Imatges de pÓgina
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to find any powers in me to get up to it. But all's for the best, at any rate,-and that's a comfort."

Just at this moment Mary's clear voice at the door announced that tea was on the table.

"Coming, this very minute," said Miss Prissy, bustling up and pulling off her spectacles. Then, running across the room, she shut the door mysteriously, and turned to Mrs. Scudder with the air of an impending secret. Miss Prissy was subject to sudden impulses of confidence, in which she was so very cautious that not the thickest oak-plank door seemed secure enough, and her voice dropped to its lowest key. The most important and critical words were entirely omitted, or supplied by a knowing wink and a slight stamp of the foot.

In this mood she now approached Mrs. Scudder, and, holding up her hand on the door-side to prevent consequences, if, after all, she should be betrayed into a loud word, she said, “I thought I'd just say, Miss Scudder, that, in case Mary should the Doctor,-in case, you in the house,

know, there should be a you must just contrive it so as to give me a month's notice, so that I could give you a whole fortnight to fix her up as such a good man's ought to be. Now I know how spiritually-minded our blessed Doctor is; but, bless you, Ma'am, he's got eyes. I tell you, Miss Scudder, these men, the best of 'em, feel what's what, though they don't know much. I saw the Doctor look at Mary that night I dressed her for the wedding-party. I tell you

he'd like to have his wife look pretty well, and he'll get up some blessed text or other about it, just as he did that night about being brought unto the king in raiment of needle-work. That is an encouraging thought to us sewing-women.

"But this thing was spoken of after the meeting. Miss Twitchel and Miss Jones were talking about it; and they all say that there would be the best settingout got for her that was ever seen in Newport, if it should happen. Why, there's reason in it. She ought to have at least two real good India silks that will stand alone, and you'll see she'll have 'em, too; you let me alone for that; and I was thinking, as I lay awake last night, of a new way of making up, that you will say is just the sweetest that ever you did see. And Miss Jones was saying that she hoped there wouldn't anything happen without her knowing it, because her husband's sister in Philadelphia has sent her a new receipt for cake, and she has tried it and it came out beautifully, and she says she'll send some in."

All the time that this stream was flowing, Mrs. Scudder stood with the properly reserved air of a discreet matron, who leaves all such matters to Providence, and is not supposed unduly to anticipate the future; and, in reply, she warmly pressed Miss Prissy's hand, and remarked, that no one could tell what a day might bring forth,

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ONCE AND NOW.

THE Mourner lies in the solemn room Where his Dead hath lately lain; And in the drear, oppressive gloom, Death-pallid with the dying moon,

There pass before his brain,

In blended visions manifold,

The present and the days of old.

Fair falls the snow on her grave to-day,
Shrouding her sleep sublime;

But he sees in the sunny far-away
None among maidens so fair and gay
As she in her sweet spring-time:

Where the song and the sport and the revel be,
None among maidens so fair as she.

He marks where the perfect crescent dips
Above the heaven of her eyes,

Her beamy hair in soft eclipse,
The red enchantment of her lips,
And all the grace that lies
Dreaming in her neck's pure curve,
With its regal lift and its swanlike swerve.

In pictures which are forever joys,
She cometh to him once more:
Once, with her dainty foot a-poise,
She drives the bird with a merry noise
From her lifted battledoor,

And tosses back, with impatient air,
The ruffled glory of her hair;

Then gayly draping a painted doll,
To please an eager child;

Or pacing athwart a stately hall;
Or kneeling at dewy evenfall,

When clouds are crimson-piled,
And all the hushed and scented air

Is tremulous with the voice of prayer ; —

Or standing mute and rapture-bound
The while her sisters sing;

From voice and lute there floats around
A golden confluence of sound,

Spreading in fairy ring;

And with a beautiful grace and glow
Her head sways to the music's flow.

One night of nights in lustrous June,
She walks with him alone;
Through silver glidings of the moon
The runnels purl a dreamy tune;

His arm is round her thrown:
But looks and sounds far lovelier
Thrill on his tranced soul from her.

And then that rounded bliss, increased

To one consummate hour!

The marriage-robe, the stoléd priest,
The kisses when the rite hath ceased,
And with her heart's rich dower

She standeth by his shielding side,

His wedded wife and his own bright bride!

And then the sacred influence

That flushed her flower to prime!
Through Love's divine omnipotence
She ripened to a mother once,
But once, and for all time:

No higher heaven on him smiled

Than that young mother and her child.

Then all the pleasant household scenes
Through all the latter years!

No murky shadow intervenes, –

Her gentle aspect only leans

Through the soft mist of tears;

Her sweet, warm smile, her welkin glance,— There is no speech nor utterance.

O angel form, O darling face,

Slow fading from the shore!

O brave, true heart, whose warmest place
Was his alone by Love's sweet grace,
Still, still, forevermore!

And now he lonely lieth, broken-hearted;
For all the grace and glory have departed.

Snow-cold in sculptured calm she lies,
Apparelled saintly white;

On her sealed lips no sweet replies,
And the blue splendor of her eyes
Gone down in dreamless night;

All empery of Death expressed
In that inexorable rest!

Now leave this fair and holy Thing
Alone with God's dear grace!

Her grave is but the entering
Beneath the shadow of His wing,

Her trusty hiding-place,

Till, in the grand, sweet Dawn, at last,
This tyranny be overpast.

A TRIP TO CUBA.

CAN GRANDE'S DEPARTURE. THE DOMINICA.-LOTTERY-TICKETS.

I HAVE not told you how Can Grande took leave of the Isle of Rogues, as one of our party christened the fair Queen of the Antilles. I could not tell you how he loathed the goings on at Havana, how hateful he found the Spaniards, and how villanous the American hotel-keepers. His superlatives of censure were in such constant employment that they began to have a threadbare sound before he left us; and as he has it in prospective to run the gantlet of all the inn-keepers on the continent of Europe, to say nothing of farther lands, where inn-keepers would be a relief, there is no knowing what exhaustion his powers in this sort may undergo before he reaches us again. He may break down into weak, compliant good-nature, and never be able to abuse anybody again, as long as he lives. In that case, his past life and his future, taken together, will make a very respectable average. But the climate really did not suit him, the company did not satisfy him, and there came a moment when he said, "I can bear it no longer!" and we answered, “Go in peace!"

It now becomes me to speak of Sobrina, who has long been on a temperance footing, and who forgets even to blush when the former toddy is mentioned, though she still shudders at the remembrance of sour-sop. She is the business-man of the party; and while philosophy and highest considerations occupy the others, with an occasional squabble over virtue and the rights of man, she changes lodgings, hires carts, transports baggage, and, knowing half-a-dozen words of Spanish, makes herself clearly comprehensible to everybody. We have found a Spanish steamer for Can Grande; but she rows thither in a boat and secures his passage and state-room. The noontide sun is hot upon the waters, but her zeal is hotter still.

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"I said, tres noches (three nights) and un dia, (one day,) and then took out my watch and showed them five o'clock on it, and pointed to the boat and to myself. They understood, perfectly."

And so, in truth, they did; for, going to the wharf on the day and at the hour appointed, we found the boatmen in waiting, with eager faces. But here a new difficulty presented itself;- the runner of our hotel, a rascal German, whose Cuban life has sharpened his wits and blunted his conscience, insisted that the hiring of boats for the lodgers was one of his (many) perquisites, and that before his sovereign prerogative all other agreements were null and void.-N. B. There was always something experimentative about this man's wickedness. He felt that he did not know how far men might be gulled, or the point where they would be likely to resist. This was a fault of youth. With increasing years and experience he will become bolder and more skilful, and bids fair, we should say, to become one of the most dexterous operators known in his peculiar line. the present occasion, he did not heed the piteous pleadings of the disappointed boatmen, nor Sobrina's explanations, nor Can Grande's arguments. But when the whole five of us fixed upon him our mild and scornful eyes, something within him gave way. He felt a little bit of the moral pressure of Boston, and feebly broke down, saying, "You better do as you like, then," and so the point was carried.

On

A pleasant run brought us to the side. of the steamer. It was dusk already as we ascended her steep gangway, and from that to darkness there is, at this

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season, but the interval of a breath. Dusk, too, were our thoughts, at parting from Can Grande, the mighty, the vehement, the great fighter. How were we to miss his deep music, here and at home! With his assistance we had made a very respectable band; now we were to be only a wandering drum and fife, the fife particularly shrill, and the drum particularly solemn. Well, we went below, and examined the little den where Can Grande was to pass the other seven days of his tropical voyaging. The berths were arranged the wrong way, across, not along, the vessel, and we foresaw that his head would go up and his feet down, and vice versa, with every movement of the steamer, and our weak brains reeled at the bare thought of what he was to suffer. He, good soul, meanwhile, was thinking of his supper, and wondering if he could get tea, coffee, and chocolate, a toasted roll, and the touch of cold ham which an invalid loves. And we beheld, and they were bringing up the side of the vessel trays of delicious pastry, and festoons of fowls, with more literal butcher's meat. And we said, "There will be no famine on board. Make the most of your supper, Can Grande; for it will be the last of earth to you, for some time to come." And now came silence, and tears, and last embraces; we slipped down the gangway into our little craft, and, looking up, saw, bending above us, between the slouched hat and the silver beard, the eyes that we can never forget, that seemed to drop back in the darkness with the solemnity of a last farewell.

We went home, and the drum hung himself gloomily on his peg, and the little fife shut up for the remainder of the evening.

Has Mr. Dana described the Dominica, I wonder? Well, if he has, I cannot help it. He never can have eaten so many ices there as I have, nor passed so many patient hours amid the screeching, chattering, and devouring, which make it most like a cage of strange birds, or the monkey department in the Jardin des Plantes.- Mem. I always observed that

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the monkeys just mentioned seemed far more mirthful than their brethren in the London Zoological Gardens. They form themselves, so to speak, on a livelier model, and feel themselves more at home with their hosts.

But the Dominica. You know, probably, that it is the great café of Havana. All the day long it is full of people of all nations, sipping ices, chocolate, and so on; and all night long, also, up to the to me very questionable hour when its patrons go home and its garçons go to bed. We often found it a welcome refuge at noon, when the douche of sunlight on one's cervir bewilders the faculties, and confuses one's principles of gravitation, toleration, etc., etc. You enter from the Tophet of the street, and the intolerable glare is at once softened to a sort of golden shadow. The floor is of stone; in the midst trickles a tiny fountain with golden network; all other available space is crowded with marble tables, square or round; and they, in turn, are scarcely visible for the swarm of black-coats that gather round them. The smoke of innumerable cigars gives a Rembrandtic tinge to the depths of the picture, and the rows and groups of nodding Panama hats are like very dull flower-beds. In the company, of course, the Spanish-Cuban element largely predominates; yet here and there the sharper English breaks upon the ear.

"Yes, I went to that plantation; but they have only one thousand boxes of sugar, and we want three thousand for our operation."

A Yankee, you say. Yes, certainly; and turning, you see the tall, strong Philadelphian from our hotel, who calls for everything by its right name, and always says, "Mas! mas!" when the waiter helps him to ice. Some one near us is speaking a fuller English, with a richer "r" and deeper intonation. See there! that is our own jolly captain, Brownless of ours, the King of the " Karnak"; and going up to the British lion, we shake the noble beast heartily by the paw.

The people about us are imbibing a variety of cooling liquids. Our turn

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