Newspaper Page Text
A Christmas Carol.
Midnight was o'er a world that slept Beneath the haugbty gaze of Rome; But still Imperial t aeiar kept Carousals ia his stately home. From north to south, from east to west. The fiomaii reigned as lord contest. He little felt the warrior gray ' An infant take his sword away. In the solemn midnight. Centuries ago. Ihe felon groaned within his cell. His chains had worn all hope away, He sunlight on his dungeon fell, He Lad forgot the face ef day. Within his heart that gloomy lair There crouched the scowling fiend. Despair ! He little knew, as there he lay, A child had ta'en his sins away. In the solemn midnight. Centuries ago. , A mother wept her darling dead. Her tears fell fast upon its bier. All joy had from her spirit fled The world itself was black and drear She only wished to be at rest With the lost jewel of her breast. She felt not. as she knelt to pray. An infant drive her g rief away, Is the solemn midnight. Centuries ago. An aged man was dying fast. His life arose before his soul. And as the guilty record passed, The tears of bitter sorrow roll. But as he weeps, a strange delight falls on his now death-shrouded sight. He saw with life's expiring ray, A little infant led the way, In the solemn midnight. Centuries ago. CHRISTMAS EVE. " Off to-night ! Mail train, eh ? Why. iaioot, oici ieiiow, you win lose the very cream of the hunting. Nice ODen weath er, with the scent breast-high, and the 1 - . 1 , r- ' uurses m iaeir Dest iorm. We draw Appley Gors e on Wednesday a sure Una and a splendid countiy. I want you to show these Melton dandies at JLord hipham s the way over Buliines- ley Brook. It is a pity to leave us iust 1 Tl 1 V now. luus BpoKe our veteran M. F. H., a thorough sportsman, and a genial, warm-hearted gentleman of the old school, with whom I had been a favorite ever since he first rated me, at the ripe age of ten, for riding my shaggy pony too close to the leading hounds. I, Talbot Carew, whose name figured in the Landed Gentry as second son of rrancis Carew, i,sq., of Harbledown Court, and in the Army List a Lieuten ant in a light cavaliy regiment, looked rueful enough, I dare say, as I assured the good old master of hounds that there was no help for it, and that with all my desire to stay until the frost should put a stop to our sylvan enjoy ments go I must. The fact was that my regiment was under orders for India, and that before we sailed my father had urged me to accept an invitation tospend the Christmas with an uncle and an aunt of mine, a certain Sir Charles and Lady Treherne, who lived a long way off, in the West of Kngland, and whom it so happened that I had not seen since my schoolboy days. I had no particular desire to devote my last days in England to a visit at Bramshaw Hall, where I had never before been a guest, and it was especially unpleasing to me to leave home just then. I was very kindly received by the baronet and by my aunt it was Lady Treherne, by the bye, to whom I was related and found myself welcomed by a number of guests of different age?, ranging, so far as I could guess, from seven to seventy years, most of them Blankshire people, or from the adjacent counties. 1 was the only late arrival, for all the others had been for several days at Bramshaw: so that, as I did not possess the slightest local knowledge, I was glad to get what Frenchmen call parte du pays from those who were better mformed than I was. There was ayoune fellow there whom I did know, one ToP lemache Lionel Tollemache a full cornet in the Lancer regiment quartered at Slochester, and whose relations had gothim an introduction to Sir Charles as to one of the magnates of the country side. " Awfully jolly old place, you know, and all that," said Cornet Tollemache to me aside, and with an air of myste rious importance. "And as regards your uncle and aunt, I only wish that there were more of the same sort, for kinder people I never knew. Capital house, good cook, decent cover shooting, and pretty girls staying here; but You don't believe in ghosts, Carew, of course?7' "Of course not," said I, wondering. " Nor do I. Awful stuff!" said my friend, and went off to flirt with a Miss Porter, who came from Slochester too. A lady whose acquaintance I present ly made, and who liked, apparently, to hear the sound of her own voice, was more explicit than the enigmatical subaltern had been. It wa3 thus that Mrs. Methven xplaincd matters : "Why, you see, Mr. Carew, we are rather celebrated for haunted houses in this part of the country, and the wonder was rather that Bramshaw. old as it is and with an the dreadful things done here thai must have been done of course you men are sad wicked creatures," Mr. Carew, though of course you won't agree with me about that should not have had a ghost of its own before. But really, what with the rustlings, and what with the light tread that j asses by our bedroom doors at the strangest hours of the night, and what with vague movement?, and creaking of the old oak stairs, and things being disturbed or thrown down in a way no servant can account for why, one does not know what to think ; and excepting your good aunt and uncle, to whom no one likes to speak on the subject, I a?suie you we are all exceedingly uneasy and uncom fortable.". ."" ' . J . .. -. . And indeed,' on further inquiry, so I found it. -A vsgue feeling of discom fort, almost -Of alarm, was abroad among thegutets. - Dinner, however, so far as I could sec, dispelled all these dismal day-dreams as . to haunted houses and creaking stairs; and indeed I have not often known people who enjoyed them selves so heartily:" as these Blankshire gentry jariund- my. uncle's hospitable board. cThey all knew each other, and had at their fingers' ends, so to speak, the names, and. circumstances" of every married daughter, and of every son at Sandhurst or the university. I think the liveliest of the young girls there, ihe Quickest cuesser of charade or conundrum, the' deftest at "post" or "puss in the corner,", the smartest com petitor t.forfeits;wa3 myyourig cousin, Blanche;" the only .child of. Sir Charles ana ljauy. .weMtir-ue,. , - jm slip of. a- girl, with,, fine eyes . nd long fair hair, but by no," means,- so. pretty as several of the little rich-complexioned West-of-England ;pixies - who frolicked around her... Blanche's health, as I con jectured when first the put her thin nana into trial or "vousm laiootr ua rew," was none of the best; and I could see by Ldy Treherne's half-anxious, half-gratified look, that she was sur- Erised 'by the usual animation which er daughter, usually languid and de served, displayed on the occasion of these Christmas sports. Well, we went to ted. My room was known as the tapestry room. Its walls were, indeed, covered with tapestry of great antiquity and ugliness, and the bed was an imposing structure, calcu lated to impart to the intelligent for eigner, should he ever gain admittance, a proper appreciation of the majesty of sleep. A wood fire, clear, ruddy, and bright, burned on the ample hearth, where the massive "dogs" or andirons of parcel gilt steel were formed to repre sent the heraldic cognizance of the Trehernes. I was tired, but not dis posed for sleep; so instead of retiring to rest, I sat down before the fire, from time to time tossing a fresh log into the blaze, and meditaiing on many things, on my life, past, present, and future, as I gazed on the glowing embers, which seemed to have that strange fascination for me that they have had for thou sands. At last, the sullen sound of the great clock on the turret above the stables reminded me that it was very late, con ventionally as well as actually, and that I had better get some sleep while I could; and then it was that, feeling for my watch and missing that accustomed pocket companion, I recollected that when we were at plsy down-stairs, my watch had been one of the forfeited pledges, late redeemed, and that it had been left lying on the marble mantel piece in the great drawing-room, since I had forgotten to take it up when my little playmates left us. "It serves me light," said I cynically, with the remem brance of Tollemache's f ice floaiing be fore ray mental vision, "for making such a fool of myself. Never mind! I'll fetch it." So I took up my candle and sallied forth. The passage which gavtf access to mv room was nailed t.ViA gothic gallery, probably because it was narrow ana aars, with hideous me dijeval carvings in niches: and stained glass casements, through the tinted panes of which the pure white snow outeide looked crimson, ochre-yellow, or of a duskv green. This rm-ssncrn loarla into the wider and loftier one styled the oaxen gallery, where the family por traits bans airainst the in.nellri wl!c- and from this, the broad and elaborately-carved staircase of dark and polished wood conducts to the entrance hall be low. I made my way to the drawing room, found my watch without dim culty, the center of a h. pan of fnrn gloves, crushed flowers, and Oia rent er blue papers that had been wrapped around French bonbons, rplir. of ih juvenile revelry. I had nearly reached my room again when a gust of wind, cjusea Dy tne sudden opening of a door, extinguished my candle. Immediately afterward. I saw the faint fflimmr of a light slowly and steadily approaching. nearer ana nearer it came; ana pres ently I could distincuish a fiptirp clothed in white, or some light color that looked white in the urrwtain lighr, elidinfr with a noisplexa t.rpaH and a smooth evenness of motion which was of itself remarkable. I am, I hope, as brave as my neighbors; and I may say, without boasting, that r li avA Tint been round lacking when face to face with danger in a tangible shape; but I confess that a cold shuddering chill ran through my limbs, and that my heart bounded like a startled horse, and then seemed to cease beating T fwcrHt sight of this mysterious form silently andsurelv arDroaehinc mp Thn RUnlr. shire lady's story of vague alarms among me visitors on account ot strange oc currences by nieht in that old house. the verv scene, with its solemn Etat antique magnificence, for the manifesta tion of supernatural phenomena, re curred to me with disagreable emphasis. idie words naa l thought them at the time when thev were uttered: hut nr.w I felt anything rather than inclined to ridicule them. The apparition drew nearer, and bv an involuntsrv imnnlsA I shrank back into a doorway, as if to auow it to pass, it dia pass; and in a moment more. I hrpatVipd mnre frAolv and began to be heartily ashamed of my superstitious lancies. Blanche 1 Yes, it was my young cousin, Bianche Treherne. I recog nized her as she n is-sed clnsp. V,v m. carrying her candie in a hand that was as fcteadv as if it had hren t.hnt. of a statue; and, in truth, mar be itself could scarcely nave Deen paler than her lair innocent face, as she went bv. to &11 an- pearance, without perceiving me. She sun wore the dress that sh hart worn during the evening's merry-making down stairs, her nrettv whit frnnlr to. lieved by some adm-'x-ure of light blue. Her long hair, of a pale golden color, hung loose over her shoulders; and 1 noticed with wonder that her small feet were bare, so that her step caused no more sound than if she' had; indeed, been a phantom. On ishe went, walk ing slowly but with no uign of hesita tion, her eyes fiyed. on something what. I knew not as if a. nrir'.t'u cl, or). owy hand had. beckoned her onward. Ti . . . - . . . i xy some instinct, 1 had retrained from addressing her, even in my surprise at the recognition; but now, moved, by an impulse tor wnicn l could not account. a ieit my pia-ce o espial and.tollowed her at some di-tance. he.ini? careful tn tread lightly " as I could.. .She passed aiong the oaken gallery, and I wondered more and ''more at the stran i - C5 ---'w v her conduct Her own chamber was, I conjectured, on the floor above, as were those of several, other visitors, while others, as well as' the master and mis tress ot the house, slept in that part of the mansion from which every step re- , moved her further and further. Why, in the name of common sense,- had she chosen to rangethe house thus, on this bitter winter's night? and what could be the steady purpose that drew her forward, afr steel is drawn to a magnet? .Ah! now she can go' no further, unless her intention be, as doubtless it i3, to descend to the reception rooras ; below by the staircase, for she has reached the end of the oaken gallery. - Such was my soliloquy, as I cudgeled my brains in the effort to devise a reason for these extraordinary nroceedinss on the nart . x - - - Of a Pirl of mv nousin'a upa.: ft woe just possible that she, like myself, might have left down stairs some object of which she was now in A search; but if so, why this ghost-like gliding with bare feet about "the' mansion of which she was the heiress, indulged and loved by all? t These thoughts came into my head as for an instant she stood still, near the angle of the broad landing place, while in front of her was the great French window, filling up nearly two-thirds of the width of the wide passage, by which the oaken gallery was an innovation, no doubt, but an im provement on the small-paned casement of stained glass, through which the sun had scarcely had. power. to illumine the old pictures that lined the walls, which it had superseded. . . "By heaven, she is lost!" was my hasty exclamation, as, to my infinite horror, I Baw Blanche turn from the staircase, and deliberately yet quickly throw open the tall French window. . That very day, just after sunset, Sir Charles had in sisted on my admiring the new view from that weft window, which com manded a bold sweep of the country, sweeping mooorlaad and black pine woods, rooky fort and the distant sea. The window was at a great height above the ground, since from it one could look down, sheer over the edge of the stone terrace on which the mansion stood, to a rocky dell, where far below a braw'ing stream made music among the boulders that fretted its waters into foam. All this I remembered, at the same instant that the dreadlul truth flashed upon me. Blanche was a sleep walker her actions were prompted by the strange semi-consciousness of the somnambulist and from this terrible slumber that was not rest, her awaken ing would be in another world. Nearer, and nearer yet, she drew to the giddy verge, her eyes steadily fixed on vacan cy. She stood poised on the sill of the open window, through which the bleak night air rushed in, causing the candle in her unconscious hand to flare and flicker. I dared not call, dared not raise my voice, lest I should tartle her, and precipitate the catastrophe that seemed imminent. There was a chance, though a poor one, that she would close the window and return to her room, as I had heard that sleep-walkers some times do, ignorant of the mortal peril so nearly encountered. Now she seemed to bend slightly for ward, her slender figure actually over hanging the abyss. A fall from such a height must be fatal. Bitterly blaming myself for my own lack of prudence, in allowing things to. proceed to this pitch before I interfered, I mustered all my strength for one desperate bound, sprang to her side, and caught the girl's falling weight in my arms, at the very moment when she stepped from the window ledge. A second or two would have made my hasly movement too late; and as it was, well that Blanche was a light burden, and that I was ac tive and strong, or both might have fal len from that dizzy perch. Blanche, abruptly awakened, broke the silence of the houee by an agonized scream, as of mingled pain and terror, and for an in stant she struggled, while the candle stick dropped from her hand. The candle was extinguished in its fall; but I looked down and saw the tiny lumin ous spark of the burning wick fulling, falling through the midnight darkness, and then heard the dull clang as the sil ver candlestick reached the rocks below. Blanche's shrieks had, effectuallly aroused the household, and before I could soothe her natural alarm, she was clasped in her mother's arms; while a babel of voices rose clamorously around us, and conjectures, exclamations of horror or thankfulness, were uttered on all hands, as visitors and servants came successively harrying to the spot whence the cries had been heard. That the young heiress of the Trehernes was a somnambulist was what no one, not even her own parents, knew, nor had the poor frightened child herself the least suspicion that this was the case; but at any rate the incipient ghost sto ries with reference to Bramshaw Hall were now nipped in the bud, and the most superstiiiously disposed could not doubt the connection between the mysterious occurrences of which they naa wnisperea, ana .Blanche s unlucky peculiarity. The candlestick, dinted and battered, was found next morning among the rocks below the terrace. I prefer to pass lightly over the deep and fervent expressions of gratitude and strong feeling which Sir Charles and Lady Treherne acknowledged the preservation of their only child; but I remember to have reddened and winced excessively und(r the weight of praises undeserved, since any one else in my place would surely have done as much, and it rather annoyed me than other wise, that the company persisted in treating me as a Bort of hero during the rest of my stay, and in humoring and deferring to me as if I had been some great public benefactor. The only ex ception to this general conspiracy to make much of an unworthy individual was Blanche herself. My young cousin seemed to avoid me since that eventful night;, and of all the farewells that were said when I returned home, the coldest "good-by" was Blanche's own. We sailed for India ; and for four years I went through the uual round of Indian duties and amusements. At the end of four years, my elder brother, poor Tom, died, and my parents pressed me to leave the army and come home, the necessity for a profession in my case no longer existing. With some regret I bade adieu to my former life and its associations ; but, after all, there is no great hardship in being the future proprietor of an entailed estate like ours, and with tolerable resignation I sent in , my papers and renounced the career of arms. , , I had not been long in England before an invitation to ..repeat my former Christmas visit to Bramshaw Hall leached me, couched in such affectionate terms, and so urgent, that I could not find it in my heart to decline. " Mind " said my father jestingly,, "that you don't ; leave your heart behind you there, unless indeed you have left it in India.' Miss Blanche, I am told by those who are judges of such matters, has turned out amazingly Ood-looking." . Llaugbtxl, and answered with a tone of perfect conviction that there was lit tle prosnect of any love-passages be tween my cousin, now sixteen years of age,' and myself. .1 found that my lather' account of Blanche'sappearance hardly did justice to the reality. She had developed into a very pretty girl, who at moments, as when she sang, which she did in a sweet sad voice, and with much musical taste and skill, looked absolutely lovely. I took an op portunity to ask Lady Treherne, half jocularly, whether "the ghost" was effectually exorcised, and sleep-walking a thing of the past. ... With perfect con fidence my aunt replied in the affirm ative. Cars, and change of air and of scene, amusement and study, had, she said, done wonders for Blanche's health; and whereas the extreme delicacy of her constitution had formerly caused much anxiety to her parents, they now considered , her to be quite, well and strong. It was on her account, dear girl," said Lady Treherne, "that we quiet old folks have run about the world as we have done, traveling and pleasure huntin; for you must know, Talbot, this is the first Christmas we have spent at the Hall since since you were with UB-" '. A curious coincidence. . It was wild, snowy weather again, and with few ex ceptions the same company that I had formerly met had reassembled under Sir Charles' hospitable roof. As before, J had arrived on Christmas-eve ; and as the dinner in its old style, and the dance, and the songs and music, and the games for the children, succeeded in precisely the same fashion, I could have imagined that the four last years were the baseless vision of a dream, and that this was my first and only Christmas at Bramshaw Hall. One change there certainly was. Blanche, no longer a child, was taken in to dinner by me, end she did not avoid me in the point ed, almost petulant, manner in which she had turned from me when she was but twelve years old ; but I could make no way with her in conversation, nor did she meet my eyes lrankly, but allowed hers to rest anywhere but on my face when I addressed her, answered my best things with monosyllables, blushed when I spoke carelessly of our former meeting, and altogether discon certed me, who was perhaps a little vain of my powers of pleasing. I soon gave her up as hopeless, and directed my at tentions elsewhere. Never in my life had I felt myself less disposed for sleep than when, late on the night of Christmas-eve, I sat be fore the crackling wood fire in my bed room they had given me the Tapestry Room, as before and meditated on all that had occurred, for good or ill, since last I was the tenant of that ancient chamber. Four years ago poor Tom, my elder Lrother, was haie and strong, and I a younger son, with no prospects but such as my profession might, in these, from a mihtar point of view,, hard times, open out before me. Four years ago I was setting out for India, with scanty chances of revisiting famil iar scenes and associating with old friends, until absence should have weak ened the memories of the first, and thinned the numbers of the latter. Yes, four years ago ; . how strange was the adventure of that other Christmai-eve, to which my thoughts fl sw back, no matter on what sulject I might hm pon dering 1 I could not go to bed. Somehow, do what I would, I remained wakeful and watchful, with an undefinable impres sion upon me that I was wanted, that I had a duty to perform, and that I must not sleep. I listened intently for the slightest sound, and even the moan ot the wind without seemed to me like a human voice complaining. Again and again did I throw wood upon the fire, until my supply of fuel waned to such an extent that it was plain that 1 must soon retire to rest, or sit up fireless. This will never do," said I ; " fancy is making a fool of me ; and because some thing queer happened when I was last here, 1 cannot accept the prosiac view of life which is of coure the true one. I'll just slip out and take a glance at the scene of my former adventure, and then come back and go to sleep for the reRt of the dark hours." So saying, I took my candle, and emerged into the Gothic Gillery. In stinctively I turned to the point where, four years since, I had espied the gleam of the light in Blanche's hand. All was darkness now. Here, loo, was the doorway into which I had retired to allow the apparition, as I had deemed it, to pass. Smiling at the recollection of my own irrational alarm, I went on, walking softly, to the corner of the Oaken Gallery. " So vivid is the im agination," said I, "that I almost ex pect to eee the glimmer of the light, and the childi.-.h figure gliding on before me, as when '' The words died away on my lips, for what I beheld wai a sight that curdled my very life-blood with horror. At the other end of the Oaken Gal lery, receding from me, and within a few feet of the great west window, was a female figure draped in white, dis tinctly visible, and carrying a lighted candle with the same impassive mechan ical steadiness that I had noticed four years since; advancing slowly too, and noiselessly, with the same air of being beckoned forward by a viewless hand that had shocked me in a child eo nar rowly rescued from a cruel death. It was no dream no creation of a distem pered brain. No. It was Blanche her self; her bright hair floating like pale gold over her shoulders, and wearing a loose peignoir of white cashmere. While I stood speechless, she advanced, and with a slow but certain movement of the hand which was free, she began to unclasp the fastenings of the great French window. For a moment I stood, as if rooted to the ground by horror. I tried to rush forward, but my feet seemed nailed to the floor, and my voice, when I essayed to call aloud, refused to obey my voli tion. The low creaking sound, as the window slowly opened, and the inward rush of the shrieking night-wind, dis solved the spell of my helplessness, and I darted along the gallery, shouting, or attempting to shout, though my voice reached my own ear but as a harsh and hollow murmur. The wnite figure, bending forward, seemed about to van ish in the blackness beyond. Suddenly the candle was ' extinguished by a stronger gust of wind, and I uttered a cry of horror, for I thought that Blanche had actually fallen ; but by Heaven's mercy I was in time, but just in time. My arm Vas round her waist, my hand was on her arm,-arshe was totfring on the very verge of the dread precipice ; and by a quick and powerful exertion I drew her back. She awoke, with a low moaning cry, such as may often be heard cn the lips of a child suddenly aroused from sleep.' " " What, is this T she said wildly " wher am T? HniKim where ?' Then, as she looked around; ana saw me reality ot the position, she shuddered, and sank fainting and un conscious into my, arms. Bearing her as swiftly and tenderly as l could along the Oaken Gallery, I laid her on a tofa that stood in the adjacent corridor ; and hurrying to . Lady Treherne's door, aroused my aunt from her sleep, and related in lew words what had befallen her daughter ; and how, a second time, she had been providentially snatched from the jaws of death. " It was the association of ideas that did the mischief not a doubt of it," said the old family physician, who had known Blanche from her infancy ; "the cure seemed complete, and in effect was so ; but no doubt the Christmas spent for the first time at the old house and in the old way j the similarity of the weather and of the evening's amuse ments ; and, above all, Mr. Carew's pres ence, with the memory of the former adventure, influenced our young friend's fancy in a manner that might have been But we don't talk of that now." '. The Trehernes left Bramshaw at once; and at their earnest wish I accom panied them, and paid the remainder of my visit at their house in London. Here it was that I learned to find Blanche very, very dear to me ; and that after some weeks ventured to ask her to be my wife. " I thought," said 1, as I took her little hand, unresisting, in mine, "that you rather disliked me than otherwise formerly ; but perhaps now " " Do you remember four years ago?" she asked, interrupting me, and with a burning cheek and a glance, naif arch, half sly, that puzzled me greatly. " Yes, of course I do," answered I, perplexed. " Because I have loved you ever since ever since you first " and she shud dered, and hid her beautiful blushing face on my shoulder. Sir Charles and Lady Treherne gave their willing sanction to the engage ment between Blanche and myself, which was equally welcomo to my own parents ; but on account of the youth of the bride-elect, it was thought better to postpone the wedding for another year, till Miss Treherne should have passed her seventeenth birthday. When I asked her, as in duty bound, to name the day for that all-important ceremony, the dear girl hesitated for a moment, and then, with tears, but not of sorrow, sparkling in her ioving eyes, she softly made answer, " Christmas eve." Btlgravia Annual. The Rattlesnake. The rattlesnake is, perhaps, the most sluggish of all the serpent tribe; for even the puft'adder of the Cape, which has that reputation in genera!, is very active when enraged; but the rattle snake, excepting just after and just be fore its winter sieen, never bites except in self-defense, and does not go out of us way to attacK any one. un es mo lested, there is very little to fear from this snake; but the misfortune is that you cannot tell when you are going to molest it, as, in coming down abluff, or picking your way in a gully, you may, Aiththe best intention in the world, put your foot on a rattlesnake. And then the terrific swiftness of his dart! Not even the, cobra, which I had always considered rivaled the very lightning in its movements movements which I will defy any European eye to follow is quicker than the rattlesnake in that one deadly act. Yet, to stiikeit must be in a close coil, its head and neck be ing erect; it throws itself out about three-fourths of its length, supporting itself entirely on the tail part. I have, however, known two persons who have trodden on rattlesnakes and have es caped ; a third, as will be seen, was still more remarkably fortune. One, a gen tleman who has killed more than fifty of them, recognized what his foot touched without stopping to look, and jumped higher than he had probably ever done before in his life ; the other was not so quick, and the reptile struck him three times with electric quickness, but his trowseis and long boots saved him. This disposes of a fallacy very generally held, that venomous serpents will not bite twice in succession ; there were the three pair of fang-marks quite plainly to be seen on his white trowsers. One young man who was bathing in the River Plattee had a more extraordinary escape still ; for, on emerging from the water, he sat down, being of course completely naked, on a rattlesnake, which was basking in the grass. Wheth er he sat upon the reptile's head, or whether the creature was too astonished by his sudden descent, can never be known,but certain it is that the affright ed bather leaped up with a shriek and escaped unhurt. It is told that this particular serpent has a very offensive ovlor when irritated, and that Dr. Hamilton Roe owed his life to a knowledge of that fact. The physician having opened a box directed to the Superintendent of the Zoological Gardens, London, put his hand most rashly, it seems to me under the dry moss which appeared, to see what was there. He touched something alive, and the smell told him it was a rattle snake. Had he withdrawn his hand rapidly, he would have been bitten to a certainty; but he had the presence of mind to st-oke the reptile, which al lowed him to take his hand gently away. This is a well-known story ; I only, refer to it to add that this odor is bo powerful ant permanent that when a snake is irritated and made to bite the rake or hoe with which it is intended to kill him and, as may be supposed, this is very often done the implement will retain the same unpleasant smell for months. Once known, it is always recog nizable. Chambers' Journal. - , A FEW davs aeo the inhabitants of a country town in England were filled with conjecture at the following sign painted in large capitals on the front of a house recently fitted up and repaired : "Mrs. Brown, Dealer in all sorts of Ladies." All was consternation. In quiry was instantly -set on foot as to who this Mrs. Brown might be, but no one could tell. IShe was a stranger in the town. The second week alter the mystery was unraveled. The house painter returned to finish his work, and concluded by adding, "and Gentlemen's y earing Apparei." Chicago has SOjOOQ school children. TrneFretdom. A tyrant neethnata throne " " '" To win the hated name: WhoTuIetn not his household wU. Must own tne tyrant's shame. i, Who tramples down of slares but one. ' I en a worthless thing; - . .' ' No matter be his title great. I Or be he one of small estate, . ' -s Or master, lord, or king. i i V The husband loring not h's wife T''3v- ' Parent to child unkind Who shuns his home for brutal joys To suit a brutish mind; ' Whoever harms a lirinr thine, Whate'er may be its name The ass that bears its daily toil. Or meanest worm that crawls the soiL ' Must own the tyrant's shame. ' ' ' When peace prevails in every home, ' """ When kindrid lore is found And each to all shall feel the tie, ' Brother to brothers bound: When none shall dare a deed to do Which others' wrens; may be. Bat each shall gorerB wall bis heart. And shun himself the tyrant's part. Then then mankind is free ! The Follow-me-lad. . " ' As she hurried along, from square to sqnare, Ihe curb smiled bright, and the bricks gTeir (Clad;: For her step was soft, and her face was fair. And behind her floated a Pollow-merlad. I know not how she was dressed, nor care; I only know, had a fairy bade Me name one wish. why. then and there I d have wished to be cnangedti her Follow-' me-lad. Only a ribbon around a neck. Only a ribbon, plain or plaid: Only a look, saying;: "Come at my beck" Only, only a Follow-me-lad 1 Only a life hanging 'round that neck. Only a life to make happy or sad ; Only a fate to prosper or wreck-.-Only, only a Fullow-me-lad 1 Varieties. The height of impertinence Asking a Jew what his Christian name is. A Louisiana, man is so opposed to capital punishment that he can't even tolerate paper-hangings. Ir small girls are waifs, are large ones wafers ? " Certainly," said sweet six teen, " at least the boys have the habit of applying them to their lips when sealing their vows." Man and wife are generally called one. Some people, though, reckon them two. But ten i3 the proper cal culation of some couples the wife one and the husband a cypher. Straix is a, ridiculous word, f When it stands for a song it means sound. When it stands ior a strain it means unsound. It may have a sound sense, but it has a deal of nonsense about it too. The "Gossip" man of the Detroit Tribune finds the following simile for his foot wrapper : " Thirty thousand feet of hose belonging to the Boston fire de partment were burned by the Sunday blazes. The department will need a new stocking of that part of its equip ment." A Davenpokt man, with three mar riageable daughters, has posted the fol lowing notice over his bell-pull : ."Wood, (j a cord ; coal, 30 cents a bushel ; gas dear and bad. Tarties staying after 9 o'clock will please settle quarterly. N. B. A reduction made after popping, and the full amount added to the bridal douceur.'" A stranger fell into the river at De troit the other day. As he was being helped out some one seized him by the hair and drew him up. " Where's the man who pulled my hair ?" yelled the victim as he reached the dock. " Jus show me the Apache who did it, and I'll mash him in a minute." A voung officer of the British House of Commons wore a tremendous pair of " mustaches," on which one of the members said, " My dear fellow, now the war is over, why don't you put your mustaches on the peace establish ment ?" " Had you not better put your tongue on the civil list ?" was the prompt and happy retort. Rural Items. The annual production of hav is not far from 25,0C0,0X) tons. ' ' The hog crop of Illinois will be one- fnnrtll laTfTi 1 li n n loot vaa. . B j .. Tse corn crop this year is the largest ever gathered a billion and a half of bushels. In Missouri the number of hogs for 1871 is given at 2.915.168. and for 1872. 2.514,998. The total value of ihe grass crop in the United States is not far from $500,000,000. Rhode Island is the only New En gland State where farms are increasing in value. The State of Tennessee contains about 29,000,000 acres, of which only 6,000,000 are improved. The United States produces annually 130,000,000 j-ounds of wool. - The yearly production of the world is about 1,000, 000 tons. A foreign professor claims to have proved, by a series of experiments, that when we churn whole milk we sacrifice one-third of the butter, - - , x T n . : i i v ness of horse-raising in Colorado, and has already 5,000 head of cattle on his stock ranche of 30,000 acres, situated near Puebla. Mr. J. T. Holman. an old Tat bjj cattle- raiser, says that the supply of cattle in lexas is Deing rapiaiy exhaustedi and that in four years a sfeer wihbe worth more th.ere,than ...he. is today in Illinois. A FARMER of drartri . TToTjcn Mili . tried to pas through a narrow door side by side with', his horse, 3 It was fl ques tion of human vs. equine compressibili ty. He hopes to become rounded out again in time. ' r ' ' ' : ' Present corn rates in Illinois "ranee " lr to e itt j - .P uuiu u iaj io ucura ior o puunus in in ear. Price of --land tire !?0 tfw 3fi tt ceuu lower nair iour years ago,- anl thQ farmers ard saying that three, or even J. A. iwo, more sucn crops as were had in 1870, 1871 and -1872 would -bring their great staple tor 10 cents and- their- farms to $15 to $25 per. acre, or less, than enough "to release thrf mortgages how" covering them. . Freights to Koatori oj vents per lyjsj pounas against 40 to 60 cents, when, corn was. fcwiA 'nr lifA o i rr , . . . . . times the price it is at- present facts wiiicu ougui. to aaa weight to the argu ment, agamsfc rissing tne whole of one fortune in a single ship.-v- ."