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small white line stretched in the air. Jake heard the shouts of the riders behind him, the slashing of many whips. His mare scudded before the fields of noise be hind her as a sea bird before the hurricane's roar, and yet she seemed to get no nearer the demon bay that flew fearlessly along. He pulled on her bit. Instinct seemed to tell her that she must go now or never.
“Not yit, Ole Mistis, not yit!" said her ashen faced rider, as he bent to her stride and patted her sweatcovered neck.
At the last half it seemed to Jake that they had gone a day's journey, that time had stopped, and eternity had begun since he shot away on that frenzied ride.
The last quarter! Jake raised in his stirrups. "Now, Ole Mistis, go!” he fairly shouted, as he gave her full head for the first time. The mare responded with a gallant leap-another and another—but no nearer did she come to the bay. Loraine had been turned loose too, and increased the distance between them with demoniacal swiftness. Like a death stab the thought went through Jake's mind for the first time that he could not win, Loraine was just ahead; they were now at the last eighth. Frenzied, frantic, Jake knew not what he did. In despair he raised his whip, it flashed a moment in the sunlight, then went whistling across the track. He had thrown it away! But look! Loraine now fairly flew. Ole Mistis was falling back. Overcome with grief and shame, Jake forgot all about Loraine. He thought only of the old home, of his love for his master, of Miss Anne, of his idolatrous worship of the mare, mingled with the fact that he had ruined them all. A clay path flashed under the mare's nose and then he thought of
Jim Wetherell's words. He guided the mare in the path, let out all his rein, and flung himself forward on her neck, clinging to her mane. Thrusting two brown heels into her flanks, he burst out crying: “Ole Mistis ! Dis am Jake little Jake! Go home, Ole Mistis! Go home, Ole Mistis !! Go home!!!”
To the surprise of everyone, the mare answered this pathetic call with a burst of speed unheard of on the track even to this day. A thousand demons of determination blazed in her eyes. One, two, three leaps she made and in a twinkling she had cleared the distance between herself and the bay. The crowd roared, men climbed on one another's shoulders, Loraine's driver, now so thoroughly in earnest, went to his whip. It flashed a moment in the air and fell with stinging earnestness on the bay's shoulders! The gallant animal, never before having felt a blow, swerved slightly to avoid it. Only a moment of indecision—but like a swallow before a blast, the gray mare thrust her long neck under the wire and the race was won!
ONE NICHE THE HIGHEST
Mr. Burritt was called "The Learned Blacksmith." Working at his anvil he studied at the same time and became a noted linguist, lecturer and reformer. He died in 1879.
The scene opens with a view of the great Natural Bridge in Virginia. There are three or four lads standing in the channel below, looking up with awe to that vast arch of unhewn rocks, which the Almighty bridged over those everlasting butments, “when the morning stars sang together.” The little piece of sky spanning those measureless piers, is full of stars, although it is mid-day. It is almost five hundred feet from where they stand, up those perpendicular bulwarks of limestone, to the key of that vast arch, which appears to them only the size of a man's hand. They see the names of hundreds cut in the limestone butments. A new feeling comes over their young hearts, and their knives are in their hands in an instant. "What man has done, man can do,” is their watchword, while they draw themselves
up, and carve their names a foot above those of a hundred full-grown men who have been there before them.
They are all satisfied with this feat of physical exertion, except one; whose example illustrates perfectly
in the memory
the forgotten truth, that there is "no royal road to learning." This ambitious youth sees a name above his reach-a name which will be
green of the word when those of Alexander, Caesar, and Bonaparte shall rot in oblivion. It was the name of Washington! It was a glorious thought for the boy to write his name side by side with that great Father of his country. He grasps his knife with a firmer hand, and, clinging to a little jutting crag, he cuts into the limestone, about a foot above where he stands; he then reaches up, and cuts another for his hands. 'Tis a dangerous adventure, but as he puts his feet and hands into those gains, and draws himself up carefully to his full length he finds himself a foot above every name chronicled in that mighty wall. While his companions are regarding his with concern and admiration, he cuts his name in wide capitals, large and deep into that flinty album. His knife is still in his hand, and strength in his sinews, and a new-created aspiration in his heart. Again he cuts another niche, and again carves his name in larger capitals. This is not enough; heedless of the entreaties of his companions, he cuts and climbs again! The graduation of his ascending scale grew wider apart. He measures his length at every gain he cuts. The voices of his friends wax weaker and weaker, till their words are finally lost on his ear. He now, for the first time, casts a look beneath him. Had that glance lasted a moment, that moment would have been his last! He clings, with a convulsive shudder, to his little niche in the rock. An awful abyss awaits his almost certain fall! He is faint with severe exertion, and trembling from the sudden view of the dreadful destruction
to which he is exposed. His knife is worn half-way to the haft. He can hear the voices, but not the words, of his terror stricken companions below. What a moment! What a meager chance to escape destruction! There is no retracing his steps. It is impossible to put his hands into the same niche with his feet, and retain his slender hold a moment. His companions instantly perceive this new and fearless dilemma, and one of them rushes away to secure help. The poor boy hears the hum of numerous voices both above and below. He can just distinguish the tones of his father, who is shouting, with all the energy of despair,-“William! William! Don't look down! Keep your eyes toward the top!” The boy did not look down. His eye is fixed toward heaven, and his young heart on Him who reigns there. He grasps again his knife. He cuts another niche, and another foot is added to the hundreds that remove him from the reach of human help below. How carefully he uses his wasting blade! Fifty more gains must be cut before the longest rope can reach him. Spliced ropes are in the hands of those who are leaning over the outer edge of the ridge. Two minutes more and all will be over! That blade is worn to the last half-inch. The boy's head reels; his eyes are starting from upon the next gain he cuts. That niche is his last! At the last flint-gash he makes, his knife-his faithful knife-falls from his little nerveless hands, and, ringing along the precipice, falls at his mother's feet! An involuntary groan of despair runs, like a death-knell, through the channel below, and all is still as the grave. At a height of nearly three hundred feet, the devoted boy lifts his hopeless heart and closes his eyes to commend his soul