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It was on one bank and I come up on other, very quiet, till I get right opposite. Stream not very wide, and I can see easy what he's doin'. He dig, and dig, and bimeby come down to sledge, all piled with fur. Course I don't know they're fur, all wrapped up. But wan t'ing I do know-dat sledge he uncover-dat belong to Mat. By God! I was mad. I just sat there behind them bushes. I might 'a shot him, but I didn't. I say Mat's name to myself easy, jus' low. Ba'tiste, he goin' up other bank, pretty steep. I see him stop. He stand perfectly still. I know he didn't hear me, I just said it to myself. But he stand there. He stand and look up the bank, jus' like he's waitin' for somet'ing. Then I say again, easy, I say, 'Mat!'
"Ba'tiste, 'cross on other bank, he suddenly look sharp up the bank, yells like he saw somet'ing awful, and falls back. The bank's very steep, and he fall all the way. River not frozen then; rapids get him, and he go down, down, under logs-"
Came a terrific screech from outside, and a sharp tap at the window. We all started, Frank most of all.
"Those logs-that jam-right there!" whispered Frank. He pointed at the river directly outside the cabin. "Never find body, he's there!"
We were all silent, and moved a little closer to the fire, burning very low now. Strange shadows played in the corners.
"What you s'pose he saw, ey?" Frank eyed us both, pipe in hand. Outside the wind howled dismally and whistled at the stove-pipe, and the trees bent and cracked with the cold.
"Will the old sea be dumb forever then ?"
Most drear and windless-hollow like the sky.
Yea, God was kind.
Yet lingered there a sound, Trembling upon the silence of the wind,
Which all the caverns of my heart had caught,
I heard the voice: "Yea, truly God is kind." And answered as the night-wind to the night, "Will the old sea be dumb forever then?"
Maxwell E. Foster.
I too had builded me a universe,
And set a star or two to shine by night, And fashioned flowers and birds for my delight, Breathing in them the spirit of my verse. And all was passing beautiful and true;—
Yet nothing seemed immeasurably bright, And all in vain I cried: "Let there be light"; Till from my flesh and bone and soul came you.
It was my foolish wont to sit and sing
My soul saw sunlight on the mountain snow.
Maxwell E. Foster.
She paused before God's thunder-silent throne,
One age-frail arm reached for the gilded toys
But frantic, fragile hands worked swift, nor knew
Trembling-and famine-grey her cheek-she drew
And then-then came the crunch of hungry teeth.
It was a raw, murky day on Sixth Avenue. A few snowflakes were floating down wearily. The pale light, passing through the frame-work of the elevated, left gridded shadows on the slippery sidewalk where a middle-aged man in a shabby overcoat plodded along. An elevated train came to a grinding halt at a station above him and he glanced up with a frown, wincing at the noise. The street was empty except for an occasional overcoat pulled up to meet a hat pulled down, which passed with a scuffle of feet. The man stopped in front of a pawn-shop, glanced at the grimy panes of glass in the door, and pulled it open. The bell rattled rustily in accompaniment to the squeaking hinges and he stumbled a little on the rough, uneven floor. The air was heavy and close and the room dark. In dingy cases he could just make out battered clocks, twisted dull jewelry and a glimmer that suggested knives.
A grey beard on black, stooping shoulders moved through a dim opening in the stained wall at the end of the little shop and
along behind a chipped glass counter toward the man.
customer drew from his pocket a thick, heavy watch and laid it carefully on a piece of worn velvet on the counter. He pressed a stop in its side.
"Listen, it rings the quarter hours. How much?"
The grey beard moved. "An heirloom, eh? Nobody wants those now. Twenty-five."
The man took the greasy bills, running his finger along the counter and glancing at the dust it collected as he did so. Then he stopped suddenly. From beyond the wall came a chuckling. It had a childlike sound and yet there was age there and bitterness, sophistication. It was hard and hopeless, both a laugh and a sneer.
It was mid-afternoon on Sixth Avenue. The air was cold and stinging and large flakes of snow were sliding down an occasional beam of sunlight which broke through between the grey clouds. A middle-aged man, neatly dressed, was striding down the street with long, springy steps. He glanced in the windows of a delicatessen store as he passed and smiled at the rich brown hams and the gleaming red wrappers on the canned goods. People hurried past him. A boy was whistling. A man in front of him, going in his own direction, slipped on the icy pavement and a stranger coming up the street caught him. They smiled and went on their way. At a pawn-shop he stepped in, swinging the door open with a quick push which set the bell tittering loudly. He peered about in the half-darkness at sparkles in the showcases. A pair of bright eyes over a grey beard came through the door in the wall at the end of the shop and passed along behind the shining glass counter. The man said, "Cheery weather to-day, brisk and pleasant. I've come to redeem my grandfather's watch."
The eyes shone more brightly and a hand moved in the darkness to a case. Drawing out a large watch of heavy gold, he placed it on the piece of red velvet. The man wound it, and, pressing a stop in its side, held it to his ear.
"It rings the quarters as well as ever."
Beyond the wall sudden laughter rang out. It was the laughter of a child, clear and merry, but somehow it seemed to have a