« VorigeDoorgaan »
COALS OF FIR E. TT is a Scriptural expression ; you will | in every man's history which are guarded I find it in connection with what seems with jealousy from the prying curiosity a strange and unintelligible declaration in of friends, neighbors, and acquaintances. one of Paul's epistles. A little narrative | There are also, in the history of most will make the apostle's reasoning clear, men's lives, occurrences, not altogether and may possibly be of some practical secret and hidden, but the memory of benefit to you, reader, to-day. If you which inflicts many a sharp pang, and have no opportunity of testing it just at whose memorials are gladly consigned to present, treasure it up: it is more than oblivion. There is a false shame, too, probable, a thousand to one at least, that which sometimes causes us to blush more such a time will come.
deeply at the remembrance of some byIt has been said that there are secrets gone innocent but unfortunate contre
temps, than at the consciousness of more “ We'll have it printed by all means ; glaring faults and misdoings.
but, I say, this is a funny affair, this Abraham Reid was not without this courtship. I never heard of it before. Is weakness. He was susceptible of ridi- there any truth in it?" cule ; and perhaps there were few men " As true as can be, Harpur says; and who had, in the course of their lives, less he knew all about it at the time. But exposed themselves to the assaults of true or not, it does not matter ; for you this terrible bugbear than he. But there see, if it isn't true, why, then, 'tis another
one weak and assailable point in Abraham that's meant, that's all." his history, which he would gladly have Now this, or some such conversation, blotted out if he could. It was a painful passed between two active committeereminiscence of a matrimonial disappoint- men on the eve of an important election ment, which had tinged his life with a at which Reid was a candidate ; and the shade of sobriety, if not of melancholy; next day, among other electioneering pabut which, notwithstanding this, was at pers, and placards, and squibs of various tended by circumstances which he fancied kinds, which were plentifully fired off, and were supremely ridiculous.
scattered, and posted, was a witty broHappily for his peace of mind, these chure, entitled, “ Abraham's Courtship ; circumstances were but little known; and, or, Many a Slip 'tween the Cup and the exercising the wise discretion of author- Lip." craft, we do not intend to reveal them. What Abraham's courtship had to do But neither were they altogether un with the election, or that it could have known. One confidante, and only one, nothing to do with it, was a matter of apart from his faithful and sympathizing little consequence. The story, distorted sister, shared in the knowledge; and that and ridiculously caricatured, served the one was his once friend, whom he had purpose of raising a laugh against a rescued from ignominy and loaded with staunch opponent, and this was just what benefits-Charles Harpur.
was intended ; for, gross as was the libel,
there was no mistaking for whom it was Capital, capital! That will do fa- intended; and it was too nice a tit-bit of mously. But, I say, rather sharp upon scandal to be disregarded. poor Reid, too, isn't it ?"
Our friend Abraham, however, was for “O! all fair at election time, you know. a time happily unconscious of the shaft It will take, then, you think?".
which had been aimed at his reputation “Of course it will; we'll have it printed for wisdom and gravity, and was at a to-day. By the way, who wrote it ?" loss to interpret some distant allusions
“ Harpur. Really a clever fellow that." | which reached his ears, and merry smiles
“ Clever, and not over-scrupulous. which met his eyes. But at last a friend Now, if I were in Harpur's place, I would put into his hand the obnoxious paper. as soon have had my fingers cut off, as He knew at once the quiver whence that have written that on paper."
shaft had been taken, and the hand that “ Really, you don't say so! Why ?" had aimed it; and, with a bitter excla
“Why! why there is not another man mation, he folded the Hudibrastic satire, who has done so much for Harpur as Reid and, with a trembling hand, placed it in has. He was the making of him, that's all.” his pocket-book. “Ah! well, that was a
ong time ago,
“ He shall repent this, if he lives and I suppose. They have been no very great I live,” he said ; " the ingrate! the cronies lately, and there seems to be a traitor!” hitch somewhere. Harpur tells me that In course of time these words reached • Reid insulted him once in some money | Harpur's ears. Repent it, shall I ?” he transactions, and wanted to crow over him said; “I'll take care not to put myself about some old grievance or another, and in his power, as I was fool enough to do now he means to take it out of him.' So, I owe him nothing now." of course, if he likes to do it, 'tis nothing! Nothing ! nothing but love, nothing but to anybody else ; and this will tell. I gratitude, nothing but respect, nothing but shouldn't wonder at its driving Reid off the reverence, Charles Harpur! And did it field; for he won't like being made a not occur to the witty rhymester that the laughing-stock.”
object of his satire might have taken
speedy revenge in kind by directing one “I do call him enemy- a bitter, cold, gleam from the lamp of truth to a dark unfeeling, malicious, calculating, calumniniche in the history of the past? Was ating enemy." not Charles Harpur afraid of its being ** • Love your enemies,' then, dear brothknown the next day, through all Mudbo- er; these are not my words, you know; rough, how few steps there had once been do good to them that hate you ;' though, between him and black ruin? Did he not after all, I do not believe that Mr. Harpur consider how ill past delinquencies would can hate you." couple and comport with the credit of his “I verily believe he does, Clara; there present commercial position ?
are some men that seem to take in a fresh Well, it is not unlikely that he had stock of dislike for every benefit they reconsidered this, and was not at all afraid. ceive; and what can you do with such There is an old sentence written in an old people ?" book, dear reader, and written elsewhere *** Be not overcome with evil; but over-, too, if we are not mistaken : “ The right come evil with good;' and these, again, eous is more excellent than his neigh- are not my words." bor." There is a world of truth here, " It is very hard, sister ; I really believe reader; and you know it. Charles Har- I could have done almost anything for that per knew it, at all events; and while man once.” violating the sanctity of confidence and " You don't do yourself justice, Abrafriendship, he felt perfectly at ease in the ham ; you would do anything in reason and conviction that his secret was firmly prudence and justice to-morrow, if need Jocked in the bosom of his former friend. were, and you had the opportunity. And, “ He won't retort upon me; he won't be after all, dear brother, you take this too tray me; I know he won't. It would be much to heart. What harm can these silly, against his principles to do it.”
nonsensical verses do you? Isn't it a Verily, “the righteous is more excel- good thing they have nothing worse to lay lent than his neighbor ;” and his neighbor to your charge ?" knows it.
“ What harm! Why, they won't break
my bones, of course ; but you should have " I am afraid I shall never be able to been with me this evening, Clara, as I was forgive him.” It was the third time that coming home, and heard what I heard from evening—the evening after the election a pack of half-drunken wretches that stopwas over, as our readers may remember, ped up the road, and wouldn't let me pass that Abrabam Reid had uttered these till they had shouted that fellow's doggrel words : “ no, I think I never can." in my ears."
“ Yes, you will, Abraham,” said his “I wish I had been with you, brother, sister, with a kindly smile ; “it is unkind, if my being there would have relieved you treacherous, wicked; but for all that you of any part of the pain you felt. But will forgive him."
never mind, don't let us say any more “ But, Clara, you do not know how it about it now. The election is over; and wounds me. If it were anybody else, I in a week all will be forgotten—and forcould bear it. But to think, after all given." that has passed between us, that he-he “ Never, Clara, I am afraid ; never." -should sport with my feelings in this way, and turn my very sorrows into a It was but a few months after the elecjest, and expose my weaknesses; it is tion, that our two nameless committeetoo bad."
men met in the street, or the market-place, "" How oft shall my brother trespass or the field; it is not of much importance against me, and I forgive him ?'” Clara to know where. quoted these words again, and took Abra " What do you say to to-day's news ?" ham's hand, and looked mildly in his face, - News! what news ?" in her calm and peaceful way.
“ Heigh! haven't you heard that Harpur “ Brother!" exclaimed Mr. Reid, pas- has stopped payment ?" sionately: “my brother! a pretty brother “Really, you don't say so !" (the old erCharles Harpur has proved himself!" clamation ;) "stopped payment! Harpur!
“ Call him enemy, then, dear Abra- I should never have guessed that. I ham ; and what follows ?"
should have said he was firm as a bank."
“ Firm as a bank, perhaps-yes. Stop- former benefactor, injured friend, and now, ped payment, though, for all that. I hope as he had reason enough in himself to beyou are not in there."
lieve, his enemy. There was no help for No, luckily enough, I owe him some it. His other creditors had signed off. thing ; not much, however: but how has Abraham Reid was the only one who had it come about ?"
not. This was left to the last. “ Overtrading, I fancy. He would do Abraham raised his eyes as Harpur enbusiness, and struck out beyond his means: tered, but he did not speak; and silently that's one thing. But I fancy Dobson's the humbled bankrupt laid before him the bankruptcy gave Harpur the last shake. paper wanting his signature. There are bills floating about between them “Will you sign it ?" he asked in a low to a heavyish amount, and Harpur knew and troubled voice. he could not take them up; so he has not No answer. Mr. Reid was busily lookwaited for that upshot, but after trying to | ing into his pocket-book. He at length get accommodation at the banks, and not found what he was in search of, and handsucceeding, he made up his mind to stop ed it to Harpur : “ Abraham's Courtship; at once.
or, “Many a Slip 'tween the Cup and the “ As well so, perhaps, as anyhow: poor Lip.' fellow, I am sorry for him, too. A clever “Do you know the author of that, sir ?" fellow, and the right stripe. It will be a he asked. loss to our side, mind you."
“ You won't trample on a fallen foe," “O, I don't know; he was more talk said the bankrupt, beseechingly. “You than do. By the way, you remember that said I should repent writing that, and from squib of his, “Many a Slip 'tween the Cup my heart and soul I do. It was ungrateand the Lip.''
ful, treacherous, and wicked ; but
will “ To be sure I do. Ah! didn't it make not carry revenge beyond bounds. You poor Abraham wince a bit? This will be surely are revenged enough already." a nut for Reid to crack. I heard that he “I never threatened revenge, Charles, threatened to be revenged on Harpur and neither sought it nor wished for it, some day or other.”
I did think and fear that I never could for“ He may take his revenge now, then. give you; but that thought and fear have I fancy Harpur wishes his hand had been passed away. But your repentance is not chopped off before he had written that deep enough.” nonsense."
He dipped his pen in ink, and signed the “ If he had he wouldn't have written it paper. afterward, I suppose ; but why? I was “ Thanks, Mr. Reid ; thanks for that. told that Harpur bragged that he did not I scarcely dared expect it.” owe Reid anything, and would take care “I shall never, I hope, allow private not.”
resentment to influence public duty,” said Humph! people don't always know Abraham ; "you may have acted a little their creditors when they see them. Reid imprudently, but not dishonestly or disis one of the largest creditors, as it hap- honorably. So you owe me no especial pens.”
thanks. And now, Charles, what are you “Indeed! why, how can that be ?"
going to do ?” Easily enough ; and none of Harpur's The cloud of despondency returned. doings, either. The fact is, Dobson's ac He hoped he should be able to commence ceptances had got into Reid's hands in the business again in a small way, Harpur regular way of business, before the bank- said ; but his friends looked coldly upon ruptcy; and now, of course, Reid holds him. them against Harpur. 'Tis as plain as “And your wife and family, CharlesA, B, C.”
how are they now provided for ?” Poor Harpur! it will go
hard The poor bankrupt burst into tears. with him then, I am afraid. A wife and We will not retail the conversation that family too."
followed. Harpur shortly afterward left
the counting-house, agitated with conflictA few weeks later, with leaden foot- ing emotions. A change had passed over steps and downcast countenance, Charles his spirits and his prospects. Hope was Harpur entered the counting-house of his rising upon him, but his heart was burdened.
** Coals of fire !'” he muttered to himself; has access to the leaves of the spicewood, " . if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he which constitute its favorite and probably thirst, give him drink; for in so doing its exclusive nourishment, it feeds vorathou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head.' ciously, and grows rapidly. It moults • Coals of fire!' I never knew the meaning four or five times, and after each change of that till now."
exhibits a notable increase in size, and in the depth of its coloring. When it has at
tained the maturity of its development, it THE SPICEWOOD MOTH-ITS WORKS presents itself as a large and magnificent AND WAYS.
caterpillar, two inches in length, and one
third of an inch in thickness. It is a fine HE Spicewood Moth is not distin- green hue, except the head, which is brown,
guished, like its generic associate, the and six cornua or projections, four of which silk-moth, for the fabrication of a product are red, and the remaining two yellow. tributary to the convenience and luxury of The red cornua are placed upon the anteman. It is remarkable, however, for the rior portion of the body, and the yellow singular instinct which it displays in the ones upon one of the terminal segments. construction and disposition of its cocoon ; The larva spins it cocoon in the month while it exhibits all those latent features of September. Having ceased to eat, it of interest which are appreciable only by looks around, as if engaged in reconnoiterthe zealous student of nature. Peale, in ing. Selecting a perfect leaf, it covers its his Lepidoptera Americana, has given a upper surface with a fine light yellowish very interesting account of this insect, but brown silk. It then extends this silky the materials of the following brief essay coating along the footstalk of the leaf, and are chiefly drawn from my own observa- also for a considerable distance along the tions.
branch to which the leaf is attached. As The eggs of the spicewood moth, to be- if aware that the leaf is deciduous, and gin in my stereotyped fashion, are lenticu- destined soon to fall, it provides against lar in form, and concave upon each side. the event, by securing its cocoon to the They are of a dull white color, except the durable branch. What a beautiful display lateral dimples, which are filled with a dark of instinct! The larva next draws the matter, which, though originally soft, soon edges of the leaf together, and fastens them becomes concrete and hard. Their great with threads of silk. Having formed this est measurement is rather more than a outer covering, it then proceeds to form line. They are deposited in little clusters its cocoon within it. By means of the or groups, which vary in the number of spinning apparatus situated near its mouth eggs composing them. They adhere with it fabricates its fine silken fibrils, which it considerable tenacity to each other, and draws out and attaches at different points. the surface upon which they lie. These The threads which are first formed, conclusters present a somewhat regular and stituting the exterior portion of the cocoon, symmetrical aspect, the eggs being usually are loose and disconnected, but as the oparranged in rectilinear rows. The shell eration advances in the inward direction, of the egg is somewhat firm, but it may be they are made to cohere with great firmbroken with a moderate force, and if this At first, soft, placid, and easily debe done soon after the extension of the egg, tached, the several parts of the cocoon it gives exit to an opaque yellowish liquid. became, when dry, exceedingly tough and I have not ascertained with exactness the tenacious. The leaf upon the outside number of eggs laid by a single female. turns brown, and ultimately white, and It is probably not so large as that which usually falls partially or entirely to the has been stated for the silk-moth, some ground. The whole operation of spinning time ago. I examined the abdominal cav the cocoon occupies from twelve to twentyity of a female moth, which died just before four hours, and no one can witness it with. laying its eggs, and carefully counted all out interest. About two years ago I was that I found in its body. They numbered an amused spectator of the process, hav. one hundred and sixty-nine. The eggs ing obtained a caterpillar, just after com. are laid in the months of May and June. mencing to spin, which I placed in a glass
The larva, upon leaving the egg, is about jar, where its movements could be obone tenth of an inch in length. When it I served with perfect facility.