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As I drew near them, I thought I discerned in the stranger a mild benignity of countenance which I had somewhere seen before : I gazed at him more attentively. It was Allan Clare ! sitting on the grave of his sister. I threw my arms about his neck. I exclaimed, “Allan !” He turned his eyes upon me; he knew me: we both wept aloud. It seemed as though the interval since we parted had been as nothing; I cried out, Come, and tell me all about these things. I drew him away from his little friends, took him to my inn, secured a room where we might be private, ordered some fresh wine ; scarce knowing what I did, I danced for joy. Allan was quite overcome, and, taking me by the hand, he said, “ This repays me fòr all.”
It was a proud day for me: I had found the friend whom I had thought dead : Earth seemed to me no longer valuable than as it contained him, and existence a blessing no longer than while I should live to be his comforter. I began, at leisure, to survey him with more attention. Time and grief had left few traces of that fine enthusiasm which once burned in his countenance: his eyes had lost their original fire, but they retained an uncommon sweetness, and, whenever they were turned upon me, their smile pierced to my heart. “ Allan, I fear you have been a sufferer?” He replied not, and I could not press him further. I could not recall the dead to life again.
So we told old stories, and repeated old poetry, and sang old songs, as if nothing had happened. We sat till very late. I forgot that I had purposed returning to town that evening: to Allan all places were alike : I grew noisy, he grew cheerful : Allan's old manners, old enthusiasm, were returning upon him : we laughed, we wept, we mingled our tears, and talked extravagantly. Allan was my chamber- fellow that night ; and we lay awake planning schemes of living together under the same roof, entering upon similar pursuits,
praising God that we had met.
ON RISING WITH THE LARK. At what precise minute that little airy musician doffs his night-gear, and prepares to tune up his unseasonable matins, we are not naturalist enough to determine. But, for a mere human gentleman—that has no orchestra business to call him from his warm bed to such preposterous exercises—we take ten or half after ten feleven, of course, during this Christmas solstice) to be the earliest hour at which he can begin to think
of abandoning his pillow. To think of it, we say, for to do it in earnest requires another half-hour's good consideration.
Not but there are pretty sun-risings, as we are told, and such like gauds, abroad in the world, in summer time especially, some hours before what we have assigned ; which a gentleman may see, as they say, only for getting up. But, having been tempted once or twice, in earlier life, to assist at those monies, we confess our curiosity abated. We are no longer ambitious of being the sun's courtiers, to attend at his morning levees. We hold the good hours of the dawn too sacred to waste them upon such observances, which have in them, besides, something Pagan and Persic. To say truth, we never anticipated our usual hour, or got up with the sun (as it is called) to go a journey, or upon a foolish whole day's pleasuring, but we suffered for it all the long hours after in listlessness and headaches; Nature herself sufficiently declaring her sense of our presumption in aspiring to regulate our frail waking courses by the measures of that celestial and sleepless traveller.
WE CHERISH DREAMS. We have shaken hands with the world's business; we have done with it; we have discharged ourself of it. Why should we get up ? we have neither suit to solicit nor affairs to manage. The drama has shut in upon us at the fourth Act. We have nothing further here to expect, but in a short time a sick-bed, and a dismissal. We delight to anticipate death by such shadows as night affords. We are already half acquainted with ghosts. We were never much in the world. Disap pointment early struck a dark veil between us and its daz. zling illusions. Our spirits showed grey before our hairs. The mighty changes of the world already appear as but the vain stuff out of which dramas are composed. We have asked no more of life than what the mimic images in play.houses present us with. Even those types have waxed fainter. Our clock appears to have struck. We are superannuated.
In this dearth of mundane satisfaction, we contract politic alliances with shadows. It is good to have friends at Court. The abstracted media of dreams seem no ill introduction to that spiritual presence upon which, in no long time, we expect to be thrown. We are trying to know a little of the usages of that colony; to learn the language, and the faces we shall meet with there, that we may be the less awkward at our first coming among them. We willingly call a phantom our fellow, as knowing we shall soon be of their dark compan
ionship. Therefore we cherish dreams. We try to spell in them the alphabet of the invisible world, and we think we know already how it shall be with us. Those uncouth shapes which, while we clung to flesh and blood, affrighted us, have become familiar. We feel attenuated into their meagre essences, and have given the hand of half-way approach to incorporeal being. We once thought life to be something, but it has unaccountably fallen from us before its time. Therefore we choose to dally with visions. The sun has no purpose of ours to light us to. Why should we get up?
THE DEATH OF COLERIDGE. When I heard of the death of Coleridge, it was without grief. It seemed to me that he had long been on the confines of the next world ; that he had a hunger for eternity. I grieved then that I could not grieve. But, since, I feel how great a part he was of me. His great and dear spirit haunts
I cannot think a thought, I cannot make a criticism on men or books, without an ineffectual turning and reference to him. He was the proof and touchstone of all my cogitations. He was a Grecian (or in the first form) at Christ's Hospital, where I was Deputy Grecian, and the same subordination and deference to him I have preserved through a life long ac. quaintance. Great in his writings, he was greatest in his con- . versation. In him was disproved that old maxim, that we should allow every one his share of talk. He would talk from morn to 66
dewy eve, nor cease till far midnight; yet who ever would interrupt him ? who would obstruct that continuous flow of converse, fetched from Helicon or Zion ? He had the tact of making the unintelligible seem plain. Many who read the abstruser parts of his Friend would complain that his works did not answer to his spoken wisdom. They were identical. But he had a tone in oral delivery which seemed to convey sense to those who were otherwise imperfect recipients. He was my fifty years-old friend without a dissension. Never saw his likeness, nor probably can the world see it again. I seem to love the house he died at more passionately than when he lived. What was his mansion is consecrated to me a chapel.
BRIEF SKETCH OF HIS LIFE. Charles Lamb was born in 1775. He went to the charity school of Christ's Hospital until fifteen years old. He and the poet Coleridge met here, and became fast friends for life. He was a small, delicate boy, and it seemed that he never could fight
his way among hundreds of strong, hearty lads; but his sweet, affectionate temper won him the good will of all, His life was saddened by a great trouble. His sister, Mary Lamb, had attacks of insanity, and once, in one of these fits, she seized a knife and pierced her mother to the heart. Charles placed her in an asylum until she got well again, and then promised to take care of her for the rest of her life. His income was only five hundred dollars a year; he took his sister to his home, and, although but twenty-two years of age, gave up all thoughts of marriage and devoted himself to his duty. Mary's dreadful illness used to come on very often in her life, but she always knew when the fits were near; and then Charles would get leave of absence from the office for a day's pleasure, and with his sister's hand clasped in his, they would go off together, both of them in tears, to the asylum near London, where Mary was left until she was well enough to go back to her brother's house. What sadder story, or what more heroic life! The most famous authors of that day were Lamb's intimate friends; he was very modest and hesitated in his speech ; and at their evening parties Lamb used to stammer out his puns and witty sayings to the great de!ight of all around. His writings are an odd mixture of wisdom and fun. He is best known as the anthor of the “Essays of Elia," which is thought by many to be one of the best things in the language. He and his sister wrote a book known as the “ Tales of Shakespeare.” He died at Edmonton in 1834, in the fifty.ninth year of his age.
132. —ARBOR DAY.
PLANTING OF THE APPLE TREE.
Come, let us plant the apple tree !
And press it o'er them tenderly,
So plant we the apple tree.
Shall haunt and sing and hide her nest.
We plant upon the sunny lea
When we plant the apple tree.
A world of blossoms for the bee;
We plant with the apple tree.
While children, wild with noisy glee,
At the foot of the apple tree. And when, above this apple tree, The winter stars are quivering bright, And winds go howling through the night, Girls, whose young eyes o'erflow with mirth, Shall peel its fruit by cottage hearth,
And guests in prouder homes shall see,
The fruit of the apple tree.
And they who roam beyond the sea
In the shade of the apple tree.