« AnkstesnisTęsti »
shivering. Then the habits of her positive and sensible education returned at once, and she came out of her reverie as one breaks from a dream, and lifted all these sad thoughts with one heavy sigh from her breast; and opening her Bible, she read: "They that trust in the Lord shall be as Mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth forever. As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people from henceforth, even forever."
Then she kneeled by her bedside, and offered her whole life a sacrifice to the loving God who had offered his life a sacrifice for her. She prayed for grace to be true to her promise,- to be faithful to the new relation she had accepted. She prayed that all vain regrets for the past might be taken away, and that her soul might vibrate without discord in unison with the will of Eternal Love. So praying, she rose calm, and with that clearness of spirit which follows an act of uttermost self-sacrifice; and so calmly she laid down and slept, with her two hands crossed upon her breast, her head slightly turned on the pillow, her cheek pale as marble, and her long dark lashes lying drooping, with a sweet expression, as if under that mystic veil of sleep the soul were seeing things forbidden to the waking eye. Only the gentlest heaving of the quiet breast told that the heavenly spirit within had not gone whither it was hourly aspiring to go.
Meanwhile Mrs. Scudder had left Mary's room, and entered the Doctor's study, holding a candle in her hand. The good man was sitting alone in the dark, with his head bowed upon his Bible. When Mrs. Scudder entered, he rose, and regarded her wistfully, but did not speak. He had something just then in his heart for which he had no words; so he only looked as a man does who hopes and fears for the answer of a decisive question.
Mrs. Scudder felt some of the natural reserve which becomes a matron coming charged with a gift in which lies the whole sacredness of her own existence,
She made a little pause, and the Doctor stood before her as humbly as if he had not weighed and measured the universe; because he knew, that, though he might weigh the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance, yet it was a far subtiler power which must possess him of one small woman's heart. In fact, he felt to himself like a great, awkward, clumsy, mountainous earthite asking of a white-robed angel to help him up a lider of cloud. He was perfectly sure or the moment, that he was going to befused; and he looked humbly firm,- he would take it like a man. His large blue eyes, generally so misty in their calm, had a resolute clearness, rather mournful than otherwise. Of course, no such celestial experience was going to happen to him. He cleared his throat, and said,— "Well, Madam?”
Mrs. Scudder's womanly dignity was appeased; she reached out her hand, cheerfully, and said,— "She has accepted.”
The Doctor drew his hand suddenly away, turned quickly round, and walked to the window,—although, as it was ten o'clock at night and quite dark, there was evidently nothing to be seen there. He stood there, quietly, swallowing very hard, and raising his handkerchief several times to his eyes. There was enough went on under the black coat just then to make quite a little figure in a romance, if it had been uttered; but he belonged to a class who lived romance, but never spoke it. In a few moments he returned to Mrs. Scudder, and said,-
"I trust, dear Madam, that this very dear friend may never have reason to think me ungrateful for her wonderful goodness; and whatever sins my evil heart may lead me into, I hope I may never fall so low as to forget the unde
was fairly outgeneralled the next morning; for Miss Prissy was up before him, tripping about the chamber on the points of her toes, knocking down all the movable things in the room, in her efforts to be still, so as not to wake Mary; and it was not until she had finally upset the stand by the bed, with the candlestick, snuffers, and Bible on it, that Mary
opened her eyes.
any of you. I am in hopes I shall get by your mother's door without waking her, -'cause I know she works hard and needs her rest, but that bed-room door squeaks like a cat, enough to raise the dead!
"Mary," she added, with sudden energy, "if I had the least drop of oil in a teacup, and a bit of quill, I'd stop that door making such a noise." And Miss
"Miss Prissy! dear me! what is it Prissy's eyes glowed with resolution. you are doing?"
"Why, I am trying to be still, Mary, so as not to wake you up; and it seems to me as if everything was possessed, to tumble down so. But it is only half past three, so you turn over and go
"But, Miss Prissy," said Mary, sitting up in bed, "you are all dressed; where are you going?"
"Well, to tell the truth, Mary, I am just one of those people that can't sleep when they have got responsibility on their minds; and I have been lying awake more than an hour here, thinking about that quilt. There is a new way of getting it on to the frame that I want to try; 'cause, you know, when we quilted Cerinthy Stebbins's, it would trouble us in the rolling; and I have got a new way that I want to try, and I mean just to get it on to the frame before breakfast. I was in hopes I should get out without waking
"I don't know where you could find any at this time," said Mary.
Well, never mind; I'll just go and open the door as slow and careful as I can," said Miss Prissy, as she trotted out of the apartment.
The result of her carefulness was very soon announced to Mary by a protracted sound resembling the mewing of a hoarse cat, accompanied by sundry audible grunts from Miss Prissy, terminating in a grand finale of clatter, occasioned by her knocking down all the pieces of the quilting-frame that stood in the corner of the room, with a concussion that roused everybody in the house.
"What is that?" called out Mrs. Scudder, from her bed-room.
She was answered by two streams of laughter,-one from Mary, sitting up in bed, and the other from Miss Prissy, holding her sides, as she sat dissolved in merriment on the sanded floor.
[To be continued.]
As who, in idly searching o'er
Some seldom-entered garret-shed,
Thus (to their wearer once allied)
I lift these weeds of buried woe,
These relics of a self that died
So sadly and so long ago!
WHEN, nearly fifty years ago, England was taught one of the bloodiest lessons her history has to record, before the cotton-b'e breast works of New Orleans, a lesson, too, which was only the demonstration of a proposition laid down more than a hundred years ago by one of her own philosophers,† who would have believed that she, aiming to be the first military power in the world, would have left the first advantage of that lesson to be gained by her rival, France?
When the troops that had defeated Napoleon stopped, baffled, before a breastwork defended by raw militiamen; when, finding that the heads of their columns melted away like wax in fire as they approached the blaze of those hunters' rifles, they finally recoiled, terribly defeated, saved from total destruction, perhaps, only by the fact that their enemy had not enough of a military organ
* Instructions to Young Marksmen in all that relates to the General Construction, Practical Manipulation, etc., etc., as exhibited in the Improved American Rifle. By John Ratcliffe Chapman, C. E. New York: D. Appleton &. Co. 1848.
Rifle-Practice. By Lieut.-Col. John Jacob, C. B., of the Bombay Artillery. London: Smith, Elder, & Co. 1857.
The Rifle; and how to use it. Comprising a Description of that Admirable Weapon, etc., etc. By Hans Busk, M.A. First Lieut. Victoria Rifles. London: J. Routledge & Co. 1858. Report of the U. S. Commission on Rifles.
† Robins (on Projectiles) said in 1748, "Whatever state shall thoroughly comprehend the nature and advantages of riflepieces, and, having facilitated and completed their construction, shall introduce into their armies their general use, with a dexterity in the management of them, will by this means acquire a superiority which will almost equal anything that has been done at any time by the particular excellence of any one kind of arms, and will perhaps fall but little short of the wonderful effects which histories relate to have been formerly produced by the first inventors of fire-arms." Words, we now see, how prophetic!
ization to enable them to pursue effectively; when, in brief, a battle with men who never before had seen a skirmish of regular troops was turned into a slaughter almost unparalleled for disproportioned losses in the history of civilized warfare, the English loss being about twelve hundred, the American some fifteen all told; one would have thought that such a demonstration of the power of the rifle would have brought Robins's words to the memory of England,-" will perhaps fall but little short of the wonderful effects which histories relate to have been formerly produced by the first inventors of fire-arms." What more astonishing disparity of military power does the history of fire-arms record? twelve hundred to fifteen! But this lesson, so terrible and so utterly ignored by English pride, was simply that of the value of the rifle intelligently used.
They tell a story which makes a capital foot-note to the history of the battle:that General Jackson, having invited some of the English officers to dine with him, had on the table a robin-pie which he informed the guests contained twelve robins whose heads had all been shot off by one of his marksmen, who, in shooting the twelve, used but thirteen balls. result of the battle must be mainly attributed to the deadly marksmanship of the hunters who composed the American forces; but the same men armed with muskets would not only not have shown the same accuracy in firing, but they would not have felt the moral force which a complete reliance on their weapons gave,—a certainty that they held the life of any antagonist in their hands, as soon as enough of him appeared to “draw a bead on." Put the same men in the open field where a charge of bayonets was to be met, and they would doubtless have broken and fled without crossing steel. Nor, on the other hand, could any musketry have kept the English
columns out of the cotton-bale breastwork; they had often in the Peninsula stormed stronger works than that, without faltering for artillery, musketry, or bayonet. But here they were literally unable to reach the works; the fatal rifle-bullet drew a line at which bravery and cowardice, nonchalant veterans and trembling boys, were equalized in the dust.
We remember once to have met an old hunter who was one of the volunteers at Plattsburg, (another rifle battle, fought by militiamen mainly,) a man who never spoiled his furs by shooting his game in the body, and who carried into the battle his hunting-rifle. Being much questioned as to his share in the day's deeds, he told us that he, with a body of men, all volunteers, and mainly hunters like himself, was stationed at a ford on the Saranac, where a British column attempted to cross.
Their captain ordered no one to fire until the enemy were half-way across; " and then," said he, "none of 'em ever got across, and not many of them that got into the water got out again. They found out it wa'n't of any kind of use to try to get across there, and after a while they give it up and went farther down the river; and by-and-by an officer come and told us to go to the other ford, and we went there, and so they didn't get across there either." We were desirous of getting the estimate of an expert as to the effect of such firing, and asked him directly how many men he had killed. "I don't know," said he, modestly; "I ruther guess I killed one fellow, certain; but how many more I can't say. I was going down to the river with another volunteer to get some water, and I heerd a shot right across the river, and I peeked out of the bushes, and see a red-coat sticking his head out of the bushes on the other side, and looking down the river, as if he'd been firing at somebody on our side, and pretty soon he stuck his head out agin, and took aim at something in that way; and I thought, of course, it must be some of our folks. I couldn't VOL. IV. 28
stand that, so I just drawed up and fired at him. He dropped his gun, and pitched head-first into the water. I guess hit him amongst the waistcoat-buttons; but then, you know, if I hadn't shot him, he might have killed somebody on our side." We put the question in another form, asking how many shots he fired that day. "About sixteen, I guess, or maybe twenty." the enemy?"
"And how far off were
"Well, I should think about twenty rod." We suggested that he did not waste many of his bullets; to which he replied, that "he didn't often miss a deer at that distance."
But these were the exploits of fifty years ago; the weapon, the old heavymetalled, long-barrelled "Kentucky" rifle; and the missile, the old round bullet, sent home with a linen patch. It is a form of the rifled gun not got up by any board of ordnance or theoretic engineers, but which, as is generally the case with excellent tools, was the result of the trials and experience of a race of practical men, something which had grown up to supply the needs of hunters; and with the improvements which greater mechanical perfection in gun-making has effected, it stands at this day the king of weapons, unapproached for accuracy by the work of any nation beside our own, very little surpassed in its range by any of the newly invented modifications of the rifle. The Kentucky* rifle is to American mechanism what the chronometer is to English, a speciality in which rivalry by any other nation is at this moment out of the question. An English board of ordnance may make a series of experiments, and in a year or two contrive an Enfield rifle, which, to men who know of nothing better, is wonderful; but here we have the result of experiments of nearly a hundred years, by generations whose daily subsistence depended on the accuracy and excellence of their rifles, and who all exper
*The technical name for the long, heavy, small-calibred rifle, in which the thickness of the metal outside the bore is about equal to the diameter of the bore.