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Till the gurgle and refrain
Wrought a happiness as keen to him as pain.
Little brook-laugh and leap!
Do not let the dreamer weep:
Sing him all the songs of summer till he sink in softest sleep;
And then sing soft and low
Through his dreams of long ago—
Sing back to him the rest he used to know!
JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY.
[Used by special permission of the publishers, The Bobbs-Merrill Company. From "Rhymes of Childhood." Copyright, 1900.]
A FLOOD IN SCOTLAND.
Among the poor people who were for a long time in danger was a man of the name of Sandy Smith, whose cottage stood upon a piece of furzy pasture, not far from one of the rivers which had overflowed their banks.
A great number of the inhabitants of the cottages, in the part of the country nearest to him, escaped early in the night of Monday to a large barn which stood on high ground; and others were received into a gentleman's house, where they were made as comfortable as circumstances would permit.
All of them thought that poor Sandy Smith would never be seen by them again, for his house was in a low situation, and already surrounded by water.
But, on looking in the direction of his cottage, they were very glad to see a distant gleam of light, which came from a candle placed in his cottage window. They, therefore, had lights placed in the windows of the gentleman's house just mentioned, in order that the poor people in the distant cottage might know that they were not forgotten, although it was impossible to get at them.
A dismal night had Sandy Smith in his cottage, in the midst of the waters. At break of day, the kind people who were looking out for him and his family, saw all the country laid under water, including many fields, which had the day before been beautiful with yellow wheat, green tops of turnips, and other crops; and the surface of the flood was strewed with trees and every kind of wreck from farms, and barns, and houses.
The heavy rain and the raging wind were yet continuing; the cattle were wandering about, and lowing
for want of their usual food, and crowds of distressed families were crying and bewailing themselves.
Afar off was seen the cottage of Sandy Smith — its roof like a speck above the water-and it was seen that the gable end had given way. With the help of a good telescope, the family were perceived to have left the cottage, and to be all huddled together on a small spot of ground not more than a few feet square, and forty or fifty yards distant from their ruined dwelling.
Sandy himself was seen, sometimes standing up and sometimes sitting on a small cask; he seemed to be watching the large trees that swept past him and his wife and children, and which threatened to sweep them away.
His wife was sitting on a bit of a log, covered with a blanket, having one child on her knee, and two leaning by her side. Close to them were about a score of sheep, a small horse, and three cows, all glad, like themselves, to stand on that little spot of dry land.
The greatest fear which those had who saw these poor people from distant houses, was, that the waters would gain upon them before any boat could be procured to bring them away. A lady in the neighborhood had, however, ordered her horses to be put to a boat, to drag it down to a convenient spot for being launched, and three bold men got into it, determined to save the lives of the poor people, if possible.
But to reach the house, and then to get to where Sandy and his family were waiting, was a task of no small labor and difficulty; for as the boat seemed to be going on fairly and well, it was more than once carried away by the currents that were to be crossed, and carried away with such violence that those on the shore thought the people in the boat would be lost.
The activity of the people in the boat was their only safety; and one of them whose name was Donald Munro, but who, on account of his dress, was that day called "Straw Hat and Yellow Waistcoat," gained much honor for his wonderful exertions. Sometimes he was at the head of the boat, and sometimes at the stern, not infrequently in the water up to the neck, and then again rowing with all his strength.
Before they reached the spot where Sandy and his family were standing in a cluster on their little spot of land, there were five raging currents to be passed. The moment the boat came to one of these, it was whirled away far down the stream; and when one current was passed, the men had to pull the boat up again all the way before they ventured to cross another.
The last current they had to cross was the worst ; but Smith was so delighted to see the boat approaching, that he ran into the water to meet it, and helped
to drag it toward the spot whereon his wife and children were yet remaining. They were all safely placed in the boat, and carried back, with many difficulties, across all the currents to the shore.
THOMAS D. LAUDER.
Oh, silvery streamlet of the fields,
For thee the rains of spring return,
I come from haunts of coot and hern,
And sparkle out among the fern,
By thirty hills I hurry down,