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POETRY BY THE SLICE.
threshold, perhaps, after this disclosure. Good ! And made a river of the road ;
The house, the barns, the gilded vane,
And drowned the upland and the plain, 'She had gone in and the door had closed upon
Through which the oak-trees, broad and high, her ere he could frame a sentence. The rector's
Like phantom ships went drifting by;
And, hidden behind a watery screen, whole theory of life had broken down under this
The sun unseen, or only seen tremendous revelation. His profession had given
As a faint pallor in the sky; him a painful experience of humanity: he had Thus cold and colourless and gray, seen oftentimes, despite the Psalmist's testimony to The morn of that autumnal day, the contrary, the seed of the righteous begging As if reluctant to begin, their bread; the diligent man unable to procure Dawned on the silent Sudbury Inn, work; the religious man haunted in death by And all the guests that in it lay. ghostly terrors ; the infidel dying at ease. But here there was a greater anomaly than all. He had
Only the Poet seemed to hear, not been unacquainted with persons who had
In drowse or dream, more near and near repented to him, as a priest, of hidden crimes of Across the border-land of sleep various kinds ; but here was one convicted by her The blowing of a blithesome horn, own lips of the worst of crimes; and not only That laughed the dismal day to scorn; unrepentant, but exulting in it, and only regretting A splash of hoofs and rush of wheels that its consequence had not been so fatal as she Through sand and mire like stranding keels, had intended it to be. And what a criminal ! An
As from the road with sudden sweep educated woman, so newly married that she might
The Mail drove up the little steep, almost be still termed a bride, the wife of the squire
And stopped beside the tavern door; of the parish (it did not strike him that this was a
A moment stopped, and then again
With crack of whip and bark of dog, bathos)—had any man ever heard the like! He could hardly believe her words, even yet, but he did
Plunged forward through the sea of fog,
And all was silent as beforebelieve them. Kind, right-thinking Mrs Tyndall All silent save the dripping rain.
- his right hand in the parish, and always ready with her purse for his poor people, and with such The day being wet, the guests, as in the Christgood views, too, upon church matters—had been in mas Numbers of our periodicals, propose, by way her heart—nay, was so still, since she had not of passing the time, to tell stories, of which the repented of it-a murderess!' True, she had done first and best is as follows. It is called the Bell of her best to repair her evil act, and thanks be to Atri. In that town, a bell was hung up in the Heaven-for her sake, even more than for that of market-place, and it was by the king ordained that her victim, dear as she was to him—had suc- whosoever, suffering wrong, should ring it, attention ceeded. The good rector put that fact foremost in should be paid at once to him by justice. his mind, and kept it there. As to revealing what Helen had told him, to Alice, or any one else, he
How swift the happy days in Atri sped, never dreamed of it. Her dark and terrible secret
What wrongs were righted, need not here be said.
Suffice it that, as all things must decay, was as safe, so far as he was concerned, as though it
The hempen rope at length was worn away, had been intrusted to him under the seal of con
Unravelled at the end, and, strand by strand, fession. But would she be mad enough to tell it to Loosened and wasted in the ringer's hand, others? That-for he had no further apprehension Till one, who noted this in passing by, upon Jenny's account; he felt that Helen had
Mended the rope with braids of briony, spent her wrath and hate—was now his only fear. So that the leaves and tendrils of the vine
Hung like a votive garland at a shrine.
By chance it happened that in Atri dwelt
A knight, with spur on heel and sword in belt, THERE is a growing, custom among our great Who loved to hunt the wild-boar in the woods, authors, arising, doubtless, from the temptation of Who loved his falcons with their crimson hoods, large prices and immediate gains, to risk their Who loved his bounds and horses, and all sports reputation by publishing either pieces which they And prodigalities of camps and courts; have formerly set aside as unworthy of them, or
Loved, or had loved them; for at last, grown old, such slight efforts as, were they lesser men, would His only passion was the love of gold. attract no attention. This is especially the case He sold his horses, sold his hawks and hounds, with our poets. The laureate himself has of late Rented his vineyards and his garden-grounds, vears given us many a‘short swallow-flight of song, Kept but one steed, his favourite steed of all, that does him little credit; and Mr Longfellow is To starve and shiver in a naked stall, still more open to this charge. It seems but a few And day by day sat brooding in his chair, weeks ago that he gave us Tales from a Wayside Devising plans how best to hoard and spare. Inn—and yet his slipshod Divine Tragedy has since
At length he said : “What is the use or need appeared ; and to-day he presents us with Three
To keep at my own cost this lazy steed, Books of Song, which is, mainly, a continuation of Eating his head off in my stables here, the first-mentioned book, with more Wayside Tales When rents are low and provender is dear? in it. The Prelude is excellent, and reminds one Let him go feed upon the public ways;
much of some of those breezy openings of Scott's I want him only for the holidays.? ! cantos, especially in Marmion.
So the old steed was turned into the heat
Of the long, lonely, silent, shadeless street;
And wandered in suburban lanes forlorn,
Barked at by dogs, and torn by brier and thorn.
One afternoon, while the inhabitants of Atri were example, and discounts at the outset of his career taking their siesta, they were awaked by the alarum the fame of which he ought to have had the of the accusing bell, whereupon the Syndic, mind- full fruition. We had occasion, some months ful of the royal command, immediately repairs to ago, to notice in these pages with no stinted praise where it
The Luck of Roaring Camp, by Bret Harte, and the On its cross-beam swung
Songs of the Sierras, by Joaquin Miller, and were Reiterating with persistent tongue,
happy to recognise in each a writer of great In half-articulate jargon, the old song:
promise, and a welcome addition to that scanty “Some one hath done a wrong, hath done a wrong!' band of American authors to whom the possession What he saw was neither man nor woman, but of genius can be honestly imputed. Since then, the poor steed,
they have published together a little rubbishy
volume, called Stories of the Sierras; and now Who with uplifted head and eager eye
again we have a third work by Mr Bret Harte, Was tugging at the vines of briony.
entitled East and West, of about the dimensions Well was the Syndic fitted for his office, since he of a sixpenny pamphlet. at once perceived the dumb beast's cry for justice, The praise justly awarded to him by Dickens and gave heed to it. The miserly old knight in seems to have turned his head, or that of his vain endeavours either to pass off the matter as a publishers, or he would surely never dream of jest, or to maintain that he has a right to do what flooding the market, quarterly, with collections of he will with his own, even though that were to his fugitive pieces,' whereof one is generally very starve it. The Syndic decrees that
good indeed, three or four tolerable, and the rest
absolutely good for nothing. Comparing East and As this steed
West with the Three Books of Song, it is certain Served you in youth, henceforth you shall take heed that the former contains much the more striking To comfort his old age, and to provide Shelter in stall, and food and field beside.
productions; while, on the other hand, it also
exhibits examples of vulgarity and dullness, of And Re Giovanni, the jovial king, when he heard which the graceful author of Evangeline is quite of it, laughed out with glee,
incapable. Mr Bret Harte's genius is much more And cried aloud : “Right well it pleaseth me!
various, if neither so cultivated nor so tender as Church-bells at best but ring us to the door;
the elder poet ; and though his natural bent is to But go not in to mass; my bell doth more:
the grim and humorous, the author of That Heathen It cometh into court and pleads the cause
Chinee can be graceful and tender also. Let us Of creatures dumb and unknown to the laws;
instance A Greyport Legend. And this shall make, in every Christian clime, The Bell of Atri famous for all time.'
They ran through the streets of the seaport town;
They peered from the decks of the ships that lay: This is a pretty story, gracefully told ; but it is The cold sea-fog that came whitening down not a first-rate production, and none of its fellows Was never as cold or white as they. are equal to it.
'Ho, Starbuck and Pinckney and Tenterden! After them comes Judas Maccabæus, a play
Run for your shallops, gather your men, which we are much mistaken if the poet has not
Scatter your boats on the lower bay.' had by him’a very considerable time, and which
Good cause for fear! In the thick midday it is a pity he has not kept longer. A Handful of The hulk that lay by the rotting pier, Translations fills up the meagre volume. It is Filled with the children in happy play, true that Mr Longfellow has never been so ambi- Parted its moorings, and drifted cleartious as to aspire to the fame of a great poet, one Drifted clear beyond the reach or callof those
Thirteen children they were in all-
All adrift in the lower bay!
Said a hard-faced skipper : ‘God help us all!
She will not float till the turning tide!' in that charming poem, The Day is Done, he has Said his wife: 'My darling will hear my call, probably described himself, where he speaks of the Whether in sea or heaven she bide :
And she lifted a quavering voice and high,
Wild and strange as a sea-bird's cry,
Till they shuddered and wondered at her
side. Or tears from the eyelids start:
The fog drove down on each labouring crew, Such songs-as have power to quiet
Veiled each from each and the sky and shore : The restless pulse of Care,
There was not a sound but the breath they drew,
And the lap of water and creak of oar;
And they felt the breath of the downs, fresh
blown But he has a high reputation to lose, nevertheless,
O'er leagues of clover and cold gray stone, and he is endangering it by pouring forth insig
But not from the lips that had gone before. nificant booklets. But sad as it is to see so old a favourite with us
They come no more. But they tell the tale, all as Mr Longfellow thus spoiling his well-won
That, when fogs are thick on the harbour reef,
The mackerel fishers shorten sail; crown of laurel, by adding to it these unworthy For the signal they know will bring relief : leaves, how much more is it to be regretted when For the voices of children, still at play a rising genius, in whom may lie capabilities for In a phantom hulk that drifts alway we know not what high task, imitates this bad Through channels whose waters never fail
POETRY BY THE SLICE.
555 It is but a foolish shipman's tale,
We looked in silence down across the distant A theme for a poet's idle page;
Unfathomable reach : But still, when the mists of doubt prevail,
A silence broken by the guide's consistent
And realistic speech.
"Walker of Murphy's blew a hole through Peters Drawing the soul to its anchorage.
For telling him he lied ;
Then up and dusted out of South Hornitos In A Newport Romance, again-and how pleasant Across the long Divide. and manly it is to find a poet embalming the stories of his own time and place, instead of going • We ran him out of Strong's, and up through Eden, for second-hand inspiration to the themes of And 'cross the ford below; mythological legend or Grecian song-he has And up this cañon (Peters' brother leadin'), caught the perfume that hangs over an old love- And me and Clark and Joe. story, though it is literally but “the ghost of a dead and gone bouquet,' the delicate odour of a He fou't us game: somehow, I disremember posy of mignonette that was given by a false Jest how the thing kem round; lover to a true maiden, more than a hundred years Some say 'twas wadding, some a scattered ember ago. She is not seen, she is not heard ; but the
From fires on the ground. scent of mignonette is borne upon the air when her spirit passes through it.
But in one minute all the hill below him
Was just one sheet of flame; I sit in the sad old house to-night
Guardin' the crest, Sam Clark and I called to him. Myself a ghost from a farther sea;
And-well, the dog was game! And I trust
that this Quaker woman might, In courtesy, visit me.
'He made no sign: the fires of hell were round him,
The pit of hell below. For the laugh is fled from porch and lawn,
We sat and waited, but never found him;
And then we turned to go.
And then-you see that rock that's grown so
bristly Somewhere in the darkness a clock strikes two;
With chaparral and tanAnd there is no sound in the sad old house,
Suthin' crep' out: it might hev been a grizzly, But the long veranda dripping with dew,
It might hev been a man; And in the wainscot a mouse.
"Suthin' that howled, and gnashed its teeth, and
shouted The light of my study-lamp streams out
In smoke and dust and flame; From the library door, but has gone astray
Suthin' that sprang into the depths about it, In the depths of the darkened hall. Small doubt
Grizzly or man
1-but game! But the Quakeress knows the way.
* That's all. Well, yes, it does look rather risky, Was it the trick of a sense o'erwrought
And kinder makes one queer With outward watching and inward fret?
And dizzy looking down. A drop of whisky But I swear that the air just now was fraught
Ain't a bad thing right here!' With the odour of mignonette !
There are several poems of this nature, with a local Whether it was, or was not, the idea sets the poet colouring always striking, and, for what we know thinking on his own dead past in a very touching to the contrary, truthful, but almost all with this way; and one is amazed at the versatility of the thread of sentiment running through them, that man who can write such tender delicate verse, and however cruel, bad, debased a man may be, there also The Gamblers of Poker Flat. Mr Bret Harte is something left not only admirable in his charhimself is doubtless, however, of opinion that acter, but even tender. This may be the case with grimness and humour suit him rather than poems the Californian ‘rough,' but we scarcely find it so of the affections, for he has only given us one or at home. two, as if in mere evidence of his power to sing Sometimes, though rarely, there is a gaiety of in that strain. Where he is most himself is in heart in Mr Bret Harte's poems that reminds such efforts as the Hawk's Nest.
one partly of our Thomas Hood, partly of his
own fellow-countryman, the author of Nothing We checked our pace—the red road sharply to Wear. Aspiring Miss De Laine is a pleasant rounding;
example of this. She adores Brown, a chemist, We heard the troubled flow Of the dark olive depths of pines, resounding
not so much from sentiment, as because he supplies A thousand feet below.
her, by the help of science, with magical washes
and indelible dyes. At last she applies to him to Above the tumult of the cañon lifted,
supply her, on the occasion of a certain ball, with a gray hawk breathless hung; Or on the hill a winged shadow drifted
Something to fill out the skirt Where furze and thorn-bush clung;
To the proper dimension, without being girt
In a stiff crinoline, or caged in a hoop;
and, after some hesitation, he consents. Her Or some abandoned tunnel dimly burrowed- appearance makes a great sensation, as it might A mole-hill seen so far.
well do, her robe being
A vague circumambient space, No fruiterer of reputation goes about the town With shadowy boundaries made of point-lace. with a costermonger's barrow dispensing slices of The rest was but guess-work, and well might defy pine-apple, but sells the fruit as a whole, in all its The power of critical feminine eye
beauty and fragrance.
WITHOUT FURTHER DELAY. 'Midst the humming of praises and the glances of beaux,
IN THIRTY-FOUR CHAPTERS. —CHAPTER XI. That greet our fair maiden wherever she goes, Brown slipped like a shadow, grim, silent, and black, When day's oppression is not eased by night; With a look of anxiety, close in her track,
But day by night, and night by day oppressed. Once he whispered aside in her delicate ear, Tex o'clock in the morning; the shopkeepers of A sentence of warning-it might be of fear : Aberhirnant have got their shutters down at last *Don't stand in a draught, if you value your life.'
—they are lieabeds mostly, the Aberhimnant folk; (Nothing more—such advice might be given your the bånk door is just opened, and John, the clerk,
wife Or your sweetheart, in times of bronchitis and stands on the steps, looking up and down the cough,
street. Presently, Mr Rowlandscarriage drives Without mystery, romance, or frivolous scoff.)
up to the door. Within it are the banker and his But hark to the music : the dance has begun.
daughter, Winny. The closely-draped windows wide open are flung; “Tell me, John,' cried Winny, what is this The notes of the piccolo, joyous and light,
dreadful story I hear of a young man being lost Like bubbles burst forth on the warm summer night among the mountains last night, and from our Round about go the dancers ; in circles they fly; carriage too, and what has been done to search Trip, trip, go their feet as their skirts eddy by; for him? Tell me, quick.' And swifter and lighter, but somewhat too plain,
' Indeed, Miss Winny, there was a young man Whisks the fair circumvolving Miss Addie De Laine.
But there, I'll tell your father all about it. Taglioni and Cerito well might have pined
I can't tell you ; he may say to you what he likes.? For the vigour and ease that her movements combined ;
‘Oh, Mr Rowlands, bach, what have I done ?' E'en Rigelboche never flung higher her robe
cried John, following him into the inner office, In the naughtiest city that's known on the globe. and shutting the door. He was a nice young 'Twas amazing, 'twas scandalous : lost in surprise,
man too; and I've killed him.' Some opened their mouths, and a few shut their eyes.
Nonsense !' said the banker, turning pale
nonsense !' But hark! At the moment Miss Addie De Laine, • But I have, Mr Rowlands ; as surely as if I Circling round at the outer edge of an ellipse, had done it with my own hands. All night long, Which brought her fair form to the window again, I've seen him lying stark in the snow; and his From the arms of her partner incautiously slips !
eyes fall on me wherever I go! Oh, Mr Rowlands, And a shriek fills the air, and the music is still,
it cannot be I who have done this! It was you, And the crowd gather round where her partner Mr Rowlands-you who set me on; it was for
forlorn Still frenziedly points from the wide window-sill
your sake I did it. How can you recompense me
for it?' Into space and the night; for Miss Addie was gone!
'It only wanted that,' said Rowlands-only that Gone like the bubble that bursts in the sun; to make the thing unendurable. What can be Gone like the grain when the reaper is done ; done? The young man is lost ; we must save the Gone like the dew on the fresh morning grass ; bank. On Monday, the Plasuchaf rents will be Gone without parting farewell; and alas !
paid in, and we shall be safe for a while.' Gone with a flavour of Hydrogen Gas.
“Those bottom bonds have been presented for
the Arthur's Bride,' suggested John. *• They must When the weather is pleasant, you frequently meet be met at once ; five hundred pounds odd.' A white-headed man slowly pacing the street; "O that ship, that ship! I wish she were at the His trembling hand shading his lack-lustre eye, bottom of the sea.' Half-blind with continually scanning the sky. * And why not?' cried John; 'it's the best Rumour points him as some astronomical sage, Reperusing by day the celestial page ;
place for a ship for sure. They're no good now; But the reader, sagacious, will recognise Brown,
nobody makes any money by them. All the good, Trying vainly to conjure his lost sweetheart down,
careful men who mean to make money are throwAnd learn the stern moral this story must teach,
ing their ships away now, master. A word to the That Genius may lift its love out of its reach.
captain-eh, master ?'
John, I am ashamed of you to say such things. There is surely an ease and lightness about these Ellis
is not such a rogue as you think him to be. lines which admirably suit their theme; and indeed, No; he's not a rogue; he's a very clever man; it is one of Mr Bret Harte's merits that he varies and good-hearted too-yes, indeed. But for all his manner with his subject. If there is nothing that
, he'd lose your ship for you, Mr Rowlands so good in the present collection as in The Heathen bach, if you made it worth his while.' Chinee and other Poems, there are certainly, some ‘Have you any conscience, John ?' things which nobody could write except himself. Well, indeed, you see, master, I've only two Still we do beg of him and Mr Longfellow, instead pounds a week; and I haven't anything to spar of publishing a handful of scraps once a quarter, for luxuries. Perhaps, if you'd given me the rise printed in ‘rivulets of type in meadows of margin' you promised me years ago 'to swell their scanty contents, to wait awhile until Wait and see,' said the banker—'wait and see their hived labours produce a respectable comb. Perhaps, if I get over this
Eh! who's that?'
Every creak of the swing-door of the bank, ment, even were the Pride really lost, without every footstep as it sounded on the pavement out- legal preliminaries ; but then the banker was side, went to Rowlands' heart; and when the foot- shaky. There are so many shaky people in the step passed by, or the customer in the bank turned world, that a man of fierce headstrong temper and out to be a man who wanted to pay some money indomitable will may run his course, knocking in, or to cash a cheque for five pounds ten, Row- them down right and left, like skittles, as he goes. lands felt as though he had escaped a calamity. Rowlands made a rapid mental calculation. An But the next footstep brought back the same fear, eighth of three thousand pounds would be three and thus went round the day in eager watching hundred and seventy-five pounds—a serious sum, and listening. The suspense had told upon the but better than a run. He drew himself up with banker already; it was destined to tell yet more. dignity. “Doctor, I've always paid on the nail all
'It's the Hen Doctor,' said John, popping his my life, and I'm not going to begin with legal head into Rowlands' room.
objections now. Give me your bond in the sum Rowlands turned pale for a moment. The of three thousand pounds, as an indemnity to repay thought of the Hen Doctor and the notes he me if the Pride reappears, and you shall have the held tormented him constantly. It was the one money.' pressing immediate danger. The others might be *Well, thank you, Mr Rowlands, bach. I like fought off ; this couldn't. And yet so weary was you better than I did before.' he of this wretched fight with fate, that he hesi- ‘Shall we pass it to your credit ?' tated before he went out to speak to the Hen * Credit! No, by Jupiter! No credit for me ; let Doctor. To rest in his own chair, his arms upon me have the money here in my hand. Gold, too the table, his head leaning upon them, seemed -sovereigns. I'm going to pay for the house I've to him the utmost happiness and solace he could bought in Pen Street, and the fools will never think expect to have. His mind was quite unstrung; of weighing the money.' his very limbs were unner
nerved, and refused their "John,' said Rowlands feebly, 'three seventyoffice; and yet he must move about briskly, rub five.' his hands, and cry ha, ha! With a great effort, Well, thank you, Mr Rowlands'-putting the he roused himself, and went into the bank money into his hat—'I'll go and see Gwen, and counting-house.
tell her how handsomely you've settled with me, "Umph !' said the doctor ; (so you keep going and you 'll have her to see you directly ; yes, by on still?'
Jupiter. ‘Yes, doctor; we manage to get on without Now that you've done your business with that your pills or your draughts either.
horrid old doctor, tell me, John, tell me, papa, what • Yah! perhaps you'll find I've got a dose for about the young man who was lost ?' said Winny. you still-yes, indeed. Look here, Rowlands; I There's nothing more about him, Miss Winny ; want my money for the ship.?
he'll not be found till the snow clears away. He What ship ?'
took to the Sarn Helen, and he must have perished What ship! The Menevia's Pride, as you with the cold before the morning.' know very well. I have two ounces of her. "The Sarn Helen : is not that the Roman road She's lost'; give me my money.'
that runs over the mountains, and crosses the She isn't lost, I tell you'; there's no proof Llanfechan Road ?'
'Indeed, I don't know about its being Roman, *If there is, will you pay me?'
Miss Winny. Helen's Way, they call it, and Helen "Of course I will:
was a wise woman, they say ; and people say you Down on the nail ?'
may meet her now among the hills carrying a *Down on the nail, if like.
cross; but that the man who sees her never lives Very well. Now, just read this, Mr Rowlands, to see another woman? bach.'
Then I will go, papa ; I will drive to the Sarn The Hen Doctor put into his hand a paper which Helen, and I will set all the shepherds and all the contained a certified extract from the ship's registry farmers and everybody to look for him. Alive or in the custom-house, giving the substance of Captain dead, we will find him; and I shall offer a reward
in your name--a hundred pounds if alive, fifty if " That's no proof, said Rowlands ; ‘I've heard dead!' all that before that's no proof.'
My dear, my dear!' said the old banker, 'I No proof!' exclaimed the doctor in a fury; won't pay it.'. what! no proof! What proof will you have, eh? “Then I will, out of my own money. What was Come, will you pay me, yes or no, in a minute, his name, do you know, John ?' come?'
Here is his portmanteau, Miss Winny. I brought 'I shall pay, of course, if it's right.'
it here, not knowing what to do with it.' 'Right or wrong, will you pay ? Come, now, in At the sight of the brown leather portmanteau, a minute.'
she felt a shock quite new to her. Had the banker been strong, he would have a reality and distinctness to her imagination of shewn the Hen Doctor the door; but he was not the young man, lone and lost among the hills ; he strong, he was very weak; he could put on the was no shadow to her now, but a real existence, appearance of strength, but, in truth, his strength and the thought nerved her to attempt his rescue. had vanished with his solvency. The Hen Doctor A name was painted on the portmanteau in large was angry and vociferous; he held notes to the black letters: Gerard Robertson. amount of two thousand pounds and upwards : he Presently, a little crowd gathered in the marketwas quite wrong, of course; could not compel pay-place-if market-place it might be called, which
was merely a widening of the cross street in which * Two sixteenth shares.
stood the bank—a crowd gathered round the