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A HIOM 8CENEK.
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T NELSON AND SONS, LONDON AND EDINBURGH
A FABLE OF THE SEASONS.
** We ar sne Mb
An dreams ar mad* o*i and.our ,tle 110b
U reended with a @)3ep.1
L ON D ON:
T. NELSON AND SONS, PATRN.OSTER ROWs
ADDRKc ID TO2
WASHINGTON IRVING. b
MY DEAR SxL,
I DO not know to whom I could more
appropriately dedicate this little book than to one
who has been so long my teacher, and who has
seemed to be so long my friend.
It is true, that, until six months ago, I had
never the honour of meeting with you; but there
are thousands, Sir, who have never seen you, who
yet know you, and esteem you, as fully as myself.
If I have attained to any facility in the use of
language, or have gained any fitness of expression,
in which to dress my thoughts, I know not to
what writer of the English language I am more
indebted than to you. And if I have shown, as
I have tried to show, a truthfulness of feeling,
that is not lighted by any counterf6it-of passion,
but rather by a close watchfulness of nature and
a cordial sympathy with human suffering, I know
not to what man's heart that truthfulness will
come home sooner than to.yours.
Believe, si Io ear Sir, it is from no-wish to
associate my name with the names of the great,
that I ask your accqpt~.e oQf this little token of
respect. My aims are humbler than this; I would
simply pay hoaag* to the author who has wrought
our language into the most exquisite forms of
beauty, and to the man who has touched our hearts
with the tenderness of a friend.
And if I might. hope that this, simpie- mark of
my admiration, and of mny emoeem, would com-
mend me to your ebariby, to msy notbhg ot your
.egard, it is all tM~ I wouI4 ask.
V*A LD, ^L UrJwasLu.
I. With my Aintt T&blty ........
II. With my Reader ...........
dreams aof So1oob .
SPRING .. .......
I. Rain the arrest .. ..
IL School Dream .. .. .. ..
I. Boy Sentiment.. .... .. ....
IV., A Friend Made and FrIoud Lot.. ..
V. A New England Squire........
VL The Country Church .. .... ... ..
VII. A Home Sone ... .. ..
"reams ofC outy.
SUMMER .. .. .. .. .. .. ....
L Cloister Life .. .. .... .. ..
IL First Ambition... ........
IIL College Romance .: .. .... .. .
IV. First Look at the World ......
V. A Broken Home ...... ..
VI. Family Confidence .. .. ...
VIL A Good Wife .. .. ......
VIL A Broken Hopel .... ....
~ 7. 8
.. .... ib
.* 56 **
* 0. .*
.. oo oo
o. o. .o
ro oo o
oo o i
Drtats oft anJooti.
I. Pride of Manlines .. .. .. .... .... .. 176
IL Man of the World .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .... 189
IIL Manly Hope .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 189
IV. Manly Love .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 198
V. Cheer and Children ........ .. .. .. .. 208
VI. A Dream of Darknes .. ... .. .... .. .. *l 2
VIL Peace.. .. .. ..... ... .. .. 219
3reams of 'Ige.
WINTER .... .. .. .. ..227
I. What s Gone .. ... .... .
II. What Is L .. .. .. .... .. .. .. .. 30
III. Grief and Joyof Ae .. .. .. .. ..24
IV. The End of Dreans .. ...... 247
WITH MY AUNT TABITHY.
"PsHAwl" said my Aunt Tabithy, "have you
not done with dreaming I"
My Aunt. Tabithy, though an excellent and
most notable person, loves occasionally a quiet
bit of satire. And when I told her that I was
sharpening my* pen for a new story of those
dreamy fancies and half experiences which lie.
grouped along the journeying hours of my solitary
life, she smiled as if in derision.
." Ah, Isaac," said she, all that is exhausted ;
you have rung so many changes on your hopes
and your dreams, that you have nothing left, but
to make them real, if you can."
It is very idle to get angry with a good-natured
oldlady; I did better than this: I made her listen
. Exhausted,. do you say, Aunt Tabithy Is life
then exhausted, is hope gone out, is fancy dead ?
No, no. Hope and the world are full; and he
who drags into book-pages a phase or two of the
great life of passion, of endurance, of love, of sor-
row, is but wetting a feather in the sea that
breaks ceaselessly along the great shore of the
years. Every man's heart is a'living drama; every
death is a drop-scene; every book only a faint
footlight to throw a little flicker on the stage.
There is no need of wandering widely to catch
incident or adventure: they:are everywhere about
us; each day is a succession of escapes and joys;
not perhaps clear to the world, but brooding in
our- thought-and' living in our brain.
No, no, Aunt Tabithy, this life of musing does'
not exhaust so easily. It is like the springs on
the farm-land, that are fed with all the showers
and the dews of the year, and that, from the nar-
row fissures of the rock, send up streams con-
tinually: or it is like the deep well in the meadow,
where one may see stars at noon, when no stars
'What is reverie, and what are these day-dreams,-
but fleecy cloud-drifts that float eternally, and eter-
nally elange shapes upon the great overarching
sky of thought I You may seize the strong outlines.
that the passion-breezes of to-day shall throw into
their figures; bit to-morrow may breed a whirl-
wind that will chase swift, gigantic shadows over
IrT OXnOToKo. 9
the heaven of your thought, and change the *hole
landscape of your life
Dream-land Will never be exhausted, until we
enter the land of dreams; and until, in "shuli
off this mortal coil," thought will become fct, and
all facts will be only-thought.
As it is, I can conceive no mood of mind more
in keeping with what is to follow the grave, than
those fancies .which waft our frail barques toward
the ocean of the infinite; and that so.' smbllmate
the realities of this being, that they seem to belong
to that shadowy realm, whither every day's journey
It was warm weather, and my Aunt wasfiding:
" What is this all to be about.?" said she, recover-
ing her knitting-needle. .
S About. love, and toil, and duty, and sorrow,"
said .. .
My Aunt laid down her- knitting .looked -at me
over the rim of her spectacles, and took anafl
I- said nothing. *. .
". How many times have you been inlov;e, Isaac m
said she. *: :. .. .
.It was now -my *trna to say,'" Pshaw I', ..
J udging from her -look of assurance,-I would not
possibly have made .a-nope. aqftisatry reply.
. My Aunt finished -the needle;-sh was .upon,.
smoothed the stocking-leg -Lover :her k-nee .andc
looking at n4e with a very comical expression, said,
"Isaac, you are a sad fellow I"
I did not like the tone of this; it sounded very
much as if it would have been in the mouth of
any one else, bad fellow."
And she went on to ask me in a very bantering
way, if my stock of youthful loves was not nearly
exhausted; and she cited the episode of the fair-
haired Enrica, as perhaps the most tempting that
I-could draw from my experience.
SA better man than myself, if he had only a fair
share of vanity,.would have been nettled at this;
and I replied somewhat tartly, that I had never
professed to write my experiences. These might
be more or less- tempting; but certainly, if they
were of a kind which I have attempted to portray
in.the characters. of Bella, or of Carry, neither my
Aunt Tabithy nor any one else should have learned
such truth from any book of mine. There are
griefs'too sacred.to be babbled to the world; and
there may be loves which one would forbear to
whisper even to a. friend .
No, no; imagination has been playing pranks
with memory; and, if I have made the feeling real,
I am content that the facts should be false. Feel-
ing, indeed, has a higher truth in it than circum-
stance. It appeals to a larger jury for acquittal:
it- is approved or condemned. by a better judge.
And, if I can catch this bolder and richer truth of
feeling, I will not mind if the types of it are all
If I run over some sweet experience of love
(my Aunn Tab brightened a little), must .I
make goo the fact t the loved one lives, and
expose her name and qualities, to make your.sym,
pathy sound .. Or shall I not rather be working
upon high sao'Jio er ground, if I take the pa-.
sion for itself, aud o weave it into words, that
you, and every will g sufferer, may recognize the
fervour and forg the personality
Life, after al is but a bundle of hints, each sug%
getting actual nd positive development, but rarely
reaching it. And as I recall these hints, and in
fancy trace therm to their issues, I. anm as truly
dealing with life as if my life had dealt them all
This is what I would be doing in the present
book: I would catch up here and there the shreds
of feeling, which the brambles and roughneseia of
the world have left. tangling on. my. heart, and
weave them out into those soft and perfect tis-
sues which, if the world had been only a little lose
rough, might now perhaps enclose my heat alto_
Ah 1" said my Aunt Tabithy, aa she smoothed.
the stocking-leg again, with a sigh, ".there is, after
all, but one youth time. and, if you put down its
memories once, you can find no aeoond growth."
My Aunt Tabithy was wrong. There t as much
growth in. the thoughts and feelings that run be-
bind us, as in those that rub before us. You may
make a rich, full picture of your childhood to-day
but let the hour go by, and the darkness stoop to
your pillow with its million shapes of the paetj
and, my word for it, you shall have some flash of
childhood lighten upon you, that was unknown to
your busiest thought of the morning.
Let a week go by; and in some interval of ecae,
as you recall the smile of a mother, or some pale
sister who is dead, a new crowd of xnetories
will rush upon your soul, and leave their traces ti
such tears as will make you kinder and beer for
days and weeks Or you shall assist at some
neighbour funeral, where the little dead one (like
one you have seen before) shall hold in its tiny grasp
(as you have taught little dead hands to do) fresi
flowers, laughing flowers, lying lightly on the
white robe of the dear child, all pale, cold, ftlent.
I had touched. my Aunt Tabithy; she had
dropped a stitch in her knitting. 1 believe she
Ay, this brain of ours is a master-worker, whose
appliances we do not one*halfkno~w; and this heart
of oursis a rare storehouse, furnishing the. brain
with new material every hour o our 1wv; and
their miUitM we sh&aJ not kaow, uati) they shelt
Nor i there, a& many f*im* hoeaveft imginet b
oe. phase of emoe nit> ir' oar life of &aling.
One, trin of deep emnotio canno Si u pt bhewabe
it .-adites IRke a asr, GCodw wd and eortwarx
1t spgeak ana reoeeif a&U waya Its forle ise to be
reckoned noe as dmieh bdy token, a. bhr speeity.
Faats are the pooaeet and mei sath-brw ew-
denees of passion, or of affeetion. TIi fiia~F is
r nging weerywhren; .Whwea yeuor aftde a ttah-
'aesA 0" too aOp two b06 60&I to e-
A siftgIf feetielf mt d ieed e tree, e.r
abdL&.b*eibW;: bIt waah so one akoaw a is bme a
typ% azEL if ,ftot be wwedy, a.gioriotus*oype
t th* gCreeak baQlk t feweii.g it is olt tihev wage
fowQu tMh e*nkldRex ot the breow, 4li S no dMeper
ikM&MaQ ftm its .- Mane s.-v esre0 than the, eitta
wbkb my pow mTko s Hears H to'* though *sL
inspitet it. oir thm a eslg ammnftug atimu e4 pyur
laenka ab tbaushar bease i thsk wide birdi-Ehowus
which is making every sunrise a worship. amd
every grove a temple!
Nor is this a mere bacbelt Sing -a inst g t aB
beaody.. I ean in anaeily hmk asiin mi uosleMabIe
and unflinching affection, which neitiear 4s"i"sh
nor admits the prospect of any other. But, when
one is tasking his'brain to talk for his heart, when
he is not writing positive history, but only mak-
ing mention (as it were) of the heart's capacities,
who shall say that he has reached the fulness--
that he has exhausted the stock of its feeling, or
that he has touched its highest notes ? It is true,
there is but one heart in a man to 1e stirred; but
every stir creates a new colibination of feeling,
that, like the turn of a kaleidoscope, will show some
fresh colour or form.
A bachelor, to be sure, has a marvellous advan-
tage in this; and, with the tenderest influences once
anchored in the bay of marriage, there is little dis-
position to scud off under each pleasant breeze of
feeling. Nay, I can even imagine, perhaps some-
what captiously, that, after marriage, feeling would
become'a habit-a rich and holy habit certainly,
but yet a habit-which weakens the omnivorous
grasp of the affections, and schools one -to a unity
of -emotion, that doubts and ignores the prompt-
ness and variety of impulse which we bachelors
My Aunt nodded again.
Could it be that she approved what I had been
saying I hardly knew.
Poor old lady, she did not know herself. She
was asleep I
WITH MY READER.
HAVING silenced my Aunt Tabithy, I hall be
generous enough in my triumph to of6r an ex-
planatory chat to my reader.
This is a history of Dreams; and there will
be those who will sneer at such a history, as the
work of a dreamer. So, indeed, it is; and you, my
courteous reader, are a-dreamer too!
You would perhaps like to find yo.u specula-
tions about wealth, marriage, or influence, called
by some better name than Dreams. You would
like to see the history of them-if written at all
-baptised at the font of your own vanity, with
some such title as, life's cares, or life's work. If-
there had been a philosophic naming to my obser-o
nations, you might have reckoned them good;
as it is, you count. them all bald and palpable
But is it so I I care' not how matter-of-fact you
may be, yoi have in your own life at some time,
proved the very truth of what I have det down;
and the chances are, that even now, grey as you
may be, and economic as you may be, and devo-
tional as you pretend to be, you light up your
Sabbath reflections with just such dreams i of
wealth, of per-centages, or of family, as you will
find scattered over these pages.
I am not to be put aside with any talk about
stocks, and -daties, and respectability; all these,
though very eminent matters, are but so zmay
types in the volume eo your thought; ad your
eager resolves about tlwem am but sop maay am-
biAius wavres, hrea3kig up fsooi that gweat sea of
dreamy speeulaiioa, that hao spread over y e
soel from its firt astat into th&e realm o Con-
an'sa brain is as daW, aA an B MO aa eye so
bdlsD. tkha they eannot ea&eh food for dxetmas
Bach little epiaoda of lif- is ful, had- we but the
perception of .ia flnew. There is no sueh thing
as blank inx the world. of thought. Every action
and emotion heve their deva ppnient., growing a&d
gainig on the souL Evey aEttiona Ueb its; tenm
aa..awmiles. N1ay, tbh very material world.ia fi&
of mIaaing nd, adb sgggektig thought i making
- us what we are, and what we will be.
The, speamw that, is twittering o* the edge .of
ma bamianoy, ia .mljing ugp to me this moment, a
wOrad of. mem ories that reaak ve.v. halC my iUe-,
tima, and a wvoid oL hoalt that. statebas mfarthe
tbaa any fight eo spaows. The zeae-tree ~&ih. a
shades hias mttldl eoat, i& fiul a buda aA nd- Wa
aqma, and. each bud and bloomm. is: a. tahL of-
promise that has issues covering life and.reach-
ing beyond death. The quiet sunshine beyond
the flower, and beyond the, sparrow, glistening
upon the leaves, and playing in delicious waves
warmth over the reeking earth, is lighting both
heart and hope, and quickening .into activity a
thousand thoughts of what has been, and of what
will be. The-meadow, stretching away-uader its
golden flood, waving with grain,- hd with the
feathery blossoms of the grass, a i golden butter
cups, and white, nodding daisies, comea to my eye
like the lapse of fading childhood, studded here
and there with. the -bright blossoms of joy, crm-
soned all over with the. fish of health, and ena-
melled with memories that perfume the sou. The
blue hills beyond, with deep' blue" shadows g4
-thered in'their bosom, lie before me like moun-'
tains of years, over which I shall- climb through
shadows to the slope of age, and go down to-th6
deeper shadows of death.
Nor are dreams without their -variety, what-
ever your character may be. I -care not how
much, in the pride of your practical judgment,
or in. your learned fancies, you nmay sneer at any
dream of love, and :rekon it all'a poet's fiction;
there are times whei such dreams come over' you
like a summer cloud, and almost stifle, you. with
their warmth. .
Seek as you will for increase of lands or moneys,
and there are moments when a spark of some
giant: mind will flash over your cravings, and
wake your soul suddenly to a quick and yearning
sense of that influence which is begotten of in-
tellect; and you task your dreams, as I have
copied thlim here, to build. before you the. plea-
sures of such a renown.
I care not how worldly you. may be; there are
times when all distinctions seem like dust, and
when, at the graves: of the great, you dream of a
coming country, where your proudest hopes shall
be dimmed for ever.
Married or unmarried, young or old, poet or
worker, you are still a. dreamer, and will one
time know, and feel, that your life is but a dream.
Yet you call this fiction; you stave off the thoughts
in. print. which come over you in. reverie. You
will. not.adnit to the eye what is true to the heart.
Poor weakling and worldling, you are not. strong
enough to.faice yourself 1;
You will read. perhaps with smiles; you will
possibly praise, the ingenuity; you will. talk, with
a lip schooled, against the slightest quiver, of some
bit of pathos, and say that it is well done.. Yet,
why is. it well- done- only because it is stolen
from your very life and heart. It. is good, be-
cause it is so common; ingenious, because it is'so
honest; well-conceived, because it is not conceived
There are thousands of mole-eyed people, Who
count all passion in print a lie; people who will
grow into a rage at trifles, and weep in the dark,
and love in secret, and hope without mention, and
cover it all under the cloak of what they call pro-
priety. I can see before me now some grey-haired
old gentleman, very money-getting, very correct,
very cleanly, who reads the morning paper with
unction, and his Bible' with determination; who
listens to dull sermons with patience, and who
prays with quiet self-applause; and yet there are
moments belonging to his life, when his curdled
affections yearn for something that they have not,
when his avarice oversteps' all' the commandments,
when his pride. builds castles full' of' splendour;
arid yet put this before his eye, and hle reads with
the most careless air in the world, and' condemii
as arrant fiction what cannot be proved to the
We do not like to see o'ur emotions urnriddled;
it is not agreeable to the proud man to find his
weaknesses exposed; it is shocking to the dis-
appointed lover to see his heart laid bare: ii is a'
great grief to the pining maiden to witness the
exposure' of her loves. We do not like our fancies
painted; we do not contrive them for rehearsal;
our dreams are private, and when they are made
public, we disown them.
I sometimes think that I must be a very honest
fellow, for writing down those fancies which every
one else seems afraid to whisper. I shall at least
come in for my share of the odium in entertaining
such fancies; indeed, I shall expect. the charge of
entertaining them exclusively; and shall scarce
expect to find a single fellow-confessor, unless it
be some pure and innocent thoughted girl, who
will say peccavd, to here and there a single rain-
Well, I can bear it; but, in bearing it, I shall be
consoled with the reflection, that I have a great
company of fellow-sufferers, who lack only the
honesty to tell me of their sympathy. It will
even relieve in no small degree my burden, to
watch the effort they will take to conceal what I
have so boldly divulged.
Nature is very much the same thingin one
man that it is in another; aind, as I have' already
said, feeling has a higher truth in it -than cireum-
stance. Let it only be touched fairly and honestly,
and the heart of humanity answers;. but, if it be
touched foully or one-eidedly, you.. may find here
and there a lame-souled creature who will give
response, but there is no heart-throb in it.
Of one thing I am sure; if my pictures are fair,
worthy, and hearty, you mwst see it in the reading;
but, if they are forced and hard, no amount of
kindness oan make you feel their truth as I want
I make.no self-praise out of this: if feeling has
been honestly set down, it is o"hly in virtue of a
native impulse, over which I have altogether too
little control; but, if it is set down badly, I have
wronged.Nature, and (as Nature is kind) I have
wronged myself. r
A great many inquisitive people will, I do not
doubt, be asking, after aH this prelude, if my pic-
tures-are true pictures t .,The question, the cour-
teous reader will allow me to say, is an imperti-
nent one. It is but a shabby truth that wants an
author's affidavit to make it trustworthy. I shall
not help my..story by any such poor support. If
there are not enough elements of truth, honesty,
-and nature in my pictures, to make them believed,
they shall have no oath of mine to bolster them up.
I have been a sufferer in this way before now;
and a little book that I had the whim to publish
some time since, has been set down by many as an
arrant piece of imposture. Claiming sympathy as
a Bachelor, I have been. recklesply set down as a
cold, undeserving -man of family My story of
troubles and loves has been. sneered at, as the
The trouble has been, that those who have be-
lieved one passage have discredited another; and
those who have sympathised with me in trifles,
have deserted me when affairs grew earnest. I
have had sympathy enough with my married
griefs; but, when it came to the perplexing tor-
ments of my single life, not a weeper could I find.
I would suggest to those who intend to believe
only half of my present book, that they exercise
a little discretion in their choice. I am not fasti-
dious in the matter; and only ask them to believe
what counts most toward the goodness of huma-
.ity, and to discredit, if they will persist in it, only
what tells badly for our common nature. The"
man .or the woman who believes well, is apt to
work well; and faith is as much the key to hap-
piness here, as it is the key to happiness hereafter.
I have only one thing more to say, before I get
upon my story. A great many sharp-eyed people,
who have a horror of light reading, by which they
mean whatever does not make mention of stocks,
cottons,. or moral homilies, .will find mnuqh. fult
witb my book for its ephemeral character.
I am sorry that cannot gratify such; homilies
are not at all in my habit.; and it does seem to me
an exhausting way of disposing of- a good morl,
t9:hasimmer it down to a single point, so thlet there
shall be" only one chance of driving it home. XFor
my own part, I count. it a great'deal better philoso-
phy to fuse it, and rarify it, so that it shall spread
out into every crevice of a story, and give a colour.
and a taste, as it were, to the whole mass.
I know there are very good people, who, if they
cannot lay their finger on so much doctrine set
down in old-fashioned phrase, will never get aa
inkling of it at all. With such people, goodness
is a thing of understanding, more than of feeling;
and all their morality has its action in the brain.
It were shame indeed, that I should sneer at
this terrible infirmity, which Providence has seen
fit to inflict; or that I should not be grateful to
the same kind Providence, for bestowing upon
others among his creatures a more genial appre-
hension of true goodness, and a hearty sympathy
with every shade of human kindness.
But, in all this, I am not making out a case for
my own correct teaching, or. insinuating the pro-
priety of my tone. I shall leave the book, in this
regard, to speak for itself; and whoever feels him-
self growing worse for the reading, I advise to lay
it down. It will be-very harmless on the shelf,
however it may be in the hand.
I shall lay no claim to the title of moralist,
teacher,. or romancist: my thoughts start pleasant
.pictures. to mygnind; and, in a garrulous humour,
I put my finger in the button-hol'e of my indulgent
friend, and telL him some of them; giving him
leave to quit me whenever'he chooses.
Or, if a lady is my listener, let her fancy me
only tn.honest, simple-hearted fellow, whose fami-
liarities are so innocent that she can pardon them;
taking her hand in his, and talking on; sometimes
looking in her. eyes, and then looking into the
sunshine for relief; sometimes prosy with narra-
tive, and then sharpening up my matter with a
few touches of honest pathos; let her imagine this,
I say, and we may become the most excellent
friends in the vorld.
,DREAMS OF BOYHOOD.
THE old chroniclers made the year begjn in the
season of frosts; and they have launched us upon
the current of the months, from the snowy banks
of January. I love better to count time from
spring to spring; it seems to me far more cheer-
ful to reckon the year. by blossoms than by blight.
Bernardin de St Pierre, in his sweet story of
Virginia, makes the bloom of the cocoa-tree, or
the growth of the banana, a yearly and a loved
monitor of the passage of her life. How cold and
cheerless, in the comparison, would be the icy
chronology of the North. So many years have I
seen the lakes locked, and the foliage die
The budding and blooming of spring seem to
belong properly to the opening of the months.
It is the season of the quickest expansion, of the
warmest blood, of .the readiest growth; it is the
boy-age of the year. The birds sing in chorus in
the spring-just as children prattle; the brooks
run full-like the overflow of young hearts; the
showers drop easily-as young tears flow; and the
whole sky is as capricious as the mind of a boy.
Between tears and smiles, the year, like the
child, struggles into the warmth of life. The
old year-say what the chronologists will-lingers
upon the very lap of spring; and is only fairly
gone when. the blossoms of April have strewn
their pall of glory upon his tomb, and the blue-
birds have chanted his requiem.
It always seems to me' as if an access of life
came with the melting of the winter's snows; and
as if every rootlet of grass that lifted its first
green blade from the matted debris of-the old
yeat's decay, bore my spirit upon it, nearer to the
largess of Heaven.
I love to trace the break of spring step by
step; I love even those long rain-storms that asp
the icy fortresses of the lingering winter-that
melt the snows upon the hills, and swell the
mountain brooks-that make the pools heave up.
their glassy cerements of ice, and hurry down the
crashing fragments into the -wastes of ocean .
. I love the gentle thaws that you can trace, day
by day, by the stained snowbanks, shrinking from
the grass; and by the gentle drip of the cottage
eaves. I love to search out the sunny slopes by a
southern wall, where the reflected sun does double
duty to. the earth, and where the frail anetmone, or.
the faint blush of the arbutus, in the midst of the
bleak March atmosphere, will touch your heart
like a hope of Heaven in a field of graves. Later
come those soft, smoky days, when the patches of
winter grain show green under the shelter of leaf-
less woods, and the last snowdrifts, reduced to
shrunken skeletons of ice, lie upon the slope of
northern hills, leaking away their life.
Then the grass at your door grows into the
colour of the sprouting grain, and the buds upon
the lilacs swell and burst. The peaches bloom upon
the wall, and the plums wear bodices of white.
The sparkling oriole picks string for his hammock
on the sycamore, and the sparrows twitter in pairs.
The old elms throw down their dingy flowers, and
colour their spray with green; and the brooks,
where you throw your worm or the minnow, float
down whole fleets of the crimson blossoms of the
maple. Finally, the oaks step into the opening
quadrille of spring, with greyish tufts of a modest
verdure, which, by and by, will be long. and glossy
leaves.. The dogwood pitches his broad, white
tent in the edge of the forest; the dandelions lie
along the hillocks, like stars in a sky of green; and
the wild cherry, growing in all the hedgerows,
,without other culture than God's, lifts up to Him,.
thankfully, its tremulous white fingers.
Amid all this, -come the rich rains of spring.
The affections of a boy grow up with tears to
water them; and the year blooms with showers.
But the-clouds hover over an April sky timidly-.
like shadows upon innocence. The showers come
gently, and drop daintily to the earth-with now
and then a glimpse of sunshine to make the drops
bright-like so many tears of joy.
The rain of winter is cold, and it comes in bitter
scuds that blind you; but the rain of April steals
upon you coyly, half reluctantly-yet lovingly--
like the steps of a bride to the altar.
It does not gather like the storm-clouds of win-
ter, grey and heavy along the horizon, and creep
with subtle and insensible approaches (like age) to
-the very zenith; but there are a score of white-
winged swimmers'afloat, that-your .eye has chased,
as you lay fatigued with the delicious languor of
an April-sun; nor. have you scarce noticed that a
:little bevy of those floating clouds had grouped
:together in a sombre company. But presently
you see across the fields the dark grey streaks
stretching like lines of mists, from the. .green
"bosoa of the valley to that spot of.sky where the
company of clouds is loitering; and with an easy
:shifting of the helm, the fleet of swimmers come
RAIN IN TEH GOABET.
drifting over you, and drop their burden into the
dancing pools, and make the flowers glisten and
the eaves drip with their crystal bounty.
The, cattle linger still, cropping the new-come
grass; and childhood laughs joyously at the warm
rain, or, under the cottage roof, catches, with
eager ear, the patter of its fall.
And with that patter on the roof-so like to
the patter of childish feet-my story of boyish
dreams shall begin.
RAIN IN' THE .GARRET.
IT is- an old garret, with big, brown rafters; and
the boards between are stained darkly with the
rain-storms of fifty years. And as.. the sportive
April shower quickens its. flood, it seems as if its
torrents would come'dashing through the shingles
upon you, and upon your. pla. But it will not;
for you know that the old roof s strong; and. that
it. has kept you, and. all that love you, for. long
years from .the rain and.from the cold: you know
that the, hardest storms of winter.will only maake
a little oozing leak, that trickles down. the brown
stains like tears. ...
-:You- love- that old sarret roof. and you nestle
down under its slope, with a sense of its protect-
ing. power that no castle walls can give to your
maturer years. Ay, your heart clings in boy-
hood to the rooftree of the-old family garret, with
a grateful affection and an earnest confidence
that the after years-whatever may be their
successes or their honours-can never re-create.
Under the rooftree of his home, the boy feels
SAFE: and where, in the whole realm of life-with
its bitter toils, and its bitterer temptations, will he
feel safe again ?
But this you do not know. It seems only a
grand old place; and it is capital fun to search in
its corners, and drag out some bit of quaint old
furniture, with a leg broken, and lay a cushion
across it, and fix your reins upon the lion's claws
of the feet, and then gallop away! And you offer
sister Nelly a chance, if she will be good; and.
throw out very patronising words to. little Charlie,
who is mounted upon a. much humbler horse-
to wit, a decrepit nurs.ry-chair-as he of right
should be, since he is three years your junior.
I know no nobler forage-ground for a romantic,
venturesome, mischievous boy, than the garret of
an old family mansion on a dpy of storm. It is
a perfect field of chivalry. The heavy rafters, the
dashing rain, the piles of spare mattresses to
carouse upon, the big trunks to hide in, the old
RIMN IM T.U GARRET.
white coats and hats hanging in obscure corners,
like ghosts-are great! And. it is so far away-
from the old lady who keeps rule in the nursery,
that there is no possible risk of a. scolding, for
twisting off the fringe of the rug. There is no
baby in the garret to wake up; there is no com-
pany" in the garret to beiS turbed by the noise;
there is no crotchety old Uhcle, or Grandma, -with
their everlasting Boys-'-boys I"--and then. a look
of such horror!
There is great fun in groping through a tall
barrel of books: and pamphlets, on the look-out
for startling pictures; and there are chestnuts in
the garret, drying, which you' have discovered on
a ledge of the chimney; and you slide a few into
your pocket, and munch them quietly, giving
now and then one to Nelly, and begging her to-
keep. silent; for you have a great fear of its, being
Old family garrets have their stock, as I said,
of castaway clothes, of. twenty years gone by; and
it is rare sport. to put them on;. buttoning in a
pillow or two for the sake of. good. fulness; and
then to trick out Nelly in some strange-shaped
head-gear, And old-fashioned brocade petticoat
caught up with pins; and, in such guise, to teat
cautiously down stairs, and creep slily into the
sitting-room,. half afraid of a 'scolding, and very
sure of good fun; trying to look very sober, and
yet almost ready to die with the laugh that. you
know you. will make. And your mother tries to
look harshly- at little. Nelly for putting on her
grandmother's best bonnet; but Nelly's laughing
eyes forbid it utterly, and the mother spoils all
her scolding with a perfect shower of kisses.
After this, you go marching very stately into
the nursery, and utterly amaze the old nurse; and
make a deal of wonderment for the staring, half-
frightened baby, who drops his rattle, and makes
a bob at you, as if he would jump into your waist-
coat pocket. -
But you grow tired of this; you tire even of the
swing, and of the pranks of Charlie, and you glide
away into a corner, with an old, dog's-eared copy
of Robinson Crusoe. And you grow heart and
soul into the story, until you tremble for the poor
fellow with his guns, behind the palisade;' and are
yourself half dead with fright, when you peep
cautiously over the hill with your glass, and see
the cannibals at their orgies around the fire.
Yet, after all, you think the old fellow must
liave had a capital time, with a whole island to
himself; and you think you would like such a
time yourself, if only Nelly and Charlie could be
there with you. But this thought does not come
till afterward; for the time, you are nothing but
UAIN- IN WIlE 0ARVeT.
Crusoe; you are living in his cave with Poll the
parrot, and are looking out for your goats and
You dream what a nice thing it would be for
you to slip away some pleasant morning-not to
York, as young 'Crusoe did, but to -New York-
and take passage as a sailor; and how, if they knew
you were going, there would be such a world of
good-byes, and how, if they did not know it, there
would be such a world of wonder :
And then the sailor's dress would be altogether
such a jaunty affair; and it would be such rare\
sport to lie off upon the yards far aloft, as you
have seen sailors, in pictures, looking out upon the
blue and tumbling sea. No thought'now in your
boyish dreams of sleety storms, and cables stiff-
ened with ice, and crashing spars, and .great ice-
bergs towering fearfully around you I
You would have better luck than even Crusoe;
you would save a compass, and a Bible, and stores
of hatchets, and the captain's dog, and great pun-
cheons of sweetmeats (which Crusoe altogether
overlooked); and you would save a tent or two,
which you -could set up on the shore, and an
American flag, and'a small piece of cannon, which
you could fire as often as you liked. At night,
yo-Wbould. sleep in a tree--though you Wonder
how Crusoe did it--and would sy- the: prayers
you had been taught to say at home, and fall to
sleep, dreaming of Nelly and Charlie.
At sunrise, or thereabouts, you would come.
down, feeling very much refreshed; and make a
very nice breakfast off smoked herring and' sea-
bread, with a little currant jam and a few oranges.
After this you would haul ashore a chest or two
of the sailors' clothes, and, putting a few large
jack-knives in your pocket, would take a stroll
over the island, and dig a cave somewhere, and
roll in a cask or two of sea-bread. And you fancy
yourself growing after a time very tall and cor-
pulent, and wearing a magnificent goat-skin cap,
trimmed with green ribbons, and set off with a
plume. You think you,would have put a few more
guns in the palisade than Crusoe did, and charged
them with a little more grape.
After a long while you fancy a ship would ar-
rive, which would carry you back; and you count
upon very great surprise on the part of your-
father and little Nelly, as you march up to the
door of the old family mansion, with plenty of gold
in your'focket, and a small bag of cocoa-nuts for
Charlie, and with a great deal of pleasant talk
about your island far away in the South Seas.
Or, perhaps, it is not Crusbe at all, that your eyes
and your heart cling to, but only some little story
about Paul and Virginia. That dear littleVirginia I
RAIN IN THE GARRET.
how many tears have been shed over her-not in
garrets only, or by boys only I
You would have liked Virginia-you know you
would; but you. perfectly hate the beldame aunt
who sent for her to come to France. You think
she must have been like the old schoolmistress,
who occasionally boxes your ears with the cover
of the spelling-book, or makes you wear one of
the girls' bonnets, that smells strongly of.paste-
board and calico.
As for black Domingue, you think he was a
capital old fellow; and you think more of him, and
his bananas, than you do of the bursting, throb-
bing heart of poor Paul. As yet, Dream-life does
not take hold on love. A little maturity of heart
is wanted, to make up. what. the poets call sensi-
bility. If love should come to be a dangerous,
chivalric matter, as in the case of Helen Mar and
Wallace, you can very easily conceive of it, and
can take hold of all the little accessories of male
costume and embroidering of banners; but, as for
pure sentiment, such as lies in the sweet story of
Bernardin de St Pierre, it is quite beyond you.
The rich, soft nights in which one might dose
in his hammock, watching the play of the silvery
moonbeams upon the orange leaves and upon the
waves, you can understand; and.you fall to dream-
ing of that- lovely Isle of France, and wondering
if Virginia did not perhaps have some .relations
on the island, who raise pine-apples, and such sort
of things, still.
And so, with your head upon your hand, in
-your quiet garret corner, over.some such beguiling
story, your thought leans away from the book into
-your own dreamy cruise over the sea of life.
IT is a proud thing to go out from under the realm
of a schoolmistress, and to be enrolled in a com-
pany of boys who are Under the guidance of a
master.. It is one of the earliest steps of worldly
pride, which has before it a long and tedious
ladder of.ascent. Even the-advice of the.old mis-
tress,- and- the ninepenny book that she thrusts
into your hand as a parting gift, pass.for nothing;
and her kiss of adieu, if she tenders it: in the sight
of your fellows, will call up an. angry rush of blood
to .the cheek, that for'long years shall drown all
sense of its kindness.
You have looked admiringly many a day iupon.
the tall fellows who play at the door of Dr Bidlow's
school: you have looked, with reverence second
only to that felt for the old village church, upon its
dark-looking heavy brick .walls. It seemed to be
redolent of learning; and, stopping at times to gaze
upon the gallipots and.brokenretorts at the second
storey window, you have pondered, in your boyish
'way, upon the inscrutable wonders. of science, and
the ineffable dignity of Dr Bidto brick school:
Dr Bidlow seems to you to belong to a race of
giants; and yet he is a spare, thin .man, with a
hooked nose, a large, flat gold watch-key, a crack
in his voice, a wig, and very dirty wristbands&
Still you stand in awe at the mere eightof him;
an awe that is very much encouraged by a report
made to you by a small boy, that "Old Bid."
keeps a large .ebony ruler in his .desk. You are
amazed at the small boy's audacity: it. astonishes
you that any one who had ever.smelt the strong
fumes of sulphur and ether in the doctor's rpom,.
and had seen him turn red vinegar blue (as they
say lie does), should call him Old :Bid? ,,
You, however, come very little under his con-
trol: you enter upon. the proud life, in the small
boys' department, under the dominion .of the
English master. He is a different-person'age from
Dr Bidlow: he is a dapper, little man, wlio twinkles
his eye in a peculiar fashion, and who has a wray
of marching about the school-room with his hands
crossed behind him, giving a playful flirt to his
coat-tails. He wears a. Ien. tucked. behind fhis
ear: his hair is carefully set up at the sides, and
upon the top, to conceal (as you think later in
life) his diminutive height; and he steps very
springily around behind the benches,.glancing now
and then at the books, cautioning one scholar
about his dog's-ears, and startling another from a
dose by a very loud and odious snap of his fore-
finger upon the boy's head.
At other times, he sticks a hand in the armlet
of his waistcoat: he brandishes in the other a
thickish bit of smooth cherry-wood, sometimes
dressing his hair withal; and again giving his
head a slight scratch behind the ear, while he
takes occasion at the same time for an oblique
glance at a fat boy in the corner, who is reaching
down from his seat after a little paper pellet, that
has just been discharged at him from some un-
known quarter. The master steals very cautiously
and quickly to the rear of the stooping boy,
dreadfully exposed by his unfortunate position,
and inflicts a stinging blow. A weak-eyed, little
scholar on the next bench ventures a modest
titter; at which the assistant makes a significant
motion with his ruler on the seat, as .it were, .of
an imaginary pair of pantaloons, which renders the
weak-eyed boy on a sudden very insensible to the
You, meantime, profess to be very much en-
grossed with your grammar-turned upside down;
you think it must have hurt; and are only sorry
that it did not happen to a tall, dark-faced boy
who cheated you in a swop of jack-knives. You
innocently think that he must be a very bad boy;
and fancy, aided by suggestion of the old nurse
at home on the same point, that he will one day
come to the gallows.
There is a platform on one side of the school-
room, where the teacher sits at a little red table,
and they have a tradition among the boys, that a
pin properly bent was one day put into the chair
of the English master, and that he did not wear
his hand in the armlet of his waistcoat for two
.whole days thereafter. Yet his air of dignity
seems proper enough in a man of such erudition
and such grasp of imagination as he* must poses.
For he can quote poetry-some of the big scholars
have heard him do it; he can parse the whole of
" Paradise Lost;" and he can cipher in Long Di-
vision and the Rule of Three, as if it was all
Simple Addition; and then such a hand as he
writes, and such a superb capital BI It is hard
to understand how he does it.
Sometimes, lifting the lid of your desk, where
you pretend to be very busy with your papers,
you steal the reading of some brief passage of
"Lazy Lawrence," or of the "Hungarian Brothers,"
7. DREAM- LI FE.
and. muse about it for hours afterward, to the
great detriment of your ciphering; or, deeply lost
in the story of the Scottish Chiefs," you fall to com-
paring such villains as Monteith with the stout
boys who tease you; and you only wish they could
come within the reach of the fierce Kirkpatrick's
But you are frighted out. of this stolen read-
ing by a circumstance that stirs your young blood
very strangely. The master is looking very sour-
ly on a certain morning, and has caught sight
of the little, weak-eyed boy over beyond you read-
ing a novel. He sends out for a long birch rod,
and, having trimmed offthe leaves carefully, with
a glance or two in your direction,, he marches up
behind the bench of the poor culprit, who turns
deathly pale, grapples him by the collar, drags
him out over the desks, his limbs dangling in a
shocking way against the sharp angles, and having
him fairly in the middle of the room, clenches his
rod with a new, and, as it seems to you, a very
sportive grip; You shudder fearfully.
"'Please, don't whip me," says. the boy, whim-
"Aha V9 says the smirking pedagogue, bringing
down the stick with a quick, sharp cut,. "you
don't like it, eh '"
The poor fellow screams, and struggles to escape,
but the blows come faster and thicker. The blood
tingles in your finger ends with indignation.
Please, don't strike me again," says the boy,
sobbing and taking breath, as he writhes about the
legs of the master-"< I wont read another time."
Ah, you wont, sir-wont you t I don't mean
you shall, sir," and the blows fall thick and fast,
until the poor fellow' crawls back, utterly crest-
fallen and heartsick, to sob over his books. -
You grow into a sudden boldness; you wish you
were only large enough to beat the master; you
know such treatment would make you miserable;
you shudder at the thought of it; you do not beo
lieve he would dare; you know the other boy has
got no father. This seems to throw-a new light
upon the matter, but it only intensifies your in-
dignation. You are sure that no father would
suffer it, or, if you thought so, it would. sadly
weaken your love for him. You pray Heaven that
it may never be brought to such proof.
Let a.boy once distrust the.love or the tender-
ness of his parents, and the last resort of his yearn-
ing affections-so far as the world goes--is utterly
gone. He is in the sure road to a bitter fate.
His heart will take on a hard iron. covering, that
will flash out plenty of fire in his after contact
with the world, but it .will never, never melt I1.
There are souve tall trees that overshadow an
angle of the school-house, and the larger scholars
play some very surprising gymnastic tricks upon
their lower limbs : one boy, for instance, will hang
for an incredible length of time by his feet, with
his head down, and when you tell Charlie of it at
night, with such additions as your boyish imagina-
tion can contrive, the old nurse is shocked, and
states very gravely that it is dangerous, and that
the blood all runs to the head, and sometimes
bursts out of the eyes and mouth. You look at
that particular boy with astonishment afterward,
and expect to see him some day burst into bleed-
ing from the nose and ears, and flood the school-
In time, however, you get to performing some
modest experiments yourself upon the very lowest"
limbs, taking care to avoid the observation. of the
larger boys, who else might laugh at you; you
especially avoid the notice of one stout fellow in
peagreen breeches, who is a sort of "bully" among
the small boys, and who delights in kicking your
marbles about, very accidentally. He has a fashion,
'too, of twisting his handkerchief into what he-calls
a "snapper," with a knot at the end, and crack-
ing at you with it, very much to the irritation of
-your spirits, and of your lege.
Sometimes, when he has brought you to. *n
-angry burst of tears, he will very graciously force
upon you the handkerchief, and insist upon your
cracking him in return, which, as you know no-
thing about his effective method of making the
knot bite, is a very harmless proposal on his part.
But you have still stronger reason to remember
that boy. There are trees, as I said, near the
school, and you get the. reputation after a time of
a good climber. One day you are well in the tops
of the trees, and being dared by the boys below,
you venture higher, higher than any boylias ever
gone before. You feel very proudly, but just. then
catch sight of the sneering face of your old enemy
of the snapper, and he dares you to go upon a
limb that he points out.
The rest. say, for you hear them plainly, "It
wont bear him;" and Frank, a great friend of
yours, shouts loudly to you not to try.
Pho 1" says your tormentor, "the little coward."
If you could whip him, you would go. down the
tree and do it willingly; as it is, you. cannot let
him triumph; so you advance cautiously out upon
the limb; it bends and sways fearfully with your
weight; presently it cracks; you try to return, but
it is too late; you feel yourself going; your.mind
flashes home, over your life, your hope, your fate,
like lightning; then comes a sense of dizziness, a
succession of quick blows, and a dull,.heavy crash!
You are conscious of nothing again, until you
find yourself in the great hall of the schoolcovered
with blood, the old doctor standing over you with
a phial, and Frank kneeling by you, and holding
your scattered arm, which .has lIeen broken by the
After this, come those long, weary days of con-
finement, when you lie still, through all the hours
of noon, looking out upon the cheerful sunshine,
only through the windows of your little room. Yet
it seems a grand thing to have the whole house-
hold attendant upon you.. The door are opened
and shut softly, and they all step noiselessly about
your. chamber, and when you groan with pain,
you are sure of meeting sad, sympathising looks.
Your mother will step gently to your side, and lay
her cool, white hand upon your forehead, and little
Nelly will gaze at you from. the .foot of your bed
with a sad earnestness, and with tears of pity in
her soft hazel eyes. And afterward, as your pain
passes away, she will. bring -you her prettiest
books and fresh flowers, and whatever she' knows
you will love.. .
But it is dreadful, when you wake at night
from, your feverish slumber, and see nothing but
t lie spectral shadows that the sick lamp upon the
.1 earth throws aslant the walls;' and hear nothing
but the. heavy breathing of the old nurse in the
easy chair, and the ticking of the clock upon .the
mantelpiece. Then silence and the night crowd
upon your soul drearily. But yoUr thought is ac-
tive. It shapes at your bedside the loved figure of
your mother, or it calls up the whole company of
Dr Bidlow's boys, -and weeks of study or -.of' dayt
group like magic on your quickened vision; then
a twinge of pain will call again the dreariness, and
your head tosses upon the pillow, and your eye
searches the' gloom vainly for. pleasant faces, and
your fears-brood on that'drearier coming night of
Death, far 'longer and far more cheerless than this.
But even here the memory of some little prayer
you have been'taught, which promises a Morning
after the Night, comes to your throbbing brain,
and lits murmur on. your fevered lips, as you
breathe it, soothes..like -, caress of angels, and
woos you to smiles and sleep.
As the days pass, you grow.stronger, and Frank
comes in to tell you of the school, and that your
old tormentor has been expelled; and you grow
into a strong friendship with Frank, and you
think of'yourselves as a new Damon and Pythias,
and that you will some day live together in a fine
house, with plenty of horses, and plenty of chest-
nut-trees. Alas 1 the boy counts little on those
later and bitter fates of life, which sever his early
friendships, like wisps'of straw I.
. At other times, with your eye upon the sleek,
trim figure of the doctor, and upon his huge bunch
of watch-seals, you think you will some day be a
doctor, and that, with a wife and children, and a
respectable gig, and gold watch, with seals to
match, you would needs he a very happy fellow.
And with such fancies drifting on your thought,
you count for the hundredth time the figures upon
the curtains of your bed, you trace out the flower-
wreathes upon the paper-hangings of your room;
your eyes rest idly on the cat playing with the
fringe of the curtain; you see your mother sitting
with her needlework beside the fire; you watch
the. sunbeams as they drift along the carpet from
morning until noon, and from noon till night, you
watch them playing on the leaves, and dropping
spangles on the lawn; and as you watch-you
WEEKS, and cve* years, of your boyhood roll on,
in the which your dreams are growing wider and
grander, even as the Spring, which I have made
the type of the boy-age, is stretching its foliage
farther and farther, and dropping longer and
heavier shadows on the land.
Nelly, that sweet sister, has grown into your
BOY 8B=IIXET. 4
heart strangely; and you think that all they write
in their books about love cannot equal your fond-
ness for little Nelly. She is pretty, they say; but
what do you care for her prettiness 1--she is so
good, so kind, so watchful of all your wants, so
willing to yield to your haughty claims.
But, alas it is only when this sisterly love is
lost for ever; only when the inexorable world se-
parates a family, and tosses it upon the waves of
fate to wide-lying distances, perhaps to graves-
that a man feels, what a boy can never know, the
disinterested and abiding affection of a sister.
All this that I have set down comes back to
you long afterward, when you recall with tears of
regret your reproachful words, or some swift out-
break of passion.
Little Madge is a friend of Nelly's, a mis-
chievous, blue-eyed hoyden. They tease you about
Madge. You do. not, .of course, care one straw for
her, but yet it is rather pleasant to be teased thus.
Nelly never does this; oh no, not she. I do not
kdow but in the age of childhood' the sister is
jealous of the affections of a brother, and would
keep his heart wholly at home, until suddenly,
and strangely, she finds her own wandering.
But, after all, Madge is pretty, and there is some-
thing taking in. her name. Old people, and very
precise people. call her Margaret Boyne. But
8 DR:MALI FE.
you do not: it is only plain Madge; it sounds
like her-very rapid and mischievous.. It would
be the most absurd thing in the world for you to.
like her, for she teases you in innumerable ways:
she laughs at your big' shoes (such a sweet little
foot as she has), and she "pins strips of paper on
your coat-collar; and time and again she has borne
off your hat in triumph, very well knowing that
you, such a quiet body, and so much afraid of her,
will never venture upon any liberties with her
You sometimes wish, in your vexation, as you,
see her running, that she would fall and hurt her-
self badly; but the next moment it seems a very
wicked wish, and you renounce it. Once she did
come .very near it. You were all playing together.
by the big swing-(how plainly it swings in your
memory now !)--Madge had the seat, and you were
famous for running under with a long push,. which
-Madge liked better than anything else : well, you.
have half run over the.ground, when crash comes
the swing, and poor Madge with it I You fairly
scream as you catch her up. But she is not hurt
-only a cry of fright, and a little sprain of that.
fairy anle ; and as she brushes away the tears, and
those flaxen curls, and breaks into a merry laugh,
--half at your woe-worn face, and half in vexation
at herself;. and leans her hand (such a hand !) upon
your shoulder, to limp away'into -the shade, you
dream your first dream of love.
But it is only a dream, not -at all acknowledged
by you : she is three or four years your junior,--
too young altogether. It is very absurd to talk
about it. There is nothing to be said of Madge--
only Madge 1 The name does it.
It is rather a pretty name to write. You are
fond of making capital M's; and sometimes you
follow it with a capital A. Then you practice a
little upon a D, and perhaps back it up with a G. Of
course it is the merest accident that these letters
come together. It seems funny to you--very.
And, as a proof that they are made at random,
you make a T or an R before them, and some other
quite irrelevant letters after it.
Finally, as a sort of security against all-suspicion,
you cross it out-cross it a great many ways-
even holding it up to the light, to see that there
should be no air of intention about it.
You need have no fear, Clarence, that your hier--
glyphies will be studied so closely. Accidental
as they are, you are very much inore interested in
them than any one else.
It is a common fallacy of this dream in most
stages ofJ.ife, that a vast number of persons em-
ploy their time chiefly.in spying -out its opera-
. DREAM-LI FE.
SYet Madgei.cares nothing .about you, that you
know of. Perhaps it is the very reason, though
you do not suspect it then, why you care so much
for her. At any rate, she is a friend of. Nelly's,
and it is your duty not to dislike her. Nelly,
too, sweet Nelly,. gets an inkling of matters-for
sisters are very shrewd in suspicions of this sort,
shrewder than brothers or fathers-and like the
good kind girl. that she is, she wishes to humour
even your weakness.
Madge drops in to tea quite often: Nelly has
something in particular to show her, two or three
times a-we*k. Good Nelly-perhaps she is mak-
ing your troubles all -the greater! You gather
large bunches of grapes for Madge-because she
is a friend of Nelly's-which she doesn't want at
all, and very pretty bouquets, which she either
drops, or pulls to pieces.
In the presence of your father one day, you
drop some hint about Madge, in a very careless
way-a way shrewdly calculated to lay all sus-
picion-at which your either laughs. This is
odd : it makes you wonder if your father was ever
in love himself. You rather think that he has been.
.. Madge's.father is dead and her mother is poor;
and you sometimes dream.jhow-whatever your
father may think or feel-you will some day make
a large fortune, in some very- easy way, and build a
snug cottage, and have one horse for your carriage,
and one for your wife (not Madge; of course-that
is absurd), and a turtle-shell cat for your wife's
mother, and a. pretty gate to the front yard, and
plenty of shrubbery, and how your wife will come
dancing down .the path, to meet you,-as the Wife
does in Mr Irving's Sketch-Book,--and how she
will have a harp inside, and will wear white dresses,
with a blue sash.
Poor Clarence, it never once occurs to you, that
even Madge may grow fat, and wear check aprons,
and snuffy-brown dresses of woollen stuff, and twist
her hair in yellow papers Oh no, boyhood has
no such dreams as that.
I shall leave you here in the middle of your
first foray into the world of sentiment, with those
wicked blue eyes chasing rainbows over your heart,
and thosealittle feet walking every day into your
affections. I shall leave you before the affair.has
ripened into any overtures, and while there is only
a sixpence split in halves, and tied about your
neck and Madge's neck, to bind your destinies
If' I even' hinted at any probability of your
marrying her, or of your not marrying her, you
would be very likely to dispute me: one knows
his own feelings, or thinks he does, so much better
than any one can tell him. :
DRIA N-LI FE.
A FRIEND MADE AND FRIEND LOST.
To visit, is a great thing in the boy calendar:
not to visit this or that neighbour, to drink tea,
or eat strawberries, or play at draughts; but to
go away on a visit in a coach, with a trunk, and a
great-coat, and an umbrella-this is large !
It makes no difference, that they wish to be rid
of your noise, now that Charlie is sick of a fever:
the reason is not at all in the way of your pride of
visiting. You are to have a long ride in a coach,
and eat a dinner at a tavern, and to see a new
town almost as large as the one you live in, and
you are to make new acquaintances. In short,
you are to see the world--a very' proud thing it
is to see the world 1
As you journey on, after bidding your friends
adieu, and as you see fences and houses to which
you have not been used, you think them very odd
indeed; but it occurs to you, that the geographies
speak of very various national characteristics, and
you are greatly gratified with this opportunity of
verifying your study. You see new crops too--
perhaps a broad-leaved tobacco-field, which re-
minds you pleasantly of the luxuriant vegetation of
the tropics, spoken of by Peter Parley, and others.
A FRIEND MADE AND FRIEND LOST.
As for the houses and barns in the new town,
they quite startle you with their strangeness: you
observe that some of the latter, instead of having
one stable door, have five or six, a fact which
puzzles you very much indeed. You observe,
farther, that the houses many of them have balus-
trades upon the top, which seems to you a very
wonderful adaptation to the wants of boys, who
wish to fly kites or to play upon the roof. You
notice, with special favour, one very low roof which
you might climb upon by a mere plank, and you
think the boys whose father lives in that house
are very fortunate boys.
Your old aunt, whom you visit, you think wears
a very queer cap, being altogether different from
that of the old nurse, or of Mrs Boyne, Madge's
mother. As for the house she lives in, it is quite
wonderful-there are such an immense number
of closets, and closets within closets, reminding
you of the mysteries of Rinaldo Rinaldini. Beside
which, there are immensely curious bits of old
furniture-so black and heavy, and with such
curious carving-and you think' of the old wain-
scot in the Children of the Abbey." You think
you will never tire of rambling about in its odd
corners, and of what glorious stories you will have
to tell of it, when you go back, to Nelly and
* As for acquaintances, you fall in the very first
day with a tall boy next door, called Nat, which
seems an extraordinary name. Besides, he has
travelled; and as he sits with you on the summer
nights under the linden-trees, he tells you gorgeous
stories of the things he has seen. He has made
the voyage to Loidon; and he talks about the
ship (a real ship), and starboard, and larboard, and
the spanker, in a way quite surprising; and he
takes the stern oar in the little skiff, when you
row off in the cove abreast of the town, in a most
He bewilders you, too, with his talk about the
great bridges of London--London Bridge speci-
ally, where they sell kids for a penny; which story
your new acquaintance, unfortunately, does not
confirm. You have read of these bridges, and
seen pictures of them in the Wonders of the
World;" but then Nat has seen them with his own
eyes--he has literally walked over London Bridge
on his own feet I You look at his very shoes in
wonderment, and are surprised you do not find
some startling difference between those shoes and
your shoes. But there is none-pnly yours are a
trifle stouter in the welt. You think Nat one of
the fortunate boys of this world-born, as your
old nurse used to say, with a gold spoon in his
A FRIEND MADE AND FRIEND LOST.
Beside Nat there is a girl lives over the op.
posite side of the way, named Jenny, with an eye
as black as a coal, and half a year older than
you, but about your height-whom you' fanby
She has any quantity of toys, that she lets you
play with, as if they were your own. And she
has an odd, old uncle, who sometimes makes you
stand up together, and then marries you after his
fashion-much to the aniusement of a grown-up
housemaid, whenever she gets a peep at the per-
formance. And it makes you somewhat proud to
hear her called your wife; and you wonder to your-
self, dreamily, if it wont be true some day or other,
Fie, Clarence, where is your split sixpence, andi
your blue ribbon I
Jenny is romantic, and talks of Thaddeus of
Warsaw in a very touching manner, and promises
to lend you the book. She folds billets in a lover's
fashion, and practises love-knots upon her bonnet-
strings. She looks out of the covers of her eyes
very often, and sighs. She is frequently by her-
self, and pulls flowers to pieces. She has great
pity for middle-aged bachelors, and thinks them
all disappointed men.
After a time she writes notes to you, begging
you would answer them at the earliest possible
moment, and signs herself, "Your attached Jenny."
She takes the marriage farce of her uncle in a cold
way, as trifling with a very serious subject, and
looks tenderly at you. She is. very much shocked
when her unele offers to kiss her; and when he
proposes it to you, she is equally indignant, but
with a great change of colour.
Nat says one day, in a confidential conversation,
that it wont do to marry a woman six months
elder than yourself ; and. this, coming from Nat,
who has been to London, rather staggers you.
You sometimes think that you would like to marry
Madge and Jenny both, if the. thing were possible;
for Nat says they sometimes do so the other side
of the ocean, though he has never seen it him-
Ah, Clarence, you will have no such weakness
as you grow older; you will find that Providence
has charitably so tempered our affections, that
every man of only ordinary nerve will be amply
satisfied with a single wife !
All this time -for you are making your visit a
very long one, so that autumn has come, and the
nights are growing cool, and Jenny and yourself
are transferring your little coquetries to tile
chimney corner-poor Charlie lies sick at home.
Boyhood, thank Heaven, does not suffer severely
from sympathy when the object is remote. And
those letters from the mother, telling you that
A FRIEND MADE AND FRIEND LOST.
Charlie cannot play, cannot. talk, even, as he used
to do, and that perhaps his "Heavenly Father
will take him away, to be with him in the better
world," disturb you for a time only. Sometimes,
however, they come back to your thought on a
wakeful night, and you dream about his suffering,
and think-why it is not you, but Charlie, who is
sick. The thought puzzles you; and well it may,
for in it lies the whole mystery of our fate.
Those letters grow more and more discouraging,
and the kind admonitions of your mother grow
more earnest, as if (though the thought does not
come to you until years afterward) she was pre-
paring herself to fasten upon you that surplus of
affection which she fears may soon be withdrawn
for ever from the sick child.
It is. on a frosty, bleak evening, when you are
playing with Nat, thatthe letter reaches you which
says Charlie is growing worse, and that you must
come to your home. It makes a dreamy night
for you-fancying how Charlie will look, and if
sickness has altered him much, and if he will not
be well by Christmas. From this, you fall away
in your reverie to the odd old house, and its
secret cupboards, and your aunt's queer caps;
then come up those black eyes of your attached
Jenny," and you think it a pity that she is -six
months older than you; and again-as you recall
one of her sighs-you think that six months are
not much after all I
You bid her good-by with a little sentiment
swelling in your throat, and are mortally afraid
Nat will see your lip tremble. Of course you
promise to write, and squeeze her hand with an
honesty, you do not think of doubting for weeks.
It is a dull, cold ride that day for you. The
winds sweep over the withered corn-fields, with a
harsh, chilly whistle ; and the surfaces of the little
pools by the roadside are tossed up into cold
blue wrinkles of water. Here and there a flock
of quail, with their feathers ruffled in the autumn
gusts, tread through the hard, dry stubble of an
oat-field ; or, startled by the snap of the driver's
whip, they stare a moment at the coach, then whir
away down the cold current of the wind. The
blue jays scream from the roadside oaks, and the
last of the blue and purple asters shiver along
the wall. And as the sun sinks, reddening all
the western clouds, to the colour of the frosted
maples, light lines of the Aurora gush up from
the northern hills, and trail their splintered fingers
far over the autumn sky.
It is quite dark when you reach home, but-you
see the bright reflection of a fire within, and pre-
sently at the open door, Nelly clapping her hands
for welcome. But there are sad faces when you
A FRIEND MADE AND F4LEND ]LOST.
encer. Your mother folds you to her heart; but:
at your first noisy outburst of joy puts her finger
on her lip, and whispers poor Charlie's name. -The.
doctor you see, too, slipping softly out of the bed-
room door with glasses in his band,. and-you
hardly know how-your spirits grow sad, and your
heart gravitates to the heavy -air of all -about
You cannot see Charlie, Nelly says; and you
cannot, in the quiet parlour, tell Nelly a. single
one of the many things which you had hoped
to tell her. She says, Charlie has grown so
thin and so pale, you would never know himr."
You listen to her, but you cannot talk: she asks
you what you have seen, and you begin, for a mo-
ment joyously; but, when they open the door.of
the sick-room, and you hear a faint sigh, you can-
not go on. You sit still, with your hand in Nelly's,
and look thoughtfully into the blaze.
You drop to sleep after that day's fatigue,_with
singular and.perplexed fancies haunting you ; and
when you wake up with a shudder in the middle
of the night, you have a fancy that Charlie is really
dead: you dream of seeing him, pale and thin, as
Nelly described him, and with the starched grave-
olothes on him. You'toss over in your bed, and
grow hot and feverish. You. cannot sleep; and
you get up stealthily, and creep down stairs. A
light is burning in the hall; the bed-room door
stands half open, and you listen, fancying you hear
a whisper. You steal onr through the hall, and
edge around the side of the door. A little lamp
is flickering on the hearth, and the gaunt shadow
of the bedstead lies dark upon the ceiling. Your
mother is in her chair, with her head upon her
hand, though it is long after midnight. The
doctor is standing with his back toward you, and
with Charlie's little wrist in his fingers; and you
hear hard breathing, and now and then a low sigh
from your mother's chair.
An occasional gleam of firelight makes the
gaunt shadows stagger on the wall, like something
spectral. You look wildly at them, and at the bed
where your own brother-your laughing, gay-
hearted brother--is lying. You long to see. him,
and sidle up softly a step or two; but your
mother's ear has caught the sound, and she beckons
you to her, and folds you again in her embrace.
You whisper to her what you wish. She rises,
and takes you by the hand, to lead you to the
The doctor looks very solemn as you approach.
He takes out his watch. He is not counting
Charlie's pulse, for he has dropped his hand; and
it lies carelessly, but oh, how thin I over the edge
of the bed.
A FRIEND MADE AND FRIEND LOST.
He shakes his head mournfully at your mother ;
and she springs forward, dropping your hand, and
lays her fingers upon the forehead of the .boy, and
passes her hand over his mouth.
Is he asleep, doctor 1" she says, in a tone you
do not know.
"Be calm, madam." The doctor is very calm.
I am calm," says your mother; but you do
not think it, for you see her tremble very plainly.
"Dear madam, he will never waken in this
There is no cry-only .a bowing down of your
mother's head upon the body of poor, dead Charlie!
and only when you see her form shake and quiver
with the deep, smothered sobs, your crying bursts
forth loud and strong.
The doctor lifts you in his arms, that you may
see that pale head-those blue eyes, all sunken
-that flaxen hair gone-those white lips, pinched
and hard. Never, never, will the boy forget his
first terrible sight of Death !
In your silent chamber, after the storm of sobs
has wearied you, the boy-dreams are strange and
earnest. They take hold on that awful Visitant,
-that strange slipping away from life, of which
we know so little, and yet know, alas, so much I
Charlie that was your brother is now only a name:
perhaps he is an angel: perhaps (for the old nurse
has said it, when he was ugly-and now you hate
her for it) he is with Satan.
You feel an access of goodness growing out of
your boyish grief: you feel right-minded: it seems
as if your little brother, in going to heaven, had
opened a pathway thither, down which goodness
comes streaming over your soul.
You think how good a life you -will lead; and
you map out great purposes, spreading themselves
over the school-weeks of your remaining boyhood;
and you love your friends, or seem to love them,
far more dearly than you ever did before; and you
forgive the boy who provoked you to' that sad
fall from the oaks, and you forgive him all his
wearisome.teasings. But you cannot forgive your-
self for some harsh words that you have once
spoken to Charlie: still less can you forgive your-
self for -having once struck him, in passion, with
your fist. You cannot forget his sobs then; if
he were only alive one little instant, to let you
say, "Charlie, will you forgive me I"
Yourself, you cannot forgive; and sobbing over
it, and murmuring, "Dear-dear Charlie !" you
drop into a troubled sleep.
.DREAM- LI PB.
A NEW ENGLAND SQUIRE.
FRN"x his a grandfather living in the country,
a good specimen of the old-fashioned New Eng-
land farmer. And-go where one will, the world
over-I know of no race of men who, taken to-
gether, possess more integrity, more intelligence,
and more of those elements of comfort which go
to make a home beloved and the social basis firm,
than the New England farmers.
They are not brilliant, nor are they highly re-
'fined; they know nothing of arts, histrionic or
dramatic; they know- only so much of older na-
tions as. their histories and newspapers teach
them; in the fashionable world they' hold no
place;-but in energy, in industry, in hardy virtue,
in substantial knowledge, and in manly indepen-
dence, they make up a race that is hard to be
The French peasantry are, in all the essentials
of intelligence and sterling worth, infants com-
paredcwith them: and the farmers of England arc
either the merest jockeys in grain, with few ideas
beyond their sacks, samples, and market-days;
-or, with added cultivation, they lose their indepen.
-dence in subserviency to some neighbour patron
of rank; and superior intelligence teaches them no
lesson so quickly, as that their brethren of the
glebe are unequal to them, and are to be left to
their cattle and the goad.
There are English farmers, indeed, who are men
in earnest, who read the papers, and who keep the
current of the year's intelligence; but such men
are the exceptions. In New England, with the
school upon every third hill-side, and the self-re-
gulating, free-acting church, to watch every valley
with week-day quiet, and to wake every valley
with Sabbath sound, the men become, as a class,
bold, intelligent, and honest actors, who would
make again, as they have made before, a terrible
army of defence, and who would find reasons for
their actions as strong as their armies.
Frank's grandfather has silver hair, but is still
hale, erect, and strong. His dress is homely, but
neat. Being a thoroughgoing Protectionist, he has
no fancy for the gewgaws of foreign importation,
and makes it a point to appear always in the vil-
lage church, and on all great occasions, -in a sober
suit of homespun. He has no pride of appearance,
and he needs none. He is known as thebquire
throughout'the township; and no important mea-
sure can pass the board of select men without the
squire's approval; and this, from no blind sub-
serviency to his opinion, because his farm is large,
A NEW ENGLAND SQUIRE.
and he is reckoned "fore-handed," but because
there is a confidence in his judgment.
He is jeal-ous-of~one of the prerogatives of the
country parson, or of the schoolmaster, or of the
village doctor; and, although the latter is a testy
politician of the opposite party, it does not at all
impair the squire's faith in his calomel-he suffers
all his radicalism, with the same equanimity that
he suffers his rhubarb.
The day labourers of the neighbourhood and the
small farmers consider the squire's note-of-hand
for their savings better than the best bonds of city
origin; and they seek his advice in all matters of
litigation. He is a justice of the peace, as the
title of Squire in a New England village im-
plies; and many are the country courts that you
peep upon, with Frank, from the door of the great
The defendant always seems to you, in these
important cases-especially if his beard is rather
long-an extraordinary ruffian; to whom Jack
Sheppard would have been a comparatively in-
nocent boy. You watch curiously the old gentle-
man, sitting in his big arm-chair, with his spe-
tacles in their silver case at his elbow, and his
snuff-box in hand, listening attentively to some
grievous complaint; you see him ponder deeply,
with a pinch of snuff to aid his Judgment; and
you listen with intense admiration, as he-gives a
loud preparatory "Ahem," and clears away the
intricacies of the case with a sweep of that strong
practical sense which distinguishes the New Eng-
land farmer, getting at the very hinge of the
matter, without any consciousness of his own pre-
cision, and satisfying the defendant by the clearness
of his talk, as much as by the leniency of his
His lands lie along those swelling hills which in
southern New England carry tlhe chain of the
White and Green Mountaits, in gentle undulations
to the borders of the sea. He farms some fifteen
hundred acres, suitably divided," as the old
school agriculturists say, into woodland, pasture,
and tillage." The farmhouse--a large, irregularly
built mansion of wood--stands upon a shelf of the
hills looking southward, 'and is shaded by century-
old oaks. The barns and outbuildings are grouped
in a brown phalanx, a little to the northward of
the dwelling. Between them, a high timber gate
opens 'upon the scattered pasture-lands of the hills;
opposite to this, and across the farmyard, which
is the lounging-place of scores of red-necked
turkeys, and of matronly hens, clucking to their
callow brood, another gate of similar pretensions
opens upon the wide meadow-land, which rolls
with a heavy ground swell along.the valley of.&
A NEW ENGLAND SQUIRE.
mountain river.. A veteran oak stands sentinel at
the brown meadow-gate, its trunk all scarred with
the ruthless cuts of new-ground axes, and the
limbs garnished in summer time with the crooked
snathes of murderous-looking scythes.
The high-road passes a stone's throw away, but
there is little "travel" to be. seen; and every
chance passer will inevitably come under the range
of the kitchen windows, and be studied care-
fully by the eyes of the stout dairymaid---to say
nothing of the stalwart Indian cook.
This last you cannot but admire as a type of
that noble old race, among whom your boyish
fancy has woven so many stories of romance. You
wonder how she must regard the white interlopers
upon her own soil; and you think that she tolerates
the squire's farming privileges with more modesty
than you would suppose. You learn, however,
that she pays very little regard to white rights,
when they conflict with her own; and further
learn, to your deep regret, that your princess of
the old tribe is sadly addicted to cider drinking;
and having heard her once or twice, with a very
indistinct Goo-er night, sq-quare upon her lips,
your dreams about her grow very tame.
The squire, like all very sensible men, has his
hobbies and peculiarities.' He has a great con-
tempt, for instance, for 'all paper money; and
imagines banks to be corporate societies skilfully
contrived for the legal- plunder of the community.
He keeps a supply of silver and gold by him, in
the foot of an old stocking; and seems to have
great confidence in the value of Spanish milled
dollars. He has no kind of patience with the new
doctrines of farming. Liebig and all the rest be
sets down as mere theorists; and has far more
respect for the contents of his barnyard than for
all the guano deposits in the world. Scientific
farming, and gentleman farming, may do very well,
he says, to keep idle young fellows from the city
out of mischief; but, as for real, effective manage-
ment, there's nothing like the old .stock of men,
who ran barefoot until they were ten, and who
count the hard winters by their frozen toes." And
be is fond of quoting in this connection-the only
quotation, by the by, that the old gentleman ever
makes-that couplet of Poor Richard :-
He that by the plough would thrive,
Himself must either hold or drive."
The squire has been in his day connected more
or less intimately with turnpike enterprise, which
the. railroads of the day have thrown sadly into
the background; and he reflects. often, in a melan-
choly way, upon the good old times when a man
could travel in his own carriage quietly across
A NEW ENGLAND SQUIRE.
the country, without being frightened with the
clatter of an engine, and when turnpike stock
paid wholesome yearly dividends of six per cent.
An almost constant hanger-on about the pre-
mises, and a great favourite with the squire, is
a stout, middle-aged man, with a. heavy bearded
face, to whom Frank introduces you, as Captain
Dick; and he-Uells you, moreover, that he is a
better butcher, a better wall-layer, and cuts a
broader '" swathe," than any man upon the farm.
Beside all which, he has an immense deal of infor-
mation. He knows, in the spring, where all the
crows' nests are to be found; he tells Frank where
the foxes burrow; he has even shot two or three
-racoons in the swamps; he knows the best season
to troll for pickerel; he has a thorough under-
standing of bee-hunting; he can tell the owner-
ship of every stray heifer that appears upon the
road : indeed-scarce an inquiry is made, or an
opinion formed, on any of these subjects, or on
such kindred ones as the weather or potato crop,
without previous consultation with Captain Dick.
You have an extraordinary respect for Captain
Dick; his gruff tones, dark beard, patched waist-
coat, and cow-hide boots, only add to it : you can
compare your regard for him only with the senti-
ments you entertain for those fabulous Roman
heroes, led on by Horatius, who cut down the
bridge across the Tiber, and then swam over to
their wives and families.
A superannuated old greyhound lives about the
premises, and stalks lazily around, thrusting his
thin nose into your hands in a very affectionate
Of course, in your way, you are a lion among
the boys of the neighbourhood: a blue jacket that
you wear, with bell buttons of white metal, is their
especial wonderment. You astonish them, more-
over, with your stories of various parts 'of the
world which they have never visited. They tell
you of the haunts of rabbits, and great snake stories,
as you sit in the dusk after supper, under the old
oaks; and you delight them, in turn, with some
marvellous tale of South American reptiles, out of
Peter Parley's books.
In all this, your new fiends are men of obser-
vation ; while Frank and yourself are compara-
tively men of reading. In ciphering, and all
schooling, you find yourself a long way before them;
and you talk of problems, and foreign. seas, and
Latin declensions, in a way that sets them all
As for the little country girls, you cannot wholly
get over their outside pronunciation of some of
the vowels. Frank, however, has a little cousin-
a toddling, wee thing, some seven years your
,,X NEW ENGLAND.SQUIRE.
junior-who has a rich eye for an infant. But,
alas, its colour means nothing; poor Fanny is stone-
blind Your pity leans toward her strangely, as
she feels her way about the old parlour; and her
dark eyes wander over the wainscot, or over the
clear, blue sky, with the same, sad, painful va-
And yet-it is very strange ---she does not
grieve: there is a sweet, soft smile upon her lip,
a smile that will come to you in your fancied
troubles of after life with a deep voice of re-
Altogether,you grow into a liking of the country:
your boyish spirit loves its fresh, bracing air, and
the sparkles of dew that at sunrise cover the hills
with diamonds; and the wild river, with its black-
topped, loitering pools; and the shaggy mists that
lie, in the nights of early autumn, like unravelled
clouds, lost upon the meadow. You love the hills,
climbing green and grand tb the skies; or stretch-
ing away in distance, their soft, blue, smoky caps,
like the sweet, half-faded memories of the years
behind you. You love those oaks tossing up their
broad arms into clear heaven, with a spirit and a
strength that kindle your dawning pride and pur-
poses; and that makes you yearn, as your forehead
mantles with fresh blood, for a kindred spirit and
a kindred strength. Above all, you love-though
you do not know it now-th'e BaB OTH of a country
life. In the fields of God's planting, there is RooM.
No walls of brick and mortar cramp one: no fac-
titious distinctions mould your habit. The invo-
luntary reaches of the spirit tend toward the true
and the natural. The flowers, the clouds, and the
fresh-smelling earth, all give width to your intent.
The boy grows into manliness, instead of growing
.to be like men. He. claims-with tears almost
of brotherhood-his kinship with nature; and he
feels, in the mountains, his heirship to the Father
of nature !
This delirium of feeling may not find expression
upon the lip of the boy; but yet it underlies his
thought, and will, without his consciousness, give
the spring to his musing dreams.
So it is, that as you lie there upon the sunny
greensward, at the old squire's door, you muse
upon the time when some rich-lying land, with
huge granaries, and cozy old mansion sleeping
under the trees, shall be yours-when the brooks
shall water your meadows, and come laughing
down your pasture-lands-when the clouds shall
shed their spring fragrance upon your lawns, and
the daisies. bless your paths.
You will then be a squire, with your cane, your
lean-limbed hound, your stocking-leg of specie,
and your snuff-box. You will be the happy and
A NEW ENOLAND SQUIRE.
respected husband of some tidy old lady in black
and spectacles-- little phthisicky, like Frank's
grandmother, and an accomplished cook of stewed
pears and Johnny-cakes I
It seems a very lofty ambition, at.this stage of
growth, to reach such eminence, as to convert
your drawer in the wainscot that has a secret
spring into a bank for the country people; and
the power to send a man to jail seems one of those
stretches of human prerogative, to which few of
your fellow mortals can ever hope to attain.
Well, it may all be. And who knows but the
Dreams of Age, when they are reached, will be
lighted by toe same spirit and freedom of nature
that is around you now Who knows, but that
after tracking you through the Spring and the
Summer of Youth, we shall find frosted Age
settling upon you heavily and solemnly in the
very fields where you wanton to-day ?
This American life of ours is a tortuous and
shifting impulse. It brings age back, from years
of wandering, to totter in the hamlet of its birth;
and it scatters armies of ripe manhood, to bleach
far-away shores with their bones.
That Providence, whose eye and hand are the
spy and the executioner of the fateful changes of
our life, may bring you back in manhood- or in
age to this mountain home of New England; and
that very willow yonder, which your fancy now
makes the graceful mourner of your leave, may
one day shadow mournfully your grave 1
THE COUNTRY CHURCH.
THE country church is a square old building of
wood, without paint or decoration, and of that
genuine, Puritanic stamp which is now fast giving
way to Greek porticoes, and to cockney towers. It
stands upon a hill, with a little churchyard in its
rear, where one or two sickly-looking trees keep
watch and ward over the vagrant sheep that graze
among the graves. Bramble-bushes seem to thrive
on the bodies below, and there is no flower in the
little yard, save a few golden rods, which flaunt
their gaudy, inodorous colour under the lee of the
New England country-livers have as yet been
very little inoculated with the sentiment of
beauty; even the door-step to the church is a wide
flat stone, that shows not a single stroke of the
hammer. Within, the simplicity is even more
severe. Brown galleries run around three sides.
of the old building, supported by timbers on
which you still trace, under the stains from the
THE COUNTRY CHURCH.
leaky roof, the deep scoring of the woodman's
Below, the unpainted pews are ranged in square
forms, and, by age, have gained the colour of those
fragmentary wrecks of cigar boxes which you see
upon the top shelves in the bar-rooms of country
taverns. The minister's desk is lofty, and has once
been honoured with a coating of paint, as well as the
huge sounding-board, which, to your great amaze-
ment, protrudes from the wall, at a very dange-
rous angle of inclination, over the speaker's head.
As the squire's pew is the place of honour, to the
right of the pulpit, you have a little tremor your-
self, at sight of the heavy sounding-board, and can-
not forbear indulging in a quiet feeling of relief
when the last prayer is said.
There are in the squire's pew long, faded,
crimson cushions, which it seems to you must
date back nearly to the commencement of the
Christian era in this country. There are also
sundry old thumb-worn copies of Dr Dwight's
versfo of the Psalms of David-" appointed to
be sung in churches, by authority of the- General
Association of the State of Connecticut." The
sides of Dr Dwight's version are, you observe,
sadly warped and weatherstained; and, from some
stray figures which appear upon a fly-leaf, you are
constrained to think that the squire has some
time employed a quiet interval of the service
with reckoning up the contents of the old stock-
ing-leg at home.
!xhe parson is a stout man, remarkable, in your
opinion, chiefly for' a yellowish-brown wig, a
strong nasal tone, and occasional violent thumps
upon the little, dingy, red velvet cushion, studded
with brass tacks, at the top of the desk. You do
not altogether admire his style; and by the time
he has entered upon his fourthly," you give your
attention; in despair, to a new reading (it must be
the twentieth) of the preface to Dr Dwight's ver-
sion of the Psalms.
The singing has a charm for you. There is a
long, thin-faced, flax-haired man, who carries a
tuning-fork in his waistcoat pocket, and who leads
the choir. His position is in the very front rank of
gallery benches, facing the desk; and by the time
the old clergyman hqs read two verses of the psalm,
the country chorister turns around to his little
group of aids--consisting of the blacksmith, a
carroty-headed sdhoolmaster, two women in snuff-
coloured silks, and a girl in pink bonnet-to an-
nounce the tune.
This being done in an authoritative manner, he
lifts his long music-book, glances again at his
little company, clears his throat by a powerful
ahem, followed by a powerful use of a bandanna
THE COUNTRY CHURCH.
pocket-handkerchief, draws out his tuning-fork,
and waits for the parson to close his reading. He
now reviews once more his company-throws a
reproving glance at the young woman in the pink
hat, who at the moment is biting off a stout bunch
of fennel-lifts his music-book-thumps upon the
rail with his fork-listens keenly-gives a slight
ahem-falls into the cadence--swells into a strong
crescendo-catches at the first word of the line, as
if he were afraid it might get away-turns to his
company-lifts his music-book with spirit-gives
it a powerful slap with the disengaged hand, and
with a majestic toss of the head soars away, with
half the women below straggling on in his wake*
into some such brave old melody as Litchfield I
Being a visitor, and in the squire's pew, you are
naturally an object of considerable attention to the
girls about your age; as well as to a great many
fat, old ladies in iron spectacles, who mortify you
excessively by patting you under the chin after
church; and insist upon mistaking you for Frank,
and force upon you very dry cookies, spiced with
You keep somewhat shy of the young ladies, as
they are rather stout for your notions of beauty,
and wear thick calf-skin boots. They compare
very poorly with Jenny. Jenny, you think, would
be above eating gingerbread between service.
None of them, you imagine, even read Thaddeus
of Warsaw, or ever used a coloured glass seal
with a heart upon it. You are quite certain they
never did, or they could not surely wear such
dowdy gowns, and suck their thumbs as they do.
The farmers you have a high respect for; par-
ticularly for one weazen-faced old gentleman in a
brown surtout, who brings his whip into church
with him, who sings in a very strong voice, and
who drives a span of grey colts. You think, how-
ever, that he has got rather a stout wife; and
from the way he humours her in stopping to talk
with two or three other fat women, before setting
off for home (though he seems a little fidgetty),
you naively think that he has a high regard for
her opinion. Another townsman, who attracts
your notice, is a stout old deacon, who, before en-
tering, always steps around the corner of the
church, and puts his hat upon the ground, to ad-
just his wig in a quiet way. He then marches up
the broad aisle in a stately manner, and plants
his hat and a big pair of buckskin mittens on
the little table under the desk. When he is fairly
seated in his corner of the pew, with his elbow
upon the top-rail--almost the only man who can
comfortably reach it-you observe that he spreads
his brawny fingers over his scalp, in an exceed-
ingly cautious manner; and you innocently think
TILE COUNTRY CHURCH.
again that it is very hypocritical in a deacon to
be pretending to lean upon his hand, when he is
only keeping his wig straight.
After the morning service, they have an hour's
intermission," as the preacher calls it; during
which, the old men gather on a sunny side of the
building, and after shaking hands all round, and
asking after the folks" at home, they enjoy a
quiet talk about the crops. One man, for instance,
with a twist in his nose, would say, It's rather a
growing' season;" and another would reply, To-
lerable, but potatoes is feeling' the wet badly." The
stout deacon approves this opinion, and confirms
it, by blowing his nose very powerfully.
Two or three of the more worldly-minded ones
will perhaps stroll over to a neighbour's barnyard,
and take a look at his young stock, and talk of
prices, and whittle a little; and very likely some
two of them will mr.ke a conditional swop of
" three likely ye'rlings for a pair of two-year-
The youngsters are fond of getting out into the
graveyard, and comparing jack-knives, or talking
about the schoolmaster, or the menagerie, or, it
may be, of some prospective "travel in the fall,
--either to town or perhaps to the sea-shore."
Afternoon service hangs heavily;, and the tall
chorister is by no means so blithe or so majestic
in the toss of his head as in the morning. A boy
in the next box tries to provoke you into fami-
liarity by dropping pellets of gingerbread through
the bars of the pew; but, as you are not accustomed
to that way of making acquaintance, you decline
After the service is finished, the waggons, that
have been disposed on either side of the road, are
drawn up before the door. The old squire, mean-
time, is sure to have a little chat with the parson
before he leaves; in the course of which, the par-
son takes occasion to say that his wife is a little
ailing--" a slight touch," he thinks, of the rheu-
matiz." One of the children, too, has been troubled
with the summer complaint" for a day or two.
The younger and unmarried men, with red waggonsr
flaming upon bright yellow wheels, make great
efforts to drive off in the van; and they spin
frightfully near some of the fat, sour-faced women,
who remark in a quiet, but not very Christian
tone, that "they fear the elder's sermon hasn't
done them much good." It is much to be feared,
in truth, that it has not.
In ten minutes the old church is thoroughly
deserted; the neighbor who keeps the key has
locked up for another week the creaking door,
and nothing of the service remains within, ex-
cept Dr Dwight's version, the long muisic-books,
THE COUNTRY CHURCH.
crumbs of gingerbread, and refuse stalks of de-
And yet, under the influence of that old weather-
stained temple, are perhaps growing up-though
you do not once fancy it-souls possessed of an
energy, an industry and a respect for virtue, which
will make them stronger for the'real work of life
than all the elegant children of a city. One lesson,
which even the rudest churches of New England
teach-with all their harshness, and all their re-
pulsive severity of form-is the lesson of SELF-
DENIAL. Once armed with that, and manhood is
strong. The soul that possesses the conscious-
ness of mastering passion, is endowed with an ele-
ment of force that can never harmonise with de-
feat. Difficulties it wears like a summer gar-
ment, and flings away 'at the first approach of the
winter of NEED.
Let not any one suppose, then, that in this detail
of the country life through which our hero is led
I would cast obloquy, or a sneer, upon its simpli-
city, or upon its lack of refinement. Goodness and
strength, in this world, are quite as apt to wear
rough coats as fine ones. And the words of
thorough, and self-sacrificing kindness are far
more often dressed in the uncouth sounds of re-
tired life, than in the polished utterance of the
town. Heaven has not made warm hearts and
honest hearts distinguishable by the quality of the
covering. True diamonds need no work of the
artificer to reflect and multiply their rays. Good-
ness is more within than without; and purity is
of nearer kin to the soul than to the body.
And, Clarence, it .may well happen, that, later
in life-under the gorgeous ceilings of Venetian
churches, or at some splendid mass of Notre Daime,
with embroidered coats and costly silks around
you-your thoughts will run back to that little
storm-beaten church, and to the willow waving in
its yard, with a hope that glows, and with a tear
that you embalm 1
A HOME SCENE.
AND now I shall not leave this realm of boyhood,
or suffer my hero to slip away from this gala time
of his life, without a fair look at that home where
his present pleasures lie, and where all his dreams
begin and end.
Little does the boy know, as the tide of years
.drifts by, floating him out insensibly from the
harbour of his home, upon the great sea of life,
what joys, what opportunities, what affections, are
slipping from him into the shades of that inexo-
rable Past, where no man can go, save on the wings
A RO SCoi. 83
of his dreams. Little does be think--and God be
praised, that. the thought does not sink deep lines
in his young forehead I--as he leans upon the lap
of his mother,. with his eye turned to her, in some
earnest pleading for a fancied pleasure of the hour,
or in some important story of his grief---that such
sharing of his sorrows, and such sympathy with
his wishes, he will find nowhere again.
Little does he imagine that the fond Nelly, ever
thoughtful of his pleasure, ever smiling away his
griefs, will soon be beyond the reach of either;
and that the waves of the years, which come rock-
ing so gently under him, will soon toss her far
away upon the great swell of life.
But now, you are there. The firelight glim-
mers upon the walls of your cherished home, like
the vestal fire of old upon the figures of adoring
virgins, or like the flame of Hebrew sacrifce,
whose incense bore hearts to heaven. The big
chair of your father is drawn to its wonted corner
by the chimney side; his head, just touched with
grey, lies back upon its oaken top. Little Nelly
leans upon his knee, looking up for some reply
to her girlish- questioning. Opposite sits your
mother; her figure is thin, her look cheerful. yet
subdued; her arim perhaps resting onyour shoulder,
as she talks to you in tones of tender admonition.
of the days that are to come.
The cat is purring on the hearth; the clock, that
ticked so plainly when Charlie died, is ticking on
the mantelpiece still. The great table in the
middle of the room, with its books and work, waits
only for the lighting of the evening lamp, to see a
return to its stores of embroidery and of story.
Upon a little stand under the mirror, which
catches now and then a flicker of the firelight,
and makes it play, as if in wanton, upon the ceil-
ing, lies that big book, reverenced of your New
England parents-the Family Bible. It is a pon-
derous square volume, with heavy silver clasps,
that you have often pressed open for a look at its
quaint old pictures, or for a study of those prettily
bordered pages, which lie between the Testaments,
and which hold the Family Record.
There are the Births-your father's and your
mother's; it seems as if they were born a long
time ago; and even your own date of birth appears
an almost incredible distance back. Then there are
the Marriages-only one as yet, and your mother's
maiden name looks oddly to you; it is hard to
think of her as any one else than your dating
parent. You wonder if your name will ever come
under that paging; and wonder, though you scarce
whisper the wonder to yourself, how another name
would look just below yours-such a name, for
instance, as Fanny,-or as Miss Margaret Boyne I
A IMOME SCENE.
Last of all come the Deaths-only one. Poor
Charlie How it looks !--" Died 12th September,
18-, Charles Henry, aged four years." You know
just how it looks. You have turned to it often;
there you seem to be joined to him, though only
by the turning of a leaf. And over your thoughts,
as you look at that page of the record, there some-
times wanders a vague shadowy fear, which will
come, that your own name may soon be there.
You try to drop the notion, as if it were not fairly
your own; you affect to slight it, as you would
slight a boy. wh6 presumed on your acquaintance,
but whom you have no desire to know. It is a
common thing, you will find, with our world to
decline familiarity with those ideas that fright us.
Yet your mother--how strange it is 1-has no
fears of such dark fancies. Even now, as you
'stand beside her, and as the twilight deepens in
the room, her low, silvery voice is stealing upon
your ear, telling you that she cannot be long with
you; that the time is coming when you must be
guided by your own judgment, and struggle with
.the world, unaided by the friends of your boy-
hood. There is a little pride, and a great deal
more of anxiety in your thoughts now, as you look
steadfastly into the home blaze, while those deli-
cate fingers, so tender of your happiness, play with
the locks upon your brow.
.6 DEZA-LI AFB.
To struggle with the world, that is a proud
thing; to struggle alone, there lies the doubt!
Then crowds in swift, upon the oaln of boyhood,
the first anxious thought of youth; then chases
over the sky of Spring, the first heated and wrath-
ful cloud of Summer.
But the lamps are now lit in the little parlour,
and they shed a soft haze to the furthest corner
of the room; while the firelight streams over the
floor where puss lies purring. Little Madge is
there; she has dropped in softly with her mother,
and 2elly has welcomed her with a bound and
with a kiss. Jenny has not so rosy a bceek as
Madge. But Jenny, with her love-notes and her
languishing dark eye, you think of as a lady; and
the thought of /er is a constant drain upon your
sentiment. As for Madge, that girl Madge, whom
you know so well, you think of fher vs a sister;
and yet-it is vory odd-nI yolook .t her far oftener
than you do at .Nelly d
Frank, too, has come in to huve ~ game with
you at draughta; and .he is in capital spirits, all
brisk and glowing with his evening's walk. He
(bless his honest heart !) never observe, that you
arrange the board very Adroitly, so tblat you mray
keep half an oye upo Madge, as she site yonder
beside Nelly. Nor does he onoe notice your blush,
as you catch her-eye, when she rases her head to
A BOME SCENE.
fling back the ringlets; and then, with a sly look
at you, bends a most earnest gaze upon the board,
as if-she were especially interested in the disposi-
tion of the men.
You catch a little of the spirit of coquetry your-
self (what a native growth it is 1), and, if she lift
her eyes when you are gazing at her, you very
suddenly divert your look to the oat at her feet;
and remark to your friend Frank, in an easy,
offhand way, how still the cat is lying I And
Frank turns, thinking probably, if he thinks at all
about it, that cats are very apt to lie still when
As for Nelly, half neglected by your thought,
as well as by your eye, while mischievous look-
ing Madge is sitting by her, you little know, as
yet, what kindness, what gentleness you are care-
less of. Few loves in life-and you will learn it
before life is done-can balance the lost love of a
As for your parents, in the intervals of the game,
you listen dreamily to their talk with the mother
of Madge, good Mrs Boyne. It floats over ymar
mind, as you rest your chin upon your clenbced
hand, like a strain of old familiar musio--a house.
hold strain that seen to belong to the habit of
your ear- a strain that will linger about it melo-
diously for many years to come-a strain that will
be recalled long time hence, when life is earnest
and its cares heavy, with tears of regret and with
sighs of bitterness
By and by your game is done, and other games,
in which join Nelly (the tears come when you
write her name now ) and Madge (the smiles
come when you look on her then /), stretch out that
sweet eventide of Home, until the lamp flickers,
and you speak your friends--adieu. To Madge, it
is said boldly---a boldness put on to conceal a little
lurking tremor; but there is no tremor in the
Ay, my boy, kiss your mother, kiss her again;
fondle your sweet Nelly; pass your litt hand
through the grey locks of your father; love them
dearly, while you can I Make your good-nights
.linger; and make your adieus long, sweet, and
often repeated. Love with your whole soul, Father,
Mother, and Sister; for these loves shall die I
Not indeed in thought: God be thanked I. Nor
yet in tears, for he is merciful I But they shall
die as the leaves die-die as Spring dies into the
heat and ripeness of Summer, and as boyhood
!dies into the elasticity and ambition of youth.
Death, distance, and time, shall each one of them
dig graves for your affections; but this you do not
.know, nor can know, until the story of your life
A BOMB SCENT.
The dreams of riches, of love, of voyage, of
learning,.that light up the boy-age with splendour,
will pass on and over into the hotter dreams of
youth. Spring buds and blossoms under the glow-
ing sun of April nurture at their heart those first-
lings of fruit which the heat of summer shall
You little know-and for this you may well
thank Heaven-that you are leaving the Spring of
life, and that you are floating fast from the. shady
sources of your years, into heat, bustle, and storm.
Your dreams are now faint, flickering shadows,
that play like fire-flies in the coppices of leafy
June. They have no rule, but the rule of infantile
desire. They have no joys to promise, greater
than the joys that belong to your passing life;
they have no terrors, but such terrors as the dark-
ness of a spring night makes. They do not take
hold on your soul, as the dreams of youth and
manhood will do.
Your highest hope is shadowed in a cheerful,
boyish home. You wish no friends but the friends
of boyhood; no sister but your fond Nelly; none
to love better than the playful Madge.
You forget, Clarence, that the Springjwith you
is the Spring with them; and that the storms of
Summer may chase wide shadows over your path,
and over theirs. And you forget that Summer
is even now lowering with its mist, and with its
scorching rays, upon the hem of your flowery
The hands of the old clock upon the mantelpiece,
"that ticked off the hours when Charlie sighed and
when Charlie died, draw on toward midnight.
The shadows that the fire-flame makes, grow
dimmer and dimmer. And thus it is, that Home,
boy-home, passes away for ever, like the swaying
of a pendulum, like the fading of a shadow on the
DREAMS OF YOUTH.
I FEEL a great deal of pity for those honest, but
misguided people, who call their little, spruce sub-
urban towns, or the shaded streets of their inland
cities, the country; and I have still more pity for
those who reckon a season at the summer resorts
country enjoyment. Nay, my feeling is more vio-
lent than pity; and I count it nothing less than
blasphemy so to take the name of the country in
I thank Heaven, every summer's day of my life,
that my lot was humbly cast within the hearing
of romping brooks and beneath the shadow of
oaks. And, from all the tramp and bustle of the
world into which fortune has led me in these latter
years of my life, I delight to steal away for days
and for weeks together, and bathe my spirit in the
freedom of the old woods; and to grow young
again, lying upon the brook-side, and counting the
'92 ~DEEA~r-L PU.
white clouds that sail along the sky, softly and
tranquilly, even as holy memories go stealing over
the vault of life.
I am deeply thankful that I could never find
it in my heart so to pervert truth, as to call the
smart villages, with the tricky shadow of their
maple avenues, the country.
I love these in their way; and can recall pleasant
passages of thought, as I have idled through the
Sabbath-looking towns, or lounged at the inn-door
of some quiet New England village. But I love
far better to leave them behind me; and to dash
boldly out to where some outlying farmhouse
sits, like a witness, under the shelter of wooded
hills, or nestles in the lap of a noiseless valley.
In the town, small as it may be, and darkened
as it may be with the shadows of trees, you can-
-not forget men. Their voice, and strife, and ani-
bition come to your eye in the painted paling, in-
the swinging signboard of the tavern, and, worst
of all, in the trim-printed "ATTORNEY AT LAW."
Even the little milliner's shop, with its meagre
show of leghorns, and its string across the window,
all hung with tabs and with cloth roses, is a sad
epitome of the great and conventional life of a
I like to be rid of them all, as I am rid of them
this midsummer's day. I like to steep my soul
in a sea of quiet, with nothing floating past me,
as I lie moored to my thought, but the perfume
of flowers, and soaring birds, and shadows of
Two days since, I was sweltering in the heat of
the city, jostled by the thousand eager workers,
and panting under the shadow of the walls. But
I have stolen away; and, for two hours of health-
ful re-growth into the darling past, I have been
lying this blessed summer's morning upon the
grassy bank of a stream that babbled me to sleep
in boyhood. Dear, old stream, unchanging, un-
faltering, with no harsher notes now than then,
never growing old, smiling in your silver rustle,
and calming yourself in the broad, placid pools,-l
love you, as I love a friend I
But now, that the sun has grown scalding hot,
ard the waves of heat have come rocking under
the shadow of the meadow oaks, I have sought
shelter in a chamber of the old farmhouse. The
window-blinds are closed; but some of them are
sadly shattered, and I have intertwined in them
a few branches of the late-blossoming, white azalia,
so that every puff of the summer air comes to me
cooled with fragrance. A dimple or two of the
sunlight still steals through my flowery screen,
and dances (as the breeze moves the branches) upon
the oaken floor of the farmhouse.
Through one little gap, indeed, I can see the
broad stretch of meadow, and the workmen in the
field bending and swaying to their scythes. I can
see, too, the glistening of the steel, as they wipe
their blades; and can just catch floating on the
air the measured, tnkling thwack of the rifle
Here and there a lark, scared from his feeding-
place in the grass, soars up, bubbling forth his me-
lody in globules of silvery sound, and settles upon
some tall tree, and waves his wings, and sinks to
the swaying twigs. I hear,. too, a quail piping from
the meadow fence, and another trilling his answer-
ing whistle from the hills, Nearer by, a tyrant
king-bird is poised on the topmost branch of a ve-
teran pear-tree, and now and then dashes down,
assassin-like, upon some homebound, honey-laden
bee, and then, with a suaack of his bill, resumes
his predatory watch.
A chicken or two lie in the sun, with a wing
and a leg stretched out-lazily picking at the
gravel, or relieving their exinui, from time to time,
with a spasmodic rustle of their feathers. An old,
matronly hen stalks about the yard with a sedate
step; and, with quiet self-assurance, she utters an
occasional series of hoarse and heated clucks. A
speckled turkey, with an astonished brood at her
heels, is eyeing curiously, and with earnest varia-
tions of the head, a full-fed cat, that lies curled up
and dosing upon the floor of the cottage porch.
As I sit thus, watching through the interstices
of my leafy screen the various images of country
life, I hear distant mutterings from beyond the hills.
The sun has thrown its shadow upon the pewter
dial, two hours beyond the meridian line. Great
cream-coloured heads of thunder-clouds are lifting
above the sharp, clear line of the western horizon:
the light breeze dies away, and the air becomes
stifling, even under the shadow of my withered
boughs in the chamber window. The white-capped
clouds roll up nearer and nearer to the sun; and
the creamy masses below grow dark in their seams.
The mutterings, that came faintly before, now
spread into wide volumes of rolling sound, that
echo. again and again from the eastward heights.
I hear, in the deep intervals, the men shouting to
their teams in the meadows; and great companies
of startled swallows are dashing in all directions
around the grey roofs of the barn.
The clouds have now well-nigh reached the sun,
which seems to shine the fiercer for his coming
eclipse. The whole west, as I look from the sources
of the. brook, to its lazy drift under the swamps
that lie to the south, is hung with a curtain of
darkness; and, like swift-working, golden ropes
that lift it toward the zenith, long chains of light,
ning flash through it, and the growing thunder
seems like the rumble of the pulleys.
I thrust away my azalia boughs, and fling back
the shattered blinds, as the sun and the clouds
meet; and my room darkens with the coming
shadows. For an instant, the edges of the thick
creamy masses of cloud are gilded by the shrouded
sun, and show gorgeous scollops of gold, that toss
upon the hem of the storm. But the blazonry fades
as the clouds mount; and the brightening lines of
the lightning dart up from the lower skirts, and
heave the billowy masses into the middle heaven.
The workmen are urging their oxen fast across
the meadow, and the loiterers come straggling
after, with rakes upon their shoulders. The ma-
tronly hen has retreated to the stable-door, and
the brood of turkeys stand, dressing their feathers,
under the open shed.
The air freshens, and blows now from the face
of the coming clouds. I see the great elms in the
plain swaying their tops, even before the storm
breeze has reached me; and a-bit of ripened grain
upon a swell of the meadow waves and tosses like
a billowy -sea.
Presently, I hear the'rush of-the wind; and the
cherry and pear trees rustle through all their
leaves; and my paper is whisked away by the in-
There is a quiet of a moment, in which the wind,
even, seems weary and faint; and nothing finds
utterance save one hoarse tree-toad, doling out his
Now comes a blinding flash from the clouds;
and a quick, sharp clang clatters through the
heavens, and bellows loud and long among the
hills. Then-like great grief, spending its pent
agony in tears-come the big drops of rain, pat-
tering on the lawn and on the leaves, and, most
musically of all, upon the roof above me-not now,
with the light fall of the SPRING shower, but with
strong steppings-like the first proud tread of
IT has very likely occurred to you, my reader,
that I am playing the wanton in these sketches-
and am breaking through all the canons of the
writers in making You my hero.
It is even so, for my work is a story of those
vague feelings,- doubts, passions which belong
more or less t.b every man of us all; and therefore
it is that I lay upon your shoulders the burden of.
these dreams. If this or that one, never belonged