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Spare Beds

From Ailenroc’s Book, by Cornelia Alexander

That is a curious subject, you will all think, and I think so myself; but I’ve got a little tale to unfold about spare beds in general, and one spare bed in particular, and I had just as well get at it.

Last fall Jasper (that’s my husband) and I went over to Luke Singleton’s to spend the day, and, as a bit rain came on in the evening, we had to stay all night.

I was anxious to get back home; but Jasper said not to trouble, for his mother was with the children and everything would go right; so I tried to enjoy myself, and succeeded very well.

Sarah Singleton in one of the best housekeepers that I know. She does more work than half the other women put together, and she laid herself out for a good supper, and got it.

When bedtime came around, she lit a candle and led me out of her room into her spare room, which is in the front part of the house, and comes nearer being a parlor than any other in the neighborhood; for it has a nice carpet on the floor, two rocking-chairs, a big bureau, and a beautiful bed. The white counter-pane was tucked in so nicely, and the big pillows had such pretty shams on them, that I said: “Sarah, I don’t want to muss up that pretty bed. Put us in one of the back rooms.”

“I shall not,” she said, laughing as hard as she could. “This is my company room, and I intend for my company to use it; we don’t.” Read More

To the Savior

From Ailenroc’s Book, by Cornelia Alexander

Note from the blogger: I set this poem to music several years ago, but am still fiddling with the harmony. I’ll probably share it here on Ziphen Central once it’s done.

When earth smiles in gladness, in fullness, and beauty,
And hope steers our vessels across the blue sea,
We are prone to forget that we owe our first duty
To thee, our Savior, to thee.

When friends are around us, our hearts throb with pleasure;
We make the air vocal with laughter and glee,
Forgetting above we should lay up our treasure
With thee, our Savior, with thee.

But—O!—when clouds rise and loud rolls the deep thunder,
And our vessels are shattered on treacherous sea,
Then we turn, with our sad hearts all riven asunder,
To thee, our Savior, to thee,

Because thy dear face has been oft wet with weeping;
Because thou hast said, “Come, ye weary, to me;”
Because we are watched, whether walking or sleeping,
By thee, our Savior, by thee.

Thou knowest our trials, our every affliction;
Thine ear can be reached by the lowliest plea,
And our sad hearts are soothed by a sweet benediction
From thee, our Savior, from thee.

Birdie’s Pet

From Ailenroc’s Book, by Cornelia Alexander

Quietness reigned in the town of C——. The hum of busy everyday life was hushed in the streets, while the closed doors and the sound of church bells proclaimed to the traveler that it was the Lord’s day. Even the green parrot which hung in its gay cage over Jim Carter’s door seemed subdued by the sweet stillness of the morning, and held its tongue where it belonged—in its head.

I said the doors were closed. They were, all but one, and that was where the parrot hung. “Bar” was written over it in big letters, and there was a tall green screen standing just inside to hide the thirsty caller from the passers-by.

“But,” says one, “the law of the land does not allow whisky shops open on Sunday.” But the law only imposes a fine, you see, for so doing; and Jim Carter didn’t care for fines.

“I makes it up in the long run, he said, winking his one eye. “Bless you, Sunday is as good a day as any! I buys my liquors, and sells when I gets ready. I pays my fines, and it’s nobody’s business. Old Jim and the law has a tussle occasionally; but what of it? I does as I pleases.”

On this particular morning he sat sunning himself, like a great, big, bloated spider at the door of his den, and, as usual, a crowd of loafers had collected to keep him company.

“The new parson holds forth to-day, I suppose,” said Joe Bently, a young limb of the law, whose shaky hands and watery eyes proclaimed his habits. He did not add that he had fled from home by the way of a back window, fearing that his pious widowed mother would ask his company to the house of God.

“Yes,” drawled old Jim, “and I thought you’d a-been there; but ‘birds of a feather,’ you know,” he added, with a wink of his eye, giving Joe, at the same time, a dig in the ribs. Read More

Evening Song

Faintly the voices are flying to me;
Fragments and snatches fall here and fall there.
Shall I draw nearer, or will the song flee?

Pines of the forest are dark, yet I see
The light of a fire, all blazing and fair—
Faintly the voices are flying to me.

Strange is the melody, wild, and free,
Chanting of happiness, love, and despair.
Shall I draw nearer, or will the song flee?

Softly I steal through the dim-lighted lea,
Earnestly seeking that uncanny air.
Faintly the voices are flying to me.

Almost I catch it; again it breaks free.
What is this song, so familiar, so rare?
Shall I draw nearer, or will the song flee?

Finally I break through, the brightness I see!
Then blackness, and silence, and nothing is there.
Faintly the voices are flying to me:
Shall I draw nearer, or will the song flee?

Bedtime Hour

From Ailenroc’s Book, by Cornelia Alexander

‘Tis the children’s bedtime hour;
They are murmuring sleepy prayers,
While my thoughts go straying backward
Down the path of the vanished years;
And, evolved from their misty shadows,
One face and form I see:
A dear little boy, with serious look,
Saying his prayers at my knee.

With brown hands closely folded
And dark head bended low,
I hear again the murmur
That the childish lips o’erflow.
“Lead me not into any temptation,
From all evil deliver me,”
Was the nightly prayer of the little boy
Who said his prayers at my knee.

Ah me! with an aching heart beat,
I think how the years have flown
Since that time, and my firstborn
From his mother’s home is gone;
And to-night I pray: “‘Our Father,’
Wherever he may be,
Make him again the good little boy
Who said his prayers at my knee.”