knotty trunk; the far-spreading, singing boughs, tasseled with green, and the strong roots, an inverted tree underground.

Tenants I have, a-plenty. Never yet, I believe, have I looked up into the shining galleries and sun-lighted halls of my building not made with hands, but I have caught glimpses of a flitting wing, or heard a low, sweet warble from some hidden chamber high up in the topmost stories. Even in winter, a sable-plumed visitor pauses occasionally on its lofty window-ledges, ere he utters a single, startled “Caw!” and sails away across the snowy pasture, to a remoter covert beyond the marsh. Or, perchance, the stranger is decked in colors of the December sky and earth. He raises his saucy crest, and, by way of leaving his visiting-card, screams at me, “Jay! Jay!” To-day a flock of snow-birds, cloud-colored and wintry, drift through the lower branches like wind-swept leaves from the neighboring oak.

As darkness falls, the birds nestle in shadowed nooks, or seek more sheltered resting-places for their little feet. Then enters another tenant, even more constant than they. It is the night wind; and through the long hours when the moonlight is steel-bright on the crisp snow, and the stars are alight above, the sleepless wind murmurs and chants its surf-songs in the swaying branches, the mysterious depths of the great pine.



Have you seen Annie and Kitty,

Two merry children of mine? All that is winning and pretty

Their little persons combine.

Annie is kissing and clinging

Dozens of times in a day Chattering, laughing, and singing,

Romping, and running away.

Annie knows all of her neighbors,

Dainty and dirty alike Learns all their talk, and, “Be jabers,”

Says she “adores little Mike!”

Annie goes mad for a flower,

Eager to pluck and destroy; Cuts paper dolls by the hour;

Always her model — a boy!

Annie is full of her fancies,

Tells most remarkable lies (Innocent little romances),

Startling in one of her size.

Three little prayers we have taught her,

Graded from winter to spring; Oh, you should listen my daughter

Saying them all in a string!

Kitty — ah, how my heart blesses

Kitty, my lily, my rose! Wary of all my caresses,

Chary of all she bestows.

Kitty loves quietest places,

Whispers sweet sermons to chairs, And, with the gravest of faces,

Teaches old Carlo his prayers.

Matronly, motherly creature!

Oh, what a doll she has built Guiltless of figure or feature

Out of her own little quilt!

Nought must come near it to wake it;

Noise must not give it alarm; And when she sleeps, she must take it

Into her bed, on her arm.

Kitty is shy of a caller,

Uttering never a word;
But when alone in the parlor,

Talks to herself like a bird.

Kitty is contrary, rather,

And, with a comical smile, Mutters, “I won't,” to her father

Eyeing him slyly the while.

Loving one more than the other

Is n't the thing, I confess; And I observe that their mother

Makes no distinction in dress.

Preference must be improper

In a relation like this;
I would n't toss up a copper

Kitty, come, give me a kiss!



One morning last April, as I was passing through Boston Common, which lies pleasantly between my residence and my office, I met a gentleman lounging along the Mall. I am generally preoccupied when walking, and often thrid my way through crowded streets without distinctly observing a single soul. But this man's face forced itself upon me, and a very singular face it was. His eyes were faded, and his hair, which he wore long, was flecked with gray. His hair and eyes, if I may say so, were seventy years old, the rest of him not thirty. The youthfulness of his figure, the elasticity of his gait, and the venerable appearance of his head, were incongruities that drew more than one pair of curious eyes toward him. He was evidently an American, — the New England cut of countenance is unmistakable, — evidently a man who had seen something of the world; but strangely old and young.

Before reaching the Park Street gate, I had taken up the thread of thought which he had unconsciously broken; yet throughout the day this old young man, with his unwrinkled brow and silvered locks, glided in like a phantom between me and my duties.

The next morning I again encountered him on the Mall. He was resting lazily on the green rails, watching two little sloops in distress, which two ragged ship

« ElőzőTovább »