NOT long ago it chanced that I went by the old schoolhouse, where, a long time before my life had ripened into its teens, I used to go to school.

It was a dreamy autumn day. The pulse of the earth was throbbing quietly, as though she had fallen into a pleasant sleep. Gray, low clouds muffled the sky. The cool, delicious, dreamy quiet rested on everything. There stood the old brown schoolhouse, and the window was open, and there sat the teacher the very same teacher with a little girl standing by her side, saying her lesson just as I used to say it, in the days that will never, never come back!

And at that sight, how the old, childish days rode up the waves of the years and stood before me, Hushed as thick with memories as a little while ago the cherry-trees outside were white with blossoms. How often I have opened the high gate, and gone up the narrow path laid with boards, and walked over the low doorsill, and taken my seat on the small bench!  One could see the pleasant, kindly face of the teacher, faded with the years now and yet I have heard people tell of its wonderful beauty in her youth and in imagination I was a little girl again, reciting once more out of my well-thumbed geography.

There was the yellow-covered copy book, which was my special pride; there was the girl who sat on my right hand, and always had permission to leave half an hour before school closed, and was, on that account, an object of special envy to us; for I here make candid and humiliating confession that I was not particularly fond of going to school. Those six hours seemed almost interminable. I grew restless and weary of the confinement, and longed to get out into the sunshine, and under the trees, where the winds made their sweet, solemn music all the day; and for this very reason I have always had a secret intelligent sympathy with the little boys and girls who are not particularly eager about getting off to school. There was the sampler, worked in black, and red, and green, in great capitals and tiny letters, in cross stitch and square; and the wreath, begun and never finished, that I held a marvelous achievement of feminine needle-craft.

How the old scenes swarmed back, as the voice of the teacher, and the slender sound of the child's as she followed, repeating her lesson, floated out to us! And how, in the foreground, comes back that special afternoon when I endured a slow torture of thirst for three hours, because I hadn't the courage to ask for a glass of water.

Little children have their trials as well as grown people; and I can feel for wrecked sailors far off at sea, and wounded soldiers on burning battle-fields, when I remember those three long hours of terrible thirst; oh, that small parched throat! Oh, that haunting, agonizing vision of cool, fresh, gurgling waters, which were leaping in a thousand silvery springs among cool mountains and dark rocks, for the little birds to flash their bright wings and dainty bills in.

But at last the three hours had an end, and I hurried home. How I dashed toward the old kitchen water pail, and the tin dipper that hung there! No matter if it was old and rusty; it held for me then a draught of sweetest nectar.  Oh, no amber and purple wine, wrung from the hearts of clusters which had ripened in the fair vintage of foreign lands, and grown fragrant and mellow with the years, ever cooled lips and throat Just as that water did! How the cool tide flowed through my small lips and healed the thirst that parched my tongue.

But the yellow writing-book, and the marvelous sampler, and the old thumbed geography, are all gone; and so is the little girl whose small feet used to go pattering along the curbstones in the summer mornings to the old brown schoolhouse. That is standing still, and the teacher is there in her old place, and the sweet faces of little children gather about her as before; but that little girl of whom I write will never more be found among them, will never more go back and stand in those old days, she would not, on the whole, if she could; but they have shone down tenderly, as, sitting here, I have written for other children, children under the cool shadows of Eastern hills, children away off among the dark velvet of Western prairies, children still farther away by the golden shores of the Pacific, God bless them all! The memories as they have swarmed back to us of our old schooldays. 

Virginia F. Townsend.

DR. CULLIS tells, in one of his reports, of an aged Christian, who, lying on his deathbed in the Consumptives' Home, was asked the cause of his perfect peace, in a state of such extreme weakness that he was often entirely unconscious of all around him. He replied, "When I am able to think, I think of Jesus; and when I am unable to think of him, I know he is thinking of me."


WOULD'ST thou from sorrow find, some sweet relief?

And is thy heart oppressed with woes untold? 

Balm would'st thou gather for corroding grief? 

Pour blessings round thee like a shower of gold.

— Wilcox