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Down goes the lead: "five fathoms !"
"Seven fathoms !" "All right!"
Take care! 'Tis shoal again! Heave the lead !
There! move on steadily.
deeper, grows the water. They have made the harbor. They are safe! They felt their way through the waves, through the night, through the storm; and the wonderful nerve was a line with a lump of Lead.
The Old-Fashioned Fire.
DOWN goes the mercury to the zero of Celius and Reaumur. Down it goes again, to the 0 of Fahrenheit. The frost is creeping, creeping over the lower panes, one after another. Now it finishes a feather; now it completes a plume; now it tries its hand at a specimen of silver-graining. Up, up it goes, pane after pane, clouds, and feathers, and grains. Here a joint, there a nail cracks like a craft in a racking storm; but all is calm and cold as death. goes a forgotten glass in the pantry. The door-latch
is plated; half-hidden nail-heads, here and there in the corners, are 'silvered o'er with '-frost.
But what cared we for that, as we sat by the oldfashioned fire? Back-stick, fore-stick, top-stick, and superstructure, all in their places. The coals are turned out from their glowing bed between the sentinel andirons-the old-time irons, with huge rings in the top. One of them has rested, for many a day, on a broken brick, but what of that? Many a beautiful tree, nay, a whole grove, maybe, has turned to glory and to ashes thereon, and will again, winters and winters to come.
A handful of kindlings' is placed beneath this future temple of flame; here and there a chip, a splinter, a dry twig, is skilfully chinked into the interstices of the structure; a wave or two of the housewife's wand of power, and the hearth is "swept up." The old bricks in that altar-place of home, begin to grow bright, and as good as new.' A little spiring flame, ambitious to be something and some body, creeps stealthily up, and peeps through the crevices, over this stick, under that one, looking like a little half-furled banner of crimson. Then come another and another, and down they go again, the timid flames that they are! By and by they grow
bolder, and half a dozen, altogether, curl bravely round the "fore-stick," and up to the "top-stick," and over the whole, like the turrets of a tower at sunrise, one, two, three, four, five spires. Then they blend together, a cone of flame. Then they turn into billows and breakers of red, and roll up the blackened wall of the chimney, above the jamb, above the mantel-tree, away up the chimney they roar, while the huge "back-stick," below all, lies like a great bar, and withstands the fiery surf that beats against it.
The circle of chairs is enlarged; the 'old armchair' in the corner is drawn back; one is reading, another is knitting; a third, a wee bit of a boy, is asleep in the corner; they look into each other's faces, look beautiful to each other, and take courage and are content. There is not a shadow in the spacious room; the frost creeps down from the windows; the ice in the pail, in the corner, gives a half lurch, like the miniature iceberg it is, and over it goes with a splash. The fire is gaining on it. The latch and the nails lose the bravery of their silvering; the circle round the fire grows larger and larger; the old-fashioned fire has triumphed. It is summer there, it is light there. The flowers of hope spring up around it; the music of memory fills up the pauses; the clock ticks
softly from its niche above the mantel-piece, as if fearful of letting them know how fast it is stealing away with the hours-hours the happiest, alas! we seldom live but once; hours whose gentle light so often shines from out the years of the long-gone morning, on into the twilight of life's latest close.
Ah! necromancers swept the magic circle in times of old; but there is none so beautiful, none with charm so potent, as the circle of light and of love around the old-fashioned fire!
THERE is a beautiful harmony and order in Nature, which the more one contemplates, the more he finds reason to admire.
Calling at the office of a friend, a while ago, who is 'curious' in matters of Mineralogy and Geology, I noticed upon a table, specimens of the wonderful, progressive operations of Nature. There was delicate moss, some of it yet wearing the color of summer; and some had passed beyond "the sere and yellow leaf," and had apparently been bleached.
Near the moss, lay a fragment of porous stone, resembling in color and structure, though more compact, the whitened moss. Next to this was a specimen of firm rock; the pores were filled up; the whole had indurated, and there, but two removes from the green moss, lay the material of which Ambition rears his monuments, War his defences, and Love, her cherished homes.
And near all these, was placed a glass jar, which contained the agent that had wrought this wonder-pure cold Water. It is dumb now, but the time has been, it had a voice, and a song in it, as it went sparkling down over that moss, leaping into life and sparkling into sunlight.
It was indeed a beautiful series, in impressiveness far superior to the most eloquent description.
Nature kindly disguises herself, every where around us, and it is the eye of Science alone that detects in the beauty of change, nothing but the beauty of death.
Do my fair readers think-if I have any-while their pencils glide so freely with an 'at home,' over the polished surface of the India card, that the very surface they admire, is composed of the lunar shields of little warriors, who have fought the fight of life,