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While aloft on their shoulders the wooden and pondrous saddles,
In-doors, warm by the wide-mouthed fireplace, idly the farmer Sat in his elbow-chair, and watched how the flames and the smo.e
wreaths Struggled together like foes in a burning city. Behind him, Nodding and mocking along the wall, with gestures fantastic, Darted his own huge shadow, and vanished away into darkness. Faces, clumsily carved in oak, on the back of his arm-chair Laughed in the flickering light, and the pewter plates on the
dresser Caught and reflected the flame, as shields of armies the sunshine. Fragments of song the old man sang, and carols of Christmas, Such as at home, in the olden time, his fathers before him Sang in their Norman orchards and bright Burgundian vineyards, Close at her father's side was the gentle Evangeline seated, Spinning flax for the loom, that stood in the corner behind her ; Silent awhile were its treadles, at rest was its diligent shuttle, While the monotonous drone of the wheel, like the drone of a
bagpipe, Followed the old man's song, and united the fragments together. As in a church, when the chant of the choir at intervals ceases, Footfalls are heard in the aisles, or words of the priest at the altar, So, in each pause of the song, with measured motion the clock
clicked, Thus as they sat, there were footsteps heard, and, suddenly
lifted, Sounded the wooden latch, and the door swung back on its hinges, Benedict knew by the hob-nailed shoes it was Basil the blacksmith, And by her beating heart Evangeline knew who was with him. “ Welcome !" the farmer exclaimed, as their footsteps paused on the
threshold, “Welcome, Basil, my friend ! Come, take thy place on the settle Close by the chimney-side, which is always empty without thee; Take from the shelf overhead thy pipe and the box of tobacco; Never so much thyself art thou as when through the curling Smoke of the pipe or the forge thy friendly and jovial face gleams Round and red as the harvest moon through the mist of the
marshes." Then, with a smile of content, thus answered Basil the blacksmith, Taking with easy air the accustomed seat by the fireside :“ Benedict Bellefontaine, thou hast ever thy jest and thy ballad!
Ever in cheerfullest mood art thou, when others are filled with
mower. Then with a pleasant smile made answer the jovial farmer :“ Safer are we unarmed in the midst of our flocks and our corn
fields, Safer within these peaceful dikes, besieged by the ocean, Than were our fathers in forts, besieged by the enemy's cannon, Fear no evil, my friend, and to-night may no shadow of sorrow Fall on this house and hearth ; for this is the night of the contract, Built are the house and the barn. The merry lads of the village Strongly have built them and well; and, breaking the glebe round about them,
[month. Filled the barn with hay, and the house with food for a twelveRené Leblanc will be here anon, with his papers and ink-horn. Shall we not then be glad, and rejoice in the joy of our children ?” As apart by the window she stood, with her hand in her lover's, Blushing Evangeline heard the words that her father had spoken, And as they died on his lips the worthy notary entered.
Bent like a labouring oar, that toils in the surf of the ocean, Bent, but not broken, by age was the form of the notary public; Shocks of yellow hair, like the silken floss of the maize, hung [bows Over his shoulders ; his forehead was high; and glasses with horn Sat astride on his nose, with a look of wisdom supernal. Father of twenty children was he, and more than a hundred Children's children rode on his knee, and heard his great watch tick. Four long years in the times of the war had he languished a captive, Suffering much in an old French fort as the friend of the English.
Now, though warier grown, without all guile or suspicion,
[villaye, “Father Leblanc," he exclaimed, “thou hast heard the talk in the And, perchance, canst tell us some news of these ships and their
errand." Then with modest demeanour made answer the notary public, — “Gossip enough have I heard, in sooth, yet am never the wiser ; And what their errand may be I know not better than others. Yet am I not of those who imagine some evil intention Brings them here, for we are at peace; and why then molest us?” “God's name!” shouted the hasty and somewhat irascible blacksmith;
[wherefore ? “Must we in all things look for the how, and the why, and the Daily injustice is done, and might is the right of the strongest!" But, without heeding his warmth, continued the notary public, “ Man is unjust, but God is just; and finally justice Triumphs ; and well I remember a story, that often consoled me, When as a captive I lay in the old French fort at Port Royal,” This was the old man's favourite tale, and he loved to repeat it When his neighbours complained that any injustice was done them. “Once in an ancient city, whose name I no longer remember, Raised aloft on a column, a brazen statue of Justice Stood in the public square, upholding the scales in its left hand, And in its right a sword, as an emblem that justice presided Over the laws of the land, and the hearts and homes of the people Even the birds had built their nests in the scales of the balance, Having no fear of the sword that flashed in the sunshine above
them. But in the course of time the laws of the land were corrupted ; Might took the place of right, and the weak were oppressed, and
the mighty Ruled with an iron rod. Then it chanced in a nobleman's palace That a necklace of pearls was lost, and ere long a suspicion Fell on an orphan girl who lived as maid in the household. She, after form of trial condemned to die on the scaffold, Patiently met her doom at the foot of the statue of Justice. As to her Father in heaven her innocent spirit ascended, Lo! o'er the city a tempest rose; and the bolts of the thunder Smote the statue of bronze, and hurle in wr: from its left hand Down on the pavement below the clattering scales of the balance,
And in the hollow thereof was found the nest of a magpie,
Then Evangeline lighted the brazen lamp on the table,
stone, And on the oaken stairs resounded the tread of the farmer. Soon with a soundless step the foot of Evangeline followed. Up the staircase moved a luminous space in the darkness, Lighted less by the lamp than the shining face of the maiden. Silent she passed through the hall, and entered the door of her chamber.
(press Simple that chamber was, with its curtains of white, and its clothesAmple and high, on whose spacious shelves were carefully folded Linen and woollen stuffs, by the hand of Evangeline woven, This was the precious dower she would bring to her husband in
marriage, Better than flocks and herds, being proofs of her skill as a housewife, Soon she extinguished herlamp, for the mellow and radiant moonlight,
Streamed through the windows, and lighted the room, till the heal of the maiden
[oceai Swelled and obeyed its power, like the tremulous tides of th Ah! she was fair, exceeding fair to behold, as she stood with Naked snow-white feet on the gleaming floor of her chamber! Little she dreamed that below, among the trees of the orchard, Waited her lover, and watched for the gleam of her lamp and he
Under the open sky, in the odorous air of the orchard,
(whit Shadow and light from the leaves alternately played on his snow Hair, as it waved in the wind; and the jolly face of the fiddler