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The ranch. (North Yakima, Wash.) 1894-189?, January 20, 1894, Image 12

Image and text provided by Washington State Library; Olympia, WA

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/2007252175/1894-01-20/ed-1/seq-12/

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1 put by the half-written poem,
While the pen, Idly trailed la my hand,
Writes on, "Had I words to complete it,
Who'd read it, or who'd understand?"
But the little bare feet on the stairway,
And the faint, smothered laugh in the hall,
Aud the eerie-low lisp on the silence,
Cry up to me over it all.
So I gather it up—where was broken
The tear-faded thread of my theme,
Telling how, as one night I sat writing,
A fairy broke in on my dream—
A little inquisitive fairy—
My own little girl, with the gold
Of the sun in her hair, and the dewy
Blue eyes of the fairies of old.
•Twas the dear little girl that I scolded—
"For was it a moment like this,"
I said, "when she knew I was busy
To come romping in for a kiss?—
Come rowdying up from her mother.
And clamoring there at my knee
For -One 'ittle kiss for my dolly,
And one 'ittle uzzer for me!'."
Qod pity the heart that repelled her,
And the cold hand that turned her away,
And take from the lips that denied her
This answerless prayer of today!
Take, Lord, from my mem'ry forever
That pitiful sob of despair,
And the patter and trip of her little bare feet.
And the one piercing cry on the stair!
I put by the half-written poem,
While the pen, idly trailed in my hand,
Writes on, "Had I words to complete it,
Who'd read it, or who'd understand?"
But the little bare feet on the stairway,
And the faint, smothered laugh in the hall,
And the eerie-low lisp on the silence,
Cry up to me over it all.
—James Whitcomb Rlley,
A True Tale.
By a Disbeliever.
A two-miles tramp from the railroad
station through the darkness and the
half frozen slush—too hours of a gloomy
forest road, relieved at intervals by open
pastures thickly dotted with wierd forms
of stumps and stones—brought me at last
to the dear old home. Gleaming lights
at the windows sent their welcoming
rays out into the darkness to greet me.
The great house never before had so
stamped its hundred years of history
upon my mind as it did that night when
I saw its apparently gigantic shape loom
ing in the black night.
"Thank God, Howard, that you have
come," was the first sound of greet
ing, and that from my good and belov
ed mother-in law, in whose brooding
care my own little flock were spending
the holidays. My little wife nestled her
welcome as I dried out and warmed up
before the leaping wood-fire, but offered
no explanation for the warmth of my
welcoming. The children sent their vo
ciferous calls down from upstairs regions.
The sisters soon appeared and I confi
dently awaited the schoolmarm's news.
"Well Howard, we're all glad enough
to see you. I suppose you wont believe
it; but you will have your turn tonight.
"Such goings-on you never heard of be
fore. Now you know that lam not the
least afraid of anything ;*but even mother
was afraid last night."
That same mother had aforetime faced
and driven off a raging bull in the pas
tures, '.while her childen scampered to
places of safety. The schoolmarm pro
ceeds :
"It has gone on for two nights. Such
noises! But last night was, the climax.
Laurie and Petra slept downstairs in
mothers's room, that I always said was
Here Petra pipes in, "We were awak
ened by a feeling of suffocation. The
room seemed full of people whose presence
we could only feel. After a while that
passed away and the air cleared up.
Then as we began to .drowse I was aw
fully frightened by a dripping, dripping
on the bedclothes, as of wa.er, but there
was no wetness. That dripping—l can't
describe it any other way—kept moving
up toward the pillows, and we simply
laid there and let it drip. We were too
frightened to move. At last Laurie, who
is so brave, jumped out of bed and lit the
lamp. We saw nothing and the dripping
"But, O, Howard, last night was the
worst," exclaimed my Laurie, and re
signed the story to the energetic school
marm, who said:
"I poo-pood their ghosts and told them
to just call me next time and I'd "
"Well, we did! Last night the drip
ping began again and we just called to
Cornie, kind of easy, as we did not want
mother to know, but she heard and
thought our voices were a little scarey.
Cornie came rushing down stairs and got
into bed with us, and we blew out the
light to give her all she wanted of the
fun (?j Then drip,—drip—drip,—drip,
—that horrid dripping went on. The air
got stiffling and Cornie was so frightened
that she could not stir. Pretty soon
something soft seemed to be touching the
bedclothing and that dripping was right
on the pillows. Cornie could just whis
per, 'O, do light a lamp;' but we were all
too frightened. The air grew worse, and
we heard wings fluttering around the
room, first a few, then more seemed to
come in from somewhere, until the whole
room was alive with the rushing, awful
sounds. Then Cornie fairly shrieked,
and Laurie and I could not stir. Mother
heard her and she came down with a
"Yes, and as I opened the door of
that room the air smelled of sulphur,"
solemnly added the good mother.
"Of course we had to tell her what the
trouble was, and O, you ought to have
seen mother then! She was so indignant.
She marched in as an angel might, and
seemed one sent to our rescue, as we
laid there half dead. She took an apron
—hardly an angelic weapon—and just
shood with it as if she was driving chick
ens, and said very solemnly:
, " 'In the name of Christ, get out of this
house, all you devils and evil spirits.' "
"And willl you believe it? the air
cleared right away, and there was a
swishing sound, as if the wings and
things weß in a dreadful hurry to get
away from mamma. That was the last
of it, but Cornie would not stay with us
any longer and shied off up stairs. Laurie
and I were so exhausted that we slept
again. You never had any such exper
ence, and I half wish that you might get
just a taste of it tonight."
What wa3 it all? I don't know. The
father and I digcuseed the pro and con of
electrical disturbances and all that sor; of
thing, but did not half believe our own
arguments. The women all agreed that
the great sleet storm had been chosen as
an oportune time for the ghostly visit,
and the reputation of the old house lent
color to their reasoning.
The girls eyed me curiously as wife and
I retired to the ''haunted room," but I
had never seen, or heard, or smelled a
ghost; so felt and showed no signs of
fear. As Laurie's fair head pillowed in
its usual place, I murmured an audible
prayer to the All Father for protection for
my loved one 3 from evil of every degree
—and the household slept in peace.
The habit of assimilating that which is
pleasant from what we read or meet with
is a £ood one to cultivate. A young lady
of ordinary ability, but always a pleasant
companion, being aaked how she managed
to entertain this or that person known to
be a difficult subject, replied: 411 make a
point to remember all the jokes and pleas
ant things I read or hear, and some one of
them generally serves as an opening wedge. 1
One morning my girl, who had worked in
Texas, where they have the "ager," asked
me, with anxious face, if I thought she
could get "egobusters" at the village store.
I answered: "No—o, I don't think so;'
and my work that morning was not a little
hampered by the thought—What can an
"egobuster" be? Not until late did I solve
the problem of the wonderful cure for ague.
Her successor, on beint* asked what sew
ing machine she had used, replied, "the
'Domstick,' " which was not so hard a nut
to crack.
My little five-year-old boy, who had
played to diligently with his Santa Claus
gifts that his face was moist from the
effort, said: "Oh, mamma, I'm all
The same little chap, when much younger,
on being shown a tree toad, and being told
what it was, said: "Humph, a green one —
ain't tbfire any ripe ones around here?"
Walking up the street of a large city one
wet evening, the little fellow looked up at
the rays of the electric lights streaming
through the mist and said: "Oh, papa,
just see! The lights have got whiskers."
Mart Stacy.
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