Imatges de pÓgina


The Christmas is coming, the fairies are humming

And singing and whispering soft in my ear;
The bright Christmas morning, so sweetly adorning

The frost-woven crown of the poor dying year.
The bells will be chiming their glad, merry rhyming,

Gay feet will be dancing, the halls will be bright,
The rich roll in splendor, so dainty and tender,

But poor Little Barefoot, where art thou to-night? Oh! little ones flocking to hang up their stocking,

Puffed out with the pressure of dear, dimpled feet,
Will rouse from their dreaming to find them all teeming

With treasures so costly, so rare, and so neat;
Bright eyes will be brighter, light hearts will be lighter,

But oh! ’mid the tumult of each new delight,
Remember--forget not-that poor Little Barefoot

Hath never a stocking to hang up to-night.
Rich gifts will be lavished, bright eyes will be ravished,

And fashion, false goddess, so fickle and vain,
Will bear with her sweet smiles and hide with her gay wiles

The head of the “ Hydra” that lurks in her train; Sweet lips will be pressing, white arms soft caressing,

Rich banquets will glitter with silver and gold, Warm garments will cover, but oh! who will cover

The poor little barefooted ones from the cold? The pale, drooping mother, with love like no other,

Is striving to warm, with her own feeble breath, The little ones hovering, with no other covering

Than rags, oh! so scant, freezing, starving to death;
O God, will Thy peoples build churches and steeples,

And deck them like Solomon's Temple of old,
And know not nor care not that poor Little Barefoot

Is freezing and starving with hunger and cold?
Will Christians remember this eve of December,

When Jesus, the dear little Bethlehem Babe, Was pillowed by stranger, in humblest manger

No fashion was there, neither pride nor parade; No robes richly molded around Him were folded,

Yet angels from heaven's own mansions so bright Were there in that manger, by that little stranger,

Who was poor as the barefoot that wanders to-night.


Major Schottguhn had been prowling around the stores and had prospected all the places on his way to the office for more than a week, looking for a cradle. He saw none of the old-fashioned ones which rock on rockers; they were all of the rew-fangled kind, with the bodies suspended on pivots and swinging between two uprights at the ends. The only thing the Major was in doubt about was whether he should buy a plain swinger or a swinger with a clockwork attachment, and finally he decided to buy one with clockwork.

The cradle came home on Friday night. It was a very pretty cradle, but the clockwork was not an ornamental appendage. The machinery was encased in a circular box of the circumference of a cheese-box and half the thickness of an ordinary cheese. Along with the cradle came a clockkey,which was about the size and shape of the bed wrenches they used in the days when bedsteads were corded and put together with immense screws. The Major wound up the clockwork. Mrs. Schottguhn laid in the baby, and off went the cradle, click-click, click-click, click-click, click-click

* There," said the Major, “there's a cradle, Cynthia, that will rock the baby without taking up your time. All you've got to do is to put in the baby and start the machinery, and then you can keep right along with your sewing or reading."

Yes, Philip," said Mrs. Schottguhn, “yes that's a very pretty cradle;" and yet somehow she didn't seem to like it.

Early yesterday morning the Major was aroused by a tremendous clatter that sounded like the going off of a monster alarm clock. It was rattlety-slam-bang-jangerang-debangbang-whang

The Major was out of bed in an instant to find the watchful Mrs. Schottguhn already up and staring horrified at the cradle, which was performing the most extraordinary anties. The clockwork had got loose somehow in the night and was going off at a most alarming gait, swinging the cradle over and over, about one complete revolution a second, round and round and round on the pivots with such astounding velocity that it held the baby safely glued to the bottom of the cradle by centrifugal force, reminding the Major, for one


brief instant, of the great discovery he made when a small boy, that he could keep water in a pail with the pail bottom up by swinging it rapidly over and over at the end of a string, but even this brief reminiscence was blurred in his mind by the startling spectacle before him and the whir-r-r of the revolving cradle and the clockwork's slam-bang burrr-r-rang-flamde-whang-jang-jang-flopperty-whoopty-bang

“Oh! Philip! Stop it! stop it!"

The Major jumped in gallantly, but at exactly the wrong moment, and the cradle struck him square on the forehead and laid him sprawling on the floor. He was on his feet again in an instant, but just before he reached the cradle one of the pivots gave way, the end of the cradle broke from the upright and the baby shot through the air, followed closely by the alert Major, who caught it safely in his arms as it ricocheted from the mantelpiece and answered its morning crow with an exultant shout:

“Aha-a! caught on the flew !"

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“John, where's the axe ?”

It was the Major's voice, low, but solemn. He had crept noiselessly down stairs and was exploring the cellar.

“Here it is,” said John,“ but I don't believe there's much edge on it.”

* Never mind about the edge, John,” said the Major,“ what it lacks on the edge I'll make up on the handle ;" and he crept up stairs as noiselessly as he had gone down.

Wh-ish! Wh-ish!

Two blows of the axe were enough to send the clockwork Aying.

“There, Cynthia, I don't believe we want any more cradles with clockwork."

“No, Philip, we do not ;” and then the Major discovered why she hadn't exactly liked it-she didn't want to confide to any dumb clockwork the loving task of rocking her own baby; and she tucked the blanket snugly around it, laid her hand softly on the rail and gently swayed the cradle, singing as she rocked the sweet song that will be fresh and tuneful long after all the cogged wheels of Yankeeland are worn out and toothless :

Husb, my babe, lie still and slumbos
Holy angels guard thy bed !

AUX ITALIENS.-Robert BulwER LYTTON. At Paris it was, at the opera there;

And she looked like a queen in a book that night, With the wreath of pearl in her raven hair,

And the brooch on her breast so bright. Of all the operas that Verdi wrote,

The best, to my taste, is the Trovatore;
And Mario can soothe, with a tenor note,

The souls in purgatory.
The ihoon on the tower slept soft as snow;

And who was not thrilled in the strangest way,
As we heard him sing, while the gas burned low,

Non ti scordar di me!
The emperor there, in his box of state,

Looked grave; as if he had just then seen
The red flag wave from the city gate,

Where his eagles in bronze had been. The empress, too, had a tear in her eye:

You'd have said that her fancy had gone back again, For one moment, under the old blue sky,

To the old glad life in Spain.
Well, there in our front-row box we sat

Together, my bride betrothed and I;
My gaze was fixed on my opera hat,

And hers on the stage hard by.
And both were silent, and both were sad ;-

Like a queen she leaned on her full white arm,
With that regal, indolent air she had;

So confident of her charm!
I have not a doubt she was thinking then

Of her former lord, good soul that he was,
Who died the richest and roundest of men,

The Marquis of Carabas.
I hope that, to get to the kingdom of heaven,

Through a needle's eye he had not to pass;
I wish him well for the jointure given

To my lady of Carabas.
Meanwhile, I was thinking of my first love

As I had not been thinking of aught for years,
Till over my eyes there began to move

Something that felt like tears.

I thought of the dress that she wore last time,

When we stood ’neath the cypress-trees together, In that lost land, in that soft clime,

In the crimson evening weather;
Of that muslin dress (for the eve was hot);

And her warm white neck in its golden chain; And her full soft hair, just tied in a knot,

And falling loose again; And the jasmine flower in her fair young breast;

(Oh the faint, sweet smell of that jasmine flower!) And the one bird singing alone in his nest;

And the one star over the tower.
I thought of our little quarrels and strife,

And the letter that brought me back my ring;
And it all seemed then, in the waste of life,

Such a very little thing!
For I thought of her grave below the hill,

Which the sentinel cypress-tree stands over:
And I thought,“ Were she only living still,

How I could forgive her and love her!" And I swear, as I thought of her thus, in that hour,

And of how, after all, old things are best, That I smelt the smell of that jasmine flower

Which she used to wear in her breast. It smelt so faint, and it smelt so sweet,

It made me creep, and it made me cold! Like the scent that steals from the crumbling sheet

Where a mummy is half unrolled.
And I turned and looked: she was sitting there,

In a dim box over the stage; and drest
In that muslin dress, with that full soft hair,

And that jasmine in her breast !
I was here, and she was there:

And the glittering horse-shoe curved between:From my bride betrothed, with her raven hair

And her sumptuous scornful mien,
To my early love with her eyes downcast,

And over her primrose face the shade,
(In short, from the future back to the past,)
There was but a step to be made.


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