« PreviousContinue »
stances in which this occurrence had placed them ; nor did their father himself at first. He thought only of the loss he had sustained, in the destruction of his fine crops; and this of itself, when we consider his isolated situation, and the hopelessness of restoring them, was enough to cause him very great chagrin.
“Gone! all gone!” he exclaimed, in a sorrowing voice. “Oh! Fortune-Fortune--again art thou cruel!"
Papa! do not grieve," said a soft voice; "we are all alive yet, we are here by your side ;” and with the words a little white hand was laid upon
his shoulder. It was the hand of the beautiful Trüey.
It seemed as if an angel had smiled upon him. He lifted the child in his arms, and in a paroxysm of fondness pressed her to his heart. That heart felt relieved.
"Bring me the Book," said he, addressing one of
The Bible was brought—its massive covers were opened--a verse was chosen—and the song of praise rose up in the midst of the desert.
The Book was closed; and for some minutes all knelt in prayer.
When Von Bloom again stood upon his feet and looked around him, the desert seemed once more to "rejoice and blossom as the rose."
Upon the human heart such is the magic influence of resignation and humility.
Captain Mayne Reid
THE SANDS OF DEE.
“O, Mary, go and call the cattle home,
And call the cattle home,
And call the cattle home Across the sands 1 of Dee;" The western wind was wild and dank with foam,
And all alone went she.
The western tide crept up along the sand
And o'er and o'er the sand,
And round and round the sand, As far as eye could see. The rolling mist came down and hid the land :
And never home came she.
“Oh! is it weed, or fish, or floating hair
A tress of golden hair,
A drowned maiden's hair
Among the stakes on Dee.”
The cruel crawling foam,
The cruel hungry foam, To her grave beside the sea : But still the boatmen hear her call the cattle home
Across the sands of Dee.
CHILDREN love to listen to stories about their elders, when they were children ; to stretch their imagination to the conception of a traditionary great-uncle, or grandame, whom they never saw. It was in this spirit that my little ones crept about me the other evening to hear about their greatgrandmother Field, who lived in a great house in Norfolk (a hundred times bigger than that in which they and papa lived) which had been the scene—so at least it was generally believed in that part of the country—of the tragic incidents which they had lately become familiar with from the ballad of the Children in the Wood. Certain it is that the whole story of the children and their cruel uncle was to be seen fairly carved out in wood upon the chimneypiece of the great hall, the whole story down to the Robin Redbreasts; till a foolish rich person pulled it down to set up a marble one of modern invention in its stead, with no story upon it. Here Alice put out one of her dear mother's looks, too tender to be called upbraiding. Then I went on to say, how religious and how good their great-grandmother Field was, how beloved and respected by everybody, though she was not indeed the mistress of this great house, but had only the charge of it (and yet in some respects she might be said to be the
mistress of it too), committed to her by the owner, who preferred living in a newer and more fashionable mansion which he had purchased somewhere in the adjoining county; but still she lived in it in a manner as if it had been her own, and kept up the dignity of the great house in a sort while she lived, which afterwards came to decay, and was nearly pulled down, and all its old ornaments stripped and carried away to the owner's other house, where they were set up, and looked as awkward as if some one were to carry away the old tombs they had seen lately at the Abbey, and stick them up in Lady C's tawdry gilt drawingroom.
Here John smiled, as much as to say, “that would be foolish indeed." And then I told how, when she came to die, her funeral was attended by a concourse of all the poor, and some of the gentry too, of the neighbourhood for many miles round, to show their respect for her memory, because she had been such a good and religious woman; so good indeed that she knew all the Psaltery by heart, ay, and a great part of the Testament besides. Here little Alice spread her hands. Then I told what a tall, upright, graceful person their great-grandmother Field once was; and how in her youth she was esteemed the best dancer-here Alice's little right foot played an involuntary movement, till, upon my looking grave, it desisted—the best dancer, I was saying, in the county, till a cruel disease, called a cancer, came, and bowed her down with pain; but it could never bend her good
spirits, or make them stoop, but they were still upright, because she was so good and religious. Then I told how she was used to sleep by herself in a lone chamber of the great lone house; and how she believed that an apparition of two infants was to be seen at midnight gliding up and down the great staircase near where she slept, but she said “those innocents would do her no harm ;" and how frightened I used to be, though in those days I had my maid to sleep with me, because I was never half so good or religious as she-and yet I never saw the infants.
Here John expanded all his eyebrows and tried to look courageous.
Then I told how good she was to all her grand-children, having us to the great house in the holidays, where I in particular used to spend many hours by myself, in gazing upon the old busts of the twelve Cæsars, that had been Emperors of Rome, till the old marble heads would seem to live again, or I to be turned into marble with them ; how I never could be tired with roaming about that huge mansion, with its vast empty rooms, with their worn-out hangings, fluttering tapestry, and carved oaken panels, with the gilding almost rubbed out—sometimes in the spacious old-fashioned gardens, which I had almost to myself, unless when now and then a solitary gardening man would cross me—and how the nectarines and peaches hung upon the walls, without my ever offering to pluck them, because they were forbidden fruit, unless now and then,--and because I had more pleasure in strolling about