Imágenes de páginas

And I-I thrust the knife from Palestine
Far in my rags, and seeing she was still,
The mother, her face buried in the babe's rich robes,
I leaned me down and laid my lips along
Those eyes so like his father's, and with swift
And noiseless step I glided through the grass
Into a covert, looked back once to see
Those eyes so like its father's following me.
Breathless I ran, I know not where, and then
I found myself prone down upon the earth,
Gleeful because of deeper misery
Than mine,-a widowed mother's, whose young child
Had never seen its father, and whose soul
Smote her because of me she'd wronged so much,
Of me who had been loved by him now dead.
Her baby's eyes,—they are my sweet revenge,
For she, the mother, looking in them, sees
Me and her wrong, her husband's love for me,
While tortured with her love for him she sings
The song he loved, the song I made for him,-
Sings it to soothe his child. And I-do I
Not know the sweetness of revenge ?--do I
Not have more joy of it than if
The knife from Palestine had pierced her heart,
Or touched the child's life? Yea, I have revenge !

“Where is the baby, grandmamma?”

The sweet young mother calls
From her work in the cozy kitchen,

With its dainty whitewashed walls.
And grandma leaves her knitting,

And looks for her all around;
But not a trace of baby dear

Can anywhere be found.
No sound of merry prattle,

No gleam of its sunny hair,
No patter of tiny footsteps,

No sign of it anywhere.
All through the house and gardon,

Far out into the field,

They search each nook and corner,

But nothing is revealed.
And the mother's face grew pallid;

Grandmamma's eyes grew dim;
The father's gone to the village-

No use to look for him. And the baby lost! "Where's Rover ?"

The mother chanced to think Of the old well in the orchard,

Where the cattle used to drink. “ Where's Rover? I know he'd find her!

Rover!” In vain they call, Then hurry away to the orchard;

And there, by the moss-grown wall,
Close to the well lies Rover,

Holding to baby's dress.
She was leaning over the well's edge

In perfect fearlessness !
She stretched her little arms down,

But Rover held her fast,
And never seemed to mind the kicks

The tiny bare feet cast 80 spitefully upon him,

But wagged liis tail instead,
To greet the frightened searchers;

While naughty baby said,
“Dere's a little dirl in the 'ater;

She's dust as big as me. Mamma, I want to help her out,

And take her home to tea. But Rover, he wont let me,

And I don't love him. Go Away you naughty Rover!

Oh! why are you crying so ?”
The mother kissed her, saying:

My darling, understand;
Good Rover saved your life, my dear

And see, he licks your hand!
Kiss Rover.” Baby struck him,

But grandma understood;
She said, “ It's hard to thank the friend

Who thwarts us for our good.”

OLD JACK WATTS'S CHRISTMAS. It was during holiday week, many years ago, that the ill-fated steamship Atlantic was wrecked upon the reefs on “ Devil's Cradle,” within forty feet of the lofty rockbound west coast of Nova Scotia. It was one of the most disastrous of ocean horrors on record. The oldest resident of that vicinity is venerable, silver-haired Jack Watts, who has just turned his eighty-second year. He is a stalwart, hardy, rough, weather-beaten fisherman with a brilliant record for bravery.

“Do I remember that night ? Do I? You wouldn't ask that question, my boy, if you had been here, for if you lived ever so many lives you would not forget that awful night through all eternity,” said he, and the sturdy old man's voice quivered as he paused to clear his throat, and his eyes glistened.

"Well, sir," he continued, "you remarked that this was a stormy night when you came in. Pshaw! this is nothing. Sure there is a bit of a storm brewing and a rather stiff breeze, but nothing worth noticing. Look out a bit.” And as he opened the door a gust of wind extinguished the lamp, leaving the room in darkness.

We walked out toward the bluff. The air was murky, raw, and growing bitter cold. Eighty feet below, the waves dashed against the rocks, pounding like some enormous sledge-hammer, with a noise like distant thunder, and causing the ledge under our feet to vibrate with each blow. The phosphorescent foam on the crests of the breakers enabled me to dimly see the huge, angry billows tumultuously chasing each other shoreward, and breaking upon the projecting edges of the rocky reef. Far away in the distance there was now and then visible a tiny point of light-of some vessel ; so far that it would wholly disappear for awhile, and then again come into view.

“ Ttat light is about sixty miles away, and a steamer, likely one of the English or French liners,” he said. We had reached near the very edge of the bluff—as far as it was safe to go-when my companion pressed my arms and paused. Stretching out his arm and pointing with his long, bony fingers, he exclaimed: “Down there, just beyond us,-it is only eighty feet from dry land,--you see that dark streak in the sea ? That is the ‘Devil's Cradle,' and is under water at very high tide. It is called that name because the reef is like a set of big saws; the sharp rocks hold a vessel that runs on them, and sometimes the sea has beaten and pounded and shook the wrecks, very much as a cradle is rocked, until they are torn to pieces. Nine have been lost there during my time. But that was not the luck of the Atlantic, which was too firmly set in the rocks to be moved, and the waves pounded and broke her in two, and after awhile tore her to pieces. But that night set in hard. It was cold-bitter cold-and the sun went down in the blind. ing snow-storm, and the wind blew every way with a force that was awful; then came sleet and hail that cut your very clothes, and drew blood wherever it struck your flesh. All the time the wind was raising and the air was getting more bitterly cold. It was so cold that the air seemed to sting you, and the wind would whirl you around almost off your feet; it whistled and howled and screeched with a frightful noise. I says to my pious old woman : Mary Ann, it does seem as though hell itself had been let loose to-night;' and says she to me, ‘Jimmy, I believe it is—but--Jimmy-hark!' and she and I ran to the window and looked out and listened.

“Well, with all that unearthly uproar of the tempest, you could not hear much else, yet we did hear a faint ·boom,' like the sound of a cannon. In a minute or two we saw a streak of fire shooting up through the snow and hail, and then we knew that the Devil's Cradle had, or would have, another wreck. 'God help the poor souls,' I cried, and Mary Ann went down on her knees and prayed for them and the poor lad of ours-our boy Jamie-who we thought was on an East Indian merchantman. But-he-wasn't, though—"and the old man's voice was choked into silence.

* Well, sir,” he resumed, “the wife put on a builer of w.iter, and I put wood to the fire. We always do when we think we may have good use for it, if some are rescued. Then I ran out in the storm. I was a yod bit of a strong man then, sir, but I could hariliy stand up in that yale; it blew with awful force, and one cou.d not see ten feet away, yet I pushed on to just about where we are standing. Another rocket shot up, and its track, of fire disclosed an awful sight. It was all in a minute, and I had to strain my eyes and look under the peak of my hat through the blinding storm. There was a great big, splendid ocean steamship driven over the outer edge of the reef; the waves looked as though the whole bottom of the ocean had violently heaved them up; they were actually like mountains, and they lifted that huge steamer up and let it down, bumping over those jagged points of flinty rock.

"Then all was pitchy darkness again, and although I could not see anything I kept my eyes in the same direction. In a few minutes another rocket shot


and gain I saw that noble vessel lifted up almost out of the water by a mighty wave; astern it seemed caught and pivoted on one great point of rock; then it was wheeled around, and as the waters receded the bare, rough rocks seemned like a huge jaw, down into which the steamer dropped with a crashing noise of broken iron, glass, tackling, and machinery. Loud above all, I could hear the smothered but unmistakable sound of women's shrieks and the shouts of men. Then all was inky-black darkness, and the waves and winds vied with each other in transcending their fiendish part. I had hard work to hold my balance, keep my feet, and get to our little home.

“We were up at daybreak, and as the storm abated I joined some neighbors and went down to the cliffs. There we saw the noble steamship hard fast on the rock, split in the centre and strained all over.

The waves


« AnteriorContinuar »