Page images

them. Already the mother is old—one coun and then go away.

The smell of the sea I try is like another then. Together we will could not bear. To smell the sea was to soon be rich. I shall wear gold earrings, dream of the Lucia. I tried, too, to find like the wife of Francesco, and the women a place where I would hear no more the who now turn the back will kiss their hand.' name America until I could return to the With her breath hot on my lips she kissed mother and say, ' Forgive me. To-morrow me.

we leave this country that has only the warm "I went home. I said to the mother: sun and the hope of heaven for those who Give me the money in the sack. It is not have not the brains to leave her. For I knew enough for all. For many years I have in the heart that if I went alone always would worked like a man and thought only of thee the bad luck follow me. Had I not taken and the children. Now I will think for my the hope of the good mother and the little self.' At first the mother did not understand. sisters and thrown it into the sea ? Ecco ! Then the face went red like a burning coal The memory ate my heart like a rat. But and she began to breathe like a kettle with I could not find a place where the name of out water. We fought with the tongues like America was not known. It ran through two fishermen of the wharves. I was mad, the country like the roots of a vine under remember, mad. The blood boiled to think the ground. of Lucia. In the sack there was enough to “ Two months after I ran from Napoli I take two to America. I pushed the mother came to a place where they paid a lira a day aside. I tore the clothes from the bed and for good olive-pressers, men were so scarce. took the sack—the hope, the dream, of many I found work and stayed, living alone, eating years—and ran out of the house."

only bread and olives, and saving every cent Dio mio!" The boy gasped.

like a Jew to buy back the body of his God. Il Sorcio shrugged. “For such the devil. I was strong, and I worked well. I never makes the Lucias."

drank, and when there was dancing and feast“I ran to Lucia. She kissed me and ing in the square I never looked to the girls, rubbed her face against mine as we sat to but kept my head cool. gether and counted the money. I see yet “One day, when I had been working six the long brown fingers playing with the coins. months, my master came to me and said : She whispered and talked to the clinking "Thou workest well. I have been watching. money, while I looked at the black little curls Thou art young, but hast a good head, not on the neck and the full breast above the like the crazy boys who dream only to leave corset. When it was late, we gathered the the old country, so that the olives burst withmoney into the sack and went down to where out men to press them and the vines die. the big ships were. Many people were there Thou hast seen my daughter. She is not sleeping among their bags, waiting for the beautiful, but she is good, my Maria. If day. I did not know where to go for a thou wilt marry with her, I will give one ticket, and we walked about for a long time. hundred lire, for all the young men go from Then I saw a man with small black eyes the land, and I grow old. Think of what I looking as if he, too, could not find the place. say.' I thought for one night. Then I Lucia sat down and told me to go and ask went and asked for the hand of his daughthe man. He listened. He said the office ter." was closed, but he had influence, and if I would The boy sighed and looked out into the wait a little while he would get the ticket. wake of the ship.

" I waited, but no one came. It was almost Il Sorcio laughed. Bene ! It is so in morning before I understood. Ecco! In

Ecco! In this world. The Lucias first. After them, this way a kiss makes a man out of a child. the Marias.”

“I left Napoli that night. I went far Tomasso Soracco nodded. " She is good into the country, away from the land of the as an angel, my Maria, and strong as an ox. vines where I was born. I had only one The day we were married the father gave thought, to return the money. All day and one hundred lire. When I tied the neck of all night I saw the mother and the little sis the little sack, hope was born again in the ters waiting. I prayed for the anger of God heart. We worked like slaves. I dreamed to strike the woman who had done this thing now to go soon to the mother and say, 'Forto me.

give me. It was not thy Tomasso who did " I would work for a few weeks in a place, that wickedness. We will all go to America.



like a

The years shall be full of happiness! I said would come to America. Three months nothing to the father or Maria. I kept the later I went home and took my second son thought hidden like a miser his gold.

in the arms. Then I told the father of " Then the olives failed. We sat one night Maria that we were going to Napoli, and, as and looked to each other and the old man soon as there was the money, to America. I cried with his head on the table. I untied grew young again in my hope. It seemed the little sack. One must live. That was a so simple now. After two years at that bad year. Men ran from the empty earth stupid soldier business my muscles cried for like rats from a sinking ship. There were work. The old man was angry. He belnow four—myself, the old man, Maria, and lowed like a mad bull. He cried that he the little Carmela. We worked, but God would die among the olives, and cursed me. was angry with the land.

Very soon after, we left. “ The next year was no better. And now " It was night before I had courage to go to we were five, for Maria had given me my the shop of Pepe. Gemma sat inside with a first son, the little Michele. I worked now fat baby in her lap. When she saw me, she

without thinking. I was like a screamed and almost dropped the baby. I slave with the whip of the master at his shook her and told her of the past before back. Once I had had America in my hands she believed. Then she told me how, as I and had thrown my chance away. I fought had run from the house with the sack, the to win for my son what I had lost. He should mother had gone down like a tree that is cut. not grow up like a pig. He was bright, even She had never walked after. She said alat one year, my little Michele. In America ways that I was in America and that some he might be a deputy, even a sindaco, and day I would send for them, for I was a good say to other men, “So shalt thou do and so.' boy and had loved them. The next year the

“ Then they called me for the army. I uncle had died and no more money had come had no money to pay another man, and men from America. Gemma had married with were scarce. I kissed my wife, once for Pepe. Maria had married and gone back to herself and once for the little one that was the country of the vines. She was very coming. Carmela and Michele I held long poor, and her baby crawled about in the sun in my arms and cried, and went to serve the without clothes. Elizabetta made lace and King I had never seen. Those years I will hoped to marry with Giuseppe, who sold never forget. I had enough to eat. That fagots. They were all poor and dirty and is all. Many times I dreamed of the mother. happy, without thought, like animals. SomeOne night I had a strange dream. I saw my times Gemma and Pepe carried the mother mother come towards me while I lay in bed. where she could see the ships and the sea, She walked slow, dragging the feet like one and she cried, whispering, "Some day he sick. She tried to speak to me, but I could

will come. He was a good son.' not hear her voice. The next night I dreamed “I went in, and found the mother sitting the same dream, and the next night, and the alone. She was shrunken and old, like a next. Then I went to La Vecchia, who leaf without moisture. She was not surlived in a hole in the wall, and paid five soldi prised. She took my head in her arms and for the meaning of my dreams. She said cried. She was mad with joy for Carmela my mother had big news for me and that I and Michele and the little Beppo.

For a must write. So I went to the letter-writer, little while she grew young again. We talked but when I tried to tell him my tongue was

of America. He will be a great man,

the all dry, and I came away without the letter, little Michele,' she would say, stroking the Because I had only three months more in black curls of my son. "Already he is smarter the army I said: “I will wait. Then I will than these stupid Neapolitans.' It was so take Maria and the babies and go to the for six months. Then, like a candle that mother. If I live to be one thousand years Aares suddenly for a little while before it and work with twenty hands, never can I goes out, she died. We gave a fine mass make enough from the earth.' I had dreamed and a little stone in the Campo Santo. to return the money first, but for my punish “For the third time I began to save the ment I must go with nothing.

money for America. That was three years ago. " After that the heart was lighter. I be ** To-morrow we put the feet in America, gan again to plan how we would all live thanks to the goodness of God, who gave us together and work, and in a few years we the strength of oxen-Ecco ! It is told.”

The boy sat with his arms clasped about ered an atom of nothingness from the nighthis knees. Il Sorcio's little twinkling eyes “ he will give thee a job, ten lire a day to watched Tomasso through the smoke. At last begin. If thou wishest I will arrange so." Il Sorcio threw away the end of the cigar.

Santa Maria !" Tomasso Soracco's lips “ Thou art a wonderful man, with such twitched. He choked back a sob. Always strength and such patience. Without a doubt -have-I known so. With the feet in thou wilt find a fine job. But-perhaps, America luck will change. Thy kindness I already thou hast one.”

shall not forget.” His fingers trembled with Tomasso spread his open palms in denial. excitement as he counted the money into Il "A fine job_before we even arrive ! That Sorcio's hand. • One-thousand—thanks. is too much. But I have hope.”

Thou art," Macche !" Il Sorcio opened his little Macche! It is nothing-a little favor eyes in surprise. “ That is not a miracle. for a friend, a countryman. Il Sorcio folded In that land of haste all things are possible." the money carefully into his wallet and stood If thou wishest—but perhaps —thou knowest up. “ But now one must sleep, or to-morrow men-of influence"

we have not clear heads, and in this most “ Not a soul. 1-"

wonderful country we need heads so-clear, Il Sorcio drew close. His voice dropped, very clear. Ecco !" excluding Amadeo. Bene! I have been As he climbed into his berth Il Sorcio in America ten years, and I have friends. touched Tomasso's money lightly.

Bene! There is one, a man of much power with the If not I, another. Why not mine as well as Government. For love of me and a little- another's? He has much to learn of America, ten lire, a nothing "--Il Sorcio's fingers gath- this Tomasso 1"

A second story, entitled A Great Man," in a series of
three Adriana Spadoni, will low in later issue




A bird's song in the meadow
Comes up the hill to me,
And I will find that glad, brave bird,
Wherever he may be.

Down the hill of daisies, with their drooping heads of white,
Among the lank, dry grasses, under the broad sunlight,
I hear and follow the high sweet call.
On the parched air of August noon
The instant cooling accents fall
With silver softness like the moon.

Up through the golden veil of early-apple days
I mount the hill-top, and across the haze
Of midday summer sun
A flash of feather stirs the air,
And a new song's begun.




JULY—BUTTERFLY DAYS E are now at the noontide of the calendar. The rains have ceased save an occasional thunder-shower. The woods are

deep in the shadow of completed foliage, the roads and paths grow dusty, and the rambler seeks the watercourses and tries to read the books in the running brooks." The shimmering fields, where haying has begun, no longer resound to the merry music of the bobolink, medlark, and sparrow, and we say that the birds are too languid to sing in this heated air. That is partly true, no doubt, yet the main reason for the comparative silence is that the musicians are no longer inspired by the eagerness of courtship, but, the season of nesting finished, are away by themselves in selfish freedom, or else are busy helping the little mothers to feed and guard the fledglings whose peeping is heard along every roadside. Yet the tinkling prattle

of the indigo finch, the chuck-ch-r-r-r/ of the
tanager, the gentle questioning of vireos,
as indifferent as they are industrious, the
plaintive calling of doves, and other bird-
notes, sound all day above the undertone
of insect noise ; and in the early morning
and again at evening's dusk a sweet concert
still salutes our ears.

The mammals, like the birds, keep out
of sight even more than before, save such
familiar ones as the warmth-loving squirrels
and woodchucks of the East and the West-
ern gophers. “Let us not forget, how-
ever," as I have elsewhere written, "that on
moonlit nights, as harvest-time approaches
and the evening chime of the veery fades
on our reluctant hearing, the raccoons,
muskrats, and big squirrels by twos and
threes are slyly studying the progress of
the cornfields, and presently will be fatten-
ing on the milky ears.” Meanwhile they
nibble eagerly at the agarics which are push-
ing up through the dry soil in profusion
and bewildering variety.

Now is the heyday of insect life. Threading the aisles of the miniature forest of grass and herbage beneath our feet, searching the bark and thronging amid the leafage of trees, or burrowing beneath the ground, insects are active and innumerable. Wasps, in their houses of paper or clay, are tending increasing families, filially aided by each daughter as she comes of age ; ants are at the height of their industry ; and every

« PreviousContinue »