MY hands are cold tonight, still here and there are smarting spots. They are blisters, for yesterday I burned in the flame of my little lamp, some letters, dear letters of a sweet but faded past. It was so it happened I came across a lot of old manuscript which had lain untouched, unrevised, and unread, some of it for months, others for years. My chilled fingers grow warm and soft, and my heart beats just a little faster, as I think me of the various incidents that impelled me to write these rough, broken musings. I never intended they should meet and disturb the eyes of any but myself, yet why not? To one of my temperament, the opinion of the world matters so little and plays so small and unimportant a part in my inner life, that I gather a few of the blurred pages and somehow manage to rewrite them, and – well, should you approve or disapprove, it is little more than nothing to me.
* * * *
Ah! Years and years ago, I missed unknowingly the greatest joy in life. Not so very long back, I found that joy lay so near to me, right before my eyes it seemed, but now it is too late. One cannot change the present; it is not meet that mortal shall be so happy as I should be, could I reach back into the past and grasp that priceless pearl I missed and set it into my life now. Ah me, the dreary years will pass; all there is left is Hope and Trust, for the pitiful hearts of my lost Joy and I.
The twilight is dimmed tonight; a mist of raindrops lines the sky and air between – and a sense of saddened loneliness descends upon me, a loneliness so still and melancholy that it quite o’erfloods my heart with an intense longing for something, someone-ah-yes-“someone”. That “someone” that can feel and understand the sea of thought within me. My spirit calls in vain from dusk till darkness, I yearn and seek but can not find that Soul, that is of my Soul.
Ah, kindred once responding Soul, where are you now, now when I most ned you, when Night comes and my empty arms stretch forth? You do not come, can not, will not come, you have lost the way between us?
The rain descends in torrents; why will not the thunder roar and the lightning flash, for then you, oh my love, my long sought Peace, will come with the storm of Sky!
As I sit here alone in the fading light of the departing day, a myriad thoughts are born in my mind, a million emotions swell within me, and I dream, dream on and on, of the ways of Life.
****Yet it is better that it shall have been so, else Life would have never meant more to me than it does to those whose lives are clear of obstacles and who never seek more than the eye can see at a glance, who never feel more than a passing pain. All human possibilities and impossibilities of mind and heart and Soul have been mine; all, I say, nay, all save one. So this one dear thing that I have never known, I live to find and know, that Thing is simply Peace. Just sweet, sacred Peace! The years that have flitted by brought something to enliven or empower me, something to embitter or sweeten my Life struggle; I know all these things as Beings, beings whom I hate as deeply as I love; they come to me oft-times in the night or in the gloom as sometimes in a cloud of Golden Light when the sun shines brightest and the sky is bluest.****
And so ‘tis best; the world is nothing to my Soul, but to myself ‘tis all; my Soul is mine as all else is to the World.
A pain-pierced Soul fluttered here and there throughout the Universe, seeking rest and peace. Blinded by darkness of sky, its poor wings were sorely bruised and each rough rock they struck against was baptized with a drop of rich blood; exhausted and filled with despair, and weak with loss of Life, the Soul was dying; the darkness grew blacker and deeper, the last drop of blood was ebbing away, when suddenly the Soul was embraced by something warm and soft, and lo! A great bright star lit the sky and a sweet murmur filled the air: “Soul, thy journey is ended, for knowest thou, Peace and Rest can only enter and fill a heart that has been washed clean of blood and parched with pain.”
It seems to me, I heard a strange laugh once, just where or when I can not remember distinctly, yet the sound of that laugh will never leave my ears. It issued from young lips I know, for it was like nothing so much as the petulant half-sob, half-gurgling laugh of a little child who is in a fretful mood, and some one is trying to amuse it. This laugh reached me from out the skies, it dimly occurs to my wandering memory, and it disturbed the tranquility of my reverie to such an extent that I actually forgot everything past, present or future; all there remained was the ring of that laugh.
Then I fell to dissecting the various vibrations, as foolish dreamers sometimes will, never dreaming that it should wound me perhaps, or cause me to read what had best been left unknown. The slight petulance in the laugh immediately suggested that it came from the mouth of a boy – a mere affectionate lad who wanted to be loved and was treated teasingly by his sweetheart. But no, it could not be a lad, for there was that little sob of weariness that once I thought of grew to monstrous proportions, till it told of a crushed heart, that was sick and tired of waiting and longing, sad and restless because of cruelty and neglect.
All this pictured the drooping lips of a fair, frail girl. In vain I try to decide whether it came from a lad or a girl, it really was such a curious mixture, childish and yet not childish. Suppose, I call it sexless, merely a laugh, that surely was born in a mightily bruised heart, perhaps too young to understand, but old enough to feel.
Oh, my heart, how happy I am with this Love of Love within me. How sweet to love and be loved! What matter that no one knows, that I dare not tell the world of this passion between my love and me. Ah, it is dearer far to hide it from all, and let no strange eyes mock this pure soul love that can know no change, no shame.
My Sweetheart, what if you are far from me, far below or far above my place in this world, and we may only look and see one another through a mist and meet as strangers, yet there were, there are, and there will be times when we clasp hands and love one another as only we can love. Oh, those happy hours when we are side by side, the joy, the rapture, the sweetness, to be with you and to love you, away from the whole world and its cruel people. And when I leave you and go back to the life that for reasons I must lead, it seems I can smile on everyone I meet, forgive all sin and wrong. My soul is like a fragrant flower that the sun has kissed and a honey-bee has sipped; and my heart re-echoes the throbbing song of the Nightingale and all because of this love, of my love and me!
Oh, thou sweetest flower of my heart,
That blossoms within me, fragrantly!
What is thy hue and form!
All the scintillating colors of sea and sky
And earth and stars are thine;
Oh, my beloved! Blue as thy eyes,
Bright as thy hair, pale as thy brow,
And red as thy lips, as pure as thy heart!
Ah, that I might pluck thee out;
To gaze with shining eyes upon thee,
Thou cherished, loveliest image of Love –
Dream on, bloom on in my heart for aye,
Oh chaste and white souled Love.
by Stella R. Stacy
IT was our misfortune that the day we selected to take a trip up the Hudson was very hazy and so we were deprived of the pleasure of obtaining a clear view of the picturesque scenery in which this region abounds. The day was warm and sultry. After reaching Hudson City, we took a train to Niverville, where we were met by Miss Schermerhorn and her father. Our drive from there to Elmwood was most delightful. The air was cool and refreshing and I have heard, a good appetizer, though I often doubted if we needed one.
When I think of the east my thoughts will always return to Elmwood. It is surrounded by hills and woods, but the pride of Elmwood lies in the towering elms from which it derives its name. We were so hospitably received by Mrs. Schermerhorn that we at once felt at home. Supper was ready and I know we did justice to it. We were quite tired traveling all day and readily agreed with Carrie’s suggestion that we retire early. Carrie warned us that if we were not down by ten in the morning, we could have nothing to eat until twelve. Fearful lest I should miss my breakfast I was down at 8:30. Ten o’clock found Amanda at the table. She too determined not to miss her morning repast. We then strolled out to see the country. Not being able to open the gate we took the only other alternative that was offered to get out on the road. Then we spied the apple orchard but of course we didn’t touch the apples.
Carrie, always thoughtful, had plans for every day during our visit with her. One which we enjoyed immensely was our trip to Albany. The first place of interest which we visited was the hospital. I know very little of hospitals, therefore I cannot say whether it is superior to our western hospitals or not. The most marvelous piece of architecture which we saw in the east was the capital at Albany. It is a large white building three hundred by three hundred and ninety feet.
We entered by the side entrance being, I must confess, too lazy to climb the eastern stairway. This stairway has eighty-two steps and was built at a cost of about $2,000,000. There are three interior staircases known as the Assembly, Senate and Grand Central. The Assembly staircase leads to the Assembly Hall and cost $300,000. The Senate staircase leads to the Senate and cost $500,000. The Grand Central staircase surpasses the others in beauty, architecture and size.
The heads of noted warriors, statesmen, poets and also some of our noted women are carved on the pillars. The walls on the first floor are of Tennessee and Vermont marble. The Vermont marble is very unique. In its natural state different objects such as an Indian girl, shoe, a fox with a squirrel in its mouth, and various other objects are visible. The Governor’s room is on this floor. The room is furnished in a most luxurious style. The walls are adorned with the ex-governors’ pictures in massive frames. There is also a picture of Washington and Lafayette on either side of the grate.
The Assembly Hall is on the next floor. The seats are arranged in amphitheatrical style. The leader of the republican and democratic parties is given a seat on either side of the main aisle. The remainder of the members select their seats where they see fit. The ladies’ gallery is directly in back of the speaker and extends across the room. The gentlemen’s galleries are in the corners of the room in front of the speaker.
The ceiling was intended to be carved oak but by some fraud a paper one was put in. Nevertheless the carving is exquisite. I think the guard was shocked, when later on he pointed out a ceiling and explained that it was genuine oak, by one of our party replying that they preferred the fraud. There are a few small rooms off this room, into which the representatives withdraw to discuss politics. In connection with the Assembly Hall there is a post office for the convenience of the members. Each member has a box the number of which corresponds to the number of his seat. The mail is delivered several times a day. During the sessions one of the rooms on this floor is equipped as a restaurant.
The Senate Hall, though smaller than the Assembly Hall, is its equal in every other respect. The Lieutenant Governor is the presiding officer. The galleries are on each side of the Lieutenant Governor. A stained-glass window with the seal of the state is directly in back of him. The same richness of style displayed throughout the entire building is apparent in the ante chambers of the Senate. A very fine picture of the Niagara Falls is hung on one of the walls. The American side of the Falls is observed from the front view and the Canadian from the side view.
The rooms of the Chief Justice are the only rooms in the building into which the public is not admitted. In the Court of Appeals there are seven chairs at one end of the room. The center one is occupied by the Chief Justice and the other six by his associate judges. The lawyers are seated in front of these and in the remainder of the room are seats for the public. In the rear of the room there is a statue of Livingston with a roll in his hand representing the deed of the purchase of Louisiana.
This building also contains a very valuable library which is three hundred feet long. It is open from 9 A. M. until 6 P. M. in summer and from 9 A. M. until 10 P. M. in winter. It consists of a very large collection of law books for students, and also a circulating department. The papers found on Andre, also the pass signed by Arnold are among the relics displayed here. There is a seal of the state carved in oak over the door.
Throughout the building there are some valuable paintings and pictures. In the Grand Army Conference room there is a picture, over the grate, of Hudson when he discovered the Hudson and was making a treaty with the Indians. It is made of bronze and cost $9,000.
As our time was limited we were unable to see the entire building but saw the greater part of it. Amanda remarked as we were about to leave the building that she hoped we wouldn’t have lunch until we went home but I think she forgot all about not being hungry, when she gave her order to the waiter about fifteen minutes later. After a little more sight seeing, shopping, etc., our trip to Albany was over and we were again bound for Elmwood.
Saturday evening Carrie favored us with another of her original entertainments but this time instead of a peanut walk we had a hickorynut walk.
We were visiting some friends of Carrie one afternoon and someone exclaimed, “Oh look! See the ducks!” The ducks proved to be turkeys but of course you can’t become versed in farm life in a week. Can you, Amanda?
We enjoyed ourselves so thoroughly in the country it would be difficult to say in which way we enjoyed ourselves most. Mr. Schermerhorn was always willing to give us a drive. And we? Well, I guess we were always ready to take one too. The day before we left, Mr. Schermerhorn drove us about fourteen miles around the country. The scenery was beautiful. We could see, from the summit of one of the hills, the sunset on the Catskill Mountains, and turning in another direction we could see Berkshire Hills.
One place in particular called forth our admiration and that was a chasm about one hundred feet deep, over which a bridge extended. The water running along the bottom; the rocks in every shape and size; the trees growing out from the rocks in every direction, all tend to give a wild and weird appearance to the place.
Early the next morning we left Elmwood. Though we intended to remain but two days we did not leave until the eighth day after our arrival. If any of our friends go east, I would advise them to be sure to visit Elmwood. They will find Mr. and Mrs. Schermerhorn a most charming couple and Miss Schermerhorn one of the sweetest and gentlest of women.
“Books are true levelers. They give to all who faithfully use them, the society, the spiritual presence, of the greatest and best of our race.” – Channing
The Old Rocking-Chair
by George E. Holt
The old rocking-chair by the fireside
Stands, as it stood years ago,
When the children played about it
In the firelight’s tender glow.
A woman with hair touched by winter,
And eyes that are brimming with tears,
Sits in it and lets her thoughts wander
Back o’er the sad, sweet years.
A picture she sees, of her mother
As she sits in the rocking-chair
The dear face she knew in her childhood,
The framing of snow-white hair.
She hears again the faint singing
Of lullabies crooned low,
The good-night song of mother-love,
As the rocking-chair swung slow.
Then to her thoughts comes the mem’ry
Of the lover who told the rare,
Sweet fancies of love’s dear dreamland
O’er the back of the old rocking-chair.
And how he had smiled, and kissed her,
While the fire laughed with mirth;
And how the foolish dreams came true
To the hearts that gave them birth.
She smiled as she thought of her children
Who had romped ‘round the rocking-chair
Where she sat – a queen with her subjects,
Whose love was her only care.
And then – and the tears fell faster –
She prayed, as a mother can pray,
That God would be good to her children
Who had kissed her and gone away.
And as she sat there dreaming
The dreams of the years so fair,
The Master called and she answered
From the Peace of the old rocking-chair.
by Amanda E. Frees
AT no time since my acquaintance with amateur journalism has enthusiasm and activity been so lacking as now. In fact, it seems the dear old National is yearly losing its following to an alarming extent. True, a few “old-timers” have awakened, and sent some breezy little magazines to the fraternity, but as for the much-gabbled-of Young Blood, they have yet to prove their number, worth and strength. The last convention at Boston has tended more to deaden than liven affairs, and we of the West as a rule expect so much of our Hub friends, that the present results are a keen disappointment.
We refrain somewhat from heaping censure upon their heads, as we privately, if not openly, feel ourselves much to blame. The Chicago Club can scarcely be called a reality for some months past; that it still exists, – in abstract, – is a theory the members fondly put their trust in; the sole ambition, in my thinking, of our once fiery club, is how to dispose of the “cash on hand.” Several loyal and interested devotees are endeavoring to reorganize, and should they succeed in bringing about a radical change in the policy, I think we could easily gather together a congenial and progressive membership.
To those who professed belief in the ability of the new official editor, the Amateur must have permanently put aside all doubt; not only have several valuable departments been entirely ignored but the whole number shows incompetency and the usual “know too much” air of extreme and confident youth. Even the typography and spelling are poor. The more pity it is to lay this volume next to the brilliant and almost perfect one of Mr. Brodie. One can not help but feel a little in doubt whether in his choice as editor, Mr. Acee or the fraternity is the more unfortunate. For now, one cannot be sure of having his name skipped in the membership list. I am put into a continual fervor until I see the next issue, just to be sure one way or the other.
SAM STEINBERG is so unlike nearly anyone else but Sam, that I have quite forgotten to hope to see him different. The balmy and fragrant tropical air has not subdued his persistence in proving Sam is right and Right is Sam…. In the morning one has chills, at noon one swelters in the shade, and at evening one has more chills. By Jove! So what can one do, but freeze a particular friend with cold and indifferent attitude roast another with fiery phrases, and cover a third with a red blanket of adjectives, that is still too thin to hide the offender, mark ye, all this according to the clock and the several moods of Sam. *****Perhaps I deserve the criticism heaped upon me, yet sometimes we are not wholly to blame; in this unavoidable and hot strife of a busy business life is it not just possible a little neglect may be forgiven?
THIS being the first number of Ariel to be adorned with a cover, perhaps a word regarding same will not be amiss. A young artist friend of mine especially designed the “cut” about two years ago; since then the copper half-tone has lain in the bottom of one of my desk drawers, and the beautiful pen and ink drawing adorned a corner of my “den.” One night, a long time ago, in the golden days of the Amateur Press Club, about seven or eight of the boys took possession of my then new “den” and of course I let them smoke – well, the odor still lingers –; I exhibited this celebrated picture of my “Ariel” only to have some one ask naively whether I posed for it! Judge for yourselves, was it a complement? I’m puzzled yet.
Amanda E. Frees
Carrie E. Schermerhorn
Estelle R. Stacy
In the Interests of Amateur Journalism