Imatges de pÓgina

known no otber home from infancy those free to pursue his simple thoughts wherechangeless wilds with their rare spots of soever they may lead him. He cannot read, verdure and bloom assume a far different probably, and so the great world of books aspect than they would have to a visitor is closed to him, but he employs his leisure from other and more favored regions. The moments by knitting socks, casting every humble shepherd of Les Bas Landes, who now and then a watchful eye upon his dwells almost in utter solitude, debarred flocks, while his faithful dog is also mindfrom many privileges most highly prized by ful of his duty as guardian of the sheep. the citizen of the world, may bear with him Owing to the fact that a large portion of in his sterling integrity and clear perception the land is covered with water, the shepof the simple first principles of right and herds have recourse to stilts, as seen in the wrong to which he adheres the gerids of a engraving, and show so much ease and wide-spreading and delightful content that agility in the management of them that is wanting to many who are surrounded with they excite the surprise and admiration of the most exquisite scenes of nature. It has the passing traveller who chances to enbeen too often the case in the history of counter one of these wanderers through man kind that the "gardens of the world," the wilds in his travels. But it is only at the countries and climes so richly dowered rare intervals that the fearful solitude of by nature with beauty as to recall the an- these dreary regions is broken in upon by cient pictures of Eden in all its loveliness, any figure save that of the stilted shepherd have been infested with a population as of the Landes. Except in the immediate vile as their surroundings were beautiful. neighborhood of the rye-farms, the travelThe sun that rode through the soft azure ler would meet with but few traces of life heavens, gilding with its golden beams bill- or civilization; nor would the gloomy prostop and verdant valley, that has called into pect be enlivened by any living form but blossom millions of fragrant and exquisite that of the slow moving herdsinan, and no flowers, and had its rays reflected from the sounds would relieve the silence but the glittering surface of the bluest and calmest subdued lowing of the herds. “Flat, stale, of seas, has also lit up the faces of men, and and literally unprofitable," would be the found them-alas! marked with all the ugly verdict in regard to the landscape. lines stamped there by passion, by malice, The shepherds of Les Bas Landes are exand by degrading ambitions.

ceedingly watchful of their flocks, and the " Strange-that where Nature loved to trace,

docility of the latter is remarkable, while As il for gods, a,

the good understanding existing between And every charm and grace hath mixed, the dogs and sheep is no less so. Within the paradise sbe fixed,

pidity with which the shepherds draw their There man, enamored of distress, Should mar it joto wilderness,

scattered ilocks around them is not more And trample, brutelike, o'er each dower

surprising than the process by which they That tasks not one laborious hour;

accomplish it is simple and beautiful. If Nor claims the culture of his hand

the sheep are, at no great distance from To bloom along the fairy land,

him, he gives a peculiar whistle, and they Bat springs as to preclude his care,

leave off feeding and obey the call; if they And sweetly woos him-but to spare. Strange-that where all is peace beside,

are afar off and scattered, he utters a shrill There passion riots in her pride,

cry, and instantly the flocks may be seen And lust aod rapine wildly reign

leaping over the swamps and scampering To darken o'er the fair domain,"

toward him. As soon as they have gathFor instances proving this truth we have ered around him, the shepherd sets off on only to turn to tbe bistory of those “ Edens his return to the cabin, or resting-place he of the eastern wave" that have been alike has secured, and the sheep follow behind the home of beauty and of pirates, where like so many well-trained hounds. nature has been royal in her bounty, and The noble-looking shepherd-dogs, two of man brutal in his violence. The peaceful which are usually attached to each flock, shepherd of Les Bas Landes represented on have a higher grade of duties to perform next page, though his eye cannot be gratified than those of chasing the animals together by flowers and verdure, and he has little and biting the legs of stragglers. The flock companionship beyond that of his dog and is confided to their protection from the his herds, is nevertheless unmolested and predatory attacks of wolves and bears,

The ra

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against whose approach they are constantly and the ways of the outside world are conon the watch, and to whom they at once cerned, they have their own strict code of offer battle. The sheep themselves are so honor, and are exceedingly sensitive among well aware of the friendly care of the dogs, themselves to the slightest dereliction from and that they have nothing to fear from the paths of true morality. Behold him, them, that they crowd about them as if then, in all his ignorance, the poor shepreally seeking their protection, and dogs herd of the lowlands of France, inhabiter and sheep may be seen resting together in of the wilderness, knitting socks as he perfect harmony. Being thus accustomed watches his docile flocks, yet invested with to scenes of such gentleness and magna- a dignity which many a blase man of the nimity, the shepherds themselves are brave, world might envy. His knowledge is small, generous and humane, and though, as may and his world circumscribed, but he has be imagined, they are nearly all of them a conscience that is " void of offence." without the least education as far as books

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Is the wild storm so quickly o'er,

And is this sunshine real?
My mother's face I see once more,

My childhood's sweet ideal.
How bright and fair the place has grown!

What warmth, and light, and flowers ! O mother! leave me not alone

Where many a tempest lowers !

The storm swept on with unabatod force All through the night, but vanished

with the day,

December's sky is dark with clouds,

No sunshine lights their shade,
But deeper gloom my heart enshrouds

Than hangs o'er hill and glade.
Since early morn I've wandered on,

Weak, weary, grief-opprest,
Till now at last my strength is gone-

I only sigh for rest.
Before me rolls a ecllen stream,

Hoarse murmuring in its bed,
Upon whose waves the lightning's gleam

At intervals is shed.
The rattling thunder, peal on peal,

Echoes along the sky;
Despair bas seized me, and I feel

I care not if I die.
I cannot cross the swelling tide

Which threatens to o'erflow
The banks which bloomed in summer's

Three little months ago.
The ghostly trees their spectral arms

Toss wildly in the wind;
A sense of fear my breast alarms,

No shelter can I find.
The rain hias drenched my garments thro',

An ague chills my frame;
My eyes are dim, and seem to view

Strange forms with eyes of tlame. 0, let me then, ye friendly rocks,

Into your shelter creep,
And dream my mother gently rocks

Her weary child to sleep!
Outside the wind may wildly shriek,

The rain may still sweep on,
But I will press my fevered cheek

Upon a smooth cold stone.
Like to the wild beasts of the field,

All shelterless am I,
Save for the home the caverns yield,

And unto them I fly.
What thoughts are rushing on me now

Of home, and friends, and love!
A cold dew gathers on my brow,
A light shines from above.

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And made his way o'er fragmentary blocks

Of stone, to satisfy his curious will. He started as he saw the still white face Of the poor wanderer, homeless now no

more, Upon whose lips a smile of heavenly grace

Lingered, as if to tell that grief was o'er.

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held sway at Thurston Cottage, and had A PORTLY elderly gentleman was slowly reigned triumphant in that-to her-gloripacing along the nicely-kept gravelled ous sphere fifteen years come Christmas. walk which cut a rich brown semi-circle in And though Captain Alick was famed for the velvety green of a small lawn in front many a mile as a generous, attentive host of a neat substantial cottage. The air of to his own sex, and a devoted slave to all the man suited that of the place. He was the children in the neighborhood, it was dressed with extreme neatness; his iron- very seldom that a lady was included in gray hair was smoothly brushed, his slight- the list of his invited guests. It was tacitly ly darker beard trimly cut, his boots pol- conceded by all his acquaintance that he ished to a charm, and his linen immacu- was not a marrying man; yet, somehow, late; and yet there was nothing about him no one thought of accusing hiin of antipthat would strike you as singularly incon- athy or hostility to his fair friends. Whatgruous if he had chosen to take the hoe or ever in the past had wrenched away from shovel and go to the assistance of the stout him the sweet solace and joy of a wife's serving-man who was busily at work iu the affection, which, of all others, a nature vegetable garden behind the cottage. A like his seemed to require, from Captain man who had been steady and brave to Alick's lips came no hint or explanation. face any experience, however trying; who Widow Nancy was secure from molestahad known something of privation and tion, and, it must be conceded, managed hardship while he had been at ease midst the liberal means given over to her care luxury and refinement; who had borne his in the most judicious manner. A betterpart resolutely amidst many strange and kept table was not found in the whole startling scenes, for all he walked so quiet- shire, and a guest might search far and ly now along the walk before his simple wide, and fail of securing more palatable cottage home. This one read, half uncon

or delicious dishes than mine host of scious of the discovery, while gazing at the

Thurston Cottage distributed from his seat firm, dignified, and yet benevolent face. at tbe head of the board. Captain Alick Thurston was a man to

But we have left him all this time waitinspire respect, whether from high or low, ing the arrival of a guest, whose coming rich or poor, refined or ignorant persons. has evidently excited unusual interest; There was a natural iuborn authority in his since he has left his seat on the cosy piazza very gesture which could nct fail of effect. to come down to the walk, every now and Those calm blue eyes could glint sparks as then glancing questioningly toward the fierce as those from clashing steel; the avenue gate. lips, somewhat irresolute and tremulous He is gratified at length by the sound of just now, could shut down into the grim- rolling wheels, and turns his head with a mest determination; that smooth shapely quick start, while there comes a thoughtful hand, wrinkled though it had grown with

half-tremulous smile across his lips. the years of half a century, had still an A handsome but very plainly-appointed iron grip or ponderous blow at command of coach comes moderately up the avenue. the firm-strung muscles. He was not a Captain Alick is ready to open the coach man to be lightly held by friend or foe; door when it draws up before the front nor tamely loved, one would say, seeing flight of stone steps. A tall gentleman, what tender depths those blue eyes now something near his own age, atered in the and then revealed. And yet Captain Alick extreme of elegance, descends, and exbad never married. A stout-framed, reso- tends a thin hand, from which he had just lute housekeeper, Widow Nancy Bourne, drawn a delicate lavender glove. (Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1866, by THOMES & TALBOT, Boswn, Mass., in

the Ofice of the Librarian of Congress, Washington.)

“Well, captain, you are hale and hearty, we? I am sure I have loved you as well as I see. I was afraid you were going into a I could have loved a brother. When I was deeline, that was such a forlorn, solemn a foolish youngster, I made brother, and sort of letter which summoned me here." sister, and parent of you. Why, Dick, you

*0, I am well enough, and I perceive ruled me like a tutor in those old days, and you are very little changed, Dick! It's I was hot-blooded and impetuous, and full rather shabby in you, old boy, that I of all a boy's pride and obstinacy, too. I should have to send to get you here at have wondered, sometimes, as I recalled Thurston Cottage," says Captain Alick, my unfaltering devotion, and tried to guess grasping the outstretched hand, and shak- out the causes. Being such a desolate ing it heartily.

wretch, with no home friends, and brought “0, you know how tied I am. What up by my guardian with such chilling statewith my private affairs, and my Parliament liness, would naturally, I suppose, throw a duties, there's little enough time for re- warm-hearted boy into the arms of the first creation. I put aside a dozen calls to get kind-hearted person who took pains to win down here now, because, somehow, your his affection. And you had wonderful letter gave me to understand your reasons tact, Dick; you have always had that, boy were urgent and important."

and man." As he spoke, the Honorable Richard Captain Alick's eye was a little hazy, his Merton looked sharply and questioningly, tone grew dreainy, and he talked ou like with his piercing gray eyes, into the smil- one unconscious of a listener. ing face before him.

Richard Merton glanced sharply across “ You are not far from right, Dick. I the table, just the slightest shade of annoyhad my good reasons for urging the visit, ance crossed his thin sallow face, and his so don't repent before you have actually lip curled in a faint sneer. He took up the crossed my threshold. It will do you good silver nutcrackers carefully, selected the to get a little whiff of country air and a mo- tinest walnut, and, as he crushed the shell, ment's rest from cankerous cares.' You replied, in an unconcerned tone: are the same restless soul, Dick. I wonder “Really, captain, so many things have you haven't fretted the spirit from the come between in all these years, that I canbody. You're more woefully like a shadow not recall anything accurately concerning than ever. But come in, come in, Dick! those old days. With me bygones are inI'm all alone. I've saved myself especially deed bygones.” for your benefit. Widow Nancy will give “The past is more a living truth to me us dinner a little earlier than usual, in con- than the present.

I live here alone in sideration of the appetite your long ride peace and quiet, and ponder over every litmust bave indaced.”

tle circumstance in the lives of some who They passed into the house arm in arm, have been lying in their graves these fifteen the plain-spoken, great-hearted, simple years. I lose myself in trying to fathom minded country gentleman, and the world- the mystery of the Father's dealings with ly, wily, deep-learned city politician. us. Why are the wicked allowed to work

The conversation was desultory and care- their evil deeds ? why are the pure and inless until after the dinner, to which the nocent left to perish in such woeful Honorable Mr. Merton had done ample straits ?" justice, was removed, and the nut and The sneer on the Honorable Richard's wine-tray set before them. Then suddenly thin lips increased visibly. dropped away from Captain Alick's face “ The man is a mononaniac !" thought the bland genial smile of the host. He he, shrugging his shoulders. filled his guests glass, and slowly drained Captain Alick caught something of this, bis own, then looked over the table with and hastily flingiug back with one hand grave, almost wistful eyes.

the iron-gray masses of hair which swept “Now, then, at last I am to hear an ex- across his forehead, he spoke suddenly, planation of this odd whim," thought the and in an entirely changed voice: Honorable Mr. Merton; and looked up “Dick, I have learned at last the truth with eager attention.

concerning Miriam Grey." Dick,” began Captain Alick,

we have

The Honorable Richard Merton started been good friends all our lives, haven't now in good earnest. A wave of crimson

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