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Barrington (search for this): chapter 3
se hand shook so pitifully when held out to receive my poor gift? The same, under all disguises,— Stephen Leathers, of Barrington,—him, and none other! Let me conjure him into his own likeness— Well, Stephen, what news from old Barrington? OhBarrington? Oh, well, I thought I knew ye, he answers, not the least disconcerted. How do you do? and how's your folks? All well, I hope. I took this 'ere paper, you see, to help a poor furriner, who couldn't make himself understood any more than a wild gooseus to discover, when too late, that our sympathies and charities had been expended upon such graceless vagabonds as the Barrington beggars. An old withered hag, known by the appellation of Hopping Pat,—the wise woman of her tribe,—was in the habit o in company with my sister, a little excursion into the hill-country of New Hampshire, I turned my horse's head towards Barrington for the purpose of seeing these semi-civilized strollers in their own home, and returning, once for all, their numer
Bernard Barton (search for this): chapter 3
n the excitement of motion is produced in a particular organ, that organ does not vibrate with the impression made upon it, but communicates it to another part on which a similar impression was formerly made. Nicolai states that he made his illusion a source of philosophical amusement. The spectres which haunted him came in the day time as well as the night, and frequently when he was surrounded by his friends; the ideal images mingling with the real ones, and visible only to himself. Bernard Barton, the celebrated Quaker poet, describes an illusion of this nature in a manner peculiarly striking:— I only knew thee as thou wert, A being not of earth! I marvelled much they could not see Thou comest from above: And often to myself I said, How can they thus approach the dead? But though all these, with fondness warm, Said welcome o'er and o'er, Still that expressive shade or form Was silent, as before! And yet its stillness never brought To them one hesitating thought. I reco
Abigail Becker (search for this): chapter 3
morning of tempest succeeded to the utter darkness of night. Abigail Becker chanced at that time to be in her hut with none but her young , and night under such circumstances was death. All day long Abigail Becker had fed her fire, and sought to induce the sailors by signals—fnd, throwing himself into the waves, struck out for the shore. Abigail Becker, breast-deep in the surf, awaited him. He was almost within herand his crew were taken off Long Point by a passing vessel; and Abigail Becker resumed her simple daily duties without dreaming that she had dcured a sleigh and drove across the frozen bay to the shanty of Abigail Becker. He found her with her six children, all thinly clad and baref autograph. In a recent letter dictated at Walsingham, where Abigail Becker now lives,—a widow, cultivating with her own hands her little fhecked over the sand-hills where once stood the board shanty of Abigail Becker. But the summer tourist of the great lakes, who remembers her
John Becker (search for this): chapter 3
ntorted by the lake winds, and broken by the weight of snow and ice in winter. Swans and wild geese paddle in the shallow, reedy bayous; raccoons and even deer traverse the sparsely wooded ridges. The shores of its creeks and fens are tenanted by minks and muskrats. The tall tower of a light-house rises at the eastern extremity of the island, the keeper of which is now its solitary inhabitant. Fourteen years ago, another individual shared the proprietorship of Long Point. This was John Becker, who dwelt on the south side of the island, near its westerly termination, in a miserable board shanty nestled between naked sand-hills. He managed to make a poor living by trapping and spearing muskrats, the skins of which he sold to such boatmen and small-craft skippers as chanced to land on his forlorn territory. His wife, a large, mild-eyed, patient young woman of some twenty-six years, kept her hut and children as tidy as circumstances admitted, assisted her husband in preparing th
ful and touching of all he has written,—he sets before his friend, in melancholy contrast, the return of the seasons, and of the moon renewed in brightness, with the end of man, who sinks into the endless dark, leaving nothing save ashes and shadows. He then, in the true spirit of his philosophy, urges Torquatus to give his present hour and wealth to pleasures and delights, as he had no assurance of to-morrow. In something of the same strain, said I, Moschus moralizes on the death of Bion:— Our trees and plants revive; the rose In annual youth of beauty glows; But when the pride of Nature dies, Man, who alone is great and wise, No more he rises into light, The wakeless sleeper of eternal night. It reminds me, said Elder Staples, of the sad burden of Ecclesiastes, the mournfulest book of Scripture; because, while the preacher dwells with earnestness upon the vanity and uncertainty of the things of time and sense, he has no apparent hope of immortality to relieve the dark p
nt old author just quoted affirms? As the spirits of darkness grow stronger in the dark, so good spirits, which are angels of light, are multiplied and strengthened, not only by the divine light of the sun and stars, but also by the light of our common wood-fires. Even Lord Bacon, in condemning the superstitious beliefs of his day, admits that they might serve for winter talk around the fireside. Fairy faith is, we may safely say, now dead everywhere,—buried, indeed,—for the mad painter Blake saw the funeral of the last of the little people, and an irreverent English bishop has sung their requiem. It never had much hold upon the Yankee mind, our superstitions being mostly of a sterner and less poetical kind. The Irish Presbyterians who settled in New Hampshire about the year 1720 brought indeed with them, among other strange matters, potatoes and fairies; but while the former took root and flourished among us, the latter died out, after lingering a few years in a very melanchol
of Lauterbrunnen's peasant girl. Poor wanderers! I cannot say that I love their music; but now, as the notes die away, and, to use the words of Dr. Holmes, silence comes like a poultice to heal the wounded ear, I feel grateful for their visitation. Away from crowded thoroughfares, from brick walls and dusty avenues, at the sight of these poor peasants I have gone in thought to the vale of Chamouny, and seen, with Coleridge, the morning star pausing on the bald, awful head of sovereign Blanc, and the sun rise and set upon snowy-crested mountains, down in whose valleys the night still lingers; and, following in the track of Byron and Rousseau, have watched the lengthening shadows of the hills on the beautiful waters of the Genevan lake. Blessings, then, upon these young wayfarers, for they have blessed me unawares. In an hour of sickness and lassitude they have wrought for me the miracle of Loretto's Chapel, and borne me away from the scenes around me and the sense of personal
ossy stones in the ravine below. This haunted mill has always reminded me of that most beautiful of Scottish ballads, the Song of the Elfin Miller, in which fairies are represented as grinding the poor man's grist without toll:— Full merrily rings the mill-stone round; Full merrily rings the wheel; Full merrily gushes out the grist; Come, taste my fragrant meal. The miller he's a warldly man, And maun hae double fee; So draw the sluice in the churl's dam And let the stream gae free! Brainerd, who truly deserves the name of an American poet, has left behind him a ballad on the Indian legend of the black fox which haunted Salmon River, a tributary of the Connecticut. Its wild and picturesque beauty causes us to regret that more of the still lingering traditions of the red men have not been made the themes of his verse- The black Fox. How cold, how beautiful, how bright The cloudless heaven above us shines! But 't is a howling winter's night; 'T would freeze the very forest p
William Brown (search for this): chapter 3
ws below? asked the Doctor of his housekeeper, as she came home from a gossiping visit to the landing one afternoon. What new piece of scandal is afloat now? Nothing, except what concerns yourself, answered Widow Matson, tartly. Mrs. Nugeon says that you've been to see her neighbor Wait's girl—she that's sick with the measles—half a dozen times, and never so much as left a spoonful of medicine; and she should like to know what a doctor's good for without physic. Besides, she says Lieutenant Brown would have got well if you'd minded her, and let him have plenty of thoroughwort tea, and put a split fowl at the pit of his stomach. A split stick on her own tongue would be better, said the Doctor, with a wicked grimace. The Jezebel! Let her look out for herself the next time she gets the rheumatism; I'll blister her from head to heel. But what else is going? The schooner Polly Pike is at the landing. What, from Labrador? The one Tom Osborne went in? I suppose so; I m
Elizabeth B. Browning (search for this): chapter 3
liance which come of long habitude and settled conviction. We have not yet learned to wear its simple truths with the graceful ease and quiet air of unsolicitous assurance with which the titled European does his social fictions. As a people, we do not feel and live out our great Declaration. We lack faith in man,—confidence in simple humanity, apart from its environments. The age shows, to my thinking, more infidels to Adam, Than directly, by profession, simple infidels to God. Elizabeth B. Browning. Take comfort. for the last few days the fine weather has lured me away from books and papers and the close air of dwellings into the open fields, and under the soft, warm sunshine, and the softer light of a full moon. The loveliest season of the whole year—that transient but delightful interval between the storms of the wild equinox, with all their wet, and the dark, short, dismal days which precede the rigor of winter—is now with us. The sun rises through a soft and hazy a<
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