페이지 이미지
PDF

Crying,' Messmates, cheer!' with a bright, glad smile,
And praying,'Be merciful, God!' the while.

"True to his trust, to his last chill gasp,
The helm lay clutched in his stifl', cold grasp—
You might scarcely in death undo the clasp:
And his crisp, brown locks were dank and thin,
And the icicles hung from his bearded chin.

* My timbers have weathered, since, many a gale;
And when life's tempests this hulk assail,
And the binnacle-lamp in my breast burns pale,
'Cheer, messmates, cheer!' to my heart I say,
1 We must labor, in sooth, as well as pray.'"

BUILDING THE CHIMNEY.

"Father will have done the great chimney to-night, won't he mother?" said little Tommy Howard, as he stood waiting for his father's breaklast which he carried to him at his work every morning.

"He said that he hoped that all the scaffolding would be down to-night," answered the mother, " and that'll be a fine sight; for I never like the ending of those great chimneys; it is so risky for father to be last up."

"Oh! then, but I'll go and seek him; and help 'em to give a shout before he comes down," said Tom.

"And then," continued the mother, "if all goes on right, we are to have a frolic to-morrow, and go into the country and take our dinner, and spend all the day in the woods."

"Hurrah!" cried Tom as he ran off to his father's place of work, with a can of milk in one hand and some bread in the other. His mother stood at the door watching him, as he went merrily whistling down the street, and she thought of the dear father he was going to, and t he dangerous work he was engaged in ; and then her heart sought its sure refuge, and she prayed to God to protect and bless her treasures.

Tom, with a light heart, pursued his way to his father, and leaving him his breakfast, went to his own work, which was at some distance. In the evening, on his way home, he went around to see how his father was getting on.

James Howard, the father, and a number of other workmen, had been building one of those lofty chimneys which, in our manufacturing towns, almost supply the place of other architectural beauty. The chimney was one of the highest and most tapering that ever had been erected; and as Tom shaded his eyes from the slanting rays of the setting sun, and looked up in search of his father, his heart sank within him at the appalling sight. The scaffold was almost down, the men at the bottom were removing the beams and poles. Tom's lather stood alone on the top.

He then looked around to see that everything was right, and then, waving his hat in the air, the men below answered him with a long, loud cheer, little Tom shouting as loud as any of them. As their voices died away, however, they heard a different sound, a cry of horror and alarm from above. The men looked around, and coiled upon the ground lay the rope, which before the scaffolding was removed should have been fastened to the chimney for Tom's father to come down by! The scaffolding had been taken down without remembering to take the rope up. There was a dead silence. They all knew it was impossible to throw the rope up high enough to reach the top of the chimney, or even if possible, it would hardly be safe. They stood in silent dismay, unable to give any help or think of any means of safety.

And Tom's father! He walked round and round the little circle, the dizzy height seeming more and more fearful, and the solid earth further and further from him. In the sudden panic he lost his presence of mind, his senses failed him. He shut his eyes; he felt as if the next moment he must be dashed to pieces on the ground below.

The day passed as industrious as usual with Tom's mother at home. She was always busily employed for her husband and children in some way or other, and to-day she had been harder at work than usual, getting ready for the holiday tomorrow. She had just finished her arrangements, and her thoughts were silently thanking God for the happy home, and for all these blessings, when Tom ran in.

His face was white as ashes, and he could hardly get his words out:

"Mother! mother! he cannot get down!"

"Who, lad—thy father?" asked the mother.

"They have forgotten to leave him the rope," answered Tom, still scarcely able to speak. The mother started up, horror struck, and stood for a moment as if paralyzed, then pressing her hand over her face, as if to shut out the terrible picture, and breathing a prayer to God for help, she rushed out of the house.

When she reached the place where her husband was at work, a crowd had gathered round the foot of the chimney, and stood quite helpless, gazing up with faces full of sorrow.

"He says he will throw himself down!" said they.

"Thee munna do that, lad," cried the wife, with a clear, hopeful voice; "thee munna do that—wait a bit. Take oft thy stocking, lad, and unravel it; let down the thread with a bit of mortar. Dost thou hear me, Jem?"

The man made a sign of assent; for it seemed as if he could not speak, and taking off his stocking, unraveled the worsted yarn, row after row. The people stood round in breathless silence and suspense, wondering what Tom's mother could be thinking of, and why she sent him in such haste for the carpenter's ball of twine.

"Let down one end of the thread with a bit of stone, and keep fast hold of the other." cried she to her husband. The little thread came waving down the tall chimney, blown hither and thither by the wind, but it reached the out-stretched hands that were awaiting it. Tom held the ball of twine, while his mother tied one end of it to the thread.

"Now, pull it slowly," cried she to her husband, and she gradually unwound the string until it reached her husband.

"Now, hold the string fast, and pull it up," cried she, and the string grew heavy and hard to pull, for Tom and his mother had fastened a thick rope to it. They had it gradually and slowly uncoiling from the ground, and the string was drawn higher.

There was but one coil left. It had reached the top. "Thank God!" exclaimed the wife. She hid her face in her hands in silent prayer, and tremblingly rejoiced.

The iron to which it should be fastened was there all right, but would her husband be able to make use of it? Would not the terra' of the past have so unnerved him as to prevent him from taking the necessary measures for safety? ohe did not know the magic influence which her few words exercised over him. She did not know the strength that the sound of her voice, so calm and steadfast, had given him —as if the little thread that carried to him the hope of life once more, had conveyed to him some portion of that faith in God, which nothing ever destroyed or shook in her pure heart. She did not know that, as she waited there, the words came over him:

"Why art thou cast down, O my soul? why art thou disquieted withm me? Hope thou in God."

She lifted her heart to God for hope and strength, but could do nothing more for her husband, and her heart turned to God and rested on him as on a rock.

There was a great shout. "He's safe, mother, he's safe!" ;ried Tom.

"Thou hast saved my life, my Mary," said the husband, folding her in his arms. "But what ails thee? thou seem<?8t more sorrowful than glad about it."

But Mary could not speak, and if the strong arm of her husband had not held her up she would have fallen to the ground—the sudden joy, after such fear, had overcome her.

"Tom, let thy mother lean on thy shoulder," said his father, "and we will take her home."

And in their happy home they poured forth thanks to God for his great goodness, and their happy life together felt dearer and holier for the peril it had been in, and the nearness of the danger had brought them unto God. And the holiday next day—was it not indeed a thanksgiving day I

THE DEMON-SHIP.—TnoMAS Hood.

Twas off the Wash—the sun went down—the sea looked

black and grim, For stormy clouds, with murky fleece, were mustering at the

brim;

Titanic shades! enormous gloom!—as if the solid night
Of Erebus rose suddenly to seize upon the light I

It was a time for mariners to bear a wary eye,

With such a dark conspiracy between the sea and sky!

t>own went my helm—close reef'd—the tack held freely iiv my hand—

With ballast snug—I put about, and scudded for the land. Loud hiss'd the sea beneath her lee—my little boat flew fast, But taster still the rushing storm came borne upon the blast. Lord! what a roaring hurricane beset the straining sail! What furious sleet, with levei drift, and fierce assaults of hail!

What darksome caverns yawned before! what jagged steeps behind!

Like battle-steeds, with foamy manes, wild tossing in the wind.

Each after each sank down astern, exhausted in the chase,
But where it sank another rose and galloped in its place;
As black as night—they turned to white, and cast against the
cloud

A snowy sheet, as if each surge upturned a sailor's shroud:—
Still flew my boat; alas! alas! her course was nearly run!
Behold yon fatal billow rise—ten billows heaped in one I
With fearful speed the dreary mass came rolling, rolling fast,
As if the scooping sea contained one only wave at last!
Still on it came, with horrid roar, a swift pursuing grave;
It seemed as though some cloud had turned its hugeness to
a wave!

Its briny sleet began to beat beforehand in my face—
I felt the rearward keel begin to climb its swelling base!
I saw its alpine hoary head impending over mine!
Another pulse—and down it rushed—an avalanche of brine!
Brief pause had I, on God to cry, or think of wife and home;
The waters closed—and when I shrieked, I shrieked below
the foam!

Beyond that rush I have no hint of any after deed—
For I was tossing on the waste, as senseless as a weed.

#*•»*»

"Where am I? in the breathing world, or in the world of

death?"

With sharp and sudden pang I drew another birth of breath; My eyes drank in a doubtful light, my ears a doubtful sound—

And was that ship a real ship whose tackle seemed around?
A moon as if the earthly moon, was shining up aloft;
But were those beams the very beams that I had seen so oft?
A face, that mocked the human face, before me watched alone;
But were those eyes the eyes of man that looked against
my own?

« 이전계속 »