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THE RUM FIEND'S PORTRAIT.—T. De Witt Talmage.
This foul thing gives one swing to its scythe, and our best merchants fall; their stores are sold, and they sink into dishonored graves.
Again it swings its scythe, and ministers of the gospel fall from the heights of Zion, with long-resounding crash of ruin and shame.
Some of your own households have already been shaken. Perhaps you can hardly admit it; but where was your son last night? Where was he Friday night? Where was ho Thursday night; Wednesday night; Tuesday night; Monday night?
Nay, have not some of you in your own bodies felt the power of this habit? You think that you could stop? Are you sure you could? Go on a little further, and I am sure you cannot. I think, if some of you should try to break away, you would find a chain on the right wrist, and one on the left; one on the right foot, and another on the left. This serpent does not begin to hurt until it has wound round and round. Then it begins to tighten, and strangle, and crush, until the bones crack, and the blood trickles, and the eyes start from their sockets, and the mangled wretch cries: "Oh, Heaven! oh, Heaven! help! help!" But it is too late and not even the tires of woe can melt the chain when once it is fully fastened.
I have shown you the evil beast. The question is, who will hunt him down, and how shall we shoot him? I answer, first, by getting our children right on this subject. Let them grow up with an utter aversion to strong drink. Take care how you administer it even as medicine. If you find that they have a natural love for it, as some have, put in a glass of it some horrid stuff, and make it utterly nauseous. Teach them, as faithfully as you do the catechism, that rum is a fiend. Take them to the almshouse, and show them the wreck and ruin it works. Walk with them into the homes that have been scourged by it. If a drunkard hath fallen into a ditch, take them right up where they can see his face, bruised, savage, and swollen, and say: "Look, my son! Rum .lid that!" Looking out of your window at some one who, intoxicated to madness, goe3 through the street, brandishing his fist, blaspheming God, a howling, defying, shouting, reeling, raving and foaming maniac, say to your son: "Look; that man was once a child like you!" As you go by the grogshop, let them know that that is the place where men are slain, and their wives made paupers, and their children slaves. Hold out to your children all warnings, all rewards, all counsels, lest in after-days they break your heart and curse your gray hairs.
A COOK OF THE PERIOD.
The looks of yer, ma'am, rather suits me —
The wages ye offer 'ill do;
Without a condition or t wo.
Commodgeous, with plenty of light,
Sech fri'nds as I'm like to invite?
And nixt, are yous reg'lar at male-times?
Becase, 'taint convamyent, ye see,
It's no raore than yous ought to be.
The rayson I lift my last place,
I sint a dish-cloth at her face.
And have yer the laste of objiction
To min droppin' in whin they choose?
That frayquintly brings me the news.
I give yer fair warnin', ma'am, now,
You'll find me comminciu' a row.
These mutthers agrayed on between us,
I'd try yer a wake, so I wud.
A thin thing without any blud!)
I comes for that time, and no liss;
Jusht give me yer name and addriss.
THE SISTERS.—JonN G. Whittier.
Annie and Rhoda, sisters twain,
The rush of wind, the ramp and roar
Annie rose up in her bed-gown white,
"Hush, and hearken!" she cried in fear,
"I hear the sea, and the plash of rain, And roar of the north-east hurricane.
"Get thee back to the bed so warm, No good comes of watching a storm.
"What is it to thee, I fain would know,
"No lover of thine's afloat to miss
"But I heard a voice cry out my name,
"Twice and thrice have I heard it call,
On her pillow the sister tossed her head.
"In the tautest schooner that ever swam He rides at anchor in Anisquam.
"And, if in peril from swamping sea
Or lee-shore rocks, would he call on thee?"
. But the girl heard only the wind and tide,
"O Sister Rhoda! there's something wrong;
"'Annie! Annie!' I hear it call,
And the voice is the voice of Estwick Hall."
Up sprang the elder, with eyes aflame,
"Thou liest! He never would call thy name I
"If he did, I would pray the wind and sea .
Then out of the sea blew a dreadful blast;
The young girl hushed on her lips a groan,
The solemn joy of her heart's release
"Dearest!" she whispered, under breath,
"The love I hid from myself away
"My ears shall never to wooer list,
"Sacred to thee am I henceforth, Thou in heaven and I on earth."
She came and stood by her sister's bed: "Hall of the Heron is dead!" she said.
"The wind and the waves their work have done.
"Little will reck that heart of thine;
"I, for his sake, were he but here,
"Though hands should tremble and eyes be wet, And stitch for stitch in my heart be set.
"But now my soul with his soul I wed; Thine the living, and mine the dead!"
THE DAGMAR CROSS.
Where the angry billows of the Baltic,
With the North Sea meeting, surge and swirl, And the rocky reefs and shores basaltic
High the snowy foam-flakes upward curl, Valdemar the victor rode to glory,
While his deeds were sung in minstrel rhyme, Greatest of all kings,—so runs the story;
Twas in Denmark, in the olden time.
Fair the Lady Dagmar was, and saintly,
And the fierce king bowed him at her feet; Said he, while her cheek was flushing faintly,
"What gift on my marriage that is meet For the bride of Valdemar, O maiden,
Shall I bring to grace the marriage morn? See, my slaves are near, and heavy laden
With the jewels Danish queens have worn."
And the lady made him answer, lowly,—
"Gifts of precious stones are not for me; Better far are noble deeds and holy
Than a mighty kingdom held in fee. From the plow-tax wilt thou free the peasant,
And release the captive from his chain? Lo, I ask, my lord, no costly present:
This my marriage gift, and this my gain I"
Answered the monarch, like a lover,
"Such a gift befits not thee, my queen;" And o'er Dagmar, as he bent above her,
Cast he chain and cross of golden sheen. Holy figures, wrought in wondrous fashion
By Byzantine workmen, glowed thereon; Pictured was the suffering Saviour's passion;
There the Virgin stood, and there Saint John.
Then away, by barren height and foreland,
Rod6 Kmg Valdemar again to wai;
And the storms of battle, wilder far.
Richer harvest in kind deeds would glean;
Loving homage to the " darling queen."
Homeward came King Valdemar in gladness,
With the victor-wreath around his head: In the royal halls was silent sadness:
Dagmar slept the long sleep of the dead In her handmaid Kerstine's arms, when riding
Up the long street came the king that day, Still the rose-flush on her cheek abiding,—
Dead, the young queen in her beauty lay.
And the king a mighty voice of sorrow
Raised, and called on Dagmar by her name: "Dagmar, live, and glad me on the morrow
With one kiss!" and wondrous answer cam* From the dead; and still the old petition
Sprang from her loved lips, a ghostlv prayer: "Free the outlaws from their l"iie condition;
Let the weary captives freedom shaio."