, threw up his hands, and swinging completely round, fell backward; and as he reeled and "fell, his face, thrown upward so the moonbeams struck it fairly, was for the first time visible to my eyes. It was the face of my missing father The features, form, all—it was he. I cannot explain my feelings. I had no control of my limbs, or of my speaking powers. I was chained by some great unknown to silence and the stone beneath me. Was he alive 2 No. He was a shadow, an unearthly visitant, for at the instant the shot was fired, plainly I saw the trees outlined on the opposite bank of the river directly through him / Motionless he lay there, as in reality, en the great sharp rocks, and the rapid waters lapped and licked the mossy edges of the marble blocks beneath him. With a seeming sob the breeze swept by, bending the long, lithe limbs of the two sentinel trees till they drooped like weeping willows; and the round moon, straight above, pale and yellow, poured down its trembling, melancholy light on the face of the apparition, rendering it more ghostly in its pallor, and showing a dark line leading from the centre of the forehead back into his silvery hair, and this line was lifeblood gushing from its broken fountain. Thus a minute passed, then a second figure appeared, this one from the gloom and shade of the grove of black firs. He was coming toward where the spectral corpse of my missing father lay. His was a slouching walk. He was roughly dressed—a battered hat, woolen shirt and pants, with the bottom of the latter in rough boots. He carried a long rifle in one of his hands. His form was no more of a shadow than was the first figure, but I saw on its first appearance that it was incorporeal. I studied his features as he advanced. Shaggy, red beard, broken nose, vicious eyes, and a square face was the study. He reached the body, laid down his gun, rubbed his hands gleefully, and with the complacency of an experienced murderer, filled a pipe and lighted it with a match which he drew from a box taken from the vest-pocket of the victim. With such a coolness was this done that even the trees, as if in sympathy with the bleeding body at his feet, seemed to shiver and cramp their limbs. And while he smoked, a hollow chuckle falling from his lips struck dismally on my ears, and in more hollow tones he spoke : “Ha, ha! a bull's-eye shot. That whistle did the trick for me to strike the centre o' his forehead. There's no mistakin' he's got money, as I seed by his looks as he passed by the house this morning. All 'ill be mine, too— ha, ha! Hit 'ud be a quare thing if Dick Nosoul couldn't track a man lost on the mountings. Money is money !” And he drew forth a pocketbook from the dying man's coat. “Hal wealth is satisfaction for the most iguorant, which I reckon I am.” These ghostly sentences, dropped in his soliloquizing as he searched his victim, were borne to me and imprinted on my mind in the tones in which they were uttered. “Ireckon he's done fer,” he continued. “Best let the clothes rot on him; they're too fine an' might tell tales. I'll sink him in the cesspool.” As the last sentence rolled from his lins, he commenced unwinding a rope or chain from around his waist. At that instant I came into command of myself. I felt myself awake as from a trance, Scarcely knowing what I did, with a cry I sprang toward the apparitions. Like a flash all had vanished. Not a thing but what nature had arrayed the scene in was about me. Dumbfounded, I retraced my steps to my former seat, and for a few minutes waited in vain for a reappearance, but none came. Shivering from the ordeal through which I had passed, I roused myself and decided that I had better attempt the return to the farmhouse. My progress at first was slow, but under the bright moonlight I pushed steadily forward. The train of my thoughts was naturally on the weird occurrence of the night. The fate of my father was revealed. Was his death capable of being revenged ? My soul cried for vengeance, but could vengeance be obtained ? Surely it could if the murderer was alive. But had not his ghost appeared to me! Truly his speaking appearance had been seen and heard; but was this necessarily his spirit—the spirit of the
THE FISHER's WIFE AND CHILD.
dead man 2 Might it not be a fantasm, simply an impression left there on the scene of an impressive occurrence by one of the actors concerned ; and that appearance therefore not being necessarily a returned soul, was not the murderer in existence 2 Could not the scene have been so vividly portrayed without both actors being in the land of spirits 2 These thoughts were advanced as conclusions in the form of questions. It was the reasoning of a spiritualist. I stumbled on. The walk consumed hours, in which I wandered again and again from the path; but ever the roar of the river acted as a guide, and I as often returned to the beaten trail. It must have been near morning when, in an exhausted condition, I reached the traveled road, caught sight of the welcome outlines of the farmhouse, and was soon on its projecting porch. The door was shut, but not fastened. I opened it, stepped inside, and then spoke while standing in the darkness. “Halloo ! Any one awake here 2 Halloo ! I'm a late caller, but I'd like accommodations, nevertheless.” It had the desired effect. I heard what sounded like some one turning over in bed. A voice then returned : “Oh, ah I I s'pose this be the man Mary spoke on. Find a cheer, and I'll try an’ skeer up a leetle blaze from the coals.” It seemed as though a shock of paralysis had that instant touched me. For a moment my pulses stopped their beat, but immediately the attack passed off. What caused it 2 The voice that sounded in the darkness of that strange farmhouse was the voice I had heard before that same night on the bank of the Nautihala. There was no mistaking it. I was in the living presence of Dick Nosoul; I was confused, and could decide on no definite action. Like a stone man I stood while the smoldering coals glowed, the sparks flew upward, and a bright fire sprang up in the fireplace. The room was feebly illumined, and the face and form of the man were visible. The apparition had been a speaking likeness of the real. “Hit seems as though ye 'pears to be tired,” said the man, as he stood, half attired, before me. “Better sit down, get warmed, an' then slip into thet room thar, whar ye'll find a bed.”
Mwynhyrbara DVS EN 1731 175 ASHANAM SHOES AND THEIR HISTORY.- A FRENCH SHOEMAKER'S IN THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY.- SEE PAGE 39. In my indecision I moved toward the fire, seated myself, was spread for me, to which I did scanty justice ; and und, while doing so, heard the return of the party to his while the woman stood near, watching me with apparent bed. What course should I pursue ?
curiosity, I ventured a few questions. The late and sudden knowledge of my father's fate, “Your name, I believe, is Nosoul ?" conpled with this unexpected meeting with one on whose “I reckon 'tis," she answered. head rested the crime, rouseil a still deeper desire for “Where is your husband, Dick Nosoul ? Is he near revenge than had before pervaded me, extinguished all here?" thoughts of reason, and nearly obliterated the conse “No; he's gone to salt the cattle on High Rock Mounquences which I knew must result from a rash act on my tain, an' won't be back till late in the evening.” part.
“Did any one go with him ?” This latter thought of self was all that checked me in "No." the commission of a crime that every other sentiment "Where is this mountain you speak of ?" within me urged me to commit. I would wait, wait, and “Up thar," and she pointed through the open door away kill him in secret, as he had killed my father!
up the river ; "beyond this first peak, whar the ridge gits Shudder as the reader may at this open confession, put highest, close on the river.”
“Is there a trail ?" “Wby, yes ; the same one ye war on last night. Follow hit till whar the first branch o'water falls over the cliff an' crosses the path before you; then right arter that turn up a ravine ; but from thar the trail is faint. · Ye may reach the mounting-top by goin' on up all the time, but the
yourself in what was then my situation. If you are a man of strong passion, intelligence, and not prone to let your rights be trampled under foot, imagine your course.
I arose and entered the room assigned me. Fears of my personal safety, I know not wby, but I had none. Thoughts of the startling chain of supernatural events that had been unwound that night prevented me from dropping immediately to sleep; but Nature over body and brain,
CHINESE SHOES. tired and worried by the doings of the day and night, triumphed, and I fell into a sound slumber.
rub'll be in gettin' back. Ye'll be lost sure ; an'ef ye air, I awoke at a late hour. The girl of the previous after thar's no salvation.” noon's acquaintance and her mother were the only persons Lost! I cared pot. If lost, it would be on my return. then in the house, the men folks having left. A breakfast Before that, my object would undoubtedly have been