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THERE WAS A CROOKED MAN.”
WILLIAM EDWARD PENNEY. Home folks 're allers findin' fault ’nd frettin' round y' know 'The older that they git in years the wus they seem tu grow It's kinder second natur' tu some folks that I have found, 'Nd all the fun they seem tu git is jest to fret around. If it should rain, then it's the mud that sets 'em all awry; If it don't rain, then it's the dust a-blowin' in their eye; If clouds arise, of comin'storms they are a willin' reader; 'Nd if the day is clear ’nd bright, then it's a weather-breeder. If it is cold they shiver round ’nd call the weather horrid; If it is warm they sweat and fret about the weather torrid; If it is summer then they scowl ’nd long for winter cool; 'Nd if it's winter they will yearn for summer ez a rool. Ji they have money ev'ry one is arter it, they think; 'Nd bound somehow tu beat'em ’nd appropriate their chink; If they are poor they think they are the worst abused of al The creeturs of God's providence upon this rollin' ball. 'Nd if they have a family they're always sartin sure No other man could such a wife or child ez theirs endure ; 'Nd if they're single they bewail their sad ’nd lonely lot, 'Nd say when plums are passed around they allers are forgot. 'Nil so it goes, the goodness knows if any fun they git In tindin' fault with Providence they need it every bit: Bur how under the canopy they manage tu git round On the wust side of everything beats anything I've found. The sun shines jest ez bright on 'em ez 't does on you ’nd me, Nd none of us kin dodge the storms of life ez I kin see; But włıy some folks 'd rather count the storms than pleas
ant days Is sometisin' 'I don't understand and fills me with amaze. The birds sing no less sweetly 'cause a sunny day has passed; The apple-t.ees don't cease tu bloom when they no shadder
cast; The cattle on a thousand hills don't lose their appetite Nd beller round because they aint in clover day’nd night. If bées can't find a clover patch they put up with buck.
wheat; They're jest ez happy, ’nd I guess the honey's jest ez sweet. There aint a creetur livin', 'cept the human, ez I know, That loves tu fret'n'grumble round; now, neighbor, aint it so?
A ROMAN LEGEND,- JAMES CLARENCE HARVEY.*
From “Lines and Rhymes," by permission, Hour by hour, with skilful pencil, wrought the artist, sad
and lone, Day by day, he labored nobly, though to all the world un.
known. He was brave, the youthful artist, but his soul grew weak
and faint, As he strove to place before him, the fair features of a saint. Worn and weary, be strove vainly for the touch of heavenly
grace, Till, one day, a radiant sunbeam fell upon the upturned face, And the very air was flooded with a presence strangely
sweet, For the soul, within the sunbeam, seemed to make the work
complete. Swift as thought, the artist's pencil deftly touched the fea
tures fair, Night came down, but one bright sunbeam left its soul im
prisoned there; And around his dingy garret, gazed the artist, wondering, For the work sublime illumed it, like the palace of a king; And within the artist nature, flamed his first, fond love di.
vine, Which bewildered all his senses, as with rare, old, ruby
wine. Yearningly, he cried: “I love thee,” to the radiant, saintly
face, But the never-ceasing answer was a look of beavenly grace. Out into the world he wandered, questioning, searching
everywhere, and the stars above, full often, heard his soul burst forth
in prayer: "God in Heaven, in mercy, hear me! Hear thy suppliant's
pleading cry; Lead, oh! lead my footsteps to her. Grant but this, or let
me die." Friends forsook and want pursued him, still he struggled
on, alone, Till, at last, outworn and trembling, reason tottered on its
throne, And he seemed the helpless plaything of some mad, relent
less fate, till the Sisterhood of Mercy found him lying at their gate ;
*Author of "The Whistling Regiment," "At the Stage Toor," and other popu ar recitations ia previous Numbers,
Made him welcome, gave him shelter and with ever-patient Bathed his brow and brushed the tangled, matted tresses
of his hair. Long he lingered on the borders of the holy-land of death, One fair Sister, by his bedside, counting low each fluttering
breath. Softly fell the evening shadows, shutting out the golden
glow Of a gorgeous, lingering sunset, gilding all the earth below. When, upon his pillow turning, swift came to him hope's
bright gleams, For the anxious face above him was the loved one of his
dreams. But her life was one of mercy and the band across her brow Gave the spotless testimony of a maiden's holy vow. " Is this heaven? Are you an angel ?” swift he questioned
her, the wbile She smoothed back his wavy tresses, only answering with a
smile; “Tell me truly, couldst thou love me, since thou wouldst
not let me die ?" But she pointed to the band about her brow and breathed
a sigh. In her hours of patient watching, she had learned the bit
ter truth That the Sisterhood of Mercy has its anguish and its ruth; Nevermore she came, well-knowing from temptation she
must fly, For his eager, tender questions, in her heart, had found reply. Every morning, he would question: “Will she come to me
to-day?" And the tender, truthful Sisters shook their heads and turned
away, For adown his classic features passed the shadow of his pain, As he closed his eyes and murmured: "She will never come
again." In his dreams, one night, he fancied she had bent above his
bed, And bis longing arms reached upward, but the vision sweet
Hopeless, in his great heart-hunger, through a storm of wind
and rain, To his picture turned the artist, bowing low with grief and
pain; Open wide, he threw the shutters of his garret casement
high, Heeding not the vivid lightning, as it flashed athwart the
On his lowly couch reclining, soon in weariness, he slept ; While the storm clouds o'er him thundering, long and loud
their vigils kept. Wilder grew the night and fiercer blew the winds, until, at
last, Like a bird of prey or demon, through the shattered case
ment, passed The old shutter, rending, tearing every wondrous touch and Of the artist's patient labor, from the radiant, saintly face; And the jagged bands of lightning, as they flashed along the
tloor, Lit the crushed and crumpled canvas, worthless now, for. And the artist, slowly rising, groped his way across the room, Feeling, knowing he had lost her, though enshrouded in the
gloom. Then he sought his couch and murmured : “ It is well, God
knoweth best." And the sunbeams of the morning found a weary soul-at
AUNT MARIA AT THE EDEN MUSEE*
S. JENNIE SMITH. When Aunt Maria returned home after her first visit to the city, and Uncle Jod inquired if she had seen anything wonderful duwn in “York,” she gavo expression to her feelings in these words:
If you happen to mean anything wonderful wicked, Jedediah Willoughby, I did see more of the workin's of Satan and the pomps and wanities of this arthly spere in one arternoon than you'll find in a hull year in the County of Kiterwille. You see Jane Lizbeth and me was walkin' one day in one of the great big streets, and she said to me, said she, “Aunt Maria, how would you like to go in there?” pintin' with her nose to a big buildin' with picters on the outside.
“Jane Lizbeth," said I, “ I've come to York to see the sights, and if there's anything going on t'other side of that door, I'm not hinderin' you takin' me in.”
So we went up some steps and waited in a hall to git *By permission. “Mrs. Murphy's Recipe for Cake," “A Mother's Tiuder Fal. in's," and other excellent humorous recitations, by the same author, will be found in privious Numbers.
cur tickets. While Jane Lizbeth was takin' change, I noticed a young feller standin' nigh and he looked so mighty like our Mose that I enermost spoke to him. He was standin' readin' something on the wall. Howsumever, I knowed in a minute that it wasn't Mose, cause he had a pimple on the west side of liis nose, and
young feller hadn't no sech disease on his'n. I felt pretty sure that Mose wouldn't go and have that pimple scratched off without his ma knowin' it. In a few minutes I noticed a sassy lookin' man kinder glancin' at me sidewise. Now I know I'm a handsome woman when I'm dressed up right smart, but that's no reason why young fellers should look out of their
sidewise at me, nohow I can see. But I didn't let on to notice him and pretty soon we got in the show room. Would you believe it? Right by that door was the grinniest nigger I ever sot my eyes on. He jest looked right on my continents and kept on grinnin'. By that time I had stood all I was agoin' to. So I said to him, said I, "Young man, aint you got nothin' better to do than to set grinnin' at a lady from Kiterwille. Where on arth is your manners ?”
'Megitly Jane Lizbeth nudged me and said, “Stop, Aunt Maria, that aint a man.”
" Then what under the canopy be it?” said I, “you can't nohow make me believe it's a woman.”
“Why, it's a wax figger," said she.
“Well, Jane Lizbeth,” said I, “if that aint flesh and blood, it's the fleshiest and bloodiest lookin' thing I ever seed.”
Arter that we come to a baby gittin' christened. The parsing was there, and all the baby's kin, and the par. sing had his hands up, but hadn't begun to say nothin' yet. “When will he begin?” said I to Jane Lizbeth.
“ Begin what?” said she.
“Why, that's another wax figger, Aunt Maria,” said she, “ it can't say nothing."