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her eyes encountered a slim man, dressed in black and wearing a white necktie. He was the new minister, and was going around to get acquainted with the members of his flock, but Sarah wasn't expected to know this.


"Git!" exclaimed Sarah, pointing to the gate.

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"Beg pardon, but I would like to see-see"Meander!" she shouted, looking around for a weapon; we don't want any flour-sifters here!"

"You're mistaken," he replied, smiling blandly. "I called to—" "Don't want anything to keep moths away-fly!" she exclaimed, getting red in the face.

"Is the lady in?" he inquired, trying to look over Sarah's head. "Yes, the lady is in, and I'm in, and you are out!" she snapped; "and now I don't want to stand here talking to a fly-trap agent any longer! Come, lift your boots!"

"I'm not an agent," he said, trying to smile. "I'm the new—” "Yes, I know you-you are the new man with the patent flatiron, but we don't want any, and you'd better go before I call the dog!"

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Will you give the lady my card, and say that I called?"

No, I wont; we are bored to death with cards and handbills and circulars. Come, I can't stand here all day,"


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'Didn't you know that I was a minister ?' he asked as he backed

"No, nor I don't know it now; you look like the man who sold the woman next door a dollar chromo for eighteen shillings."

But here is my card."

"I don't care for cards, I tell you! If you leave that gate open I will have to fling a flower-pot at you!"

"I will call again," he said, as he went through the gate.

"It won't do any good!" she shouted after him; "we don't want no prepared food for infants-no piano music-no stuffed birds! I know the policeman on this beat, and if you come around here again, he'll soon find out whether you are a confidence man or a vagrant!" And she took unusual care to lock the door.



High up in the tower of the old moss-covered church, which the winds and storms of many years have beaten against, hangs the village bell. How many times it has been rung in merriment and rejoicing, in sadness and mourning! And yet it is as faithful as if it had not stood sentinel over the little country town for half a century.

Fifty years! How long, and yet how short! In that time the little churchyard has been filled. The sleepers listened to the sound of the old bell in the days that are gone; and when they passed away, it tolled sadly and solemnly, as they were carried,-lovingly, regretfully, through the old gate-way,-and silently laid down to their calm,

sweet rest.

What a long, undisturbed rest it is! They hear not the tones of the old bell, as it tells that still another is being brought out to sleep with them, under the green mounds that mark their resting-place. Is it sounding an invitation from those already there, saying, with its hollow voice, "Come, rest with us?" Is it sending up to the Great White Throne a deep-toned, agonized prayer for those who stand weeping by the open grave, supplicating, "God-help-us?" Is it the voice of the departed calling from the other shore, "Come to me?" Which is it? Who can tell?

We all know its solemn tolling sends a sorrowful thrill to our hearts. Are we laughing? The laugh goes out on our lips at the thought of the anguished father, or mother, or sister, or brother-the lonely-hearted, desolate husband or wife. God help them at such a time! It may be that He sends such terrible dispensations to show us how infinite is His power. As we listen we cannot help thinking in our hearts, and the words form themselves slowly with its deep sound of the old bell, "Will-it-be-my-turn- next?" Sometimes its tones seem almost human, so readily do we assimilate them with our own emotions.

It is a calm, beautiful morning--a lovely, sunshiny Sabbath mornning-and our hearts are filled with solemn gratitude to the Great Giver. It is inviting us to come and worship. We fancy its loud, regular double strokes say, "Praise God! praise God!" Its tones seem to be inspired with the sacredness of its holy mission.

It is evening; and just while twilight is stealing over us, the bell's mellow tones come floating down, and thrill through our hearts,

wandering in and out, till they grow faint and low, like the sweet, soft music of an Æolian harp. How merrily it is ringing a welcome to the happy young bride and bridegroom! They are just coming up the aisle, the admired of all the simple, honest villagers assembled to witness their joy. His frank, manly face is bent down above her, and her eyes are raised trustfully to his. What a perfect shower of music the bell is making! What a glad, joyous ring!

The day fades away. It is night, and then day again. Hark! what sound is that? What has so changed the tones of the old bell? Last night it was ringing in loud rejoicing; to-day it is slowly tolling, tolling, like great, deep, half-suppressed sobs. What a dreary sadness steals over us as we listen to its muffled sound! Another friend has passed away. The form, lately so full of life and gaiety, is now cold and still in death; and now, in the beautiful spring-time, the setting sun casts a golden, warm and mellow light on the heavy sod that covers her breast, and the villagers sorrowfully mourn a loved one.

Every inhabitant of the village will tell you what the old bell is to him. Every peal awakens a responsive heartbeat in our breasts, for the recollection of half a century is sweetened by hallowed memories.



I wrote my name upon the sand,
And trusted it would stand for aye;
But soon, alas! the refluent sea

Had washed my feeble lines away.

I carved my name upon the wood,
And, after years, returned again;

I missed the shadow of the tree
That stretched of old upon the plain.

To solid marble next my name
I gave as a perpetual trust;
An earthquake rent it to its base,
And now it li ́s o'erlaid with dust,

All these have failed. In wiser mood
I turn and ask myself, "What then?
If I would have my name endure,

I'll write it on the hearts of men,

"In characters of living light,

From kindly words and actions wrought.
And these, beyond the reach of Time,
Shall live immortal as my thought."



My father, thou hast not the tale denied―
They say that, ere noon to-morrow,
Thou wilt bring back a radiant, smiling bride,
To our lonely house of sorrow.

I should wish thee joy of thy coming bliss,
But tears are my words suppressing;

I think of my mother's dying kiss,
And my mother's prting blessing.

Yet to-morrow I hope to hide my care;
I will still my bosom's beating;
And strive to give to thy chosen fair
A kind and courteous greeting.

She will heed me not, in the joyous pride
Of pomp, and friends, and beauty;
Ah! little heed has a new-made bride
Of a daughter's quiet duty.

Thou gavest her costly gems, they say,
When thy heart first fondly sought her;

Dear father, one nuptial gift, I pray,

Bestow on thy weeping daughter.

My eye even now on the treasure falls,

I covet and ask no other;

It has hung for years on our ancient walls; 'Tis the portrait of my mother!

To-morrow, when all is in festal guise,
And the guests our rooms are filling,
The calm, meek gaze of these hazel eyes
Might thy soul with grief be thrilling;

And a gloom on thy marriage banquet cast,
Sad thoughts of their owner giving;
For a fleeting twelvemonth scarce has past
Since she mingled with the living.

If thy bride should weary or offend,
That portrait might awaken feelings
Of the love of thy fond departed friend,
And its sweet and kind revealings;

Of her mind's commanding force, unchecked
By feeble and selfish weakness;

Of her speech, where dazzling intellect
Was softened by Christian meekness.

Then, father, grant that at once, to-night,
Ere the bridal crowd's intrusion,
I remove the portrait from thy sight,
To my chamber's still seclusion.

It will nerve me to-morrow's dawn to bear,— It will beam on me protection,

When I ask of Heaven in faltering prayer

To hallow thy new connection.

Thou wilt waken, father, in pride and glee,

To renew the ties once broken;

But nought on earth remains to me,
Save this sad and silent token.

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