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THE OLD WOMAN WHO DRIED UP AND BLEW AWAY.
“There be many witches at this day in Lapland who sell winds to mariners, and they must needs go wbom the devil drives.”Puller's Holy and Profano State.
“Old woman, old woman, whither so high ?”
" To sweep the cobwebs from the sky." MANY VANY years ago, on the old stage- perhaps, in the telling, were soon in the
road leading from Boston to Ply- mouth of every one in the village. Soon month, just out of Weymouth into Hing- they spoke of her no longer as Mistress ham, there lived an old woman who Ward, or old Sue Ward. She possessed went by the name of Sue Ward.
the three great requisites for a witch of Where she came from no one knew. that time. Some years before the time of which we I. She was old. write, she had taken up her abode in an II. She was ugly. old house which had been deserted by III. She was poor. its former owner, and there she dwelt- With such an evil suspicion hanging all alone, a perfect mystery to the gos- about her, it is no wonder that many sips of the neighborhood. She managed who had forinerly befriended, now to get a living by doing all sorts of odd avoided her. Even the little children, jobs for the people of the village; by having heard the mysterious talk of koitting now and then a pair of stock- their parents, as they passed her in the ings; by spinning a few knots of yarn, streets, clasped one another's hands more or going out as nurse for the sick. The tightly, and, gazing at her with halfvillagers also, at first, were quite kind to frightened looks, went hurriedly on, her. But after a while they began to though some of the larger boys would weary of being benevolent to so mys- sometimes shout after her. terious a being. All plotting and ques- Matters were thus, as one wild windy tioning to ascertain her former life failed November night, old Sue sat by her fire to produce any effect, save a stubborn in her lonely hut. She had been out to refusal to gratify curiosity, and slight gather the faggots of which the fire was fiasbes of anger, which all inquirers built, and meeting some rude boys on agreed boded no good.
her return, they had taunted her with Although the time of which we write unseemly words. Not often would such was after the excitement concerning the words have affected her so much. But Salem witches, yet belief in such beings as the screaming wind howled through had not wholly died away, especially the branches of the forest, and she heard among the older portion of the coramu- the moanings of the dying autumn, thinknity. Could they not quote the Bible ing all the while that she knew not and the godly Mr. Mather in support of where to look for help through the comtheir doctrine ?
ing winter, what wonder that she felt By-and-by strange stories began to be like cursing the day in which she was circulated concerning old Sue Ward. It born? was said, that being vexed by Deacon She did curse it most bitterly. Her Barr, she gave utterance to a muttered wicked, withered old heart was lifting curse, and the next morning the deacon's itself up in blasphemy, as she sat by her best beifer was found dead, in such a fire that night, and gazed intently into strange position, that nobody but the its flames as they lightened up her miserdevil could have brought her there. able rooin. Then, as Mistress Ward was walking " Why can't I die?” muttered she to home one cold night, uncle Joshua over- herself. “As if seventy years of sorrow, took her in his nice new wagon. She seventy years of sip, wasn't enough for asked him to carry her home, as she one mortal! Doesn't the Bible say that was tired. Bat he replied he could not, three score years and ten are the limits as it was rather off his road, and he was of life? Why should I live longer? I, in a hurry. “ May you be longer reach- without friends, with none of the coming home than I am,” exclaimed she, forts which belong to age, old, poor, and but a moment afterwards bis horse miserable, half-starved and cold ?" and fell, broke both shafts to the wagon, and she drew up closer to the fire, and conwhat was worse, his own leg.
tinued. These stories, somewhat magnified, " I would drown myself, but the water
is so cold. I have not strength enough I know no more of the devil chan you to kill myself any other way. Why is do." there no other way but dying to be rid “Not perhaps as much," said he, in of the world ? If folks could cast off life an undertone. "She went on, not hearas they do an old garment! I've heard ing or not heeding him. of old women that dried up and blew “You may not have felt all the wickaway. The Lord knows I'm dry enough. edness of your soul rise up against your Why, if he will not let me die, will be persecutors, prompting you to curse not blow me away? I should not care them as I have cursed them time and if it was to a place warmer than this, again, and curse them now. Oh, the where old women don't have to go out good Christian souls! who pretend to be after faggots.” And she grinned a most so pious and holy, who roll up their eyes wicked grin, showing one worn yellow at the very sight of me! I should not stump of a tooth,
wonder if some of them had more deal“Good evening, Mother Ward,” said ings with Satan than myself." a voice at her elbow.
*No doubt of it," rejoined the old man. She turned and saw just at her side å Old Sue went on, feeling a strange little old man dressed in black. A quick thrilling pleasure in telling her wicked active old fellow he seemed, as, without thoughts to the one at her side, whose being asked, he drew the other of the eyes gleamed brighter, and looked more two rush-bottomed chairs—all the seats evil, the more wicked she grew. the room contained-up to the fire. “And I was thinking what a mockery
“Who are you? What do you want?" it would be for me to say the Lord's asked old Sue, as soon as she had a little Prayer. "Our Father'”. recovered from her astonishment at this The old man gave an uneasy start as sudden interruption.
she said these words, yet remained quiet, “A poor cold traveller who wishes to as she repeated no more; but, smiting warm himself at your fire," replied he, her skinny hands together, exclaimedjust glancing at her with his keen black Why should I call him my Father ? eye. Oh it was the wickedest eye you Has he treated me as a child 7 Has he ever saw, so full of malice and deviltry, not left me here in my old age, to rags, so glittering and snake-like.
and poverty, and abuse, when he might " You are welcome to the little warmth have taken me to his blessed home bea wretched old woman's fire can give. yond the skies long before this? Death But you have not told me your name, would long ago have been welcome to though I ought to know it, as you seem to know mine."
“Why do you not kill yourself, then ?" I go under different names," replied asked the old man softly.
" those most familiar with me, call “I was thinking of that just as you me by a nickname, but my proper title came in. But it is an ugly, horrible is Beel Z. Bubb. But why do you call business to take one's own life. If there yourself wretched ?"
were only some easier way to rid one's “ Have you not lived long enough in self of the world! Did you ever hear," the world to know ?" replied she almost continued she, speaking in a low, confifiercely. " There are grey hairs on your dential tone, "did ever you hear of any brow, and the wrinkles on your face will old women that dried up and blew number almost as many as mine. Is it
away ?" not always wretched to be old? But The cunning-eyed one for a while perhaps you have warm friends who spoke not a word. He sat there still and cheer you with their presence, and sus- quiet, looking fixedly into the fire. But tain you by their love?”
all at once he burst out with a wild stave She paused a moment, as if waiting of a song. The words so wrought upon for a reply. But the old man sat with the imagination of mother Ward, thathis elbows resting on his knees, looking she knew not why—she began to stainp steadfastly into the fire with his cunning her feet in accompaniment, and when he eyes. The old woman continued
came to the chorus, she joined her shrill Perhaps you do not know what it is treble to his cracked bass, and the strange to outlive all the friends of your youth, melody rang out clear and piercingly: to wander away among strangers, and to be shunned and despised by them, to be
I walked me out the other night,
The wind was blowing high; treated and hooted at as a witch, as one
I clasped my cloak about me tight, who has dealings with the devil, when
And wished that I might die.
Chorus.-0 for those rare, good times of old, roof, who called her their darling; she
When women, I've heard say, traced her own life as she grew up a If winds were high, or weather cold,
wayward beauty ; her love poured out Dried up and blew away.
in its wealth and tenderness upon one Quoth I, O, vind ! O, bitter wind!
her parents deemed unworthy; her Why blow so chill on me?
rebellion and forsaking of all for love of I'm old and lonely, nearly blind
him who was to be father and mother to What are my rags to thee ?"
her: her few short months of happiness O for those rare good times of old, &c.
and a terrible awakening as the earth Yet still the cold, cold wind blew on,
received to its boscm her love, her only And pierced me through and through, joy, save an infant life which only kept It said to me, in quiet scorn,
her grief from laying herself by his side “Away with hags like you !" O for those rare good times of old, &c.
in the grave.
Old Sue buried her face in her hands
I curse thy chilling breath,-
came so vividly upon her. The evilI'll curse thee till my death.
eyed looked gloomily. O for those rare good times of old, &c.
But memory would not stop here
as his death and as her treasure's birth. “Chorus again !" shouted the old man, It told over her wrongs. The consciousstamping his foot. And they sang it ness of finding herself without money, through again, till the old walls of the and consequently without friends, in a room echoed with the wild scream of great city; the long days of travel, with their voices.
the precious little one in her arms, to “Those good old times may come the home of her childhood; the winter's again," said the old man, after they had night that heard her timorous knock at finished the singing. “But there is a the door and certain state of feeling to which every The one at her side looked smilingly. one must arrive, before they can vanish The tears had dried, and foulest hate from earth. People in the old times scowled forth from her face. oftener reached it, than at present.”
And the same wild night heard a “What is that state? I will attain father's curse upon his offspring; it saw unto it," said mother Ward.
a woman faint and foot-worn go forth; “I think you will; perhaps, you have. with its winds and storms it hushed a Know then, good mother, that all things child's cry for ever, and wrought long here on the earth are vanity. What is months of disease upon the mother. lighter than vanity? Doth not the From that bed of sickness, Memory told slightest breath stir the leaf of the wil- her how she rose with vows of venlow? But vanity is lighter than even geance, but it did not dare to dwell the willow's leaf. I said all things were upon the unnatural crimes which folVanity; all things but love are so. It is lowed, of vain endeavors to escape this which binds men to earth. Were it remorse, of her flight over the sea, of not for the love which human beings the years she had wished to die. bear to one another-puff--and away She rose from her seat-trembling and they would go, mine for ever. Now, pale—for she had dared to think upon mother Ward, tell me, have you rid her sinful past.
She had a parent's yourself altogether of love?' I find love and it had cursed instead of blessed many who declare they have done thus, her; she won a dearer love, and it died and when I wonder they do not blow from her; a child's love had blossomed sway, lo! down deep in their heart, in her heart, but it was rudely killed and covered over it may be with the glitter its death terribly avenged. She had no of mammon, with the dross of selfish- other love-all was unfriendliness and Dess, one little particle of love, which hate. keeps them from being altogether vanity. “Are you ready to go?" said the old Bat I am preaching! Tell me, I, say, man calmly. He knew that she was his. have you rid yourself altogether of “Let me first warm myself before my love ?"
journey,” replied she. Then she gathOld Sue sat still and thought. Her ered all the faggots into the middle of mind went back through the path of the room, and kindlednem. The room weary years, to the days when a happy blazed in a moment. As the flames child she had clong with affection to leaped fierce and hot. those who cherished her under their "I am ready” said she.
That night good John Benton came riding from Plynouth. As he approached old Sue's hut he saw the fire burst forth from its windows, and strangest of all, two shadowy forms glided far away above the burning flames, flying into the darkness of the night, while a gust of wind mightier than ever he had before felt, almost blew him from his horse.
These things he averred to the crowd who collected around the burning dwell
ing. And what confirmed the narration was, that no bones could be found among the ruins-neither was old Sue Ward seen any more.
This is a story believed by many persons to the present day, and on account of which, every old house thereabouts has a horse-shoe nailed to its door, and this maxim prevails:
CHERISH LOVE LEST YOU BEOOME VANITY.
LOW, sad brow with folded hair,
From whose deep night, one pallid rose
Of pride, Olympian Juno might
Have worn for the great god's delight;
In whose large motion you might see
Her royal soul lived royally,
And only caring to walk straight
The road ordained to her by Fate.
Flashed through the twilight of the room,
A double light, of gem and tune ;
Glide ghostly white, and fearless wave
Dead faces up from Memory's grave.
Sweet tears came to the heart's relief,
She sat and sang us into grief-
A happy lover would have sung,
If once he could have found a tongue;
Through the quick dance, whose tangled braid
Now caught the sunlight, now the shade;
As, rowing homeward down the stream,
He sees his maiden's garments gleam
While the sad singer, whippoor will,
Cries from the willow by the mill.
A sigh was in it, and a sense
Of some dread voice that called us hence;
Although the hand that touched those keys,
A PEDAGOGUE IN GEORGIA.
one of back numbers of “ gently and skilfully, a few items of the overshadows all others of whatever marexperience of a school-mistress in Texas. vellous presumptions. Schools no longThe famous picture of Shepstone's is not er exist in the towns and villages, rarely at hand to verify her words by quota- in the fields ; academies and colleges tion; perhaps, with all his sympathy for supplant them. All this in a parenthethe character, the Texan adventures sis. could teach the poet, if living, some Finding that a magisterial port and things out of the circle of his observa- learned way procured more respect and tion. Her narration carries internal evi- dollars than peddling elixirs and panadence of truth to the mind of any one ceas, the change is effected in the moultwho has cast an eye occasionally, out of ing of a snake. Some found it to their a southern school-room. The following pecuniary advantage, or the steppingjottings have been instigated by her de- stone to sudden competencies. Others scription, and so far as they coincide in followed, enticed by the glittering narraspirit, their features must be accorded to tives of teachers, who married young her as the first gleaner.
heiresses, or witching widows, with Some of the good people of the Mid- much land, and many negroes. The rodle States, and a portion of New Eng- mance is still alluring enough to draw land, now and then, humorously sketch yearly its supply of ready-made teach& Yankee teacher, in the words of the ers. Within a few years the proverb quasi proverb, that he comes up from above has become acclimated at Souththe east with a spelling-book in one ern hearths; so that the reception of band, and a balter in the other, prepar- Yankee masters is on the wane. ed for either extreme, of “teaching Such was the state of the field when school, or stealing a horse.” This was your informant came hither; a change once so generally true, that the caustic for the better quality of instructors was saying of a quiet wit embraced the ex- the quotation of the public feeling, and perience of neighborhoods. Beyond the nothing less than " a graduate” was relatitude of those States, the equipment ceived. Yet some of the old regime has changed in appearance, though not in then existed, and still rule the benches. reality. Halters are exchanged for pat- This immigration, in spite of prejudice, ent medicines, or new inventions. With- was in many things much the best, as in a range of a score of miles, are five far as conscientious faithfulness was conYackee teachers, now the heads of good cerned. They knew the “spelling-book" schools, formerly the hawkers of pills, and taught it; now the spelling-book is Lightning-rods, tooth-ache drops, and nearly effete. An illustration; a few various syrups. Laying aside their peri- evenings since, one of New England's patetic Galenships, they assume the stole originals, half actor, half tailor, who has of a master, and dispute the palm of ency, wandered hither, under the half-spent clopædic knowledge with the lawyer and force communicated to him by his propriest of the vicinage. Besides, they genitor Ishmael, became excited in a teach no schools—nothing less than an conversation with the installed schoolacademy, ye shades of Attic doctors. master, and exclaimed—“I reckon I The reply of Boswell's father, the Scotch know its spelling right; look in Web“Laird of Auchnileck,” to an inquirer ster; there you'll find it—in the spellin'was printed: “There's nae hope for book-I didn't teach school three inonths Jamie, mon. Jamie is gaen clean gyte. in New Orleans for nothin'--and when What do you think, mon? He's done I quit, I was a dab at spellin'." wi' Paoli-he's off wi' the land-louping Would that more of both instructors scoundrel of a Corsican; and whose tail and pupils were orthographical “ dabs.” do you think he has pinned himself to For reasonable hope might then be enternow, mon? A dominie, mon-an auld tained that the present woeful tortion of dominie; he keepit a schule, and cau'd the alphabet would be exchanged for a it an acaademy." Old Auch nileck had knowledge of English letters, at least, an eye for the pretension of his day, and superior to the "elegant extracts” exhi