Imatges de pÓgina


Conturies since there flourished a man,-
A cruel old Tartar as rich as the Khan,-
Whose castle was built on a splendid plan,

With gardens and groves and plantations ; But his shaggy beard was as blue as the sky, And he lived alone, for his neighbors were shy, And had heard hard stories, by the by,

About his domestic relations.
Just on the opposite side of the plain
A widow abode with her daughters twain;
And one of them-neither cross nor vain-

Was a beautiful little treasure;
So he sent them an invitation to tea,
And, having a natural wish to see
His wonderful castle and gardens, all three

Said they'd do themselves the pleasure.
As soon as there happened a pleasant day,
They dressed themselves in a sumptuous way,
And rode to the castle as proud and gay

As silks and jewels could make them;
And they were received in the finest style,
And saw everything that was worth their whilo
In the halls of Bluebeard's grand old pile,

Where he was so kind as to take them.
The ladies were all enchanted quite,
For they found old Bluebeard so polite
That they did not suffer at all from fright,

And frequently called thereafter;
Then he offered to marry the younger one,
And as she was willing the thing was done
And celebrated by all the ton

With feasting and with laughter.
As kind a husband as ever was seen
Was Bluebeard then for a month, I ween;
And she was as proud as any queen,

And as happy as she could be, too;
But her husband called her to him one day,
And said, “My dear, I am going away;
It will not be long that I shall stay;

There is business for me to see to.

"The keys of my castle I leave with you;
But if you value my love, be true,
And forbear to enter the Chamber of Blue!

Farewell, Fatima! Remember!"
Fatinia promised him; then she ran
To visit the rooms with her sister Ann;
But when she had finished the tour, she began

To think about the Blue Chamber.
Well, the woman was curiously inclined,
So she left her sister and prudence behind
(With a little excuse), and started to find

The mystery forbidden.
She paused at the door ;-all was still as night!
She opened it; then through the dim blue light
There blistered her vision the horrible sight

That was in that chamber hidden.
The room was gloomy and damp and wide,
And the floor was red with the bloody tide
From headless women, laid side by side,

The wives of her lord and master!
Frightened and fainting she dropped the key,
But seized it and lifted it quickly; then she
Hurried as swiftly as she could flee

From the scene of the disaster.
She tried to forget the terrible dead,
But shrieked when she saw that the key was rech
And sickened and shook with an awful dread

When she heard Bluebeard was coming.
He did not appear to notice her pain ;
But he took his keys, and, seeing the stain,
He stopped in the middle of the refrain

That he had been quietly humming.
“Mighty well, madam !" said he,—“ mighty well i
What does this little blood-stain tell ?
You've broken your promise; prepare to dwell

With the wives I've had before you! You've broken your promise, and you shall die." Then Fatima, supposing her death was nigh, Fell on her knees and began to cry, Have meriy, I implore you!"

I "No!” shouted Bluebeard, drawing his sword; * You shall die this very moment,” he roared.

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*Grant me time to prepare to meet my Lord,”

The terrified woman enireated.
"Only ten minutes,” he roared again;
And, holding his watch by its great gold chain,
He marked on the dial the fatal ten,

And retired till they were completed.
* Sister, O sister, fly up to the tower!
Look for release from this murderer's power!
Our brothers should be here this very hour;-

Speak! Does there come assistance ?"
“No; I see nothing but sheep on the hill.”
“Look again, sister!" “ I'm looking still,
But naught can I see whether good or ill,

Save a furry of dust in the distance. “Time's up!" shouted Bluebeard, out from his room; “This moment shall witness your terrible doom, And give you a dwelling within the room

Whose secrets you have invaded.” “Comes there no help for my terrible need ?" “There are horsemen twain riding hither with speed." “Oh, tell them to ride very fast indeed,

Or I must meet death unaided !"
“Time's fully up! Now have done with your prayer,
Shouted Bluebeard, swinging his sword on the stair;
Then he entered, and, grasping her beautiful hair,

Swung his glittering weapon around him;
But a loud knock rang at the castle gate,
And Fatima was saved from her horrible fate,
For, shocked with surprise, he paused too late;

And then the two soldiers found him.
They were her brothers, and, quick as they knew
What the fiend was doing, their swords they drew,
And attacked him fiercely, and ran him through,

So that soon he was mortally wounded.
With a wild remorse was his conscience filled
When he thought of the hapless wives he had killed;
But quickly the last of his blood was spilled,

And his dying groan was sounded.
'Twas a private funeral Bluebeard had;
For the people knew he was very bad,
And, though they said nothing, they all were glad

For the fall of the evil-doer;

But Fatima first ordered some graves to be made,
And there the unfortunate ladies were laid,
And after some painful months, with the aid

Of her friends, her spirits came to her.
Then she cheered the hearts of the suffering poor,
And an acre of land around each door,
And a cow, and a couple of sheep, or more,

To her tenantry she granted.
So all of them had enough to eat,
And their love for her was so complete
They would kiss the dust from her little feet,

Or do anything she wanted.


I sat and watched him as he softly rocked to and fro. It was an old-fashioned fire-place, and he was rocking in an old-fashioned splint-bottomed chair, wbich was likewise a veteran in years.

There was something so good, so kind and tender in his face that I could not turn my eyes away. His hair was white as snow, his eyes weak, and the hand resting on the arm of the chair trembled with the helplessness of age.

The logs burned brightly on the andirons, and as the old man sat and gazed into the flame, he must have compared his life to it. It rose and fell, wavered and struggled to climb up, fell back and rose again, just as men struggle against fate. There were charred brands to remind him of crushed hopes--ashes to make him remember his dead. I saw his face brighten at times, and then again it was covered with a shade of sadness, and the hand shook a little faster as he remembered the graves on the hill-side and those who had slept in them for so many long years.

By and by the flames fell, and the old room was filled with shadows, which ran over the floor, climbed the walls and raced along the ceiling. Sometime tbey covered the old man's face, but leaped away again, as if fearing rebuke. Sometimes they drew together in a corner and whispered to each other, and the fall of an ember vould send them danc. ing around.

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I was but a child, and the shadows made me afraid. I wished the old man would lift nis eyes and speak to me,

telling me his life's story, but he kept his gaze on the burning logs as if they were a magnet to draw him closer and closer. I watched the shadows until I fell asleep. Strange, sweet music came to my ears, and the shadows were replaced by u golden light and a sky so blue and pure that I tried to reach up and grasp it. Soft voices chanted in harmony with the music, and by and by I saw an angel leading an old man and helping him over the rugged path which stretched out before me until it touched the golden gates of heaven. They went on and on, and when they were lost to view I suddenly awoke.

The fire had burned still lower, and there were more shadows in the room; the old man sat there yet, but the chair no longer moved, and his hand had ceased to tremble. I crept softly over to him and laid my hand on his. It was cold. I shook him gently, but he did not answer.

The old man was dead! While I slept the shadows had brought an angel to lead him into heaven.

THE CROSS-EYED LOVERS.--John H. JOHNSTON. Two cross-eyed lovers in a horse-car sat, Thinking they were looking each other at, But she looked at me as plain as could be, And wasn't a looking at all at he. He seemed to think she was looking at him, And she seemed to think he was looking at her; But the glassy look of her eyeball dim Shied over to me, while the conduct-or Thought he was the object of her attention, And was about the name of the street to mention; But when he saw the crook in her eye, He laughed till you'd thought he was ready to cry, And going forward to collect a fare, He turned around and saw the same stare In the eye of her lover then and there. With the sight of two lovers with both eyes crossed, He seemed for a moment dazed and lost, And he gave his bell a double ring, And in his excitement pulled the stringe

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