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"Lord have mercy !" gasped Blacklock, clutching Sinclair's arm convulsively; "here she comes!"
He was right. Far a-head along the line, two points of light, like the eyes of a basilisk, had glided into view, and were fast dilating and growing brighter and fiercer as the iron monster from the south came on through the darkness at the rate of a mile a minute. Already the thunder of its approach was distinctly perceptible. Scarcely a mile separated the two trains—in thirty seconds they would be together!
"Signal!—signal the express!" shrieked Blacklock. But Campbell's engine! how was it to be checked 1 Blacklock looked at the narrow space that separated the two engines. A few feet—only a few feet!—and a hundred human lives at stake!
"I 'll Jump!" he cried. In a moment, before Sinclair could hold him back, he had crouched and made the desperate spring. He alighted upon the footboard of the other tender. He staggered for a moment; but, recovering his balance, sprang forward to the engine, shut off the steam, and put on the brake. It was all the brave fellow could do. Now for life—for life! He seized the drunken man. He dragged him to the side of the engine to leap off, when in an instant the Express, with its flying plume and its glaring irids, magnifying into two great orbs of flame, flashed through the darkness, and like a thunderbolt shot full upon them!
The earth shook with the terrific shock. The engines were smashed, the furnace fires flared up, the huge carriages of both trains came on like successive explosions, leaping madly ovor one another, while a thousand shrieks rang wildly up into the shuddering air of night.—David Macrae.
THE WEECK OF THE "HESPERUS."
It was the schooner " Hesperus,"
That sailed the wintry sea;
To bear him company.
Blue were her eyes as the fairy-flax,
And her bosom white as the hawthorn buds,
The skipper he stood beside the helm,
His pipe was in his mouth, And he watched how the veering flaw did blow,
The smoke now west, now south.
Then up and spake an old sailor,
Had sailed the Spanish Main, "I pray thee, put into yonder port,
For I fear a hurricane.
"Last night, the moon had a golden ring,
And to-night no moon we see I"
And a scornful laugh laughed he.
Colder and louder blew the wind,
A gale from the north-east;
And the billows frothed like yeast.
Down came the storm and smote amain
The vessel in its strength; She shuddered and paused, like a frightened steed,
Then leaped her cable's length.
"Come hither! come hither ! my little daughter,
And do not tremble so;
That ever wind did blow."
He wrapped her in his seaman's coat
Against the stinging blast;
And bound her to the mast.
"0 Father! I hear the church-bells ring;
Oh, say, what it may be V "'Tis a fog-bell on a rock-bound coast!"
And he steered for the open sea.
"0 Father! I hear the sound of guns;
Oh, say, what it may be?" "Some ship in distress that cannot live
In such an angry sea!"
"0 Father! I see a gleaming light;
Oh, say, what may it be 1"
A frozen corpse was he.
Lashed to the helm, all stiff and stark,
With his face turned to the skies, The lantern gleamed through the gleaming snow
On his fixed and glassy eyes.
Then the maiden clasped her hands and prayed
That saved she might be.; And she thought of Him, who stilled the wave
On the Lake of Galilee.
And fast through the midnight dark and drear
Like a sheeted ghost, the vessel swept
And ever the fitful gusts between
A sound came from the land;
On the rocks and the hard sea-sand.
The breakers were right beneath her bows,
She drifted a dreary wreck,
Like icicles from her deck.
She Struck—where the white and fleecy waves
Looked soft as carded wool;
Like the horns of an angry .bull.'
Her rattling shrouds, all sheathed in ice,
Like a vessel of glass, she stove and sank,
At daybreak, on the bleak sea-beach
A fisherman stood aghast,
Lashed close to a drifting mast.
The salt sea was frozen on her breast
The salt tears in her eyes; And he saw her hair, like the brown sea-weed,
On the billows fall and rise.
Such was the wreck of the "Hesperus,"
In the midnight and the snow!
On the reef of Norman's Woe !—Longfellow.
Of Man's first disobedience, and the fruit of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste brought death into the world, and all our woe, with loss of Eden,—till one greater Man restore us, and regain the blissful seat,—sing, heavenly Muse! that, on the secret top of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire that shepherd, who first taught the chosen seed, in the beginning, how the heavens and earth rose out of Chaos: or, if Sion hill delight thee more, and Siloa's brook that flowed fast by the oracle of God; I thence invoke thy aid to my adventurous song,—that, with no middle flight, intends to soar above the Aonian mount, while it pursues things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme. And chiefly Thou, O Spirit, that dost prefer, before all temples, the upright heart and pure, instruct me, for Thou know'st; Thou from the first wast present and, with mighty wings outspread, dove-like sat'st brooding on the vast abyss, and madest it pregnant. What is in me dark, illumine; what is low, raise and support; that to the height of this great argument, I may assert eternal Providence, and justify the ways of God to men.—Milton.
RECITATIONS AND SCENES FOR JUNIOR PUPILS.
THE SOLDIER'S DREAM.
Our bugles sang truce, for the night-cloud had lowered,
And thousands had sunk on the ground overpowered,
When reposing that night on my pallet of straw,
At the dead of the night a sweet vision I saw;
Methought, from the battle-field's dreadful array,
'Twas autumn,— and sunshine arose on the way
To the home of my fathers, that welcomed me back.
I flew to the pleasant fields, traversed so oft
In life's morning march, when my bosom was young;
I heard my own mountain-goats bleating aloft,
Then pledged we the wine cup, and fondly I swore
From my home and my weeping friends never to part;
My little ones kissed me a thousand times o'er,
"Stay, stay with us,—Rest;—Thou art weary and worn V And fain was their War-broken soldier to stay;
But sorrow returned with the dawning of morn,
JONES AT THE BARBER'S SHOP.
Jones. I wish my hair cnt.
Oily. Pray, Sir, take a seat. We've had much wet, Sir.
Jones. Very much, indeed.
Oily. And yet November's early days were fine.
Jones. They were.
Oily. I hoped fair weather might have lasted us Until the end.
Jones. At one time—so did I.
Oily. But we have had it very wet.
Jones. We have.
Oily. I know not, Sir, who cut your hair last time;
Jones. No! in town!
Oily. Indeed! I should have fancied otherwise.
Jones. 'Twas cut in town,—and in this very room.
Oily. Amazement!—but I now remember well
Jones. No !—'twas yourself.
Oily. Myself! Impossible! You must mistake.
Jones. I don't mistake,—'twas you that cut my hair.
Oily. Your hair is very dry, Sir.
Jones. Oh! indeed.