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they used to do—don't they ?-when beneath your little pattering feet they clattered aforetinie, when of a rainy day, 'mother,' wearied with many-tongued importunity, granted the 'Let us go up garret and play.' And play? Precious little of 'play' have you had since, I'll warrant, with your looks of dignity and your dreamings of ambition.
Here we are now in the midst of the garret. The old barrel — shall we rummage it? Old files of newspapers, dusty, yellow, a little tattered! 'Tis the · Columbian Star.' How familiar the type looks! Huw it reminds you of old times, when you looked over the edge of the counter, with the · Letters or papers for father!' And these same Stars, just damp from the press, were carried one by one to the fire-side, and perused and preserved as they ought to be. Stars? Damp? Ah! many a star has set since then, and many a new-turfed heap grown dewy and damp with rain that fell not from the clouds.
Dive deeper into the barrel. There! A bundleup it comes, in a cloud of dust. Old Almanacs, by all that is memorable! Almanacs, thin-leaved ledgers of time, going back to-let us see how far : 184-, 183–, 182-, - before our time—180-, when
our mothers were children. And the day-book-how blotted and blurred with many records and many tears! There, you have hit
your head against that beam. Time was, when
you ran to and fro beneath it, but you are nearer to it now, by more than ‘the altitude of a copine.' That beam is strown with forgotten papers of seeds for next year's sowing; a distaff, with some few shreds of flax remaining, is thrust in a crevice of the rafters overhead; and tucked away close under the eaves is the little wheel,' that used to stand by the fire in times long gone. Its sweet, low song has ceased ; and perhaps — perhaps she drew those flaxen threads—but never mind- you remember the line, don't
'Her wheel at rest, the matron charms no more.'
Well, let that pass. Do you see that little craft careened in that dark corner ? It was red once; it was the only casket in the house once, and contained a mother's jewels. The old red CRADLE, for all the world! And you occupied it once : ay, great as you are, it was your world once, and over it, the only horizon you beheld, bent the heaven of a mother's
eyes, as you rocked in that little barque of lovo, on the hither shore of time-fast by a mother's love to a mother's heart.
And there, attached to two rafters, are the fragments of an untwisted
remember it, and what it was for, and who fastened it there? 'Twas 'the children's swing. You are here, indeed, but where are NELLY and CHARLEY ?
There hangs his little cap by that window, and there the little red frock she used
A crown is resting on his cherub brow, and her robes are spotless in the better land.
2 Half-Hour at the Window.
PRECIOUS little sunlight finds its way into the apartment where I write, these dark, December days, and precious that little is. It falls on the grove across the road, sometimes gilds the top of a leafless tree, and comes to me second-hand, a little the worse for wear,' as they say ; but then welcome, very welcome, tarnished and tired as it is. Tired ? To be sure. They talk of sunbeams playing and dancing; and so they may, and so they do, round sparkling fountains.
and over great green billows of foliage, but they do nothing of the sort in such times as this. Very sedate and well-behaved sunbeams are they indeed, about here! Well, yesterday I was writing; the shadows that
Ι room with me, lay here and there; two or three were rolled up in the corner; one stood behind the door, close to the wall; another ill-mannered fellow extended itself on the table, and flung its unrustling skirt over the very sheet where I was writing. There are worse room-mates than shadows, after all. True, they leave their clothes lying about any where and every where ; but then they never wear boots, never make a noise, and are not given to gossipping.
As I intimated, a few lines ago, I was writing, when, all at once, a bright gleam flashed across the paper, and was gone. A rare visitor it was, and it's no wonder I wondered how it got here. I looked up : silent grove ; leafless tree ; nothing more. Resuming the pen, again it came. Pure and beautiful enough to have come right from heaven, it seemed. Was it a mirror swinging in the wanton wind somewhere, that flung that ray? Or a radiant face, such
? as one sees, once or twice in a life-time—not morein the middle of a morning dream; that one always
thinks of, when he sees young and beautiful faces, and looks for, but never sees again-never ?
It was a pleasant thing to muse on; so I laid down the pen, and remembered—that's just the word — remembered. One shape melted into another, for Memory was playing 'i' the plighted clouds.'
Another gleam upon the paper, and at the instant, a WHITE WING glanced across the window, its
way down to the street. I looked out, and there, sure enough, amid the whirling snow, was
white dove. Her errand was a beautiful one, no doubt; seeking, perhaps, the wherewith to hush 'the three grains of corn, mother,' her little family were plaintively singing, some where aloft. Pretty soon, up she came again, out of the drifting snow, flinging another ray from that white wing as she went.
Wasn't it a beautiful emblem of a beautiful life? Flinging gladness into sad hearts : glittering upon many a trinket of Memory and Yesterday; beads of beauty, shed from a shivered necklace, rolled darkly away in the dust, that no hand may thread again, but His 'who doeth all things well.'
The world is full of wings; every one broad enough to bear a sunbeam, and strong enough to fling it into some dim window, some gloomy room, some dark