« PoprzedniaDalej »
I suppose that, when Ella said “he,” she meant the one who wrote the poem, and her idea seemed to be that poetry was n't to be understood even by the man that made it ! - which was severe upon the poets, was n't it?
Of course Rosa always came trailing Dolly along. Later, Fred and Arthur, two as thorough gentleboys (why may not one say gentleboy as well as gentleman ?) as I ever met, would make their appearance, and then close behind them Miss Hattie and Julia. Sometimes the lady of whom I spoke before would join us, and then there would be two story-tellers in the party! Our way was to select a good camping-place by the river-side or in the woods, and spread our plaids upon the rocks or grass in the shade of some great tree. This was our home, and from it the children made excursions, returning when they were tired, or when they had made any wonderful discoveries.
Julia and Ella would bring beautiful flowers and trailing vines, with which they delighted to dress the hair of the young ladies who sat crocheting, and reading or talking.
Fred and Arthur were more venturesome, and often treated us, after a long absence, to a feast of raspberries or blackberries, served in a “lordly dish," - nothing more nor less than the crowns of their straw hats, which they had lined with fresh green leaves for the occasion.
When the berries were eaten they had games till they were tired, and then somebody would tell a story, in which Rosa would get so interested that she would roll up poor Dolly into a hard ball, with which she rubbed her own eyes and nose violently. This was always her way of showing deep feeling!
“ Don't rub your face so hard, Rosa! You will certainly screw that little round button of a nose right off, I am afraid.”
“0, no, she won't, Miss Katie,” said Ella. “ Dere 's meat dat holds it on her face !"
At which little Rosa piped up, with a most loving hug of her used-up pet, “ My Dolly 's dot a heap of meat on de top of her nose!”
There must have been a “heap of meat” on the back of Dolly's neck, or it never would have lasted so long.
When the story was ended, Rosa's face always was scarlet, and shone as if it had been well waxed and polished, but Ragdolly was crumpled to that degree that nobody but Rosa would have known her as a doll at all. Being used as a handkerchief disagreed with her more than anything.
After the story came play again; and who can guess which enjoyed it most, the little or the more grown-up people ?
Ella was as quick as a squirrel in her motion, and always liked to make her way to the top of things. “Wait, please," she would say ; “I want to show Miss Katie some of my climbings !” — and some of Ella's climbings carried her lithe little body up among the birds' nests and the ripe cherries. But she always came safely down, and not the slightest accident happened to spoil the pleasure of this merry little company during all that summer.
However, Ella had one great trial, which she had to bear many times in . a day. It was Rosa's persisting in seeing something like “buzzer Walter”
in everything that caught her attention, as in the bird-story I have already told you. She would say of a horse, “Dis yere horse is just as big as my ·buzzer Walter"; and of a butterfly, “ Dat 's just as little as my buzzer Walter"; and of everything, “ Dat 's as putty as Walter !” At which Ella would almost lose patience, and say, “Why, how Rosa talks about Walter ! She tells everything what is n't about him, and does n't tell things what are !" Ella was as proud of baby Walter as was Rosa; but as he was not present to speak for himself, she did not like him to be misrepresented.
Mrs. Edward A. Walker.
THE VIOLETS' LESSON.
NE bright day early in spring-time a cluster of timid little violets, which
had pushed their way up through the damp mould, opened their eyes and looked out on the world around them. They found themselves just within the edge of a large wood, with noble old forest-trees lifting their heads in stately grace on every side, and vigorous young saplings shooting up here and there between. The whole wood was filled with the music of the birds, which had flown north from some sunny clime to herald the approach of summer. And close beside the timid violets, so near that they could lean over and look down into its clear waters, a bright stream went hurrying by, out into the meadows and fields beyond, and on, on, as far as the violets could see ; how much farther they did not know. Everything about them was so grand or so beautiful, and so full of life, that the poor little violets felt themselves very insignificant beings indeed, in this strange, glad world into which they had entered. And they shrank closer together, as if each would shelter itself behind the other, when the golden April sunshine, glancing through the budding boughs above them, spied them out and sent a stray beam to cheer them and brighten up their delicate blue petals. Presently an oriole perched himself on one of the branches of a graceful elm close by, and warbled as if he would pour out his very heart in music, — such a song of life and gladness and love.
“Oh!" sighed one of the violets, when the strain paused for a moment, “if we could have voices like that to rejoice every living thing within hearing, it would indeed be something to live for. Would it not be a grand thing, sisters, if we could be of some use in this beautiful world !”
Low as the whisper was, the oriole, who was just poising himself on the bough above, preparatory to another outburst of melody, heard it, and, looking down, said: “Why, you are of use, little ones! It is your business here to grow up just as fresh and lovely as you can, and help to make the world more beautiful. Every one cannot sing, to be sure ; but every one can do
what is in his own power.” And so, having answered the violet, he launched out into his song again exultingly, joining the chorus of woodland minstrels who were rejoicing on every side.
But the violet whispered to her sisters lower than before : "Ah, but I wish we could do something! It is all very well to be beautiful, although I doubt if such poor little tiny things as we are anything very wonderful in that way.”
The April wind swept across them and bent their heads over the clear stream. “ Look at yourselves in the water, and see if you have not been made beautiful enough to help to gladden the world, and do not sigh for more than has been given you. Live your own life to the utmost; be fragrant and blooming, and you do your part.” And the stream looked up to them, and sang also in its low, murmurous ripple, “Everything has its own work to do in the world! Mine is to freshen the grass and flowers, that, like yourselves, grow near my green margin, and the lofty trees that mirror themselves in my waters; and after a while, when I have expanded into a broad river, to bear on my bosom noble ships that carry men whither they wish to go. Rejoice in the sunshine and soft air, and be as lovely as you can,
-as lovely as you were designed to be, - and in time you will know for what use you are destined. Be content till then.” So the April wind swept on to visit other flowers, and the brook flowed along its pebbly bed, singing low to itself as before.
And the violets still looked up timidly, but they welcomed the warm, bright sun-rays when they shone in upon them, bringing to them fresh life and color; they breathed out their delicate fragrance lovingly on the soft spring airs, which gently caressed them. And so they bloomed in perfect beauty, unseen for a while by human eyes. But on one sunny day two young girls came wandering through the wood, searching for wild-flowers, and listening to the birds. Presently one of them paused above the cluster of violets. “O Laura, see what lovely violets! I am going to paint them for mamma. If I should gather them, they would wither long before I could take them to her. But if I copy them as faithfully as I can, they will be the loveliest reminder of the spring that I can send to her in the close, built-up city.” So she sat down on a fallen tree near by, and sketched and painted the delicate wee things in the book she carried with her, while the violets stood in an ecstasy of delight at finding how much joy they could give by their beauty. Then the young girls went on and left the wood to its solitude.
All things went on as before. The birds sang their love-songs, flitting to and fro; the trees put forth fresh leaves, and grew greener every day, and gave deeper shade ; the stream rippled merrily on its way. Occasionally some careless woodsman strolled, whistling, along a faintly trodden path that led through the heart of the wood ; or a troop of merry children, let loose for holiday, came seeking wild-flowers ; but none of them found the violets, until one golden morning there came a little pale-faced, blue-eyed girl, drawn by her brothers in a light basket carriage. The little girl had been sick for weeks, but with the opening spring she had revived, and now on soft, sunny days she was able to go out in this way to take the air. As
her brothers drew her along near the margin of the stream, she spied the violets, and the blue eyes grew bright with pleasure. “O Arty! Charlie !” she exclaimed, “won't you take up the violets very carefully for me, roots and all, with the earth around them? I want to carry them home and put them in a flower-pot in my room, where I can tend them myself, and see them whenever I wish, when I cannot run about to look for flowers." And Arty and Charlie, glad to please their darling sister, took up the delicate cluster with the greatest care, and, holding the earth in which it grew firmly together by means of paper wrapped around it, they laid the prize in Edith's lap, and drew her home.
And so the violets, transferred to Edith's room, bloomed as beautifully as in their native wood; for loving care never failed them; and day by day, while Edith gathered health and strength, the blue eyes shone down on them with an ever new delight. And Edith's visitors often smiled with pleasure as her flowers suggested to them some pleasant thought, or brought the brightness and freshness of nature, too often forgotten, into their daily lives.
So the violets found their use. And day after day, as they breathed out their lives in bloom and fragrance, the breeze that wandered in at the open windows heard the violet which had spoken before whisper to her sisters, “Ah, when I sighed to be of some use in the world, I little dreamed that we could do so much good just by growing up to be as lovely as we can, -as lovely as we are designed to be, - as the brook said to us. It was right. I am content.” And her sister violets clustered around her answered softly together, “The brook was right. We are content.”
Susan E. Dickinson.
THE BIRD'S QUESTION.
REHIND us at our evening meal
The gray bird ate his fill, Swung downward by a single claw,
And wiped his hooked bill.
He shook his wings and crimson tail,
And set his head aslant,
Asked, “ What does Charlie want?”
“ Fie, silly bird ! ” I answered, “ tuck
Your head beneath your wing
He asked the self-same thing.
Then, smiling, to myself I said :
How like are men and birds ! We all are saying what he says
In action or in words.
The boy with whip and top and drum,
The girl with hoop and doll,
The question of Poor Poll.
However full, with something more
We fain the bag would cram; We sigh above our crowded nets
For fish that never swam.
No bounty of indulgent Heaven
The vague desire can stay ;
For grinding prayers alway.
He knoweth all our wants ;
His love withholds or grants.
Might well be merged in one ;
John G. Whittier.