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the chorus-all the papers favourably commented on it, for 'twas said each fernale member had a forty-dollar bonnet. Now in the 'amen corner of the church sat Brother Eyer, who persisted every Sabbath-day in singing with the choir; he was poor, but genteel-looking, and his heart as snow was white, and his old face beamed with sweetness when he sang with all his might. His voice was cracked and broken, age had touched his vocal chords, and nearly every Sunday he would mispronounce the words of the hymns: and 'twas no wonder; he was old and nearly blind, and the choir rattling onward always left him far behind. The chorus stormed and blustered, Brother Eyer sang too slow, and then he used the tunes in vogue a hundred years ago; at last the storin-cloud burst, and the church was told, in fine, that the brother must stop singing, or the choir would resign.
Then the pastor called together in the lecture-room one day seven influential members who subscribe more than they pay, and having asked God's guidance in a printed prayer or two, they put their heads together to determine what to do. They debated, thought, suggested, till at last 'dear Brother York, who last winter made a million on a sudden rise in pork, rose and moved that a committee wait at once on Brother Eyer, and proceed to rake him lively “for disturbin' of the choir.' Said he: 'In that 'ere organ I've invested quite a pile, and we'll sell it if we cannot worship in the latest style. Our Philadelphy tenor tells me 'tis the hardest thing fer to make God understand him when the brother tries to sing. We've got the biggest organ, the best-dressed choir in town, we pay the steepest sal’ry to our pastor, Brother Brown ; but if we must humour ignorance because it's blind and old—if the choir's to be pestered, I will seek another fold.'
Of course the motion carried, and one day a coach and four, with the latest style of driver, rattled up to Eyer's door; and the sleek, well-dressed committee, Brothers Sharkey, York, and Lamb, as they crossed the humble portal took good care to miss the jamb. They found the choir's great trouble sitting in his old arm-chair, and the summer's golden sunbeams lay upon his thin white hair; he was singing 'Rock of Ages ’ in a voice both cracked and low, but the angels understood him, 'twas all he cared to know.
Said York: We're here, dear brother, with the vestry's approbation, to discuss a little matter that affects the congregation. And the choir, too,' said Sharkey, giving Brother York a nudge. And the choir, too !” he echoed with the graveness of a judge. “It was the understanding when we bargained for the chorus, that it was to relieve us, that is, do the singing for us ; if we rupture the agreement, it is very plain, dear brother, it will leave our congregation and be gobbled by another. We don't want any singing except that what we've bought! The latest tunes are all the rage ; the old ones stand for naught; and so we have decided-are you listening, Brother Eyer ?— that you'll have to stop your singin', for it furrytates the choir.'
The old man slowly raised his head, a sign that he did hear, and on his cheek the trio caught the glitter of a tear; his feeble hands pushed back the locks white as the silky snow, as he answered the committee in a voice both sweet and low. I've sung the psalms of David for nearly eighty years; they've been my staff and comfort, and calmned life's many fears. I'm sorry I disturb the choir, perhaps I'm doing wrong; but when my heart is filled with praise, I can't keep
'I wonder if beyond the tide that's breaking at my feet, in the far-off heavenly temple, where the Master I shall greet—yes, I wonder, when I try to sing the songs of God up higher, if the angel band will church me for disturbing heaven's choir.'
A silence filled the little room ; the old man bowed his head; the carriage rattled on again, but Brother Eyer was dead ! Yes, dead ! his hand had raised the veil the future hangs before us, and the Master dear had called him to the everlasting chorus. The choir missed him for a while, but he was soon forgot, a few church-goers watched the door; the old man entered not. Far away, his voice no longer cracked, he sings his heart's desires, where there are no church committees and no fashionable choirs !
back a song
The Little Quaker Sinner.
She wore a gown of sober grey, a cape demure and prim, With only simple fold and hem, yet dainty, neat, and trim. Her bonnet, too, was grey and stiff ; its only line of grace Was in the lace, so soft and white, shirred round her rosy face. Quoth she, “Oh, how I hate this hat ! I hate this gown and cape ! I do wish all my clothes were not of such outlandish shape; The children passing by to school have ribbons on their hair; The little girl next door wears blue; oh, dear, if I could dare, I know what I should like to do!”—(The words were whis
pered low, Lest such tremendous heresy should reach her aunts below.) Calmly reading in the parlour sat the good aunts, Faith and
Peace, Little dreaming how rebellious throbbed the heart of their
All their prudent, humble teaching wilfully she cast aside,
come, Mercy Jones and Goodman Elder with his wife have left their
home.” 'Twas Aunt Faith's sweet voice that called her, and the naughty
little maidGliding down the dark old stairway-hoped their notice to
evade, Keeping shyly in their shadow as they went out at the door, Ah, never little Quakeress a guiltier conscience bore ! Dear Aunt Faith walked looking upward; all her thoughts
were pure and holy; And Aunt Peace walked gazing downward, with a humble
mind and lowly. But “tuck—tuck !" chirped the sparrows at the little maiden's
And, in passing Farmer Watson's, where the barn-door opened
wide, Every sound that issued from it, every grunt and every cluck, Seemed to her affrightened fancy like “a tuck!" "a tuck !
"a tuck !"
In meeting Goodman Elder spoke of pride and vanity,
On the Door-Step.
We boys around the vestry waited
Like snow-birds willing to be mated.
By level musket flashes bitten,
Who longed to see me get the mitten.
We let the old folks have the highway,
Along a kind of lovers' by-way.
'Twas nothing worth a song or story;
Seemed all transformed and in a glory.
The moon was full, the fields were gleaming ;
Her face with youth and health was beaming.
O sculptor! if you could but mould it !
So slightly touched my jacket cuff,
To keep it warm I had to hold it.
'Twas love and fear and triumph blended.
Where that delicious journey endel.
Her dimpled hand the latches fingered,
Yet on the doorstep still we lingered.
And with a “Thank you, Ned !' dissembled ;
With what a daring wish I trembled.
The moon was slyly peeping through it,
Come, now or never ! do it! do it!'
The kiss of mother and of sister,
O listless woman! weary lover!
I'd give— but who can live youth over ?
The Nine Suitors.
(l'erse printed as Prose.) A British ship at anchor lay in the harbour of New York : the stevedores were packing her with Yankee beef and pork. Nine slim Young Men went up the plank, and they were tall and good ; but none of them had ever loved—they said they never would ! But whether they wouldn't,—or whether they couldn't —or their mothers said they shouldn't,—the world will never know !
The passengers were all on board : the vessel got up steam, and floated down the river, like the-ah-something-of a