Gambar halaman

faces of his family. The excited imagination and tumults on deck, like the funeral-song of other adventurers, as innocent of experi- of hope and all that promised happiness. ence as himself, had inflamed his dormant The voyage was finally accomplished, but fancy for once in his life, and he assured his not till sorrowful experiences indeed had own ready credulity, and the skepticism of been penned in the M'Calloran history. his reluctant helpmate, that money was Winds were boisterous and contrary, and vastly plenty in America ; that, according to drove the good ship far from her course

. the accounts of those who had heard from This was, however, only the beginning of there, it all but grew on the bushes, and sorrows. A mortal sickness broke out in the could be had for the picking up; that work swarming steerage, caused by the fetid and was abundant at all times and seasons, and pestilent atmosphere, and the fraternization some said it had been known to do itself! of filth of every variety and description of

"And is it mad ye are, Thaddy M'Callo- loathsomeness. It prostrated every child of ran?" said the tearful and heart-sick Bridget, the M'Calloran family, and three rosy-cheeked when her husband proudly informed her that boys, after a few days of acute and mortal sufthe passage was really engaged for the whole fering, closed their young eyes, and the sad family in the steerage of the packet-ship parents saw their dear and cherished little Cytherea, and that within a given time all bodies sink, to rise no more, down, down, must be ready to go on board.“ Is it mad into the cold and fathomless ocean depths. Oh, ye are, to dhrag us all away from home, and what pangs and agonizing regrets wrung the grave to death the heart of the ould mither maternal heart of poor Biddy, as she hushed that bare ye, to say nothing of your own

their dying wail in her arms, and pressed her wife and little ones? Sure you ought to parched and feverish lips to the pestilence-inhave more heart for them that wants to lay fected cheeks of her expiring children ! Thadtheir ould bones in this blissed soil, if ye deus was stupefied by the stroke, and by the care naught for your own flesh and blood !" | remorseful self-reproaches which distracted taunted Biddy, while tears poured over her his weak brain, and made him weep and cheeks.

sigh most piteously; and while Biddy, with But Biddy found that, for this time, ex- the dauntless and untiring energy of a true postulation and tears were alike unavailing. mother, tenderly and softly soothed the deathThaddy was bent on going to "Ameriky" to agonies of her children in their convulsive try his fortunes there, and to see if his fine conflict with the King of terrors, her husband family of boys might not turn out presidents could only stand by her side, and groan, and yet, and Kathleen, the only daughter of all wish himself back again in what now seemed the seven, might not, in blooming maiden to his repentance indeed a Paradise, the hood, take the eye of some distinguished turf-walled cottage home in “ blessed Iremerchant, and become perhaps richer and land !" finer than any of her ancestors had been. When the third child had been sent to No motives and no discouragements moved his long slumber in an ocean grave, the him; America was the goal, and nothing most imminent danger seemed to hang over but America would satisfy him.

the eldest boy, an open-browed, dark-haired The cottage was deserted; the movables, child, the pride and favorite of his mother. including the grandparents and the seven Poor Biddy felt that her cup of bitterness children, were deposited on board the Cy- would be drained to the dregs if this firsttherea; and she drew up her anchor, unfurled born son, her best beloved, should be reher white wings, and put out to sea, while a moved from her sight; and it seemed that chorus of groans and sobbings burst from the desperation of maternal love would chain the mothers and daughters in the steerage, him to life. The gracious heart of the which wailed above the jarring, and oaths, Father who watches the fall of the sparrow, and listens to the moan of the young raven, find none for himself; she could take washand whose ears are ever open to our cry, ing and ironing for the gentle folks ; she read the sincere purpose of her soul, and the could find“ turns,” and “jobs,” and “chores” boy was given from the very grasp of death for Johnny and Kathleen. A very thrifty back into the bosom of his mother. and notable dame was Bridget M'Calloran,

At last, with languid steps, and aching by and by, when the keen edge of her sorhearts, and withered hopes, the emigrants row and disappointment had been kindly trod upon a stranger shore. Their provisions time-blunted; and though her brow more were all exhausted, their money was nearly frequently than of yore contracted frownall spent. The grandparents seemed to ingly, and her voice was sometimes elevated look longingly at the “Potter's Field,” as to a higher key than would be admissible in having left behind them every thing that drawing-rooms, she managed to keep her made life dear or valuable. The surviving house—if the plan of their abode might be children were meagre, and pale, and feeble; dignified with the name—her husband, and the hearts of the parents were full to the her children, "in very nate and tidy thrim." very brim of hopelessness and sorrow. But They were abundantly patched, to be sure, something must be done; a shelter of some with all sorts of colors, but never ragged or kind, if it were only a shed, must be pro- filthy; and if Bridget scolded, and fretted, vided; food and employment must be ob- and “twitted” unwisely, she was, neverthetained; for Biddy M'Calloran was resolved less, an excellent wife, a faithful mother, and her remaining little ones should not starve. a model in many things to her proverbially

A single room in a crazy old building in negligent countrywomen. New

York was procured, and they crowded into a hive already swarming with their disappointed and discontented countrymen. In

CHAPTER II. the lapse of a few weeks, the M'Calloran “Come now, Biddy darlint," said Thaddy family was diminished by the decease of the one evening when he came in from loitering in grandparents, and near them, like a fresh the streets, for he had found no work that day, bud laid to wither beside a hoar and moss- though his wife had had no lack of washing grown trunk, they buried still another boy. and ironing-enough to make her feel worn This latter loss, however, was soon made up and weary; for it was a sultry and suffocatto them in the advent of a fat and chubby ing evening in midsummer, and, besides, the child, whose enjoyment, when out of the children had been unusually mischievous mother's arms, seemed perfect while engaged and troublesome, and Biddy's patience had in examining his own wonderful little hands, ebbed down almost to the low-water mark. 80 round, and soft, and plump, and dim. She was not, indeed, so even-tempered and pled.

gentle as she used to be in the deserted With the birth of this boy, things seemed home in the "ould counthry,” and when to take a more prosperous turn. Thaddeus, Thaddy came in this evening, he found to be sure, had left all of the mushroom things in a good deal of confusion. Mrs. energy that had so suddenly sprung up be- M'Calloran was scolding boisterously; Kathfore his emigration entirely behind; but he leen was pouting, and snivelling, and coverwas still a very kind and docile husband, ing her summarily boxed ears with her and a very fond and devoted father. Biddy hands; little Mike, with tearful eyes and an resolved herself into a “committee of ways angry countenance, was rubbing off the and means," and her invention, like the in- smart which had not ceased to burn and vention of women in general, steadily kept tingle ever since a measure of salutary discipace with every novel emergency. She pline had been administered by the strong, could find work for Thaddy when he could horny hands of his mother, in return for his snatching the candlestick from the baby ; “I wish you could make pictures, father," the baby was kicking and screaming out his re- at length he said. sentment, although the snatched candlestick “I can, sure, my son," replied Thaddy, had been restored ; John had sought quiet "an' it's pictures that ye're afther wanting; in a corner, and with an earnest and thought- any thing to plase ye, darlint." ful face, he was looking delightedly at an The children all fixed their wondering old torn picture-book, which he had the eyes upon him, as he took the candle from good fortune to pick up in the street. the table and placed it with the air of a

“Come, Biddy, darlint,” soothed Thaddy, magician in Kathleen's hands, that shadows " whether hadn't ye betther give over your might be cast more favorably on the opposcoulding the childhers a bit, and be aisy for site wall. They watched in amazement the a leetle ! no good will happen for scoulding mysterious interlocking and hooking together 80 much."

of his fingers. "An I reckon ye would be afther having “Now look on the wall yonder," he said, as much scoulding yerself

, Thaddy,” retorted and let's see which of ye all will tell me the irritated Mrs. M'Calloran, “was ye tied first what kind of crather ye see there." up to the childhers from mornin' to night, The children opened their eyes very wide as their mither is, with all their mouths to and round, to take in the form and dimenfill besides! Why don't ye conthrive some- sions of the wonderful beast that was to be thin' to plase 'em and keep 'em quiet, whin somehow inexplicably connected with the niver a bit of nothin' else have ye to do?" strange linking of their father's fingers. Ah!

“ That's what I will, sure,” returned Thad- there it comes ! A head, and eyes, and dy, sitting down on a chair, and summoning ears, and legs, just like some animal. But the children smilingly about him. “Come, what is it! Kathleen, and my little Mike, we'll have “Oh, there's a rabbit on the wall !" shouted some sport that will dry up your tears and Johnny, clapping his hands. “How could make ye look smilin' and happy again." ye make him, father ?”

The children were in a moment by his "A rabbit on the wall !" repeated Kathside, and he began the performance of some leen and Mike; and then they all united in simple games and pranks, which very soon a chorus of glad laughter, in which the baby made Kathleen forget her red and stinging sympathetically joined, screaming and crowears, and Mike the maltreatment he had ing with a hearty enthusiasm that won a suffered, in the childish heartiness of their loving smile to the face of his mother, and merriment. The cloud passed away from warned her to fold her arms more securely Biddy's face, by and by, and she took up about him, to save him from the danger of the baby in her arms, and sat down beside a sudden bound into the air, in the very ex. her husband, that baby too might join in the cess of his simple enjoyment. frolic and forget the grievances he had en- “What makes it, father? What ?" earndured in the temporary loss of his most un- estly inquired Johnny, as the rabbit still lay toward plaything. But Johnny was too in bold relief on the wall. deeply absorbed in his old tattered, worn-out “Nothing, sure, only the candle asthrampicture-book, to be attracted even by the ing through the fingers," replied his father. gleeful shouts that rung out from the circle “ Ye can do it yourself, boy: hook your 80 happily clustered together; at last, how- fingers together, so, and hold 'em up 'twixt ever, when he had looked it through and the light and the wall, and ye'll have a baste through, with ever-increasing admiration, he of yer own." laid it aside, and with his bright face Johnny's education in casting shadows sparkling with pleasure, he drew into the

was more delightful to him than any lessons group

he had ever learned. All the remainder o

the evening, till long after the eyes of the outbursting of an impulse, which, though other children were fast locked in slumber, vastly remote in its relationship, might yet the fascinated boy amused himself by re- claim kindred with the impulse which moving the light from place to place, to brought Pygmalion to the feet of his peerthrow the shadow of every thing in the room less Galatea, with a prayer that a form so on the walls. He was astonished and puz- divinely beautiful as the marble he had chiszled with the different dimensions and shapes elled, might no longer be passionless and of the shadows, according to their different dead, but waken into the perfection of an distances and positions, in relation to his actual existence ? little flickering luminary. Breathlessly in- From this hour, this battle-hour of his quisitive, Johnny sought of the ignorance of genius, as it were, the soul of the Irish boy his parents the elucidation of the mystery ; seemed to rise above his condition, and to his mind had been suddenly quickened into tabernacle within itself. The simple and vigorous action, and he was not enlightened puerile enjoyments of the childish mind with his father's explanation, drawn, to be lost all charm for him; he forgot the sure, from the best stores of his philosophy, “ chores” his mother required him to do at " that it was always so, and that there was home; he forgot the task his teachers reniver a bit of rason for it, only it did so." quired him to learn at school; and yet The awakened intellect of the boy panted to somehow he became, in a little while, both know the laws and the principles which intelligent and ambitious beyond the meagoverned those changes; he wondered if sure of his years. He mastered the spellingany body could render a more satisfactory book with incredible facility, and then he explanation than his father had done; he trod disdainfully the simple and rudimental wondered if there were any books in the pathway which children are required to world that told about shadows, and if there tread. His mind thirsted and clamored were, how ardently he longed to be a scholar, for the inbreaking of a stronger and clearer

at he might lay up in his own heart such light; but his parents were very poor and treasures of knowledge.

ignorant, and in the lowest social position ; It was not until after repeated admoni yes, and his teachers were poor and ignorant tions from his mother that Johnny M'Cal too, and he was left to pine under an inloran could be persuaded to bed ; and then ward famine, because nobody understood or the inner chambers of his fancy were all could compound the nutriment which would hung about with shapes, and pictures, and have given him vigor. There were "imfaces, and varying shadows, which changed mortal longings” in him-longings, whose and fitted marvellously. There was a glow unfolding and maturing his poverty and low of light and beauty within, of which he had station seemed likely effectually to smother ; sometimes seen ill-defined and misunderstood but in the depths of his soul a heaven-lit glimpses before, when objects of beauty or flame struggled to burn-a flame which sublimity had met his vision ; but now the must be self-consuming, or burst its way out inner imagery seemed substantial, and he into an element from which it could derive feared to open his eyes upon the darkness of support and strength, and the quickening his garret, lest the blessed sights should of a new inspiration. vanish irrecoverably away.

John was very happy when he came in His dreams were but a continuation of his undisputed possession of a slate and pencil, waking fancies; he saw over again, with re- all his own. Long before had he perfected newed wonder, the rabbit on the wall, and, himself in "charcoal sketches," with the under his enchanted gaze, it seemed to un- wall, the hearth, the pavement, for a canfold into a living, breathing, moving thing. vas. Now he would sit, hour after hour, Was it not the inexplicable, but spontaneous throwing upon his slate singularly natu

ral and graceful outlines of almost every years of wretchedness indeed to the M'Calthing within the range of his vision. The loran family. Thaddeus became confirmed faces of his parents, brothers, and sisters, in in his habits of indolence; he contracted, their many varying expressions; the cat, moreover, vicious and ruinous appetites; the table, the tea-kettle, the chairs, fancy wasted Biddy's laboriously gained pittances scenes, both serious and comic; groupings, at the tippling house; swaggered, and rude and undirected by scientific principles, swore, and rioted in the streets; raved, quarto be sure, but strangely perfect and origi- relled, or slept, at home; a miserable, loath. nal. The unequivocal exponents of a latent some, bloated victim of intemperance. With genius they were, and they seemed to rub such a fire kindled at the root of domestic off from the point of his pencil, and to happiness, no wonder Biddy grew neglitake form and comeliness at his will. gent and irritable and violent under the

His parents called him a “strange and abuse she endured, and the sufferings and techy child;" and his mother, fondly as she burdens she was forced to bear. Biddy doated on him, began to chide him as an M'Calloran was born with a gentle heart ; idle and useless boy, good for very little or drunkenness was a vice she abhorred, and nothing, when the family were for ever in could by no means pardon, especially when such need. His father, who was himself a it took the bread from the mouths of her worshipper of ease and idleness, had, never-children, and turned her home, low and theless, a strong anxiety that John should poor as it was at best, into a haunt for a be useful. They, naturally enough, lost all foul imbruted creature, who was her torforbearance for John's idle propensities, as ment rather than her helpmate. She hated they imagined them, and hired him out, at every thing in life, except the swarm of a good chance, to clean gutters and watch meagre, squalid, tattered children, that kept swine; low and loathsome drudgery, from continually increasing around her: a scarwhich the high soul of the boy recoiled and city of every thing else, there were children revolted; and by and by, after storms of enough; and she prayed passionately to hard words between father and son, and an the saints that she might die, only that her unmerciful whipping for his obstinacy and eyes longed for one more sight of her rebellion, John's share of the potatoes was swate and darling Johnny, an' he were yet left to increase the rations of the other above ground." hungry mouths; John's straw pallet in the Darkness had thus settled heavily about garret, the dearest place in the house to the household of the emigrant; when one him, for it had been turned into an incipi- morning, in the midst of a noisy altercation ent studio, was untenanted; and he had dis- between Thaddeus and Biddy for the posappeared, nobody knew whither.

session of a sixpence, the last they could At first they passionately cursed their command, a stranger suddenly halted beungrateful child for his desertion, just as his fore the door. Hostilities were suspended labor began to be productive, and the pos- to look at him, for he stood long and silently session of him a benefit; and then came gazing at the combatants, as if he were a not unnatural transition of feeling, and riveted to the ground whereon his feet they grieved over his absence and un-rested. He was a young man of commandknown fate, more bitterly than they woulding appearance, and his whole figure exhibhave grieved to lay him peacefully at rest ited those grand and manly proportions in the burial-place.

which might serve as a model of an Adam in Paradise. His bair was dark, and swept

carelessly back from a very white forehead; The years which followed-years in which his eyes were blue, and wore a strangely no tidings came of the runaway son-were spiritual expression; and the lower part of


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