Immagini della pagina

“But what are you going up to that were white, and her little eyes were blistering hole of a factory-village for? fixed and beady as a snake's. Paul does not stay there three days at No man is bad enough to enjoy such a time, if he can help it.”

a manifestation in his sister, "Well, the first thing I'm going for “ Conie, Bell,” he said, “don't look is to gratify my curiosity. I want to like that. The shop-girl isn't worth see the native surroundings of my gen- your spite. I'm up to such things mytleman. I want to see that farm-house. self; but you are a woman, and should Oh, Dick, you ought to have heard the be in better business." tone with which la mère said, “It has “I don't care," said Bella, angrily. been in our family a hundred years.' “ Being a woman don't make it any Then, I want to see--and intend to see pleasanter to be snubbed, nor any easier —the shop-girl. What I mean to do, is, to bear it. Think of a Prescott ever to punish her; to punish her is my ob. having been put one side for a thing ject, and I shall do it."

like that! There's no use in talking, As she mentioned the shop-girl, Dick; I shall make the visit. I shall Bella's voice suddenly grew quick and see the shop-girl, and I shall punish her. sharp. Dick looked up. Her thin lips I shall catch a fish, but not in the river."


GOLDEN head, so lowly bending,

Little feet, so white and bare,
Dewy eyes, half-shut, half-opened,

Lisping out her evening prayer,
Well she knows, when she is saying,

“Now I lay me down to sleep,”
'Tis to God that she is praying-

Praying Him her soul to keep.
Half asleep, and murmuring faintly,

“If I should die before I wake,"
-Tiny fingers clasped so saintly-

“I pray the Lord my soul to take.”
Oh, the rapture sweet, unbroken,

Of the soul who wrote that prayer !
Children's myriad voices floating

Up to heaven, record it there.
If, of all that has been written,

I could choose what might be mine,
It should be that child's petition

Rising to the throne divine.
While the muffled bells were ringing,

“ Earth to earth, and dust to dust,”
My free soul, on faith depending-

Faith, and love, and perfect trust-
Would approach Him, humbly praying-

(All the little ones around)-
“Jesus, Saviour, take Thy servant !

Give to her Thy children's crown.”

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

AMONG the few pleasures which re- be on fire, I sprang up, and, without ward the traveller for the hardships and stopping to put on any furs, ran hastily dangers of life in the far North, there out, followed closely by Robinson, Harare none which are brighter or longer der, and Smith. As we emerged into remembered than the magnificent auro- the open air, there burst suddenly upon ral displays which occasionally illumine our startled eyes the grandest exhibithe darkness of the long polar night, tion of vivid, dazzling light and color, and light up, with a celestial glory, the of which the mind can conceive. The whole blue vault of heaven. No other whole universe seemed to be on fire. natural phenomenon is so grand, so A broad arch of brilliant prismatic mysterious, so terrible in its unearthly colors spanned the heavens from east to splendor, as this. The veil which con- west, like a gigantic rainbow, with a ceals from mortal eyes the glory of the long fringe of crimson and yellow eternal throne, seems drawn aside, and streamers stretching up from its convex the awed beholder is lifted out of the edge to the very zenith. At short inatmosphere of his daily life into the tervals of one or two seconds, wide immediate presence of God.

luminous bands, parallel with the arch, On the 26th of February, while we rose suddenly out of the northern horiwere all yet living together at Ana- zon, and swept with a swift, steady dyrsk, there occurred one of the grand- majesty across the whole heavens, like est displays of the arctic aurora which long breakers of phosphorescent light had been observed there for more than rolling in from some limitless ocean of fifty years, and which exhibited such

space. unusual and extraordinary brilliancy Every portion of the vast arch was that even the natives were astonished. momentarily wavering, trembling, and It was a cold, dark, but clear winter's changing color; and the brilliant streamnight, and the sky, in the earlier part ers which fringed its edge swept back of the evening, showed no signs of the and forth in great curves, like the fiery magnificent illumination which was al- sword of the angel at the gate of Eden. ready being prepared. A few streamers In a moment the vast auroral rainbow, wavered now and then in the north, and with all its waving streamers, began to a faint radiance, like that of the rising move slowly up toward the zenith, and moon, shone above the dark belt of à second arch, of equal brilliancy, shrubbery which bordered the river; formed directly undor it, shooting up but this was a common occurrence, and another long serried row of slender, it excited no notice or remark, Late colored lances toward the North Star, in the evening, just as we were prepar- like a battalion of the celestial host ing to go to bed, Dodd happened to go presenting arms to its commanding anout of doors for a moment to look after gel. Every instant the display increased bis dogs; but no sooner had he reached in unearthly grandeur. The luminous the outer door of the entry, than he bands revolved swiftly, like the spokes came rushing back, his face ablaze with of a great wheel of light, across the excitement, shouting, “ Keppan! Rob- heavens; the streamers hurried back inson ! come out-quick ! "

With a

and forth with swift, tremulous motion, vague impression that the village must from the ends of the arches to the cen

tre, and now and then a great wave of See Putnam's Magasins for Sept. 1968, and Jan. and Nov. 1869. A volame of Mr. Kennan's Adven

crimson would surge up from the north tures in Siberia and Kamtchatka is now in pr and fairly deluge the whole sky with


color, tinging the white, snowy earth each other from side to side with such far and wide with its rosy reflection bewildering rapidity that the eye was But as the words of the prophecy, And lost in the attempt to follow them. the heavens shall be turned to blood,” The whole concave of heaven seemed formed themselves upon my lips, the transformed into one great revolving crimson suddenly vanished, and a light. kaleidoscope of shattered rainbows. ning-flash of vivid orange startled us Never had I even dreamed of such an with its wide, all-pervading glare, which aurora as this; and I am not ashamed extended even to the southern horizon, to confess, that its magnificence at that as if the whole volume of the atmosphere moment overawed and frightened me. had suddenly taken fire. I even held The whole sky, from zenith to horizon, my breath a moment, as I listened for was “one molten, mantling sea of color the tremendous crash of thunder which, and fire; crimson and purple and scarit seemed to me, must follow this sud- let and green, and colors for which there den burst of vivid light; but in heaven are no words in larguage and no ideas or earth there was not a sound to break in the mind; things which can only be the calm silence of night, save the has- conceived while they are visible.” The tily-muttered prayers of the frightened “signs and portents” in the heavens native at my side, as he crossed himself were grand enough to herald the deand kneeled down before the visible struction of a world; flashes of rich majesty of God. I could not imagine quivering color, covering half the sky any possible addition which even al- for an instant, and then vanishing mighty power could make to the gran- like summer lightning ; brilliant green deur of the aurora as it now appeared. streamers shooting swiftly but silently The rapid alternations of crimson, blue, up across the zenith ; thousands of vagreen, and yellow in the sky were re- riegated bars sweeping past each other flected so vividly from the white sur- in two magnificent arches, and great face of the snow, that the whole world luminous waves, rolling in from the seemed now steeped in blood, and then inter-planetary spaces, and breaking in quivering in an atmosphere of pale, long lines of radiant glory upon the gbastly green, through which shone the shallow atmosphere of a darkened unspeakable glories of the mighty crim- world. son and yellow arches. But the end With the separation of the two archwas not yet. As we watched, with up- es into component bars it reached its utturned faces, the swift ebb and flow of most magnificence, and from that time these great celestial tides of colored its supernatural beauty slowly but steadlight, the last seal of the glorious reve- ily faded. The first arch broke up, and lation was suddenly broken, and both soon after it the second ; the flashes of arches were simultaneously shivered color appeared less and less frequently; into a thousand parallel perpendicular the luminous bands ceased to revolve bars, every one of which displayed in across the zenith ; and, in an hour, nothregular order, from top to bottom, the ing remained in the dark, starry heavseven primary colors of the solar spec- ens, to remind us of the aurora, except trum. From horizon to horizon there

a few faint Magellan clouds of luminow stretched two vast curving bridges nous vapor, of colored bars, across which we almost I am painfully conscious of my inexpected to see, passing and repassing ability to describe, as they should be the bright inhabitants of another world. described, the splendid phenomena of Amid cries of astonishment and excla

a great polar aurora ; but such magnifimations of “God have mercy!" from cent effects cannot be expressed in a the startled natives, these innumerable mathematical formula, nor can an inexbars began to move, with a swift, danc- perienced artist reproduce, with a piece ing motion, back and forth along the of charcoal, the brilliant coloring of a whole extent of both arches, passing Turner landscape. I have given only


faint hints, which the imagination of the Anadyr, where they were landed in the reader must fill up. But be assured September. I was told that Macrae that no description however faithful, no would be landed only in case of perfect flight of the imagination however ex- certainty to reach Anadyrsk in boats ; alted, can begin to do justice to a spec- and I confess I don't like such surprises tacle of such unearthly grandeur. Un- as Colonel Bulkley has made me now. til man drops his vesture of flesh and For the present, our duty consists in dostands in the presence of Deity, he will ing our utmost to extricate them from see no more striking manifestation of where they are, and you must get every the glory of the Lord which is terri- dog-sledge you can, stuff them with ble,” than that presented by a brilliant dog-food and provisions, and go at once exhibition of the arctic aurora.

in search of Macrae's camp."

These The month of February wore slowly directions I had already anticipated and away, and March fou

us still living carried out, and Macrae's party, or at in Anadyrsk, without any news from least all I could find of it, was now the Major, or from the missing men, Ar: living in Anadyrsk. When the Major nold and Macrae. Fifty-seven days had wrote this letter, however, he did not now elapsed since they left their camp suppose that Dodd and I would hear on the lower Anadyr, and we began to of the landing of the party through fear that they would never again be the wandering Chookchees, or that we

Whether they had starved or fro- would think of going in search of them zen to death on some great desolate without orders. He knew that he had plain south of Behring's Straits, or been told us particularly not to attempt to murdered by the Chookchees, we could explore the Anadyr river until another not conjecture, but their long absence season, and did not expect that we was a proof that they had met with would go beyond the last settlement. some misfortune.

I wrote a hasty note to Dodd upon the I was not at all satisfied with the icy runner of my overturned sledgeroute over which we had passed from freezing two fingers in the operationShestakora to Anadyrsk, on account of and sent the courier on to Anadyrsk its barrenness, and the impossibility of with the letters. The mail also includtransporting heavy telegraph-poles over ed letters to me from Captain Scammon, its great snowy steppes from the few commander of the Company's fleet, and wooded rivers by which it was tray- one from my naturalistic friend, Dall, ersed. I accordingly started from Ana- who had returned with the vessels to dyrsk with five dog-sledges, on March San Francisco, and had written me while 4th, to try and find a better route be- stopping a few days at Petropavlovski. tween the Anadyr and the head-waters He begged me, by all the sacred interof the Penzhina river. Three days after ests of science, not to let a single bug, our departure we met, on the road to or living thing of any kind, escape my Penzhina, a special messenger from Ge- vigilant eye; but, as I read his letter ezhega, bringing a letter from the Ma- that night by the camp-fire, I thought, jor, dated Okhotsk, January 19th. En- with a smile, that snowy Siberian closed were letters from Colonel Bulk- steppes, and temperatures of 30° and ley, announcing the landing of the Ana- 40° below zero, were not very favorable dyr-river party, under Lieutenant Mac- to the growth and dispersion of bugs, rae, and a map showing the location of nor to efforts for their capture and pretheir camp. The Major wrote as fol- servation. lows: “In case-what God forbid - I will not weary the reader with a Macrae and party have not arrived at detailed account of the explorations Anadyrsk, you will immediately, upon which Lieutenant Robinson and I made the receipt of this letter, do your ut in search of a more practicable route most to deliver them from their too for our line between the Penzhina river long winter-quarters at the mouth of and Anadyrsk. We found that the river-system of the Anadyr was divided we raised the flag on a pole over our from that of the Penzhina only by a little log-house, made a whiskey punch low mountain-ridge, which could be out of the liquor which had traversed easily passed, and that, by following half northeastern Siberia, and drank it up certain tributaries of the latter, in honor of the men who had lived crossing the water-shed, and descend- sixty-four days with the wandering ing one of the branches of the Anadyr, Chookchees, and carried the Stars and we should have almost unbroken water- Stripes through the wildest, least-known communication between the Okhotsk region on the face of the globe. Sea and Behring's Straits. Along these Having now accomplished all that rivers timber was generally abundant; could be done in the way of exploraand where there was none, poles could tion, we began making preparations for be distributed easily in rafts. The a return to Geezhega. The Major had route thus indicated was every thing directed me to meet him there with which could be desired ; and, much Macrae, Arnold, Robinson, and Dodd, , gratified by the results of our labors, as soon as the 1st of April, and the we returned, on March 13th, to Ana- month of March was now rapidly drawdyrsk.

ing to a close. · We were overjoyed to learn, from the On the 20th we packed up our stores, first man who met us after we entered and, bidding good-by to the kindthe settlement, that Macrae and Arnold hearted, hospitable people of Anahad arrived, and in five minutes we dyrsk, we set out with a long train of were shaking them by the hand, con- sledges for the coast of the Okhotsk Sea. gratulating them upon their safe arri- Our journey was monotonous and unval, and overwhelming them with ques- eventful, and, on the 2d of April, late tions as to their travels and adventures, at night, we left behind us the white, and the reasons of their long absence. desolate steppe of the Parew, and drew

For sixty-four days they had been near the little flat-topped yourt on the living with the wandering Chookchees, Malmofka, which was only twenty-five and making their way slowly and by versts from Geezhega. Here we met a circuitous route toward Anadyrsk. fresh men, dogs, and sledges, sent out They had generally been well-treated to meet us by the Major; and, abanbut the band with whom they travelled doning our loaded sledges and tired had been in no hurry to reach the set- dogs, we took seats upon the light tlement, and had been carrying them at “narts” of the Geezhega Cossacks, and the rate of ten or twelve miles a-day, dashed away by the light of a brilliant all over the great desolate steppes which aurora toward the settlement. lie south of the Anadyr river. They had About one o'clock we heard the disexperienced great hardships; had lived tant barking of dogs, and in a few moupon reindeers' entrails and tallow for ments we rushed furiously into the silent weeks at a time; had been alive almost village, and stopped before the house constantly with vermin ; had spent of the Russian merchant, Vorrebeoff, the greater part of two long months where we had lived the previous Fall, in smoky Chookchee pologs, and had and where we expected to find the despaired, sometimes, of ever reaching Major. I sprang from my sledge, and, a Russian settlement or seeing again a groping my way through the entry into civilized human being; but hope and a warm, dark room, I shouted, “Fscourage had sustained them through it tavaitia !” to arouse the sleeping inall, and they had finally arrived at mates. Suddenly some one rose up Anadyrsk safe and well.

The sum- from the floor at my feet, and, grasping total of their baggage, when they drove me by the arm, exclaimed, in a strangeinto the settlement, was a quart-bottle ly familiar voice, “Kennan, is that of whiskey wrapped up in an American you ?" Startled and bewildered with flag! As soon as we were all together, half-incredalous recognition, I could

« IndietroContinua »