October Vagabonds eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 92 pages of information about October Vagabonds.
bewilderment, whenever we had a choice of good or bad roads, we always chose the bad.  And, to get at what we really wanted, we learned to inquire which was the worst road to such and such a place.  That we knew would be the road for us.  From their point of view, the road we were on was as bad as could be; but, as I said, the undertaker evidently understood us, and had sent us into a region of whimsically sudden hills and rock and wooded wilderness, a swart country of lonely, rugged uplands, with but a solitary house here and there for miles.  It was resting at the top of one of these hard-won acclivities that we came upon—­and remember that it was the middle of October—­two wild roses blooming by the roadside.  This seems a fact worthy the attention of botanical societies, and I still have the roses pressed for the inspection of the learned between the pages of my travelling copy of Hans Andersen’s “Fairy Tales.”

A fact additionally curious was that the bush on which the flowers grew seemed to be the only rose-bush in the region.  We looked about us in vain to find another.  How had that single rose-bush come to be, an uncompanioned exotic, in the rough society of pines and oaks and hickories, on a rocky hill-top swept by the North wind, and how had those frail, scented petals found strength and courage thus to bloom alone in the doorway of Winter?  And, why, out of all the roses of the world, had these two been chosen, still, so late in the year, to hold up the tattered standard of Summer?

Why, in the empty Autumn woods,
  And all the loss and end of things,
Does one leaf linger on the tree;
  Why is it only one bird sings?

And why, across the aching field,
  Does one lone cricket chirrup on;
Why one surviving butterfly,
  With all its bright companions gone?

And why, when faces all about
  Whiten and wither hour by hour,
Does one old face bloom on so sweet,
  As young as when it was a flower_?

The same mystery was again presented to us a little farther along the road, as we stopped at a lone schoolhouse among the hills, the only house to be seen, and asked our way of the young schoolmarm.  The door had been left half open, and, knocking, we had stepped into the almost empty schoolroom, with its portrait of Lincoln and a map of the United States.  Three scholars sat there with their kindly-faced teacher, studying geography amid the silence of the hills, which the little room seemed to concentrate in a murmuring hush, like a shell.  A little boy sat by himself a desk or two behind two young girls, and as we entered, and the studious faces looked up in surprise, we saw only the pure brows and the great spiritual eyes of the older girl, almost a woman, and we thought of the lonely roses we had found up on the hillside.  Here was another rose blooming in the wilderness, a face lovely and beautiful as a spring reflecting the sky in the middle of a wood.  How had she come

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October Vagabonds from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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