« ZurückWeiter »
too much, and Deacon Marble could no more help laughing than could Deacon Trowbridge help sleeping. Nor could he conceal it. Though he coughed, and put up his handkerchief and hemmed – it was a laugh-Deacon! - and every boy in the house knew it, and liked you better for it—so inexperienced were they:Norwood.
THE DEACON'S TROUT.
He was a curious trout. I believe he knew Sunday just as well as Deacon Marble did. At any rate, the deacon thought the trout meant to aggravate him. The deacon, you know, is a little waggish. He often tells about that trout. Sez he, “ One Sunday morning, just as I got along by the willows, I heard an awful splash, and not ten feet from shore I the trout, as long as my arm, just curving over like a bow, and going down with something for breakfast. Gracious! says I, and I almost jumped out of the wagon. But my wife Polly, says she, 'What on airth are you thinkin' of, Deacon? It's Sabbath day, and you 're goin' to meetin'! It's a pretty business for a deacon!' That sort o' cooled me off. But I do say that, for about a minute, I wished I was n't a deacon. But 't would n't made any difference, for I came down next day to mill on purpose, and I came down once or twice more, and nothin' was to be seen, tho' I tried him with the most temptin' things. Wal, next Sunday I came along agin, and, to save my life I could n't keep off worldly and wanderin' . thoughts. I tried to be sayin' my catechism, but I could n't keep my eyes off the pond as we came up to the willows. I'd got along in the catechism, as smooth as the road, to the Fourth Commandment, and was sayin' it out loud for Polly, and jist as I was sayin': 'What is required in the Fourth Commandment ?' I heard a splash, and there was the trout, and, afore I could think, I said: 'Gracious, Polly, I must have that trout.' She almost riz right up, ‘I knew you wan't sayin' your catechism hearty. Is this the way you answer the question about keepin' the Lord's day? I'm ashamed, Deacon Marble,' says she. "You'd better change your road, and go to meetin' on the road over the hill. If I was a deacon, I would n't let a fish's tail whisk the whole catechism out of my head”; and I had to go to meetin' on the hill road all the rest of the summer.”-Norwood.
THE DOG NOBLE, AND THE EMPTY HOLE.
The first summer which we spent in Lenox, we had along a very intelligent dog, named Noble. He was learned in many things, and by his dog-lore excited the undying admiration of all the children. But there were some things which Noble could never learn. Having on one occasion seen a red squirrel run into a hole in a stone wall, he could not be persuaded that he was not there forevermore.
Several red squirrels lived close to the house, and had become familiar, but not tame. They kept up a regular romp with Noble. They would come down from the maple trees with provoking coolness; they would run along the fence almost within reach; they would cock their tails and sail across the road to the barn ; and yet there was such a well-timed calculation under all this apparant rashness, that Noble invariably arrived at the critical spot just as the squirrel left it.
On one occasion Noble was so close upon his red-backed friend that, unable to get up the maple-tree, he dodged into a hole in the wall, ran through the chinks, emerged at a little distance and sprung into the tree. The intense enthusiasm of the dog at that hole can hardly
be described. He filled it full of barking. He pawed and scratched as if undermining a bastion. Standing off at a little distance, he would pierce the hole with a gaze as intense and fixed as if he were trying magnetism on it. Then, with tail extended, and, every hair thereon electrified, he would rush at the empty hole with a prodigious onslaught.
This imaginary squirrel haunted Noble night and day. The very squirrel himself would run up before his face into the tree, and, crouched in a crotch, would sit silently watching the whole process of bombarding the empty hole, with great sobriety and relish. But Noble would allow of no doubts. His conviction that that hole had a squirrel in it continued unshaken for six weeks. When all other occupations failed, this hole remained to him. When there were no more chickens to harry, no pigs to bite, no cattle to chase, no children to romp with, no expeditions to make with the grown folks, and when he had slept all that his dogskin would hold, he would walk out of the yard, yawn and stretch himself, and then look wistfully at the hole, as if thinking to himself, “Well, as there is nothing else to do, I may as well try that hole again !”—Eyes and Ears.
APPLE-PIE. How often people use language without the slightest sense of its deep, interior meaning ! Thus, no phrase is more carelessly or frequently used than the saying, “ Apple-pie order.” How few who say so reflect at the time upon either apple-pie or the true order of apple-pie! Perhaps they have been reared without instruction. They may have been born in families that were ignorant of apple-pie; or who were left to the guilt of calling two tough pieces of half-cooked dough, with a thin streak of macerated dried apple between them, of leather color, and of taste and texture not unbecoming the same, an apple-pie! But from such profound degradation of ideas we turn away with gratitude and humility, that one so unworthy as we should have been reared to better things.
We are also affected with a sense of regret for duty unperformed; for great as have been the benefits received, we have never yet celebrated as we ought the merits of apple-pie. That reflection shall no longer cast its shadow upon us.
“Henry, go down cellar, and bring me up some Spitzenbergs.” The cellar was as large as the whole house, and the house was broad