Page images


'Twas autumn, and the leaves were dry

And rustled on the ground,
And chilly winds went whistling by,

With low and passive sound;
As through the graveyard's lone retreat,

By meditation led,
I walked with slow and cautious feet

Above the sleeping dead.
Three little graves, ranged side by side,

My close attention drew;
O'er two the tall grass bending sighed,

And one seemed fresh and new.
As lingering there I mused awhile

On death's long dreamless sleep, And mourning life's deceitful smile,

A mourner came to weep. Her forin was bowed, but not with years,

Her words were faint and few;
And on those little graves, her tears

Distilled like morning dew.
A prattliny boy, some four years old,

Her trembling hand embraced ;
And from my heart, the tale he told

Will never be effaced. “Mamma, now you must love me more;

For little sister's dead;
And t'other sister died before,

And brother, too, you said.
Mamma, what made sweet sister die;

She loved me when we played.
You told me if I would not cry,

You'd show me where she's laid." “ 'Tis here, my child, that sister lies,

Deep buried in the ground;
No light comes to her little eyes,

And she can hear no sound.”
“Mamma, why can't we take her up,

And put her in my bed?
I'll feed her from my little cup,

And then she won't be dead.
For sister 'll be afraid to lie

In this dark grave to-night; And she'll be very cold, and cry,

Because there is no light.” “No, sister is not cold, my child,

For God, who saw her die,

As he looked down from heaven and smiled,

Called her above the sky.
And then her spirit quickly fled

To God, by whom 'twas given;
Her body in the ground is dead,

But sister lives in heaven.”'
“Mamma, won't she be hungry there,

And want some bread to eat?
And who will give her clothes to wear,

And keep them clean and neat?
Papa must go and carry some;

I'll send her all I've got:
And he must bring sweet sister home;

Mamma, now must he not ?”
"No, my dear child, that cannot be;

But if you're good and true,
You'l one day go to her, but she

Can never come to you.
'Let little children come to me,'

Once the good Saviour said;
And in his arms she'll always be,

And God will give her bread.”


He had been sick at one of the hotels for three or four weeks, and the boys on the road had dropped in daily to see how he got along, and to learn if they could render him any kindness. The brakeman was a good fellow, and one and all encouraged him in the hope that he would pull through. The doctor didn't regard the case as dangerous; but the other day the patient began sinking, and it was seen that he could not live the night out. A dozen of his friends sat in the room when night came, but his mind wandered, and he did not recognize them.

It was near one of the depots, and after the great trucks and noisy drays had ceased rolling by, the bells and the short, sharp whistles of the yard-engines sounded painfully loud. The patient had been very quiet for half an hour, when he suddenly unclosed his eyes and shouted :

“Kal-a-ma-zoo !"

One of the men brushed the hair back from the cold forehead, and the brakeman closed his eyes and was quiet for a time. Then the wind whirled around the depot and banged the blinds on the window of his room, and he lifted his hand and cried out:

“Jack-son! Passengers going north by the Saginaw Road change cars!"

The men understood. The brakeman thought he was coming east on the Michigan Central. The effort seemed to have greatly exhausted him, for he lay like one dead for the next five minutes, and a watcher felt for his pulse to see if life had not gone out. A tug going down the river sounded her whistle loud and long, and the dying brakeman opened his eyes and called out:

“ Ann Arbor!"

He had been over the road a thousand times, but had made his last trip. Death was drawing a spectral train over the old track, and he was brakçman, engineer, and conductor.

One of the yard-engines uttered a shrill whistle of warning, as if the glare of the headlight had shown to the engineer some stranger in peril, and the brakeman called out: “Yp-silanti! Change cars here for the Eel River Road!" ' He's coming in fast," whispered one of the men. "And the end of his 'run' will be the end of his life,” said a second.

The dampness of death began to collect on the patient's forehead, and there was that ghastly look on the face that death always brings. The slamming of a door down the hall startled him again, and he moved his head and faintly said:

“Grand Trunk Junction! Passengers going east by the Grand Trunk change cars !"

He was so quiet after that that all the men gathered around the bed, believing that he was dead. His eyes closed, and the brakeman lifted his hand, moved his head, and whispered:

“ De-"

Not“ Detroit,” but Death! He died with the half-uttered whisper on his lips. And the headlight on death's engine shone full in his face and covered it with such pallor as naught but death can bring.

- Detroit Free Press.


'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the

house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there: The children were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads; And mamma in her kerchief, and I in my cap, Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap, When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter. Away to the window I few like a flash, Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash. The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow Gave a lustre of midday to objects below; When, what to my wandering eyes should appear, But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer, With a little old driver, so lively and quick I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick. More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, And he whistled and shouted and called them by name: Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen! To the top of the porch, to the top of the wall! Now dash away, dash away, dash away all!" As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, When they meet with an obstacle, inount to the sky, So up to the house-top the coursers they flew, With the sleigh full of toys,--and St. Nicholas too. And then in a twinkling I heard on the roof The prancing and p:wing of each little hoof. As I drew in my head and was turning around, Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound. He was dressed all in fur from his head to his foot, And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot; A bundle of toys he had Aung on his back, And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack. His eyes how they twinkled! his dimples how merry! llis cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry; Ilis droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow. The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath. He had a broad face and a little round belly That shook, when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly. He was chubby and plump,-a right jolly old elf; And I laughed, when I saw him, in spite of myself.

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle;
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night !"


Twas the night after Christmas, when all through the house
Every soul was abed, and as still as a mouse;
Those stockings so lately St. Nicholas' care
Were emptied of all that was eatable there.
The darlings had duly been tucked in their beds,
With very full stomachs and pains in their heads.
I was dozing away in my new cotton cap,
And Nancy was rather far gone in a nap,
When out in the nursery rose such a clatter,
I sprang from my sleep, crying, " What is the matter ?”
I Hew to each bedside, still half in a doze,
Tore open the curtains and threw off the clothes;
While the light of the taper served clearly to show
The piteous plight of those objects below.
For, what to the fond father's eyes should appear
But the pale little face of each sick little dear;
Each pet, having crammed itself full as a tick,
I knew in a moment, now felt like old Nick!
Their pulses were rapid, their breathings the same;
What iheir stomachs rejected I'll mention by name:
Now turkey, now stuffing, plum pudding, of course,
And custards, and crullers, and cranberry sauce-
Before outraged Nature all went to the wall, -
Yes, lollypops, flapdoodle, great things and small;
Like pellets, which urchins from pop-guns let fly,
Went figs, nuts and raisins, jam, jelly and pie,
Till each error of diet was brought to my view,
To the shame of mamma and of Santa Claus, too.
I turned from the sight, to my bedroom stepped back,
And brought out a vial marked Pulv. Ipecac.,
When my Nancy exclaimed-for their sufferings shocked

her“Don't you think you had better, love, run for the doctor?” I ran--and was scarcely back under my roof, When I heard the sharp clatter of old Jalap's hoof;

« PreviousContinue »