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Yol. 5. No. 29. THE LAST SHALL BE FIRST. WALTER W. SKEAT. ' Who would not haste to do some mighty thing, If safe occasion gave it to his hand, Knowing that, at its close, his name would ring, -Coupled with praises, through a grateful land? Who would not hear with jo; some great command, Bidding him dare to earn a glorious name? The task is easy that secures us fame. But, ah! how seldom comes the trumpet call That stirs the pulse and fills the veins with flame, When victory asks fierce effort, once for all, And smiling fortune points a way to fame Along some path of honor, free from blame. To one, the call to do great deeds speaks loud, To one, amid a vast unhonored crowd. Far otherwise the common lot of man, Our hourly toil but seeks the means to live; Our dull, monotonous labor knows no plan Save that which stern necessity doth give. Our earnings fill an ever-leaking sieve; Our task fulfilled, another still succeeds, And brief neglect brings overgrowth of weeds. Wbat wonder, then, if suffering men repine. And hopelessness gives way to mad despair? Some murmur at, yea, curse the scheme divine That placed them where the saws of fretting care Across their brows a deepening channel wear, For them, no springtide speaks of hope renewed, But changeless wintry skies above them brood. Oh, fools and blind! This world is not the goal, But shapes us for a larger world unknown; The vilest slave that keeps a patient soul Shall yet rank higher than the sensual drone Who seeks to please his worthless self alone. If humblest toil be hardest, yet be sure Be most shall merit who can most endure. —The Academy. What Was It? In many of the newspapers which I have read within the past two months I have no ticed all the way from a half column to a column and a half devoted to supernatural phenomena, or in other words, to the sub ject of ghosts, ghostly visitations, etc. I understand from various sources that the subject has become an absorbing one—in fact so much so that some of the leading magazines both in this country and Europe have, by exhaustive articles contributed by men and women of genius, created no small excitement among the reading public and those inclined to fathom the mysterious. I have never seen any of these magazine articles, and am therefore unable to form any idea as to the learned conclusions ar rived at by the various writers and critics. I should have been very much pleased to be able to have read upon the subject as some one of the many articles might possibly have touched on, or explained away, the mystery attending the strange incident 1 am about to relate. When father died, upon the urgent solic itation of mother’s brother, we moved to his place of residence. Uncle, for reasons of his own, was a bachelor, but different in a marked degree from that genus homo in that he was passionately fond of children, and it was not an uncommon sight to see trooping behind him in winter a flock of little ones trying with all their might and main to step directly in his large footprints (he was 6 feet 4 inches) which was no easy task. His residence was a very pleasant one and the summer found the same youngsters, increased in numbers, toddling and scampering along to his orchards where he would regale them with fruit and stories when they got tired romping. He seemed to us youngsters to be in the very enjoy ment of health, straight as an arrow, digni fied in manner and always pleasant of speech. Nothing in his appearance or ac tions suggested other than a long and useful life. It was only years after his death that we learned he was subject to heart disease. One morning when 1 brought him his mail he told me. after reading one letter, to go for mother. When she arrived he handed her a foreign letter from which she learned of the death of her father while traveling in Europe. Uncle suggested that she go to P to notify her brothers and also to take advantage of her visit to renew old acquaintances whom she had not met for years. At first she hesitated, but uncle said he would look after us —so she yielded, locked up the house and started for the train, after leaving my brother, then three years old, in uncle’s charge. This was on Saturday. Mother was not expected to re turn for two weeks. On Saturday after noon the children had a grand, good time -and uncle several times during the evening, rafter tea, when my sister, brother and my self were in his study, spoke of death, but yet in such an off band, eheery way that we -did not think he could in any manner have Stillwater, Minn., Thursday, Feb. 25,1892. Five Gent 9. foreknowledge of the dissolution so soon to take place. However, he closed the evening very pleasantly, heard us say our “Mow 1 lav me,” etc., and bade us good night. On Sunday morning we were all up bright and early. After breakfast my little brother so teased uncle for another story that he took him up into his study and, while holding him in his lap, commenced his narrative. I was present and also ab sorbed in the story when it suddenly ceased, and looking up at uncle to discover the cause, I noticed his face flush and then grow rapidly white while his arms seemed to fall helplessly by his side. I went to him and spoke.. He merely opened his eyes, and I rushed from the room and notified the housekeeper and gardener. A clergyman was called in. In a half hour uncle was dead. The shock was a terrible one, not only to us who did not fully realize its im port, but to the community. Mother was away, and in those days no telegram could be sent on Sunday and no trains ran on that day. Now comes the mystery—of which all the foregoing is merely a prelude. Friends innumerable hastened with will ing hands to render any assistance in their power. The body was embalmed and laid out in the parlor. My brother was too young to realize what had taken place. He went around looking for uncle in the garden and orchard. My sister and myself were kept very busy running errands until about 7 p. m., and rather lost track of brother. Finally we thought he must not only be hungry but sleepy as well. We hunted all around among the neighbors until we be came alarmed. It Anally occurred to me that he must be in the house asleep. With the exception of the room where the body was, the hall and kitchen, there was not a light In the entire house. However, I did not think of that then. 1 rushed into the house, went into my room, but found him not, neither in sister’s room, and was about to come down stairs when I thought of un cle’s room. 1 opened the door and there, bending over the sofa, stood uncle as natural as life, his face as I could distinguish it, bearing that same loving tenderness which always marked it when holding converse with children. There was no exclamation of horror on my part and no sudden dis solving on his; he passed me at the door where I was still standing out into the up per hall and vanished. I went over to the sofa; my brother’s face was wreathed in smiles, he was sound asleep and I carried him down stairs where they prepared him for bed. The next day he told me the termination of the story so suddenly interrupted by death on the previous morning, and strange to say it had a moral ending to it. scarcely compatible with a three-year old’s brain. He said uncle told it to him. On Monday morning we sent at seven o’clock a telegram to mother to come home. At five minutes before seven she had left her brother’s home to take the train. She did not receive the telegram and reached uncle’s house without knowing what had occurred. She contemplated a two weeks’ visit, but as she afterwards told me she could neither sit down, lie down, nor remain in one place for five minutes at a time after eight o’clock Sunday morning. She acted so queer that her folks thought she was partially insane. There was no conveyance of any sort home on Sunday, so she spent that one long day of undefinable horror in an agony bordering on insanity. This last phenomenon of telepathy, or sympathetic communication, I can account for: the former I cannot. This spirit phenomenon was different in every respect from the generality of ghostly visitants. There was no “silent midnight hour” business about it —’twas not much darker than May twilight, no cold wind, no swish of drapery—nothing whatever of the conventional ghost. Somehow 1 cannot help believing in ghosts. Can you blame me? M. F. The employment of a printed formula in all cases, indeed, where one feels not com pelled but obliged to write, would save both time and temper. We lay down nine out of ten of our letters with feelings of disappointment. Were we to imitate the Scotch servant who returned hers to the postmaster, after a glance at the address “ IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO MEND.” Letter-Writing. (conclusion. ) had assured her of the writer’s health, we should be quite as well off as we are now. My correspondent often begins with the remark, that he has nothing to communi cate. Then why in the world did he write? Why has he covered four pages with speci mens of poor chirography, which cost him an hour to put upon paper, and us as much time to decipher? He sends me news which was in the papers a week ago; or specula tions upon it, which professional journalists have already surfeited me with. He talks about the weather past, present, and to come. He serves up, with piquant sauce, occurrences which he would not have thought worthy of mention at his own breakfast-table. He spins out his two or three facts or ideas "into the finest and flimsiest gossamer;” or tucks them into a postscript, which alone, with the formula, should have been forwarded. He writes in a large hand, and resorts to every kind of device to fill up his sheet, instead of taking up the manly course of writing only so long as he had something to say, or, if anything, of keeping silence. A kindly sentence or two may redeem the epistle from utter condemnation; for love, according to Solo mon, makes a dinner of herbs palatable. But “Love,” written beneath a formula, would have answered as well. My readers have not, I trust, misappre hended ray meaning and lost patience with me. 1 wouid not be understood as express ing a preference for a description of letters over another. Every person to his tastes and his talents. But a letter, which does not represent the writer’s real mood, reflects what is uppermost in his or her mind, deals with things and thoughts rather than with words, and expresses, if not strengthens, the peculiar ties between the person writing and the person written to—a letter which is not genuine—is no letter, but a sham and a lie. A real letter, on the other hand, whatever its topic, cannot fail to be worth reading. Great thoughts, profound specu lations, matters of experience, bits of ob servation, humorous criticisms on people and things, funny stories, dreams of the future, memories of the past, pictures of the present, everything, nothing, may form the theme, if naturally spoken of, not hunted up to till a page. Am I told, that, until these ideas find general acceptance it is dangerous to act upon them? that for an individual here aud there to go out of the common course is only to make himself notorious, a stranger or a bore to his friends? Were such state ments true, they would still be cowardly. We should be faithful to our convictions of what is due to truth aud manhood and self respect. be the consequences what they may. Because a few are so, the world moves. The general voice always comes in as a chorus to a few particular voices. As for friends who cannot appreciate in dependence of character or of conduct, the fewer one has of them—the better.- Rameous. For The Mirror. Stray Thoughts. The devil always feels most at home in the dark. The lazy man aims at nothing and gener ally hits it. How easy it is to admire people who agree with us. Friends are won by kindness and lost through carelessness and neglect. It is easier to run with the crowd than it is to walk by yourself. What some men lack in courage they try to make up in noise and bluster. People who blow their own horns do not always furnish the best of music to other people. Those who live in the dark never have any trouble in proving to their own satisfac tion that there is no sunlight. True contentment depends not on what we have. A tub was large enough for Di ogenes, but a world too little for Alexander. It is a mistake to expect to receive wel come, hospitality, words of cheer, and help over the rough places in life, in return for cold selfishness. No life is so strong and complete. But it yearns for the smile of a friend. When a man makes up his mind to be good, he also makes up his mind that it will be the fault of others if he fails at it. — Atchison Globe. Important Questions. “Where shall I go?” and “What shall I do?” are two questions that must be an swered by us all when we make our exit from these walls—if we have not already answered them before that time arrives. If we have not, then we will find ourselves in a sorry plight indeed, for if we have no fixed destination or purpose we will be too liable to drift wherever our fancy dictates. I am inclined to think that the cause of many being again brought to grief is their neglect to meet aud answer these ques tions before the day of their departure from prison arrives. We should bear in mind the fact that our future depends more or lesson how we answer these questions. It will not do to postpone the answering of them till the moment we don the citizen’s garb. We cannot afford to answer such weighty ques tions withoutrdue consideration. In order to give these questions a sound answer we must consider many things that on first thought might seem very trifling, but on more careful study they may prove to be of vastly more importance than they at first seemed. In the first place, where should an ex convict go? “Dexter” said In his article a few weeks ago that the place to look for a lost article was where you dropped it. This is very well in its way; but as regards “character” one is not forced to look for that where it was lost; or, to speak more correctly, we can never recover a lost repu tation, the structure of which must be re built, even to the foundation. So I would say, if the influences of the place where you have lost your character tend to lead you again into by-paths, then avoid the place altogether and go where you will not be surrounded on every side by those tempta tions which you know are your real weak ness. Sou will find that by avoiding the danger as much as possible you will be gaining strength, and as time rolls on these temptations will become much less than when you started out. One thing especially you should avoid as far as lies in your power, and that is “old associates.” However innocent your de sires for seeing some of your old compan ions may be, it will in a large number of cases prove to your disadvantage, and very likely to your sorrow. So give these mat ters their full share of consideration, let them do service as guides in directing you to a place where the atmosphere is more congenial to one who has a desire to do right. It is very foolish to entertain the idea that you can go right back to the scene of your disgrace and build up your shattered character without suffering from the same influences that caused your fall, for these very same influences will have even more effect than they formerly had. Of course there are, no doubt, many who could re turn to the scenes of their past misdeeds, and dispite the disadvantages and obstacles to be surmounted, regain or rebuild their character; but the majority, I fear, need something to lean on. and it would be much wiser if they avoided the scenes of their downfall, especially if they occurred in large cities. As for the other question, “What shall I do?” I will leave to the reader to decide, as he must necessarily do, each one for him self, and the more consideration he gives the matter, the better for him. It is not my intention to give these questions an an swer, but merely to place them before the reader and let each individual answer them for himself, as I also am endeavoring to do. Francis. Robert J. Burdette thus explains modern wavs: "The fact is, my boy, we try to make people good by law, because that makes it much easier for us. We are too mean and lazy to work with people and so we say, •you’ll either be good or I’ll kill you.’ It’s ten times, a thousand times less trouble and expense to kill a bad man than it is to make a good man out of him. The best man who ever lived never scolded a sinner or sent a criminal to jail in all his life; and his last act was to bless a robber; and he had to live and work misunderstood, doubted, mistrusted, maligned and finally crucified by the people he came to help, before his work among men began to bear fruit. And there aren’t many of us who care to work that way. Too much trouble. Takes too much time. And There’s no glory in it. And It's too hard work —it’s all killing hard work. And so we take the easier chute.