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his angry ghost may appear, clothed in the same queer-looking stockinet pantaloons as tight as the skin, which he always wore, and which were such an innovation upon the fashions of that region. Ishall never forget the figure he cut, and the many times I was tempted to ask him how long it took him to get in, or whether he had ever been out of them since he left Yankee land. The school-house was located in the centre of a township, and the neighborhood in the circle of three miles furnished a sufficient number of scholars to make quite a respectable school. Like most country schoolhouses in the west, this was called the “meeting-house’ on Sundays; and I often amused myself by contrasting the scenes enacted therein by the solemn fathers and their progressive sons. Nothing could have been more delightful than this rural school. We got our breakfasts early in the morning, and taking our dinners in baskets, marched off leisurely, reaching the school-house by eight o'clock. Between studying and reciting our lessons, the time flew so rapidly that twelve o'clock was upon us before we were aware of it. This was the commencement of play-time, and then each fellow took out his basket, and seated himself on a green grass-plot, in the centre of which was a fine spring. We ate our frugal meals, and discussed the plans for spending the play-hours. Many and various were the games from which to choose, and the exercise was both healthy and refreshing. Play-time lasted for two hours, school again for three hours, and by five o'clock we were wending our way home again. Elihu was a great economist, and in making his arrangements, provided himself a home free of expense, in the following manner: he took the rounds with his scholars, going each night with a different one, until he had made the circuit; then he began again, and so kept up his social calls, and secured agreeable quarters. In this manner he became familiar with both children and parents, and increased not only his usefulness, but his reputation. Like Goldsmith's Village Master, “His words of learned length and thundering sound Amazed the gaping rustics o around; And still they gazed, and still the wonder grew, How one small head could carry all he knew. In arguing, too, the parson owned his skill; For, e'en though vanquished, he could argue still.' Ah! those were glorious days But, some how or other, I was more mischievous at that school than at any other. I scarcely know whether it was because I was at a mischievous age, or for the reason that I was so very happy. My observation inclines me to the belief that all cheerful boys are more fond of what in school-boy parlance is called innocent amusement than gloomy, dispirited ones. It was my opinion, when a boy, that school-days should be protected by law from all disagreeable associations; that to make a school-boy miserable should be a capital offence; and I am pleased to find, now that I have boys of my own, I can conscientiously say, I have not changed my opinion. If we wish to bring up our children an honor and a solace to our declining years, we must make their childhood happy. This, like most country-schools, was attended by both sexes; and while the boys were having their sports, the girls appeared equally delighted. They often joined in the games of the boys, beside playing
many of the same kind among themselves, and many a young lassie would have put our swiftest laddies to the top of their mettle to lead then. in a foot-race:
Happy days of childhood,
Where peaceful school-days flew,' and young ladies were allowed to breathe the fresh air, and their merry voices echoed unchecked through the sylvan groves. They had swings and play-houses ; they had dinner parties, and singing and dancing in the open air; and their ruddy and cheerful countenances gave the best evidence of their health and happiness.
I have had frequent opportunities of observing the growth and development of children taught in schools where both sexes were admitted, and I am not able to recall a solitary instance where evils resulted therefrom. And I am happy to find my opinion corroborated in a late article on education, from the pen of an able and distinguished lady, who says : * The union of the sexes in schools stimulates to exertion, and imposes wholesome moral restraints ; and were it but continued, instead of rudely broken in upon, it would prevent many unhappy marriages; for it would tend to moderate that inconsiderate passion which is often awakened by distance and imposed restraints.
But, as a faithful chronicler of events, I must acknowledge that the harmony of this beautiful school was sometimes disturbed by little rows and riotings, in which I performed my full share. On one occasion, I was the cause of no little merriment, as I paid the penalty for insulting a young lady by giving her a nick.name. This young lady was most distressingly ugly, both in face and temper, and had a very tantalizing name to make fun out of, when associated with her personal appearance. She was christened Irene Crawford. I forget why I outraged common politeness by giving her a nick-name, but I presume I must have espoused the cause of some other girl, and, in the absence of any other means of retaliation, I called her Irene Crawfish ; a species of articulata which, by the way, she much resembled. This was very malicious in me, and I deserved even a more severe punishment than I received. But there was some little excuse for me, for no matter what disturbance occurred between the girls, Irene was sure to be mixed up with it. Doubtless the éclat that I obtained from the whole school of girls for espousing their cause was the ruling motive in my mind, to overbalance the injustice I was doing to one. Irene reported me to Elihu. .
Among bis other rare qualities, Elibu had an inventive genius, and disdained repeating himself or copying any body else. He would rather let a boy go unwhipped than punish two in the same manner. The many pranks that had been played requiring punishment, bad already put his genius to the test for novelties, and the wonder now was, 'What new thing can be trump up ?'
I saw his large, cold gray eye sweep the horizon, as if he were offering a prayer to the god of Invention, when suddenly it rested upon a stump of a tree in front of the door, which had been transformed into a stationary step-ladder for mounting ladies on horse-back. A sardonic smile, like a gleam of moon-shine, passed quickly over his imperturbable countenance, announcing, to one familiar with his manner, the birth of a Des idea.
Having once formed his plan, no time was ever lost, but an immediate announcement was made in a drawling, monotonous voice :
*Ralph Roanoke will stand on one foot for an hour, on the horse-block in front of the door, bare-headed; and every time he falls off will add another half hour.'
An instantaneous roar of laughter followed this announcement, in which I joined as heartily as any. In general, this out-break would have brought condign punishment upon the head of every fellow who was caught laughing. But Elihu was eccentric withal, and would have been very much chagrined if his announcement had been received quietly. He would have felt it to be a failure. It was a tribute to his invention. Yes, the more his boys laughed, the more he inwardly chuckled, and the greater was the danger of a collapse to his stockinets. Thanks to good and well-developed muscles, I hopped upon the block, and went at it as cheerfully as a martyr. The old adage, that it is an ill wind that blows no body any good,' was again verified in my case. It was literally impossible for the boys to study with Ralph cocked up on one leg, making all kinds of grimaces when Elihu's eye was turned away, without shutting the door, and if the door was shut, it could not be seen whether he was in statu quo or not. Thus I bad the penalty and the other boys had the fun.
At length the hour expired, and Elihu gravely made the announcement,
Ralph Roanoke having stood an hour on his right leg, can now take his seat.'
But Ralph could not resist the temptation to show his bottom by flapping his wings, (arms,) and crowing like a fighting-cock.
Another roar of laughter, and then followed that monotonous voice :
"Ralph Roanoke will stand another hour on his left leg, and the first one who laughs shall keep him company.'
This second hour on t'other leg completely smoothed down all Ralph's impudence, and the latter clause took the grin off the faces of all merry-makers, and put another stripe on the shoulders of the great Captain Elihu H. Howe.
LITE R A R Y NOTICES.
NORTH-AMERICAN REVIEW, for the July Quarter, 1853. Boston: LITTLE, BROWN AND COMPANY. New-York: C. S. FRANCIS AND COMPANY.
The opening article in the present number of our ancient American contemporary is a running commentary upon five recent volumes of English poetry, commencing with the poems' of ALEXANDER SMITH, of which a brief notice was given in the last number of the KNICKERBOCKER. We are not surprised to find our judgment of the merits of this newly-risen 'star' in modern English literature confirmed by the 'North-American ; ' simply because we cannot well conceive how the writings of the subject of the paper could be honestly regarded in any other light. We shall venture to extract one or two passages from the article alluded to, the 'grounds' and conclusions of which we are quite certain all who have read the book will find little difficulty in conceding:
"STUDIES of the literature of any distant age or country; all the imitations and quasi-translations which help to bring together into a single focus the scattered rays of human intelligence; poems after classical models, poems from Oriental sources, and the like, have undoubtedly a great literary value. Yet there is no question - it is plain and patent enough that people much prefer. Vanity-Fair' and 'Bleak-House.' Why so? Is it simply because we have grown prudent and prosaic, and should not welcome, as our fathers did, the · Marmions and the “Rokebys,' the Childe Harolds' and the
Corsairs?' Or is it that, to be widely popular, to gain the ear of multitudes, to shake the hearts of men, poetry should deal more than at present it usually does with general tants, ordinary feelings, the obvious rather than the rare facts of human nature ? Could it not attempt to convert into beauty and thankfulness, or at least into some form and shape - some feeling, at any rate, of content - the actual, palpable things with which our every-day life is concerned; introduce into business and weary task- work a character and a soul of purpose and reality; intimate to us relations which, in our unchosen, peremptorily-appointed posts, in our grievously-narrow and limited spheres of action, wes
ough all. retain to some central, celestial fact? Could it not console us with a sense of significance, if not of dignity, in that often dirty, or at least dingy, work which it is the lot of so many of us to have to do, and which some one or other, after all, must do? Might it not divinely condescend to all infirmities; be in all points tempted as we are; exclude nothing, least of all guilt and distress, from its wide fraternization not content itself merely with talking of what may be better elsewhere, but seek also; to deal with what is here? We could each one of us, alas! be so much that some how we find we are not; we have all of us fallen away from so much that we still long to call ours. Cannot the Divine Song in some way indicate to us our unity, though from a great way off, with those happier things; inform us, and prove to us, that though we are what we are, we may yet, in some way, even in our abasement, even by and through our daily work, be related to the purer existence?'
The 'Life-Drama,' the reviewer concedes, 'has the merit, such as it is, of not showing much of the littérateur, or connoisseur, or indeed the student;' but the poems present continual images drawn from the busy seats of industry,' and 'there is a charm in finding the black streams that welter out of factories, the dreary lengths of urban and suburban dustiness,
--'the squares and streets,
And faces that one meets,' irradiated with a gleam of genuine purity.' The story of the 'Life-Drama' is thus briefly indicated: WALTER, a boy of poetic temperament and endowment, has, it appears, in the society of a poet-friend now deceased, grown up with the ambition of achieving something great in the highest form of human speech. Unable to find or make a way, he is diverted from his lofty purposes by a romantic love-adventure, obscurely told, with a lady' who finds him asleep, Endymion-like, under a tree. The fervor and force of youth wastes itself here in vain ; a quick disappointment for the lady is betrothed to another-sends him back enfeebled, exhausted, and embittered, to essay once again his task. Disappointed affections and baffled ambition, contending henceforward in unequal strife with the temptations of skepticism, indifference, apathetic submission, base indulgence, and the like; the sickened and defeated, yet only too strong, too powerful man, turning desperately off, and recklessly at last plunging in mid-unbelief into joys to which only belief and moral purpose can give reality; out of horror-stricken guilt, the new birth of clearer and surer, though humbler, conviction, trust, resolution; these happy changes met, perhaps a little prematurely and almost more than half-way, by success in the aims of a purified ambition, and crowned, too, at last, by the blessings of a regenerate affection—such is the argument of the latter half of the poem; and there is something of a current and tide, so to say, of poetic intention in it, which carries on the reader (after the first few scenes) perforce, in spite of criticism and himself, through faulty imagery, turgid periods, occasional bad versification and even grammar, to the close.'
The reviewer thinks little of the first four or five scenes. “There are,' it is observed, 'frequent fine lines, occasional beautiful passages; but the tenor of the narrative is impeded and obstructed to the last degree, not only by accumulations of imagery, but by episode, and episode within episode, of the most embarrassing form. It is really discouraging to turn page upon page, while Walter is quoting the poems of his lost friend, and wooing the unknown lady of the wood with a story of another lady and an Indian page." The sweet and tender thought of the lover-maiden, presently quoted, was in type among the excluded extracts of the notice in our last number :
‘I Have a strange, sweet thought. I do believe
I shall be dead in spring, and that the soul
As in a little wind, thou 'lt know 't is I.'