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they were far away; and, busy with my own thoughts, for hours I would pay no attention to them whatever. At length, after some periods of abstraction, I observed with some apprehension that the conflagration was drawing nearer, and had actually worked around in my rear, until it had crossed the path by which I had travelled ; that all behind me was fast becoming a smoking sea of fire, and for the first time the thought of danger, that I might be overtaken or possibly surrounded, occurred to me.
My horse was a powerful one, but not very fleet, nor yet fresh ; but without the loss of a moment I applied the whip, and quitting my direct route, bore to the left, because that placed me more squarely before my enemy.
Soon the tongue of fire, the advance guard of my terrible foe, became distinctly visible on my right, at about two miles distance, as near as I could judge, stretching on with a speed that was really frightful. I knew the struggle was to be with that, and pushing my horse to the utmost, kept my eye fixed upon it, like the wily racer, intent on measuring the power of his antagonist before the final effort. For a few minutes the result was in doubt, but not long. Sinews of flesh were no match for the wing of the wind which bore on that fleet and terrific column of fire, and I became satisfied that it was outstripping me and almost with a feeling of indifference ; for I thought for a moment that my last hope was gone, and was bracing my heart and nerves for the final event of life.
It was now twilight, and as the day departed, and the shadows of night fell around, the cordon of fire seemed to magnify its splendours and its terrors, and like a vast serpent, to extend itself behind and on both sides, and to be closing up its folds to encircle me.
I was no stranger on that part of the prairie ; its general localities, though one portion is very much like another, were familiar to me; and in recalling them to mind, I recollected a little rugged mound or hill, some twenty or thirty feet in height, and was satisfied that I was no great distance from it. With my hopes revived a little, I taxed my sight to the utmost on every swell of ground that I
passed, and at length detected the faint outline of the eminence in advance. But the fire was making for it too, and the subtle leaping tongue on my right, now quite ahead of me, already seemed almost between us, and prepared with a single leap to cross my path and secure its victim. Still, with my almost exhausted horse, I pressed on, with an energy and despair so mighty as almost of themselves to wreck the powers of life. I have not recovered from the effects of that mental struggle to this day-but, as you have already no doubt concluded, the mound saved me. In the race for life, I was obliged, as it were, to place myself side by side, with that giant and awful sword of flame, and for the last half mile, the contest was doubtful, hopeless, dreadful. But God nerved my horse with an unnatural strength, as it seemed to me, and guarded his footsteps so that every effort told; and at last I dashed upon the bare side of the mound, where there was no fit substance for the devouring element to follow, and was safe.
The flames swept by with a dull heavy roar, and a hot, sweltering suffocating breath, burning with an intensity and grandeur which realized to the imagination my ideas of the final catastrophe of nature, encircled and passed the little eminence on which I stood, and stretched off in two long lines as far as the eye could reach. I fell upon my knees; and since that terrible night, I trust I have
more thoughtful and thankful man.- Godey's Lady's Bouk.
BUILDING ON THE SAND. (From a Letter from a Missionary in India to a
Young Sister.) CAN you tell me the meaning of the last verse of Christ's Sermon on the Mount? What does building on the sand mean? Read it over again, and I will tell you.
In this country the rivers are mostly small streams, with beds nearly dry for eight months of the year, and
then for four months during the rainy season they are very formidable streams,—rapid, deep, and broad. This river running by Seroor, the Ghord river, is just such an
Now it is shallow, but if a shower should come up very heavy, and a great deal of rain fall, it will sometimes rise ten or twelve feet in a few hours, and then it cannot be crossed save by a boat. Here is the sand—the dry bed of an eastern river. Now the houses here are generally built of clay and unburnt brick. They are small, have no “up stairs,” and are apt to be washed down by the force of rain. What a fool, then, a man would be to go and build such a house on the sand in the bed of the river! It would be washed away in a moment, should rains descend and floods come. Now the “floods come” here whenever the rain falls, in a different way from what they do at home. The river rises very suddenly and sweeps away
all that is in its course. Two years ago I went to Ahmednugger for two days, and returned at evening. I had not supposed there would be much water in the river. But a sudden shower had come up at four o'clock, P. M., not where I was, but at this place; and when I came to the river's bank at nine o'clock, it was swollen very much, and the boat (ferry) was just going back for the last time.
During the dry season, people raise a great many cucumbers, melons, &c., on the sand in the bed of the river ; and they build their little sheds from which to watch the fields, to see that the birds do not eat the fruit, and that it is not stolen. These little huts often stand after all the fruit is gathered, and the field abandoned,—till the “ floods come," and sweep them away. This is the “ lodge in the garden of cucumbers.” Isa. i. 8. Two or three years since, a sudden heavy shower came up very unusually in the midst of the dry season, while the fruit was all growing on the river sand. The floods came, and the poor man's fruit, his watch-house, and all, were swept away.
When the water again subsided, no trace of gardens could be seen.
Would not that man be very foolish, who should and build a house on such sands? On what foundation are you building your hope for eternity?
THE OLD COTTAGE CLOCK. Oh! the old, old clock, of the household stock, Was the brightest thing and neatest; Its hands, though old, had a touch of gold, And its chime rang still the sweetest. 'Twas a monitor, too, though its words were few, Yet they lived—though nations alter'd. And its voice, still strong, warned old and young, When the voice of friendship falter'd. Tick, tick, it said, quick, quick to bed, For ten I've given warning ; Up, up and go, or else you know, You'll never rise soon in the morning. A friendly voice was that old, old clock, As it stood in the corner smiling ; And blessed the time with a merry chime, The wintry hours beguiling. But a cross old voice was that tiresome clock, As it called at day-break boldly, When the dawn looked grey o'er the misty way, And the early air blew coldly. Tick, tick it said, quick out of bed, For five I've given warning, You'll never have health, you'll never have wealth, Unless you're up soon in the morning. Still hourly the second goes round and round, With a tone that ceases, never, While tears are shed, for bright days fled, And the old friends lost for ever; Its heart beats on, though hearts are gone That warmer beat and stronger, Its hands still move, though hands we love Are clasped on earth no longer ; Tick, tick it said, to the churchyard bed, Tbe
grave hath given warning, Then up, and rise, and look to the skies, And prepare for a heavenly morning.
THE SOURCES OF THE RIVER THAMES. ENGLAND contains a large number of rivers; but only a few of them are of great extent. The most important of them are the Dee, Humber, Medway, Mersey, Thames, Tees, Trent, Tyne, and Severn. Perhaps there is no other river in the world which has acquired more importance or renown than the river Thames. It passes through the metropolis of the British empire; and London is, from the number of its inhabitants, the wealth of its nobles, gentry, and merchants, from the extent of its commerce, and, as the seat of the British government, by far the most important place in the world. There are many other great and very important towns and cities in Great Britain; but London, in the number of its inhabitants, and in its wealth, is, we believe, more than equal to the whole of Liverpool, Manchester, Dublin, Glasgow, and Edinburgh.
Although the river Thames is, at London, a noble river, and widens greatly in its course towards the sea, so as to become several miles in width, at its commencement it is a very small stream formed by some springs which bubble up and overflow. This small stream, in its progress, receives several other rivulets, and thus the Thames, which, at its commencement, appears of little importance, expands into a