« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
We shall see hearts beat as plainly then, as we now see the movements of delicate chronometers beneath their crystal cases
emotions will be visible — the footfalls of thought audible—the trickery of light and shade by-gone, and things will appear as they are.
And the pleasant surprises that shall meet us then; perhaps the trees will grow by music, and the streams murmur articulate ; perhaps we shall meet and recognize those who had gone on before. New scenes, new beauties, new thoughts—every where 'plus ultra'- more beyond.
The glories of twilight have departed, and the gray night of the year has, at last, set in.
The tree by my window has thrown off the red and yellow livery it has worn of late, and with naked arms tossing wildly about, stands shivering in the gusts, dismantled and desolate. Strange to say, I love it better than when song and shadow met in its branches better than ever ; but it is not a love born of pity; it needs none, for its life is locked up safely in the earth beneath, and whistle as it will, the boatswain of a winter wind cannot pipe up a pulse or a
bud. Through its leafless limbs, I can see Heaven, now, and there are no stars in the trees in June.
The Sweet Brier creaks uneasily against the wall ; the snow is heaped on the window-sill; the frost is
castle-building' on the panes; the streams are dumb; the woods stand motionless under the weight of white winter.
It is Saturday-Saturday afternoon ; the children "just let loose from school,” and Clear Lake is swarming with juvenile skaters.
Grouped here and there in clusters, like swarms of bees or bevies of blackbirds in council, now and then, one and another and a third dash not in graceful circles, with motion as easy as flying. Huge sixes and sweeping eights, and eagles with enormous length of wing, are cut”
the " solid water." Presently, the whole cluster break and fly in every direction, like a flock of pigeons. There go a brace in a trial of speed; there, a Castor and Pollux, hand in hand; here, a game of goal is going on, and here, a game
of “red lion." Away there, lies a little fellow upon his back, taking his first lesson in Skater's Astronomy. Ask him, and he will tell you he saw stars' but a moment ago, that never were named.
The sun is going down in the west, and they have been upon
the ice since high noon. But what is that to them? What care they for cold, and fatigue, and time? Saturday comes but once a week, and ice hardly once a year. But they'll find ice enough by and by-ice in midsummer-iced hopes, iced friendships, icy hearts. And as for the Saturdays, they'll grow
“ few and far between”—they'll not come once a week, nor once a month; and happy will he be, who has a Saturday afternoon and evening to end his life with.
Then who says, the boys sha'n't skate ? Who grudges them the “rockers ?” Look at that little fellow now; on one arm, hang his skates, “ a brand new” pair, glittering like a couple of scimetars. 'Tis his first appearance on the Skater's field. Down he gets upon the ice ; his little red and white mittens tethered with a string, lie beside him, while with his chubby red fingers, he dallies and tugs with buckles and straps, every now and then blowing his fingers to keep them in a glow. All right and tight, he's rigged, he's ready, he's up and off! What warrior ever harnessed for the field and the fray, with a richer pride mantling his cheek, or a brighter joy
lighting his eye! There may have been one or two, but there is no record of them in Froissart.
MUSING here by the sleepy fire, this stormy night about “ one thing and another," the chime of bells, little and big, comes sweetly to my ear through the snowy
air. Those sounds are mnemonic—they are the sweet bells of the past; and in the time of a single note, we are back again into the vanished years, in a winter's night, the moon at the full,
“some body very near,” and the merry bells ringing as they ring now. How silvery were the laughs that issued then, from beneath the downy mufflers and quilted hoods. How , bright were the eyes that glittered through green veils then, like stars through a leafy wood.
Bells! There have been knells since then, and those who “make no new friends,” must journey alone. You who vaunt upon life and station, and the permanence of things earthly, return to the scenes of your youthful days of a winter's night. And the 'turn out'-let it be as of old, and call here and
there, where dwelt the companions of a brighter time. Here the stranger, there the estranged, and there, echo answers to your impatient rap.
The horses are at the gate, eager to be gone, and shake music from those bells at every toss of the head. But it is not music to you, and turning slowly homeward, you pass, in the moonlight, a field furrowed with many a drifted heap. It is “God's Field,” and many who were your companions on just such a night, lie silent there. Ay! muffle the bells for memory, and pass on, a sadder but a wiser man.
The Old Times and the New.
How's your memory? Does it run away back to the days of life's “ drowsy east," and do the days that are gone shine yet upon the further borders of it? Or have you one of those narrow memories, not broad enough for any thing but yesterday and the day before? And what do you keep in it? Have you turned it into a blotter to put “ credits” to yourself, and " debits” to some body else in; a sort of meagre Almanac of “ bills receivable ?" Or is it a beautiful