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Never was hopeless despair succeeded by more fervent joy. The young and the old of both sexes flooded the streets, greeting the preservers of the capital with
every token of admiration and gratitude. Thus was the capital saved, and great calamities averted.
GATHER RIPE FRUITS, O DEATH!
BY H, L. PARMELEE.
"Take thy shadow from my threshold,
O thou dweller in the night!
Shutting out the morning light;
And hast taken all thy sheaves;
The blossoms and the leaves !
• Oh! press
in so closely
From the shelter of its nest?
For such a one as thee:
What can the baby see?'
Ah! close behind the shadow
He sees the angel wait,
Of that broad, heavenly gate;
Poor heart!' couldst thou but see
And thy loved ones waiting thee!
Yet colder grows the star-light,
And the children crouch behind,
Sweep like the winter's wind;
And when the night grows dim,
And a breaking heart for him!
Look at me. Do you see this thin, white hair streaming down over my shoulders; these thick, deep furrows on my brow and cheek ; these trembling, childish hands, and in contrast with all this, these blazing, burning eyes ? I am an old man, you think, far along on the downward slope of life, drawing near the last ferry we ever cross, and just ready to call to the boat-man: ‘Put me across.' Thirty-five next June. Yes, when April shall have hung those fleecy cloud-crape veils in the sky, which float down to earth in showers, making it like Endymion's kiss; and when her first scented flakes of snow have sprung up from the emerald sward, embroidering it as with seed-pearls; and when May has tripped with her bare, dimpled feet over the sunset-crowned hills and daisy-starred meadows, and June is just beginning to flush the earth with her fragrancy of musky blooms, then I shall have reached life's meridian height - as far from the northern lights of youth, as to the storm-swept sky of black old age. I hear it said sometimes that God is good. I shall soon know. If He is, I shall die next June.
Fifteen years ago I was a soldier, young, gay and brave enough to combat all the hosts of the Prince of Darkness single-handed. How well I remember the morning of the battle. It was a true mid-summer dawn, and she rose out of the sea, flushed with the embraces of the sea-gods, and shook out her long hair, which streamed like ribbons of fire all over the eastern sky. As she slowly gathered up her tresses and wound them like a coronel about her brow, our army took their places in the order of battle. A breathless hush hovered like a benediction over us for a moment, and then the glorious roar of a magnificent battle began. What a gorgeous sight were the opposing armies as they stood thus, with their uniforms glittering and their weapons blazing in the sun, and with their white and crimson banners floating like blood-red waves and billows of sea-foam in the air! What a glorious din the music made! How thrillingly the trumpets clanged! How blood-inspiring was the roar of drums ! How like a shock of electricity to the veins was the winding of the bugles ! Our army were inspired in every nerve. My blood ran through my veins like waves of fire, and I fought like a demon, growing every moment more and more maddened by excitement. It was a hard-fought field. The ground became a swamp of blood, and our feet slipped in the gore of those who a moment before were fighting by our sides. Our onward way was blocked up with bodies, mingled with cannon-balls. The crashing of the bones, the screams of the dying, maddened us yet more in the keenest excitement of the battle. We were ordered to cut our way through a certain point, where the bravest of the opposing army were fighting. The shock was like the meeting of two furious storm-clouds in the sky. Both armies were shaken to their very centre.
Both drew back a moment, and with wild cries charged again. Neither gained any advantage, and whole ranks lay dead. At every step we rushed upon a glittering row of bayonets, and to the right and left artillery were dealing death with lavish hands. Three times we repeated the fearful charge. Then the ranks of the enemy broke, and adown the valley rolled the wild stream of flight. With a huzza that shook the earth, we dashed after them, killing as we went. As I leaped madly forward, sword in hand, my way was blocked by a poor fellow whom I had seen fighting like a devil just in front of me during the whole fierce action. He was wounded and unarmed. I raised my sword. *Spare me,' he cried; but I thrust my sword through his heart, and he sank back murmuring something about his mother, his sweet-heart, and the Rhine. In an instant I felt that I had murdered him, and in that instant
grew powerless, my brain reeled, and as the breath left the body of the murdered man, I fell powerless at his side. His spirit took mine, and, as it were, hand in hand, we passed away from the battle-field and afar over green, smiling fields, till before us swept the blue winding waters of the Rhine. A little cottage, shaded with scarlet creepers, stood there; and within, upon a little snowdraped bed, lay a maiden, enwrapped in a tissue of sweet dreams. The odor of oleanders and violets was in the room, and upon her snowy breast was a halfopened rose. She was fairer than a dream of heaven, and for an instant I was glad that he was dead, and she and I alive. But the murdered spirit leaned over her, and in a moment more I saw that she knew that he was dead. The pangs of parting swept over her face. The lovely visage grew distorted, and in a moment more she opened her white arms and inclosed the spirit in them, and in another she was dead. I knew then that I had murdered her, too; and in the next instant my spirit was back again in my body on the bloody battlefield, and around me seemed to be the odor of violets and oleanders. That night I sat with two or three companions around a board where the bright blood of the grape flowed in crystal streams. We grew mad with pleasure as we recalled the glories of the day and drank to its heroes. In the wildest midst of the revel, as I was raising aloft a beaker of mellow, foaming, murmuring wine, beaded to the brim, and as some gay words were just floating from my lips, all at once a shape stood beside me. A leering, ghastly, horrid thing, with balls of fire glowing in its eye-sockets, and coils of deadly snakes growing from its head like hair. The body seemed like that of one who had been seven months dead. From a sword-wound in his breast loathsome vipers threw out forked tongues, and the long, lean arms he stretched out toward me moved with motions like those of a shining serpent. At his side was another shape, which seemed like an airy vapor, which had, and yet had not, outline and feature; and as she extended toward me her mist-like arms, there floated from them the fragrance of violets and oleanders. I would have looked upon her forever, but aften one single instant's view, my eyes were drawn with deadly fascination back to the leering form of the horrible thing. I could not bear the view, and again nature gave way; the blood receded from my heart; my hand dropped the beaker of mellow, foaming, murmuring wine, and I fainted. I fled from the neighborhood of the fatal battle-field, and was soon far out at sea. Gazing afar
upon the limitless stretch of the crested waves, and looking down into their sparkling depths, trying to catch glimpses of the sea-maidens there, combing their hair with combs of pearls, I endeavored to forget the horrible spectre I had seen. But as the weird, ghoul-like shadows gathered together in armies, and came marching over the seas to the music of the sweet-singing evening breeze, and as the waves beneath seemed to grow black and blacker in the gathering gloom, all at once my eye-balls began to tremble, my heart beat convulsively, and just ahead of the black shadows who were trooping toward me came the Shapes. The misty outline was more tangible this time, and I plainly saw eyes like deep, bewildering wells, into which one might fall and forget God and heaven in their depths; and wondrous tresses of paly gold. Only a momentary glimpse, however; the next consciousness was swallowed up in the great terror which assailed me. I have wandered to all parts of earth since then. I have gazed from the highest peaks of Himalaya; have floated upon the waves of the farthest Southern sea; have drifted into the rose and gold sun-sets of the West; I have slept upon Orinoco's silver tide, and bathed in the liquid bosom of Oregon; the East has unfolded to me her treasures; I have sat beneath her tamarind-trees, and drank the sherbet cooled in her mountain-snows; I am familiar with the Arctic regions, with their icebergs and never-melting snows. Wherever the foot of man hath trod, there have I fled; but wherever I have sat down, under palm or pine, beneath the golden glow of the Orient, or far toward the sun-set shore, there still has been the haunting presence. And it grows none the less horrible by repetition ; every time, if possible, it grows more terrible to me. It haunts me like a thought of my own heart, even when it is not actually before me. But its accompanying angel — for angel I know it is, fiend could never be so beautiful — I have grown to love. I love it with a love more than human; it is enchantment. Terrible as is the vision which accompanies it, wrung as my soul is with more than the pangs of death whenever I see the balls of liquid hell which form its eyes, I am almost willing to endure the torture for the momentary rapture of gazing upon the aerial phantom of my love. Sometimes she seems stretching out her misty arms toward me, and wooing me with those depths of eyes, when the hellish spectre incloses her in his serpent-arms, and they vanish. Oh! is there no power in the universe of God to banish this frightful fiend? How often I ask myself, if death will do it! Sometimes demons whisper me that it will condemn me eternally to the presence. Avaunt, fiends, with your infernal whisperings ! I remember that my mother told me thirty years ago that God is good. The time approaches for the visit of the shapes. Good God! is there no escape ? Must my soul again be wrenched with this unearthly torture? Oh! is it not possible to flee? And yet, such is the spell, I fear I should not if I could. Is it not worth all the agony to get one glimpse of that angelic face? Beautiful spirit, have you no power to come alone? Could you not fold me in those shadowy arms and protect me from the hideous thing? In half-an-hour they will be here. In vain I shriek, in vain I tear my thin hair and gnash my teeth into my own flesh. As sure as God, they will come. What voice was that that whispered to me: 'Pray.' I cannot pray. I have not prayed for fifteen years ; but I
have cursed every day, and am cursed in return. Yet, my mother taught me that God is good. LORD God, forgive me! CHRIST, help me! Holy Mother, pray for me! What power has released my tongue ? What power has taken the chains from my heart ? Blessed be heaven, I can pray! God deliver me from my enemies. Christ have mercy ! · The half-hour passed while I was crying unto God. The shapes have not come. I feel like a little child; I have no strength, but I am calm. God's benediction is upon me, and the spell is broken. I shall have three months of this great calm. Then I shall die. It will be in June.
SALLIE WEBB AND ADELE DRANE.
Two small heads with shining hair,