Page images
PDF
EPUB

low.

Her face was singularly beautiful—a dark, ruddy, -not even yon, to whom my breast is glass, transparent peach-ripe color, eyes dark and brilliant, hair black and of everything. Do not mock me, Grace. I tell you, combed in simple plain bands back from her brow; a because I want you to share my triumph. So listen, ·mouth, full and very sweet in expression; a brow, calm I am writing a book.” and placid, such as I like to see in women.

“ A book, Mark,” said Grace, suspending her work The oak stood upon the outskirts of the forest. Ap- upon the garland, and looking thoughtfully upon the proaching it with stealthy, rapid steps, unseen by the ground; “ go on." lady, was one the reader already knows as Mark Har- I was a Tittle pained at this coolness, but I con

tinued: So absorbed was the lady—we will call her Grace “Full of my glorious dreams, Gracefull of high Ellington at once—with her occupation, or with pleas- thoughts, a grand book.” ant thoughts, that the approaching footsteps fell heed “A poem ?” lessly upon her ears. Suddenly, two arms were thrown “No, a romance." about her neck. She gave a quick cry, and started for- “You will fail, Mark.” ward, but a glance at the comer sent a bright glow to “Fail!” I dropped her hand. Her face was averted. her cheek.

• You think me a dolt," said I, with bitterness, “ with“Ah, Mark, is it you? I shall punish you for these out genius, talent--a miserable, dull, incapable fool!" frights."

“Are you just, Mark ?” said she softly, placing her * Anything but banishment.”

| hand upon my arm. " Banishment it certainly shall be.”

I started up in excitement and paced the ground. "I don't believe you. That would punish the judge “You think I have no genius, Grace, but I will prove as well as the criminal."

it yet. 1 will climb. The ascent may be hard, but "Impudence! You are spoiled, Mark. I am getting I can master it. The mountain-top for me I could not tired of you.” This was said with the brightest look endure an obscurė, dull career. I want fame, Grace. and the sweetest sinile. .

I want honor and greatness. I shall win them, too." “ Veracity! Veracity! Grace, where is your truth ?” “Greatness !” said Grace, still thoughtful, “that

"In the well, I suppose, where it came from," seat- word, so often misused.”
ing herself at the foot of the tree, and gathering to- “You doubt my power to be great"
gether more leaves for her garland.

“No, Mark. But greatness is not fame nor fame, "A garland, Grace? Who is it for? Whose brow greatness. One is—". shall it grace ?"

“I know,” said I, impatiently, “the old, trite, dull "A hero's."

interpretation. Greatness is goodness! Pshaw! Great"It is mine," said I confidently, and flinging myself ness is mighty deeds" gpon the ground by her side.

“Strong deeds, I grant you." "You are not a hero."

“Oh, Grace, you must be my way of thinking. When "No, but, by Heaven, I aspire. I have not accom- I pant for greatness, I think of you too see your brow plished, Grace, but give me time, and I shall do crowned no less than mine. My love and my ambition so."

are twin passions, dearest Grace and what I win, I * Accomplish? Your bane, Mark, is idleness." bring to your feet. But why, cruel and inexorable judge, * No, it is love."

why will I fail ?" “Then absence is the antidote. Leave me.”

“Your book, I mean, Mark, will fail." " I swear it is not. I am frantic when I am away “But why? why?" from you, Grace. I swear—"

“ You must first get beyond all these emotions and “Stop, stop, Mark. Nobody believes lover's oaths. passions before you can succeed. He who writes, must It is useless swearing. I want facts, not words. Tell sit upon a cloud—the passions of the world beneath him me how you pass your time, and you shall see how the experienced, known, and mastered.” charge of idleness is good. You called me judge—an “Oracular and wise, 'pon my word. Go on, Grace." swer upon your truth."

“ You mock me, now." “In love. • Making woeful ditties to my mistress' "No, I do not. Go on." eyebrows ;' carving on every tree the fair, the chaste, “If I appear to be wise, it is only because I respect the inexpressive she?"

what I have heard my guardian say. First books are "Two quotations in a breath! That's enough of so often failures, Mark, because they are the incoherent Shakspeare--for at least twenty minutes, Mark."

tumultuous overflow of emotions felt-rushing into “ Grace," seizing her hand, and holding it tightly, being through vague, wild, but powerless expression. " you torment me. I love you to madness-a thousand It is our dead passions only, Mark, which we can apatimes more than you love me, for you do nothing but lyze, master, and express.” banter me."

“ Infidelity, rank. Look at the poets froin the be "Poor Mark!"

ginning.” “I'll run if you mock me so, Grace. But let me tell “Like a woman, Mark, I judge only from the little you. You accuse me of idleness. You are unjust, and world I see. But never mind. I have, perhaps, a reaI will prove it. I have a secret-not a soul knows it son for wishing you not to plunge into that dangerous course. Men who are ambitious make glory their mis- | bright, mantliny blush—a frown with difficulty forced tress."

-a laughing threat—and that was all. " What, jealous !”

Arm locked in arm, we walked through the twilight “I am-or would be," replied Grace, laughing together. The sun had just dipped behind the westgaily.

ern hills. Our distance was scarcely half a mile-not “Silly girl. I might climb to the moon, and my far enough to fill up the long mellow space between Grace should ever be above me to worship."

the sunlight and the stars. “A very pretty speech. Yet I fear you might for- We walked by forest ways, with half merry, half sake me. Ah, Mark, for your sake, perhaps I should be passionate words upon our lips—saying and doing & glad to see you famous—but not for mine. Our happi- hundred absurd things, as lovers ever have since ness," placing her hands upon my shoulder, “ does not Adam, the first love-maker, courted Eve. And yet, in lie that way, Mark.”

| all our loves' fond foolishness, we were wise enough “Our glory does."

to avoid the depths of sentiment, adventurously singeing She shook her head, slowly and thoughtfully. She and dipping our wings in the dangerous flame, as we had risen and we were standing together close by the hovered, and played about it, but guarding against a trunk of the tree.

plunge into the consuming fire. Grace, in her woman's - Is there not more bitterness, heart-burning, envy, wisdom — and woman's wisdom is perfect in the disappointed hopes, and unsatisfied desires, than of sphere of love and feeling-knew what the danger glory, Mark ?"

was, and spun her tissues of mirth and laughter as “Oh, you little wise woman. Shake not those locks the slight but firm ligaments, which alone could restrain at me so ominously. I will not hear such croaking, and control the impulsive Mark. Grace. I am young, and full of ambition—ambition We approached her cottage by the river walk, and at and love. That's enough for the present. Come, your the garden gate I bade her good night. I saw ber garland is finished. Who shall be crowned ? Grace flit into the house, and then, in a pleasing reverie, I Ellington, the new Minerva !"

walked slowly away. The night was settling fast, and “Hush, you mocker. The garland is for vou.” with the view of returning by the open road, I passed “For me? Shall I kneel?”.

around in front of the house. My eyes were bent upon “You are foolish, Mark.”

the ground, my thoughts absorbed, and I did not notice “Folly is the lover's privilege. Would you have me surrounding objects. In the midst of my reverie, I was wise and sensible? Ah, Grace, I must say and do ex- aroused by the champing of bits close to my side. I travagant things it were not love else. It is this play- looked up hastily, and found myself within a few feet ful bantering which restrains me on the brink of pas- of two of my father's horses, saddled, and tied to a post. sion's deep gulf. Fire breaks from my heart, to escape A little surprised at this, I turned back to enter the from my lips in laughter. Grace, Grace, I do love you house. The door was open and I went in. No one

was near. I entered the parlor, my footsteps echoing “Back from the brink, you madman-you are fall- loudly through the empty hall. Still no one. A free ing in!”

visitor, I felt myself at liberty to proceed. I strolled “No, no. I am at your feet. The garland, Grace.” through the rooms, shadowy ara dim in the fading “ There—you are crowned"

day, and approached one that Grace called her bou“Before the yictory, but I swear to deserve it. I doir — where amid books and music her time was must kiss your hand.”

mostly spent. I heard a rustling as I drew near-8 " Have done—how silly, Mark!"

receding footstep, and as I stepped through the open " There! there! Grace," catching her in my arms, “the door, I saw a figure pass out from the room in the hand is not enough."

opposite direction, which I detected as my father's “It is. Back, Mark. I'll have no raptures. You Grace was standing erect by a chair, deadly pale, I tread upon the brink, indeed.".

could see, even in the darkening shadows. " Your cheek, if not your lips."

“Why, Grace—" I began, but with a motion of her She stood suddenly still, and demurely held her cheek hand, she stopped me. up to my lips, but I could see an arch twinkle in her “Leave me, Mark. Come to-morrow. Go at once.” eye.

She sat down in excess of agitation. I moved to “Go," said I, my passion suddenly cooling, and turn-wards her, but she almost imperatively waived me ing her face away with my hand, “go, I climbed the back. I turned away, pained and perplexed. Upon wall to steal the fruit."

the door-sill I paused and looked back. Her face was Grace laughed a gleeful laugh as she caught my averted. She would not see me. hand and kissed it, then looking up, exclaimed:

With strange fears and dark thoughts, through the The sun is down. It's time for home."

narrowing arch of the night, I passed slowly home “Her lips were near. One quick, full kiss—a cry—a ward.

[ocr errors]

(To be continued.)

“Oh, what fine peaches! Stop one inoment, only a sand breadth of her face which, geographically speakmoment—they are the first plump, sunny-cheeked ing, offered a very uneven but broad expanse for the peaches I have seen this year. Do stop !"

smile to travel over. No, my companion was inexorable. The last bell of But for the peachy glow which my thoughts gave to that prince of river steamers, the Alida, was sounding, everything, I might have been led to reflect more and our carriage dashed by the stand heaped with deli- seriously on the probable social level of my new acquaintcious fruit, almost on the gallop. A flourishing check ance. Indeed, I did turn my thoughts that way once of the horses, a quick handling of luggage, a simulta- or twice, when she ventured on some remark about the neous spring for the gangway plank, and all was right. scenery we were passing. The language was of the The Alida swept boldly out upon the Hudson, and we best old Saxon, though I must confess it would have had pleasant seats upon the deck. But those peaches been improved by a slightly different arrangement of were left behind, the finest of this sterile season. That words. Her dress, too, had a doubtful originality of was a disappointment.

outline that might not have been considered the thing It was wonderful how that heap of sunny peaches at Genin's, and her mantilla certainly did not come from baunted me that sultry morning. My lips were fever- Molyneux Bell's cut; but, having once mistaken a crown ish, for I was not quite well, and this was why we prince for a travelling agent, I am rather shy at jumptook a trip up the river. We made inquiries for fruit ing at conclusions, especially en route, when the best on board. Water and wine, and delicious ice-cream class of travellers usually dress the plainest, and so there was, but no peaches, and then nothing else seemed reserved an opinion regarding my new friend, subject capable of appeasing my thirst.

to farther developments. One thing was certain, You would not believe how regretfully I looked back whatever deficiency might present itself in quality, there on the city; not that I objected to leaving its dust and could be no want of compensation in quantity; for, glitter, but that stand of peaches with the stout old search as you would, it was impossible to get even a woman behind it, how I envied her! True, she might glimpse of her chair, it was so completely overflowed not afford to eat the peaches, but then she could enjoy and pressed out of sight by her person. the fruity odor, and I would have given something for When the old lady opened her basket, I was disposed that.

Ito take the bright view of her worldly condition-but, The North River scenery is superb, finer than that of as she closed the lid, I paused with a prudent secondthe Rhine, and almost equal to the wilder passes of the thought regarding the peaches that I felt more and Danube ; but I had seen it a hundred times, and the rich more certain were laying their crimson cheeks together crimson that lay like a haze on that heap of peaches, in the bottom of that basket, and began to reconsider floated between me and the shore all the time. The probabilities, as a prudent person should. boat was crowded, and a blessed old woman–I did not “There, isn't that a nice house? I shouldn't mind exactly know whether to call her lady or not-drew living there myself,” she said, lifting her plump hand, close to my seat, and looked with a sort of sympathy and pointing as well as the great strain upon her mit into my face. I have no doubt she fancied a half-fam- would allow, toward the opposite bank where two houses ished expression there, for directly she drew a little were visible; one, a pretty rustic cottage, nestled down closer, and opening a square travelling-basket that in a hollow and half-buried in vines—and the other, a exactly fitted upon her lap, which was not over capa- Igreat staring white house upon a lift of the hills, withcious, though she was, took out a couple of crackers, out a tree to shade it, and with red, short moreen curand placing them in her plump palm, offered them tains streaming through the open windows. “I'm to me.

I going to see my daughter, who lives in just such a "No," said I, a little disappointed, for a faint idea house; to tell the truth, I make my home with her !" of peaches presented itself as she opened the basket, and “Just as I suspected,” thought I, looking upon the looked so compassionately my way, “no, thank you, white house with disgust. “A coarse vulgar woman, not a mouthful. I ain rather feverish and thirsty, that no doubt, with an underbred daughter, living in a house is all."

| like that, flowing curtains and all"Ah," said the dear lady, " that is very hard ; have “I say," whispered the old lady, giving another peep they nothing on the boat ?”

| into her basket, and bending toward me, mysteriously, "No," said I, with a mournful sense of bereavement, as if delicately ashamed of her own generosity; “I've “nothing. They have inquired at the office; so I must got something besides crackers in this basket. Come make the best of it.”

down into the cabin, and I'll give you something That dear id soul felt sorry for me, I could see that nice!" plainly enough; she opened her basket a little, and My heart rose and smote me at the same time. Someclosed it again irresolute. It was a good-sized basket, thing nice-peaches, of course, it could be nothing else. and must have held something beside crackers. I am —that dear old lady, how kind she was, and I to think afraid I looked wistfully that way, for she gave me an that a person so delicate and thoughtful could live in encouraging nod, and a smile ran over the entire length la great impudent house with red curtains like that; of

course, it was all a mental slander. No, no, that little sense eat my grapes half ripe. So I sat quietly till bird's nest of a cottage was the type of her home, and a last gleam of the red curtains saluted me from the hillas for her dress, of course, that would be changed the top, and then gathering up my shawl and parasol, went moment she reached the dear shady little parlor in down to the cabin. My friend was evidently waiting, which her daughter sat, waiting her coming with the for she arose from an easy-chair as I came up, and most affectionate solicitude. Upon my honor, I felt whispering me to follow her, made a straight wake ashamed of myself, and that kept me a little on the through chairs, children, and carpet-bags, towards the reserve when my new friend arose from her creaking ladies' dressing-room. She said, confidentially, “I'm chair, and descended from the deck; carrying her basket glad it's empty. Now for something nice !" carefully, I was glad to see, for bruised peaches are my She sat down-placed the basket square upon her abhorrence. I love them with the bloom on, and the lap-opened the lid with a generous boldness, that gingerly way with which she handled her basket, I looked like taking out half a dozen peaches at once, and charmed me. I would not follow her at once, that looking in my face with smiling benevolence all the might betray too much anxiety ; perhaps it would be as time, drew forth a pint bottle. well to remain where I was till the two houses were “There !” she said, holding it up with triumphant out of sight, and had ceased to reprove my conscience. hospitality. “It's first-rate cognac. Isn't that someThat would be about the dignified thing.

thing nice ?" Well, I have a talent for waiting, and never in any!

THINGS WE TALK ABOUT.

Will the reader, before proceeding a single line, turn a song written several months ago, by J. Howard Wainwright, few pages back to the picture of “The Power of Gold,” and Esq. (son of the late lamented Bishop Wainwright), in which retain the place with thumb and finger while we discuss and the idea of gold triumphing over love is illustrated, in a difadmire it together? He or she (we wish that readers could ferent, though no less forcible manner, than by Mr. Dallas. be classified under some neuter non-committal gender), he, The verses struck us as so exceedingly beautiful that we then, or she, as the sex may be, will recognize this picture obtained permission to publish them. as the second of a series of Pencil-poems from the poetic The author calls them fancy of our artist, Mr. Dallas. Our readers may depend upon finding this series continued at brief intervals, through

THE SONG OF THE BELL. our pages. “The Power of Gold” is a perfect poem. It needs no illustration of the letter. It tells its own sad story

Hark to the merry bells, finely—a story daily enacted, wherein youth and love are

As in yon tall tower they ring; powerless before the Yellow Monarch of the world! It has

This is the tale their music tells, fallen within the experience of the least of us—it comes

This is the song they sing

Knell ! Knell I Knell ! home to us as one of those terrible phases in life-history, for

List to the song of the bell, which poetry and art bave, from the beginning, awakened

Whoe'er thou art; tears and sympathy. It has been told and sung many times,

Of a breaking heart but never with a finer effect, never with greater and more

And blighted hopes we tell. touching force than by the pencil of Mr. Dallas. In power of characterization, artistic excellence, and

Enter in at the porch,

The joy-bells seem to shout, scope of idea, the picture invites close and attentive study.

'Tis an auction-room, and not a church, The best figure is probably that of the “ dotard grey.” It is

Though no red flag hangs out. perfect in conception and execution. The face, the pose of

Sold! Sold! Sold ! the body, the dress, gives it complete individuality. The

The tale has been often told

Body and heart, next most striking figure is that of the mercenarys father.

Like a slave at the mart, We see and know what he is at a glance. His whole his

Bartered away for gold. tory is unfolded. His prayer and hymn, his dream of life, all that he has known of love and hopes have been crowded

In bridal garb arrayed, into one word-gold! In the lovers we have, perhaps, less

Though the rose from her cheek has fled, individuality than in the other figures, but more of passion.

At the altar-foot stands a lovely maid,

And wishes she were dead! Crushed and dead hopes, riven hearts, dumb despair—it is

Tears! Tears! Tears! all told. Language could not do it better. The allegorical

Heart-tears, though the lids are dry : adjuncts to the picture intensify and heighten the stern

There's hell in the heart of that maiden fairrealities of the foreground scene, and are made to skillfully

On her pallid lips a lie. blend with the actualities of the story. While the drawing was in our possession, before being

With eyes all glassy and dull,

By her side & grey-beard old, placed in the hands of the engraver, it was shown to a

Of figures his head like a ledger full, literary friend, who, the next day, brought us a copy of a !

His heart a lump of gold.

Oh, man, with a sister dear
Oh, man, with mother and wife,

Tis not a bridal you witness here,
But the death of a fair young life.

He, who had won her heart,
In happy days gone by,
Now standeth in the gloom apart,
All sad and mournfully.
Crushed ! Crushed ! Crushed !
For a little golden dust,
His joys all fled,
His hopes all dead,
A noble spirit lost.

Sold is that fair young thing-
If not her heart, her hand;
Alas! what power could she bring
Against a sire's command !
Bartered away and sold,
Body and heart, for gold-
Bartered away,
To that dotard grey,
For the damning greed of gold.

The other art-eccentricity is a portrait of Shakespeare, burnt with a poker upon a common board. Shrewish wives have always been addicted to the use of this peculiarly feminine weapon (offensive and defensive), but we here have it made available upon heads in a new, and we will venture to say, more agreeable way. The portrait is singularly good for such peculiar execution.

Let us say, however, that oddities and tricks in art ought to be condemned. There is a disposition in the public mind to mistake mechanical trickeries and juggleries for true art. People are prone to run after monstrosities in art just as they are in natural history. The five-footed calf is an institution which thrusts itself through all the arts, and invariably sets the world astare. There are an abundance of people who never take any interest in art unless it is standing on its head. They don't know what it means unless it is in connection with something fantastic. It must be playing some antic to make it to themi at all acceptable. Of the existence of Idea tlıey have no conception. They think that art means the triumph over mechanical difficulties. If a man will sing from the bottom of his boots, or make music from pop-guns—paint a picture with a tooth-brush upon a cheese-box, or mould a statue richly shaded with all the inter-blending hues of old castile, why then they are in ecstasies. The jugglery of a sham art is all they can comprehend. A wax figure in a pea-jacket is finer than the Greek Slave, because more life-like. At the Crystal Palace, a few years ago, the veiled busts (pieces of mere mechanism), were surrounded by a crowd of admirers, while the noblest groups of marble remained unnoticed. Go to any exhibition and you will see the same thing. The mechanical, the trick, the antic, the juggle, lords it over the Idea. Art, in its true significance, is but little known. It is still struggling to rise above the level of the pig with three heads.

There side by side they stand,
Repeating the vows by turns;
He places a ring on that marble hand,
And the hoop, like fire, burns.
Love! Honor! Obey !
Say the lips, but the heart is dumb :
She fain would weep, she strives to pray,
But nor prayers nor tears will come.

Behind the altar rail,
In accents sweet and clear,
Binding for aye that cursed sale,
Stands the reverend auctioneer.
Going! Going! Gone -
The deed is quickly done;
By that plain gold ring,
Winter and Spring
For life, are joined in one.

Prayed is the last short prayer,

-Amid the variety of shade trees in our city, how is it And-joyous sight to see

that the locust tree is scarcely to be found, when in the The minister, blessing the happy pair, Pockets his golden fee.

characteristics of beauty, cleanliness, freedom from worms, Sold! Sold ! Sold !

thriftiness, and rich depth of color, it peculiarly recomLet the bells be sadly tolled,

mends itself for the purposes of city shade trees? We Better to tell or a funeral,

allude, let it be understood, to the yellow locust, and not to Than a barter of hearts for gold.

the honey locust. The foliage of the locust is peculiarly

beautiful, rich and dark in hue, and affording contrasts in Gone is the bridal train,

play of light and shade, exceeding in fineness of effect that But the bells, with their silver tone, Still echo through the sacred fane

of almost any other tree. The locust, moreover, is attractAs I stand there alone.

ive when of any size or height-even when no bigger than a Knell! Knell I Knell !

shrub. Its shade is singularly sweet; anything will grow This seems the song of the bell;

under it. It does not exhaust the soil where is grows, but Some bridals are made In heaven, 'tis said,

so enriches it as even to make a poor one good. But this was forged in hell.

-The widow of Lord Byron is still alive and in good -Two art curiosities now arrest the attention of the Broad- health. She has recently purchased the residence of the way promenader. One is the copper statue of Washington, late poet Rogers, in London. hammered out of shect-copper by Mr. Neumann, a copper- / The friends of Mr. Rogers will hardly be pleased to know smith. In view of the material, the implements, and the that his pleasant home has passed into the possession of a untrained skill of the worker, it is a wonderful product of woman who embittered the life of his dearest friend. patience, labor, and native genius. Its proportions are not, “Read this,” said Rogers to me one morning, as we stood perhaps, entirely perfect. It is somewhat stiff and rigid, in the great bay window of his drawing-room, which overbut no more so than we could expect. As a likeness, it is looks the Green Park, just before going down to breakfast, not inferior to some more pretentious performances. Cop-“read this, and you will think more kindly of poor Byron.” per statues are neither desirable nor agreeable, but Mr. The letter which he held had just been taken from a portNeumann, in his earnest evolving of grand ideas, through folio of autographs. It seems that some charge had been such poor channels as they could find, proves himself to be made against the passion-poet, that he had spoken harshly of superior metal, and capable, with proper opportunities, of his wife, and he appealed to Rogers, his intimate friend, of becoming an eminent sculptor.

| to say if he had not always mentioned her with the utmost

« PreviousContinue »