Изображения страниц

place, like Laurel Hill or Greenwood, filled with the past—sweet records of joys departed—brighter days and downier hours? If so, and I hope so, do you remember the village church, and the choir, and the ininister, and how they used to do then, and all about it? And what wouldn't you and I give, to be set back into the middle of one of those long Sunday afternoons, in one of those old-fashioned square pews, with our feet swinging about eight or ten inches above the floor, mother on one side with the everlasting sprig of carraway; father on the other; the singers on the high seats, away back; the minister come, and all ready? Don't you remember the pulpit? A queer thing, shaped like a swallow's nest, and fastened like a swallow's nest to the wall, about midway between floor and ceiling. Or perhaps it was a great, square, two-story device, with the architecture of a wheat-bin, and a dungeon of a place to put wood in, underneath. I'll

wager a concordance" it was one or the other. And what wouldn't you give, to have the faith in one man that you had in that old-fashioned minister ? Were you afraid of thunder, and don't you recollect when father asked him home because it was likely to rain, and it did rain, and the thunder jarred the tangled sunbeams out of the



cloud, how safe you felt because the minister was there ? Ah! a child's sweet faith was made before Franklin dreamed of fixing bayonet against the tempest. And do you remember the day he died, and how

you wondered so good a man could die-how it shook your

confidence in the permanence of earthly things, and made you sad and fearful, and gave you something to think of, when the folks thought you were asleep? And how he preached! What simplicity, what eloquence, what fervor! But alas ! for it, “the prayers of David, the son of Jesse, are ended.' And don't you remember how the gray

heads were sprinkled among the congregation of tresses brown in the shadow, golden in the sun,' like the first snowflakes of November? Well, they are not there now. There has been a sun or so too many, and melted them all away. Old Deacon so-and-so, that used to sit hard by the pulpit, now sits on the bank of the river that runs hard by the throne. Who can doubt it ? He had a heart open as the day to melting charity; he sang a little too nasal, then, we remember, but he has a new song” and a new harp now.

Those were the good old times of the Church, nearer the days of the Pilgrims, the Covenanters, and

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


Heaven. New songs, new sermons, new doctrines, and new faces have taken their places. Sacred be the memory of the old times for ever!

Queer Estimates.

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

“How much did it weigh ?”

Is it possible ?"
I never !"
" You don't


it !" Thousands of times has this question been asked, and thousands of times has it been wondered at and "I never'd.'

And what commodity is it that is great' at ten pounds and a marvel at thirteen ? Don't mind the Price Current, for it isn't there. It was a something bundled in a flannel blanket—the blanket securely pinned and knotted at the corners—the something, in an active state of 'unrest,' as the transcendentals have it. The steelyards had been called into requisition, and its bended iron was indeed · hooks to hang a hope on.'

The little bundle was swung up; the weight clicked along the bar. That's the notch ! Eight and a half!" Eight and a half of what?

[ocr errors]

Why, of–humanity. By the memory of Malthus, there's a baby in the blanket! So there is—a little voter, or, if not that, as Shakspeare says, ' a child.' Something that may cut a figure in the world, break heads or hearts—have a great name, and be a man or a woman. Eight pounds and a half of a hero or a heroine, a monster or a minister. Piety and patriotism by the pound. Beauty and baseness by the blanketful. Queer measurement, isn't it? but there are queerer still.

Time wears on apace with us all, and the something in the blanket too. He is a boy of five. He stands erect as God made him, 'that he may look,' as a writer finely says, ' upon the stars.' They are talking again, but the steelyards hang undisturbed in the cellar-way. No use for them now. are talking, and we not listening

Tall of his age, isn't he ?' • He looks over the table like a man; the ' high-chair' was put away months ago!

Tall, is he? Three feet and an inch high, and this is the altitude of humanity. Weight is out of the question ; estimates all run to height. Ambition is but another name for altitude, and success a synonyme for getting higher.' The boy is a man; the

[ocr errors]

But they

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


man climbs rostrums to get higher; thrones, to get higher; mountains, to get higher. Monuments go up; shouts go up; favorites go up to court; conquerors go up to glory. Height, height, every where height. Six feet of glory; six feet two, of honor and dignity. Queer again—don't you think so?

By and by-melancholy trio—the form is bent a little, and there goes an inch or two from stature. He or she is looking at something in the dust. What can it be? Surely it is not a grave they look at. Eyes grow dim, and they bend lower to see. To see? What can there be to be seen, we wonder ?

By and by, they weary, and throw themselves along the bosom of the dusky mother of us all. They sleep-sleep, but they do not dream! Where are your altitude now, your mountains, monuments, and thrones? Men take up the sleeper, carefully, slowly, as it were a treasure. And so it is a treasure of dust. The old estimate is resumed; weight has come again; ʼtis ' a dead weight—nothing more.

And this would be queer, too, if only it were not sad.

But they are talking again. She had three names, hadn't she ?' Indeed, but I can remember but two.'

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »