« PreviousContinue »
is being used to warn them of their danger. They now, for the first time, become conscious of their situation, and head the boat towards shore. But, like a leaf in the autumn gale, she quivers under the power of the whirlpool. Fear drives them to frenzy! Two of the strongest seize the oars, and ply them with all their strength, and the boat moves towards the shore. With joy they cherish hope! and some, for the first time in all their lives, now give thanks to God,-that they are saved. But suddenly, CRASH, goes an oar! and such a shriek goes up from that ill-fated band, as can only be heard when a spirit lost drops into perdition !
The boat whirls again into its death-marked channel and skips on with the speed of the wind. The roar at the centre grinds on their ears, like the grating of prison doors on the ears of the doomed. Clearer, and more deafening is that dreadful roar, as nearer and still nearer the vessel approaches the centre; then whirling for a moment on that awful brink, she plunges with her freight of human souls into that dreadful yawning hollow, where their bodies shall lie in their watery graves till the sea gives up its dead!
And so, every year, aye, every month, thousands, passing along in the boat of life, enter almost unaware the fatal circles of the wine-cup. And, notwithstanding the earnest voices of anxious friends, “ Beware of the gut of the grave! of hell!" they continue their course until the “ force of habit” overpowers them; and, cursing and shrieking, they whirl for a time on the crater of the maelstrom, and are plunged below.
THE TWO STAMMERERS.
In a small, quiet country town
It happened, once upon a time-
Our clown took huff; thrice hemmed upon't,
“Yes-that, th-that I-I-I have; But not for y-y-you-you knave !" “What !" cried the stranger,“ wh-wh-what! D'ye mock me ? T-t-take you that!"
Hugh! you mock-me!” quotlı Hob, amain “So t-t-take you-that again !" Then to't they fell, in curious plight, While each one thought himselfi'tl;' right; And if you dare believe my song, They likewise thought each other wrong. The battle o'er and somewhat cool, Each half suspects himself a fool, For, when to choler folks incline 'em, Your argumentum baculinum
Administered in dose terrific,
Hence I this moral shall deduce-
ASLEEP AT THE SWITCH.--GEORGE Hoey.
The first thing that I remember was Carlo tugging away With the sleeve of my coat fast in his teeth, pulling, as much
as to say: Come, master, awake, attend to the switch, lives now de
pend upon you, Think of the souls in the coming train, and the graves you
are sending them to. Think of the mother and the babe at her breast, think of
the father and son, Think of the lover and loved one too, think of them doomed
every one To fall (as it were by your very hand) into yon fathomless
ditch, Murdered by one who should guard them from harm, who
now lies asleep at the switch.” I sprang up amazed-scarce knew where I stood, sleep had
o'ermastered me so; I could hear the wind hollowly howling, and the deep river
dashing below, I could hear the forest leaves rustling, as the trees by the
tempest were fanned, But what was that noise in the distance? That, I could not
understand. I heard it at first indistinctly, like the rolling of some muf
fled drum, Then nearer and nearer it came to me, till it made my very
ears hum; What is this light that surrounds me and seems to set fire to
my brain ? What whistle's that, yelling so shrill? Ah! I know now; We often stand facing some danger. and seein to take root
it's the train.
to the place; So I stood – with this demon before me, its heated breath
scorching my face; Its headlight made day of the darkness, and glared like the
eyes of some witchi,-The train was almost upon me before I remembered the
switch. I sprang to it, seizing it wildly, the train dashing fast down
the track; The switch resisted my efforts, some devil seemed holding
it back; On, on came the fiery-eyed monster, and shot by my face like
a flash; I swooned to the earth the next moment, and knew nothing
after the crash. How long I lay there unconscious 'twas impossible for me tu
tell; My stupor was almost a heaven, my waking almost a hell,-For I then heard the piteous moaning and shrieking of hus.
bands and wives, And I thought of the day we all shrink from, when I must
account for their lives; Mothers rushed by me like maniacs, their eyes glaring niadly
and wild ; Fathers, losing their courage, gave way to their grief like a
child; Children searching for parents, I noticed, as by me they sped. And lips, that could forin naught but “Mamma,” were calling
for one perhaps dead. My mind was made up in a moment, the river should hide
me away, When, under the still burning rafters I suddenly noticed
there lay A little white hand: she who owned it was doubtless an
object of love To one whom her loss would drive frantic, tho' she guarded
him now from above; I tenderly lifted the rafters and quietly laid them one side; flow little she thought of her journey when she left for this
dark fatal ride! I lifted the last log from off her, and while searching for
some spark of life, Turned her little face up in the starlight, and recognized
Maggie, my wife! O Lord! thy scourge is a hard one, at a blow thou hast shat
tered iny pride; My life will be one endless nightmare, with Maggie away
from my side.
How often I'd sat down and pictured the scenes in our long,
happy life; How I'd strive through all my life time, to build up a hoine
for my wife; How people would envy us always in our cozy and neat
little nest; How I should do all of the labor, and Maggie should all the
day rest; How one of God's blessings might cheer us, how some day
I p'raps should be rich;But all of my dreams have been shattered, while I laid there
asleep at the switch! I fancied I stood on my trial, the jury and judge I could see; And every eye in the court room was steadily fixed upon me; And fingers were pointed in scorn, till I felt my face blush
ing blood-red, And the next thing I heard were the words, “ Hanged by the
neck until dead." Then I felt myself pulled once again, and my hand caught
tight hold of a dress, And I heard, “ What's the matter, dear Jim? You've had a
bad nightmare, I guess!" And there stood Maggie, my wife, with never a scar from the
ditch. I'd been taking a nap in my bed, and had not been “Asleep
at the switch.”
BEFORE SEDAN.-Austin DOBSON.
Here, in this leafy place,
Quiet he lies,
Turned to the skies;
Kings must have slaves;
Over men's graves:
There, at his side?
Tight e'er he died;-