« AnteriorContinua »
shivering. Then the habits of her posi- and which she puts from her hands with tive and sensible education returned at a jealous reverence. She therefore measonce, and she came out of her reverie as ured the man with her woman's and mothone breaks from a dream, and lifted all er's eye, and said, with a little statelithese sad thoughts with one heavy sighness, – from her breast; and opening her Bible, “My dear Sir, I come to tell you the she read: “ They that trust in the Lord result of my conversation with Mary.” shall be as Mount Zion, which cannot be She made a little pause, — and the removed, but abideth forever. As the Doctor stood before her as hunibly as if mountains are round about Jerusalem, he had not weighed and measured the 60 the Lord is round about his people universe; because he knew, that, though from henceforth, even forever.”
he might weigh the mountains in scales Then she kneeled by her bedside, and and the hills in a balance, yet it was a offered her whole life a sacrifice to the far subtiler power which must possess him loving God who had offered his life a of one small woman's heart. In fact, he sacrifice for her. She prayed for grace felt to himself like a great, awkward, to be true to her promise,- to be faith- clumsy, mountainous earthite asking of a ful to the new relation she had accepted. white-robed angel to help him up a Isolder She prayed that all vain regrets for the of cloud. He was perfectly sure or the past might be taken away, and that her moment, that he was going to b .efused; soul might vibrate without discord in and he looked humbly firm, — he would unison with the will of Eternal Love. take it like a man. His large blue eyes, So praying, she rose calm, and with that generally so misty in their calm, had a clearness of spirit which follows an act resolute clearness, rather mournful than of uttermost self-sacrifice; and so calmly otherwise. Of course, no such celestial she laid down and slept, with her two experience was going to happen to him. hands crossed upon her breast, her head He cleared his throat, and said, slightly turned on the pillow, her cheek “ Well, Madam?” pale as marble, and her long dark lashes Mrs. Scudder's womanly dignity was lying drooping, with a sweet expression, appeased; she reached out her hand, as if under that mystic veil of sleep the cheerfully, and said, soul were seeing things forbidden to the “ She has accepted." waking eye. Only the gentlest heaving The Doctor drew his hand suddenly of the quiet breast told that the heavenly away, turned quickly round, and walked spirit within had not gone whither it was to the window,-- although, as it was ten hourly aspiring to go.
o'clock at night and quite dark, there Meanwhile Mrs. Scudder had left was evidently nothing to be seen there. Mary's room, and entered the Doctor's He stood there, quietly, swallowing very study, holding a candle in her hand. hard, and raising his handkerchief severThe good man was sitting alone in the al times to his eyes. There was enough dark, with his head bowed upon his Bible. went on under the black coat just then When Mrs. Scudder entered, he rose, to make quite a little figure in a romance, and regarded her wistfully, but did not if it had been uttered; but he belonged speak. He had something just then into a class who lived romance, but never his heart for which he had no words; so spoke it. In a few moments he returned he only looked as a man does who hopes to Mrs. Scudder, and said, and fears for the answer of a decisive " I trust, dear Madam, that this very question.
dear friend may never have reason to Mrs. Scudder felt some of the natural think me ungrateful for her wonderful reserve which becomes a matron coming goodness; and whatever sins my evil charged with a gift in which lies the heart may lead me into, I hope I may whole sacredness of her own existence, never fall so low as to forget the unde was fairly outgeneralled the next morn- any of you. I am in hopes I shall get by ing; for Miss Prissy was up before him, your mother's door without waking her, tripping about the chamber on the points — 'cause I know she works hard and of her toes, knocking down all the mova- needs her rest, - but that bed-room door ble things in the room, in her efforts to squeaks like a cat, enough to raise the be still, so as not to wake Mary; and it dead! was not until she had finally upset the “ Mary,” she added, with sudden enstand by the bed, with the candlestick, ergy, “if I had the least drop of oil in a snuffers, and Bible on it, that Mary teacup, and a bit of quill, I'd stop that opened her eyes.
door making such a noise.” And Miss “ Miss Prissy! dear me! what is it Prissy's eyes glowed with resolution. you are doing ?”
“I don't know where you could find “Why, I am trying to be still, Mary, any at this time,” said Mary. so as not to wake you up; and it seems “ Well, never mind ; I'll just go and to me as if everything was possessed, to open the door as slow and careful as I tumble down so. But it is only half can," said Miss Prissy, as she trotted out past three, — so you turn over and go of the apartment. to sleep."
The result of her carefulness was very “ But, Miss Prissy,” said Mary, sitting soon announced to Mary by a protractup in bed, “ you are all dressed; where ed sound resembling the mewing of a are you going?”
hoarse cat, accompanied by sundry audi“ Well, to tell the truth, Mary, I am ble grunts from Miss Prissy, terminating just one of those people that can't sleep in a grand finale of clatter, occasioned when they have got responsibility on by her knocking down all the pieces of their minds; and I have been lying awake the quilting-frame that stood in the cormore than an hour here, thinking about ner of the room, with a concussion that that quilt. There is a new way of get- roused everybody in the house. ting it on to the frame that I want to try; “ What is that ? " called out Mrs. Scud'cause, you know, when we quilted Ce- der, from her bed-room. rinthy Stebbins's, it would trouble us in She was answered by two streams of the rolling; and I have got a new way laughter,-- one from Mary, sitting up in that I want to try, and I mean just to get bed, and the other from Miss Prissy, it on to the frame before breakfast. I was holding her sides, as she sat dissolved in in hopes I should get out without waking merriment on the sanded floor.
[To be continued.]
As who, in idly searching o'er
Some seldom-entered garret-shed,
Moth-eaten garments of the dead, —
Thus (to their wearer once allied)
I lift these weeds of buried woe,-
So sadly and so long ago!
'Tis said that seven short years can change,
Through nerve and bone, this knitted frame,Cellule by cellule waxing strange,
Till not an atom is the same.
By what more subtile, slow degrees
Thus may the mind transmute its all, That calmly it should dwell on these,
As on another's fate and fall!
So far remote from joy or bale,
Wherewith each dusky page is rife, I seem to read some piteous tale
Of strange romance, but true to life.
Too daring thoughts ! too idle deeds!
A soul that questioned, loved, and sinned! And hopes, that stand like last year's weeds,
And shudder in the dead March wind !
Grave of gone dreams !--could such convulse
Youth's fevered trance?— The plot grows thick; – Was it this cold and even pulse
That thrilled with life so fierce and quick ?
Well, I can smile at all this now,
But cannot smile when I recall The heart of faith, the open brow,
The trust that once was all in all;
Nor when — Ah, faded, spectral sheet,
Wraith of long-perished wrong and time, Forbear! the spirit starts to meet
The resurrection of its crime !
Starts,— from its human world shut out,
As some detected changeling elf, Doomed, with strange agony and doubt,
To enter on his former self.
Ill-omened leaves, still rust apart !
No further !—'tis a page turned o'er, And the long dead and coffined heart
Throbs into wretched life once more.
WHEN, nearly fifty years ago, England was taught one of the bloodiest lessons her history has to record, before the cotton-ble breastworks of New Orleans, a lesovn, too, which was only the demonstration of a proposition laid down more than a hundred years ago by one of her own philosophers,f who would have believed that she, aiming to be the first inilitary power in the world, would have left the first advantage of that lesson to be gained by her rival, France ?
When the troops that had defeated Napoleon stopped, baffled, before a breastwork defended by raw militiamen; when, finding that the heads of their columns melted away like wax in fire as they approached the blaze of those hunters' rifles, they finally recoiled, terribly defeated, - saved from total destruction, perhaps, only by the fact that their enemy had not enough of a military organ
* Instructions to Young Marksmen in all that relates to the General Construction, Practical Manipulation, etc., etc., as exhibited in the Improved American Rifle. By John Ratcliffe Chapman, C. E. New York: D. Appleton &. Co. 1848.
Rifle-Practice. By Lieut.-Col. John Jacob, C. B., of the Bombay Artillery. London: Smith, Elder, & Co. 1857.
The Rifle; and how to use it. Comprising a Description of that Admirable Weapon, etc., etc. By Hans Busk, M.A. First Lieut. Victoria Rifles. London: J. Routledge & Co. 1858.
Report of the U. S. Commission on Rifles. 1856.
† Robins (on Projectiles) said in 1748, “ Whatever state shall thoroughly comprehend the nature and advantages of riflepieces, and, having facilitated and completed their construction, shall introduce into their armies their general use, with a dexterity in the management of them, will by this means acquire a superiority which will almost equal anything that has been done at any time by the particular excellence of any one kind of arms, and will perhaps fall but little short of the wonderful effects which histories relate to have been formerly produced by the first inventors of fire-arms." Words, we now see, how prophetic!
ization to enable them to pursue effectively; when, in brief, a battle with men who never before had seen a skirmish of regular troops was turned into a slaughter almost unparalleled for disproportioned losses in the history of civilized warfare, the English loss being about twelve hundred, the American some fifteen all told; one would have thought that such a demonstration of the power of the rifle would have brought Robins's words to the memory of England,—“ will perhaps fall but little short of the wonderful effects which histories relate to have been formerly produced by the first inventors of fire-arms." What more astonishing disparity of military power does the history of fire-arms record ? twelve hundred to fifteen! But this lesson, so terrible and so utterly ignored by English pride, was simply that of the value of the rifle intelligently used.
They tell a story which makes a capital foot-note to the history of the battle : that General Jackson, having invited some of the English officers to dine with him, had on the table a robin-pie which he informed the guests contained twelve robins whose heads had all been shot off by one of his marksmen, who, in shooting the twelve, used but thirteen balls. The result of the battle must be mainly attributed to the deadly marksmanship of the hunters who composed the American forces; but the same men armed with muskets would not only not have shown the same accuracy in firing, but they would not have felt the moral force which a complete reliance on their weapons gave,-a certainty that they held the life of any antagonist in their hands, as soon as enough of him appeared to “ draw a bead on." Put the same men in the open field where a charge of bayonets was to be met, and they would doubtless have broken and fled without crossing steel. Nor, on the other hand, could any musketry have kept the English
columns out of the cotton-bale breast- stand that, so I just drawed up and fired work; – they had often in the Peninsula at him. He dropped his gun, and pitchstormed stronger works than that, with- ed head-first into the water. I out faltering for artillery, musketry, or hit him amongst the waistcoat-buttons; bayonet. But here they were literally but then, you know, if I hadn't shot him, unable to reach the works; the fatal he might have killed somebody on our rifle-bullet drew a line at which bravery side.” We put the question in another and cowardice, nonchalant veterans and form, asking how many shots he fired trembling boys, were equalized in the
“ About sixteen, I guess, or dust.
maybe twenty.” "And how far off were We remember once to have met an the enemy?” “ Well, I should think old hunter who was one of the volun- about twenty rod.” We suggested that teers at Plattsburg, (another rifle battle, he did not waste many of his bullets; to fought by militiamen mainly,) a man which he replied, that “he didn't often who never spoiled his furs by shooting miss a deer at that distance." his game in the body, and who carried But these were the exploits of fifty into the battle his hunting-rifle. Being years ago; the weapon, the old heavymuch questioned as to his share in the metalled, long-barrelled · Kentucky” day's deeds, he told us that he, with a rifle; and the missile, the old round bulbody of men, all volunteers, and mainly let, sent home with a linen patch. It is hunters like himself, was stationed at a a form of the rifled gun not got up by ford on the Saranac, where a British any board of ordnance or theoretic engicolumn attempted to cross.
neers, but which, as is generally the case tain ordered no one to fire until the ene- with excellent tools, was the result of my were half-way across ; " and then,” the trials and experience of a race of said he, “none of 'em ever got across, practical men, something which had and not many of them that got into grown up to supply the needs of hunters; the water got out again. They found and with the improvements which greatout it wa’n’t of any kind of use to try to er mechanical perfection in gun-making get across there, and after a while they has effected, it stands at this day the give it up and went farther down the king of weapons, unapproached for acriver; and by-and-by an officer come curacy by the work of any nation beside and told us to go to the other ford, and our own, very little surpassed in its range we went there, and so they didn't get by any of the newly invented modificaacross there either.” We were desirous tions of the rifle. The Kentucky * rifle is of getting the estimate of an expert as to to American mechanism what the chrothe effect of such firing, and asked him nometer is to English, a speciality in directly how many men he had killed. which rivalry by any other nation is at " I don't know," said he, modestly; “I this moment out of the question. An ruther guess I killed one fellow, certain ; English board of ordnance may make a but how many more I can't say. I was series of experiments, and in a year or going down to the river with another two contrive an Enfield rifle, which, to volunteer to get some water, and I heerd men who know of nothing better, is wona shot right across the river, and I peek- derful; but here we have the result of ed out of the bushes, and see a red-coat experiments of nearly a hundred years, sticking his head out of the bushes on the by generations whose daily subsistence other side, and looking down the river, depended on the accuracy and excelas if he'd been firing at somebody on our lence of their rifles, and who all experside, and pretty soon he stuck his head
* The technical name for the long, heavy, out agin, and took aim at something in
small-calibred rifle, in which the thickness of that way; and I thought, of course, it the metal outside the bore is about equal to must be some of our folks. I couldn't the diameter of the bore.