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The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 12, No. 71, September, 1863

  Excerpt: It is nine o'clock upon a summer Sunday morning, in the year sixteen hundred and something. The sun looks down brightly on a little forest settlement, around whose expanding fields the great American wilderness recedes each day, withdrawing its bears and wolves and Indians into an ever remoter distance,not yet so far but that a stout wooden gate at each end of the village street indicates that there is something outside which must stay outside, if possible. It would look very busy and thriving in this little place, to-day, but for the Sabbath stillness which broods over everything with almost an excess of calm. Even the smoke ascends more faintly than usual from the chimneys of these abundant log-huts and scanty framed houses, and since three o'clock yesterday afternoon not a stroke of this world's work has been done. Last night a preparatory lecture was held, and now comes the consummation of the whole week's life, in the solemn act of worship. In which settlement of the Massachusetts Colony is the great observance to pass before our eyes? If it be Cambridge village, the warning drum is beating its peaceful summons to the congregation. If it be Salem village, a bell is sounding its more ecclesiastic peal, and a red flag is simultaneously hung forth from the meeting-house, like the auction-flag of later periods, but offering in this case goods without money and beyond price. But if it be Haverhill village, then Abraham Tyler has been blowing his horn assiduously for half an hour, a service for which Abraham, each year, receives a half-pound of pork from every family in town. Be it drum, bell, or horn, which gives the summons, we will draw near to this important building, the centre of the village, the one public edifice,meeting-house, town-house, school-house, watch-house, all in one. So important is it, that no one can legally dwell more than a half-mile from it. And yet the people ride to meeting, short though the distance be, for at yonder oaken...


The Lure of the Labrador Wild

  From Preface: 'Three years have passed since Hubbard and I began that fateful journey into Labrador of which this volume is a record. A little more than a year has elapsed since the first edition of our record made its appearance from the press. Meanwhile I have looked behind the ranges. Grand Lake has again borne me upon the bosom of her broad, deep waters into the great lonely wilderness that lured Hubbard to his death. It was a day in June last year that found me again at the point where some inexplicable fate had led Hubbard and me to pass unexplored the bay that here extends northward to receive the Nascaupee River, along which lay the trail for which we were searching, and induced us to take, instead, that other course that carried us into the dreadful Susan Valley. How vividly I saw it all again—Hubbard resting on his paddle, and then rising up for a better view, as he said, 'Oh, that's just a bay and it isn't worth while to take time to explore it. The river comes in up here at the end of the lake. They all said it was at the end of the lake.' And we said, 'Yes, it is at the end of the lake; they all said so,' and went on, for that was before we knew—Hubbard never knew. A perceptible current, a questioning word, the turn of a paddle would have set us right. No current was noticed, no word was spoken, and the paddle sent us straight toward those blue hills yonder, where Suffering and Starvation and Death were hidden and waiting for us. How little we expected to meet these grim strangers then. That July day came back to me as if it had been but the day before. I believe I never missed Hubbard so much as at that moment. I never felt his loss so keenly as then. An almost irresistible impulse seized me to go on into our old trail and hurry to the camp where we had left him that stormy October day and find if he were not after all still there and waiting for me to come back to him. Reluctantly I thrust the impulse aside. Armed with the experience gained upon the former expedition, and information gleaned from the Indians, I turned into the northern trail, through the valley of the Nascaupee, and began a journey that carried me eight hundred miles to the storm-swept shores of Ungava Bay, and two thousand miles with dog sledge over endless reaches of ice and snow. While I struggled northward with new companions, Hubbard was always with me to inspire and urge me on. Often and often at night as I sat, disheartened and alone, by the camp-fire while the rain beat down and the wind soughed drearily through the firtops, he would come and sit by me as of old, and as of old I would hear his gentle voice and his words of encouragement. Then I would go to my blankets with new courage, resolved to fight the battle to the end. One day our camp was pitched upon the shores of Lake Michikamau, and as I looked for the first time upon the waters of the lake which Hubbard had so longed to reach, I lived over again that day when he returned from his climb to the summit of the great grey mountain which now bears his name, with the joyful news that there just behind the ridge lay Michikamau; then the weary wind-bound days that followed and the race down the trail with all its horrors; our kiss and embrace; and my final glimpse of the little white tent in which he lay. And so with the remembrance of his example as an inspiration the work was finished by me, the survivor, but to Hubbard and to his memory belong the credit and the honour, for it was only through my training with him and this inspiration received from him that I was able to carry to successful completion what he had so well planned. '


Kim

  From Content: 'He sat, in defiance of municipal orders, astride the gun Zam Zammah on her brick platform opposite the old Ajaib-Gher—the Wonder House, as the natives call the Lahore Museum. Who hold Zam-Zammah, that 'fire-breathing dragon', hold the Punjab, for the great green-bronze piece is always first of the conqueror's loot. There was some justification for Kim—he had kicked Lala Dinanath's boy off the trunnions—since the English held the Punjab and Kim was English. Though he was burned black as any native; though he spoke the vernacular by preference, and his mother-tongue in a clipped uncertain sing-song; though he consorted on terms of perfect equality with the small boys of the bazar; Kim was white—a poor white of the very poorest. The half-caste woman who looked after him (she smoked opium, and pretended to keep a second-hand furniture shop by the square where the cheap cabs wait) told the missionaries that she was Kim's mother's sister; but his mother had been nursemaid in a Colonel's family and had married Kimball O'Hara, a young colour-sergeant of the Mavericks, an Irish regiment. He afterwards took a post on the Sind, Punjab, and Delhi Railway, and his Regiment went home without him. The wife died of cholera in Ferozepore, and O'Hara fell to drink and loafing up and down the line with the keen-eyed three-year-old baby. Societies and chaplains, anxious for the child, tried to catch him, but O'Hara drifted away, till he came across the woman who took opium and learned the taste from her, and died as poor whites die in India. His estate at death consisted of three papers—one he called his 'ne varietur' because those words were written below his signature thereon, and another his 'clearance-certificate'. The third was Kim's birth-certificate. Those things, he was used to say, in his glorious opium-hours, would yet make little Kimball a man. On no account was Kim to part with them, for they belonged to a great piece of magic—such magic as men practised over yonder behind the Museum, in the big blue-and-white Jadoo-Gher—the Magic House, as we name the Masonic Lodge. It would, he said, all come right some day, and Kim's horn would be exalted between pillars—monstrous pillars—of beauty and strength. The Colonel himself, riding on a horse, at the head of the finest Regiment in the world, would attend to Kim—little Kim that should have been better off than his father. Nine hundred first-class devils, whose God was a Red Bull on a green field, would attend to Kim, if they had not forgotten O'Hara—poor O'Hara that was gang-foreman on the Ferozepore line. Then he would weep bitterly in the broken rush chair on the veranda. So it came about after his death that the woman sewed parchment, paper, and birth-certificate into a leather amulet-case which she strung round Kim's neck. 'And some day,' she said, confusedly remembering O'Hara's prophecies, 'there will come for you a great Red Bull on a green field, and the Colonel riding on his tall horse, yes, and' dropping into English—'nine hundred devils.' 'Ah,' said Kim, 'I shall remember. A Red Bull and a Colonel on a horse will come, but first, my father said, will come the two men making ready the ground for these matters. That is how my father said they always did; and it is always so when men work magic.'


Daddy Darwin's Dovecot

  a selection from the PREAMBLE: A SUMMER'S afternoon. Early in the summer, and late in the afternoon; with odours and colours deepening, and shadows lengthening, towards evening. Two gaffers gossiping, seated side by side upon a Yorkshire wall. A wall of sandstone of many colours, glowing redder and yellower as the sun goes down; well cushioned with moss and lichen, and deep set in rank grass on this side, where the path runs, and in blue hyacinths on that side, where the wood is, and whereon the gray!-- sic -- and still naked branches of young oakssit divers crows, not less solemn than the gaffers, and also gossiping. One gaffer in work-day clothes, not unpicturesque of form and hue. Grey,!-- sic -- home-knit stockings, and coat and knee-breeches of corduroy, which takes tints from Time and Weather as harmoniously as wooden palings do; so that field labourers (like some insects) seem to absorb or mimic the colours of the vegetation round them and of their native soil. That is, on work-days. Sunday-best is a different matter, and in this the other gaffer was clothed. He was dressed like the crows above him, fit excepted: the reason for which was, that he was only a visitor, a re-visitor to the home of his youth, and wore his Sunday (and funeral) suit to mark the holiday. Continuing the path, a stone pack-horse track, leading past a hedge snow-white with may, and down into a little wood, from the depths of which one could hear a brook babbling. Then up across the sunny field beyond, and yet up over another field to where the brow of the hill is crowned by old farm-buildings standing against the sky. Down this stone path a young man going whistling home to tea. Then staying to bend a swarthy face to the white may to smell it, and then plucking a huge branch on which the blossom lies like a heavy fall of snow, and throwing that aside for a better, and tearing off another and yet another, with the prodigal recklessness of a pauper; and so, whistling, on into the wood with his arms full. Down the sunny field, as he goes up it, a woman coming to meet himwith her arms full. Filled by a child with a may-white frock, and hair shining with the warm colours of the sandstone. A young woman, having a fair forehead visible a long way off, and buxom cheeks, and steadfast eyes. When they meet he kisses her, and she pulls his dark hair and smooths her own, and cuffs him in country fashion. Then they change burdens, and she takes the may into her apron (stooping to pick up fallen bits), and the child sits on the man's shoulder, and cuffs and lugs its father as the mother did, and is chidden by her and kissed by him. And all the babbling of their chiding and crowing and laughter comes across the babbling of the brook to the ears of the old gaffers gossiping on the wall. Gaffer I. spits out an over-munched stalk of meadow soft-grass and speaks: 'D'ye see yon chap?' Gaffer II. takes up his hat and wipes it round with a spotted handkerchief (for your Sunday hat is a heating thing for work-day wear) and puts it on, and makes reply: 'Aye. But he beats me. Andsee thee!he's t' first that's beat me yet. Why, lad! I've met young chaps to-day I could ha' sworn to for mates of mine forty year backif I hadn't ha' been i' t' churchyard spelling over their fathers' tumstuns!' 'Aye. There's a many old standards gone home o' lately.' 'What do they call him?' 'T' young chap?' 'Aye.' 'They call himDarwin.' 'Darwin? I should know a Darwin. They're old standards, is Darwins. What's he to Daddy Darwin of t' Dovecot yonder?' 'He owns t' Dovecot. Did ye see t' lass?' 'Aye. Shoo's his missus, I reckon?' 'Aye.' 'What did they call her?' 'Phbe Shaw they called her....

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