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The Perrysburg journal. (Perrysburg, Ohio) 1853-1861, April 03, 1854, Image 1

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Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85026192/1854-04-03/ed-1/seq-1/

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"Agriculture, Commerce, Manufactures"
$1.50 In Advance.
VOL. 2.
NO. 4.
Ben Bolt and Sweet Alice.
" Oh, don't you remember sweet Alice, IJen Bolt?
Sweet Alice, whose hair was so brown
"Who blushed with delight when you gave her a smile,
And trembled with tear nt your frown ?
In the old ihureh-yard in the valley, Hen Bolt,
In the eorner weeluded and lone,
They have fitted a slab of granite so gruv,
And sweet Alice lioa under the stone.'
Don't you remember ? Are those three
magic words a key wherewith we may un
lock the flood-gates of the heart, and send
the sweet waters of the past over the plains
and clown the hills of that fair land, known
in our heart experience as by-gone? Even
so. There rises before us visions of a time
when the bright deep eyes of the young
Spring gassed shyly at us from beneath the
c-rmined mantle, of Winter when the blue
violets stole their first tint from the bluer sky
above; when the cowslips of 6unny May,
and the golden-hearted butter-cups first jew
led the slender blades of grass ; und the
hawthorn grew white with its blossoms;
when we roamed the woods the whole of
that long, warm, loveable June holiday,
weaving garlands and listening to the con
cert of birds in that dark, mistletoe-wreath-rd
onken forest. The was one in years agone
1 hut prayed "Lord keep my memory
green," and the clinging tendrils of our
hearts go ever back yearning to this prayer.
But green and fresh as the poet's prayer,
had the heart of Ben Bolt leen kept from
his early boyhood to the hour he eat by his
old friend, and listened to the song of by
gone days. Not " through a glass, darkly,"
did he review those scenes of the past, but
it was the. going back of the boy-heart to
other hearts of childhood.
There was the little old red school house,
with its dusty windows, and desks that had
Iven nicked many a time trying pen-knives;
its lull, stem-looking teacher, whose heavy
voice, caused the younger ones to tremble ;
its rows of boys and girls, with their heads
Vnt attentively downward to their books
and slates. The wild Winter wind sang and
whistled without, and though some i'ew
childish hearts tried to find words for its
mournful notes, they were too young and
happy to know that it carried desolation and
heart-ache in its wail; yet did they learn
it in after days.
Then tin-re came a few light, round snow
balls, so tiny that it must have been the
sport of the storm spirits in their eldrich
revels changing by and by to feathery
flakes, that danced about ever so gaily. How
the children's eyes grew bright as they look
at one. another, and thought of the merry
rides down hill, and the snow-balling that
would make the playground ring again!
The last lessons were said, books and slates
put aside, and in place of the silence,
reigned gay and glad voices. Kate Ashley
shook back her jetty ringlets, and laughed
through her sparkling eyes, as she gave Jamie
Marvin that bit of a curl he had so longed
ior. because she knew Jamie had the prettiest
sled in the whole school. Ah, a bit of
coquette was the same gleeful, romping
Kate ; and there was Sophia Dale, looking
js demure as a kitten walking from a pan
milk, and as playful as a kitten too, was
she, in spite of her quiet looks; and the
stately Elizabeth queen Bess they called
her, and I question if England's queen had
haughtier carriage; but apart from those
who were eagerly looking for friends to take
them home, stood Alice May sweet Alice.
Very beautiful and lovely was she, with her
winsome, childish face, blue eyes, and soft,
brown curls. She was so delicate and frag
ile, you might almost fancy her a little snow
child, or a lost fairy babe.
Nearly all the children had departed, amid
the joyful shouts and jingling of bells, but
yet the sweet little child stood alone, until
a rich, boyish voice 6tartled her by saying
" No one goes your way, Alice, do they ?"
" No, I guess not, Ben," she replied, in her
fine, bird-like tones.
" Well, the snow is too deep for you to
walk, 60 1 guess I will carry you home."
" 0, no, I am too heavy to be carried so
far," and she laughed low and sweetly.
"Heavy! no you're just like thistle-down,
or a snow-flake, Alley ; I could carry you
to England and back again, without being
at all fatigued," and he tossed the little gin
in his arms.
'No, let me go; the boys will laugh at
you, Ben," and she struggled.
"What do 1 care? they may laugh at
Ben Bolt as much as they like," and the
brave boy drew himself up proudly, and
pushed the chestnut curls from his broad,
fair forehead : " but I did not mean to fright
en you, Alice," he continued, a3 he saw how
the little girl trembled.
So she put on her bonnet and cloak, and
Ben took her in his arms as if she had been
a bird, while the little tiny thing nestled
down on his shoulder, as he went stumbling
through the snow, saying gay, pleasant
things, that made the shy little girl laugh ;
and when, at length, he opened her mother's
cottage door, he stood her on the floor say
ing " There ! Mrs. May. I brought Alice
home, lest she should get buried in a snow
bank; she's such a weary little thing ;" and
before Mrs. May could thank him, he was
out of sight.
What. a brave, glorious, snow-storm it
was though ! The boys built a great snow
house, dipping the chunks of snow in water
to harden them, so they might last longer;
and they rolled large snow-balls for a pyra
mid, till it was higher than the school-house.
They worked bravely, but the brightest face
and pleasantest voice among them was Ben
Bolt's. Such rides as they had down hill !
and though the larger boys and girls said
Alice May was too little and cowardly to
join them, because she felt fearful sometimes,
yet Ben Bolt held her in his arms, and away
I they went, merrily as any of the rest.
But the winter began to wane, and now
jana then a soft mild day would come that
lessened the pyramid and snow-house mate
rially. " Such a pity," they said, and wish
winter would last alway ; but there was one
little wren-like voice that prayed for violets
and blue birds.
The pyramid tumbled down, the snow
house grew thinner and thinner, and the
boys jested about its being in a decline, till
one day it disappeared faded away like so
many of their childish hopes.
The glad spring came with its larks and
daisies, and one delightful day the children
went a Maying. Kate Ashley was queen,
and a brilliant queen she was too, but Ben
Bolt Gathered white violets, and braided
them in the soft curls of Alice, and told her
1 she was sweeter, dearer than a thousand May
i queens like ivate. L-nua as sne was, ms
I lit 1 t 1 11.
wonts maue me sunsmne Drignter, ana lent
enchantment to the atmosphere of her ex
istence. Then the long June days came, encircling
the green earth with a coronal of voces, and
making it redolent with perfume ; and in the
warm noontide hour the children strolled to
the foot of the hill, and, clustering together,
told over their childish hopes of the future.
Some were lured by ambition ; some dreamed
of quiet country repose ; but there was one
whose eve kindled and voting lace unshed
iwith enthusiasm, as he spoke of the spark
ling blue waters, and the brave ships that
breasted them so gallantly.
Ben Bolt was going to sea. Captain
Shirley, a generous, whole-souled bein as
ever trod the deck, was to take him under
his prptection the next five years. There
were exclamations of surprise and sorrow
from the children ; old haunts were visited,
re-visited : they sat down in thee shade of
the old sycamore, and listened to the musi
cal murmur of the brook, and the dreamy
hum of " Appleton's mill;'' exchanged keep
sakes, and promised always to remember the
merry, brave-hearted boy, whose home would
be the wide blue ocean.
Alice May seldom jonied them. She was
so delicate and timid, and the thought of
Ben's departure filled her eyes with tears, so
she would steal away alone, fearful of the
ridicule of her hardier companions.
But one night Ban caine to Mrs, May's
cottage, to bid them good-bye. Alice stood
by the window watching the stars, wonder
ing what made them so dim never thinking
of the tears that dimmed her eyes, as Ben told
over his hopes so joyfully. She could not
part with him there, so she walked through
the little door-yard, and stood beside the
gate, looking like a golden-crowned angel
in the yellow moonlight; and when he told
her over again how large she would be on
his return, that he would not dare to call
her little Alice then; as he looked back
lingeringly, she laid a soft brown curl in his
hand, saying " I have kept it for you this
long, long time, Ben ; ever since the day
you brought me home through the snow
do you remember?"
He did remember, and with one passion
ate burst of grief, he pressed the little girl to
his bosom, and the brave-hearted boy sobbed
the farewell he could find no words for.
But five years are not always a life time.
True, it was such to the quiet, thoughtful
Charlie Allan, whose large dark eyes had
stolen brilliancy from his books, and the
laughing little. 'Bel Archer both were laid
to sleep in the old church yard, where the
night-stars shone on their graves. Others
went out to seek a future in the gay world,and
some grew into miniature men and -women
by their own sweet firesides : but Alice May
seemed still a child. Yes, she was taller,
and her slight form more gracefully devel
oped; but there was the same angel looking
through her eyes as had watched there in
the olden days. She staid at home now, to
assist her mother m sewing their chief sup
port ; but she was the same shy, sweet Alice
that Ben Bolt had carried through the
Ben Bolt had come back. How strange
that five years should have passed so quick
ly, and stranger still that this tall, hand
some sailor, whose voice was so lull and
rich, should be Ben Bolt. Kate Ashley was
not thinking of the sweet Sabbath rest, a3
the chime of the church bell floated through
the village ; there she stood before her mir
ror, arranging her shining curls, and fasten
ing her dainty bonnet, with its white rib
bons and dropping blue-bells, thinking if she
could not fascinate Ben with her sparkling
eyes, it would ba delightful to have his
chief attention during his stay.
He thought she did look very beautiful, as
he sat, before service, looking on the olden
faces but there was a fairer one than hers he
fancied, as he saw the sweet face of Alice
May, with the half-closed eyes, and long,
golden-edged lashes, shadowing the pale
cheeks. He carried in his bosom a curl like
the one nestling so softly by her temple,
and it was a talisman, keeping him from
the enchantment of other eyes.
When the service was closed, lien was
thronged about by old familiar faces they
had so much to say, so many things to speak
of, so much joy to express at his safe return,
that it well nigh bewildered him. It was
very pleasant to be so warmly welcomed by
old mends, delightful to chat i by-gones ;
and it was indeed a Sabbath of joy to Ben
sweet Alice ! Ah, how long ana wreary
the time had been to her. Sometimes her
heart died within her as she thought of the
broad ocean ; but when she looked so shyly
at Ben that morn, and saw how handsome
he had grown, a heavt-sickness came over
her, and the sunshine fell but dimly on the
grass at her feet. She knew she had hidden
away in the depths of her pure heart, a wild
earthly love, and she strove to nut it from
her, for would he think of her now ? So i
was no wonder she should slip her slende
hand in her mother's and steal quietly from
the loyous throng
It was Sabbath eve one of those balmy
moonlight evenings of the young summer;
Mrs. May had gone to visit a sick neighbor,
and Alice sat by the window with the Bible
open, and slender white fingers pointing to
the words, tailing 60 musically from her
" And there shall be no night there : and
they need no candle, neither light of the
sun : lor the .Lord trod giveth them light.
and they shall reign for ever and ever."
She looked tremblingly upward in the
moonlight, for close beside her knelt the
manly form of Ben Bolt. There was told a
sweet story 01 love and hope, not the leES
sweet for being the language of every human
heart, and the tiny hands of Alice were fold
ed in his as she said, very low and sweetly
If I live, Ben, when five years more have
past, and you return a second time "
She did not finish it it was never finish
So they plighted their troth that calm,
holy Sabbath evening, and the buoyant
heart of Ben, in its gushing sunniness, pic
tured radunt hopes lor the future. He was
young ana so lull ot vitality every pulse
of his heart was beating gladly, and the
coming five years were more precious to
him than all the past.
If we both live, Ben ; God will have us
in his holy keeping,'' she said in answer to
his parting words; but as he pressed her
convulsively to his beating heart, he re
plied uod will be merciful to us who love so
dearly, Alice, darling.''
She knew it, but she knew also that God
did not always answer the prayer falling
from the hopeful lips. Sweet Alice! Adown
the future she looked tremblingly, and she
saw the fragile form and spiritual face, with
white lillies braided in the soft brown hair,
her eyes grew dim with tears, for she knew
not if it was a bridal or burial, for close be
side the altar was the grave yard.
There were not wanting who wondered at
Ben Bolt's choice, and thought it strange he
should take Alice May in preference to the
fairest and wealthiest. Some there were
who held their heads loftily when they pass
ed, but her heart was away on the blue
waters, and she heeded it not.
How she watched the days in their pass-
1 t 1 1 . 1
mg. &ne noted now the Summer waned
how the fields ol waving grain grew golden
in the sunlight she heard the glad voice of
the reapers ; and when the leaves were fall
ing, the merry children went nut-eathenner
in the woods ; then the noiseless snow fell,
and lay on the hill sides as in olden days,
until me geniai spnng-tiae sun melted it
away, and the violets and harebells dotted
the fields so passed a year.
She Tvas growing fairer and more beauti
ul too brilliant for anything earthly.
Once she knelt at the altar in the little church,
and listened to the words uniting her with
the Savior's redeemed on earth, but it was
only in an outward form, for her heart
had long been in the keeping of angels.-
Again she watched the waning of the Sum
mer days, and when the soft winds swept
over the silvery rye fields, she thought of
the ocean afar, with its broad waves. AH
through the Winter days she grew more
spiritual in her beauty, and the slender white
hands were often lolded on her breast, as she
prayed lor those who would soon be left des
olate : for she knew she was dying.
It did not startle her; she had felt long
ago, that the lair green earth would hold
her pulseless heart, ere it had left the clois
ter of girlhood. Life was sweet and beau
tiful, yet in her sinlessness death had no
agony, save her sorrow lor those left in lone
liness. It was only a very little way to the
land of rest, and her feet had never grown
w-eary ; yet she longed to look once more
upon the flowers, and have them braided in
her hair ; and so she lingered till the voice
of Spring was heard on the hill-tops.
One morning whea viewless hands were
gathering back the misty curtains of the
night, and the stars grew dim in the glory of
early morn, sweet Alice stood on the thresh-

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