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- The Fiend's Delight - 4/22 -


of his neck and made his teeth snap, lurched heavily to the other side, oscillated critically for a few moments, and muttered: "Brdgtpnd--." It was too much for him; he went down into his pocket, fumbled feebly round, and finally drawing out a paper of purely hypothetical tobacco, conveyed it to his mouth and bit off about two-thirds of it, which he masticated with much apparent benefit to his understanding, offering what was left to me. He then resumed the conversation with the easy familiarity of one who has established a claim to respectful attention:

"Pardner, couldn't ye interdooce a fel'r's wants tknow'er?" "Impossible; I have not the honour of her acquaintance." A look of distrust crept into his face, and finally settled into a savage scowl about his eyes. "Sed ye knew 'er!" he faltered, menacingly. "So I do, but I am not upon speaking terms with her, and-in fact she declines to recognise me." The soul of the honest miner flamed out; he laid his hand threateningly upon his pistol, jerked himself stiff, glared a moment at me with the look of a tiger, and hurled this question at my head as if it had been an iron interrogation point: "W'at a' yer ben adoin' to that gurl?"

I fled, and the last I saw of the chivalrous gold-hunter, he had his arm about Pandora's stony waist and was endeavouring to soothe her supposed agitation by stroking her granite head. The Head of the Family.

Our story begins with the death of our hero. The manner of it was decapitation, the instrument a mowing machine. A young son of the deceased, dumb with horror, seized the paternal head and ran with it to the house.

"There!" ejaculated the young man, bowling the gory pate across the threshold at his mother's feet, "look at that, will you?"

The old lady adjusted her spectacles, lifted the dripping head into her lap, wiped the face of it with her apron, and gazed into its fishy eyes with tender curiosity. "John," said she, thoughtfully, "is this yours?"

"No, ma, it ain't none o' mine."

"John," continued she, with a cold, unimpassioned earnestness, "where did you get this thing?"

"Why, ma," returned the hopeful, "that's Pap's."

"John"--and there was just a touch of severity in her voice--"when your mother asks you a question you should answer that particular question. Where did you get this?"

"Out in the medder, then, if you're so derned pertikeller," retorted the youngster, somewhat piqued; "the mowin' machine lopped it off."

The old lady rose and restored the head into the hands of the young man. Then, straightening with some difficulty her aged back, and assuming a matronly dignity of bearing and feature, she emitted the rebuke following:

"My son, the gentleman whom you hold in your hand-any more pointed allusion to whom would be painful to both of us-has punished you a hundred times for meddling with things lying about the farm. Take that head back and put it down where you found it, or you will make your mother very angry." Deathbed Repentance.

An old man of seventy-five years lay dying. For a lifetime he had turned a deaf ear to religion, and steeped his soul in every current crime. He had robbed the orphan and plundered the widow; he had wrested from the hard hands of honest toil the rewards of labour; had lost at the gaming-table the wealth with which he should have endowed churches and Sunday schools; had wasted in riotous living the substance of his patrimony, and left his wife and children without bread. The intoxicating bowl had been his god-his belly had absorbed his entire attention. In carnal pleasures passed his days and nights, and to the maddening desires of his heart he had ministered without shame and without remorse. He was a bad, bad egg! And now this hardened iniquitor was to meet his Maker! Feebly and hesitatingly his breath fluttered upon his pallid lips. Weakly trembled the pulse in his flattened veins! Wife, children, mother-in-law, friends, who should have hovered lovingly about his couch, cheering his last moments and giving him medicine, he had killed with grief, or driven widely away; and he was now dying alone by the inadequate light of a tallow candle, deserted by heaven and by earth. No, not by heaven. Suddenly the door was pushed softly open, and there entered the good minister, whose pious counsel the suffering wretch had in health so often derided. Solemnly the man of God advanced, Bible in hand. Long and silently he stood uncovered in the presence of death. Then with cold and impressive dignity he remarked, "Miserable old sinner!"

Old Jonas Lashworthy looked up. He sat up. The voice of that holy man put strength into his aged limbs, and he stood up. He was reserved for a better fate than to die like a neglected dog: Mr. Lashworthy was hanged for braining a minister of the Gospel with a boot-jack. This touching tale has a moral.

MORAL OF THIS TOUCHING TALE.--In snatching a brand from the eternal burning, make sure of its condition, and be careful how you lay hold of it. The New Church that was not Built.

I have a friend who was never a church member, but was, and is, a millionaire-a generous benevolent millionaire-who once went about doing good by stealth, but with a natural preference for doing it at his office. One day he took it into his thoughtful noddle that he would like to assist in the erection of a new church edifice, to replace the inadequate and shabby structure in which a certain small congregation in his town then worshipped. So he drew up a subscription paper, modestly headed the list with "Christian, 2000 dollars," and started one of the Deacons about with it. In a few days the Deacon came back to him, like the dove to the ark, saying he had succeeded in procuring a few names, but the press of his private business was such that he had felt compelled to intrust the paper to Deacon Smith.

Next day the document was presented to my friend, as nearly blank as when it left his hands. Brother Smith explained that he (Smith) had started this thing, and a brother calling himself "Christian," whose name he was not at liberty to disclose, had put down 2000 dollars. Would our friend aid them with an equal amount? Our friend took the paper and wrote "Philanthropist, 1000 dollars," and Brother Smith went away.

In about a week Brother Jones put in an appearance with the subscription paper. By extraordinary exertions Brother Jones-thinking a handsome new church would be an ornament to the town and increase the value of real estate-had got two brethren, who desired to remain incog., to subscribe: "Christian" 2000 dollars, and "Philanthropist" 1000 dollars. Would my friend kindly help along a struggling congregation? My friend would. He wrote "Citizen, 500 dollars," pledging Brother Jones, as he had pledged the others, not to reveal his name until it was time to pay.

Some weeks afterward, a clergyman stepped into my friend's counting-room, and after smilingly introducing himself, produced that identical subscription list.

"Mr. K.," said he, "I hope you will pardon the liberty, but I have set on foot a little scheme to erect a new church for our congregation, and three of the brethren have subscribed handsomely. Would you mind doing something to help along the good work?"

My friend glanced over his spectacles at the proffered paper. He rose in his wrath! He towered! Seizing a loaded pen he dashed at that fair sheet and scrabbled thereon in raging characters, "Impenitent Sinner--Not one cent, by G--!"

After a brief explanatory conference, the minister thoughtfully went his way. That struggling congregation still worships devoutly in its original, unpretending temple. A Tale of the Great Quake.

One glorious morning, after the great earthquake of October 21, 1868, had with some difficulty shaken me into my trousers and boots, I left the house. I may as well state that I left it immediately, and by an aperture constructed for another purpose. Arrived in the street, I at once betook myself to saving people. This I did by remarking closely the occurrence of other shocks, giving the alarm and setting an example fit to be followed. The example was followed, but owing to the vigour with which it was set was seldom overtaken. In passing down Clay-street I observed an old rickety brick boarding-house, which seemed to be just on the point of honouring the demands of the earthquake upon its resources. The last shock had subsided, but the building was slowly and composedly settling into the ground. As the third story came down to my level, I observed in one of the front rooms a young and lovely female in white, standing at a door trying to get out. She couldn't, for the door was locked-I saw her through the key-hole. With a single blow of my heel I opened that door, and opened my arms at the same time.

"Thank God," cried I, "I have arrived in time. Come to these arms."

The lady in white stopped, drew out an eye-glass, placed it carefully upon her nose, and taking an inventory of me from head to foot, replied:

"No thank you; I prefer to come to grief in the regular way."

While the pleasing tones of her voice were still ringing in my ears I noticed a puff of smoke rising from near my left toe. It came from the chimney of that house. Johnny.

Johnny is a little four-year-old, of bright, pleasant manners, and remarkable for intelligence. The other evening his mother took him upon her lap, and after stroking his curly head awhile, asked him if he knew who made him. I grieve to state that instead of answering "Dod," as might have been expected, Johnny commenced cramming his face full of ginger-bread, and finally took a fit of coughing that threatened the dissolution of his frame. Having unloaded his throat and whacked him on the back, his mother propounded the following supplementary conundrum:

"Johnny, are you not aware that at your age every little boy is expected to say something brilliant in reply to my former question? How can you so dishonour your parents as to neglect this golden opportunity? Think again."

The little urchin cast his eyes upon the floor and meditated a long time. Suddenly he raised his face and began to move his lips. There is no knowing what he might have said, but at that moment his mother noted the pressing necessity of wringing and mopping his nose, which she performed with such painful and conscientious singleness of purpose that Johnny set up a war-whoop like that of a


The Fiend's Delight - 4/22

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