« ElőzőTovább »
therefore, witnessed his return, and did not know he was in his shop until she saw him now reappear, preparatory to fulfilling his desperate hymeneal intentions towards the widow.
"Well, 1 declare," she said, speaking to herself, as ladies frequently do, who sit alone by windows sewing and see many things to wonder at, "if there isn't Dan Daggett a comin' out o' his shop a second time, all rigged in his Sabba' day suit o' blue and his yaller vest, with his hat so nicely brushed. I do wonder! My, what can be the matter? I expect there's a buryin', or a 'lection. But then he ha'n't no relations as I everhearh on, and he don't politize enough to leave his bench for to vote. I do wonder! There! if he ain't a gazin' over to my windur! How streaked he kind o' looks. I do wonder! Isn't he handsome-like in his spruce up clothes! Law! he's comin'across the street right straight bent for the shop! Now I'll know what he's slicked up so for. My! perhaps he's goin' somewhere's of a courtin'! who knows! 1 wonder how I look!"
Here Mrs. Penelope Pipon rubbed both her cheeks smartly with a hair brush that lay beside her on a stand; peeped into a little ninepenny looking-glass that. hung by the side of the window, and then with the brush smoothed her hair upon her forehead, bit her lips to redden them, till the blood almost gushed forth, arranged her neckerchief,.surveyed her tidy person with approbation, and then— looking as neat and lively a little widow of eight-and-twenty as a hosier would like to leave behind him—she put on her most engaging smile to welcome Mr. Daniel Daggett: not that Mrs. Pipon at all anticipated his business; but " good, dear Air. Pipon having been dead two years all but seven months," as she used to say, it was, we say, very natural for her to be looking out again for the main chance. The shoe-maker she knew was a single man, and to do Daniel justice he was not a bad looking man in any marrying widow's eye. What her views were about marrying a shoe-maker we cannot say, though it was doubtful whether the widow of a stocking-seller would condescend to unite herself with a maker of shoes.
"Oh, Mr. Daggett," she said, as Daniel, after resting on the door stone to muster courage, and brush from his sleeve a little flour he had got upon it at the grocer's, " I am glad to see you can find leisure to take a walk these fine afternoons."
"I was goin', Mrs. Pipon," said Daniel, his embarrassment how to introduce his subject greatly relieved at this observation, which suggested to him to invite her to go out; "I was goin' to ask if I might have the extreme felicity of inviting you to go to
Fresh Pond for an afternoon's jaunt, seein its Saturday."
Mrs. Pipon blushed, dropped her eyes, and then said—" Why, indeed, Mr. Daggett, you are very perlite and does me honor by your inwitation, and I should be happy to express my consent; but you know good, dear Pipon has been dead only two years all but seven months, and I don't like to show disrespect to his memory by going into gay lite so soon after." And the little widow put the corner of her apron to a corner of her eye, and so concealed a smile upon her pretty lips from the sympathizing Daniel. ff'
u I beg pardon, Mrs. Pipon,*f>ut I "he
"Oh, never mind—such recollections will come, Mr. Daggett, to cloud our happiest moments—I am calm now! You did not oflbnd me. Indeed, I hav'n't been to Fresh Pond since I was there the last time with poor, 'dear Pipon, three Sundays before he died. T should like to see it again, if only to recall poor, good, dear Pipon to my mind, and sit on the same rock we sat on together. Oh, Mr. Daggett, it is a werry great grief to be left a widow." Here the corner of the apron was in requisition.
"I know it, my dear Mrs. Pipon," said Daniel, leaning a little nearer to her across the counJ«; which separated them. "I have often thjought how lonely you must be."
"Have you, indeed, dear Mr. Daggett," asked the widow, smoothing down her apron, "you are very kind. I have thought, too, as I set here to my windur and see you to work how lonesome you must be there, too."
"Yes, it is," sighed Daniel.
"It must be," sighed the widow.
There was now an embarrassing pause. Mrs. Pipon, satisfied that Daniel, the young shoe-maker, had an eye to her, waited for him to proceed; and Daniel, satisfied that she might be won, from her gracious reception of him and her sympathies with his loneliness, waited to study out the best and most successful way of popping the question, which he boldly resolved to do at once, "while," as he said afterwards, "the wax was warm." Suddenly the widow broke the silence, by asking him to take a chair, with many apologies for not thinking of it before. There were but two in the shop, her own stuffed one behind the counter, and a low, flag-bottomed chair on the other side. Aa they could not sit down in them in their present positions without being invisible to each other, on account of the height of the counter, Mrs. Pipon smilingly expttining this to him, by way of apology brought the other round behind.
The little bustle this change caused, gave our suitor time to arrange his ideas, while i
the favor with which the widow received his call served greatly to compose his nerves. On his heart he now began to feel very sure of her if his " craft" did not stand in the way. It will appear surprising to many readers, that the widow of a hosier should be on such terms with a shoe-maker; but widows are not so unwise as to let such little differences of opinion interfere with their matrimonial speculations; and as Mrs. Pipon had been "two years all but seven months" a widow, without an offer, it is not to be wondered at that she should overlook the cobbler in the man. Daniel now sat only three feet from her, for so narrow was the space behind the counter, he could get no further off, and she herself had placed his chair where it stood! His heart throbbed, and his tongue, he has said, " felt as dry as hammered sole-leather." He resolved to put the question before the excursion, lest, after she had taken it, she might not consent; and he had heard widows had whims.
"So you do cast a glance over the way now and then," he said, twirling his shining hat between his knees and trying to look funny, to hide his trepidation; but it was a very lugubrious effort.
"Yes, often. You are quite a industrious man, Mr. Daggett. I never sees you idle, which made me astonished ven I see you come out o' your shop a little bit ago, all dressed, and go into Peter Quilling's grocery."
Daniel's face became the hue of red morocco, and he felt it was all over with him; but he managed to recover himself, and with a face suddenly become as white as sheepskin, he asked if she knew what he went there for. "Guess, now, widow," he added, with a melancholy smile.
"To—to—to—" a$d Mrs. Pipon averred she couldn't guess. Then she guessed "to buy a candle, or some herrin', or a apple."
"No," answered Daniel, in an important tone, fully restored to his courage on discovering she did not know his purpose in going to Peter Quillings; "no, my dear Mrs. Pipon; but to purchase a supply of groceries, and other house-keepin' nick-nacks, and look at a warmin' pan and a cradle he has to sell." This answer was a funny conceit of Daniel's to draw out the widow's thoughts.
"Fie! You—a bachelor—buy such things —for shame, Mr. Daggett!" exclaimed the •widow. "There, I've dropped my thimble!"
"I'll pick it up," cried Daniel, stooping down; and as Mrs. Pipon also stooped down for it at the same moment, their heads came very closely together, and Daniel, in feeling round after the thimble, caught hold, thinking he had got it, of a finger of the widow's hand, which chanced to be in the way of his.
He gave the supposed thimble such a firm gripe, that she said in a low tone—
"You needn't squeeze quite so hard, Mr. Daggett, if you do like me!"
"Is it your finger?" exclaimed Daniel, lifting up his red face, and gazing in her demure countenance with a stare of consternation, and wondering if she was angry.
"Certainly it was my finger. See how you have hurt it." And she placed it close to his eyes, or rather his lips. Daniel was no fool. He caught the finger and kissed it; then, finding she was passive, he took the whole hand and squeezed it ardently. The widow withdrew her hand, laughed, slapped him with it on the cheek, and called him
a rude, naugkijr man."
But Daniel wa'fnot to be frightened now, by any demonstrations of defence, and said gallantly—
"If lama rude, naughty man, widow, you are to blame."
"Yes. You ort 'a known better when you know how dangerous you are to come so near folks."
"You came near me, first, when I was sittin' quietly as a turtle dove in my window, thinking nothing but the innocentest thoughts in the world, and you dressed up and came right over to my shop and—and—have acted so .'" And the widow held down her head and was silent.
"By taking my hand and kissing it."
"It was to make the finger well, sweet," said Daniel, who was fast becoming a saucy wooer.
"You should'nt take suc^ui liberty, Mr. Daggett, with any lady as youna'nt engaged to."
"But I want to be engaged to you," responded the bold shoe-maker.
"You hav'nt asked me."
"I will now, dearest Mrs. Pipon. I came over on purpose to court yon," said Daniel, tenderly, and trying to get possession of her hand, which she resigned to him after a little pretty skirmishing. "Oh, will you be mine?"
"How can you put such a question to me, Mr. Daggett t" said the widow, softly, while her eyes sparkled with joy: "you forget poor, dear Pipon has only —"
"I don't want to marry Pipon," said Daniel, sioutly.
"Oh! this is so sudden, Mr. Daggett!" sighed the widow, dropping her head and leaning forward, till it slightly touched his arm which held her hand. He raised the arm a little to meet it, and her head rested.
"I cannot be happy without you," said Daniel, with emphasis, and laying his hand upon his heart.
"Will you promise tn love, honor and cherish me as poor, dear Pipon did?" asked the widow, in' a faint voice, without lifting her face from his arm.
"Yes, dearest, till death," he said, emphatically, pressing her hand.
"Then J will —"
"Be mine?" repeated Daniel, in ecstacy. "Yes," faintly breathed the widow of Peter Pipon.
Daniel pressed her to his heart, and ratified upon her cheek this successful issue of his courtship.
The trip to Fresh Pond was made; the departure and return of th$,h.appy lovers in a gig, attracted the attention, and excited the curiosity of the whole neighborhood, for several numbers beyond Peter Quilling's grocery. Miss Diana heard of their departure, and watched till they returned, when she saw him alight and gaily hand out the widow, send off the gig by a boy, and enter the shop with her. She was tormented with vexation, for the widow Pipon belonged to her own circle. She waited till after dark to see him come out in vain, and then, in her anxious curiosity, sent her little brother Bob to wait and watch, who came in at eleven o'clock and reported that Daniel had not yet left the widow's. Diana then retired, triumphing in the anticipation of giving circulation to a piece of scandal about them in the morning. But as she had sat up late it was nine o'clock when she was awakened by her mother, holding the morning paper in her hand.
"Look here, Di! was there ever heard any thing equal to this!"
"What is it, mother?" she cried, rubbing her eyes open.
"Read," and her mother gave her the paper, pointing at the "marriages." She read:—
"In this city, yesterday afternoon at six o'clock, by John Simpkins, Esq., Justice of the Peace, Mr. Daniel Daggett to Mrs. Penelope Pipon, widow of the late Peter Pipon, hosier."
Written for the Ladies' Garland.
TO AN OLD POPLAR TREE.
BY JAMES LUMBARD.
Time-honored Tree! upon thy brow
I view with sadness thy decline,
And when my mind reverts to thee,
Old, fast-decaying Poplar Tree,
I mind me of the happy time
When thou wert glorious in thy prime,
And I was but a little child,
And deemed that all of life was mild.
Full well do I remember me,
I think I see those comrades now,
With light upon each noble brow,
With eloquence in every eye
Lit up with holy purity,
And gladness dwelling in each heart
Untouched by sin's envenomed dart!
Where are those dear companions, who
Some of those play-mates of my youth
What marvel, when such thoughts as these>
What marvel, then, that I should mourn
A few more fleeting years will pass,
Utica, JV. r., Oct. 1842.
From the Christian Souvenir for 1843.
THE LOST CHILDREN.
BV MRS. L. R. SIGOURNEY.
There was sickness in the dwelling of the Emigrant. Stretched upon his humble bed, he depended on that nursing care which a wife, scarcely less enfeebled than himself. was able to bestow. A child, in its third summer, had been recently laid to its last rest, beneath a turf mound under their window. Its image was in the heart of the mother, as she tenderly ministered to her husband.
"Wife, I am afraid I think too much about poor little Thomas. He was so well and rosy, when we left our old home, scarcely a year since. Sometimes I feel, if we had but continued there, our darling would not have died."
The tear which had long trembled, and been repressed by the varieties of conjugal solicitude, burst forth at these words. It freely overflowed the brimming eyes, and relieved the suffocating emotions which had striven for the mastery.
"Do not reproach yourself, dear husband. His time had come. He is happier there than here. Let us be thankful for those that are spared."
"It seems to me that the little girls are growing pale. I am afraid you confine them too closely to this narrow house, and to the sight of sickness. The weather is growing settled. You had better send them out for change of air, and to run about at their will. Mary, lay the baby on the bed by me, and ask mother to let little sister and you go out for a ramble."
The mother assented, and the children, who were four and six years old, departed full of delight. A clearing had been made in front of their habitation, and by ascending a knoll in its vicinity, another dwelling might be seen, environed with the dark spruce and hemlock. In the rear of these houses was a wide expanse of ground, interspersed with thickets, rocky acclivities, and patches of forest trees, while far away, one or two lakelets peered up, with their blue eyes deeply fringed. The spirits of the children, as they entered this unenclosed region, were like those of the birds that surrounded them. They playfully pursued each other with merry laughter, and such a joyous sense of liberty as makes the blood course lightsomely through the veins.
"Little Jane, let us go further than ever we have before. We will see what lies beyond those high hills, for it is but just past noon, and we can get back long before supper-time."
"O yes, let us follow that bright, blue bird, and see what he is flying after. But
don't go in among those briars that tear the clothes so, for mother has no time to mend them."
"Sister, sweet sister, here are some snowdrops in this green hollow, exactly like those in my old, dear garden so far away. How pure they are, and cool, just like the baby's face, when the wind blows on it! Father and mother will like us to bring them some."
Filling their little aprons with the spoil, and still searching for something new, or beautiful, they prolonged their ramble, unconscious of the flight of time, or the extent of space they were traversing. At length, admonished by the dullness, which often marks the declining hours of the early days of spring, they turned their course homeward. But the returning clue was lost, and they walked rapidly, only to plunge more inextricably in the mazes of the wilderness.
"Sister Mary, are these pretty snow-drops good to eat? I am so hungry, and my feet ache, and will not go."
"Let me lift you over this brook, little Jane, and hold tighter by my hand, and walk as brave as you can, that we may get home, and help mother set the table."
"We won't go so far the next time, will we! What is the reason that I cannot see any better V
"Is not that the roof of our house, dear Jane, and the thin smoke curling up among the trees? Many times before, have I thought so, and found it only a rock, or a mist."
As evening drew its veil, the hapless wanderers, bewildered, hurried to and fro, calling for their parents, or shouting for help, until their strength was exhausted. Torn by brambles, and their poor feet bleeding from the rocks which strewed their path, they sunk down, moaning bitterly. The fears that overpower the heart of a timid child, who for the first time finds night approaching, without shelter or protection, wrought on the youngest to insupportable anguish. The elder, filled with the sacred warmth of sisterly affection, after the first paroxysms of grief, seemed to forget herself, and sitting up on the damp ground, and folding the little one in her arms, rocked her with a gentle movement, soothing and hushing her like a nursling.
"Don't cry; O don't cry so, dearest; say your prayers, and fear will fly away."
"How can I kneel down here in the dark woods, or say my prayers, when mother is not by to hear me? I think I see a large wolf, with sharp ears, and a mouth wide open, and hear noises as of many fierce lions growling."
"Dear little Jane, do say, 'Our Father who art in Heaven.' Be a good girl, and when we have rested here awhile, perhaps He may be pleased to send some one to find us, and fetch us home.” Harrowing was the anxiety in the lowly hut of the Emigrant, when day drew towards its close, and the children came not. A boy, their sole assistant in the toils of agriculture, at his return from labor, was sent in search of them, but in vain. As evening drew on, the inmates of the neighboring house, and those of a small hamlet at considerable distance, were alarmed, and associated in the pursuit. The agony of the invalid parents, through that night, was uncontrollable; starting at every footstep, shaping out of every breeze the accents of the lost ones returning, or their cries of misery. While the morning was yet gray, the father, no longer to be restrained, and armed with supernatural strength, went forth, amid the ravings of his fever, to take part in the pursuit.
a handkerchief, he was seen in the most dangerous and inaccessible spots, caverns—ravines—beetling cliffs—leading the way to every point of peril, in the frenzy of grief and disease. The second might drew on, with one of those sudden storms of sleet and snow, which sometimes chill the hopes of the young spring. Then was a sadder sight, a woman with attenuated form, flying she knew not whither, and continually exclaiming, “My children: my children " It was fearful to see a creature so deadly pale, with the darkness of midnight about her. She heeded no advice to take care of herself, no persuasion to return to her home. “They call me! Let me go! I will lay them in their bed myself. How cold their feet are! What! is Jane singing her nightly hymn without me? No! No . She cries. Some evil serpent has stung her " and shrieking wildly, the poor mother disappeared, like a hunted deer, in the depths of the forest. “Oh might she but have wrapped them in her arms, as they shivered in their dismal recess, under the roots of a tree, uptorn by some wintry tempest Yet how could she imagine the spot where they lay, or believe that those little wearied limbs had borne them, through bog and bramble, more than six miles from the paternal door In the niche which we have mentioned, a faint, moaning sound might still be heard. “Sister, do not tell me that we shall never see the baby any more. I see it now, and Thomas, too ! dear Thomas : Why do they say he died, and was buried! He is close by me, just above my head. There are many more babies with him—a host. They glide by me, as if they had wings. They look warm and happy. I should be glad to be with
With fiery cheeks, his throbbing head bound with
them, and join their beautiful plays. But O, how cold I am : Cover me closer, Mary. Let me lay my head on your bosom.” “Pray do not go to sleep, quite, yet, dear little Jane. I want to hear your voice, and to talk with you. It is so very sad to be waking here all alone. If I could but see your face when you are asleep, it would be a comfort. But it is so dark, so dark 1" Rousing herself with difficulty, she unties her apron, and spreads it over the head of the child, to protect it from the driving snow; she pillows the cold cheek on her breast, and grasps more firmly the benumbed hand, by which she had so faithfully led her through all their terrible pilgrimage. There they are: One moves not. The other keeps vigil, feebly giving utterance, at intervals, to a low, suffocating spasm, from a throat dried with hunger. Once more she leans upon her elbow, to look on the face of the little one, for whom as a mother she has cared. With love strong as death, she comforts herself, that her sister slumbers calmly, because the stroke of the destroyer has silenced her sobbings. Ah! why came ye not hither, torches that gleam through the wilderness, and men who shout to each other why came ye not this way 1 See they plunge into morasses, they cut their path through tangled thickets, they ford waters, they ascend mountains, they explore forests—but the lost are not found. The third and fourth nights come, and depart. Still the woods are filled with eager searchers. Sympathy has gathered them from remote settlements. Every log cabin sends forth what it can spare for this work of pity and of sorrow. They cross each other's track. Incessantly they interrogate and reply. But in vain. The lost are not found ! In her mournful dwelling, the mother sat motionless. Her infant was upon her lap. The strong duty to succor its helplessness, grappled with the might of grief, and prevailed. Her eyes were rivetted upon its brow. No sound passed her white lips. Pitying women, from distant habitations, gathered around, and wept for her. They even essayed some words of consolation. But she answered nothing. She looked not towards them. She had no ear for human voices. In her soul was the perpetual cry of the lost. Nothing overpowered it but the wail of her living babe. She ministered to its necessities, and that heaven-inspired impulse saved her. She had no longer any hope for those who had wandered away. Horrid images were in her fancy—the ravening beast— black pits of stagnant water—birds of fierce beak—venomous, coiling snakes. She bowed herself down to them, and travailed as in the birth-hour, fearfully and in silence. But the