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with all the feminine. fondness for the delicate web. Drawing a piece of the foamy fabric about her white neck, she turned to a little mirror behind the narrow counter, and stood dreamily contemplating its effect. She was startled by a quick tread and a rough but manly and pleasant voice:

"Pardon me, miss, but can you tell me if these streets bear the same names they did twenty years ago?"

"I'm sure I don't know, sir," she replied, with a little pout and blush, as she busily folded up the lace with a half-glance at the amused face of the questioner. "Aunt Mary can tell you all about it, though; and if you'll wait a moment, I'll call her."

She flitted away through a door at the rear of the shop, but returned almost immediately, followed by a much older lady, clothed in sober black, with a grave but pleasant face, on which were drawn the unmistakable lines of sorrow and tears, but whose expression plainly showed that these had not narrowed the heart nor embittered the spirit.

The young man repeated his question.

"Yes, sir; the names are the same, but their features have changed in that time. But surely, you are too young to have known them so long ago?"

Aunt Mary slowly drew nearer to the young stranger, her eyes fixed almost wistfully on the fresh, ruddy face, while the color which yet lingered in her rounded cheek came and went fitfully, and an unwonted light moistened and trembled in the habitually pensive eye. "Yes," he replied, "I knew them, but my recollection of them is very dim and faint. I am asking for my father, who was very familiar with them then, and is now looking about just outside there to see if he can identify some property he once owned in this vicinity."

"Please ask him to step inside. Perhaps I can give him some information. I have been familiar with this part of the city for many years."

as she watched the young man's elastic, swinging tread, as he passed out to the street. "How like his walk!" came through her lips, more like the ghost of a forgotten whisper than articulate sounds. A book, which she had been reading, and was still holding, was laid noiselessly down, and, with hands clasped closely against her bosom, she stood fixedly watching the door.

Presently father and son entered together. Californian suns and Coloradan winds had browned the once thin and colorless cheek; the dark locks had changed to iron-gray, and the wild, free life of the remote West, the healthful toil and exposure of the mine and the camp, the cheery companionship of forest and river and mountain, while keeping the spirit fresh and free from moody repining, had, even at that period of life, broadened and strengthened the frame. But all these changes could not conceal the individuality, and Robert Barnes was as unmistakable in this hale and deliberate mountaineer, as in the hurrying denizen of the city of nineteen years before.

"This is my father, ma'am-Robert Barnes."

"Yes, madam; Harry tells me you are quite "

He stopped abruptly, and gazed at• the woman before him, who, with streaming eyes and parted lips, leaned eagerly towards him, and murmured, in tones choked and low,

"Answered! O infinite Father! answered ! Robert-husband-at last— Oh, at last!" and, tottering forward, she seized his unresisting hand, and, clasping it closely in both her own, looked eagerly into the bronzed face, where surprise and joy and love, and the smouldering fires of half-forgotten anger and distrust, seemed struggling for supremacy.

He would have signed to the young people to leave them alone; but she led him still unresisting into her little sitting-room at the rear of the shop, then, softly closing the door, she released his hand, and, still looking into his face,

A paleness crept over the kindly face said,

"Not one kiss for your wife, Robert, after so long-so long!" and the low voice choked, and the clasped fingers grew white under each others' pressure. "How is it possible, Mary-?" She laid her finger on his lips.

"Hush!" she said. "I can guess all you would say." Hastily throwing open a writing-desk, she took from it an old, yellow, folded paper, and giving it to him, continued, "Read that, before you judge me."

The writing was irregular and scrawling, as if done by one in great haste or with shattered nerves. Mr. Barnes read the few lines three or four times through, before he seemed to take in their full significance. They ran:

NEW YORK, August 7th, 1848. MY DEAR WIFE: Come to me at once. Harry is very ill, and, worn out with care and watching, my own health is giving way. I send this by private hand, to Mr. Jeremy, who will arrange for your departure, and possibly may accompany you part of the way.


There was a brief silence. Then he laid the faded letter softly down, and whispering, with bated breath, "I see it all-I see it all," held towards her his trembling hands. A smile like the memory of childhood's sunny mornings flushed through her lingering tears, and the weary burden of twenty years seemed to be lifted from her life like the mists of the night, as the strong arms closed around her again, and she heard the familiar voice, speaking rather to his own heart than to her,

So trusted, you remember, Robert, that you laughed at me, as both vain and foolish, when I had told you, some months before, that he seemed to be seeking opportunity and encouragement for culpable advances, and in very shame I tried to persuade myself that you must be right. And then, the thought that you and Harry might be dying, among strangers, a thousand miles away from me, wrung my heart; and, following my first impulse, I started to go to you on the same day he gave me the letter. It was the second day out before he threw off the mask. At first I affected not to understand him, and tried to laugh; but that only encouraged him. Then I repulsed him, and threatened to appeal to the captain of the steamer for protection. But he taunted me with my helpless and equivocal position; and finally, in his anger and chagrin, he threw off all disguise, and told me that the letter he gave me was written by himself, and that he had spared no pains to commit me irrevocably to his fortunes; and, with devilish malignity, he even showed me a copy, a true one as I found afterwards, of an article which he had sent to the press, and which he assured me had then been circulated throughout the city. I was crushed, but not conquered. I did appeal to the captain, who placed me on the first westward-bound steamer we met, and, within five days after I started away, I was at home again. But it was home no longer. I saw Mr. Gage, and

"How can I ever atone for these he told me of all you had done, but twenty years of wrong?

Oblivious of the young people waiting and wondering in the next room-oblivious of all the world but themselves, they looked in each other's eyes, and talked fitfully for more than an hour; but the reply to his first question disclosed all we care to know.

"Who gave you that letter?"

"Mr. Jeremy. I did not know what to do. It seemed so unlike you to send to him, and not to me direct, that I felt inclined to doubt. But you were not quite well when you left home, and Mr. Jeremy was your most trusted friend. VOL. II.-27

was slow to believe what I had to tell. We have tried repeatedly to learn your whereabouts; but beyond the cold courtesy of the bank-officers at St. Louis we could never penetrate. You guarded your secret well.

"With the little money you left with me, added to what Mr. Gage generously advanced me, I opened this little shop. God prospered me abundantly; and here I have remained ever since. In my inmost heart I knew you would come back again some time; and I have never closed my eyes in sleep without praying God to spare me to see that day. And


now that day has come. Oh, husband -dear husband! the past is buried out of sight, and we are young again!"

"Is Mr. Gage still living?"

"No; he died two years ago; but his sons have succeeded to his business. Several years ago the lots where we lived were covered by huge business houses, built by Mr. Gage. The rents paid for them long ago, and, since then, neither father nor sons would take a dollar of their proceeds, but have regularly deposited them in a savings bank, to the credit of "little Harry," as they always would call him. Of course, I would not touch them without your consent. Twelve years ago my cousin Helen died, and left me her five-year-old girl. You saw her in the front room."

"Where is Jeremy?"

"Dead ten years ago. Mrs. Gage has a letter written by him, a few days before his death, to her husband. I have never seen it, but they have told me

that these facts are there stated, amid much penitent protestation, substantially as I have just told them to you. God forgive me, but it was bewildering work, sometimes, to think of him with any thing but malediction."

There was a long pause, broken only by the scarce audible sobs that marked the ebb of the storm of emotion which had so lately swept through that quiet house. One by one the street-lamps threw their struggling beams into the settling darkness, and the roar of the day subsided gradually into the city's multitudinous "voices of the night.” Then she rose softly, and said,

"Let us call in the children; and when we have satisfied their wonder, you shall tell me all your history through these many years."

-In all Chicago's quarter of a million souls this day, there are none more serenely and devoutly content than these "tried and true."


Oh sea, old sea, who yet knows half
Of thy wonders or thy pride?

WHEN you visit the famous old town of La Rochelle, with its Huguenot memories and its countless historic associations from the days of the great Louis to the closing scene in the Napoleonic drama, you are most likely invited to take a peep at the seafarms, which are the pride and the honor of that harbor. You push out with rapid stroke or spread a picturesque but useful little sail into "the sea, the open sea," you just begin to feel the swell of the billows, and then you enter a rough enclosure formed of huge blocks of stone, and are bid to gaze into the depths, lighted up by a warm southern sun, and to look at the living things innumerable which there find a home in the mighty waters. There, near the island of Rhé, you will be introduced to the new seafarms of our day, where not many years ago a row of enormous

and unproductive mudbanks stretched out more than four leagues long, and where now, by a miracle of enterprise and energy, some six thousand fishermen may be seen, as busy in their parks and claires as market-gardeners in their strawberry-beds. You ask what gives this multitude of men their lucrative occupation, and adds millions every year to the revenue of the region around, and you learn with astonishment that it is a scheme, first introduced by a stone-mason with the curious name of Beef, to raise oysters!

If you have read your classics well, you may remember, at the mention of the dainty shell-fish, that there was in Rome a man famous for the same bold undertaking, who also bore a name of quaintest meaning. This was Sergius Aurata, so called because of the number of gold rings he loved to wear, as some

said, or, according to others, because he was passionately fond of gold-fish. He seems to have liked shellfish even better, however, for he was the first to transport oysters from their birthplace on the coast to the Lucrine Lake, where they were cleaned by the purer waters and fattened for the table, retaining their own native juices, as Pliny tells us, and acquiring the flavor of their new home. He must have been a pleasant man to deal with, thanks probably to his intimacy with the delicate dish, for Cicero sings not only the praises of his enormous wealth, but calls him also a most pleasant and "delicious" person. To these attractive qualities he seems to have added great cleverness, for he was at all times able to supply the tables of Roman epicures with their favorite natives from his own park; and so great was his renown for ingenuity, that when he was sued in the courts and threatened to have an injunction put upon his trade, his advocate said defiantly, that if his client was prevented from rearing oysters in the lake, he would grow them upon the roof of his house.

They will, in all probability, present you with an oyster, and ask you to taste its flavor. Like all of us, you look upon it simply as a delicacy, good to eat; you open the creature's rough and unsightly shell, and swallow the delicate morsel to satisfy your craving appetite and to please your palate. But even the most refined and cultivated of oyster-eaters takes little note of the curious intricacies of its organization, and knows nothing, nor cares to know, of its wisely contrived network of nerves and tiny blood-vessels. In fact, men generally clip its beard, that wondrous membrane of strange and curious mechanism, by which the creature breathes, as thoughtlessly as they shave their own, and gulp down the luscious substance, unmindful that they are devouring a body endowed with organs which all the science and genius of man has hardly yet been able to know and to admire, and which no power but that of the Most High could ever devise and send forth into life.


They bolt the living carcass, and decline being bothered and bored in the act of cannibalism by the ill-timed and impertinent interruptions of sciAnd yet they are not the worst; for if Lucian already ridiculed the philosophers who spent their lives inquiring into the souls of oysters, such wiseacres were respectable, and the man who eats the oyster with gratitude is at least excusable, when compared with those who care neither for the oyster's soul nor its body, but concentrate all their faculties on the shell. The sad conchologist eviscerates the oyster as earnestly and as gloatingly as the veriest Dando, but alas! he flings the soft and savory substance from him, and delights in the hard and unprofitable covering. His only pleasure is to count all the little waves and scales and ribs, illshapen and sad-colored as they seem to others, and he thinks not of the living body within, as fearfully and wonderfully made as his own.

Whilst, however, to the mass of men the oyster may be nothing more than a rude and sportive device of Nature, others, fortunately, have learnt to spell and to read, to peruse and to study the great Bible of Nature, in which this shell also is an humble letter, and they have found out that the device is a sign pregnant with suggestive meaning, carrying them onward and upward to other forms higher in the scale of beings, and leading them thus, with all things created, from Nature up to Nature's God. But, to share in their joys and to receive like rewards for our labor, we must first learn to approach all that was made with the reverence due to the majesty of its Maker, and to be able to see half-hidden grandeur in the minutest object, and veiled beauty in the most ungainly creature. We must learn to estimate each thing not carually only, by its use and its pleasantness to our senses, but spiritually also, by the amount of Divine thought which it reveals to our mind, believing that every pebble holds a treasure, every bud a revelation. With such a spirit we shall soon find wonders in every

insect, sublimity in the tiny world of a pool, the clearly-written records of past ages in a stone, and boundless fertility of thought as of life upon the barren seashore.

Even the life of a poor, silent shellfish, once reputed the dullest and most inert of all animals, will then be found to have its interest and its romance. In vain did Plato already assign, in his transmigration of souls, people who, as men, were thoroughly ignorant and without thought, to oysters thereafter, and speak elsewhere of the soul being fettered to the body like an oyster to its shell; in vain does Virey, in our time, call them the poor and afflicted among the beings of creation, who seem to solicit the pity of happier animalsthey are, as we shall see, beautifully made, capable of enjoying much happiness, and susceptible of being taught a lesson, which most of us proud men have never been able to acquire.

Their life, usually pictured as one of utter helplessness and unbroken seclusion, is by no means spent in unvarying repose. At the proper time, in the spring of the year, when all Nature is full of tender love and restless activity, the mother-oyster also is visited by the ruling passion, and "the icy bosoms feel the secret fire." Soon after, they are seen to contain a large quantity of milkwhite fluid, which the microscope shows us to consist of almost invisible eggs and milt, lying snugly side by side in the same shell. Unlike most marine animals, however, the oyster does not heartlessly abandon its spawn and leave it to the mercy of winds and waves; but from the ovary the eggs pass into the sheltering folds of the mantle, where they remain for some time. Here they are surrounded by a nutritious substance, which serves to sustain them as the white of an egg supports the young chicken. After a while the whitish mass thickens, and oysters in this state are called "milky," because the mass of eggs resembles thick cream in consistency and color. The latter turns into yellow, then into darker brown, and the eggs are hatched! Sud

denly the mother opens the shell; a dense mist is spread all around, and the young brood scatters far and wide.

Upon their first appearance in their new career, they are all life and motion, flitting about in the sea as gayly and lightly as the butterfly roams from flower to flower, or the swallow skims through the air. They are odd little cherubs, consisting, like the angels of old masters, of nothing but a couple of wing-like lobes on both sides of a mouth and shoulders, but not encumbered with a heavy, awkward body. The wings, fastened to rudimentary shells, are covered on the surface with countless little hairs, which move incessantly up and down, and thus enable the tiny creature to swim about in the water. Their infancy is one of perpetual joy and vivacity; they skip to and fro as if in mockery of their heavy and immovable parents. They do not go far from her, however, and the time of their joy is in their life, as in ours, but brief, and soon at an end. After a day or two they seem to have sown their wild oats, and if luck has favored them so as to escape the thousand voracious enemies that lie everywhere in wait or prowl about to prey upon their youth and want of experience, they finally settle down upon some suitable resting-place, a stone or a branch, and become steady, domestic oysters. But how few of them reach the goal! When they start from their mother's safe home, they count nearly a million; before they can find a new habitation, at least nine tenths of their number have perished!

After they have attached themselves by means of a glutinous substance, with which provident Nature has endowed them, to some permanent place on what is called a good spatting-ground, the little wings, now useless, gradually dwindle and shrink, until they disappear, like the tail of a tadpole when it changes into the full-grown frog. Then they begin to grow, slowly, like all good things of this earth, from the size of a pin's head, at two weeks, to that of a pea, at three months; when

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