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ery age and condition were hurrying “We must be calm and collected, through the streets, laden with every- and save what we can. John is trying thing imaginable, - especially looking to get a team to carry mother up to glasses, which seem the one impor- -'s; the rest of us will have to tant thing to be saved during a fire. go to the graveyard.
But John may My brother and cousin had not yet not be successful, so you stay here, made their appearance, nor had we and see if you can get any one to take seen anything of my brother-in-law, mother : they may do it for you, when from the other end of the city. But they would n't for a man.” we knew they must be at their places I stood on the edge of the sidewalk, of business, which were now in the clinging to the horse-post, and appealed heart of the burning district. Swiftly in vain to wagons going by. the destruction hurried towards us ; “Won't you take a lady and children and people were now seen bringing in away from here?” their goods and seeking shelter on our “I can't, ma'am, not if you was to premises. O what heart-broken faces give me twenty-five dollars, – not if surrounded that fearful night ! you was to give me five hundred. I'm Friends, and people we had never taking a load for a gentleman now.” seen, alike threw themselves on our So it was in every case. Very many kindness; and I must say that a spirit were worse off than we were, - had not of humanity and good - will seemed even a man to help. One well-known everywhere prevalent among the citi- citizen was appealed to for help, in zens. We were now ourselves tortured the early part of the evening, by a by suspense. Could we escape, or poor woman, a sort of dependant of should we again have to seek refuge his family. He took her and her from the flames? Surely the work daughter, with their effects, outside of destruction would stop before it the city, and returned to find India reached India Street ? The hot breath Street on fire and no means of getof the maddening fire, and its lurid ting through the crowd to his house, glare, were the only response. O, if which was burned, with all that was the wind would only change! But a not saved by the exertions of bis wife. vane, glistening like gold in the fire- They had visiting them a lady whose light, steadfastly pointed to the south- child lay dead in the house, awaiting east. For one moment it veered, and burial. The mother took the little our hearts almost stood still with hope; corpse in her arms and carried it herbut it swung back, and a feeling of de- self up to the other end of the city! spair settled upon us.
While I was making these vain atOur house was full. One poor lady, tempts, John drove up in a light, openwith a little baby only a week old, lay topped buggy. We hurriedly got mothon a sofa in one of the rooms ; near er and E- into it, and gave into their her, bent over in a rocking-chair, sat charge the jewelry and silver, and they an old woman who had not been out
I could not but tremof her house for five years, with a look ble for their safety. The road seemed of hopeless bewilderment on her wrin- impassable, so dense was the strugkled face. But people were now begin- gling crowd. On every side the fire ning to move from our house. India was raging. Looking up India Street Street was almost blocked up. Every it was one sheet of flame, and equally kind of vehicle that went upon wheels, so before us. It looked like a world from a barouche to a wheelbarrow, on fire, for we could see no smoke, passed by laden with furniture. it was too near for that, — and the
At this moment my brother and heat was terribly intense. brother-in-law approached, blackened al- There was no time to be lost. Both most beyond recognition. It was not un- our servants and M—'s were away il C-spoke that I really knew him. spending the Fourth, so we had to de
pend entirely on ourselves. Our back over again in words that fearful night,
and J to flee a second time, her mother told
cal dolly, which had been found in the
some request. My companion sug-
At length, faint, rosy lights began to address ?” which was given. We instreak the eastern horizon, and slowly quired if we could be of any service. the day dawned. The sun rose un “No, thank you," was the reply. “I clouded above the hills, sending down asked that lady to take care of my his beams upon the desolation which daughter. I keep store on that street the night had wrought, lighting up the
My husband is out of islands and the blue waters, flecked town, and I don't know what I shall with sail-boats.
do!" -- and, wringing her hands, she Not less welcome to us, J
I have wondered since also appeared, — with a hay-cart, whose what was the fate of the little girl driver he had engaged to come and re
thus intrusted to the care of stranmove us. Our goods were put into it; gers ; for the lady went in the direction we took our places among them, and, as afterwards swept by the fire. soon as the tardy oxen could carry us,
One family, whose house the flames were safe in my sister's house, living did not reach until near two o'clock in.
the morning, behaved with great cool- walked so rapidly that his employer ness. The head of the household lay could not keep up with him. He called ill. It was their first care to provide upon him to slacken his pace; but, as for him. Then they went deliberately no attention was paid to this, the genabout, gathering up their valuables, tleman dropped his books upon the taking just what they wanted. They ground, and, running forward, knocked secured a wagon to carry away their him down, determined to be obeyed, things. Their house, meanwhile, had fire or no fire. been full of refugees from the flames. But all were not so cool. One man, One of the young ladies, going for seeing the flames advancing in the dithe last time through the deserted rection of his house, rushed thither to rooms, found, on a sofa in the parlor, save his property. He worked with a sick woman, utterly unable to move. might and main, but, when the house At first, she felt almost in despair at was nearly emptied, became aware of sight of this poor creature, so the fact that it was his neighbor's. By meeting a fearful fate.
But quickly this time his own dwelling was on fire, recovering her presence of mind, she from which he saved scarcely anything . called in men from the street, and, I know one person who passed through by their united efforts, they carried his hall perfectly empty-handed, while her out, and forced a passing wagon all around him were bundles and boxes, to take her to a safe place. A young which were consumed in the fire; anlady, who lived at a little distance from other walked out of his house with a this family, was spending the night at package of envelopes in his hand, leavthe other end of the city. They sat up ing, close by, an article worth thirty doltill halt past twelve, and she was then lars. in the act of retiring, never dreaming I must mention one of many instanthat her home was in danger, when a ces of unselfishness that came under my loaded wagon stopped at the door, and observation. A gentleman was comout stepped her sister and child. She fortably established in a house which went back in the same vehicle, and he had recently bought and furnished, worked till twelve the next day, getting expecting there to enjoy the pleasures things out of the house, collecting and of à home. One half of the house he guarding them till they could be re- had rented; but the husband of the moved.
woman to whom it was let was not in There was, of course, the usual dif- town. Their dwelling shared the fate ference shown amongst people in such of those around them, being burnt. He circumstances, - energy and coolness first set to work to save his own things; contrasted with imbecility and frantic but, struck by the forlorn condition of excitement. A friend who moved three his tenant, be did his best to save her times, with her husband so ill that he effects, even to the detriment of his had to be carried from place to place, own; for when they were examined, never once forgot to administer his the greater portiòn of them was found medicine at regular intervals, — with a to be hers. Time has not exhausted steady hand pouring out the drops by the truth and beauty of the saying, that the light of the fire.
“in the night the stars shine forth,” A gentleman was carrying some of and the stars did not pale even in the his books, preceded by an assistant, terrible light of the fire that consumed who also had his arms full. The latter half a city.
MY LITTLE BOY.
THERE 'HERE were nine of us, all told, claimed from me a mother's care,
when mother died; myself, the the youngest a wailing babe but seven eldest, aged twenty, a plain and serious days old, whom I came to cherish and woman, well fitted by nature and cir- love as my little boy. cumstance to fill the place made vacant When I had settled down, and grown by death.
accustomed to the vacuum which never I cannot remember when I was young could be filled for me, I thought a great Indeed, when I hear other women re- deal upon mother's last words. I was count the story of their early days, I proud of the trust she reposed in me, think I had no childhood, for mine was and I meant to be faithful to it. I wonlike no other.
dered much why she had thought it Mother was married so young, that likely I should never marry; for I was a at the age when most women begin to woman with strong instincts, and, amid think seriously of marriage she had all the toil and care of my barren life, I around her a numerous brood, of which had seen afar, through gleaming mists, I was less the elder sister than the the mountains of hope arise, and beyounger mother. She was delicate by yond the heat and dust and labor of nature, and peevish by reason of her duty caught glimpses of green ways burdens, and I think could never have made pleasant by quiet waters. been a self-reliant character ; so she I do not think my burden seemed fretted and sighed through life, and heavier now that mother no longer when death came, unawares, she seemed helped me to bear it; for my sense of not sorry for the refuge.
responsibility had been increased by She called me to her bed one day in her complaining spirit. Her discouraga tone so cheerful that I wondered, and ing views of life held in check the reins when I saw the calm and brightness in of my eager fancy: it seemed wrong her face, hope made me glad. “ Mar- to enjoy a happiness I could not share garet,” she said, "you have been a with her. Now I no longer felt this good daughter. I never did you justice restraint; but, knowing that somehow until this illness opened my eyes. You she had missed this happiness for which have shamed me by your patience and I waited, the knowledge invested her your sacrifices so gently borne. You are memory with a tender pity, and temmore fit to be a mother than I ever was; pered my pleasure with a feeling akin and I leave the children to your care to pain. without a fear. It is not likely you will I was never idle. Behind the real ever marry, and I die content, knowing work of life, my fancy wrought on, unthat you will do your duty.”
known and unsuspected by the world ; After this came many sad days,—the my lamp of joy, fed by the sweet oil parting, the silent form which death had of hope, was ready for the lighting, and made majestic, the funeral hymns, the I was content to wait. tolling bell, the clods upon the coffin- My little boy throve bravely. Every lid; and when the sun shone out and morning I awoke him with a kiss; and, the birds sang again, it seemed to me I perhaps because each day seemed but a had dreamed it all, and that the sun continuation of the other, time stood could not shine nor the birds sing above still for him. He was for me the incara grave on which the grass had not nation of all loveliness. The fair face, yet had time to grow. But I had not and blond hair, and brown, brooding dreamed, nor had I time for dreaming. eyes, were beautiful as an angel's, and Mother was dead, and eight children goodness set its seal on his perfections.
He gave me no trouble: grief brings which at first was no bigger than a age, joy confirms youth, and I and my man's hand, but it grew until it filled little boy grew young together. He the land with darkness, and the fair was with me everywhere, lightening my prospect on which I had so loved to labor with his prattling tongue, helping gaze was hidden behind the storm. me with his sweet, hindering ways; and My little boy and I looked into each when the kisses had been many that other's faces, and he cried, " Margaret, had waked him many morns, he stood I must go !” beside me, my little boy, hardly a hand's I did not say nay,- for the tears which breadth lower than myself.
were not in my eyes were in my voice, The world had changed for all but and to speak was to betray them, - but him and me. My father had wandered I turned about to make him ready. off to foreign parts; sisters and broth- In these days my little boy's vision ers, one by one, had gone forth to was finer than my own ; and when we conquer kingdoms and reign in their stood together, looking from our orient own right, and one young sister, just window, he saw keener and farther than on the border-land of maiden fancies, I had ever done ; for my eyes now (O friends, I write this line with tears!) looked through a veil of tears, while his, turned from earth and crossed the bor- like the eagle's, penetrated the cloud der-land of heaven.
to the sunshine behind it. He was full But he and I remained alone in the of the dream of glory; and his words, old homestead, and walked together fraught with purpose and power, stirred sweetly down the years.
me like a trumpet. I caught the inIf I came upon disappointment, I had spiration that thrilled his soul; for we not sought it, neither did I fall by it; had walked so long together that all but that which was my future slid by paths pursued by him must find me ne and became the past,
gently that ever at his side. I scarce remember where one ended or One day I was summoned to meet a the other began; and though all other visitor ; and going, a tall figure in mililovers failed me, one true remained, to tary dress gave me a military salute. whom I ever would be true. The future It was my little boy, who, half abashed did not look less fair ; nay, I deemed it at his presumption, drew himself up, more full of promise than ever.
and sought refuge from shyness in as though I had passed from my old valor. It was not a sight to make me stand-point of observation to a more smile, though I smiled to please my easterly window; and the prospect was warrior, who, well pleased, displayed not the less enchanting that I looked his art, to show how fields were won. upon it over the shoulder of my little Won! He had no thought of loss; for boy. We talked much of it together; youth and hope dream not of defeat, and though he had the nearer view, it and he talked of how the war was to was my practised vision that saw path- be fought and ended, and all should ways of beauty not yet suspected by be well. him.
I kissed my little boy good night; But we were still happy in the pres- and he slept peacefully, dreaming of ent, and did not speculate much upon fields of glory, as Jacob dreamed and the future. The rolling years brought saw a heavenly vision. him completeness, and to the graces of He went; and then it seemed as if person were added the gifts of wisdom there had been with him one fair long and knowledge. The down that shaded summer day, and this was the evening his cheek, like the down upon a ripe thereof; and my heart was heavy within peach, had darkened and strengthened to the symbol of manhood, and his But many letters reached me from words had the clear ring of purpose. the distant field,— long and loving letFor there was a cloud upon the horizon ters, full of hope, portraying all the