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silvery wake you leave behind adds to your enjoyment. Down the stream you glide, oars, sails, and helm in proper trim, and you set out on your pleasure excursion.
Suddenly some one cries out from the bank, “Young men, ahoy!” “What is it?" “The rapids are below you.” Ha, ha! we have heard of the rapids, but we are not such fools as to get there. If we go too fast, then we shall up with the helm and steer to the shore; we will set the mast in the socket, hoist the sail, and speed to land. Haste away!” “Young men, ahoy there !” “What is it?"
“The rapids are below—are below you.” “Ha, ha! Never fear! Time enough to steer out of danger when we are sailing swiftly with the current. On! on!”
“Young men, ahoy!” “What is it?" “ Beware! beware! The rapids are below you.” Now you see the water foaming all around. See how fast you pass that point! Up with the helm! Now turn! Pull hard !-quick, quick !-pull for your lives !-pull till the blood starts from the nostrils, and the veins stand like whipcord upon the brow! Set the mast in the socket! -hoist the sail! Ah, ah! it is too late. Shrieking hopelessly, over you go.
Thousands go over “rapids” every year, heedless of the still small warning voice.
GIVE WISELY. ONE evening a short time since, the curate of B-, a small village in the north of France, returned much fatigued to his humble dwelling. He had been visiting a poor family, who were suffering from both want and sickness; and the worthy old man, besides administering the consolations of religion, had given them a few small coins, saved by rigid self-denial from his scanty income. He walked homewards, leaning on his stick, and thinking with sorrow how very small were the means he possessed of doing good and relieving misery.
As he entered the door, he heard an unwonted clamor of tongues. “A pretty business this, Monsieur !” cried the housekeeper when her master appeared, as with flashing eyes and left arm a-kimbo, she pointed with the other to a surlylooking man, dressed in a blouse, who stood in the hall holding a very small box in his hand. “This fellow," she continued, "is a messenger from the Diligence, and he wants to get fifteen francs as the price of the carriage of that little box, directed to you, which I'm sure, no matter what it contains, can't be worth half the money."
* Peace, Nanette," said hier master; and taking the box from the man, who at his approach civilly doffed his hat, he examined the direction.
It was extremely heavy, and bore the stamp of San Francisco, California, together with his own address. The curate paid the fifteen francs, which left him posssssed of but a few sous, and dismissed the messenger. He then opened the box, and displayed to the astonished eyes of Nanette an ingot of virgin gold, and a slip of a paper, on which were written the following words :
“ To Monsieur the Curate of B"A slight token of eternal gratitude, in remembrance of August 28th, 1848.
- Charles FFormerly Serjeant-Major in the —th regiment ;
now a gold-digger in California." On the 23th of August, 1848, the curate was, on the evening in question, returning from visiting his poor
and sick parishioners. Not far from his cottage he saw a young soldier, with a haggard countenance and wild bloodshot eyes, hastening towards the bank of a deep and rapid river, which ran through the fields. The venerable priest stopped him, and spoke to him kindly.
At first the young man would not answer, and tried to break away from his questioner ; but the curate, fearing that he meditated suicide, would not be repulsed, and at length, with much difficulty, succeeded in leading him to his house. After some time, softened by the tender kindness of his host, the soldier confessed that he had spent in garnbling a sum of money that had been entrusted to him as serjeantmajor of his company. This avowal was made in words broken by sobs, and the culprit repeated several times, "My poor mother! my poor mother! if she only knew
The curate waited until the soldier had become more calm, and then addressed him in words of reproof and counsel, such as a tender father might bestow on an erring son. He finished by giving him a bag containing one hundred and thirty francs, the amount of the sum unlawfully spent.
“It is nearly all I possess in the world,” said the old man, “but, by the grace of God, you will change your habits; you will work diligently, and some day you will return me this money, which indeed belongs more to the poor than to me."
It would be impossible to describe the young soldier's joy and astonishment. He pressed convulsively his benefactor's hand, and after a pause said —
“Monsieur, in three months my military engagement will be ended. I solemnly promise that, with the assistance of God, from that time I will work diligently.” So he departed, bearing with him the money and the blessing of the good man.
Much to the sorrow and indignation of Nanette, her master continued to wear through the ensuing winter, his old threadbare suit, which he had intended to replace by warm garments; and his dinner frequently consisted of bread and gravy soup.
“And all this,” said the dame, "for the sake of a worthless stroller, whom we shall never see or hear of again.”
“Nanette,” said her master, with tears in his eyes, as he showed her the massive ingot, whose value was three thousand francs, never judge hardly of a repentant sinner. It was the weeping Magdalen who poured precious ointment on her Master's feet; it was the outlawed Samaritan leper who returned to give thanks. Our poor guest has nobly kept his word. Next winter my sick people will want neither food nor medicine; and you must lay in plenty of Aannel and clothing for our old men and women, Nanette!”
THE GUERRILLA CHIEF. “Who were the Guerrillas ?
“Bands of armed Spanish peasants, who kept up a constant war against the French invaders of their country. They would issue forth from their hiding-place in the mountains in small parties,
cut off any Frenchmen who were not strong enough to resist their attack; seize supplies of provisions for the garrison; and then quickly disappear, only to come together again at some new point, and attempt some fresh outrage. I cannot describe to you the cunning, the vengeance, and the boldness of these men. * Forest flies,' they were called, to express the constant way in which they annoyed their enemies, and the ease with which they eluded them. The greater part of them had in some way been injured by the invasion. Their houses had been burnt, their dearest relations slain, their prospects altogether ruined, and their revenge was deep and deadly. If French prisoners fell into their hands, they murdered them without scruple.”
“How shocking! and I suppose the French did the same ?"
“Yes, when they could; but the guerrillas were generally so secure in their inountain fastnesses that to capture any was a matter of great difficulty. Should you like to hear a story of one who was made prisoner?”
Oh, yes ! very much. What was his name?" “His name was Vincente Moreno, and he was a guerrilla chief. But he had not disgraced himself by such crimes and cruelties as some others had committed; he was a brave, generous, noble-minded patriot; he fought only for the freedom of his country. Leaving his retreat in the mountains of Ronda one morning, in order to gain tidings of the enemy's movements, he was surprised by a party of French, taken prisoner, and taken to Granada. When brought before the French general, his step was as firm, and his air as calm, as if he stood at that moment free on his native mountains. The general, struck by his noble appearance and fearlessness, at once resolved, if possible, to induce him to enter the French service. "Spaniard,' he said, syou have been found in arms against your king, and that crime deserves death. What have you to say why you should not suffer it?'
“Moreno smiled in scorn. "Joseph Bonaparte is not my king;' he replied, therefore am I free from the crime of treason.'
“. He is the king appointed by the emperor to rule over Spain, and, as such, demands your allegiance.' “• Which he will never have, quietly replied the Spaniard. Then death is
"Be it so; I have faced death more than once.' • Death by hanging !' said the general.
“The guerrilla chief slightly started. He had thought of this before, but he spoke not.
“« Bethink you,' continued the general, who really desired to save the life of this brave man, if possible; 'bethink you of that shameful end to your career! You are brave and bold, and in the prime of life; do not throw that life away through obstinacy. You may yet command men as brave as yourself, and win honor and glory on the battle-field.'
“How?' said Moreno, fixing his piercing glance on the general.
· By entering into the service of the emperor.' “Scorn flashed from the chief's dark eyes. 'I little thought such a proposal would ever have been made to Vincente Moreno, he replied; but I am a prisoner. The emperor! the man who has carried desolation into the hearts and homes of Spain, and steeped our land in misery!'
"The French gencral thought he had gone too suddenly to the point at which his wishes aimed ; and he now tried to calm the anger of the chief, while he held forth tempting promises of wealth and honor. It was in vain; the patriot was unmoved by his offers, and after some time was taken back to his dungeon cell.
“But again and again was his life offered to him, if he would enter into the service of Napoleon. A free pardon, wealth, honor, should be his, if he would take up arms against his country.
“Never !' replied the guerrilla chief; death would be before such baseness. The appointed day arrived, and the brave Moreno was led to the scaffold. But here a hard trial awaited him. The French general, still anxious to save his life, had given orders that his wife and four children should be brought him on the fatal spot, to see if their entreaties could shake his firmness. Throwing themselves on their knees before the chief, they besought him, with tears and prayers, to accept the offers made to him. 'Oh, my husband, have pity on us !' said the weeping wife,'have pity on your children! Vincente, my noble Vincente! take the life that is offered you, for our sakes!'
6. And on what terms would you have me take it, Nina ?'