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near it, and the coffee sending up its the lies Jacob had invented died in his pleasant steam with the smoke, when the heart. If she had breathed one word of footsteps of the unknown traveler arrested blame of him, they would have come out, their attention; and a soft rap on the door black as they were. and the announcement that breakfast was His next plan was to modify the story waiting, fell strangely enough on the ears somewhat; he would blame himself a little of the bewildered Jacob; it was just as more, his parents a little less; and he if his own mother had called him, except would say he laid down, because he was that she had not spoken his name. too tired to go on, and growing numb with
More ashamed than he had ever been in the cold, had fallen asleep; that he dishis life, he obeyed the call, and with down- covered that morning his money was all cast eyes
and a blushing cheek, presented gone, though how he had lost it, he did not himself, expecting, notwithstanding the know. This gave him a little more satismild call, to receive summary dismissal, faction, and he was just on the point of comwith severe reproof. But a cordial good- mencing an exculpation, unasked, when morning, and invitation to partake of the Elsy brought to the table some warm breakfast that awaited, caused him almost cakes she had been baking, and offered the to think he was still dreaming, and in his nicest of all to him; he felt obliged to hesitation, he behaved so awkwardly that refuse: and when with her own hand she Elsy would have laughed in spite of her- laid one on his plate, he felt the second self another time, but now, she did not story all going to pieces. know why, but she felt not only pity for He now wished heartily the meal was the stranger, but in some sort responsible concluded, and resolved to steal away the for him. He did not look like an evil- first moment he could do so, without saydisposed person to her; she did not believe ing a word. He had no money with which he was one; and she did not care what any to pay for his entertainment, and what body said, she would not believe it. Now were apologies and thanks ? Nothing; he no one had said anything about the young would steal away unobserved, and someman that Elsy knew of, and it was strange where, and some time, try to amend. her thoughts should run before and sup He did not know when nor where, nor pose an accusation, and take up a defense ; once ask himself, why then and there but such was the fact, and such are often would not be as good a time and place as the curious facts with which love begins there would ever be. his impregnable masonry.
When the breakfast was done, Mrs. GoAs Jacob partook of the breakfast (with- forth gave him the best chair and the out much appetite we may suppose) he warmest corner; and having told Elsy to kept inventing stories, one after another, run over to farmer Hill's, and see if he with which to make himself appear better could not spare his son John to chop for than he was, in the event of being ques- them that afternoon, she went herself to tioned by his hostess in reference to his the “milk-house," a little cellar that lay past life, which questioning he momently under a mound of snow, a few steps from expected.
the door. At first he thought he would say he The opportunity Jacob had longed for was turned out of his father's house for a was come; he stole back for the bundle supposed fault, of which he was guiltless, he had left, took it up, and there was and that he had traveled till quite ex- nothing in the way of escape, nothing but hausted by cold and hunger, when, in a fit a natural nobility of soul that was not all of temporary delirium, he had lain down gone yet. There was the white bed, by the road-side, and that that was the last Elsy's own bed, he knew, which she he knew; he would offer to pay for his en had given to him; and there was the pot tertainment after breakfast, and affect sur of winter-flowers, blooming bright in his prise at finding his money gone; and say face ; and there was the Bible on the that it had been stolen from him during snowy cover of the table; all mute, to be his insane sleep. But Mrs. Goforth talked sure, but they seemed to rebuke the purof the late storm, and of her fears that the poses he had formed nevertheless. No, apples and peaches would have been killed he would not, and could not, steal away -of her plans for gardening and farming, like a thief, which he was not. Was not in short, of her own affairs altogether; so the house, and all that was in it, trusted
in his hands? If there had been any sus to Mrs. Goforth and the drunken man, as picion manifested toward him, it would everybody called Jacob.
But the good have been easy to go; but he could not woman had little regard for what her return basely the frankness and confidence neighbors thought, so long as her own he had met. He would see Mrs. Goforth heart did not accuse her, for, " what have -tell her truly his destitute condition, I done,” she said, “ except practice what nothing else-give her his thanks, which they preach ?" was all he could give, and somewhere seek All the truth about the young man, after for honest employment.
his arrival in the neighborhood, was speedSo resolving, and wishing the resolu ily bruited about, and lost nothing as it tion were executed, he sat, when his went. Elsy believed not one word of it, hostess returned, followed almost imme- for a nicer or a smarter person than Jacob diately by Elsy, her cheeks blushing red Holcom she had never seen in her life. with the rough kisses of the wind, and her If she could believe it was true, she would eyes sparkling, notwithstanding the dis not talk with Jacob so freely ; but she appointment she had met. John Hill had knows better; and even if it were true, gone to town an hour before, and who was she thinks those who talk of it might find to chop their wood she could not tell; but some faults nearer home to attend to. she looked at Jacob when she said so in It was about the middle of the sugara way that implied a suspicion of his abil making season-night, and raining. Jacob ity to solve the problem.
had been busy there two or three days, Jacob ventured to say he would like to so busy that he had scarcely been at work long enough to pay for his enter the house, except for the doing of the tainment, if he dare ask such a favor; it necessary chores ; taking luncheon now would not be asking, but doing a favor, and then with him, but not remaining long Mrs. Goforth said ; and throwing down enough at the house to eat with the widow his bundle, the young man took up the ax. and her daughter. The day we write of
The old dog that had kept a suspicious he had not been at home since morning ; eye on him all the morning, arose now, he must be very tired, and very hungry, and with some little hesitation followed and very lonesome, Elsy thinks; and she him to the woodpile, whence the sturdy goes to the window often, to see whether strokes, issuing presently, made agreeable he is not coming, but she don't see anymusic in the widow's house. That day, thing of the torchlight gleaming over the and the next, and the next, he kept at hill-and Jacob is used to make a torch of work, and that week, and the next, faith hickory bark to light him on his way fully the stranger had performed all the home at night-so she keeps standing and duties intrusted to him ; but he had spoken looking out into the dark, and the rain, no word concerning his past life.
hoping her mother will say, “ You had Many of the neighbors expressed sur better run across the meadow, Elsy, and prise that Mrs. Goforth should pick up a see whether some fearful accident has not man in the high road, and hire him to do happened to Jacob;" but her mother keeps her work; they could not account for it, at her knitting, by the fireside, and don't except by saying she was a strange woman; say anything of the sort; her heart has they hoped she might not be paid for her not fluttered her steady common sense infoolishness by finding her horse gone some to unnatural fears. At last she can bear morning, and her hired man with it. But the sense of the darkness and the rain no when she was seen going to church, and longer, for who knows, she thinks, but this hired man riding in the wagon with that Jacob may have had anoth of those her own daughter, there was such com- dreadful fits, and so fallen into the fire, motion in the congregation as had not or the boiling water. “ Mother," she been known there for many a year.
Some says, “it is not raining much now: I of the women, indeed, passed by the pew think I will take Carlo, and run over the where the widow and daughter sat, pre- hill and see if I can tell whether Jacob is tending not to see them, and such sayings in the sugar camp; if I see him from the as that“ Birds of a feather flock together," hill top I will come straight back.” and “ A woman is known by the company “Very well, my child,” replied Mrs. she keeps,” and the like, were whispered Goforth, " but I don't think anything has from one to another, all having reterence | happened to him.”
Elsy was not long in tossing a shawl believe it, she did not care what it was. over her head, nor long in reaching the And the more she said she did not care hill top; she did not once think of the what was said against him, that she bedarkness nor of the rain ; one moment she lieved he was all that was good and true, paused, and stood on tiptoe, looking ear- the more discomforted the young man nestly into the great red light that shone seemed. If she had joined her denunciaagainst the trees, and flickered along the tions to the rest, he could have denied ground of the sugar-camp. She did not their justice, perhaps ; but to be thought see Jacob, and therefore sped on, faster so much better than he was, made him than the wind.
more sadly humble, more truly good, than Before the stone furnace, where the he had ever been in his life. sugar-water was boiling, a rude hut had He assured Elsy, in a broken voice, been constructed, which afforded protec- that he was quite well, but that he was tion from the storm; and here, seated on not worthy of the interest she had taken a low bench, watching the jets of flame as in him, though he thanked her for it. they broke from the main body of fire, “ Poor Jacob,” thought she, “I am sure quivered a moment, and went out, sat his mind is wandering; he not worthy, inJacob Holcom, when Elsy, her hair drip- deed! then I don't know who is.” And ping with rain, and her face pale with she went herself out into the rain to mend fright, presented herself before him. the fire, and afterward arranged her shawl
“What can have happened ?" he asked against the crevices of the wall by which in surprise, taking her hand and drawing Jacob sat, so that wind and rain should her to the seat before the fire.
not blow too roughly against him. Elsy's cheek grew red when she found “ Sit here yourself,” said the sugarthat she was come of a foolish errand, maker, rising from the seat, and drawing and she stammered the truth—her fears Elsy toward it; “ do, I pray, for I canfor him—as the best excuse she could not; I would rather stand out in the rain." make. It was Jacob's turn to be con- “O Jacob, what do you mean ?" asked fused now, and taking up a handful of the girl in affright; “ sit down beside me; the straw that carpeted his rude hut, he the bench is long enough, and tell me pulled it to pieces, his eyes bent on the what it is troubles you." And there, the ground, and stepping aside till he was rain beating around them, and the fire quite out of the shelter.
brightening, and fading, and brightening “O, don't stay in the rain," said Elsy, again, as it fell, Jacob told all the story “sit here by me, there is room enough.” of his life, sparing himself no whit.
Jacob sat down, but kept his face averted But if he has done wrong sometimes, from the gentle confidant eyes of his com- thought Elsy, what of that? I suppose panion. “I am sure you have not told every one has some faults, and if everyme true,” said Elsy, “and that you are body has turned against him I am sure not well. O, if you should have another there is the more need I should not. In of those dreadful fits !"
fact, she believed he made his vices greatly Well might she have thought, poor larger than they were; but even if he did simple-hearted child, from the strange not, it was so magnanimous to confess behavior of the young man, that a fit was them, and to come back to virtue. Verily, about to seize him, for as she looked ten- she admired and loved Jacob more than derly up in his face, he covered it with ever before. When he came to tell of his hands, and she presently saw the tears the black eyes that had made all the coming out between his fingers.
woods about his home brighter than the All at once she divined the truth, she May sunshine could do, till their lovthought she had wounded him by speaking ing beams changed into sharp arrows, of the fit, for people said it was a drunken and pierced him through and through, fit, and Jacob might fancy she believed it. Elsy's little foot tapped smartly on the
How to begin she did not know, but to ground, and her own eyes looked as indigsit in silence and see Jacob weeping like nant as it was in their power to do, for in a child, was not to be thought of, so she her heart she felt that the woman who stammered in some way that she did could scorn Jacob, no matter what the not know as anybody had said anything provocation, did not deserve to have a against him, and if they had she did not lover. It is to be supposed that Jacob saw
all this plainly enough, for such thoughts shine right in one's face as plainly as
THOMAS HOOD, THE POET AND written words; nevertheless, to make as
PUNSTER. surance doubly sure, no doubt, he said, MHOMAS HOOD is the greatest word" And you, Elsy, would have spurned me twister the world
He dejust as she did, if I had been a lover of tects analogies in words and ideas with
the rapidity of intuition. He produces his “How can you ask me, Jacob?" she re
most startling effects by antithesis—the plied, “ I should have felt that you needed sudden contrast and explosion of opposites ; me most when that you were not strong and by virtue of his organization he is enough in yourself to resist temptation.” just the personification of antithesis :
“Dear angel!” said Jacob, and the large wit and small hope—that means bench, which a little while before was not laughter next-door to tears ; mirth with a big enough for two, might have accom mournful ring to it; merry fancies holding modated three very well as he spoke. the pall of laughter, or letting its coffin But there is no need to repeat what more gently into the grave; light gracefully they said ; suffice it, they forgot to make fringing the skirts of darkness ; life deftly a torch to light them home, each confi- masking the hiding-place of death. dently believing the full moon was shining Even in moments of solemn agony he in all her splendor, they saw the way so often broke out into bewildering freaks well.
of farce, and made such genuine merriWhen Jacob rapped next at the parson- ment, that the lookers-on may fail to see age, it was not to entreat a night's lodg- that the heart is breaking down in the ing, and the door opened so wide, and the tragic depths that lie below the sparkling parson smiled so blandly, he could hardly surface. "Women at such times, not being believe it was the same house or the able to possess their souls to the same same man he had seen before ; and when stretch and strain, will burst into hysterihe sat next in the pew, at church, with cal laughter, when they want to be weepMrs. Goforth and Elsy, not Elsy Goforth ing bitter tears. Hood always appears to any more, there was nobody in all the
me to have so deep a sense, such a painful house that did not see them, and smile, sense of the terrible earnestness of existand shake hands.
ence, that it would be unbearable if he Jacob never had another fit, and the could not get some humor out of it, and manly dignity and propriety of his con- phantasie some light and merry moods of duct soon won for him, not only the esteem mind. His wit is often set to this tune, and admiration of all the neighborhood, but so perfect is his representation, that but led the people to believe they had you do not see how thin is the partition wronged him in their first accusation; and which divides your laughter from his sorthey kindly bestowed upon Mrs. Goforth rows, and that he is making fun of his the reputation of having a gift for curing own troubles, some of which are deep as fits, and many were the applications for ad
death. In the sunshine of spirit which he vice she received in consequence. When calls forth, he sets his tears as very jewels she assured them that she practiced no of wit. Like Garrick, he can laugh on art, and that simply doing as she would
one side of the face and cry on the other; be done by, was all her wisdom, there was
and some of his touches of mirth surprise invariably disappointment and sorrow, so
you into tears. In his “Ode to Melanhard is it to understand the potency of a choly," he singsthing so easy; in truth, the hardest of human possibilities, and the most wonder “Even so the dark and bright will kiss,
The sunniest things throw sternest shade; working. Five years after the myste
And there is even a happiness rious cure, Jacob Holcom owned one of That makes the heart afraid ! the prettiest little farms near Clovernook, There is no music in the life and in all that time Elsy and he had never
That sounds to idiot-laughter solely ;
There's not a string attuned to mirth, had any disagreement, except when he
But has its chord in melancholy." affirmed that she was an angel, which she always stoutly denied; but she was a good I have remarked that he produces his and true wife, and that is but a little lower greatest effects by antithesis; (indeed, that an an angel.
word is the sum of human life-the law
of the universe—the history of the world.
“ Thou cherub—but of earth; God and the Devil-Good and Evil—Truth Fit playfellow for Fays by moonlight pale,
In harmless sport and mirth, and Error-Man and Woman-Attraction
(That dog will bite him if he pulls its tail !) and Repulsion, these are our sublimest il Thou human hummiug-bee, extracting honey lustrations of antithesis ;) here are a few From every blossom in the world that blows, examples. In the “ Song of the Shirt,”
Singing in youth's Elysium ever sunny he tells us that the singer sat
(Another tumble—that's his precious nose – " Sewing at once, with a double thread,
" Thy father's pride and hope ! A shroud as well as a shirt."
(He'll break the mirror with that skipping-rope !)
With pure heart newly stamp'd from nature's And she cries,
(Where did he learn that squint ?) “0, God! that bread should be so dear,
Thou young domestic dove !
(He'll have that jug off with anothor shove ! What handwriting on the wall is this
Dear nursling of the hymeneal nest !
(Are those torn clothes his best?) "A wall so blank, my shadow I thank
Little epitome of man !
(He 'll climb upon the table, that's his plan )
Touch'd with the beauteous tints of dawning In the “Dream of Eugene Aram," he life makes the murderer say of his victim
(He's got a knife !)
Thou enviable being ! “A dozen times I groan'd. The dead No storms, no clouds, in thy blue sky foreseeing, Had never groan'd but twice."
Play on, play on,
My elfin John! And, speaking of the dead body, “There was a manhood in his look
“ Toss the light ball, bestride the stick That murder could not kill."
(I knew so many cakes would make him sick!)
With fancies buoyant as the thistle-down, But, turning to a more cheerful subject, Prompting the face grotesque, and antic brisk, we shall find this antithesis come to a
With many a lamb-like frisk.
(He's got the scissors snipping at your gown ! climax in the “ Parental Ode to my Son, Thou pretty opening rose ! three years and five months old." Here (Go to your mother, child, and wipe your nose !) we have the prose and poetry of childhood
Balmy and breathing music like the south ; written in parallel lines, and startling but Fresh as the morn, and brilliant as its star;
(He really brings my heart into my mouth!) truthful contrast. Unless the reader is (I wish that window had an iron bar!) accustomed to have to write against time, Bold as the hawk, yet gentle as the dove! and the brightest strains of thought jangled
(I 'll tell you what, my love, by a child, or children, boisterously ap
I cannot write, unless he's sent above !") pealing to the parental anxiety, it will be difficult to reach the full fruition of this de- quisite beauty that has not some strange
Bacon has remarked, that there is no exlicious ode. But it's worth going through
ness in its proportions. Hood is a master the necessary process, to reap its full en
of this unexpectedness, whether it startles joyment:
with its laughter in his rich grotesquerie, “Thou happy, happy elf!
or surprises with its rapid and crushing ly(But stop—first let me kiss away that tear)
rical energy in thunder-strokes of thought. Thou tiny image of myself! (My love, he's poking peas into his ear!)
He said his epitaph should be—“Here Thou merry, laughing sprite!
lies the man who spat more blood and With spirits feather-light
made more puns than any other." He Untouch'd by sorrow, and unsoil'd by sin, was indeed a marvelous punster-monarch (Good heavens! the child is swallowing a pin !) –
of Pun-land. All great humorists and “ Thou little tricksy Puck!
wits have been fond of this wit of words. With antic toys so funnily bestuck,
Shakspeare was always making them, and Light as the singing-bird that wings the air ! (The door! the door! he'll tumble down the day, when in the mood.
Douglas Jerrold will speak a bookfull per stair!) Thou darling of thy sire!
It was a great pity that he should have (Why, Jane, he'll set his pinafore afire !) been compelled to break up his poetic fire Thou imp of mirth and joy!
into such small sparks and brilliant scintilIn Love's dear chain so strong and bright a
lations. He had to pick up his living at link, Thou idol of thy parents (Drat the boy!
the point of his pen, and puns sold better There goes my ink !) -
than poetry. He could turn any and every