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choruses, and the Welsh Pennilion singers to throw in our teeth, figuratively speaking, may bare good cause for their gibing ere long. Suggest something better, you say. My dear critic, people will nave amusement, and this is a frivolous age. What I do humbly suggest, not in the least supposing that my suggestion will for one moment find favour, is that in our mighty town, where, after the work and turmoil of the day, it is but reasonable to suppose that the people want relaxation, that in London more especially concerts for the working-classes should be more frequently held, and at such a low price of admission that money shall not prove an obstacle. If the people must drink, all well and good; if amusement must necessarily include a parlous thirst, let them drink by all means. I cannot see that a man is any less capable of enjoying really good music because he has a well-frothed tankard before him. "And more," as the American gentleman says ia " Martin Chuzzlewit," "if the use of the herb nicotiana is absolutely necessary to the full enjoyment of the many, let them smoke, as long as they do not choke the singers, as some of the modern youths at the University are given to do. All I want is that the style of the singing should be entirely altered. Let this feeble, melancholy type of balderdash, with its everlasting sameness of plot and idea, its neverfailing vulgarity, and its striking absence of anything like real comicality (comic songs, save the mark! it would be nigber the mark to call them funeral dirges, judging from the faces of some of the singers), let this class of so-called comic songs slip quietly into oblivion, and let the common people and the amusement-seekers in general be treated to such songs as " The Stirrup Cop," or "The Bell-ringer," or even some of those old melodies which used to make our forefathers' eyes grow misty with tears and their hearts warm with emotion. Let them hear the best selections from the Christy Minstrels -songs like "Beautiful Isle of the Sea," or " I am as happy as the day is long,"—and I'll warrant you that they will appreciate the change. It is such folly to suppose that the lower order cannot appreciate those melodies of Mozart and Mendelssohn, which you, my honourable sir, get into such raptures over. Take a common man to hear Arabella Goddard play the wondrous " Sonata Appasionata," and then ask him bis opinion of it.
But I have said my say, and further writing is rendered impossible by, in the first place, the hideous yelling of a butcher's boy beneath my window, who is shouting " Champagne Charlie was his name," and next by the incessant droning of "The German Band," as performed upon that inspiriting instrument—the street organ. So I must fain bring this writing to a conclusion, with the hope that the day may dawn on England when good music, rendered by good performers, shall have for ever driven from the field the whole noisome tribe of comic songs.
B.-N.-C., Oxford. H. J. S.
BLESSINGS IN DISGUISE.
BY MB3. ABDY.
Misfortunes! how we start and shrink
Whene'er they loom around!
Conveys a dirge-like sound.
Commissioned from above:
But visitants of love.
These heralds from tbe skies;
Of blessings in disguise!
The lo3s of worldly wealth, indeed,
Awhile seems hard to bear; Yet, by its absence we are freed
From many a tempting snare.
Once prized, alas! too well,
Has triumphed o'er their spell:
Deposed and vanquished lies:
A blessing in disguise!
If friends once tender, warm, and true,
Grow fickle and unjust, The fallacy we clearly view
Of human faith and trust. How could their lures our heart enthral?
How could we doubt or slight One Friend, the truest Friend of all—
The Lord of power and might?
Wc view our shattered ties,
A blessing in disguise.
Arc health and strength no longer ours?
The mind may still be fraught
To range the realms of thought:
Sad glances we may cast, Deploring all the wasted days
Laid with the shrouded Vast.
Should from the wreck arise,
A blessing in disguise.
I'nelouded skies 1 covet not,
Nor paths of fadeless flowers: Far better is the common lot
Of sunshine and of showers. We serve beneath the gracious sway
Of Him who rules ab,ove: His boundless mercies day by day
Demand our thankful love; And in the justice he extends
Such pitying kindness lies, The very trials that he sends
Arc blessings in disguise!
However much one may be "on pleasure bent," it will be admitted that a railway journey of sixteen hours is a tedious thing in very sultry weather—such weather as prevailed in the summer of 1864. It was in the Dog-days that, leaving behind us the "city of palaces," we took the new route that had been cut from thence to Neuchatel. In the same carriage with us were two English and one French gentlemen. The latter soon entered into conversation, in the course of which he observed that the splendid arches, bridges, aqueducts, &c, which had so greatly excited our admiration, were " not built so much for use, as monuments of works of art, to stand for centuries as exhibitions of French skill and power." Again, when alluding to the characteristics of different nations (his own in particular) he said frankly—but, as I thought, a little severely—" We are never natural unless we are acting."
Strange testimony, mcthought, to the leading features of the national character: viz., vanity and a love of glory!
After this uncalled-for assertion of it, I could not help remarking (sotto voce) to my companion, when Monsieur left the carriage for his chateau somewhere in the country, that probably it was a Chateau en Espagne. There, however, ended my reflections on the subject as the day was drawing to a close, and taking us nearer to our destination. The twilight smiled a moment— then was gone. The moon, in her full beauty, rose from behind the dark mountains as the guard called out the name of the first Swiss station.
Was I, then, really in Switzerland—the land of the brave, great, and true—the little country (for little, indeed, it seemed to me, accustomed as I had been to the broad expanse of the New World) whose heroes had so bravely resisted tyranny and oppression—the home of those men whose names are written on the imperishable tablets of Time?
These questions I asked myself, whilst I recalled the memory of the man who, unwilling to stoop to servile obedience, determined to make the liberty and free laws of his country the object uf his whole life. Alas that that life should have been sacrificed for that of another! Was he not, moreover, the cotemporary of the " Apostle of Germany"—that great Keformer who emancipated the people from spiritual thraldom, and whose pure and exalted religious views enabled them to cast off many of the dark superstitions which debased men's minds at that period of priestly domination?
My reverie was interrupted by an exclamation of delight from my companion at the beauty of the scene we had approached. I looked from the window, and below me lay a picture of peaceful loveliness so wondrously exquisite that no word-painting could do justice to it. On either hand rose the tall peaks of the Jura "precipitously steep." Black they were; yet not so densely black that one could not see darker shadows creeping over them. How awfully grand they werel How magnificent in their calmness, unbroken save by the soughing of the sad wind through the "sea of pines," and the murmur of the far-off lake!
Through the gorge of the peaks ran a silver stream, flashing and dashing in the moonlight; impatient, as it seemed, to reach the lake. A moment more, and there it lay before us—this exquisite Lake of Neuchatel, in all its magic beauty. The sky above was of deep azure, with tender snowy tufts of clouds gliding over it. Its waters were in misty shade, save where
"That orbed maiden, with white fire laden,
had touched a long line of tiny wavelets with her silver wand, and that line rippled and undulated with a sweet, low murmur as if it were singing songs of love to the listening stars.
Far in the shadow of the mountain, unconscious of all this beauty, the city of Neuchatel lay at rest. Before and since I have seen many lovely views, and fine cities, both old and new—Mont Blanc, bathed in rosy clouds— the Rhine with its picturesque and beautiful scenery—the Moselle, sparkling and bright— lakes too innumerable—Lake George, with its many isles, Champlain the Sad, Geneva the Blue, Lucerne the Silvery—but no sceno has fascinated me with its bewitching loveliness like this Lake of Neuchatel, laughing in its sleep, with the stern old mountains watching over it; the wondrous stillness stirred only by the melodious lullaby of the singing waves. The passionate longing for ideal beauty was for awhile hushed within me, as I gazed on this exquisite reality.
"Then stirs the feeling infinite, so felt
'twould disarm The spectre Death, had he substantial power to harm."
N. D. M. C
SEED AND HARVEST; OR, DEACON MORRIS'S MISTAKE.
BY MARY JANVRIN.
(A NEW ENGLAND S T 0 K Y.)
"No! I lell yon, no! I won't have a backgammon-board in the house, and that's the end of it!" exclaimed Deacon Morris, in an angry tone, and with a heavy frown upon his iron brow. "I ain't going to have my boys grow up gamblers, if 1 can help it I"
"It isn't gambling, father. All the fellows round here piny—Dick Stanton, and Ed Weston —and their fathers enjoy the game as much as they do. But J never can have any sport!"
"Don't pretend to dictate to me!" said the deacon, sternly. "If Stanton and Weston choose to encourage their boys in such worldly wickedness, it's their business, and not mine, except to show 'em that I don't countenance it. / hav'n't got their shortcomings to answer for. Ain't gambling, indeed 1 I wonder if I don't know what shaking dice leads to r I'd jest as soon you'd bring home a pack of cards or a fiddle —and they're all the devil's own bait to catch s,ouls with! No, Tom, I'm master of my own house, and, as long an I am; shall have the ordering of what comes into it; so, if you ain't contented with things here, you can go where they'll treat you better!'' And the hard, iron-browed man strode firmly across the floor of the long farm-house kitchen.
"Don't say that, father! I'm sure Tom means nothing wrong!" said a mild-voiced, patient-faced woman, looking up from the table, where she was preparing the vegetables for dinner.
"You'd better not interfere, Hannah. I can manage my own boys, I reckon," replied the deacon, gruffly. "This ain't women's business!"
"P'r'aps 'tisn't; but maybe you're a little too hard on Tom," she said, balf-deprecatingly, as if unused to such "interference." "You mustn't forget that young folks can't see exactly as old folks do; it ain't natural they should."
"Wall, better be a lectle too hard than have 'em grow up like Jack Sprague or Jim Hollis —eyesores to their relations, and pests to the whole community! My Bible says, 'Spare the rod and spoil the child'; and if Tom or Dave go to the dogs, it shan't be because they ain't had the right training ter home. So you needn't take their part. I've said it, and I'll stick to it—not a backgammon-board or a dice-box comes into my house!" And, setting his strawhat over his shaggy eye-brows, he strode from the door.
As be disappeared past the old-fashioned well-curb, whose long sweep cut the blue air of the August sky, Tom lifted his eyes from the kitchen-floor, where they had rested in sullen silencewhile his jaws settled firmly at his father's words, and said, sarcastically, " Well, I suppose you're convinced, mother, that Dare and I are straight on the road to ruin?''
"Oh no, Tom: I've more faith in my sons than to think either of 'em '11 turn out like Jack Sprague or any of bis mates; and you mustn't mind what your father says, for he don't believe it himself, only it's his way of talking," said the mild-voiced woman, excusingly.
"I tell you he does believe it, mother!" said Tom, firmly. "He never will allow any good of his own children; and you see how ready he is to believe we're going to turn gamblers, Dave and I, just because I wanted to get a backgammon-board, to use while we are resting from haying in the noon, when it's too hot lobe out in the fields. I think it's mean and shameful, that fellows who work so hard as we do can't have any privileges like others! I ain't a child, to be ordered just as though I wasn't capable of doing anything for myself. You'd think I was only ten, instead of seventeen, to hear father talk; and I won't stand it any longer 1" and his face grew more determined.
"Don't Tom! Your father /.-■ a little hard, I know; but then he thinks it's for your good," pleaded Mrs. Morris.
"For my good?" sneered Tom; "but I tell you, mother, it's for my hurt, and you know 'tis! You remember how it's been all our lives, Dave's and mine; and yours too, mother, for we've done nothing but work, work, dig, dig, pinch, save, and scrimp —all to help father hoard up money to buy pastures, and farms, and oxen with; while every reasonable pleasure* and rest has been denied us. We're no more account in father's eyes than the reaping or mowing machines down in the meadow lot. I don't know but father's a good man—a deacon of the 'first orthodox church' ought to be" — he said, sarcastically; "but he's a mighty hard and grinding one I do know, and begrudges me these very few minutes, even now, that I'm resting here from the mowing I"
"Don't, Tom I" again said his mother, deprecatingly, with the same expression of patient submission on her face. "I know, as well as you, that there's a good many hard things to bear. We've got a large farm, and it takes a great deal of bard work to carry it on; and sometimes father isn't considerate: but he's a good man in the main, and means well, and you musn't allow yourself to get n orked up so, for David's younger than you, and you ought to set him an example."
"Ob, don't be afraid of my influencing Dave, mother!" replied Tom, proudly. "As for father, the very reason that he is my father has kept me here, digging and delving; but I can't stand it forever! And, if anything should happen that I can't stay here, you'll remember that I told you 'twas only because I was ground down so, and hadn't anything pleasant like other fellows I"
"There, Tom, I wouldn't think of it any longer. 'Tisn't any use to brood over troubles —everybody has their share!" and the crushed expression of the meek-eyed woman's face told that she had hers. "Come, my son! bring me a pail of cool water from the well. I's time the dinner was on the table 1"
Tom rose with alacrity—a sturdy, goodlooking lad of seventeen, with well-developed limbs and handsomely-cut features. He would do anything for his mother, whom he loved strongly; for she, with bis brother Dave and three little sisters, engrossed all the affection the youth bestowed in the home, where the stern father, so "set" in his own notions of right, repelled, instead of inviting, the confidence of his family.
After Tom had brought in the pail of water, and set it down on a bench in the open kitchen in the rear of the room where his mother was at work, he went out the back-door: as he passed the corner, where the long gable-roof slanted down to the level of the branches of the cherry and plum-trees behind the house, David, who bad been sitting on the cellar-step just outside an open window of the kitchen, rose, and walked by his side down to the great barn, whose doors stood wide open, revealing the full-stowed mows, and the fowl strutting to and fro over the spacious floor, snapping up the scattered hay-seed or talking to each other in their own cackling tongue.
"I overheard what you said to mother after he went out," said Dave, pointing over his shoulder to where their father stood, unhitching a pair of farm-horses from a large rack by the bars that opened in the hay-field. "Do you 'mean to clear out, Tom r" was questioned in a low, confidental tone.
"I shouldn't wonder if I did take his invitation," replied Tom, with determined eye and mouth. "I'm tired to death of digging, digging all the time, and no fun at all. There's a wider life out in the world, somewhere; and I'm bound to have my share of it, and not stay cramped up here. But we won't talk of it any more now 1" said Tom, evasively.
"Well, I shouldn't blame you a bit if you did run away," replied fourteen-year-old Dave. "There's no good times on this farm, and a fellow can't get any schooling, either, if he
wants it ever so bad, except a little in the winter, when father can't find any excuse for us to work out-doors. And yet, if he was only a mind to, you and I might both go to the academy and to college; for he's rich enough—I know that; owns farms and woodlands, and has lots of money at interest. If we were real poor there'd be some excuse for our digging so I" said the boy, bitterly.
"Well, it never '11 be any different, as I can see'." returned Tom, passionately. "I wouldn't mind working—I like work as well as anybody, and never shirk my share, and would be willing to stay at home and help carry on the farm, while you might go to college, for you care more about books than I do; but he won't have it so.' Let him go his own way, and I'll go mine!" And he sat down in the barn-door and looked steadily a-head of him, with his determination imprinted on his set lips.
It was a fair picture that lay beneath the yellow, hazy glow of the hot August noon—the comfortable old farmhouse, with its smallpaned windows and gable-roof, the mossy wellcurb, with the tall, well-sweep above, and the sunken watering-trough, overtopped by clumps of plantain-leaves and white clover; the spacious out-buildings at the right, wearing an air of neatness and fulness; the hired men at work in the fields on the left, turning the hay in long billowy swathes; and beyond, the orchards, fields of corn, and the still uncut meadow lot, sweeping down to the distant river. In thii picture there was thrift, affluence, and comfort, to an outside observer; but to the lad who sat viewing it with knitted brows, there were the dark shadows of ceaseless toil and deprivation hovering over it.
"It's no use talking!" he said, at length, doggedly. "Father won't do anything different! He 'II pinch and work till he dies, and everybody round him '11 have to do the same. I suppose he's mad, now, because we're taking a bit of rest before the hands come up to dinner, But I reckon it '11 be a long day, after this one, before I put my hand to the mowing again!"
He spoke this last sentence under bis breath, so Dave did not hear; but the determination of his dark-brown eye did not abate, nor the doggedness that lay about bis lips; and be sat quiet in the barn-door till his mother blew the horn that summoned the men from the fields to dinner.
Next morning Deacon Morris rose at the first cock-crowing, as was his wont. It was his boast that *' nobody on Ass farm laid a-bed after the crack of day!" He left the bed-room; crossed the long, cool, dusky kitchen; liftTM "** hasp that secured the back door, and went out into the fresh morning air. .
The east was just beginning to be aglo» w|tB a soft, rosy blush; the rest of the sky wa»>n" distinct and dull) the robins twittered and darted from the nests in the plum trees; the earth was moist and fragrant with its baptism of dew. By-and-bye the fiery sun would mount upward, and, with bis hot breath, wilt and witTM grass, tree, and flower; but now all was cool and dusk, and still, save for that ever-increasing twitter of the robins and swallows which filled all the air of the summer morn.
Drawing a bucket of water from the old well, Deacon Morris poured it into the empty trough, stooped down and washed his face and hands, and stepped back to wipe them on the coarse roller which hung just inside the door; then went down the path that led to the great barn. He swung its doors wide open, letting out a strong fragrance of new-mown hay from the high mows, and the heaped load that yet stood on the cart, filling up the centre of the barn-floor; stepped in and fed the horses; and then went down to the yard where the cattle were. Buck and Bright, the two working oxen, lay in one corner, quietly ruminating, doubtless, of many a year'B patient drawing in sleds and carts; while a group of cows were in the other, huddled together, and one large black one reposed in lonely dignity in the middle of the yard, rolling her great eyes with a quick, bright glance upon her master.
"Get up, there, Smut!" said the deacon; while Chanticleer, perched on the topmost rail of the fence, flapped his wings and crowed with all his might and main; and the full-uddered animal rose to her feet with an ungainly motion, and, with a vicious lowering of her brassmounted horns, retreated among her sister-group with a plunge which set them scattering in all directions.
Order was hardly restored, ere Mrs. Morris appeared at the barn-yard gate with a couple of milking-pails in her hands.
Tom Hood immortalized the toils of England's sewing-women, who sat all day, and deep into the nights, in stifling London garrets, plying their needles to the sad refrain of "stitch! stitch! stitch!" the while their hungry eyes were ever getting hollower, and their pinched faces were " weary, wan, and worn;" countless mournful monodies, more touching than "The African Slave's Lament," have been written on that dusky nation; but what poet's pen has ever chronicled the trials of the many overworked, broken-down, New England farmers' wives, who have dragged—and still drag on— their appointed rounds of toil, and never think of lifting off the harness, until it crumbles away from their poor weary frames at the welcome call of the Master, who bringeth not only Bleep, but rest, to those he summons—even death?
Hannah Morris was one of these. When she left her own home, at eighteen, to become the wife of the " likely young farmer," who was "a real worker," and " would be fore-handed before he died," her cheek was blooming and her eye was bright; but twenty years had aged her so, that few would have recognized the fact that she had ever known a girlhood of beauty or elasticity of spirits, that now were dead to her for evermore.
What a round of slavery that woman's life had been I The mother of seven children—the eldest and youngest of whom had been lain to
rest in the old grave-yard over the hill—she had toiled hard at her tasks. She had always risen at four in the morning in summer, and five in winter; she milked four cows, and prepared the breakfast for her family and the hired men; made butter and cheese for market, the sale of which was added to her husband's hoards, at first to help pay off the mortgage from the large farm he was trying to clear, and then to swell the funds he was investing in wood-lots and pastures; she raised flocks of turkeys and geese—from a limited share of whose profits, as theThanksgiving annual festivals came round, she was expected to provide the winter stock of clothing for herself and family; she spun yarn for sale, and all that was used at home; knitted socks in the long winter evenings; made and mended the clothes; dried apples, and preserved fruits and berries; did all the cooking, sweeping, washing, and ironing: in short, combined in herself the offices of wife, mother, housekeeper, and servant—all in the person sf one Blender, delicate woman, who never found an uninterrupted hour to open a book for the cultivation of her mind, which hungered and starved the while.
Can you wonder that she crept into her bed every night with pains and lameness in every joint ?—that she aged so, that, at thirty-eight, you would have thought her over fifty ?—that she wore habitually that crushed, sad, weary look, as though life were very burdensome, and the grave would not be so very dreary when she laid down in it r
And yet no poet has ever written upon this theme I Possibly it is far too prosaic for them. Now and then some English tourist, who has been received into the families of affluence this side the water, chronicles a paragraph complimentary to " the delicate, spirit nelle loveliness of American girls," so different from the beef and beer solidity of the women of his own nation, and adds: "They fade early, and yet usually attain a long life; from which fact we may conclude that they possess elastic frames and strong, wiry constitutions."
Yes, "elastic" we know they must be, else they could never endure so long; but the bow, long strained, must break at last; and so these poor tired women go down to their graves, glad to And the rest they never had in life.
Isaac Morris was deacon of the "First Church"—one of the pillars of orthodoxy; but he worked his wife, his children, and hired men hard; and added farm to farm, acre to acre, and hundred after hundred to his gains.
On this August morning he looked frown* ingly on his wife as she entered the barn-yard. "It's later than usual, Hannah I The cows ought to a-been turned inter the lot before now, for it's the dew on the grass that makes the richest cream. Where's the hands? Abed yet? And the boys, too i That Tom has been huffy enough ever since the talk yesterday, because I wouldn't let him have his own way about that gambling-board, and he 's goin' to keep it up by layin' abed this mornin'; but