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THE SINGER. *
YEARS sinco (but names to me before,)
Timid and young, the elder had
Yet ere the summer eve grew long
Her dark, dilating eyes expressed
Fore-doomed to song she seemed to me:
What could I other than I did ?
She went with morning from my door,
Years passed; through all the land her namo
Her life was earnest work, not play ;
Unseen of her, her fair fame grew,
When last I saw her, full of peace,
For all that patriot bosoms stirs
Our converse, from her suffering bed
Yet evermore an underthought
God givetli quietness at last !
Fold the rapt soul in your embrace,
But not for her has spring renewed
J. G. Whiltier.
MARK TWAIN'S DESCRIPTION OF EUROPEAN
EUROPEAN guides know about enough English to tan gle everything up so that a man can make neither head por tail of it. They know their story by heart, the history of every statue, painting, cathedral, or other wonder they show you. They know it and tell it as a parrot would,—and if you interrupt, and throw them off the track, they have to go back and begin over again. All their lives long, they are employed in showing strange things to foreigners and listening to their bursts of admiration.
It is human nature to take delight in exciting admiration. It is what prompts children to say “smart” things, and do absurd ones, and in other ways' show off” when company is present. It is what makes gossips turn out in rain and storm to go and be the first to tell a startling bit of news.
Think, then, what a passion it becomes with a guide, whose privilege it is, every day, to show to strangers wonders that throw them into perfect ecstasieg of admiration! He gets so that he could not by any possibility live in a soberer atmosphere.
After we discovered this, we never went into ecstasies any more,—we never admired anything,--we never show. ed any but impassible faces and stupid indifference in the presence of the sublimest wonders a guide had to display. We had found their weak point. We have made good use of it ever since. We have made some of those people sarage, at times, but we have never lost our serenity.
The doctor asks the questions generally, because he can keep his countenance, and look more like an inspired idiot, and throw more imbecility into the tone of his voice than any man that lives. It comes natural tn him.
The guides in Genoa are delighted to secure an American party, because Americans so much wonder, and deal so much in sentiment and emotion before any relic of Columbus. Our guide there fidgeted about as if he had swallowed a spring mattress. lle was full of animation, -full of impatience. He said :
“Come wis me, genteelmen !--come! I show you ze letter writing by Christopher Columbo !—write it bimself !-write it wis his own hand !--come!"
He took us to the municipal palace. After much impressive fumbling of keys and opening of locks, the stained and aged document was spread before us. The guide's eyes sparkled. He danced about us and tapped the parchment with his finger:
“What I tell you, genteelmen! Is it not so? See! handwriting Christopher Colombo !—write it himself!"
We looked indifferent,-unconcerned. The doctor es. amined the document very deliberately, during a painful pause. Then he said, without any show of interest,
“Ah,—Ferguson,what—what did you say was the name of the party who wrote this ?"
"Christopher Colombo! ze great Christopher Colombo!" Another deliberate examination. “Ah,—did be write it himself, or, or how?
"He write it himself!-Christopher Colombo! he's own handwriting, write by himself!"
Then the doctor laid the document down and said,
“Why, I have seen boys in America only fourteen years old that could write better than that.”
“But zis is ze great Christo—” “I don't care who it is! It's the worst writing I ever saw. Now you mustn't think you can impose on us because we are strangers. We are not fools, by a good deal. If you have got any specimens of penmanship of real merit, trot them out !—and if you haver't, drive on!"
We drove on. The guide was considerably shaken up: but he made one more venture. He had something which he thought would overcome us. He said,
“Ah, genteelmen, you come wis us! I show you beautiful, oh, magnificent bust Christopher Colombo splendid, grand, magnificent !"
He brought us before the beautiful bust,-for it was beautiful,—and sprang back and struck an attitude:
"Ah, look, genteelmen !-beautiful, grand,-bust Chris. topher Colombo !-beautiful bust, beautiful pedestal !"
The doctor put up his eye-glass,-procured for such occasions :
Ah,—what did you say this gentleman's name was ?". “Christopher Colombo!
ze great Christopber Colombo!" Christopher Colombo,—the great Christopher Colombo. Well, what did he do ?”
“Discover America !-discover America, oh, ze devil !"
“Discover America ? No,—that statement will hardly wash. We are just from America ourselves. We heard nothing about it. Christopher Colombo,-pleasant name, -is-is he dead ?"
"Oh, corpo di Baccho !-three hundred year!"
Small-pox, think?" “I do not know, gentcelmen,—I do not know what he die of.”
"Measles, likely ?"
“Maybe, -maybe. I do not know,-I think he die of something."
Parents living ?" "Im-posseeble!” “Ab, —which is the bust and which is the pedestal ?" “ Santa Maria Izis ze bust!zis ze pedestal!"