Page images
PDF
EPUB

about one who was wringing her hands and crying bitterly. “Oh, dame!” said the schoolmaster, drawing near her chair, “ is it so bad as this ?” Without replying, she pointed to another room, which the schoolmaster immediately entered ; and there lay his little friend, half dressed, stretched upon a bed.

He was a very young boy ; quite a little child. His hair still hung in curls about his face, and his eyes were very bright; but their light was of heaven, not of earth. The schoolmaster took a seat beside him, and stooping over the pillow, whispered his name.

The boy sprung up, stroked his face with his hand, and threw his wasted arms around his neck, crying that he was his dear, kind friend. “I hope I always was. I meant to be, God knows,” said the poor schoolmaster.

“ You remember my garden, Henry ? ” whispered the old man, anxious to rouse him, for a dullness seemed gathering upon the child," and how pleasant it used to be in the evening time? You must make haste to visit it again, for I think the very flowers have missed you, and are less gay than they used to be. You will come soon, very soon now, won't you ?”

The boy smiled faintly -- So very, very faintly - and put his hand upon his friend's gray head. He moved his lips too, but no voice came from them

- no, not a sound. In the silence that ensued, the hum of distant voices, borne upon the evening air, came floating through the open window. “What's that ? ” said the sick child, opening his eyes. “ The boys at play, upon the green.

He took a handkerchief from his pillow, and tried to wave it above his head. But the feeble arm dropped powerless down. “Shall I do it?" said the schoolmaster. " Please wave it at the window," was the faint reply. “Tie it to

the lattice. Some of them may see it there. Perhaps they'll think of me, and look this way."

He raised his head and glanced from the fluttering signal to his idle bat, that lay, with slate, and book, and other boyish property, upon the table in the room. And then he laid him softly down once more, and again clasped his little arms around the old man's neck. The two old friends and companions — for such they were, though they were man and child — held each other in a long embrace, and then the little scholar turned his face to the wall and fell asleep.

From “ The Old Curiosity Shop.”

DEFINITIONS.— Põll, head. Fôrm, bench, or long seat. Măl'ice, intent to injure. Tö'ken, sign, indication. Běck'on ing, calling.

HANNAH BINDING SHOES.

BY LUCY LARCOM.

Poor lone Hannah,
Sitting at the window, binding shoes :

Faded, wrinkled,
Sitting, stitching, in a mournful muse.

Bright-eyed beauty once was she,
When the bloom was on the tree :

Spring and winter,
Hannah's at the window, binding shoes.

Not a neighbor,
Passing, nod or answer will refuse

To her whisper,
“ Is there from the fishers any news ?”
NEW MOGUF. FIFTH - 7 97

Oh, her heart's adrift, with one
On an endless voyage gone !

Night and morning,
Hannah's at the window, binding shoes.

Fair young Hannah,
Ben, the sunburnt fisher, gayly wooes;

Hale and clever,
For a willing heart and hand he sues.

May-day skies are all aglow,
And the waves are laughing so!

For her wedding
Hannah leaves her window and her shoes.

May is passing; 'Mid the apple boughs a pigeon cooes ;

Hannah shudders,
For the mild southwester mischief brews.

Round the rocks of Marblehead,
Outward bound, a schooner sped:

Silent, lonesome,
Hannah's at the window, binding shoes.

'Tis November:
Now no tear her wasted cheek bedews;

From Newfoundland
Not a sail returning will she lose,

Whispering hoarsely, “ Fishermen,
Have you, have you heard of Ben?”

Old with watching,
Hannah's at the window, binding shoes.

Twenty winters
Bleach and tear the ragged shore she views —

Twenty seasons !
Never one has brought her any news.
Still her dim eyes silently
Chase the white sails o'er the sea :

Hopeless, faithful,
Hannah's at the window, binding shoes.

THE FIRST SUNDAY AT WAKEFIELD.

BY OLIVER GOLDSMITH.

A proof that even the humblest fortune may grant happiness,

which depends not on circumstances but constitution. The place of our retreat was in a little neighborhood consisting of farmers, who tilled their own grounds, and were equal strangers to opulence and poverty. As they had almost all the conveniences of life within themselves, they seldom visited towns or cities in search of superfluity. Remote from the polite, they still retained the primeval simplicity of manners ; and frugal by habit, they scarcely knew that temperance was a virtue. They wrought with cheerfulness on days of labor ; but observed festivals as intervals of idleness and pleasure. They kept up the Christmas carol, sent true love knots on Valentine morning, ate pancakes on Shrovetide, showed their wit on the first of April, and religiously cracked nuts on Michaelmas Eve.

Being apprised of our approach, the whole neighborhood came out to meet their minister, dressed in their finest clothes, and preceded by a pipe and tabor. A feast

also was provided for our reception, at which we sat cheerfully down : and what the conversation wanted in wit was made up in laughter.

Our little habitation was situated at the foot of a sloping hill, sheltered with a beautiful underwood behind, and a prattling river before ; on one side a meadow, on the other a green. My farm consisted of about twenty acres of excellent land, having given a hundred pounds for my predecessor's good-will. Nothing could exceed the neatness of my little inclosures, the elms and hedgerows appearing with inexpressible beauty. My house consisted of but one story, and was covered with thatch, which gave it an air of great snugness; the walls on the inside were nicely whitewashed, and my daughters undertook to adorn them with pictures of their own designing. Though the same room served us for parlor and kitchen, that only made it the warmer. Besides, as it was kept with the utmost neatness, the dishes, plates, and coppers being well scoured, and all disposed in bright rows the shelves, the eye was agreeably relieved, and did not want richer furniture. There were three other apartments, one for my wife and me, another for our two daughters, and the third, with two beds, for the rest of the children.

The little republic to which I gave laws was regulated in the following manner : by sunrise we all assembled in our common apartment, the fire being previously kindled by the servant. After we had saluted each other with proper ceremony — for I always thought fit to keep up some mechanical forms of good breeding, without which freedom ever destroys friendship — we all bent in gratitude to that Being who gave us another day. This duty

on

« PreviousContinue »