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CIVIL WAR-AN EPISODE OF THE COMMUNE
VICTOR HUGO. The mob was fierce and furious. They cried: “Kill him!” the while they pressed from every sido Around a man, haughty, unmoved, and brave, Too pitiless himself to pity crave. * Down with the wretch!” on all sides rose the cry. The captive found it natural to die, The game is lost-he's on the weaker side, Life too is lost, and so must fate decide. From out his home they drag him to the street, With fiercely clenching hands and hurrying feet, And shouts of, “Death to him!” The crimson stain Of recent carnage on his garb showed plain. This man was one of those who blindly slay At a king's bidding. He'd shot men all day, Killing he knew not whom, he scarce knew why, Now marching forth impassible to die, Incapable of mercy or of fear, Letting his powder-blackened hands appear. A woman clutched his collar with a frown, “He's a policeman-he has shot us down!” “That's true,” the man said. “Kill him!” “Shoot!” “Kill." “No, at the Arsenal”—“The Bastile!” “Where you will,” The captive answered. And with fiercest breath, Loading their guns, his captors still cried, “Death !" " We'll shoot him like a wolf!" "A wolf am I? Then you're the dogs," he calmly made reply. “Hark, he insults us!” And from every side Clenched fists were shaken, angry voices cried, Ferocious threats were muttered, deep and low. With gall upon his lips, gloom on his brow, And in his eyes a gleam of baffled hate, He went, pursued by howlings, to his fate, Treading with wearied and supreme disdain Midst forms of dead men he percbance had slain.
*Translated by Mrs. Lucy H. Hemper for the New York Home Journal, and used here by permission. This selection has been recited with great success, in Paris, by the well-known actor and reader, Dupont Vernon, of the Comedio Trangaise.
Dread is that human storm, an angry crowd;
The little boy replied:
How old are you, my boy?” another said. “Do not kill papa !” only he replies. A soulful lustre lights his streaming eyes. Some glances from his gaze are turned away, And the rude hands less fiercely grasp their prey. Then one of the most pitiless says, “ GoGet you home, boy.” “Where—why?” “Don't you know? Go to your mother.” Then the father said, “ He has no mother.” “What-his mother's dead ? Then you are all he has ?” “That matters not,” The captive answers, losing not a jot Of his composure as he closely pressed The little hands to warm them in his breast, And says, “Our neighbor Catherine, you know, Go to her.” “You'll come too ?” “Not yet.” “No, no.
Then I'll not leave you." Why?” “These men, I fear,
Where is it I must go ?”
THE MAGIC WAND.-GEORGE R. SIMs.
This is one of my daily rounds;
That child-life most abounds.
In search of our tiny prey ;
If they happen to stop away.
They wouldn't know what it meant.
They'll think you're a School Board gent
Dirty, and damp, and small.
Look at the filthy wall.
The whole of the family's out.
Just give a glance about
There's a father and four young children,
And Sally the eldest's eight; They're horribly poor-half-starving
And they live in a shocking state. The father gets drunk and beats them,
The mother she died last year :
I fancy you'd like to hear.
Was Sally, the eldest child;
The alley had not detiled.
She played in the pantomime;
Get on at the Christmas time.
And her wand was the wand up thero, There, in the filthy corner
Behind the broken chair.
Her father, the drunken sot,
And all that the fairy got.
Dying by slow degrees
That rages in dens like these.
Half starved, to the splendid sceno
As a Liliput fairy queen.
Where a demon worked his spell,
And the scene was changed as well. She'd a couple of lines to utter,
Which bade the gloom give way
In the Land of Shining Day.”
That grew as she waved her wand,
And she thought of the cheerless cellar
Old Drury's walls beyond.
No longer a potent fay,
Where her dying mother lay,
And looked in the ghastly face,
To a sweet and lovely place.
A waif of the London slums; It's little of truth and knowledge
To the ears of such children comer.
Possessed of a magic charm,
And shielded the good from harm.
The depth of the winter came, And the teeth of the biting weather
Seized on the wasted frame. And Sally, who saw her sinking,
Came home from the Lane one night With her shawl wrapped over so
something, And her face a ghostly white. She had hidden the wand and brought itin
The wand that could do so much; She crept to the sleeping woman,
Who moved not at her touch ;
It was, oh, so faint and low;
Like a fairy, to and fro.
That bade the gloom give way
In the Land of Shining Day."
You shall look on the splendid scene!” While a man from the play house watched her,
Who'd followed the fairy queen.