Page images
PDF
EPUB

Yet has no month a prouder day,

Not even when the summer broods
O’er meadows in their fresh array,

Or autumn tints the glowing woods.
For this chill season now again

Brings, in its annual round, the morn
When, greatest of the sons of men,

Our glorious Washington was born.
Lo, where, beneath an icy shield,

Calmly the mighty Hudson flows!
By snow-clad fell and frozen field,

Broadening, the lordly river goes.
The wildest storm that sweeps through space,

And rends the oak with sudden force,
Can raise no ripple on his face,

Or slacken his majestic course.
Thus, 'mid the wreck of thrones, shall live

Unmarred, undimmed, our hero's fame,
And years succeeding years shall give
Increase of honors to his name.

BRYANT.

THE WIDOW CUMMISKEY.

THE

even

'HE widow Cummiskey was standing at the door of

her little millinery store, Avenue D, the other ing, as Mr. Costello came along. Mr. Costello stopped.

“Good evening to you, ma'am," said he.
“Good evening to you," answered the widow.

“It's fine weather we're havin', ma'am," continued Mr. Costello.

" It is that," replied Mrs. Cummiskey, “but the winter's comin' at last, and it comes to all, both great and small.”

"Ah!" said Mr. Costello, “but for all that it doesn't come to us all alike. Now, here you are, ma'am, fat, rosy, an' good-lookin', equally swate as a summer greening, a fall pippin, or a winter russet

Arrah, hould yer whist, now,” interrupted the fair widow, laughing. “Much an old bachelor like you knows about apples or women. But come in, Mr. Costello, and take a cup of tay with me, for I was only standin' be the doore lookin' at the people passin' for company sake, like, and I'm sure the kettle must have sung

itself hoarse.' Mr. Costello needed no second invitation, and he fol lowed his hostess into her snug back room. There was a bright fire burning in the little Franklin stove, the teakettle was sending forth a cloud of steam that took a ruddy glow from the fire-light, the shaded light on the table gave a mellow and subdued light to the room,

and it was all very suggestive of comfort.

"It's very cosey ye are here, Mrs. Cummiskey," said Mr. Costello.

“ Yes,” replied the widow, as she laid the supper, “it is that whin I do have company."

"Ah," said Mr. Costello," it must be lonesome for you with only the cat and yer cup o' tay."

“ Sure it is," answered the widow. “ But take a sate and set down, Mr. Costello. Help yourself to the fish, an' don't forgit the purtaties. Look at thim; they're splittin' their sides with laughin'.”

Mr. Costello helped himself and paused. He looked at the plump widow, with her arms iņ that graceful posi. tion assumed in the pouring out of tea, and remarked, “I'm sinsible of the comforts of a home, Mrs. Cummiskey, although I've none mesilf. Mind, now, the difference between the taste o' the tay made and served thata-way and the tay they gives you in an 'ating-house."

“Sure," said the widow,“there's nothin' like a home of your own. I wonder ye never got marrit, Mr. Costello.”

“I was about to make the same remark in riference to yerself, ma'am.”

“ Mr. Costello, aren't I a widder woman this seven

year?

“Ah, but it's thinkin' I was why ye didn't get marrit again."

“Well, it's sure I am,” said the widow, thoughtfully, setting down her tea-cup and raising her hand by way of emphasis, “there never was a better husband to any woman than him that's dead and gone. He was that aisy, a child could do anythin' with him, and he was as humorsome as a monkey. You favor him very much, Mr. Costello; he was about your height, an' dark-complected like you !"

“Ah !” exclaimed Mr. Costello. “He often used to say to me in his bantherin' way, Sure, Nora, what's the worruld to a man whin his wife is a widder ? mauin', you know, that all timptations in luxuries of this life can never folly a man beyant the grave. 'Sure, Nora,' says he, 'what's this worruld to a man whin his wife is a widder? Ah, poor

John!" “It was a sensible sayin', that,” remarked Mr. Costello, helping himself to more fish.

"I mind the day John died," continued the widow. "He knew everything to the last, and about four in the afternoon—it was seventeen minutes past five exactly,

1

be the clock, that he died-he says to me, ‘Nora,' says he, ‘ you've been a good wife,' says he, 'an' I've been a good husband,' says he, 'an' so there's no love lost betune us,' says he, 'an' I could give you a good charak-tur to any place,' says he, an' I wish you could do the same for me where I'm goin,' says he, “but it's case equal,' says he ; 'every dog has his day, and some has a day and a half,' says he,and,' says he, “I'll know more in a bit than Father Corrigan himself,' says he, so I'll not bother my brains about it;' and he says, says he,

and if at any time, ye see anny wan ye like better nor me, marry him,' says he, for the first time spakin' it solemn like. 'Ah, Nora, what is the wurruld to a man when his wife is a widder? And,' says he, 'I lave fifty dollars for masses, and the rest I lave to yourself,' says he, an' I needn't tell ye to be a good mother to the children,' says he, "for well we know there are none.' Ah, poor John. Will ye have another cup of tay, Mr. Costello ?”

“ It must have been very hard on ye,” said Mr. Costello. “ Thank ye, ma'am, no more."

“It was hard," said Mrs. Cummiskey; "but time will tell. I must cast about me for me own livin', an' so I got until this place, an' here I am to-day.”

“Ah !" said Mr. Costello, as they rose from the tablo and seated themselves before the fire, “an' here we are both of us this evenin'."

"Here we are, sure enough," rejoined the widow. “An' so I mind ye

of-of him, do I ?” asked Mr. Costello, after a pause, during which he had gazed contemplatively into the fire.

“That ye do. Ye favor him greatly. Dark-complected an' the same pleasant smile."

66

“Now, with me sittin' here, and you sitting there, foreninst me, ye might almost think ye were marrit again," said Mr. Costello, insinuatingly.

“Ah, go 'way now for a taze that ye are,” exclaimed the widow, mussing her clean apron by rolling up the corners of it.

“I disremember what it was he said about seein' anny man you liked better nor him," said Mr. Costello, moving his chair a little nearer to that of the widow.

“He said, said he," answered the widow, smoothing her apron over her knees with her plump white hands, “. Nora,' said he, 'if

any
time

ye see anny man ye like better nor me, marry him,' says he.”

“ Did he say anything about anny wan ye liked as well as him ?” asked Mr. Costello.

I don't mind that he did," answered the widow, reflectively, folding her hands in her lap.

I suppose he left that to yerself?” pursued Costello.

Faith, an' I don't know, thin," answered Mrs. Cummiskey.

D'ye think ye like me as well as him ?” asked Costello, persuasively, leaning forward to look into the widow's eyes, which were cast down.

“Ah, go 'way for a taze," exclaimed the widow, straightening herself, and playfully slapping Costello in the face.

He moved his chair still nearer, and stole his arm around her waist.

“Nivver you think I'm ticklesome, Mr. Costello," says the widow, looking boldly at him.

“Tell me," he insisted, "d'ye like me as well as ye did him ?

“I-I most-I most disremember now how much I

« PreviousContinue »