Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

IX. — A VOLUNTEER," BULL-FIGHT.

1. I Remember once seeing, when a lad at school, a fight between two bulls. Although I could not have been more than eight years of age at the time, I shall never forget the spectacle. It happened in this wise." Close by the school-house — a very unpretending edifice it was* — ran a deep and rapid river. Across it had been thrown a high wooden bridge, the hand-railing Df which time and the winds and the weather had entirely destroyed. The land on opposite sides of the stream was owned ba'-y different persons, and farmed by them respectively. One you. ;ght summer day, — I remember it as it were yesterday, — and- hour of noon had arrived, and a frolicsome, fun-seeking troop Praj ;chool-boys were let loose for an hour's recreation. Bule2. All at once, the bellowing and roaring of two bulls, that goooTl broken out of their enclosures on each side of the river, hav» tracted our attention. The animals were not yet in sight of Shr^ch other, but were approaching along the highway at a rate if speed which would cause them to meet near the centre of the brhigh bridge which I have described, and beneath which, at some le thirty feet, ran the river between steep banks. The more daring f of us gathered near the bridge, lining it, to see the anticipated fight. We were not disappointed. Nearer and nearer to each other approached the proud, pawing combatants.90 Ba'shan" never produced two brutes of fiercer aspect. They lashed their sides with their tails; they tore the ground with their feet. Occasionally they knelt down, trying to gore the earth with their horns. And as yet they were concealed, each from the other, by the ascent towards" the bridge at either end.

3. Presently, as they simultaneously ascended the respective abutments," they came full in sight of each other. The roar was mutual, and actually tremendous. Every urchin93 of us sprang into the fields and ran. Finding, however, that we were not pursued, we as hastily retraced our steps. There they were, the ferocious duellists, quite as sensibly employed as some of their human imitators! Front to front, their horns locked, every muscle strained, they were fighting as only bulls can fight. It seemed an even match. Now138 one would press back his opponent a few paces, and presently you would hear quick, sharp, short steps, and his adversary would be pressed back in return. The struggling was hard, was long, was savage. For a while neither obtained an advantage.

* Bear in mind that the dash is sometimes used by modern writers in plaoe of the marks of Parenthesis. See TTTT 140, 165, Part I.

4. Hitherto they had been pushing each other lengthwise of the bridge; suddenly they began to wheel,103 and, in a moment were facing each other breadthwise. Thus they were at right angles" with the length of the old bridge, which shook, and creaked, and rocked again, with their tramping and their terrible strife. It was the work of a single moment:—one of the beasts, — I never could tell which, — one of them, however, as if conscious of his position, made a violent, a desperate lunge forward, and pressed his antagonist back —back — back — till there was but another step of plank behind him, — between him and nothing! The moment was one of intense interest to us juvenile spectators. Never was the amphitheatre" of Rome the scene of a more exciting combat. Another step backward, — yes, the unfortunate bull has been forced to take it! Back he is pressed, and over he goes.

5. Such a sight I never saw, — I probably shall never see again. Imagine a bull pitched backward from a bridge; and falling, at least thirty feet, over and over! He turned once or twice, probably, — I thought he turned over fifty times, there seemed such a confusion of horns and feet, revolving, flying through the air! But down he went; the water was deep, and he disappeared, leaving a whirlpool103 of foam behind him, and making the river undulate far and wide with the concussion97 of his ponderous bulk.

6. The other bull did not laugh — merely because bulls, as I supposed, could not. But we laughed and shouted our applause. There stood the victor,94 looking directly down into the abyss beiow, into which he had hurled his unlucky foe. He stood however, but a moment; and then, as if frightened at the prospect, - began to snort and step backward. Back, back he retreated, with hTs 'head in the same pugnacious attitude as when in combat, — back — still another step back — and over he too went on the opposite side of the bridge, performing just as many and as ludicrous somersets as his adversary had done a minute before.

7. It was a scene to remember; and the performance ca.led forth immense applause from the group of juvenile amateurs'" who witnessed it. In about five minutes both bulls might be seen, well sobered by their ducking, dripping wet, scratching up the steep, gravelly banks, each on his own side of the river. "Those bulls will never fight any more," .said a boy behind me. His prediction turned out correct; for two more peaceably disposed bulls than they were, ever afterwards, could not have been found.

X.—THE DAFFODILS.

1 I Wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host of golden daffodils;"
Beside the lake, beside the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

2. Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the milky" way,
They stretched in never-ending line

Along the margin of a bay;
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

3. The waves beside them danced, but they

Outdid the sparkling waves in glee ; —
A poet could not but be gay,

In such a jocund company:
I gazed — and gazed — but little thought
What wealth that show to me had brought.

4 For oft, when on my couch I lie,
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye

And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

XI. — RESIGNATION TO GOD'S WILL.

1. He sendeth sun, he sendeth shower,-
Alike they 're needful to the flower;
And joys and tears alike are sent

To give the soul fit nourishment.
As comes to me or cloud or sun,
Father! thy will, not mine, be done,

2. Can loving children e'er reprove

With murmurs whom they trust and love?

Creator, I would ever be

A trusting, loving child to thee;

As comes to me or cloud or sun,

Father! thy will, not mine, be done.

8. O, ne'er will I at life repine;

Enough that thou hast made it mino.

[graphic]

WORDSWORTH

"Where fells the shadow cold of death,
I yet will sing, with parting breath,
As comes to me or shade or sun,
Father! thy will, not mine, be done.

SARAH FLOWER ADAMS.

XII. — THE FOLLY OF CASTLE-BUILDING."

1. Alnas'char, says the fable, was a very idle fellow,94 who never would set his hand to any business during his father's life His father, dying, left to him the value of an hundred drachmas47 in Persian money. Alnaschar, in order to make the best of it, laid it out in glasses, bottles, and the finest earthenware. These he piled up in a large open basket, and having made choice of a very little shop, placed the basket at his feet, and leaned his back upon the wall, in expectation of customers. As he sat in this posture, with his eyes upon the basket, he fell into a most amusing train of thought, and was overheard by one of his neighbors, as he talked to himself. "This basket," says he, "cost me at the wholesale merchant's an hundred drachmas, which is all I have in the world.

2. "I shall quickly make two hundred of it, by selling it in retail. These two hundred drachmas will in a little while rise to four hundred, which of course will amount in time to four thousand. Four thousand drachmas cannot fail of making eight thousand. As soon as by this means I am master of ten thousand, I will lay aside my trade of a glass-man, and turn jeweller. I shall then deal in diamonds, pearls, and all sorts of rich stones. When I have got together as much wealth as I can well desire, I will make a purchase of the finest house I can find. I shall then begin to enjoy myself and make a noise in the world. I will not, however, stop there, but still continue my trafiic, till I have got together an hundred thousand drachmas.

3. "When I have thus made myself master of an hundred thousand drachmas, I shall naturally set myself on the footing of a prince, and will demand the Grand Vizier's" daughter in marriage, after having represented to that minister the information which I have received of the beauty, wit, discretion and other high qualities, which his daughter possesses. I will let him know, at the same time, that it is my intention to make him a present of a thousand pieces of gold on our marriage night. As soon as I have married the Grand Vizier's daughter, I will make my fatherin-law a visit with a grand train and equipage; and when I am placed at his right hand, — where I shall be, of course, if it be only to honor his daughter, — I will give him the thousand pieces of gold which I promised him, and afterwards, to his great surprise, will present him another purse of the same value, with some short speech, as, 'Sir, you see I am a man of my word; 1 always give more than I promise.'

4. "When I have brought the princess to my house, I shall take particular care to breed her in a due respect for me. To this end, I shall confine her to her own apartment, make her a short visit, and talk but little to her. Her women37 will represent to me that she is inconsolable by reason of my unkindness and beg me with tears to caress her, and let her sit down by me; but I shall still remain inexorable, and will turn my back upon her. Her mother will then come and bring her daughter to me, as I am seated upon my sofa. The daughter, with tears in her eyes, will fling herself at my feet, and beg of me to receive her into my favor. Then will I, to imprint in her a thorough veneration for my person, draw up my legs and spurn her from me with my foot, in such a manner that she shall fall down several paces from the sofa."

5. Alnaschar was entirely swallowed up in this chimerical4' vision, and could not forbear acting with his foot what he had in his thoughts. So that, unluckily striking his basket of brittle ware, which was the foundation of all his grandeur, he kicked his glasses to a great distance from him into the street, and broke them into ten thousand pieces. Addison.

XIII.—SELECT APOLOGUES."
1. — Class" Opinions.

A Lamb strayed for the first time into the woods, and excited much discussion97 among other animals. In a mixed company138 one day, when he became the subject of a friendly gossip, the goat praised him. "Pooh !" said the lion, "this is too absurd. The beast is a pretty beast enough, but did you hear him roar? 1 heard him roar, and, by the manes of my fathers, when he roars he does nothing but cry ba-a-a!" And the lion bleated his best in mockery, but bleated far from well.

"Nay," said the deer. "I do not think so badly of his voice. I liked him well enough until I saw him leap. He kicks with his hind legs in running, and, with all his skipping, gets over very little ground."—"It is a bad beast altogether," said the tiger. "He cannot roar, he cannot run, he can do nothing — and what wonder? I killed a man yesterday, and, in politeness

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »