WAS HIS GUIDING STAR,
AND WHO TO-DAY WEARS THE ETERNAL
CROWN OF WOMANHOOD,
THIS VOLUME IS TENDERLY INSCRIBED
BY THE AUTHOR.
The Rambler rambled, facts to glean.
He saw in the shades of the night,
Pictures gloomy and pictures bright.
This volume, as the reader beholds it, embraces the results of a series of rambles in the State Capital of Illinois, which have appeared in the Monday morning issue of the DAILY SANGAMO MONITOR during the past year. If there be found one sentence that will create a cheerful feeling, or swell the soul to a lofty sentiment, the rambler will feel rewarded for his work.
Only a part of the rambles are presented — those which, in humble judgment, were deemed the most worthy. Many of these have received additions suggested by further observation and thought. What you see before you is yours to approve or disapprove. The work, in the main, was accomplished in busy hours, and therefore in its perusal a generous consideration is invoked.
D. L. A.
Springfield, Ill., Nov. 14, 1879.
WE pass along a prominent street. We see here a palace and there a cottage. There is an "Under the Gas-light" in the one, but in the other a modest lamp emits a modest light. Ingersoll says: "Burns was a cottage and Shakespeare a palace, but about the cottage were more flowers and of a sweeter perfume than about the palace."
From what we have observed in our life and in our rambles may we not paraphrase and say, "Yonder is a cottage and yonder is a palace, but in the cottage is more heart and of sweeter perfume than in the palace;" yet we cannot do without the one any more than we can do without the other. From each come lessons telling many of life's stern and essential duties. From each comes a hope. The cottager hopes for a better condition in life, and through the inspiration of that hope toils on in the even tenor of his way. The man in the mansion, under the glare and glitter of the gas-light
10may hope for that which the cottager possesses — health and happiness.
It is now late. The man in the palace has a call for charity, but the call is not heeded. The cottager has the same call; he lends a listening ear. He had read in a book of Christian cherishing, "the chiefest among these is charity." It was remembered that such was the teaching of Christ, and that the fruit thereof was sunshine, not shadows; hope, not desolation; affection, not bitterness; flowers, not thorns; and the suppliant was put in a condition of thankfulness. There was more heart in the cottage' and of a sweeter perfume, than there was in the palace, and all because there had not been as much contact with the world, and as much hurtful friction.
An out-of-the-way place is entered, where is seen a justice of the peace, a constable, and a candidate for office. Officials in these times seem to take many official liberties, and candidates hunt for votes in many strange places. The day preceding, these men had much to say about modern civil service and its corruptions.
"Here's success to you," says one to the other, and up their hands go. "The chiefest of these is charity," is the text of the great gospel, and therefore we will say no more at this time.
A stranger stands upon the post-office corner. A word or two from him reveals the fact that he is an old soldier — a veteran of '61.
"Can you tell me where Lincoln's old residence is?"
"Yes," was the reply, and then followed the directions.
"During the day I visited the Monument at Oak Ridge."
"And you found it a pleasant place?"
"Very pleasant, indeed."
"But before I leave on the midnight train I must see where the martyred president lived ere he rose to fame, power and immortality."
The man was cultured and appreciative. A guide conducted him to the place where he desired to go, and gazing for some time upon the house that will for ages be a historic landmark, he turned away, saying: "A hundred years from to-night the visitor and the pilgrim will see different surroundings, and the then people of Springfield will appreciate this place more than they of to-day do."
Sunday night and the rambles are resumed.
We take it that those out early this evening "under the gas-lights" are church goers. There may be some exceptions, and more perhaps than there should be.
It is said that church goers are more numerous in this country than in any other, owing perhaps to the more liberal distribution of intelligence among the people. In fact, church going has long been considered one of the requirements of our civilization, and the requirement was well met by our church people in this city yesterday and last night. Standing under the gas-light, we saw pass, Methodists, Catholics,
12Presbyterians, Baptists, Lutherans, Congregationalists and Christians. There was a pausing to reflect over the diversity of sects, and yet it is claimed that all sects preach Christ, and in their efforts toward human salvation, and human elevation, promulgate alike the principles of mercy, peace and love. Whatever may be said of other places, the observation is that in Springfield there is a commendable charity exhibited in religious things. A Methodist and a Catholic pass along arm in arm, having come together in returning from their places of worship. This suggested that iron-bound creeds and rigid theology had spent their exacting force before reaching our present civilization.
IN the heavens no stars are to be seen. Clouds hang low, and a chill wind creeps about. Upon a quiet street the rambler rambles. Attention is directed to a house humble in appearance. There is a light in the window, shining as brightly as though the clouds in the heavens did not hang low and the winds were not chill. The curtain is not wholly closed, and through the opening is seen a company of bright-faced, and bright-eyed children, surrounding a mother. It is a picture of love, and a scene of affection. There was maturity in the midst of childhood, and it appeared that a blessing was being imparted in the character of instructive lessons. The impression obtained at once that this was a heart home. While we paused a good strong man came down the street, and, turning in at the gate, knocked for admittance. "Who's there?" was the quick response. The reply was uttered in a manly voice, in a tone that was familiar, and in a moment the door was open, and the "tree a vine was clinging to," passed in from the darkness and the chill wind. It was plain that, in the best sense of the word, he was, in that home, the defender of the faithful. From under the gas-light was
14heard the pattering of little feet, and the music of God's best divinity as it existed in the heart and soul of childish innocence. No matter now if in the outside world their raged a tempest and existed a restless discontent. To this man at this period such conditions were of no moment. He lived now in a kingdom of his own, surrounded by an unlimited loyalty, begotten in the secret chambers of the heart and soul.
The rambler wraps his coat closer about him, and amid the outward elements, fringed with discomfort, he passes on to other points and other scenes.
On a southwest corner he pauses, and pausing, looks up, and through the darkness, and the overhanging branches of a tree, far above the earth where space is cheap, and where existance is less costly, a light is seen. It comes through a window more modest than those below, but nearer the clouds, and nearer the stars. The window has the character of a door and is now slightly ajar. Through it comes a strain of music floating as it were upon golden cords through the air. The song was in the English mother tongue, and therefore English mothers' sons could appreciate it. It had a sentiment — had a soul, and the beauty of that sentiment, and the debth of that soul was easily comprehended. Its drapery and finish was of a clear Saxon brand — a drapery and finish that surrounds the best songs and music, which, in all the ages, has been developed in the human heart. The song that came from that humble yet lofty window, or from the soul
15behind it, partook of divinity, and carried with it a melody infinite in conception. A step or two below might have existed an infatuation for the artistic, combined with the grand harmonies, but this infatuation would leave the soul in a condition of barrenness, that is, the English speaking, and the English understanding soul. After all there must be had a charity for tastes, and be yielded a concession to diverse opinions. This we have, and this we do, but under that gaslight on that southwest corner there came to us from that attic window, upon an angle of forty-five degrees, the song and the music bound to move a midnight rambler:
And love for hearts that pine,
But let the manly habitude
Of upright souls be mine."
These lines were the ones that had been wedded to music, and the music did not lord it over the lines, nor did the lines beat the music.
It is now past the midnight hour, and as we count time the boundary 'twixt Saturday and Sunday has been passed. As Christian civilization views it, a holier period in time has been reached. We pass on within the shadow of a building containing a sanctuary. The words of the song that floated from the attic window are still remembered, and the rambler pauses to wonder if in that sanctuary, or in any sanctuary in this city, would be preached during the Sabbath a Gospel more cheering.
THE streets are crowded. It is the Saturday evening before the election, and many men are exhibiting their interest. A large number are full of fire, and therefore unbalanced. They congregrate in mobs and assume to expound economic principles; but the expounding soon merges into an incoherency, and in many instances the incoherency into an inextricable blindness. Now we hear a story, now an insinuation, and then an imputation. To believe them all would be to believe the worst possible things, and to have one's faith in humanity reduced to a slender thread. The gin-mills, the fountains of modern political inspiration, are running at full blast, and the inveterate bummers and dead-beats are clinging to candidates like Christian faith clings to the hope of immortality. The scene repulses the senses and sickens the heart, causing the sober, reflective citizen to weaken in his admiration for the elective system in the machinery of republican government. Men are drunk to-night who for many a day have stood aloof, and from under the gas-lights we hear this expression: "Well, boys, here goes, election times are not always with us." The reflection was,
17that if these times could not come and pass without being made periods of beastliness, and without being embraced as opportunities for wasting the best substance of human life, then it would be better if they would never come. It points to no purity in government, and tells of no condition, redeeming in character, in the preliminary workings of our political system. But enough of this. We will pass.
We hear a voice in Reform Club Hall. Ascending the stairway we behold a man standing, in the attitude of a speaker, on the platform. He speaks words of cheering import. They are the words of kindness, and they flow with an impetuous force, as the language of the heart always flows. "O, friend! strong in wealth for so much good, take my counsel. In the name of the Saviour I charge you to be true and tender to mankind." He would have all men come out from Babylon into manhood, and love and labor for the fallen, the neglected, the suffering, and the poor. He would bid the lover of arts, customs, laws, institutions and forms of society, love those things only as they help mankind, and despise them when they cause a flowing of tears and a bleeding of the soul. He would draw men to him and not repulse them; he would make friends and not enemies; would soften the human heart instead of steeling it against the mollifying influence of agencies, pure and saving in all their essential forces. He tells us that he is a hater of evil, but not a hater of men; that he is unfriendly to instrumentalities that lead
18into thorny paths, but friendly to the humanity that suffers thereby. He would battle temptation, but pause to sympathize with, and to help the tempted, pointing him away to a place, and a condition, where the eye never sees, the ear never hears, the mind never knows, and the heart never feels the form or voice, the thought or sense of any temptation. Ere the rambler passed out into the open air his thought was that it was a grand thing for man to be able to understand man, and to adjust himself for a given time in another's place — to stand as he stood, and feel as he felt. When judging a friend or a brother it is a very good rule not to look simply on one side. In the jostling headlong race of life man is liable to be selfish in his views and judgments. We do not always know how much this one or that one has "struggled, and fought, and striven;" how much this man or that man was tempted and tried, ere he was forced to embrace the wrong that he did.
Who blameless stands before God,
But whom his fellows have utterly scorned,
And made to "pass under the rod,"
Whose soul is unstained by the thought of sin.
Who will yet find saving grace,
And who would be praised where you now condemn,
If you would "put yourself in his place."
The closing day has been "All Souls Day," as indicated by the command of an ancient church. Prayers have been offered for the alleviation of restless souls, and for their redemption from thralldom. There has been a looking away into
19the realms of a spiritual existence. Contemplating the faith that penetrates the darkness, and grasps the conditions beyond the veil, the rambler is lost in the traditional mysteries. Round about he is told that there are restless souls. Going his way he meets those in thralldom, fit subjects for redemption. Who prays for their alleviation to-night? It may be a mother, a wife, or a sister, who comprehend not the established teaching which comes up from the eighth century. "All Soul's Day" sounds well. There is so much soul about it, is the reason. Everything that tells of the soul, or even alludes to the soul, calls for man's attention. Yonder sits a tramp on the Court Park curbing. Has the day just passed been to him a soul day? Wonder if he went about during the day to say, as did the village children during the middle ages:
He may have gone about seeking food, but whether he obtained any "soul cake" is questionable. Upon these points the rambler cares not to interrogate him. To all appearance his history is a sealed scroll, and what is contained therein is his own. He has a soul, and the indications are that it has suffered. He may have been repulsed from his home — a home in which was taught an iron-hooped theology. Hismother, good and true, may have gone to heaven years ago. Sermons may have been preached to him from the words, "The greatest of these is charity," and which was never made practical.
The boy may have wondered and doubted. He may have met with struggles and temptations, and then the scorn of the world, which conditions tended to the desolation of the soul's sanctuary. And now, while he sits there within the shadow of one of the Park trees, and while the moon's soft beams fall through the over-hanging branches, he may be plotting some transgression against society, from which he may now be an outcast; and who knows but what a few "soul cakes" might cause him to cease his plotting, and to drop his hands, which may forsooth be raised against what seems to him to be an exacting society.
WITHOUT faith in humanity there could be no such thing as faith in God; no such thing as a developed Christian civilization, and no such thing as a crowning glory of genius. There would be no searching for heaven; no grasping for an eternal reward; and no struggling to attain a mastery and knowledge of all material forces.
Passing under an all-night gas-light we enter a narrow way. There are bunks ranged about, which, here and there, are occupied by men, who seem to have unfortunately drifted to the losing side of the battle of life. For convenience sake we will call this place "The City's Charity." Though charity is counted the chiefest of virtues, this charity is not, by a large degree, the chiefest of charities. However, it affords a shelter and preserves life. There is no gas-light here, for that has some how or other been decreed a luxury. The dingy stove, and battered coal bucket, constitutes the furniture of this retreat. A man rises from a bunk and sits upon the outer edge. He looks contemplatively into the low burning fire. There is something about the man that attracts the rambler's attention. His eyes show a brilliancy, and his head
22the marks of an intellectuality. He speaks little, and very slowly. He shows that he has a memory, and that it is full. Conversing with him the impression obtains that he has been an observer of things. "My friend," said he, "Want is a bitter and a hateful thing. Its virtues are not understood; however, a condition of need has brought to a full perfection many things, which could not have been done under other circumstances." Having listened to these words, the rambler fancied that he saw the speaker in a better condition. Sure he was that a scholar spoke — a man who had been cultured to the better realities of life. For a moment he paused, for a moment he gazed at the old unsightly stove, and seemingly unconscious of the slow struggling fire within. He then, as if in retrospect, quoted from Byron's Childe Harold:
Have I not had my brain seared, my heart riven,
Hopes sapp'd, name blighted, life's life lied away?
And only not to desperation driven
Because not altogether of such clay
As rots into the souls of those whom I sway?
It was a sad sight. There was a man who deserved a better fate. It was plain that he had seen better days, that he had stood in the sunshine, that he had held up his head to gaze at the stars in the heavens, and with a grasp of his intellect had conceived what many of his fellows could not comprehend. "By what process have you reached a place like this?" asks the rambler. There was a painful silence for a few
23moments, and then the man responded: "It would take hours to tell you, but may it be sufficient to say that the starting point was when I began to abuse my manhood, and neglected to cherish my opportunities. I might say that on many an occasion man has passed by on the other side, and then I might add that I was first harsh to myself, and gave man a reason for "passing by on the other side."
This character is not the only one which the rambler comes in contact with in this place. There are others here, and each with a history. There sits a young man who appears not to have reached his majority. His clothes are rent in many places, and generally his appearance is uninviting. He wasn't communicative, but enough was obtained for the basis of a conclusion that he was a prodigal; and that he was feeding upon the husks was plainly evident. He had ventured out to see the world, to investigate its ways, and to find a better condition than he fancied he had previously enjoyed. It was clear that he had found the ways of the world, and found them rougher than he had anticipated, and that he had not reached that better condition which he had hoped for. His inclination was to turn back and go to his father's house. A fatted calf seemed to be his want. It was his need, and would claim his attention more closely than would a disquisition on causes and effects, or a sermon on the "Gospel plan of salvation." To him "a prayer without some meat and corn" would be as virtueless for good as would a morning vapor be powerless
24to float an ocean steamer. Upon the floor was observed a few tracts, dropped by some good man possessed of a good heart. It was the preparing of the way to the life to come the indexes pointing "tramps" to a tramping along the golden streets of the New Jerusalem. It is well for these men's attention to be thus directed, but what concerns them most now was about the earthly way, and how the most successfully to tramp the muddy streets of the planet earth.
The rambler has been in the city's charity hall long enough. He seeks a change and finds it. The contrast is wide. He now sees a little three-year old girl dressed in white. It is prettier than the brightest star that blazes in the heavens, because it is near the heart. It is as pretty as the prettiest angel that ever moved through the atmosphere of immortal existence, because its ministrations reach living souls. It is the beauty of childhood, of innocence, and of truth, and the heavens can produce no better beauty.
EXPERIENCE tells every man that association tends to make stronger and deeper our emotion for the beautiful. There has just passed a man under the glare of the gas-light, who, in his youth, ere he crossed the home threshold to go out in the world, to be a struggler in its conflicts, gazed upon a mother's miniature and thought it beautiful. He passed out a wanderer; he battled and struggled for years; he attained the strength of manhood, and combining his forces, gained a victory. Pausing, he looks again upon the miniature. How emotions swell. That one who never wearied in caring for him, and who never faltered in her ministry of love and faith, now seems divinely beautiful. He drops a tear; and while the gas-lights continue to blaze their light for the feet of the passing throng, memory's gallery is open, and through its avenues our wanderer moves, with throbbing heart and softened tread, as he beholds the beautiful pictures which are hung there, of mother and home, with their happy light, guiding his footsteps down life's winding way. In this man we see that which is noble, pleasing and beautiful.
It is yet early in the evening. The streets are crowded with a miscellaneous collection of the population. Standing upon the corner one sees much that is beautiful, and much that is repulsive. The tempters, who are passing to and fro, would make a host if congregated. Here and there men stand to make unseemly comments pertaining to their presence. Better than they are the frail sisters, but the world, in its false vision, concedes it not. This city's best (?) society pets many a viper, and, like a relentless fury, crowds into hell their victims. This is not noble — it is not beautiful. Christ in his earthly mission would not tolerate a practice so withering — so hurtful. He watered where watering was needed, and calling for the golden of trust would not, by His will, permit a single human soul to famish. It is sure He would not drive a soiled existence quivering to the prey of the favorites of a society that cherishes shoddy conditions, and exhibits a coldness towards the unfortunates who are passing under the rod. The Christly way is the way along which love's soothing dews are permitted to fall, to quicken to life the plants upon which, in other days, had bloomed the fragrance and innocence of beauty.
Did we but know the causes which have so many times led virtue to sin, and made innocence a barren waste, we would know more than we ever dreamed of knowing. Many bright eys grow dim, and we know not the agency that robbed them of their light. Many soft and rosy cheeks grow
27pale, and the wonder is from whence came the blight. In the temples of humanity's best hopes comes a frailty, and then a fading. Why it is, we are not permitted to know, and maybe 'tis well. When the dove is wounded it clasps its wings to hide its bleeding. The sighs that come from its heart are breathed in solitude and silence. There is but little upon which to base a judgment concerning the character of the wound. However, conclusions are drawn, and they carry with them, too often, the opposite of healing.
"Did you see them turn around the corner?" was a question asked the rambler. "Yes," was the reply; and turning that corner means the passing into a locality where hearts are famishing and souls perishing, and where is going to decay, temples of God's own building. Those who had just turned the corner were young men — the children of fortune. Under the wings of the night — the covers of many a sin — and by the blinding glare of the gas-light they had gone their way for a revel, and for a dance, with those whose hearts had not been nurtured as they had craved to be. These young men had, a while before, been seen in the presence of beauty and of virtue. They had courted respect, and had obtained it; they wanted the smiles of virtue, and the benefit of the fragrance that comes from hearts, that gather well and wisely, from the gardens of God's own planting, and all these they had secured. They bowed themselves out, leaving the impression that they were models of young manhood's glory, and that they
28possessed as much virtue within as they exhibited without. They were seen later, and with the tempter's coil wound about them. The scene was a sad one. Good mothers, good sisters, and good friends, dreamed not of their plight. "Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise," but the knowledge will come by and by, and with it tears and sorrow, and a desolation of the soul's sanctuary.
We enter a dark way from under the gas-light; pass from the localities of the rich and opulent. The surroundings tell of no heart song, and of no soul growing. A feeble voice is heard, giving out a music that is tremulous, reminding the rambler of some ancient harp, which once breathed a strong and clear melody, but whose loosened strings now reveal only plaintive quiverings. There has faded away the fair morning, with its rose-tinted hours, which bore upon its bosom the dew and freshness of childhood. When most real and most earnest was life there came a blight. When heart beat highest and warmest the golden power of trust was riven. High built plans and purposes fell. The faithful strivings for self, for man and for God, fled. The power of evil had done its work, and left a heart blasted with the poison of impurity, alone in the gathering darkness, without an earthly friend, shut out from the ministry of love, and barred from the ways of redemption.
To the rambler she said: "I was never trusted, was always placed in the attitude of one whose honor was in defence.
My life took an early chill; it was never led by songs of love; ill winds blew across my path; my father watched me as if I was a being without a soul; my heart wanted a feeding, but it was never fed. Had I been trusted I might not have strayed into the cruel, thorny path of sin. I was held by an iron band away from my heart's best desires, and was, instead, watched through summer bowers."
From this scene of evil blight, and of perishing, the rambler passes to a more hopeful one. He enters a humble cottage around which floods a light. It was not his first advent there. The surroundings were not unfamiliar. It was a retreat which he had sought on many a former occasion, and where he had found a joy, a peace, and a faith he could find nowhere else among the habitations of men. Evidence of a visitation to that cottage was apparent — a visitation from the skies, a coming from the heart of the heavens — from the paradise of divinity, of love and trust. It is a freshling of creation, with a soul, breathed from the inward temble of the Infinite. To the rambler's ears there comes an infant's voice, a voice not heard before among the children of men. What tidings does it bring, and upon what mission does it come? Those who have developed into a mature and vitalized manhood would love to know, but are not permitted. It was Charles Lamb who rushed across a London street and grasped an infant, held in a mother's arms, and shaking it, cried: "O! little one, tell me of heaven."At this moment there are those who would do likewise,
31would ask the infant about heaven, about God, about the angels, and about the beauty and fragrance of the flowers that bud and blossom along the golden streets of that heaven, out from which it passed for a home on the earth.
Out on the still, chill air is heard the solemn, thrilling notes of the town clock, telling not of sorrow and neither of peace, but of the ending of the night and the beginning of the morning, of rest receding and the duties of another day approaching. When will rest cease to recede and the hours of toil cease their coming? was a question suggested to the rambler as he passed out under the moonlight. The answer came: "not until the last battle is fought, and the last triumph gained, will rest cease to do its soothing work, and toil cease to be toil." The only gas-light blazing now is at police headquarters. Pausing here is to see much of human frailty, and to have brought to one's attention much of human bleeding, caused by the piercing thorns along the pathway of many a life. A woman at the hour of one o'clock comes to tell the story of man's inhumanity, of his viciousness, and of his transformation into a devil. She had been compelled to abandon her home. The husband, who, in a better period of his life, had vowed a fealty, had upon this night whipped his wife. The very air breathed invective, and seemed to invoke a visitation upon that man of the vengeful scorpions of wrath.
An officer speaks: "O, its no use. As has been the case heretofore, she
32wont appear against him." When he was sober she couldn't, and wouldn't stand before him in the attitude of a prosecutor. There was a fidelity that would not break, a devotion that failed not, and a hope that would not perish; yet if that woman had done the least fraction of what her husband had done, she would have seen no fidelity, and no devotion like unto her's, shown to call her back into life's peaceful ways. She would have been driven out into the street, without a light, without a guide. The crown of stars for womanhood would have been for her turned into a crown of thorns. The man the following day comes upon the street and is greeted by friends, who say he is a good fellow, a clever man. Thus day after day men are credited with qualities they possess not. The qualities they do possess, the fiery viper in its liquid form brings out when in the presence of the defenseless. In the midst of strength and power their qualities are nursed into a quietness. In fine they are a legion of cowards and never take risks.
MORE and more, as the years go by upon their wings of joy and sorrow, do we realize that from life's humblest walks come the brightest rays of heart sunshine. In the cottage there is not as many burnings as in the palace, and not as much heart bleeding. In the one there glows into beauty the gems of gratitude, but in the other selfishness chokes gratitude to an untimely death. Just now a youth strolls leisurely along with his companion. Their intellectual trade marks indicate a mediocrity. The Jove-like signs of mentality are not prominent. One says "O, it was very select." "Select of what?" was the question that naturally intruded. "A select thanksgiving party." Was God there? Were there any soul windows, with a bright redeeming light, streaming through, seen on either side? Or was the select thanksgiving party a party returning its thanks over a few cans of select oysters? Selections are to be desired if they are good, and contain qualities that exist within as well as without. A select company, selected from a brain and heart stand point, a company that can sec a soul through the rough,
34and a brain whenever it develops, is a grand company, and we are glad that in the city of the Emancipator such companies hold communion. But how true it is that with many of these modern "selections," a grandly magnificent thought would be a stranger. To entertain it, many belonging thereto, would be compelled to have clipped their feeble wings of surface drapery.
Lay down the proposition that mind acts from reason, and matter from'cause, and you would be presented with a multiplicity of confused expressions. Propound the question, What is the proper business of the intellect? and there will follow an incoherency. In the humble cottages grandly magnificent thoughts are not always strangers. On the line of mental vision those who are select are those who can give the light, no matter how good or bad may be the clothes they wear. The philosopher's lamp burned dimly in his chamber while the select company danced in the presence of the king. The philosopher threw into the work a light that has illuminated the centuries. The select company, who, in splendid array, danced in the courtly presence, and felt themselves honored, left no footprints as guides to the race; contributed nothing toward showing the extent of intellectual development in their period of life, and died as they had lived, without an aim, and without a purpose. Standing at a distance, there are many pictures seen that look well and please the eye. A closer inspection reveals defects.
Gilded tombs do worms unfold."
In many a circle of modern society is seen a brilliant glitter, and behind it all are hearts as cold as a polar wave, and as pulseless for humanity as the beaten rock beneath the rambler's feet. They never reach out for a generous thought, never reach down to lift up a prostrate form, and never ramble upon missions of mercy, never discover that
Contains the shining treasure of a soul
Resolved and brave."
They never once seem to realize the truth that "the deepest ice that ever froze can only o'er the surface close." Beneath floats a current unchecked. Its force is a silent one, and the world is fast coming to learn that these silent forces are the forces that are moving the nations. Therefore, it is well to respect the surface conditions when it is known that beneath exists the great propelling powers around which are aspirations that grasp the heavens, and expectations that reach the lines of eternal verities. Down a given street walks a man quietly. Occasionly, as he passes within the gas-light, he bows to a friend. He is a poor man and commonly clad. He is not bothered with stocks, coupons and deeds, and is never absorbed with the excitements incident to the rise and fall of securities. Approaching, he hails the rambler and asks: "My friend, isn't the sky beautiful to-night?" The question suggested a looking away from amid the adverse gales of
36mortal existence Though the moon was not full orbed, the sky was beautiful; its face bore no trace of weariness, and let fall no tears of sorrow.
Our friend had been in the chamber of grief, had seen tears ebb and flow, and innocence pleading for comfort. There had been a passage between the stars; an angel had led the way, and coming to the temple of his affections had taken a treasure and borne it above; and this is why he had raised his head to look that way, and to admire the beauty of the heavens. Could this man look up, and, surveying the starry regions, feel surging through his soul a spirit of thankfulness, as he remembered that during the year had been torn from his life a budding fragrance that was making bright and happy his existence? We simply wonder, if in his humanity he could so triumph. We fancied that when he looked at the sky and its glitter of stars, his thoughts dwelt more upon the affectionate interest he had in the heavens than upon the majesty of that being who created them. And for this who would chide him, when it is remembered that God made his soul, and made it to throb with love.
And all the men and women are merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages."
THE seven ages, or stages, are seen tonight, ranging from infancy to second childhood. On and on goes the play. The castes of character are varied. The streets are full of life. There, is music in the air, discordant though it may be. There is a joy upon the road, but a shivering pain down the by-way. On the highway is a bounding life, but aside a little way is a cheerless condition. The windows glisten under the sheen of the gas-light. We hear the sleigh-bells ring. The north wind blows cold. The furs and robes are heaped about. The midnight hour comes. The sleighs drop far apart. The words of those within are soft and slow, and thus the game of life goes, on, either to lose or to win, to rise or to fall. Tonight, as we struggle to maintain our position upon the smooth surface beneath our feet, much of sham, artifice, conceit and hypocrisy are seen. Here and there is beheld that which is natural, modest, frank and real. It is the outgrowth of a
38right conception of God; the fruit of a teaching that tells man that his duty embraces that which is the opposite of harshness, and that his conception of eternity should not be such as to make him a coward and a hypocrite.
A cynic stands upon a corner watching the play. He has reached the shady side of life. He is given to moods of abstraction, and at this time is caustic but philosophic. Says he: "My friend, I believe I have some respectable principles; at any rate I have never meddled in any marriage or scandal. I have never recommended a cook or a physician, and consequently have never attempted the life of any one." "Then," interposed the rambler, "it may be safe to say you never engaged in journalism." "No, sir, never," was the quick reply. "Have you any likes?" ventured the rambler. "Very few, I assure you," was the response, and continuing, said: "My dislikes are in the majority. I have a dislike for sots, fops, and intriguing women who make a game of virtue. I have a disgust for affectation. I have a pity for made-up men and women. I have an aversion to rats, liquors, metaphysics, and rhubarb, and this continual changing of school books, and have always had a terror for modern justice and wild beasts."
The rambler thinks this is not bad. A little hating now and then is a good thing, in fact it is essential. We are aware that there is a class of people in the world who preach universal love for everybody and everything. All great reformers have been more or less-great haters. The hearty detestation of
39John Knox had a potential influence. In the infancy of this republic the bitter condemnations that found utterance, accomplished more for freedom and democracy, than all the graceful ulogiums could have done in a thousand years. Walter Scott, the genius of good nature, never could have aroused a nation up to revolution. The seals of injustice cannot be broken by gentle nursing. The Shylocks of the world, laugh at water gruel and mock at man's splendid heroics. Men who would be masters on the earth must steer from expediencies and cramping policies, must deal indignant blows against manifest evils.
The cynic to whom we allude accords with these views. There is a sympathy so to speak, and he becomes still further communicative. Says he: "I am like the French count. I was taught all sorts of things, and learned all sorts of language. By dint of impudence and quackery I sometimes passed for a savant. I await death without fear, and without impatience. My life has been a bad melodrama on a grand stage, and I have played the hero, the tyrant, the lover, the nobleman, but never the valet."
That is to say he had been a man — a proud man. He had combined his soul forces, and had dropped into an incisive analysis of men and things. He had looked through surfaces into debths, and therefrom drawn deductions. He had no use for a material and spiritual thinness; had no liking for mush, and never had much time to spend with the striplings, who lived only to be seen.
This man possessed a strange yet forceful character. Upon the world's stage he had appeared in many scenes, and marked and energetic in all. Soon the end will come, when he will have put aside his armor to seek a repose where hypocrisy, cant and seeming will not comfront him, and where the soul will not be hidden.
THERE are many persons in the world of a cynical, gloomy cast of mind, who are wont to groan over the degeneracy of the age. Now it is confined to one thing and at another time to something else. Standing in a public place, where all the surroundings show a bounding activity, we behold a monster of pungent characteristics. "That is a prompting of selfishness," was a sample of his wording. "My dear sir, do I address a pessimistic theorist?" interposed a bystander. The reply was indirect. "Will you buy a ticket?" questioned a bright-eyed maiden. "It's for sweet charity's sake," she continued. Our cynical theorist began at once to criticise the character of these continuous appeals. The fair pleader interjected a few words and was gone: "We will know more about it later," was the utterance. This was a reply that was very suggestive, and it met with no retort. There seemed to be no bracing up against its influence. The fact was plain that there was an increase of philanthropic work in the world, which, with a resistless power, was being forced upon the mind and into the soul. Religious people
42may, if they will, imagine a lack of spirituality, and skeptical scientists may tell us that Christianity is dying out, but there never was a time in the history of the world when there was more blessing flowing from as many unseen sources than there is to-day. We look out upon the night and behold a ministration, the like of which could not have been seen a hundred years ago. It is the outflowing of a creed permeated with universal love, and based upon elements of a broad Catholicy, and from under the gas-lights' glare the rambler is wont to say that never were there so many people on the earth as now, who could be called "Blessed of the Father and heirs of the kingdom of heaven."
From these reflections we pass.
The Capitol gas-lights were unusually brilliant. Beneath them moved an anxious, enthusiastic concourse of people, Among them were representative men, men of culture and intellectual force, men who had done service in both civil and turbulent fields. The caucus door was slightly ajar, and through the opening it was uttered, "eighty to twenty-six". A soldier boy, a member of the Tennessee legion, heard the announcement and yelled, "another march to the sea!" That shout called up the memory of the heroic days of the republic, when courage was the proud trade-mark of man. Presently there was a gathering under a medley of gas-lights. The rambler hears a voice. It comes through a condition of silence: "Time is the vindicator of man, and to-night I have
43been vindicated." In this world of conflict and battle, of goodness and evil, and of thorns and flowers, it is pleasant to realize a vindication, and a satisfaction to know that reverses can be outlived. A pair of keen, black eyes flash with marvelous brilliancy; not as roused by an inward passion, but by the promptings of a worthy pride. There was a time when those eyes exhibited a blackness more piercing than they ever exhibited before or since, and that was when the army. courier rode to his side in North Carolina and told him of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. At that hour he was the strongest and most restless soldier in the Republic. Man never saw blacker eyes and of such a vigorous flashing. Said he to Sherman: "Say the word and I will wipe the rebel army in our front, from the face of the earth in three hours." The rambler passes to another scene. Strong men, men of public station, of political action, and of political calculation, are hurrying to and fro. In an upper parlor is a little woman with a head covered with hair that is silver-tinted. She has lived an active life. She has come in contact with the best minds of the earth. She is strong-minded, but not in the common-parlance sense, for in all these latter years of the Republic's most marked and eventful history, she has clung to a man in whom she has ever had the strongest faith. In his conflicts she has stood by his side with a zeal that was tireless, and with a confidence that was as firm as it was beautiful. Her heart is as strong as is her mind, and as successful
44in producing results. She knows men, and comprehends their characteristics with a remarkable intelligence. Disorganized forces she can organize, and discordant elements she can readily mollify, and with an ease of grace that commands respect. Under the parlor gas-lights these qualities are seldom seen in a developed form. There are but few women who can meet a vigorous commanding manhood in the arena of political conflict, without, at least, an apparent detraction from the lofty plane where woman is queen, and where her influence is potent, in making grand the inner life, from whence comes the inspiration that gives man his best resources and most forceful power. The wife of John Adams had such a power, and in the first American cabinets she concentrated an influence which the nation felt, and which was crystalized into policies which propelled the republic onward in the march of governmental civilization. Upon the night referred to, the rambler beheld a little woman who possesses a similar power. In advance of time she had been a vindicator of the man in whom she had an abiding interest. True, it was a selfish vindication, but none the less commendable. "Eighty to twenty-six" was borne to her ears, and a happy smile beamed upon a face modestly traced with the lines of anxiety and care, and with a brightness that hid those lines from the casual glance. The triumph of the black-eyed citizen soldier was her triumph, and his honor and glory was her honor and glory, and all the strong men who ranged about
45under the gas-lights conceded it, and further that she was one of the most remarkable women of the century.
"I didn't think that he was so weak," was an utterance heard in the midst of a happy throng. The man had said: "My children will read your names and say they are our father's friends." And over his cheeks coursed big tears. He could say no more. He may have been unnerved, but by no law of human ethics could the conclusion be reached that he was unmanned. Neither was it an evidence of weakness. A man may conquer his soul, and drive back the rising emotions in his heart, and it may be said of him, he is a man of strength, a man of power, and a man of nerve; but in the world of humanity it is a strength that fails to produce good results. It is the exhibition of a nerve that is not responsive when touched by the hand of need, and a power that is powerless to supply when the soul is hungering and thirsting for a great good, a sweet fragrance. The man whose eyes are never moistened with tears may be termed a strong-minded man, but the man who can swell from his heart under the gas-light, in the midst of a brilliant throng, is a strong-hearted man — strong in all the elements that point to a crowning success. "I am a man and will not shed a tear," is the language of
47weakness. It is to assail the glitter of the best charm of life. It is to discourage the best impulses of the soul. It is to chill the worthy aspirations of manhood and wreck the best construction of heart and soul. "I didn't think he was so weak," was met with "I didn't think he was so strong." The one speaker conceived the strength of mind to be the whole of man's commanding force; the other believed that the heart of man in its best condition was the throne of an agency that was paving better ways and grasping sweeter fruits. Not, however, independent of mind, but in conjunction therewith. The force of the one falls short without the force of the other. A tear in all its sentient elements, is the most forceful of human agencies.
A tear, following a reference to the idols of the heart, shows that the heart is big, and he who possesses it is a strong man. In the arena of human action he is a central power, a magnetic influence, giving point and vigor to all the arteries of human progress. Lincoln dropped a tear at Gettysburg, which moved the nation into a mastery of strength. Such examples of impulsive power have thrown their light all along the path of the ages. Such formations from the seat of the soul have made statesmen strong in the forum and cabinet, and soldiers powerful in campaign and battle. The affections yield man his best resources, and drawing therefrom he makes himself a controling power among men. He reaches out and grasps conditions of disorganization to convert them into
48conditions of harmony. The scene was a pleasant one. The swelling of the soul and the reference to the loves of the heart were what made it pleasant. It was to remind those who stood about the room that the tree had clinging to it tendrils, and that about it were being nurtured "buds to flowers."
The rambler passes out. The night wind chants a mournful dirge as if passing humanity was keeping step to a time that was muffled. "For the sake of Sangamon county's honor maintain a silence." It was the pleading of a man of pride, the pleading of a man having a knowledge of a shaded life and a crippled manhood. Having a respect for the honor that would be affected if silence is maintained, the curtains are permitted to hang suspended with no fold ajar.
"He's worth a half million," is an utterance made by an observer near by. The man referred to was recognized as one who had made a few forward steps during the past fifteen years. He was remembered as a man who, years ago came to the capital, but not as he comes today. Then he was ranked with the common herd, today his presence is courted by those who had no use for him then. Then he was poor, now he is rich. He had no influence then that was commanding, but with success and wealth, that has been added. For a time he was a mechanic, and therefore in a mechanical way, carved out his fortune. He stepped from a mechanic to a legislator; from a common walk to the walk of a
49solon. It's an example of the fruit of a bounding democracy. Today one may be groping along, tomorrow he may be a forceful power. Today one may be mingling with inordinate conditions; tomorrow he may be crowding the stars, and wishing that he had better eyes with which to battle their blinding glare. The Hon. John Mulligan has toiled faithfully. He observed closely passing things. He struck the rising tide, and met friendly gales, which gave him nought but a cheerful fanning. If he floated into rough waters and among breakers, his powers were such, and sufficient to save him from any serious disaster. When he first turned the grindstone to sharpen dull tools, he did it well, and told his fellows that his business was to turn the crank. There was no terming it "a circular work." He contented himself with waiting patiently for the time to come when more high-sounding titles would be his right. He had proper sense and using it to advantage, won in the battle.
Dry a tear here and another sparkles there. Carry sunshine to a home on tenth street, and the while a home on first street is being mantled with gloom. Plant a flower on north grand avenue, watered well with the dews of the inward fountain, and while it is growing into vigor and beauty, a thorn is peering to pierce and pain on south grand avenue. But shall there be a cessation, a withholding of ministrations, when around about us in palace and cottage, cruel invasions are being made, and the hearts of the fairest flowers are being pierced. "I am tired of this work" were ill words to utter while beyond so many thresholds exists so much of blight, so much of sorrow — so much of that which is perishing for want of love and a soul benediction. If there be a withholding, maybe in the after dawn, the flowers that have been pierced all along the way of life will cry out reproachfully: "Why are we permitted to suffer?" and then the record will be made, and the upper and nether stones will press and grind harshly.
In a quiet retreat, in from the surrounding chill borne upon
51the moaning wind, the rambler comes in contact with a teacher and a child. The teaching is from the word of the living God, teaching the right way of living, practical lessons of life; pointing out the beautiful and the unseemly, the noble and the ignoble conditions which light and shade the earth. It is the noblest work upon which mind and heart was ever concentrated.
The rambler has been told that children cannot understand grave questions of theology. No doubt there are complex questions of Christian ethics upon which men prate and wrangle, and which moral philosophers and religious teachers have for eighteen hundred years been unable to settle, which little children cannot fathom, and 'tis well that they cannot; but there are matters allied to theology and moral teaching which they can and do understand. For instance: A little Sabbath school girl was asked what faith was ? Her answer was this: "Doing what God says without asking any questions." The rambler believes that there has never lived a doctor of divinity who could give a more lucid definition. True, this may have been her mother's teaching; but it was a teaching that was understood, and that was sufficient.
Nothing could have been more impressive than the little girl's reply to the infidel, who had promised to reward her if she would tell him where God was. "Sir, I will do better if you will tell me where God is not."
Bishop Butler might have run off into a learned disquisition
52about the immensity of infinity, and entered the realms of nature with a mind crowded with deductive thought. The poet might have said:
His wonders to perform;
And plants his footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm."
But the little girl beat all the philosophers, all the men of learning and intellectual force, in her simple reply, "Tell me where God is not."
A little girl stood by a flowery heath one summer day, gazing intently upon a cluster of roses. In the cluster was a flower that had lived its time and was dying. Close by was an infant flower, just budding into life and beauty. The little girl with her eyes beaming like brilliant stars, and with her soul aflame with enthusiasm, turned to her mother and said:
"Ma! oh, ma! just come and see this little baby flower, raising its head to kiss its mother before she dies." No poetical fancy was ever more charming, and no conception more beautifully clothed.
In the quiet retreats lit up by all kinds of light, the rambler now and then finds those of slow understanding. He would counsel a patience with them. It is a scene of unpleasantness to see one fret at the little child that fails to keep pace with his or her thought.
The injunction is, "Line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little," By and by there will be a raising,
53a bounding, an expansion, and down the years the world will be enriched by the solution of unsolved problems. Today there is an untutored pleading for care and cultivation. It is the voice of a spirit of free inquiry, which ever demands a kindly and respectful attention. The endless questioning of embryo man and womanhood is but the sequence of the soul's expansiveness, and the struggling to enter upon the mission of a vigorously developing immortality.
The week past has been one of toil. The physical condition of the rambler, upon the night set apart for his gas-light review, is one of weariness. Under the glare of the jets he sees no attraction. Over a stretch of intervening time he is moved to dwell upon a court scene, local in its character. The impressions made in connection therewith will ever have a hold upon the inner spiritual penetralia. Thescene referred to, and which we propose to picture, tends to fix as a fact, that it makes no difference how low we may get, or how degraded we become, there will be found existing somewhere an affection for us in some shape or other.
A mother and her daughter, two women, who at one time in their life were among the favored children of fortune, surrounded by all that luxury could lavish, attracts the rambler's attention. They are clothed in mourning. Death had entered the household and taken from the family their only support. One by one downward steps had been made, and continued, until a level was reached from which that widowed mother and affectionate daughter would have turned in dismay
55earlier in life. They were poor and had come into court to plead for one dear to them, the widow's son and sister's brother — the grown babe from the luxurious surroundings, now clad in rags and in a condition of hunger. The most painful feature was in the fact that this child of motherly and sisterly affection, was on the record as a thief. He had stolen some article, enough to constitute grand larceny, if he had been old enough. The mother and sister had secured consent of the attorney, and the court had ordered the recognizance of the three to be taken. The Sheriff departed for the son and brother — the grown baby boy. The mother and daughter sit together, the picture of dispair, waiting for the officer's return. Close by was little dog Tray, the only pet of the kind left in the family to remind its members of former and better days.
Tray looked as only a dog can look when instinctively he discovers that "all is not well" in the home. The mother seemed to be catechising God to know why it was thus with her. The little black and tan presented a mournful look. Just then there was a rustling noise. The officer and the boy had appeared. Both of the females began to weep when they beheld him with his liberty not his own, marched along like a felon, and presenting a scene of distress. The mother could scarcely stand. The inward fountain of grief had swelled to an overflowing. Until now the little dog had betrayed only the same brute instinct of a knowledge that something out of the usual order was going on. As the boy approached, the
56dog who had not been near him for some time, because of his imprisonment, gave a jump toward him, and in the wildest demonstration of gladness, huddled up, placing his head against the boy's tattered pants and looking as if to say: "Your friend still recognizes you." The action of the dog seemed to give new courage to the hearts of mother and sister, and as the trio of poor humanity walked forth from the court room, the dog continued his exhibition of joy and gladness. He was not afraid of the boy's rent and worn garments. He knew him not as a thief. It was the boy he had loved and romped with, and no courts of justice could shake his affection, no matter what might be their decrees. The dog comprehended no sin and no shame. These caused no detraction. His faith was the same and his love and confidence as ever abiding.
It is now evening. The twilight hours have come. Night with its sable wings is approaching. All is quiet within and without. Life is but a dream. The years are fleet in their going. Man aspires, climbs and reaches his end. He moves and wields his power, then closes his eyes, and if he has done well his part in the battle, a cenotaph is reared to tell the place where he sleeps. Just in from under the gas-light. On the corner the rambler met an aged pilgrim. "Nearing the end, but still looking up," was his refrain. Life to him has been one of ceaseless activity and he is now patiently waiting for an era of rest, an era that will span the eternal years. "Looking up;" there's a virtue in doing that. It suggests a hope, a great expectation. It is an evidence of confidence. Looking up is to look toward better things. There is more purity above the head of man than beneath his feet; more light beaming from the stars than can be seen along the byways of mortal existence. In the spiritual sense, man seldom
58falls when he is look up. He finds himself braced by an inspiration that flows from the Divine Heart.
What is hope? — a beam.
Now a happy gleam.
Now a downward stream.
Yes, life is but a dream. The years roll on, the insatiate archer comes and man leaves the stage. And this is life. We look around us and behold monuments here and there that will not perish. Mental abstractions, works of masters, fruits of genius. Under the gas-light sheen, as move by the sovereign constituency of a republican commonwealth, we pause to look at the picture of the martyred Lincoln. An unthinking man standing by says: "Oh, he was only a man." The words were spoken lightly as if to convey a rebuke to those who, standing in such a presence, should indicate by their manner a condition of hero-worship. In all the ages of human history men have worshiped the divine principle; have worshiped lofty characters and the great throbbing and redeeming elements of the human heart. God can be worshiped in the human soul with as contrite a devotion as he can be though he were alone in the heavens. Close by is "The Star of Bethlehem," a picture of holiness, telling of the birth of a great soul. There is "The Angel of Peace" — a picture of hope — passing in midnight darkness over a deserted city with an infant in its arms and a bunch of flowers in its hand.
There is gloom behind but light before; below there are tears above there is joy; beneath the feet there is pain; above the head there is comfort and peace, and to that condition the angel is passing, and through a halo of spiritual glory.
"I saw you then through political glasses, and the impressions formed were not honestly made," was the language heard by the rambler after he had ceased his rambling. It was in the days of the Union League that the impressions referred to had been formed. A stretch of years intervene since then, and men have become more philosophic. In this era of moderate conservatism political conviction is not taken as an indication of character. The creed of party and the policies outlined in platforms do not lower or raise character. "He is an honest democrat, an honest republican, or an honest socialist" is not as good a thing to say as: "He is an honest man," for it hath been written "an honest man is the noblest work of God," but nowhere that an honest democrat, an honest republican, or an honest socialist was "the noblest work of God." Had this been known in the days to which allusion is made, the knowledge would have been helpful in many ways. There would not have been so many faulty deductions from unwarranted premises. Human hearts would not have engendered so much of bitterness to be sweetened in the after years of life. "Those days have passed, and the events which were crowded into them have gone to history, and I am glad of it," was an utterance which was interjected. They were
60stormy days — days of a fully developed vigor, and which tried men's souls, bringing them to their best force. 'Tis well that men's souls are tried. They need trying now and then. Periodical soul testing is essential for a happy and successful life. There are a number being tested in Springfield today, tested, as it were, in an ordeal of fire.
The wheathercook, and sea wave, and the capricious vapors of the mountains, we must all confess, are no more variable than man and his moods. So delicately are some nerves strung that a damp day, or the east wind, or a few eddying hours of snow or rain, will make to them all the difference between heaven and some dread inquisitorial hall. Some look out upon winter and grow pale and shiver, not for lack of the fireside and luxury, but because the leafless spectacle suggests cold hearthstones and cries of agony, and frosted hopes and thoughts that take the hue of the dull, gray dome of the sky that hangs now over us all. Others are so in love with the sleighbells and moonlight that even the first snowflake that blossoms and falls they will greet with a kiss. But with the up-springing grass, and bloom, and bird song of spring-time, we will all bud, and laugh, and sing again, save those whose months have become bleak Decembers, made so by misfortune, age, or the world's wrong.
While the thermometer gauges the physical temperature, it can also be made to measure the soul's mental and moral seasons from the point of zero all the way up to fever heat.
All the influences that captivate us, whether they draw us up and on in the shape of a book, an art, a poem, or a great personage, will, for the time being, at least, lift us into the state of a beautiful frenzy. We turn whichever way the wind of inspiration happens to blow the strongest. Perhaps we hear Wendell Phillips, and as long as the enthusiasm lasts we will try to win the charm of the silver tongue, or we hear Miss Kellogg, and for a while we have a passion to breed and train up in our throats a nest full of larks and nightingales. Sometimes a circumstance, light as a feather, will determine the direction of thoughts and feelings, and give to a moment all the dramatic effect of a great turn-point in life. The sight of a beautiful face or a bit of heroic action would decide whether the production be a piece of music, a cartoon, or an exquisite portrait; so the rambler, fresh from the gilded court room or the halls of legislation, as he stepped on the grand stairway of the capital under the glare of gas-lights, was led to gaze upon the graceful pillows of the portico, and to think of Zeno's porch of philosophy, and the garden of Epicurus, and the groves of the academy. Then it came to pass that his thoughts took somewhat of a philosophic turn from the sight of fluted columns and grand proportions. Glancing over the city's mansions and cottages, and beyond where in summer wave the golden grain, and hang the soft white blossoms or God's own planting, and where live men of strong and sturdy mould, we asked ourselves what were the subtle physical in
63influences that are at work in shaping the destiny of our people? It is not hard for the statesman and thinker to trace in a dewless atmosphere, the mystic dreams of Egypt, or to see the Greek passion for intellect and beauty in the grand lines of sea coast and in the azure overhead.
If it be true that mists, and snowy winds, and marshes, and thunderstorms, and good soil cultivate in men endurance and thrift, and noble endeavor, then can we see how the early pioneer with his log hut and strip of clearing has become the man of wealth and culture, with a garden and a palace home.
But after all, there is an ideal religion stepping along in our midst, and leading us out of the narrow little schools of sect into the grand concert hall of Christianty, where all the instruments play together on the all embracing theme of the Cross. If the gospel chimes break into silvery peals every time a sinner repents, then for the three weeks past on some nights the belfries of heaven/shook out among the stars and angels a storm of jubilant bells. The grand spectacle of the masses streaming into one church of union service, and commingling all creeds into harmony, like the notes of a beautiful chord, or the seven colors of the prism blending into one, is enough to relieve the old sneer of the skeptic about the lack of Christian brotherhood. By slow degrees we are getting the intellectual power, and more insight into what is really great and what is really small. We see the mockery of the anise and begin to cling to mercy, justice, and truth. The
64divine Jesus passing by in stately indifference, is coming along with arms of affection outstretched to all the race, and so we see fetters breaking, and the rage of persecution giving place to brotherly love, and the fear of hell changing into unfaltering attachment to the infinite Father, and the intoxication of the senses flowing before spiritual pleasures, and as the theme in the symphony of a Beethoven, guides and melts into harmony all the parts, so will the loving Master bring into sublime control all sects and states, and symbols of power, until home, and school, and temple, and throne, shall acknowledge every woman a possible queen, and shall see in every child a member of the invincible kingdom.
Not a bit of light that we let shine out into the dark is ever lost, and God is surely as kind as nature in her conservation of forces. We are all aware that we are pretty correct in saying that every gas-light that gleams out into the mystery of night is a ten or hundred thousand year old spark of the sun, which the gigantic tree ferns of long ago, secretly laid away in the coal beds for our use. All the dealings of Providence teach us that we are in the tender hand of the Father, and we may safely throw into the future an unmeasurable trust and hope. All over blasted orange blossoms, and black plumes, and the thorny paths of life, like the starry heavens, bending in smiles over fields of carnage, bends down upon us, with the sure promise that God will keep his word and will lead us into a brighter and holier future.
Two weeks have passed since the rambler rambled, and for him, in this period of time, has come much of sorrow. The soul has been convulsed, and through its chambers has rushed a flood of tears. Round about its seat has settled a deep shadow, blinding the weakness of human vision, and disturbing the convictions of human reason. When last the rambler rambled and closed his chapter, ere the sorrow came, with its ministry of tears, he used these words: "All the dealings of Providence teach us that we are in the tender hand of the Father, and we may safely throw into the future unmeasurable trust and hope. All over blasted orange blossoms, and black plumes, and the thorny paths of life, like the starry heavens, hanging in smiles over fields of carnage, bend down upon us all, with the sure promise that God will keep his word, and will lead us into a brighter and holier future." When these words were written the rambler little dreamed that over his soul would droop an orange blossom, and that around his head would flutter a black plume. There was a wounding to cure, a fading away to bloom in a brighter glory and a falling
66to rise in a spiritual reign. Under the gleam of a light that never faltered, the rambler paused to see a soul spring from its mortal existence to its heritage in the skies. Blooming Eden may wither from our sight; but through the air there comes a voice telling earth's weary souls that there the King of Terror is the Prince of Peace.
Upon the sweetest flower of all the field,"
67heavens were bright, fancied he saw the gates placed ajar by one who held in his hand a crown of immortal life.
There comes another scene: The parting. Flowers of God's own planting, arranged by God's own children, came to breathe a wealth of affection. The rambler pauses to contemplate them in their fragrance, but beyond on the further bank of the river, he sees a flower, which God loved, and wanted, and carried away. Can we say that God did well. that he did right, "when we look near about and see the innocent tendrils that were clinging to that flower for' protection, for love, and for sympathy — a mother's sympathy? The mortal stands still in a maze of reflection. He is surrounded with mystery. He is met with presentments he does not understand. A flower is made to fade in its early blooming, and is not permitted to reach its full maturity. Mortality fails to understand it. Philosophy, in its mystery, fails to give any light. The rambler is told that hence in the future life all will be made clear, and that he will then know why this and that flower were wanted so early for the garden of God. However, there is a shadow which the philosophies of life cannot dispel, but through it comes a light, a soul light, telling the story of redemption and of a glorified life, where the instincts, and hopes, and loves of the soul are as sure to be met as the need for life is met. Standing alongside these shadowy curtains the rambler looks away to whither has gone the light of a life. When he tries to realize how he shall live in the
68life to come, the future is hidden by impenetrable walls, but when he tries to realize that he shall live, it is radiant with immortal light; and when he advances from that point to particulars, he is inclined to keep in the track of this assurance. Love, truth, and goodness are not transient things. They are eternal because God is. Alone under the gas-light the rambler thinks of nothing but the loves which he has found his soul cleaving to. As he looks at the stars he prays that these loves may be given him again, and about him falls a sweet suggestive silence. It is a silence which he would trust, in that it rests in the honor of God. It was Jean Paul who wrote: "Our life departs not from the soul, but into the soul." That is to say, it lays the scepter of its organism down and dismisses the world that has served it, that God may satisfy its hunger and thirst after the bread and water of eternal life.
How many inner existences there are wrapped up in themselves with histories written upon a scroll not permitted to be unrolled. There is a passing up a stairway, and looking above, a light is seen through a third story window. A reader of books, and a skimmer of surface presentments, imparted the information that in that retreat had been instituted "an arena of risks." It being ascertained who its patrons were, a conclusion was reached that they came from that class of humanity possessed of more money than brains.
Candidates for political preferment will operate "under the gas-light." With them exists a desire to interview all shades and conditions of the population.
"My friend," asks a sovereign of the commonwealth, "how do you stand with the workingmen?" "Well," said the friend, "I have been out to ascertain as to that."
A man of a reflective bent of mind, standing near by wants to know what is meant by "workingmen." The sovereign, with a mind somewhat narrow, and a conception of limited extension, replied:
70"Those who earn their bread by the sweat of their brow."
"And who are they?"
"Those who labor in the field, in the factory, and in the shop."
"And these are the workingmen, these the brow-sweating toilers?"
The man with the reflective mind, philosophic and conceptive, paused a moment, and then to the sovereign said:
"My friend, you have a wrong conception. Your classification is faulty. There are men in this city who toil when you are asleep, and cease not when you are awake, whom you imagine are idlers in the vineyard. The theory of republican government is that all men are workingmen, and those who fail to conform to the theory generally land in the jails and penitentiaries."
At this moment there passes a man hurriedly. He is respectably clad. For the past twelve hours he is known to have been toiling. He has been through the state house, the United States building, the court house, the hotels. Where he is going now we know not. It may be to north grand avenue. Ten hours is counted a "workingman's" day of toil, but this man in addition to his twelve hours of labor already performed has three or four more to add before he can seek his rest, and then, after all, come the shriveled-souled ones refusing to classify him as a workingman.
Here comes a sister of charity, and unattended. It is a
71late hour for a female to be upon the street, but her appearance suggests no impropriety. Her relationship attaches to an idealty that outranks faith and hope, for it hath been written: "And now, abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity," and to the "greatest of these" this woman is a sister. Under the gas-lights she passes, heeding not their glitter and glare. It would be all the same to her should these lights cease to perform their functions, for beyond these earthly conditions she looks to a light; flashing out from an eternal existence. "Charity suffereth long, and is kind," and "charity never faileth," were words uttered in the redemption period, and through all the ages these truths have been seen and felt. Vile men turn aside to let her pass, and they turn not about to see whither she goes. They concede her path to be the path of purity, and her mission to be one of charity. From their lips come no inuendoes. The signs were the Cross and the Graces, and these suggested no unseemly stain. Her guiding directed to realizations above and beyond earthly frailties and earthly passions. Her ministrations were nourished by inspirations flowing from the heart of the heavens, and therefore along her pathway are seen buds of blessing blooming into flowers of reward, and at her feet jewels of gratitude, to appeal in crowns of rejoicing where scourge and pestilence come not to blast and wither.
Into a by-way we now enter. The gas-lights are left behind.
The surroundings are cheerless. Gloom walks about as if it knew no master. Here a ray of sunlight would have trembled and the voice of humanity faltered unattended by an angel of charity. From a lowly bed draped with the shreds of poverty comes a voice weak in expression. The story told is the old, old one, and then comes in a sadly pathetic tone, the words: "I want to go home." The heart with such a desire is not lost. Though it throbs wildly in its beatings, there liveth a hope when home is remembered. Such remembrance tells of a soul longing for rest, of a life that would pray to be caressed.
At home is the best place under the sun, especially for a woman. There is her realm of undisputed supremacy; there she can be queen without a rival. There she can educate, and govern, and thereby do grander work than he who writes epics, discovers planets, or holds in his hand a scepter. And why upon a given night, in a byway in this city, and within a shadow of gloom should be heard a voice: "I want to go home," and from one seemingly not knowing how to get there is a mystery to which the passing moments bring no solution, and charity, which is kind, institutes and presses no investigation.
We looked up and saw that there
In mirth and spirit was human wave.
With a mixture of bitter strife,
Chilling the heart like a pointed knife.
From mental work to gilded grace —
No work of thought was there a trace.
Tolled the decay of some bright flower,
Losing its bloom, losing its power.
Away from mother, out from home:
Losing his vigor, losing his tone.
But an aged one who paced the hall,
Shook his head as he heard the call.
How youth from there had met the gale —
Full of wrath and of sweeping hail.
How they cried when they heard the bell,
How they cried when they heard the knell.
From seed to life, a golden grain;
Its fruit is tears, to heart a pain.
The company is a mixed one, containing many elements. It shows a representation of the low and high ranks of life. It is a traveling assembly. One night it is on north Fifth street, one night on east Washington street, and another night it is hid away beyond the open glare of the gas-lights. This "wild oats" is not only being sown, but it is growing. By and by the grain will show itself. In fact it is showing itself tonight. A woman drunk is a sight painful to dwell upon. Man never looked upon a sadder scene, especially when can be traced the marks of a faded beauty, and the battered points of an intelligence. There are those seen tonight behind these particular screens to which we refer, who would not wish "to be known in the case." They are objects of an unusual affection, the apples of love-lit eyes, and the scions of good houses. They give it out that they are just there to behold; and what do they behold? Not anything beautiful, for that is not there save in a faded condition. Not anything elevating in virtue, for that has been smothered. Not anything musical, for the surroundings have turned the music into an inharmonious discord. They see naught but a vivid intoxication.
There is a rap upon the door. "Who's there?" came the question from an inward recess. "It's me!" "And who is me?" It was a trifle; it all happened in an instant, but it haunted the rambler for an hour or more. "It's me," and who is me? The pride of a heart's life, no doubt; the tree a
75vine was clinging to. Defender of the faithful, in the best sense of the word. Many there be abroad tonight who would give their hearts and all there is in them for one such recognition. It is the recognition of faith, the music of love, and the well measured poetry of an inner life. Out upon the street, on change, in the marts of trade, in the assembly and in the lobby, it is simply Mr. B., but at this hour, within the silence of the night, and under the gleam of the stars, it is plain "It's me;" and there is one who knows who "me" is. Others might not know, and many do not know, but this does not matter, for at this hour, the hour when the rambler rambles there is but one who has any right to know who "me" is; and such a recognition as that just given, is of the kind that makes men masters and giants in the world.
We enter a room in a locality of respectable surroundings. The conversation going on suggests to the rambler that he is in the midst of school men. They, too, have been ranging under the gas-light, but we attribute nothing to them damaging since they assume to be looking after the youth of the commonwealth. But what a wonderful amount of theory do we find here. All seem to be theoretical and deductive philosophers. However, one who has been silent all the while, but a close listener, speaks, without being asked, saying: "Give us something practical." With him it was of but little consequence whether or not Hezekiah was King of Israel. He didn't deem it of much moment to know how long to
76a foot the river Jordan was, or the exact geographical position of Ephesus. He did consider it of great importance in all teaching to emphasize that which tells of the right way of living, and which points out the beautiful and the unseemly, the noble and the ignoble. His inclination was to ask for a teaching that was practical; that would move the heart and brain to essentials, and which, from a moral stand-point, would cause a lifting up of the soul; a teaching the heeding of which will bring man nearer the goodness of life; that will hold back the young from quick-sandy places, and point them to a condition, and to a realization above and beyond the heartless vanities of life.
The rambler passes, and as he does so everybody whom he meets honored with his acquaintance, informs him that the weather is cold. With so much testimony he could have no doubt about it. A dog howls as if in pain. A gentleman had stepped upon one of his feet. The dog pauses and looks up, as if to say: "A little sympathy, if you please, sir." The dog won. Calling him, the gentleman stepped into a butcher shop near by and bought for him a pound of meat. The dog took it and eating looked up as if to say: "The injury has received a healing balm, we are friends." There may be some who think this incident of no moment, but the rambler notes it as worthy of contemplation and of remembrance. It was the indication of a soul that had an unbounded compass. The cry of the dog reached his heart and called for a sympathy
77that was readily given. It was the exhibition of a trait of character redeeming in all essential ways. Other men would have passed on and let the dog howl, but this man did not. It was sufficient for him to know that there was a pain, and that he was the cause thereof. Had it been a man with a mind possessing immortal attributes an apology would have sufficed, but the dog had no mind stored with a responsive intelligence, and no soul filled with a conception of duty. His powers were instinctive, and therefore, for his solace, a pound of flesh was required, and it was kindly given. With that man this act was the result of a conception of a duty. It was the dropping of a ray of saving light from the effulgence of his heart which made himself and the dog feel better and happier. This man was no Shylock; no grinding usurer. He despised contraction and hated narrow grooves. He had no love for a strength that would oppress the weak, and would not be drawn to a heart that could not be moved to a ministration of mercy, even to the lowest of animal life.
Dear love — lit eyes may seem extinguished in the sleep of death, but still do we somehow know that they are yet beaming upon us with the same tender look. All the pall-bearers do is but to carry out of the home the shattered chrysalis shell out of which has fled the bright immortal spirit to the pearly gate. Soon we shall have woven in our hair the frost of the silver years, and we'll gladly join the great caravan. A few more aches, and tears, and heartbreaks, and then the long dark nights will be over-past, and the gas-lights will be turned down, and the golden splendor of Heaven will kindle over the precious dust of our graves, and the dead winter of life will break into the eternal spring of the new Eden.
Tonight, as we move under the familiar gas-lights, we are, as ever, impressed that still "the earth moves;" at least we may not torture ourselves into the belief that the age is at a standstill, nor that it is going backward. The fresh, startling facts of today are sounding loud and clear in our ear that the world is moving on and making immense strides of progress.
Already we can analyze the sun-frame millions of leagues away, and inspect the craters and valleys of the moon, and catch in the spectrum the rings of Saturn, and whisper across continents and seas electric words, and perform in concert to an audience a hundred miles distant, and read and know all the great facts of yesterday in this morning's newspaper; but all these creative energies and products of invention are small compared to the colossal hunger the race is feeling for a new freedom and power. The old regime of kings and queens, and glittering wardrobes, is slowly dying out, and the unescutcheoned many are stepping into the foreground, so that now we are having written histories of the people instead of the chronicles of court and crown.
Two representatives of the people pass by. Says one: "Who would have thought, twenty, yea, ten years ago, that a committee in an Illinois legislative body would have reported favorably upon a proposition to grant an elective voice to women in this state upon a question of vital interest?" Says the other: "The committee could n't resist the pressure."
"Just so," uttered the rambler as he went his way. We are getting to see things and events in their real perspective and proportions, and equal rights are rapidly being accorded to all who are deemed worthy. Merit always wins its full share of recognition, for the slow but sure justice of the years never fails to weave for the noble brow the wreath of laurel it deserves; and so the Greek slave poetess, Sappho, and a
80Mrs. Browning, or an authoress in the shape of a queen, have all had their works take an honored place amid the aristocracy of letters.
Long made the plaything of the palace, or the drudge of field and kitchen, or the slave of the barbarian, woman, perceiving more and more clearly that fashion and beauty are mere baubles, as over against intellect, and virtue, and far-seeing moral aims, now steps to the front and thrills, like an inspiration, the tender nerves of all by her lyrical tones. It she had rushed into the halls of legislation in a hurricane and clamored for rights with a brazen tongue she would have seen her cause doomed to a forlorn hope; but she comes to the law makers with the inspiration of prayer and with a tear-stirring voice, and as she points above the glare of the chandeliers to the graceful festoonry on the fretted ceiling, of over one hundred thousand names, she simply pleads for the right of protecting her darling boys, and who can resist the charms of an oratory upon such a theme? Every word beats with the fervent pulses of the heart. We must all admit her to be a vast and increasing force in art and literature, in public charities and education, and it is no longer a misty problem that her intellectual and moral persistence in the good, true and beautiful will carve out for her a great future as a factor in popular government. The plea of these women is: Give us the power by an elective voice to protect our darling boys,
81and the result will be seen upon the statesmanship of the future, and upon the legislation of ages to come.
After all there is not as much protection in the ministry of law as in the ministry of love. A mother's prayer is a greater shield for her darling boy than all the votes of a commonwealth can afford. A long time ago the idea cropped out in the civilization of the centuries that law was not man's redeemer; in fact it was an idea that obtained with the divine council, and the story of the manger, of Bethlehem, and of Calvary followed. The principle that love was the crowning force essential for the protection of all the darling boys of the race, early gleamed and flashed forth. The boys met under the street gas-light by the rambler are not the ones who have been blessed to its full inspiration with a mother's love, else they would be held away from the presence of temptation.
Hours ago the book of day was bound and closed by the golden clasp of sundown. The hot fever-pulses of business are cooling under the balmy hand of sleep. The roar of wheels is hushed. Merchant prince, and pauper alike are sunk into forgetfulness of crown and rags. "Old and yet ever new is the night," muses the rambler, as he glances up and down the long glimmering files of street lamps, and looks overhead into the pomp and silence of the spangled heavens. Every gas-light is a bit of primeval sunshine kindled out of the coal urn, and awakened from the slumber of a million years which carries us back of weird periods of antiquity, and to times which left on the face of stone the delicate footprints of wind and rain, and of creatures long extinct before ever the race of man came on the theatre of action. If God so carefully preserved the ripple marks of long vanished seas, and made so indellibly a record of rock, and fossil, and shell, and stores away so richly for man's use and comfort immense coal fields, surely, as we sit by the cosy fireside, or meditate beneath the gas-light, we cannot help
83but believe that He will regard most kindly the aspirations of the, soul for heaven and immortality, and will never forget to provide for the ideal hunger and the ideal Eden. But whilst a gas jet may be quite suggestive, the twinkling of amethystine ether is so immeasurably grand that the mind falls short in its effort to survey and to span. We cannot look up and study the illuminated scroll without feeling more or less the mystic chain woven about the stars by classic legend and mythological fable; and many of us fancy we see beyond a soul light that beamed with such controlling power along our earthly pathways. There was a fluttering at a window of paradise, and through was handed a crown of stars. Tonight those stars in that crown are seen through the agency of a spiritual vision. From their setting comes a ministration to bless and to cheer.
Fan every shadow from thy brow —
For only bright and lovely things
Should wait on one so good as thou."
The rambler wanders away from the city's limit; seeks communion with the spirits that are in the air, and listens to the voices that come from the formations of art and nature.
84Greek, finds a deep response in every human soul. It is nature's prophecy of the life to come. When about to yield his young existence as a sacrifice of fate, his betrothed Clemanthe asks if they shall ever meet again, to which he replies: "I have asked that dreadful question of the hills that look eternal; of the flowing streams that flow forever; of the stars among whose fields my mind-spirit hath walked in glory. All were dumb. But while I gaze upon thy living face I feel there's something in thy love which mantles through its beauty that cannot wholly perish. We shall meet again, Clemanthe."
Nature was silent. The stars whispered nothing. The eternal hills imparted no information, and the music of the streams that flowed there from did not settle the question. It remained for a human soul in its throbbings, in its swellings and in its flowings, to tell what would be beyond the years of earthly life; to tell that the soul on earth is but an immortal guest, a spark which nature's force is pressing upward. As the rambler in his abstractions to-night contemplates the soul, he concludes that it is a pilgrim panting for the rest to come, and in its sentient existence an exile on the shores of time, anxiously waiting to be borne away to its native home.
The church had been full. Those who had occupied the pews had heard words about the religion of love, of brotherhood, and of charity. Passing from the sanctuary, an aged one, on the side of life nearest heaven, takes the rambler by
85the hand and assures him that this life is but a span reaching from mortality to immortality, from fountains that fail to fountains that ever flow, and from flowers that fade to flowers that bloom always. Said she: "I have given the earth my tears; I have passed through the shadows; I have felt the weight of weariness; I have seen my jewels pass from me; I have looked at the heavens when the clouds seemed unyielding, and when songs of rejoicing had no charms for me; but as these latter years have gone by, with their record of sowing and reaping, I have come to look beyond this life with a greater interest. In the ever-blooming Eden I see more than I saw in my earlier years. Time has brought with it lessons which I have learned well, and they tell me that hope does not perish when the flowers of life fade from mortal vision.
Tramp, tramp, go the hurrying feet. The choir music has been hushed, and the rambler goes his way to contemplate the developing realizations of life. Here and there are harmonies never before beheld; here and there are gleams of heart sunshine never before felt.
The glare of the gas-light; viewing the horrors of a pent up city, full of strifes and crimes; of heated wretchedness and feverish pauperism; of woes of wine and women, and whisky-wrought wrecks, with the destruction consequent upon vice, had wearied the rambler, and he concluded to steal away from the city and recuperate in the breezes of the purer atmosphere outside, on a bright morning of a new born day; to refresh his tired nature and throw off for the time his saddened reflections. But like the ghost of the departed Dane,
And for the day confined to fast in fire."
The rambler had not selected for his rambles, fields which were to prove unfruitful of "food for thought."
June never looked more beautiful. She had just risen from her rose-clad couch on the morn of the twelfth diurnal return of her birth. The God of day smiled sweetly upon this first-born of summer, had kissed the dews from her brow, perfumed her floral wardrobe with the fragrant odors of the buttercup and tulip, of the magnolia and tuberose, of the wealth-laden shrub and the beautiful lilac. All nature joined
87in the smile, and glad hands, reaching from the great unseen, seemed to weave into the lovely month's garments of green, thrown over her handsome form, all the new-born beauties gathered from her garden. The rambler experienced the joys of a new life, as he stood and listened to the chorus of welcome which greeted lovely June as she stepped forth to sing anthems of gladness to her surroundings, and found himself, Hervy-like, in the "city of the silent," and in reverie among the highest monitors denoting the last mile stone reached by the resting ones in their travels on the highway of life.
Here he had gone to "meditate among the tombs," to read the indented history of loved ones, graven in the pure emblem of constancy. Here he had gone to see the resting place of many whom he had painted in other chapters of his rambles, when they were struggling with the realities of earth, full of life, of faith, and of hopes; some of increasing pleasures, and others of pleasures which had been denied.
Wearied by the gas-light, the sun-light of such a morn as we have described was a delightful change. It had brought in its train, thoughts of the "sweet bye and bye," thoughts of the "home over there," and the air seemed ladened with the sweet accents of song, wafted in upon the bosom of the breeze, assuring the rambler that
88caskets have pillowed their heads beneath the mounds, and the echoing sounds of the clods of the valley have died away.
Thoughts like these had possessed the rambler and wrapt him in a revery, making him oblivious to the unexpected human form which wakened him to a realization of the fact, that even at that early hour, surrounded as he was by only the emblems of departed loves, with the air bearing upon the gentle zephers, the bird songs and mingling odors of a balmy sweetness, gathered from the thousand rose-tinted tributes, planted by the hand of affection on the tomb of buried links of loveliness once joined to human hearts on earth. While thus engaged, the rambler was reminded that there was another human being who, like himself, had chosen a mission of mingled pain and pleasure. But,
It was one who seemed to have a strange history, and who happened to be only intent on the discovery of the something which, no doubt, had contributed largely in bending his form and matting the hair, hanging in a strange disheveled order over features still retaining the stamp of the God-like. His face had been moulded in one of nature's handsomest forms.
An eye like Mars, to threaten and command:
A station like the herald Mercury
New-lighted on a heaven-kissing hill;
A combination and a form, indeed,
Where every God did set his seal.
To give the world assurance of a man."
The rambler sauntered on after the bent form and watched the wild-eyed intruder. With that anxious gaze resting on a row of little graves, and lifting the fallen locks from before the eve of wrinkled and decrepit age, this old man sat down at the root of a tree. As we passed, his eyes moistened with sorrow, turned to those of the rambler. "How," said the rambler, "are these little mounds related to thine own history?" Ah, friend!" said the old man, in a husky and tremulous voice, "this is a pilgrimage just ended, which fear will never be repeated by me. There is a historic volume in those few chapters you see spread out before us, the narration of which would fill other and larger books than either of us will ever live to peruse, and I scarce have time to index, although familiar, sadly familiar, with every page."
There was a sad something stealing over the rambler, exacting a deep interest to know the history of the old man's blighted life. How the rambler induced him to give it in a brief he will never divulge, but here it is, in a nutshell.
These little mounds had been made by the demands of death upon the domestic hearth. When the loved forms they contain had been laid there, crazed with grief, after the hopes built In their future had been shattered and scattered, he sought ease to a troubled mind and worn body in the glass. It was not a grievous departure from the path of rectitude, but it served as a text for repeated upbraidings instead of persuadings; of taunts instead of tenderness; of a driving off
90instead of a drawing towards the erring one. Like the wear of the constant drop on the stone, it wore away the stout heart and made inroads on its affections, until the little cloud of domestic trouble grew large and overhung the household in a grief greater than that made through death. Bickerings had been buoyed to the harbor of a home by busy tongues, until distrust had displaced constancy. The motives of a kindly nature had been impugned and blackened by the fingermarks of envy; and the purest emotions of universal brotherhood toward the distressed had been poisoned in the imagination of her who should have been the last to believe the breathings of distrust. What a sad lesson of life to learn by the rambler in a grave yard.
How pale he glares!
His form and cause conjoined,
Preaching to stones,
Would make them capable."
Must ever have a mournful strain,
And music's tones to touch the heart
Must echo with a sail refrain?
Reluctant, to a world unseen,
No message comes to us who wait,
This side the grave that lies between?
And in our lives such mysteries lie,
That blindly stumble through the years,
We wondering live and wondering" die."
Though the air comes a sad refrain. The tones of a spiritual music touch the heart. They issue from a throne of love, and fall timid a group of shadows. 'Tis midnight's holy hour, and round about hovers a pulseless silence. The rambler gazes upon a bud of the morning that has been struggling to bloom. In this bud is a fragrance of boundless scope, but it will not tarry amid the thorns that have existence here and there alongside the rocks and oaks of earth. Its perfume is too gentle, too delicately sweet to attain to a force amid the storms of life. There is a love for that bud and a desire in a human heart to see it open into vigor and beauty, to see its progress extend and permeate through
92the avenues of the affections, but those desires are not to be attained. The Court of the skies, whose wisdom is as boundless as the universe, whispers along the path of perishing life: "It is not well that every bud should open to bloom." From the inward temple there was a brief looking-out. The windows of the soul threw forth a light but for a brief period. The hand of an eternal ministry beckoned, and along the pathway of the stars there came an angel and gathered it up and carried it away.
"May be these earthly loves are too fervent; that they too much divert the heart from the Eternal majesty," were the words that fell upon the rambler's cars as he stood gazing into distance and vacancy. "No, that cannot be." The rambler had been taught by the masters of the world's most profound philosophy that the affections of the human heart could not be too strong. Man loves a flower, but it does not fade because of that love. The power of affection rests upon a tendril, and voids the rugged conditions of creation, and for this God does not become angry. Moral teaching points to God as a God of love, and profound philosophy would say that God was best adored when the teachings of his creative hand were followed by a deep devotion.
Withered, broken, brunch and stem."
These loves are robed in everlasting beauty, and have gathered about them a light that will never wane.
What mean those tears? No answer comes. In looking on the autumn fields of life tears rise in the heart, thinking of the days that are no more, and through these are traced a smooth ascent from earth to heaven. Tears are the commas of the soul. They beautify its language and make powerful the expression. Analyze them and you have a poem; a beam; a flower.
N. P. Willis said of Tom. Moore, "the light that surrounds him is all from within." Such light is the best in the world. It has in it the radiance of immortality, the gleam of a soul that will not die. Through an open window the rambler beheld such a light a while ago. It wasn't the light that flashes from a mind of genius, or that rises from the incense of philosophy, but the light of a soul, full of worship for justice, full of adoration for mercy, and full of love for love. Music and song came through and filled the evening breezes with a harmony, and told the rambler that the best condition of human life was when the soul could throw a stream of light from within, and could appear as a flower bathed in a sunbeam, and with the freshness of a lily watered with morning dew.
"My son, let your sympathies always go out to the man or boy who is down. Help the weak against the strong." The words were full of the soul of humanity. It was the expression of a nourished goodness, the outflowing of the best religion known to human thought and affection. "Pity the little
94birds that flutter in distress, and waste not your affections on the eagle who sweeps in his royal power above mountain cliff; and be tender to the vines and flowers twining and blooming along the pathways of nature's garden; and trouble not about the oak that can defy the storm and the elemental furies." These were the admonitions, and then the heart swelled into a melody:
If the good God let thee stay with me,
Till later on in life's evening hour
Thy strength shall by my strength and tower."
Here was an expression of solicitude; a mature life longing for the growth and developement of "a twig in infant rig" to a strength and power. It was the breathing of a soul upon a plant and flower of life and light. The scene was that of a happy home. It was the shelter of infancy, the playground of childhood, the dwelling-place of manhood, the abode of pleasure, the temple of peace, and the nursery and stronghold of virtue. Here was the inspiration of courage, the swelling of a heart that possessed power and comprehension.
"Let every fellow look out for himself!" is an expression the sound of which falls upon the ramblers ears. Reflecting, the conclusion is reached that these were harsh words. Looking out for oneself, rugged paths are found. A long time ago when the race was but in its infancy this question was asked: "Am I my brother's keeper?" From that morning of human existence down across the ages the answer has been given:
95"You are your brother's keeper." Deep down in the soul's sanctuary man finds the answer, and as a result many a gloom has been dispelled, and many a shadow driven away. The consciousness man has that he is his brother's keeper, is the inspiration of a divine impulse, and the outgrowth of an immortal principle. In it is centered the blossom of hope and the spring of charity. Negative the question, and the world would become a wilderness, peopled with a selfish barbarism.
"Its none of your business what course I pursue," says a young man, and then hurries on his way. He had not grasped and comprehended the philosophies of life: had not analyzed its warp and woof. How few reach the solution of the problem. Man courts the ministries of a large humanity and yet forgets that he is a dependent being. Sympathy is a solace when distress comes, and a song of redeeming love is a healing benediction when the inward affections are in tumult, and yet man continues to say; "Let every fellow take care of himself," and to ask the question: "Am I my brother's keeper?"
I ask of an aged man with hoary hairs,
Wrinkled and curved with worldly cares;
"Time is the warp of life," said he. "O, tell
The young, the fair the gay, to weave it well."
Sages who wrote, and warriors who bled;
From the cold grave a hollow murmur flowed,
"Time sowed the seed we reap in this abode."
The rambler, through shadow and glare, since last he was under the gaslight, has seen much of the weaving of the warp of life — some with care, and some with indifference. Golden threads gilded with the tears from an inward altar have been utilized, and time in its passing has gathered the incense, bearing it away to the heaven of eternal love.
It was on the night before decoration day. The rambler, under the power of an invisible influence, entered the location from where go up the fragrance of flowers; where beam the soul's best light, and from where emanates the heart's best ministry of love. There was witnessed a gathering of the testimonials of affection to be strewn upon the graves of the men who sacrificed their lives that a nation might live; who
97poured out their life-blood, all warm from the heart, that democracy might be established as the governmental philosophy of modern civilization, and who, as they went down, preached each in his death:
Choose him to be your king;
He shall cut pathways East and West,
And fend you with his wing —"
No lineage counted great:
fishers, and choppers, and ploughmen,
Shall constitute a State."
Maidens with flowers, when associated in the mind with heroes and heroic memories, form a worthy picture. Fifteen, sixteen and seventeen years ago the men whom they would honor passed from human presence. Those who to-night are arranging the flowers to carry as offerings to their graves, many of them God breathed into the world since that period. They comprehend not the magnitude of that struggle, nor the vitalized issues involved; yet they know that these men acted a grandly heroic part in their time of life, and that then-spirits left their bodies in a brilliant blaze of glory.
An old soldier approaches a maiden fair, and as she stoops over a bed of May flowers, he says: "Bright face, when you was a baby girl (I remember it well) your father was a soldier
98in the Tennessee legion. The battle came, and then he marched and fought, and bravely died."
"Yes; and I'll, kneel at his grave tomorrow, and offer a flowery incense to his name and to his memory, mingled with the tears of love and affection."
How happy the reflection that memory does not grow old, and that tears do not cease their flowing when linked with the heroic periods of human life. Valor is not forgotten. It is the essence of our civilization, our Christianity and our democracy.
Had these men faltered, the republic would have declined, and the flag — emblem of political unity — would have been rent to extinction. They were brave. Their fibres were of Anglo-Saxon quality, and their blood the most royal of the earth, and up went civilization — up went Christianity. Those who handle flowers are at the farthest extreme from barbarism. They possess the soul of deity. Select a jury from them, and mercy and salvation will characterize their verdict. The hand that guards and cares for them will never be raised in malice against either friend or foe. The offices of flowers are the most graceful in the economy of nature. They go with us from the cradle to the grave. They crown the marriage altar and adorn its feasts. They bloom around the silent tomb, and smile upon the angels out from Heaven. Their breath is of a magical perfume, and recalls, in the hours of weariness, long past memories. A withered rose, a
99pressed bud, or leaf of a lily saved from a casket, is a connecting link which makes life more beautiful, recalling the "tender grace of a day that is dead," and of a memory that will not perish, and these are the golden threads in the warp of life.
A churl — a cold-blooded exhibition of creation — passing by wants to know what good those flowers will do? He fails to comprehend their tender agency. If he had been called to see a baby flower kiss its mother ere she died he would have laughed derisively. To him the thought would not have suggested a poetical gem, but, on the other hand, a cold materialism. His warp of life is taking in threads that yield no harmony. The combination is composed of rigidly abstract elements. He reads no language on the leaves of the lily, and recognizes no soul in nature. To him it is a blank, devoid of a mission and without a ministry. Over him tears have no influence, and the power of love fails to obtain in his life a jurisdiction. These are comprehended as elements of weakness.
When the little child of fragile form watched the dew drops on a cluster of roses, and asked from whence they came, it was told that they came from heaven, and then the question was: "Will they ever die?" Even then these dew drops from the fountains of paradise were being lost in the vitalization of the flowers. Ere the answer was given, the
100spirit of the child was in heaven. The churl would say here was a false education and perverted imagination — the spiritual lingering of the child to dwell upon dew drops and flowers; but the student of the world's best philosophy will bear evidence that this child's warp of life was golden-threaded, and happily commenced in the weaving.
Are a little long-or grown,
Only waiting till the glimmer
Of the day's last beam is flown.
Till the night of earth is faded
From the heart once full of day,
Till the stars of heaven are breaking
Through the twilight soft and gray.
Then from out the gathered darkness,
Holy, deathless stars shall rise,
By whose light my soul shall gladly
Tread its pathway to the skies."
Only waiting," were the words that fell upon the rambler's ear as the evening shadows were falling. It was the utterance of an aged pilgrim on the decline side of life. He was looking away to see if he could catch a glimpse of the reapers coming to reap the last ripe fruits of his heart. The summer time of his life had faded, and round about him were blowing the soul's autumn winds. He seemed eager to hear the rustle of wings, and to commune with spiritual ministries. He had fought his fight, had struggled his struggle, had acted his act, and played his play. "The yesterdays of life seem now to have passed rapidly," observed the aged
102pilgrim. "The tomorrows will be but few." "The after-dawn will soon be reached, and then the yesterdays and the tomorrows will never more be considered." The morning, the noon, and the evening will be a blended unity. The day will be an endless scroll, encircling an eternity of years filled with an eternity of stars. Old age! the evening of life, the setting of the sun over a plain that has been traversed, the gleaming of the stars over the twilight of a mortal existence causes the rambler to pause and contemplate the scene. Four score years of life are rare in these latter days. Along the line of the generations such a span of time rests upon marked characters. One would scarcely look under the gleam of the gas-light, at the midnight hour, for an existence of physical and mental power that had struggled and contended with opposing forces for eighty years. The rambler finds such an one, and 'tis he who under the eternal empire of the stars breathes the language:
Are a little longer grown,"
"Why are you out upon the streets at such an hour as this?" was asked this landmark of the century. "I love to roam amid silence. I love to commune where I can hear nothing but the flutter of a leaf," was his reply. He was a man who had heard the great noises of two generations.
The hum of a nation's civilization had been parallel with his life. The roar of battle from the fields of three wars had fallen upon his ears. When he was born thunderbolts played in the heavens uncontrolled. He had seen them snatched from the skies and tamed. He had seen them converted into an agency reaching forth to gather up the scattered records of the world's civilization. He lived when philosophy was chained, and has lived to see it unfettered. He lived when man was confined to restricted lines, and has lived to see him leap across them. He lived when the defenders of creeds said to brain and genius, "curb thyself," and has lived to see brain and genius looking into the vast future to tell the motion of the heavenly bodies for a thousand years, and to enter a drop of water to behold a myriad of created things with a throbbing life. He has lived to see this same brain-power penetrate the invisible and mysterious to reveal more of God, more of His majesty, goodness and mercy than independent ironclad theology has revealed since time began. He had lived when defenders of creeds, backed by an imperial power, said to man, "think as we think," and has lived to hear imperial man say, "I will think as I please." He had heard the creed worshippers say, "bow beneath this iron rod," and has lived to see those same iron rods superseded by the cords of love and brotherhood; has seen them taken away, and round about them twine the ivy of affection and grace, and over them bloom the flowers of love and peace. The veteran of
104many years and the victor of many a royal battle, from his position under the awning, gazes quietly upward through the overhanging branches of a shade tree. The tramp of feet along the walk makes him restless. His wish is to be alone. To the rambler he said: "My friend, there, is a memory that is not dead. I behold with a sentient power a picture that is beautiful. It was for years as fresh and bright as a morning rose bathed in morning dew. Then one dreary morning the picture faded. It had a spirit which passed away, a soul which went to God. The memory of that beauty has, since that morning, been regal in its dominion. The influence of that spirit, so sweet, so gentle, so strong, has been felt through all the passing years. The soul of that beauty had a wondrous scope." It knew no creed, no lines of demarkation, and no class; it reckoned no nobility save the nobility of virtue, no prince save the prince of manhood, and no queen save the queen of womanhood. It was a fountain of inspiration, a well-spring of love, ever flowing, bearing cheer and benediction. Looking at a distant star, he seemed to say: "This memory long past comes crowding over my aged brain." Though many years had flown with their lights and shadows, the recollection of that heart, which had, in the early spring time of young life, been called to assume a condition of immortality, still haunted him, but like some glad melody. His memory, as a tomb-searcher, swept through the avenues of the past, and lifted here and there a shroud
105which had been thrown over buried hopes. Into the vases where the roses of life and love had been distilled, he penetrated to find that there still lingered a fragrance.
Bright dreams of the past which she cannot destroy;
Which come in the night time of sorrow and care,
And bring back the features that joy used to wear."
And now he was only waiting for the shadows to become a little longer grown, that he might bid them adieu and follow that star and go to that picture, that beauty, that heart, that soul, that love — that inspiration of his summer years.
Night has far advanced. The noise coming from the tramp of feet has receded, and yet the gas-light gleams and glitters. In an out-of-the-way retreat, far removed from the presence of faith, and hope, and charity, the rambler finds his way. Looking up from the dismal scene he beholds the light from distant stars flowing that way as freely as along the path that leads to the center of thought, of wealth, and of power. It is a place out of the range of casual observation. Round about appear ruins, ruins of decayed life, blasted hopes, and troubled and restless spirits. The social philosopher could not enter here without finding problems for solution. The Christian would contemplate with dismay, and faith be put into a condition of trembling, and the call would be made for labor and for prayer. The sinner would stand in dread and look out and wonder in his soul where linger the forces of salvation, the followers of the Redeemer. Want is regal in its sway, and the spirit of desperation the permeating influence. That there may be freedom from care and the responsibilities of life, deliverance from
107thought and the monitions of an inward agency, drunkenness, debauch and revelry, are made to sweep with a relentless fury through the shattered frames of mortality. Here, for the intoxication of the sentient powers, man gives the body of his wife and child for defilement. And this in a Christian community. While these things go on, "in tasseled pulpits gay and fine," men combat the growing developments of modern rationalism. While in yonder haunt is being accumulated dead matter from bones that have become powerless for action, the doctors of divinity charge forth into the realm of the great philosophies, where the fountains of tears do not flow for the lowly ones who are famishing, and passing away under the shadow of blight, and whose hopes and expectations have been wrecked into lifelessness. The rambler beholds a scene of impurity, riot, comfortless shelter, and evil in its lowest and most degraded form. Here comes no joyous day of labor, or night of peaceful rest, and no expectations of a better time. Here move in the deadness of reality those who have been pushed to the wall by the pomp and pride of the rich, who have been tempted to ruin by the splendors of folly, and who have been seared and maimed by the wheel of the idol's car, beneath which they had fallen under the weight, maybe, of the imperious and cruel hand of power. Gazing at life they grew desperate, and settled into a cold, cheerless infidelity, around which no flowers bloom and no mercies of the soul shine. It is a sad fate — a bitter experience.
Thoughts of God, of Heaven, of home and its best and purest realities — of its buds, and blooms, and stars, have gone out into the ray less and cheerless shadows of oblivion. Here were being enacted tragedies in which life was fading, and love, with all its holy offices, was perishing. Violations were seen on every hand, closely followed by penalties severe and dire. The ruling king was want and woe, and life under the ban of such a power, with love crucified upon the altar of sin, beneath which slumber the fires of a consuming wrath, must be short and desperate to the terrible end. Such battles and such crucifixions are not confined alone to the obscure retreats, but in the localities where gleam the gas-light, is as much perishing. The music is more harmonious and, the presentments more gilded, but beneath exists a cruelly relentless fury. There is here no blooming of the soul, no visible heart jewels. There is no child presence. The buds and flowers of affection have been blasted. The names of mother and wife are not uttered. These, the sweetest words of the heart and tongue, are eminently Christian, and gladly do we note, are not profaned in ungodly temples. Their utterance suggests a condition of elevation, and a surrounding not composed of the fiery weapons of destruction. Turning away, the rambler concluded that here should be elevated the cross, and the gospel of redemption preached. Passing from the dismal, heartless presentment, the gas-light region is reached. Though the midnight hour has far passed, silence
109is not maintained. Slumber has not embraced all of life. Behind a curtain ajar there burns a light. Near by are seen two sleepless eyes. There is a soul in them that has become weary — not dead, but only weary.
There are some thoughts we utter not:
Deep treasured in our inmost heart,
Never revealed and ne'er forgot."
It contained a volume, and may be of soul tragedy. Deep do the philosophies of life carry us all if we but follow them. Lest we become bewildered we will pass to a place of security. Two little faces meet the rambler's gaze, and the influence that comes from them causes him to forget the rocks upon which men perish, and to throw aside the infidelities which rise to trouble and darken the soul, and to dwell alone upon the faiths and hopes, as seen in the couch of nestling innocence. Here is no wreck and ruin. Round about this presence lingers no consuming fire, no devouring force, nothing but radiant hope and comfort.
The daughter was struggling in the battle of life. For some time she had been contending with adverse winds. Along her pathway had seemed to be more rough places than smooth ones. From the skies, above where she had been walking, there appeared to fall less star-light than at other places of human activity. Her language seemed to be
As calmly as the wounded patient bears
The artist's hand that ministers his cares."
It did not make her cold as a cathedral tower upon a January night. Her heart was a flame of love and filial affection, breathing, as became a child, the incense of duty. In her young life there appeared before her one whose name she bore saying with Milton:
Irrevocably dark! total eclipse,
Without all hope of day,"
But while he could not see a light she made him feel that there was one near about him. While he could not behold the flowers of the garden and field she made him know that
111near at hand was ever breathing a flowery fragrance, and until he passed over the river into that realm where no eyes are ever covered with a cloud, she made his pathway smooth by the friction of her heart against his as he passed along, bound for the country where all eyes see the flowers, behold the rustle of the leaves, and can view the birds fluttering their wings in the midst of their concerts of song. When this duty was ended, when she had done what she could, prompted by a child's affection, she continued in the battle of life, where she is an actor today. By her energy she succeeded in gaining a title to an earthly portion. Through the force of circumstances she had to borrow two hundred and fifty dollars to meet a claim. To secure this money she unfortunately came in contact with a Shylock, a beast in human form, a grasping, soulless ghoul — one who sneered at the virtue of charity, and was utterly powerless to comprehend anything redeeming in heroic struggle." A being fluttering in distress was unable to awaken in his breast a feeling of sympathy. The chirp of a bird with wounded wing could not attract his attention — could not touch a heart string. Tears to him were material only, and in them he was utterly incapable of beholding a soul. In fact, he knew nothing about a soul. Possessing a credit that was false, and sailing under colors not his right, he said to the child of struggle: "Give me twenty-five dollars and I will secure you a loan of two hundred and fifty dollars at ten per cent." The demand was
112complied with, and the loan, defended by a cut-throat mortgage, was secured. Time went on, and the man from whom the money had been obtained expressed a willingness to let the loan continue as long as desired. By and by there came to the half-orphaned girl a notice that Mr. A. wanted his money by such a time. Then followed distress. A hard place in the battle of life had bean reached; but, undaunted, the ill-blowing tempest was faced. The "cut-throat" must be mastered, was the decision. The "earthly portion," with its shelter and defense, must be retained, no matter how severe was the tempest surging round about it. Out into the street, in the midst of business action and commercial conflict, our heroine passes. Presently the man who had given the loan learns of the girl's effort to raise the money. He meets her and asks her what it means. She replies: "I have been notified that you want the money." The money-lender, exhibiting a surprise, says: "It is not so. I do not want the money. You can have it as long as you desire." The hellishness was seen at a glance. The Shylock, the heartless grinder of defenselessness, with the brazen front of a fiend, had sought to distress the girl in the expectation that he might wring from the fruit of her struggle another twenty-five dollars for the securing of another loan, and had, unauthorized, sent her the notice. Away from the light of heaven, under the gas-light, this scheme was devised, and: the devisor was extending his fangs of ruthlessness to prey upon
113what had been gathered through heroic struggle, and by a girl who had been true to every duty, who had dropped her tears of womanhood where tears of womanhood were needed; who had planted flowers where flowers were needed, and who had breathed fragrance where fragrance was needed. Pausing to contemplate the incident, as it came to us under the gas-light, we concluded that the exercise of a scorpion lash upon such fiends would be healthful. They should have no right to the chambers of mercy, and no permission to beds of rest. A being who would see an orphan girl in this world of sin fight her battle and win her right to a crown of stars for virtue and for womanhood, and then assume the character of a thief, to crowd her into a condition of despair, by attempting to make her his victim, deserves piercing with the prongs of vengeful wrath. He should be driven from the localities where flowers bloom into the localities where naught but thorns and thistles grow. Where the song of birds swell into a heavenly music, he should not be allowed to walk, but instead, be driven into a path along which only harsh, grating noises are heard. He should not be permitted to come where the souls of virtue and innocence emit the best of life, lest he chill and paralyze them with his presence.
As he goes by —
He'll lift his head to look at the sky,
The western sky.
To see if the sun has set for fair —
And suddenly there
Against the sky in the golden air
He'll see a pair
Of Familiar eyes."
A scene like these lines foretold has long since passed. It was in the early evening, ere the vigils of the night threw their watchful light upon the race peopling this planet. He did lift his head and look at the sky — the beautiful sky, inlaid with crimson and gold. He saw the sun set for fair, and in the golden air he saw the familiar eyes. That was all. What was within was as a sealed scroll, and no spiritual agency was there to reveal. The evening, shadows soon came on apace, bringing with them a sweet ministry. In these shadows were heard the voices that once were the music of morning hours. Then came the whisper, "They have flown, not died, and in fairer chimes, and with nobler voices they wait your coming, singing the song that shall
115have no ending." What a comprehension! Only they are alive that are dead. Only they are fairly ours that are immortal. And this we learn within these shadows. The leaves go; the grasses wither; the birds fly upward and are out of sight; and the years are soon covered and gone in nature. But there sweeps into the soul the hope which is faith, that beyond the realm of stars, and the golden crimson of the horizon of life, is an eternal existence, full of song and blooming. Did not this feeling spring up there would settle round about man an undefined condition.
There passes a woman — a mother, bearing a heavy burden, not upon her shoulders, but upon her heart. It is eleven o'clock. She wheels, in a little carriage, an infant, and by her side walks a six-year-old boy. Before every screened door she pauses and says to the little boy, "Go in here and see." The sentence failed of being completed. The boy understood the want, and bounded quietly away "to see." It was not difficult for the rambler to conclude what the desire was to see. There was a mother out with her children upon the street visiting the saloons. It was strongly suggestive that somewhere in the city was a home wherein gloom had crowded — where hope had been wounded, where tears of joy had been turned to tears of weariness, and where the hand of fate had pressed heavily. What was once a strength and
116tower in that home was now a shattered column — an exhibition of weakness. Yet there existed a love for him — a longing to bring him back. Around that tower, once so strong, still twined the ivy of affection, as if to repair and strengthen its riven and broken condition. Woman's faith and woman's love is here presented in its full force and power. Where man would falter, woman is an army with banners; where man would let go, woman would hold with a mountain-moving faith; where man would curse, woman would pray with an assurance of victory; where man would desert, woman would plant a rose and bathe it with her tears. The mother and wife said to her child, "Go in here and see;" but it was not that he might be censured. The prompting was to call him back under the dominion of a faith that was abiding, and into the atmosphere of a love that was ever holding its fragrance. Man would not have paused before these screened doors and said, "Go in here and see;" nor would he have gone in to see. His faith and his love would have broken ere he reached such a point; and yet how often man frowns upon and rejects the faith that he beholds swelling up to his breast and around the throne of his intelligence. He should not do it, for by and by, as the stars shine, and as the angels sing, that faith will be transferred to other fields, and then its graspings and clingings will not affect the mortal life save in a spiritual sense.
"Isn't that an outrage upon decency?" was a question asked with much feeling, and prompted by seeing a man who had reached the noon of life — a sovereign of a family, the head of a household and the father of children — riding boldly along a public street with a blighted life, an ill-fated star, a forced amiability and a false devotion.
"That man," said an observer, "once asked the people for political confidence. He has since forgotten that modern society claims to be a society of decency. He has lost sight of the fact that dirt does not harmonize with the component parts of our civilization. It is plain that his brain is gone— has been paralyzed to an extinction."
It is a sad contemplation. Should he be stopped now, and be shown a picture of innocent virtue, he would leer at it and call it a fraud. The viper-life, possessed of a power that poisons, and infatuates his being. Man is a beast when he lets himself down. He profanes everything holy and curses every virtue found about and in the temple of the soul. He would feast on corruption, and ignore a garden of productive nourishment. He would jump into an abyss while round about were the paths of safety inviting his footsteps. The abyss may be one of sin, and the paths of safety those of virtue; but where sin is he loves the best to go, and like an unbridled force he rushes forward. The fragrance of home virtue he tramples under his feet, but, having lost his brain functions, and being barren of intelligent conception, he knows it not.
Do you see those loafers on yonder corner?" questioned one who for some time had been sitting within the shadow of a Court Square tree, and continuing, said: "For the last hour I have been watching them." The rambler was inclined to know what opinions had been made by the observer, and what the reflections of his mind. "I believe," said he, "that no lady has passed by since I have been sitting here, who has not been followed by leering eyes, and been the subject of some unseemly speech." That band of loafers on yonder hotel corner seem to have no admiration for virtue. In the breast of none does there swell an emotion of love for elevated character. Their range of vision is upon the lowest level. Upon the plane of lofty conceptions they will not feast. To them nothing responsive comes from that higher elevation. In its soil grows nothing which they would care to pluck, because for the fruit thereof they have no longing. Like vandals, they trod it all beneath their feet. "Who is this, and isn't she gay?" falls upon the ear, followed by wicked surmisings. The very air in this locality is filled with
119poison. There is not from this congregation of vileness any looking into fair faces to study the graces of the beauty of a divine creation; no looking into eyes to conceive them as windows to souls whose mission it is to carry light where light is the need. Their gaze causes virtue to quiver and innocence to hasten its steps. Were a sweet ministry to pause here to sing a sweet song of love, of home and heaven, it would receive no approbation. It would be compelled to go away, and may be to weep over wounds received in the heart; and going, who would follow to say —
Not one from this corner of depraved life. Vipers are incapable of invoking love to enter upon a mission of protection. Love to them does not appear as an agency of controlling power. Animal perfection is the scope of their mental dominion. They comprehend no harmonies of life. They would delight most in wreck and ruin. Blasted hopes would bring to them contentment. Bleeding heart strings would afford them satisfaction. Shattered home temples would be their glory. Severed unions would bring food for their ambition. Now and then one pours his intellectual animalism over a Police Gazette or a dime novel. These contain the acme of their ambition. Beyond such presentments their brain force has never been trained to reach. In physical baseness their contents are digested. Did they contain a thought here and there, grand in its beauty, suggesting an eternity of
120depth and an immortality of existence, they would be dropped, to be pronounced vague matter. Anything treating upon powers of intellectual development and philosophic force would, by them, be discarded. Ask them questions concerning elucidations in scientific fields, and they would stare at you like idiots. Mention a fact as expounded by Draper and Taine and Huxley, and with the imbecility of a louse they will ask: "What kind of taffy are you giving us?" Vulgarity is their creed and animal baseness their ethics. In the presence of a masterpiece of art they would exhibit coarseness. The voice of music in the air would prompt in them no lofty sentiment. They would turn their eyes from the matchless grace of a rainbow to look at a dog-fight, and would flee from a temple of virtue to revel among blunted sensibilities and deadened souls. The sister of a man of character, refinement and heart-wealth goes by and through that atmosphere. An insinuation falls, base and ugly. "Do you know of whom you speak?" is a question quickly interposed. Then follows a trembling. Depravity is a coward, and the reply is confused. "That woman is the light of a home, the object of a large affection, and the pride of a devoted circle," spoke the first speaker. The coward hung his head and walked away. An eulogy upon virtuous character was a punishment for him to hear. The brother of this woman, passing, heard a few words and came to a pause. He heard them repeated, which roused him up to an angry passion. While
121the gentle evening breezes were playing through the leaves of the overhanging trees, and while the stars gleamed purity from the heavens, there came a torrent of invective. A painful silence intervened, when he said, "Cursed be the city upon the streets of which a woman of virtue, of grace and affection, cannot walk in a twilight hour without being an object of hurtful criticism, and the subject of a defiled speech." Must it be that when the evening shadows fall, when the heavens beam with light and glory, and when the air is full of spiritual life, the queens of our earthly temples must cloister themselves — must veil their faces to avoid a vulgar street inspection? Are there no scorpion lashes that could be used upon the backs of these vulgar animals? no brands of infamy to press upon their debased frontlets, that they may be avoided where virtue is worshipped and where innocence is cherished as a cardinal grace?
Poison in the air does not tarry. It meets with no barrier. Temple walls fail to hold it in check. Beyond them it reaches to perform its withering work. Plaintive cries of innocence are passed unheeded. It hushes the voice of song and pales the flush of health and beauty. A surmising of laxity and weakness, expressed, is baneful poison, and as quick to go as a flash of flame, and it goes to ruin cherished hopes and open up a flood of tears where before was all cheer and joy and sunshine.
Spring of tumult, source of strife,
Could I but half thy curses tell,
The wise would wish thee safe in hell."
So wrote a poet years ago, prompted by observation and experience under the gas-light of the period. The rambler of today, passing within the shades of night, is prompted by his observation to give utterance to a similar expression. Down a by-way is heard a tumult — a strife. The cause thereof is easily defined. The vile bane of life has been at work, and as a result humanity has been transformed into a condition of beastliness. In the confusion is heard an incoherent speech, suggesting forcibly that a brain had been diverted from its legitimate function. Cruelty follows the strife. It had been forecast as its sure sequence and it came. Then there was crying. Innocence had been trodden upon and wounded. The vases that in a happier hour contained the flowers of a sweet existence lay shattered upon the floor. The vine that had twined about the window lay prostrate, having been bereft of life and nourishment. From this scene the rambler passes. The thoroughfare is crowded. The
123men of fortune and power are passing. The gleam of a gas-light reveals the face of one whose name is on a church book — one who professes to adhere to the Christ doctrine, the Christ grace and the Christ charity; but, tracing him to his place of business, the rambler finds that he is a wholesale dealer, and that within his house is in store the —
Is his the Christianity that is redeeming? Is it the kind that flows from the heart of the heavens? Is it the kind that takes a bee-line from earthly vales to the eternal throne? The rambler will not pause for an answer. Hark! He prays: "Bless suffering humanity. Alleviate the distesses of the widows and orphans." Good prayer — very good prayer, but how about that
Pressing for information, the rambler's faith in what he had looked upon as the personification of Christian grace and force is weakened. In his rambles he has seen what the spring of tumult was, and what the source of strife. It was a spring around which there could be no growing but that of thorns, a source from which could be developed naught but vileness, bitterness and tears. How a reputed child of God can nurture such "spring" and "source" is not clear, and the inability to make it clear is causing much unrest and much distrust where should exist tranquility and faith.
"There goes my teacher!" utters a bounding youth. "Let's
124see where he goes." These words prompted a flood of suggestions. There was a seeking of precedent from which to argue, and an example to follow. The seeking was done by those of a young and active life, with habits yet unformed. The teacher passed hurriedly along under the gleam of the gas-light. Now he drops into a book-store to scan the latest issues of current thought and make a selection. This being done, he pursues his journey, with the young hunters for precedent and example following closely behind him. Now he ascends a stairway and enters a brilliantly lighted room. It was not a club room, nor a gambling hell, for in the company, seated in earnest, thoughtful silence, were ladies. Ranged about upon the walls were the treasured voices of the past — historic voices — voices of philosophy, of speculation, and of religious truth. Looking at one locality was to fancy the hearing of the voices of song; at another, the hearing of noise coming from conditions disturbed by innovation; and at another, the hearing of the thrill of genius along the line of the world's developing civilization; and at another, the hearing of a voice proclaiming the fitness of the human soul to be the unit and measure of all institutions — the epitome and microcosm of the universe; and at another, "Hear ye the gospel" — a voice teaching that God moves in the highway, not upon a palace carpet; goes with the multitude, not with self-elected experts; runs amid-channel, not in the eddy — teaching that the world forces, the world faiths, and the great religions
125are not private, select — up this man's lane and down that man's spinal cord. But the rambler is truly rambling. He must not lose sight of the teacher and those who are looking for precedent and example. The conclusion is that they have found enough. Will they profit by it? Possibly they are disappointed. Had the teacher entered doubtful localities; had he entered this and that way, which lead to where souls are being wrecked, the example might have been more satisfactory to our young friends, and, as experience teaches, would have been followed more readily. But the example was good. Where he went were places of safety. The young man can go there always and never suffer. Under the gaslights that gleam in those localities are found no pitfalls, no lurking, devouring evil, and no poison to wither the vital energies. Among the flood of suggestions referred to was one pointing to the teacher. The thought was: "What a responsibility is his!" A walk here and a walk there; passing under this gas-light or under that one; entering this door or that door, may cause a thorny path to be made for a score; may cast down brilliant brains, and hedge the ways of the forces of genius that otherwise might expand into agencies of mastering power.
Byron expressed the correct idea in these lines:
Makes that of multitudes take one direction.
As roll the floaters to the breathing wind,
Or roam the herd beneath the Chief's protection."
The teacher is taken as an ideal character. His deeds are mirrors unto the young. This was Goldsmith's conception when he wrote of the village schoolmaster:
At all his jokes, for many a joke had he."
Had the teacher in question so elected he could have set an example pointing to scenes and conditions of moral disaster. He might have led from light to darkness, and from flowers to thorns. But through the ministry of some treasured experience, and from the planting of seed that attained to growth and development, the example was redeeming, and the leading was from light to light, from flowers to flowers, and from good to good.
One thing can be truthfully said, and that is this, that our American life is an active life. This industry every where visible — from the cries in front of a side-show to the management of a great agricultural and mechanical exhibition — indicates that there is a struggle to better conditions.
The rambler, though weary from the duties that had been his to perform in preceding hours, nerves himself to the conclusions that industry is the only safe agrarian law of society; that it is ever elevating the laboring classes and reducing the idle; that it is a universal duty, in that it fosters health, contentment, virtue and happiness, as well as competence and affluence. The mind desiring a condition free from the necessity of labor is deceived.
A mind quite vacant is a mind distressed."
The man who does not labor, and who does not walk in the royal paths of industry, is an incubus and a burden. It is surprising to see so much false aristocracy extant. This moment there brushes by a man expressing a dissatisfaction over
128the fact that so many toilers are in his way. His brain is too limited to comprehend the simplest economic principle. He forgets that without a base there could be no tower. These men are the foundation rocks of the state, of society, and of the world's civilization. Paralyze the functions of these base rocks, and soon tower and crown would lay in the dust.
A prelate, an assumed priestly dignitary of the church of England, was surprised to see Dr. Johnson, one of the grand royal princes of English literature, speak to Robert Burns, a man dressed in coarse attire, and to the doctor expressed his surprise. Dr. Johnson replied: "I spoke not to the boots, but to the man who stands in them." That prelate's name has long since been forgotten, but the name of Robert Burns will be remembered as long as there is any civilization in the world. Dr. Johnson did justice to the great soul of Burns ere Burns became immortal, and thereby convinced the brainless forces of his time and the soft shells of the English church that he (Dr. Johnson) had the courage to revere divinity in humanity, and the ability to comprehend a great brain, a great soul and a great heart.
In another place and under other circumstances, the rambler hears a man say: "I conceive it to be my duty to pay the most attention to that part of humanity which has in it the most soul." The speaker was a man who occupies a high position. He had come in contact with all conditions of life. He had been in the cottage and in the palace, in the valley and upon the mountain-top. Around him had fluttered butterflies and eagles. In his presence had stood plumed knights with brains and plumed knights without brains, but over them all he was disposed to look, and to pay attention to that part of the race which developed the most heart, and as a consequence he looked most into the faces of the best forces of civilization, and paid most attention to those who were the bed-rocks of home, of church and of state. From under the gas-light there emerged a princess. She entered a cottage with a royal tread. She was angry, for in her family the line of royal caste had been, in one instance, disregarded. There was an interchange, fierce and fiery, and when the climax was reached it was rounded off in this wise: "Remember that I am a lady!"
"And I a mother!" was the retort.
It was the retort of a heart that had been wounded, the outflow of a soul cherishing the broad divinity found in the nobility of man and womanhood. Before it the champions of a cold philosophy could not stand. "And I a mother" was a voice that lingered in the air. It tarried amid
130the vines and flowers, and then rolled up against spangled walls and exalted towers. "And I a mother" was a music that commanded incense and obtained it. It had meaning, and hence the force to carry inspiration where inspiration was needed — to the cottage or to "Estwick Hall;" to the valley or to the mountain-crest; to the chambers of poverty or to the chambers of plenty. It was the breath of a soul tempest, and knew no fear. It was the announcement of a condition and a position titled by the edict of the eternal majesty, and therefore above all conditions and positions. The dream of the poet was:
Holy as heaven a mother's tender love;
The love of many prayers, and many tears,
Which change not with dim declining years, —
The only love, which, on this teeming earth,
Asks no return for passion's wayward birth."
Truly the rambler rambles. It is now past the midnight hour. "Watchman, what of the night?" goes over the telephone. "All is well," comes back; voice to voice, each far away. Triumph of genius, of brain, and of industry. Looking at the stars that gleam in the heavens, over nation, and city, and gas-light, the rambler calls along the path of future development: "What will be added to the civilization of the next decade?" No responsive echo comes back over the track of the years. All is silent — all is sealed; but we know that what will be given will be given by the royal sons of toil — God's nobility.
Here and there a gas-light gleamed on South Second street, and under them the rambler passed unconscious of how life was being lived there. The State House presented a dark picture, with here and there a light streaming through the windows, revealing the fact that while others slept somebody was toiling. From leaf to leaf and from branch to branch, as the corners are passed, comes a silent voice. Here a melody, and there a plaintive fluttering. Shadows are passing, which are now and then traced with beams of light. Here a song is sung, and there a petition offered. Under a benediction one home rears around man a defense, and under a curse another scatters thorns. South Second street is very beautiful under the power of refinement. Its sides are fringed with attractive habitations, in which are budding and blooming flowers of intelligent conception. All about can be seen ornamentation, evidences of Christian culture and the better civilization. The paths that wind beneath overhanging branches are covered with withered leaves, reminding the rambler of the changes in nature as the years go by.
Out through a brilliantly lighted hall comes a strain of music. The notes are sweet. They create a spell before which language is powerless. It is a music sweetly soothing. It betrays no faith — no trust. There is harmony with the dying night breezes harping through the seared leaves, trembling upon limb and bush. The soul, commingling with the melody, reaches forth to muse with the sentient ministries in the air. The man who would pause here would soon be made unfit for "treason, stratagem and spoils," else he would be speedily rated "an ignorant, noteless, timeless, tuneless fellow." The rambler paused and admired. He saw the darkness melt as before a ray, and the half veiled face of heaven throw a stream of light, with a beam of comfort to direct his way. It was evident that beyond that threshold had never passed a viper to sting and poison. Virtue stood full crowned, and round about, in battle array, ranged the angels of defense. Their presence has been courted, their service cherished, therefore the breath of divinity breathed in the music, and in the rustling leaves, which the rambler caught that autumn evening.
Life has its contrasts — its lights and shadows. The rambler passes from the one into the other.
"Do you see yonder cottage, out from which comes but a faint light?" asked a resident of the street.
The rambler paused, saying: "I do now since you have directed my attention thither."
From our friend we gathered substantially these facts:
Beneath that roof exists a viper — a female viper. She is a mother. Her life to day is black with sin. A few years ago, when she was purer, God gave to her two baby girls —
That seemed to have taken their radiant light
From the fairest hue of the summer skies."
Ere they grew into young maidenhood their mother strayed into a thorny path — she, who for their sake, should have clung to the sheet anchor of virtue and besought defense "from the beautiful city with gates of pearl," and have prayed the angels, with "sounding harps and gleaming crowns," to woo her girls into the paths of purity. By and by there came two human fiends seeking prey — two high-stepping young men of the town. They bid for these two young girls, and the mother, in her abandonment, sold them — permitted them to be sacrificed upon the altar of a terrible fatality. She bid them follow the path which she had chosen to follow, and to feel the thorns which she, in her vileness, was being made to feel. The rambler looked away to behold the stars that gleamed through the drifting clouds, and to wonder why there was so much mercy in the heavens. Here were two girls not long from babyhood being deliberately educated to a deadly vice, having been heartlessly sold by a heartless mother to the merchants of hell. It is passing strange that mercy should continue to be mercy when such a
134crime is being enacted. The being that would be instrumental in blasting an innocent life, in turning purity to impurity, in chilling a flower just blooming, and in directing a guileless heart into guile, should have no peace and joy in the midst of a Christian and civilized life. Through the air should come vengeful arrows of wrath to such an one. But these murderers of maiden life, these poisoners of purity, these blasters of childhood's fragrance, are permitted to hold up their heads within the light of the city's best homes, and in the presence of virtue that has received a cherishing fervent and strong. The defenseless may only know that in the afterdawn it will not be all mercy, but with it will be seen the flashings of justice for the beings who outraged buds and blossoms, and innocent hearts, when there was no defense — no one to smite down the beasts as they preyed like vampires upon the all of life— its virtue, its glory and its crown.
In a quiet and humble retreat, removed from the gas-light's glitter and glare, lives a widowed mother, and with her two little boys yet in the spring of life. How and why they had been left alone to struggle for existence was not revealed, and lest a sanctuary of sacred silence should be invaded, no intelligence was sought in that direction. Little Joe, the eldest, during the past few months, had sold flowers and button-hole bouquets. When the seared leaves began to fall and north winds to blow flowers were less in demand. An office-holder, and occupant of one of the state-rooms of the Capitol, had not been too much engaged to observe his coming and going, and, being attracted by the boy's manner, had on many a summer day purchased from him a cluster of flowers. One day when he came, his friend, realizing that "leaves have their time to fall, and flowers to fade," suggested the selling of matches. Little Joe, having confidence, concluded to follow his suggestion. His good friend advanced him the money with which to purchase a stock. When the matches were obtained he was given this advice:
136"You go south on Second street, and then back on Fourth street. Little Joe looked up in astonishment, and to exclaim: "What! go among those big houses? I can't sell anything there. The people who live in those houses look so cross and mad at me. I would sooner go among the little houses. The people who live in them appear more friendly. I always sell more to them."
His exclamation and reply opened up a train of reflection. It was an experience revealing a contrast between two conditions of life. Little Joe was confronted in the one locality with comfortless shadows, and in the other with the gleams of sunshine. His recollection of the one condition will be the recollection of hours which had in them more of coldness than of warmth, and of the other condition the recollection of hours which had in them more of warmth than of coldness.
Upon the night when the rambler was abroad the mother was passing under the rod of affliction, and it was plain to be seen that but a little while would she be permitted to remain upon the earth. Little Joe had just come in from his wanderings. He had sold his last paper of matches. The meeting of mother and son revealed a warm affection — a fervent love. Some how or other the little fellow realized that in a short time the best and truest friend he ever knew would leave him for a journey through the valley, and that then he would be alone in the world — alone to struggle — alone to achieve. "Mother," said he, "I will do all I can for you."
The expression came up from a great soul, though possessed by a little boy. Little by little he had saved his money. He thought of no one but his mother; he knew no one but her, and cared for no one but her. Her pain was his pain, her sorrow his sorrow, and her joy his joy. At last the angel of death came and took from the boy his mother. He looked into her gentle face, traced by the weight of care, and with his little hand moistened with his tears he closed her eyes — eyes that had followed his footsteps many a weary day, and had watched his coming when the evening shadows were creeping over cottage and palace.
The scene here depicted was presented a week or more ago. Tonight — night upon which the rambler rambles — little Joe is found alone in the world — alone, an orphan child.
Engaging him in conversation, he says, presenting a picture of manly pride: "I have buried my mother;" and then his eyes sparkled with soul dew. "How could you do such a thing when so young — so small." Answering, he revealed the fact that he had gone to the man who makes coffins, and told him that his mother had died, and that he wanted one in which to bury her. The undertaker, judging from his appearance that he could not pay for a finished coffin, gave directions in regard to a box. The boy looked up, and asked: "Can I not have a nice coffin in which to put my mother? I will pay for it. I have some money now, and will sell more matches and pay for it." Satisfied that the boy was
138honest and would do what he said he would, the undertaker directed that a nice coffin be furnished. "Then you will want a wagon?" asked the undertaker. Looking into the man's face, with his eyes full, as was his heart, he asked: "Cannot my mother be taken to the grave in the hearse? She is as good as any other boy's mother. I will pay for it all. I promised my mother when she died that I would do it, and I will do it." It was not hard to detect in the boy a purpose that was earnest, and it was easy to conclude that in this matter, and in fact in all other matters, he would be true.
All he desired was furnished, and he went to his lonely home feeling glad that he was able to fulfill the promise he had made his mother ere her spirit left its mortal home for a home in the skies. The boy knew that his mother was a good mother, and in his soul he felt the impress of her character; and happy was he to know that from care and toil he could see her conveyed to a quiet rest in a way that would reflect honor upon his name. While yet a boy his manhood developed. In the spring-time of his life the autumn wealth showed itself. He determined that the beauty and taste incident to Christian civilization should surround her in the passage to the tomb. Over her grave will bloom flowers, and it is sure that through the years they will be well watered by little Joe.
When the grave was closed and the little boys found their way to the city, a couple of ladies met them at their dreary
139and desolate habitation. Looking at the younger of the two, it was suggested that he be sent to the Home of the Friendless. Little Joe turned his head, and soon his eyes were filled with tears. Said he to the ladies: "I don't want my little brother sent to the Home, for if he goes there somebody will take him away, and I will never see him again." Looking up into the face of one of the ladies, he continued: "Won't you take him? If you do I will pay for his board and clothing." The plea was the eloquence of child-faith, and could not be resisted.
Standing in this little man's presence, the rambler was wont to say: Here we see a great force — a combination of heroic elements, in the midst of which is a soul-fountain containing everything that is sweet and beautiful. Little Joe loved his mother — loved her living and loved her dead, and in the boy swelled and sprung forth a manhood that would not say less than this when her spirit went home to God: "Here lies the best woman, in my judgment, I ever knew — she was my mother, and she shall be buried and laid away to rest." From a chamber of poverty the boy walked forth, and in the manhood which he developed showed that he bore as proud a name as was borne anywhere among the race. In the street he had been crowded to one side because of the clothes he wore and the work he did, and by those who would have been slow to believe that in the domain of the affections, and round the sanctuary of the best conditions
140of life, he was gathering a royal strength. It is the strength that makes manhood grand and powerful in the mastery of contending forces. Little Joe gave all he had that his mother might be honored, and the act and the knowledge thereof will serve him well all along his journey of life.
In this little boy the rambler beholds all the elements for a crowning success. A diamond that gleams today gleams tomorrow and will glow with beauty always. The soul that expands largely in the morning of life will show its fullness when the twilight, creeping about, tells that the evening has come. A memory that is cherished in the summer years will never grow old, and will form a vivid picture when the frosts of autumn and the winter winds come. How refreshing these soul-lights, which are led now and then to scatter their effulgence. We see one today, and know not what is beneath; tomorrow it may be touched to a development, and to an agency that will rear an altar for the sublimest devotion. If this light flashes from a youthful life it will reveal the cast of manhood, and down the years will point to victory and glory.
Trust: A Poem.
Lines suggested to the mind and heart of the Rambler by a ramble made at an earlier period of his life:
While toying with a golden curl.
In the two orbs — the eyes of Ruth.
In youthful trust she stood a queen
In beauty, hope and graceful mien.
Her way was bright, the future fair.
And sin was hid from mortal view.
And knew your heart was warm, not cold."
In words that came without alloy:
And as I thirsted gave me more.
Along a rough and thorny way.
From light and hope — beyond your call.
And called me your little bird;
With crowns of stars for womanhood.
But visions of a golden day,
While clinging to my trusted guide.
I might have left the angel guild;
The path of sin without a ray.
And lost my anchor in the dark,
To row me back safe to the shore.
In gloom been cast with weary heart —
To light to golden gates ajar.
That every glitter was not gold;
And bid me go and take a look
Through nature's wide unwritten book."
Who faced a strong contending gale,
It was a wild — a fearful night,
Who might have been a happy wife,
For lands and checks, coupons and gold,
For God, for truth — the cause of right,
Not been held by an iron band,
The soul and mind she might have taught,
And not been watched thro' summer bowers.
Man's rest and joy, a lonely hour,
Had she been called a little dove.
Blew with an angry, fearful wrath.
And to a flower did not fill.
To bloom and grace it could not toil —
For soothing dew to make it start.
And why he won't I cannot see.
With volumes of his good advice?"
They told of a heart poorly fed —
Of love that cried to be caressed.
Were words that brought a fatal dearth —
To cry "why should I thus be cursed?"
In angry storm it had been tried.
And he who was stern bowed his head.
For with more love it had not been
As seen to-night by those of years
As cold as some cathedral tower?
Away from my heart. Oh! fatal day.
That I would not her trust return.
That her hungry soul might be fed?"
From keys — from heart — a gentle tone.
That told to me of inward wrong.
That this was not a household hell.
Had saved a flower from the dust.
And told to stay her falling tears —
Was told to ramble down the lane.
A joy had come — a happy boon;
'Twas all to her, the heart's own choice.
Of love — of trust, in infant rig,
"Ma, please, may I go out to play?"
More beautiful than when a bride.
As the tired boy was put to bed.