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gotten. As the sun was setting behind the mountains', hovever', my attention was suddenly attracted by the whistling of the deer', and the sharp cry of the wolves', now close upon him. He had recrossed the prairie, and sought for shelter in a little rocky mound', situated in the midst of the plain. In vain his endeavors to escapé, for during the whole day' his unwearied pursuers had maintained the chase. He was now worn and weary; and the sight of the wolves at his heels', with teeth laid bare, and eyes staring upon their prey', was sufficient only to produce a staggering gait’, between a walk' and a bound. Having crossed a little brook’, he faltered as he ascended the bank'; and one of the wolves springing upon him', fixed his fangs fatally in the back of his neck.
LESSON X X X V.
THE MOTHER AND HER INFANTS.
A MOTHER was kneeling in the deep hush of evening', at the couch of two infants', whose rosy arms were twined in a mutual embrace. A slumber, soft as the moonlight that fell through the lattice over them like a silvery veil, lay on their delicate lips—the soft bright curls that clustered on their pillow, were slightly stirred by their gentle and healthful breathings'; and that smile, which beams from the pure depths of the fresh, glad spirit, yet rested on their coral lips. The mother looked upon their exceeding beauty with a momentary pride'—and then', as she continued to gaze upon the lovely slumberers', her dark eye deepened with an intense and unutterable fondness'; when a cold, shuddering fear came over her, lest those buds of life, so fair', might be touched with sudden decay and go back’, in their brightness', to the dust. She lifted her voice in prayer solemnly' passionately, earnestly', that the giver of life would still spare to her those blossoms of lové, over whom her soul thus yearned. As the low-breathed accents rose on the still air', a deepened thought came over her'; her pure spirit went out with her loved and pure ones into the strangé, wild paths of life'; a strong horror chilled her frame as she beheld mildew and blight settling on the fair and lovely of the earth', and high and rich hearts scathed with desolating and guilty passion'. The prayer she was breathing grew yet more fervent’, even to agony', that he', who is the fountain of all purity', would preserve those whom he had given her' in their innocence', permitting neither shamé, nor crime', nor folly' to cast a stain on the
brightness with which she had received them invested, from his hands', as with a mantle.
As the prayer died away in the weakness of the spent spirit', a pale shadowy form stood behind the infant sleepers. “I am death',” said the specter, “ and I come for these thy babes — [ am commissioned to bear them' where the perils you deprecate are unknown'; where neither stain', nor dust', nor shadow can reach the rejoicing spirit. It is only by yielding them to mē, you can preserve them from contamination and decay.” A wild conflict-a struggle as of the soul parting in strong agony', shook the mother's frame"; but faith', and the love which hath a purer fount than that of earth-ward passions', triumphed"; and she yielded up her babes to the specter.
LESSON X X X VI.
MELANCHOLY MOMENTS. “I
would not live alway'; I ask not to stay
Are enough for life's woes"; full enough' for its cheer.” Thou art gone", bright and beautiful summer, with thy green leaves and thy roses', to be here no more for a season. Thou hast borne them all hence upon the winds', to rest a few short hours in oblivion', and then come back in all thy sweetness' to the longing earth. Even as the fond participators of my happiness have passed one by one, and left this lone heart a gloomy and unlighted sepulcher', so hast thou passed away. And shall I be here when the warm sunshine of spring breaks up the rude frosts of winter', and unlocks the icy fetters which have stayed the rivers in their course, and stopped the wild gush of fountains' ? When all nature again smiles and puts on her garment of green'—shall I then be héré to pluck the first spring flowers upon moor and fountain' ? Aho! who may tell? Yes'? who may look forward to thy coming, and say', “ I shall be here"?” Some unforeseen pestilencé, some hidden blow from the hand of him who created the universe of worlds', and who is the all-seeing ruler of our destinies', may beat us hence to be here no more forever. The song of birds may be heard again in the foresť, and the hum of bees upon the wild flowers' be witnessed, but by few of those who now fēeľ that thou art gone. Who of the gay circle that now smiles around me, may be dwellers on this earth when thou again dost visit it'? Thy
baimy winds may sigh over them', and the dew drops rest sweetly upon the long grass that overshadows them', and I even I', may be one of those who have passed away'!—yet who would live forever'? Who would not rather dié, when the ties which bind us here are yet unbroken; when our early affections are yet untarnished', and our fond hearts are still glowing with the warm impulse of youth', unchilled by the lapse of time! Who would not pass away', while life is yet bright with the flowers of existence, and friendship has not grown cold'. Ah'! why do we cling to earth'!*_When the warm currents of life are frozen', and our time-worn and channeled brows wear the deep impress of age; when the rude frosts of our decline have stolen each flower of beauty', and fitted our gray heads for the tomb', why do we still dread the coming of death', and say we are not yet ready'?—True'
, thou mayest come again"; thy beautiful flowers may spring up', when the earth and the green leaves may thrill to the music of the birds'; the fountains may gush forth from their chains', and the young streams leap to their own murmurs. But not like unto this is age. Death is the only restorer', and who would not hail it' as the high boon from him^ who created all things !
LESSON X X X VII.
THE STORY OF A HUNTER.
The following story comes to us from a friend who actually heard it related by a person, in the manner herein described.
About thirty-five years ago I moved into this country', which was then nearly a wilderness'; no settlements having been made excepting in a few places on the borders of the lake. I arrived in the spring of the year', and commenced a clearing on the farm I now occupy. By fall I had built a good log house, and temporary stables for my cattle —had put into the ground ten acres of wheat', and looked forward to the ensuing year for the reward of my labors. My wife and child', for I was married', were all my family'; neighbors there were none nearer than five or six miles': so that visiting or amusements were entirely out of the question. You
suppose that on the approach of a long northern winter I had ample
* Several of these sentences, though having an interrogative form, do not really contain in them a question in fact ; that is, one which requires, or exdects, an answer in some shape or other. No answer, either expressed or implied, is demanded ; and the sentences, therefore, are exempt from the rules which govern interrogative ones. Some of them are mere exclamations.
time to gratify my love for hunting, for which I had always a great fondness. Winter had set in early', and all my cares were confined to keeping a sufficient stock of wood on hand for fuel', which you may imagine was not difficult when the trees stood at my door',--and taking care of the few cattle of which I was then owner. It was one day, I think, in the fore part of December', when', having finished my morning's work', I took down my gun', and told my wife that I would', on my return', please her with the sight of a fat deer. Deer are now very plenty in this part of the country'; but then, they were so much so', that there was little merit or difficulty in achieving what I had promised. I took my departure about a northwest course from my
cabin', which led me direct into the forest. The snow was about a foot deep', and the wind blowing hard from the north', it drifted much in the openings'; yet this I thought was in my favor', as the noise made among the trees by the wind”, prevented the game from hearing my approach in “still hunting. But I was mistaken in my calculations'; for I had traveled five or six miles from homé and had not got a shot at a single deer', though I had seen numbers of them', but they were always on the run', and at too great distance; and all the traces which I saw showed that they had scarcely walked during the day. I was then a young' hunter', but I have since learnt thať this animal is always on the move and generally runs throughout winter days'; probably from the apprehension of danger from wolves' which follow its scent through the snow.
At length I arrived at a large cedar swamp', on the edge of which I was struck by the singular appearance of a large stub', twenty-five or thirty feet high', with its bark off. From its scratched surface, I had no doubt it was climbed by raccoons' or martins', which probably had also a den in it, as from its appearance I judged it was hollow. The stub at its base might have been seven or eight feet througho; but eight or ten feet higher up’, ils size was much diminished', so that I could grasp sufficiently to ascend it', and ascertain what was within. My gun and great coat were deposited in a secure place, and being an expert climber', I soon gained the top. As I anticipated', the stub was hollow', the aperture being about two and a half feet in diameter. The day, you will observe, was dark and cloudy', and looking down the hollow', I fancied that I could see the bottom at no great distance; but having nothing to put in to ascertain its depth', I concluded that I would try to touch the bottom with my feet. I therefore placed myself in the holé, and lowered myself gradually', expecting every moment tha
my foot would come in contact with some animal', or the foot of the hollow; but feeling nothing', I unthinkingly continued letting myself down', until my head and hands', and my whole person', were completely within the center of the stub.
At this moment a sudden' and strange fear came over mè; I know not from what causé, for I am not naturally timid'-it seemed to affect me with a sense of suffocation' such as is experienced in dreams under the effect of night-mare. Rendered desperate by my feelings', I made a violent attempt to extricate myself', when the edges of the wood to which I was holding' treacherously gave way' and precipitated me to the bottom of the holé, which I found extended to a level with the ground. I cannot wholly account for it', but probably from the erect posie tion in which my body was necessarily kept in so narrow a tubé, and my landing on my feet on a bed of moss', dried leaves', and other soft substances', I sustained little or no injury from so great a fall'; nor were my clothes but little deranged in my descent', owing', probably, to the smoothness of the surface produced by the long and frequent passing of the animals to and from their den for a den I found it to be.
After recovering from my frighť I had time to examine the interior. All was dark"; and putting out my hands to feel my way', they came in contact with the cold nose, and then the fur, of some beast', which I immediately knew was a half grown cub, or young bear. Continuing to examine', I ascertained that there were three or four of those animals', which', aroused by the noise made in my descenť, came around and smelt of mè, uttering a mourning noisé, taking me at first, no doubt, for their dam'; but after a little examination', snuffing and snorting as if alarmed', they quietly betook themselves to their couch on the moss', and left me to my own gloomy reflections. I knew they were too young to do me any injury', but with that knowledge came the dreadful certainty that the mother, whose premises I had so heedlessly invaded', was quite a different personagè, and that
my life would date but a short period after she arrived', as arrive she certainly would before many hours could pass my
head. The interior of the den grew more visible after my eyes
became accustomed to the darkness'; and aided by a little light from the top, I discovered that the den was circular', and on the ground was five or six feet in diameter", its circumference diminishing, at the height of seven or eight feeť, to a diameter of less than three', owing to the singular formation of the trunk', as I have before remarked. All my attempts to reach the narrow part of the hollow', in the hopes of working my way out,