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Up the stairs of the garret softly the son of the mistress stepped, Leaned over the head-board, covering his face with his hands, and wept.

Out spake the mother, who watched him sharply, with brow a-frown : 'What! love you the Papist, the beggar, the charge of the town?' 'Be she Papist or beggar who lies here, I know, and God knows, I love her, and fain would go with her wherever she goes!

'O mother! that sweet face came pleading, for love so athirst: You saw but the town-charge; I knew her God's angel at first.' Shaking her gray head, the mistress hushed down a bitter cry; And, awed by the silence and shadow of death drawing nigh,

She murmured a psalm of the Bible; but closer the young girl pressed,

With the last of her life in her fingers, the cross to her breast.

'My son, come away,' cried the mother, her voice cruel grown. 'She is joined to her idols, like Ephraim; let her alone!'

But he knelt with his hand on her forehead, his lips to her ear, And he called back the soul that was passing: Marguerite, do you hear?'

She paused on the threshold of heaven; love, pity, surprise,
Wistful, tender, lit up for an instant the cloud of her eyes.

With his heart on his lips he kissed her, but never her cheek grew red,

And the words the living long for he spake in the ear of the dead.

And the robins sang in the orchard, where buds to blossoms


Of the folded hands and the still face never the robins knew!



Rough and ready the troopers ride,

Pistol in holster and sword by side;

They have ridden long, they have ridden hard,
They are travel-stained and battle-scarred.

The hard ground shakes with their martial tramp,
And coarse is the laugh of the men of the camp.

They reach a spot where a mother stands
With a baby, shaking its little hands,

Laughing aloud at the gallant sight

Of the mounted soldiers fresh from the fight.
The captain laughs out, 'I will give you this,
A bright piece of gold, your baby to kiss.'

'My darling's kisses cannot be sold,
But gladly he'll kiss a soldier bold.'
He lifts up the babe with a manly grace,
And covers with kisses its smiling face,
Its rosy cheeks, and its dimpled charms;
And it crows with delight in the soldier's arms.

'Not all for the captain,' the troopers call;

'The baby, we know, has a kiss for all.'
To each soldier's breast the baby is pressed

By the strong, rough men, and kissed and caressed;

And louder it laughs, and the woman's face
Wears a mother's smile at the fond embrace.

'Just such a kiss,' cries one warrior grim,
'When I left my boy, I gave to him.'
'And just such a kiss, on the parting day,

I gave to my girl as asleep she lay.'

Such were the words of these soldiers brave,

And their eyes were moist when the kiss they gave.


Devil's Elbow was clean gone wild!
Men and women were in the street,
Shouting, crying! And why? A child,
Toddling down with uncertain feet,
Came to the river bluff, and-'Ho!
See it there, where the tide runs back?
(Wee white face, like a puff of snow.)
'Quick! a lariat ! Now, stand back!'

Buckskin Pete made a fling as straight
As an arrow's flight-but it fell too late;
The little tossed hands and golden head
Sank from sight ere the loop had sped!
Hoarse lamenting and weeping sore
Rose from the crowd on the beetling shore.

Swift the current and deep the gorge
Glooming down to the Devil's Leap;
Knotted muscle, from mine or forge,

Vain would battle the current's sweep.
Never a boat, though its stuff were stout,
But the rocks would batter it inside out.
Little hope for the babe unless-

Tossed and buoyed in the Father's hand,
Stayed, perhaps, by its bit of dress—

Some one rode to the bridge that spanned
The gorge at the Devil's Leap, and stopped
The tiny innocent ere it dropped

Into the roaring gulf of surge,
Over the cataract's awful verge.

Who should do it must do it soon!

Every man to his saddle sprang.

Off they went, like a jangling tune—

The hoofs and the spurs and the bridles rang.

Four miles down by the river's crook,
Six miles round by the rocky trail.
Figure it out by guess or by book

Which of the racers were like to fail.
Horse against current—a ten mile gait,
We'll say, to the river's seven or eight.
Close enough when it 's life and death-
Not much muscle to spare, or breath !
First and foremost rode Reckless Dan.
No one thought of him at the start;
No one dreamed that his heart could plan
A rescue-nay, dreamed that he had a heart!
Always first in the fight and brawl,

Always last at the dance or spree ;

With a sneer, or a curse, or a blow for all,
Not a friend in the world had he.
None? not a human friend, indeed;

But ne'er was a closer bond than drew

The heart of the plainsman to his steed,
And the heart of the horse to the master, too.

One by one fell the field behind,

Till Dan's gray horse was without a mate.

His long mane flew in his own speed's wind,

And he seemed to know he was match'd with fate

Neck and muzzle stretched out in line;

Ears, like arrow-tips, pricking back;
Nostrils red as the new-prest wine-
So he galloped along the track.
Not a man of them in the race

Save Reckless Dan! Will he brave it through?
Think you his heart has some human grace?
Deep in the core, is it warm and true?
Well-while they doubted on he flew !
After him floated the choking dust,

Under him glided the narrow trail. Beat the river he would and must.

When did he ever try and fail?

Thirty minutes--and round the bend
Flashed his horse, like a streak of gray.
Now for a straight course to the end,

Hold the pace, and life wins the day!
Foam on the flank and foam on the lip;
Nostrils crimsoned with oozing blood;
Heaving girth and a trembling hip-
Yea-but think of the racing flood!
Down they swept by the sandstone bluff.
Dim grew the rocky trail and rough.
Still they thundered along the pass,
Like storm-wind bowing the summer grass.
Forty minutes the bridge in sight,
Spanning the gorge with a web of light!
Rails agleam in the slanting sun,
Rods and cables like silver spun.

Out of the saddle sprang Reckless Dan,
Just where the network of steel began.
Not a moment he paused to think,
But ventured out from the dizzy brink,
Step by step on the narrow ties,
Scanning the river with eager eyes.
Suddenly, stooping, with trembling haste
He fastened the lariat round his waist,
Tied it fast to an iron beam,

And swung out over the rushing stream.
Up the river, had flashed in sight

A bit of flotsam all gleaming white!
Ere it should pass there was life and hope ;-
Down he slipped on his swaying rope.

Saved!—but they drew them up half-dead,
Man and child, from the whirlpool's grasp.
Close to Dan's bosom the golden head,
Strained in his tight, convulsive clasp.
Saved! and the cañon rang again

With the joyful shouts of the rough-garbed men.

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