« AnteriorContinuar »
DREAMS OF GOLVEN DAYS.
BY MRS. JULIA 'NAIR WRIGHT.
On V the twenty-first of September, I multitude of years brings wisdom, beloved people, left Philadelphia by the with baggage. Let all the world carry a North Pennsylvania Railroad. These single satchel, and be happy." persons have been from time immemorial One by one the shoppers, and the known to fame, in the pages of Mother business men, and the school children Goose. They were Bobby Shafto, the dropped out of the train at way stations, Old Woman who lived in the Shoe, and melted into the hazy distance of green Little Dame Crumb. Bobby Shafto had lanes and flower set gardens, and were returned from sea, and married the be seen no more. loved of his soul; the Old Woman bad The travellers had gone up, and up farmed out all her babies; and Little and up, into the realm of hills, and at Dame Crumb had set by her broom, and Bethlehem a great gate swung wide becarried her famous penny to pay ber tween purple peaks, and they swept travelling expenses.
through it, out of work and dust and Other people take their pleasure trips worry, into a blissful land of dreams. when all the earth is busy in its summer Still on and up; they climbed among toils; when the sun is a raging furnace, those blue veiled summits which had when in the vineyards the Father turns lifted before them as the home of their water into wine; and in the grain fields, desire, and lo! other mountain tops lay creates with his blessing the bread that afar off, and lured them still. A river shall place the lowering shade of famine ran beside their way; a river which man another year's remove from men. Mo- had once brought under his yoke, and ther Goose folk make their holiday when made a bondslave for his traffic, but it labor is done, and their parent earth is had torn asunder gates and embankments, taking her joyous ease. When fields stand locks and bars, and rioted on now madly thick with corn, when orchards hang at its own free will. Along it stood heavy with fruit, when trees are in their wrecks of stone houses, once homes of gayest, when birds have no nests to build, lock-keepers and bridge-tenders; but the and all merry insects are epicureans, frantic river had driven them away, and even in the golden days of the year do robbed them of their occupation. So the Mother Goose people go abroad to rejoice houses stood gloomily staring out of sashin regions of pleasaunce.
less windows, and braved sun and storm It was afternoon, and the cars were in roofless misery; while to Dame very full; every body was going home Crumb's eyes, touched with the glamour with their city purchases. A cage with of fairy land, it was plain that brownies a screaming parrot fell down on Dame played antics in them on moonlight nights; Crumb's head. A young woman just that little people there held revels rare to setting up house-keeping, knocked off see; and that strange ghosts of human Bobby Shafto's hat with a toasting fork; hopes and passions, that had once been and an anxious mother of a family lost there in flesh and blood, now stalked up her trunk checks, disturbing the Old and down the abandoned rooms, before Woman in her search for them.
cock crowing. Great hills came boldly “I hope you have your checks safe,' out and barred the traveller's path, setsaid the anxious mother, settling herself, ting themselves like huge apollyons flushed and panting.
across the track; but, as in days of chiv.
alry, all huge monsters succumbed to true In the morning there was an inspiring knights, so it was now; for Bobby Shafto hint of frost in the air. The sun broke looked valorous as Gavain, and even Little forth in splendor, as if he had a new reDame Crumb might have rivalled Enid alization of his opportunities. The boy in pertinacity. Seeing this bold front, with the bow and arrow had been out, the hills at the last moment before en- and shot cock sparrows, or something counter crept back in sharp curves, and equally as good, and there was an odor of gave the pilgrims to Wonder-land right breakfast permeating the halls. of way; even trailing before them bril- “Shall we call this the climax of all liant banners of gold, and scarlet, and the world ?" asked Bobby; "if it is, we purple dye.
will stop here." Night came on, not blackly as a foe, "I cannot tell until I have asked the but tenderly and soothingly as a friend. birds," replied the Old Woman, who A delightful veil of mystery was spread divined, as did the ancients, by the flight by the twilight over all the shifting of feathered creatures.
The river boiled and brawled She therefore went on the balcony to over rocks and shallows, while misty look and listen. All the birds flew out figures rose out of the spray. The hills of the right quarter, while that climbed aloft had satisfied all their ambition, and touched the saffron sky;
- "with magical sweet singing,
Blackbirds set the woods a ringing," the white villages clung restingly to the green slopes.
the robin Auted in a maple tree; the “Where are we going?” asked Dame yellow-hammer from the woods laughed Crumb.
ha! ha! ha!! and over the corn-fields Anywhere it happens,” replied the circled the blue-black crows, calling, stay! Old Woman, autocratically. "There is stay!! nothing more miserable, Dame, than to “We are to stop here for a while; this travel with a fixed intention."
is the top blossom of all the world for the “It is not very charming to travel in time being; when this flower is fruit, and the dark after one is done watching the we have eaten it, we will find a better sparks fly out of the engine.” The bloom has opened nearer the sky,” said Dame held out this suggestion meekly, the Old Woman. as quite ready to take it back, if it did “What have you ?” asked Bobby of not suit her companions.
the Dame, after breakfast. “You are right, Dame," said the Old “A bundle of sweet herbs—choose," Woman, cordially.
she replied. Her hands were empty; she "Let us stop at the next place," pro spoke metaphorically. "For to-day," posed Bobby. "It is time we had supper.” said the Old Woman, “I choose the
Mother Goose people always have good sweets of idlesse." And to this they all appetites.
agreed. When the whistle blew again, each Indolence, a heavy lout, lurks within traveller took up a shawl and a satchel, doors. Fair Idlesse, a maid of olden and presently they were standing on a time, is to be wooed in woodlands. A platform before a big house, blazing with mass of trees crowned a steep ascent, and kereosene lamps.
thither climbed the Mother Goose peo“Is this Aladdin's palace ?” asked ple, through acres of "barrens,” where Bobby of the railway porter.
the great stones were venerable with "No," replied that person of practi- lichens; the hollows were full of ferns, calities, “this is White Haven.” and the gay flowers of autumn lay here
“I have heard,” said the Old Woman, and there in patches of bright color. " that it is famous for pepper sauce.” Bobby Shafto and the Old Woman
Accordingly the party went into the seated themselves under a great chestnut house and ate pepper sauce—and other tree. The Dame wandered away from things.
them, pursuing a zigzag course like a
butterfly; while little was to be seen of piest hours; because it was veiled with her but a red plume on her hat. dainty, purplish, almost intangible blos
Whirr of grasshopper; pipe of bird; soms of dry grasses, -the ghosts of a gay defiance of crickets, never yet nipped departed summer. with cold; rustle of leaves on the bough, The Dame sat down on a stump, holdand stir of grasses under the feet of the ing her bouquet for the benefit of all. breeze, all these made music good to The melody in the air; the peace of the hear. Wiled by the sirens of such sweet prospect; the warmth of the fall sunsounds, the work-a-day world drifted shine; the fragrance of the woods; the out of thought; beautiful Atlantis un- luxuriant beauty of the so-called barrens; moored itself from the land of romance, the restfulness of the Mother Goose folk, and floated down into the actual, while charmed the shy maid Idlesse, and the Bobby and the Old Woman went gayly sprite stood among them, with her magic singing through its glades. The Old hand laid on the Aowers. The blossoms Woman looked at Bobby steadily, smil- became coaches to fairy land, and the ingly, like a joyous seer. Bobby knew party were off as by enchantment. Bobby that she had received the gift of second Shafto was a youth once more, sight. "What is it?” he asked. youth's proud hopes, and every day his
“ You have on your silver buckles, ships sailed in laden with every thing Bobby, as when you went to sea," cried delightful from the land of the Impossithe prophetess. It is not very often ble. The Old Woman slipped into the that Bobby Shafto can get on his silver world of shadows;
among the dead buckles; they are generally interfered she breathed alone.” The heroes and with by considerations of taxes, bread the gracious women of antiquity were and butter, the butcher and other things. about her; she had gone to a world where When the Old Woman said this, he was there was no supper to get, where infants glad accordingly.
never cried, and where nobody was ever Now Little Dame Crumb sailed in, crowded. laden with her spoils; her nosegay was As for Dame Crumb, she went to the almost as large as herself. The centre best place of all, real true fairy land, of it was a mass of yarrow, its bitter where beasts talk, flowers hold fair ladies fragrance like the sweet and sad in and lovely babies in their sweet depths, legends of its namesake stream. Against and all is gold, and spice, and sparkle the white of the yarrow clustered crim- brighter even than the sea in the sun
and solanum, a thing in which beauty is $ This was the morning's happiness. wedded with bane, showing us, as Ruskin When the sun stood high overhead the says, that things which rise from dark- people returned to real life, and descended ness and decay, are always most deadly from their elevation to eat pepper sauce. when well dressed. Around the white In the afternoon they went back to where and the brilliant berries, were noble tas- lovely Idlesse had met them, and lounged sels of golden rod, a plant of happy in the sun to watch butterflies. Up and omen, the dauntless herald in the carni- down through all the scented woods, tiny val October. Contrasting well with Hipparchia, in black and orange livery, golden rod, came next a wreath of pur- Aitted, doing the errands of the fays. ple asters, the emblems of jolly old age, Wherever the milk-weed offered its crafinding last days best days; and follow- dles of white silk, Archippus, the luxuing this, as is fit, the undying bloom of rious idler of courts, rocked himself to amaranths, hinting of immortality. The and fro, proud of the velvet trimmings on amaranths were white as winter snow, and his gay doublet. The sturdy mullein lifted they were closely garlanded with delicate its dry stalk into the air, and on its tip fronds of fern, both golden and green. Colias Philodice in his lemon-colored suit Over this nosegay was cast a gentle tinge sat lazily sunning his dainty wings. In of melancholy, suited to autumn's hap- I the fervid heat of summer noons Colias
been a reveller of the maddest type; i beams, light the glad ichor of his ethereal
drunken with hot sunshine, and frame.
about in dizzying circles, and But his day is nearly done; his golden up and down in the scorching age is changing to October's age of bronze, and iron days of winter come Woman of the Sboe, claimed a tiny cape, apace. This little-winged divinity of with a cushion of velvet moss to sit on; summer air counts each instant precious, a mass of ferns, flowers and hemlock for and is no more in haste. He drains a background; and a store of bright each second dry of joy before he lets it fallen leaves ready to hand. Bobby cut go; perched on his mullein throne, he long poles, the Dame gathered autumnshuts and opens, and opens and shuts his painted branches, and the Old Woman yellow winys; fears no rash hand, desires dexterously landed these on the beginno good to come, sucks up the sweetness nings of islands. “These,” she said. of the passing hour; he too is enjoying “are the Fortunate Isles, where our ships dreams of golden days!
shall sail." And where a late primrose loads the Bobby Shafto whittled out whole fleets air with fragrance from its beautiful cen- of little ships, stuck up a mast in each ser, see Antiopia's faded glories. He is one, and sent them off by the dozen. a courtier who has gone out of favor; his His vessels whitened every sea, as Engvelvet wings are tarnished and frayed; land's are supposed to do; he had scores he is seeking winter quarters; when he more than he could attend to, and they has drunken his fill of honey he will hide collided, got aground, drove on rockaway; where, Puck, moonlight madcap, bound coasts, drifted into whirlpools. alone can tell, and through the gorgeous were sucked under the logs, and dire obsequies of the present reigning season, wreck and disaster befell them in
every and the dreary interregnum of winter, quarter of the globe. Antiopia will hide well; but will come "Your ships are all being wrecked!" forth for a few brief days to pay his an- cried the Dame. tiquated and unthanked court to the " That is nothing," replied the impernext new crowned summer. Here end turbable Bobby, “that is part of the fun; the idyls of the butterflies, for evening I can make more; I am a whole East comes apace, and chill gray shadows fall India Company in myself, and have on all around.,
bought up Cathay. My ships are bound On the next day it was left for Bobby for the Clove Islands, for cinnamonShafto to choose what should be done; breathed Ceylon, for China the grotesand he being a young man with nautical que, for the diamond regions, and the instincts, made proclamation that they Gold Coast. They will bring me home sho all
more treasures than I shall know what " Where is a river?" demanded Dame to do with." Crumb.
But while Mr. Shafto's schemes were “We shall find one; you will hear it thus magnificent, the Dame was retrosinging to call us presently,” said Bobby; spective. From her birch-tree she peeled so they set forth, staff in hand. Led by bark, and all her fleet was made of little some subtle instinct, Bobby chose a wide canoes, reminiscences of early days; and road, and they followed it along by she put a small brown acorn in each one, houses, trees, ferns, barrens and gardens, for Indian maid or warri r, and trusted until it turned sharply around a wooded them to the stream, while she sang songs hill, and there was their river.
of red men who lived long ago. No A bridge crossed it; trees shaded it; matter how she cared for her canoes, great logs divided it into still pools; they dristed to ruin one by one. boulders made wonderful rapids and “It is as well," said the Little Dame; breakers in it, and stumps and stones lifted “they perish like the race we, Mother out of it at intervals, like the product of Goose people, have succeeded." coral insects, offering foundations for But the Old Woman was warier and islands. Dame Crumb possessed herself wiser. She braided a hemlock branch of a fallen birch, lying half in the into boat shape; she laced it in and out water; Bobby preempted a cove where with ferns; she modelled stern, and prow,
stones and driftwood; the Old I and keel with the woven fronds; she set