ページの画像
PDF
ePub

Learn the meanings of the following words before studying the poem : moldering wall: a wall covered repining: complaining.

with patches of mold. fate: the griefs and joys that gust: a short, sudden rush of the are certain to come to any wind.

one.

[ocr errors]

The day is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary ;
The vine still clings to the moldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,

And the day is dark and dreary.

My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary ;
My thoughts still cling to the moldering Past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast,

And the days are dark and dreary.

10

Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,

Some days must be dark and dreary.

[blocks in formation]

QUESTIONS AND SUGGESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION 1. Describe the day mentioned in do so, seeing each separate

this poem. Can you really picture and hearing the imagine it? Try now to cold wind.

2. What comparison did the 4. Has this poem anything to

day suggest to the poet? do with you? If so, what?
What in his life repre How may it help you to
sented the rain ? The be as brave as Mr. Long-
wind? The vine clinging fellow?
to the wall? The falling 5. How may this poem bring
leaves ?

hope and comfort to all who 3. What brave lesson does he read it understandingly?

get from the day at last ?

[ocr errors]

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, usually considered as first among American poets, was born at Portland, Maine, in 1807. He was a professor of literature at Bowdoin College, Maine, and at Harvard College for many years, resigning the latter position in 1854 to devote his time to writing. He is beloved by children as "The Children's Poet.” Mr. Longfellow died at Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1882, universally loved and honored.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

How it pours, pours, pours,

In a never-ending sheet !
How it drives beneath the doors !

How it soaks the passer's feet!
How it rattles on the shutter!

How it rumples up the lawn !
How 'twill sigh, and moan, and mutter,
From darkness until dawn.

ROSSITER JOHNSON

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

COSETTE

VICTOR HUGO This selection is part of the famous novel called “Les Miserables” (là mė-zā-rä' b'l), which means “The Wretched.” It was written by Victor Hugo, a great French novelist.

“Les Miserables," as a whole, is not a story for children, but this selection is. The author's sympathy with “the wretched,” with his power of picturing the feelings of the suffering, even of little children, cannot fail to teach a noble lesson.

Cosette was a little ragged waif who lived in a cheap hotel or lodging house in a French village near a great forest. She was only eight years of age, yet she was “maid of all work” about the hotel.

Her mistress, the landlady of the hotel, was a large, red-faced, brutal woman, with a voice so terrible that it made everybody and everything tremble, even the windowpanes and the furniture. Cosette was so little and the landlady was so big that the girl seemed “a mouse in the service of an elephant.

Her master, the landlord, was a small, pale, bony man who seemed sickly, but who was as cunning, greedy, and clever as a spider. Indeed, “the hotel was like a spider's web, in which Cosette had been caught and where she lay trembling. It was something like a fly serving the spiders."

The landlord and the landlady had two little daughters who lived in idleness and luxury with Cosette for their slave.

The story begins with Christmas Eve, the time when everybody should be happy or should be made happy. It was night and the

weather was cold. A number of carters and peddlers were smoking in the public room of the hotel. “Little Cosette, who was nearly eight years old, but who seemed hardly six in her rags and with her stockingless feet in wooden shoes as she sat on the crossbar of the kitchen table near the chimney, was knitting stockings for the landlady's little girls." No one seemed to notice her misery.

At this time, Cosette was ordered by her mistress to go out into the cold night to the spring in the forest about a quarter of a mile away and bring back a bucket of water.

As you read this part of the story, you should try to imagine yourself going with the little waif, as she plunged into the dark forest and “stared at the darkness before her, where there were no people, but where there might be wild beasts. She could almost hear them walking on the grass." Try to see her as “she did not turn her eyes either to the right or to the left for fear of seeing things in the branches or in the bushes.”

As you read about little Cosette's return with the bucket of water, try to be with her; try to feel the “shiver which chilled her to the very bottom of her heart.” Imagine how “the iron handle was freezing her wet and tiny hands” and how “the cold water splashed from the pail and fell on her bare legs." And remember that “this took place in the depths of a forest, at night, in winter, far from all human sight,” and that “she was a child of eight.

At this point, we shall leave you to find out how some one came out of the darkness to her rescue, and how in her rescuer, Cosette found a friend who took her away from her cruel master and mistress.

The story would make a wonderful moving picture. To read it means to see what is told just as if it were shown on a screen before you. As you read each sentence, try to see what it describes.

Of course, in this story, Victor Hugo is trying to arouse our sympathy for the wretched around our own selves; for if we should look about, we should find little Cosettes not far away. He wishes

to help us to see their sufferings and to be to them what the kind stranger was to Cosette.

There is in all the world no happiness so great as that which comes to us when we relieve suffering. Let this story make us look about for some Cosette and then be the good stranger of this beautiful story.

You will understand the story better by learning first the meanings of the following words: landlord, landlady: the master Cosette (ko-zět'): the name of

and the mistress of a hotel or the little girl in this story.

lodging house. rescue (rés'kū): act of freeing

from danger.

COSETTE

PART I

On Christmas Eve, 1823, a number of carters and peddlers were seated at a table smoking, in the public room of the hotel in a French village. The landlady was attending to the supper, which was roasting in front of a clear fire; her husband was talking politics 5 with his customers.

The landlady was tall, blond, red, and fat. Everything and everybody trembled at the sound of her voice, - windowpanes, furniture, and people. She loved no one except her two little girls, and feared no 10 one except her husband. She made the beds, did the washing, and the cooking. Little Cosette was her only servant; a mouse in the service of an elephant.

« 前へ次へ »