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heart, strewn with old hopes, and damp with new tears.
Bliss and blessing, life and light, are all winged. No matter for that: they shall be folded by and by, where there are no sunbeams to be carried, and there is no night at all.
I laid down the pen, and gazed musingly out into the winter, and there, just climbing the hill, was a young man, one of our neighbors, “ up along,” trudging through the snow, and carrying, beneath one arm, a cradle—a wicker cradle; just such a cradle as makes one think of a little chicken in a basket, a little jewel in cotton-wool, or a little baby, or something else little and precious.
His quickened step, and a sort of semi-elation, semisheepishness in his looks, told a story for him he wouldn't have whispered for twelve dollars a month and found.' That brand-new cradle was for a brand-new tenant; he didn't care who knew that ; and he was the father of it-nor that either; and his wife was the mother of it-better than all. But then it was his first baby, her first baby, ‘our' first baby. That he didn't care so much about people's knowing. He would a little rather they should think he was used to it; that the old cradle was worn out, or the
other babies tossed in a 'baby jumper,' or any thing but the precise truth, no matter what.
Innocent soul! He little dreamed his secret was out; ‘plain as a pike-staff,' legible as good old Saxon, to every body that met him, and thought about it.
On he went, and I followed him home in thought, for the best reason in life—I couldn't help it. And there was the baby, sure enough, done up in dimity the whitest, trimmed with lace edging the daintiest; little bits of pink shoes on its little bits of pink feet; its
eyes all afloat with the unwonted light, “in a fine frenzy rolling,' a dimple on either cheek, a double chin, oh! how fat—and such a head of hair! To be sure, its nose is the least curve in the world puggish ; tell it to them if you are tired of life. To be sure, its voice is by no means the softest ; hint it, if you are shrived. But then it's a baby, in fact the baby, and a well-spring of pleasure' it is, indeed.
And there's the mother, just pale enough to look 'interesting,' and that I-ask - no-more smile would beautify a face colored from the tents of Kedar; but then she isn't homely; she's handsome; young mothers are always handsome—they can't help it.
And then it was to be a girl—of course it was ; and they had fixed upon a name to hail it by, the
moment it made its debut into breathdom. Many was the playful altercation they had had about that
She declared it should be called Polly, after his grandmother; and he, that no name was su beautiful as Lucy-his wife's name, by-the-by; but she conquered, of course, and one pair of lips, at least, was puckered to utter a “Polly,” when lo! a muscular little Hercules of a fellow came plunging into being like a quarter-horse, and nameless as a young
buffalo. What was to be done? The nomens and cognomens of all the uncles, maternal, paternal, and doubtful, were catalogued and canvassed ; forefathers, and more too, were summoned ; but after all, just as any body could have told beforehand, she concluded, nem. con.,—we should like to see the man with a heart to refuse, as she lay there, her hair
* Brown in the shadow, golden in the sun,'
flowing over the white pillow, and her soft eyes with a new look in them, turned upon her husband-she concluded, then, nem. con., to call him-she never degraded the boy to a paltry "it'—to call him Frank. What'll you wager it wasn't the name of the father?
Well, by this time they've got the little fellow in
his new cradle, and as the mother watches him, she weaves a sweet, beguiling song, of what shall be, 'in the good time coming,' when Frank gets to be five; when he gets to be ten; when he comes to be a man, and honors his mother, and lives long in the land. that the Lord'shall give him.
Life is a great poem, and here, rendered into the plainest of prose, is the sweetest of its stanzas.
Night had set in, and still I sat by the window.
Some body was knocking at the door of a house over the way. At the instant, a green blind above, just opened a little way, and by the light I caught a glimpse of a pair of brilliant eyes, and a flutter of something white, and a bird-toned voice softly said, · Who's there? It's me,' was the brief response. The eye and the flutter disappeared from the window, like stars in a cloud, and I fancied I could hear the pattering of two little feet upon the stairs, winged with welcome.
It was a trifle; it all happened in an instant, but it haunted me for an hour— It's me!' Amid the darkness and storm, those words fell upon the quick ear aloft, and met a glad response.
It's me!' and who was 'me?' The pride of a heart's life, no doubt; the tree a vine was clinging
to; the defender of the faithful,' in the best sense of the-term.
• It's me! Many there are who would give half their hearts, and more than half the hopes in them, for one such recognition in this 'wide, wide world.' At the Post Office, abroad, in the wide world, he was known as A. B. C., Esq., but on that threshold, and within those walls, “it's me,' and nothing more ; and what more is there, one would love to be ?
Few of all the hearts that beat so wildly, warmly, sadly, slowly, but can recognize a true soul amid the darkness of the world, in that simple but eloquent it's me. As if he had said
* Now I am nothing to all the world,
The clock in the distant village strikes ' ten ;' the clouds have cleared away, one after another; the frost twinkles through the air ; the snow crackles under the feet of the brisk pedestrian; the sleighrunners grate, as they slowly surmount the hill; some overburdened limb in the woods comes crashing down in the silence; there is a drowsy chime of bells beyond the Lake; the landscape is as cold and beautiful and dumb as a Daguerreotype.