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ing, but because of the firecrackers. For the same reason he could not take her home. After a suspicious survey of the nearest shanties he set out across the vacant lots for the terminus of the horse car line. Cassandra stood up and looked after him; then, apparently observing that he had left his hammer and the dinner pail, she returned to her family.
"You cannot go back to work," said the young physician firmly, as he pressed the old man into a chair in the waiting room. "You must wait here until the ambulance comes. I will go with you."
"'Deed suh, I'se bliged, suh," said old Gilbert nervously, “but I—I cyarn' wait. I'se got to look after 'Sandra."
The doctor glanced at him quickly. He thought that Gilbert was becoming delirious. "Your wife will be all right," he said gently, "wait here just a little while," and he went into the office with another patient.
Gilbert waited until the door had closed upon them and then slipped out into the street.
As he left the car at the end of the line his heart was assailed with wild fears for Cassandra. He forgot his faintness and his pain. He stumbled in his haste; once he fell at full length on the ground. Had he looked about him he might have seen a party of boys hurrying toward the shanties, but his eyes were fixed on the faded green umbrella beside a distant stone pile. He breathed easier as he drew near. All was as he had left it. It was strange though that 'Sandra did not show herself in answer to his call. And then he saw that she was not there. In her place was a big stone; five or six smaller stones lay around it.
The young physician to the poor stopped before the grocery store in Shantytown just after dark and inquired for news of Gilbert. Almost everyone had seen him. He had been reeling about the streets all the afternoon, they said, drunk, hatless, with the tears coursing down his cheeks and calling for Cassandra.
"He was not drunk," said the doctor, sternly. "Does any one know where he worked, out yonder?"
A boy climbed into the ambulance and they drove out toward old Gilbert's stone pile. It was a clear moonlight night and they found it quite easily. The old man was there. He was half lying on the stone pile, with his head resting on his arm. He looked as though he were asleep. Near him were his hammer and the dinner pail, and the umbrella over the group of oval stones in the nest of weeds.
The doctor shook his head sadly. "We are too late, I'm afraid," he said.
As he spoke an ugly black and yellow cat, carrying a drowned kitten in her mouth, climbed over the pile and gently tapped the old man's outstretched hand with her paw. But she could not rouse him.
THE POETRY OF CHARLES DICKENS.
ICKENS is a poet;" says Monsieur Taine, "he is as much at home in the imaginative world as in the actual." In this allusion the French critic does not refer to the lyrics, or squibs, or prologues which the author of The Pickwick Papers composed, but rather to the spirit of imagination which pervades his novels. Nor would it be claimed that the fancies of Dickens always express themselves in poetical language or that the novelist does not often relapse into what Mr. Stedman calls "the tricky flow of sentimental passages." Monsieur Taine quotes from the "First Quarter" of The Chimes, where the writer's imagination has as free swing as the blasts of wind which he describes, and where the steeple with its belfry, and "groaning weather-cock," and "airy arch and loophole" are as vividly and poetically brought to view, as if the reader himself should mount the "giddy stair" and be an eye-witness of the scene. In this picture of wind, and gloom, and desolation, the most poetical touch of all is a sketch of the "speckled spiders," which "indolent and fat with long security, swing idly to and fro in the vibration of the bells, and never lose their hold upon the threadspun castles in the air, or climb up sailor-like in quick alarm, or drop upon the ground, and ply a score of nimble legs to save a life." It takes a keen observer to notice small insects up in the top of a church steeple which is rocking in a gale, and threatening to fall at every sudden gust. In the midst of such. surroundings the remembrance of these little creatures, conjured up so easily and so naturally, is a quaint stroke and one full of poetry. After the more imaginative reader feels the blast of wind, or expects to see the tower topple over, he cannot but be amused to see a squad of spiders "ply a score of nimble legs to save a life."
The humor in "The Chimes" is but a suggestion of the humor which runs through Mr. Dickens' verses. The mirth and cheerfulness which color much of his writings, be
come so often in his poems the prominent characteristic, that one is apt to pass them by as mere doggerel. Yet the scraps and snatches which some of his best characters utter, are the more poetical and artistic, as they are indices of the men who recite them, and as they are peculiarly adapted to their surroundings. To appreciate such verses one must be in the proper mood, ready to call to mind some jolly old English tavern scene where Mr. Pickwick or Sam Weller is doing his best to have the evening pass merrily for himself, his host, and his admirers.
In referring to Dickens, Mr. Andrew Lang writes that "people discuss, with the gravest faces, matters which properly should only be stated as the wildest paradoxes." If therefore one might free himself from such an expression of gravity, and read Mrs. Leo Hunter's "Ode To An Expiring Frog" in a receptive frame of mind, it would appeal to him as something more than mere trash; if he could hear Mrs. Hunter herself recite it, "in character," he would probably laugh heartily. Even the author introduced the rhyme lightly and smilingly. Perhaps he did so to illustrate the character of the Hunter family, or possibly in half apology for interrupting the text with an apparently trivial ditty. The Ode in question is said to have aroused much commotion when it appeared in print, and so it was repeated to an appreciative listener:
"Can I view thee panting, lying
On thy stomach, without sighing;
"Beautiful," said Mr. Pickwick.
On a log,
"Fine," said Mr. Leo Hunter, "so simple."
'Very," said Mr. Pickwick.
The card party at Mr. Wardle's was certainly a very merry event in spite of the hour and twenty-seven minutes which it took the fat gentleman to restore his spirits, and the chagrin of the "timorous" Mr. Miller. Here in this company, when the conversation suddenly took a sentimental turn, the unsuspecting Mr. Snodgrass asked
to hear the clergyman's verses. He was rewarded with more than he had anticipated, and with more than either he or any of the company could appreciate, when the minister modestly read "The Ivy Green." Dickens never wrote verses as poetical as the stanzas which have become a classic in our literature:
"Oh, a dainty plant is the Ivy green,
That creepeth o'er ruins old.
Of right choice food are his meals, I ween,
In his cell so lone and cold.
The wall must be crumbled, the stone decayed,
To pleasure his dainty whim:
And the mouldering dust that years have made,
Creeping where no life is seen,
A rare old plant is the Ivy Green."
It is an original idea to represent the ivy as making a jovial feast out of "mouldering dust" and "stone decayed." But finer than this originality is the geniality and warmth with which the poet describes the "merry meal." The "dainty plant" and the "rare old plant" are touches of humor as well as of delicacy. The "right choice food" of this uncanny feast is as tempting to the ivy as a carefully prepared dinner to the palate of an epiBut in the poet's happy fancy, the vine thrives and fattens on this diet
"As he joyously hugs and crawleth around,
with ever "a staunch old heart," and none the less mirthful for its melancholy surroundings.
At the very close of the story of David Copperfield, the author rises far above the domain of prose in an expression of deep and reverent love for Agnes, a love which he expresses with peculiar earnestness as coming from his own heart and not from a lay figure. But the poetry of Dickens is something more than is expressed in any marked passages: its spirit is diffused. throughout his novels, invigorating the description