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churches interested in our work through the preachers ; we want to get public sentiment on the side of the man who is in hard luck, and even to find individual opportunities for their employment."
These words came very easily to Mr. Dennis O'Hara's lips; he had heard them before quite often. He explained that he had once been in prison-a long, long time agofor a technical offense ; he went on to tell them long stories of prison life; of the temptations of released convicts and their struggles for respectability. He grew so interested in his subject that he inadvertently made long slashes in the table cloth, in the outlining of explanatory diagrams. Misunderstanding Mrs. Goodhart's expression of horror, he addressed himself particularly to her. In the midst of the conversation he happened to turn to his host. He stopped short. The old man had sunk down in his chair with his hand over his eyes; tears were stealing between the trembling fingers.
There was an embarrassed pause.
“ Mr. Duncan,” said the minister, touching his eyes with his handkerchief, “pardon my agitation; there is more reason for it than a," Mrs. Goodhart stirred in her chair ; “there is sufficiently great reason for it. Kindly accompany me into the adjoining room.”
“Your holy work must require funds, Mr. Duncan,” said the minister, drawing an iron box from beneath the threadbare sofa and opening it. “ I am very thankful that through the blessings of providence I have more than usual in my little store; I wish I could assist you more—” Mrs. Goodhart tapped him on the shoulder. He acknowledged her touch by an inclination of the head but continued firmly. “I do most sincerely wish it. You need not hesitate to accept, I am well provided for; my home is ample, my garden fruitful. My life is not so busyperhaps I should more properly say not so hurried as it once was."
Mr. Dennis O'Hara accepted the proffered bank-note. Perhaps when he had first seen the simple treasure box the brutal fire had flashed in his eyes again, but they were wet with tears now.
“Where is my hat?" he asked.
“Do you feel that you cannot abide with us through the night,” said the minister ; “it would be a sacred honor—"
“ Where is my hat?" repeated the convict hoarsely.
The minister's wife held it at his elbow ; he departed, hardly hearing Mr. Goodhart's apologies for not accompanying him to the gate.
He found himself a little later sitting in the Paleytown station staring at a ticket to Boston and some loose change lying in his hand. He rubbed his eyes.
“Dennis O'Hara," he soliloquized, “I wouldn't have thought it of you. ....
The train is an hour late; there is time to go back yet. No! by God!” he shouted so loud that the station agent in the doorway dropped his lantern. “No you don't ! and what is more you are going to earn ten dollars honest, and pay him back; honest every cent of it if it takes two months.” He rammed the money into his pocket and stood up. His head was higher and his glance more direct than since, when a little boy, he had returned from his first afternoon at Sunday school.
“I did not understand your question awhile ago," said the station agent. “Your train is on time; it is coming now.'
O Bard, who taught thee how to sing ?
W. A, Moore.
THE POETRY OF EMILY DICKINSON.
nor beauty of execution, can outweigh one grain or fragment of thought.” And the alleged artificiality of modern life offers unconscious witness to this truth in the interest awakened during the past three or four years in the poetry of Emily Dickinson. It is a poetry that offers little or no opportunity for a false devotion ; that affords no chance for worship such as has been paid the so-called impressionist school of art or the harmony of Wagnerian music,—which, at best, can be fully appreciated but by a chosen few. The poems to some, indeed, may be wanting in much that is suggestive of true poetry as that word is vulgarly understood, but the careful and sympathetic reader soon discovers the pearls of the writer's thought, though they be strung on pack thread between common beads.
Emily Dickinson, whom Hamilton Aidè says “narrowly missed being the most distinguished poetess her country has yet produced,” was born in Amherst on the twelfth of December, 1830, and died there in May, 1886. Her life was spent partially in study, largely among her only trusted friends—the sunsets and breezes, the birds and flowers,—and entirely in seclusion. By habit and temperament she was a recluse, spending years of her life without setting foot beyond her father's doorstep, and many more during which the limits of her walks were the garden hedge and walls.
But though this mode of life led, as well it might, to a peculiar expression of her thought, we yet listen in vain for a note of complaint. Life and love was all very fair to her. Nature was her all, and if she “ Looked through nature up to nature's God,” with what our critic calls an
Emersonian self-possession," it was only because she looked upon everything with a clear-eyed frankness and candor as unprejudiced as it is rare.
And this trait in her character stands out boldly in her writings. Every line
was the mere expression of her own mind, and her sister, on going through her portfolio after her death, found not one poem bearing any evidence of having been produced with the thought of publication.
Writing in this way she entirely lost whatever advantage lies in public criticism and the more or less enforced conformity to accepted rules and ways, but there was gained a certain unrestrained freedom, an unconventional utterance of daring thought that causes us to praise the intrinsic beauty of her work, and overlook what it may lack of extrinsic beauty. This is the judgment of George William Curtis and Mr. Lowell. They see the vivid descriptive and imaginative power, the flashes of original and profound insight into nature and life, and they regret with us the sudden failing of the lyric strains that came upon us so unexpectedly. And this they do without remark on the rugged and even whimsical framework in which the work is set. “When a thought takes one's breath away, a lesson on grammar is an impertinence.” Perhaps Miss Dickinson had some such thought in her mind when she wrote:
The Pedigree of honey
This quatrain is quite indicative of her quick perception and close observation when abroad. She noticed as much as did Thoreau with this difference, that Thoreau could never have expressed himself with the same felicity. Could Thoreau, for instance, have written of the grass like this :
And stir all day to pretty tunes
The breezes fetch along,
And bow to everything :
And make itself so fine ;
To odors so divine ;
And dream the days away ;
Or could Thoreau have painted the sunset as it glows for us here upon the canvass of this obscure New England poetess :
There seemed a purple stile
Surely such sight as this is all too rare among our lesser poets. There is one more poem that demands notice. It has not inaptly been compared to Dr. Smith's “ Ode to the Flowers," quoted in full by Longfellow in his Outre Mer. It is perhaps the loveliest bit in the portfolio, and surely a most characteristic utterance of one to whom “the coming of the first robin was a jubilee beyond crowning of monarch or birthday of pope; the first red leaf hurrying through the altered air' an epoch.” She has called it
A SERVICE OF SONG.
Some keep the Sabbath going to church :
I keep it staying at home
And an orchard for a dome.
Some keep the Sabbath in surplice :
I just wear my wings,
Our little sexton sings.
God preaches-a noted clergyman
And the sermon is never long ;
I'm going all along.
Warwick James Price.