Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

infinite charm to all. Whittier was the prophet and humanitarian whose spirit was hot against all sin and wrong. Lowell was the scholar, the man of broad horizon, critical judgment, and chastened taste. All four were poets of no mean rank, yet each differed widely from the others. But Dr. Holmes, likewise a poet dear to us all, was peculiarly the common-sense philosopher who could command the attention of all men, from highest to lowest, on whatever subject he might speak. He had points of contact with life on every side, and was broad and warm in his sympathies. Though he hated “ facts,” he was quick to apprehend them and determine their true relationship to life. As the Autocrat said rather testily,“ They are the brute beasts of the intellectual domain.” “ Do not these muscles of mine represent a hundred loaves of bread, and is not my thought the abstract of ten thousand of these crumbs of truth with which you would choke off my speech ?”

It is this happy faculty of recognizing the balance of things that makes Dr. Holmes so dear to all

. He gives no stones for bread, and every gift is accompanied with a benevolent smile.

Dr. Holmes, though not a theologian, wielded a mighty influence in the religious life of his day. I believe it is not extravagant to say that no man of the time has done a greater work for the cause of liberalism of faith than he. Turn to the passage in “ Over the Tea-cups," entitled “The Dictator Turns Preacher," and see how powerfully yet gently he demolishes hateful dogma. I heard a liberal clergyman say not long ago that he owed his “ emersion from the darkness and misery of his old Calvinistic faith, to the Poet of the Breakfast Table,” and if any one should come to him asking his advice and help in religious doubt and perplexity, he would bid him go read any and all of Dr. Holmes's works. .

I should like to go through the whole of Dr. Holmes's life and work with the readers of the TUFTONIAN; not that I suppose I know them more deeply and appreciatively than they, but merely to revive and refresh our acquaintance with so much that is full of perennial freshness and charm.

He has gone to a well-earned rest, leaving us as a memorial the record of a long, fruitful, and blameless life.

W. S. SMALL.

[ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

Reverie. STRETCHED in my easy-chair, with my feet on the fender and a glowing fire

in the grate, I puff dreamily my old meerschaum pipe, my friend of many a long

I day. My thoughts wander here and there as the fragrant smoke curls upward in slow, lazy, blue wreaths. It is a bitter cold night outside. The snow is falling heavily; already it is a foot deep,

, and the wind is blowing it about in great high drifts, and beating it against my rattling window panes.

But the cold and snow cannot affect me I am as comfortable as one possibly can be. All is light and warmth and comfort; I have but to sit and enjoy it, dreaming and smoking. What a comfort a good pipe is on such a night as this ! It makes one feel happy and contented; he wants nothing and feels kindly toward all the world.

How selfish we are when we are comfortable! Now to-night here I sit, as I have said, as comfortable as is possible for man to be, when in the world outside my room is misery and cold

a

а

a

and hunger. What do I care? I am comfortable. Down there on Water Street is many a poor family to-night, huddled together in a small room lighted by a smoky kerosene lamp. There is no fire in the old rickety stove. The little, scrawny, half-clad children have crawled under the straw, that serves for a bed, to keep a little warmer ; the mother even here we find the spirit of the true woman and mother the mother is even more thinly clad than the children, that they may have more covering from the bitter cold. The father, poor drunken wretch, lies in a heap in one corner, all unconscious of cold and hunger. I sometimes think it is almost a blessing for such a man that he can find relief in drink. We cannot much blame him ; it is the only chance he has of shutting out misery, and the sight of his family's suffering. Not that it is manly in him to leave his family to suffer while he, for a few short hours, rids himself of pain and adds another portion to theirs — but I say, Who can blame him? Not I here in my comfortable room.

I again repeat, How selfish we are and how utterly oblivious to the suffering of others when we are comfortable! Now, if instead of being here in the warmth and glow of my open fire, I were obliged to be out in the cold and to be stung by driving particles of snow and ice, I should be alive in a moment to the sufferings of these, my unfortunate brothers. I should lay plans, while fighting against the storm, to look into the matter at some future time (not then, for I should be intent upon reaching my fireside ) and have the city authorities supply these poor wretches with fuel and food. What a shame people should suffer so when there is money going to waste all around them! I mean, of course, I should feel this way while I was out of doors, but as soon as I once got in out of the cold and was seated, as I am now, by my fire with my pipe lighted, I should forget all about them; or if I thought of them it would be in a general way, as I do now. We are selfish creatures, all of us. But I am comfortable. This is bliss — this dreamy, half-asleep, half-awake feeling. One is

I at peace with the whole world and is just longing to do some one else a kindness. How soon we get over that thought! Just let us get outside in the rush and scramble for wealth and how easily we forget to do the many little kindnesses we might, did we but choose. The opportunities are all about us. A kind word instead of the gruff one; a helping hand instead of the push one side ; a little more concern for the feelings of those whose lot it is to serve us — - and what a changed world this would be! Oh, the days are full of these opportunities, and how few, oh, how very few of them we accept! What a bright, cheery world this might be — not that I believe it anywhere near as dark as it is often painted — but how much brighter and happier it would be, did each one do as he would be done by. After all, the good old“ Golden Rule,” if applied every day of our lives, is the best rule that we have to bring about that happy day when friend shall cease to be at enmity with friend, and brother shall no more raise his hand against brother. Half the wrongs would be righted, labor and capital would cease to clash, there would be an end to hard feelings between classes and races, wars would be no more, and we should begin to realize the song sung by the angels of old, “ Peace on earth, good will toward men !”

How the windows do rattle! The storm is growing more and more fierce — I am glad that I am inside. How cheery an open fire is! What fantastic figures the Aames make — one can trace faces and figures of people, and anything the fancy may desire! The Aames seem to be alive and to have a will of their own as they leap and play and then die down only to come up the brighter. How one's thoughts do wander when watching the fire ! Things come up before us as plainly as if they happened but yesterday — things we have not thought of, mayhap, for years. A day many summers ago comes to me now, one of the happiest days of my life, though it was a mixture of sunshine and rain, typical, I think now, being in a poetical mood — I always get poetical before an open fire — of my life, and not only of my life, but every life. We look back upon our lives

. and is not the whole effect one of pleasure on first thought. It may be, and undoubtedly is, a mixture of shade and light, storm and calm ; but is it not, after all, taken as a whole, one of pleasure? To be sure, there are lives which have more shade than light, and how I pity the persons who have lived those lives! But are not people's lives generally more sunshine than rain? I think so, I love to think so. It makes me sad to think that some can see only the dark side when there is such a bright one. How much they miss that is good and pleasant !

There is plenty of sunshine in this world of ours if we but can find it. Why must some

[ocr errors]

ever go

[ocr errors]

about with a long face and a solemn air ? Just because we have some grief or pain to bear, should we advertise it to the whole world and call it in to mourn with us? Why can't we keep it to ourselves, and wear a pleasant expression instead of that sad one ? A melancholy face dispels more sunshine from the lives of others than it can hope to replace in many a long day. Bear

up under your

misfortune and be a man. If you are unhappy and lack for sympathy, be sympathetic with others and you will forget your sorrow and lighten theirs. A bright face and a cheery voice, with a sympathetic heart behind them, do more real good than many a long sermon. Save your dark, gloomy thoughts and your cryings over sorrows long since passed for the quiet of your room. They are too sacred to be thus paraded before a heartless public. Always look pleasant, be pleasant, or you will be pushed one side and avoided. No one loves a gloomy face; be happy, be free, be natural.

But I am wandering far from that day, one summer, of which I spoke. It was a long time ago — when I was a young and romantic youth. I had started out in the early morning — a fine, sunshiny morning in July — for an all-day's boating trip up the river and into the lakes with my sweetheart — that, I believe, is the term I should use ; if it is not right put in something that suits you better. It was glorious, that trip up river. The sky was as blue as blue could be, with here and there a great bunch of white cloud which made it look the more blue by contrast. On both sides of the lily-dotted river stretched meadow land. Long, waving grasses nodded in the light summer's breeze ; swallows skimmed over the meadows to the river, dipped, and then were off again. From out beyond in the underbrush came the whistle of the quail and the cry of the bluejay, and from away off came the sharp click of a mowing-machine. We could just see the horses' heads

above the long grass. Ah! it was perfect; and well it might be, for there in the stern sat what to me was the sweetest and best girl in all this wide world. Such hair, such blue eyes

and

rosy cheeks! What a pretty little mouth, and how her whole face did light up when she smiled! Of course the day was perfect. (You must remember I was young then and, like all youth, very romantic.)

We ate our dinner on an island in one of the lakes, and had hardly finished when the peals of distant thunder warned us to be moving toward some shelter. Away we pulled — such fun and excitement racing that storm! At last it overtook us, and we were obliged to take shelter in an old cranberry-barn. How the rain did pelt, and the thunder roar! And how frightened my companion did get! .

Strange that women are so afraid of a thunder-storm. Sometimes I think they make it up just for effect. I

suppose this remark will bring a torrent of abuse about my head from our fair sisters, and an emphatic denial of such a “ base insinuation.” Well, at any rate, I don't believe there is any need of so much fuss as some of them make. We had no sooner started out again after this first storm and gotten well upon our way than another came up; and then for another race. The big drops began to fall as we were nearing the cottage we were headed for. A last strong stroke and the boat was beached; a quick leap out, and then we struggled to pull it up high and dry and turn it over that it might not get wet inside ; then a dash for the house. All out of breath and very wet, we burst in upon the astonished occupants who, in true New England style, at once made us comfortable. We reached home at last, dirty, sticky, and tired out, but — happy!

I like to think of summer when the snow is drifting outside and the wind is whistling and screeching around the chimney. I don't like winter. The snow has no great charm for me. If it is not snowing snow, it is blowing snow, and when it is pleasant it is cold. Or, if it is warm, some one is pelting you with snow-balls, which always have a great affinity for one's collar. Strange how much snow can be gotten in that very small space that lies between a man's collar and his neck! As I said, I prefer summer. Then you are free to go out when you please. You don't have to rig up in overcoat and overshoes, cap and muffler, gloves and — goodness knows what! All you have to do is to put a hat on or,

if

you are independent, go without it and go out, and all is nice and pleasant and warm. I suppose some one will say right here that it is always hot in summer and not nice at all. Well, that is merely a matter of opinion. I prefer

[ocr errors]

summer.

Now when I was a boy — so very long ago

[blocks in formation]

different

very

light. How we used to love to get out and roll in the great drifts! The more snow we could get on us the happier we were and the more provoked our mothers were that I can remember very distinctly. It was “impressed” upon me. And the snow-men we used to build, and the forts, and when they were done, what fights we used to have ! What if we did get the snow down our necks, and the snow-balls did hurt? We were boys then it was all a part of the fun. Such coasting and skating; they never have as good now, it seems to me. Oh, if I could again look through my boyhood eyes and see things now as I did then! Things do change wonderfully as we grow older, or is it we ourselves that change? But give me back again the free, careless days of childhood!

Hang it all! I have been dreaming away here and let my pipe go out. I'll light it up again, it is too early to go to bed, and it is really very comfortable here.

Jerome K. Jerome, in his “ Told After Supper,” while talking with a ghost finds out that after we are dead our ghosts have the ghost of all the tobacco we have smoked while living, to smoke. (That sounds a bit mixed, but it is what I mean, anyway.) And he — Jerome, not the ghost

- , immediately decided to smoke all he could, while alive, that he might enjoy it when he has arrived at the dignity of ghosthood. I think I shall follow his example.

Speaking of ghosts, it seems to me that there are such things. Now don't immediately put me down as a spiritualist, but give me a chance to explain. I don't mean ghost in the commonly accepted idea, but ghosts of our minds, our memories. Did you ever do a mean act and have it haunt you many, many days and even years after it was done ? How it will come up at unexpected times and in unexpected places! It may not have seemed bad at the time, and no one else may have noted it, but you remember it and would give anything to have the opportunity to right it. It may have been a word spoken carelessly, or some little deed of unkindness which has borne fruit. What a lot of trouble a word carelessly spoken will make! It may change the whole course of some one's life, and to think, in the years that follow, that you are responsible for it! Such ghosts are far more terrible than an ordinary ghost " can ever be. How they do haunt us and spoil our waking hours, and even our dreams!

My thoughts now take another turn. I am once more before the camp-fire and with me around it are the boys. What happy evenings we have thus spent together before its cheerful blaze! An open fire in the grate is cheerful, but for real cheer and comfort give me a camp-fire and some of the boys of my youth. I see them all now the boys, not the camp-fires

and hear their merry laughter as the jokes and stories go around. The songs we used to sing again echo in my ears.

Those were happy days. As the evening wears away we grow more pensive and converse in lower tones, becoming somewhat awed by the majesty of the night. Over us twinkle the stars — the moon has not yet risen; around us tower the mighty pines in all their grandeur ; before us stretches the lake with surface just rippled by the breeze, and from the other shore faintly comes the sound of the dance at the hotel. The fire burns lower and lower, we have ceased to talk and are busy each with his own thoughts. The wierd “whoo! whoo !” of an owl breaks the stillness; we all start with alarm at its suddenness, and cold shivers creep along our spines. Beyond the lake the moon is just peeping; all is still and solemn and grand. One by one the boys steal away to the tent till I alone am left. With one last, fitful glow the fire goes out. Recalled to this world I also seek the tent, my whole being filled with a sense of the mightiness of Him who created this world and keeps it in its appointed way.

Who could but be ennobled by such communion with nature ?

My pipe is out, my fire is low, and the clock in the neighboring tower is tolling the midnight hour. I have dreamed long enough.

STILLMAN SHAW. 20

[ocr errors]

Witchcraft So many articles have been written concerning the subject of witchcraft

in Salem, that people have almost begun to look upon it as belonging to that in Salem. city exclusively, while

, in reality, at the same time that innocent lives were being sacrificed to the whims of others in Salem, thousands were being persecuted on the other side of the water,

It is a

Salem witchcraft is said to have begun in the home of Rev. Samuel Parris. An Indian woman named Tituba, a servant in his family, used often to tell the children stories created in her own vivid imagination, and heightened by the superstition so common among her people. So the children, playfully at first, performed all sorts of tricks, such as jumping out at people and screaming, and, like all children, the more their actions were spoken of the worse they acted, until at length, when forced to tell what ailed them and who caused them to act so, they naturally singled out those who had no way of retaliating. Of the first three victims, one was weak mentally, another physically, and the third, Tituba, was a prey to her own foolish superstition. noticeable fact that nearly all who suffered persecution at first were defenceless, unlovely, and unloved. Finally, however, when the children, encouraged and upheld in their thoughtless and terrible work, singled out and “cried out against ” men high in position and pure noble-minded women, the eyes of the most thoughtful were opened, and they awakened to the fact that witchcraft had originated in the foolish and cruel work of a few young girls. Even after the storm had passed, some of the most persistent persecutors tried to continue their cruel work, but truth and right at last prevailed.

Perhaps one of the saddest instances was that of Rebecca Nurse, of what is now Danvers. She was a pure, devout woman, a kind and conscientious mother, and yet she was “ cried out against,” tried and executed under a false charge. The story goes that her relatives came and took her body away from the ditch into which it had been thrown and carried it back to Danvers. Her house is still standing and in good repair, on a pleasant hill in what is now Tapleyville, a part of Danvers. At the foot of the hill, in the family burial ground, is a monument erected to the memory of Rebecca Nurse.

The site of the old Salem jail, where the captives awaited trial, is near the centre of the city, and some of its timbers are preserved in the house now standing on that spot. Leaving the centre of the city on the way to Gallows Hill, one passes the old house formerly occupied by Roger Williams, where the witches were tried. At the court-house may still be seen the “ witch pins ” used at these trials. Gallows Hill, where most of the executions took place, is in the western part of the city, and but little remains of its former appearance, except the stumps of a few old trees which are said to be relics of those of witchcraft times. As near as can be ascertained, nineteen were executed and over two hundred were charged and acquitted. Some credit is due the accusers for their perseverance in suppressing so great a wrong, although they were mistaken. The history of Salem witchcraft proves again that any belief, however absurd it may seem, will gain adherents if taught by enthusiastic persons. These people may even be inferior mentally and socially, and obtain the support of some able and influential parties. But truth and right are sure finally to triumph over fanaticism and superstition.

L. M. G.

Exchanges.

[blocks in formation]

At last all our doubts as to the value of an exchange column to a college publication have been forever dispelled. The editor of the Bates Student emphatically writes: “We do not care to exchange with and shall not notice a magazine which does not support an exchange department, and we have many such papers stored

which to kindle autumn fires." Thanks, Mr. Editor, for we now feel greatly relieved as regards our importance, and we shall endeavor to continue in maintaining your respect by an exchange department.

Tufts's new athletic field has a seating capacity of five hundred. It will be dedicated by a special foot

up with

ball game.

Since there was formerly a rumor in circulation on the Hill that the Tufts Glee Club proposed to appear in England during the summer

« AnteriorContinuar »