Popular Science Monthly/Volume 47/August 1895/To Barbara


(A Study in Heredity.)


LITTLE lady, cease your play
For a moment, if you may;
Come to me, and tell me true
Whence those black eyes came to you.

Father's eyes are granite gray,
And your mother's, Bárbara,
Black as the obsidian stone,
With a luster all their own.
How should one so small as you
Learn to choose between the two?

If through father's eyes you look,
Nature seems an open book—
All her secrets written clear
On her pages round you, dear.
Better yet than this may be
If through mother's eyes you see;
Theirs to read—a finer art—
Deep down in the human heart.
How should one so small as you
Choose so well between the two?

Hide your face behind your fan,
Little black-eyed Puritan;
Peer across its edge at me
In demurest coquetry,
Like some Doña Plácida,
Not the Puritan you are.

Subtle sorcery there lies
In the glances of your eyes,
Calling forth, from out the vast
Vaults of the forgotten past,
Pictures dim and far away
From the full life of to-day,
Like the figures that we see
Wrought in ancient tapestry.

This the vision comes to me:
Sheer rock rising from the sea,
Wind-riven, harsh, and vertical,
To a gray old castle wall;
Waving palms upon its height,
At its feet the breakers white,
Chasing o'er an emerald bay,
Like a flock of swans that play;
Tile-roofed houses of the town,
From the hills, slow-creeping down;
Rocks and palms and castle wall,
Emerald seas that rise and fall,
Golden haze and glittering blue—
What is all of this to you?

Only this, perchance it be,
Each has left its trace in thee;
Only this, that Love is strong,
And the arm of Fate is long.

Deeply hidden in your eyes,
Undeciphered histories,
Graven in the ages vast,
Lie there to be read at last:
Graven deep, they must be true;
Shall I read them unto you?

Once a man, now faint and dim
With the centuries over him,
Wandered from an ancient town,
On its hills slow-creeping down,
O'er the ocean, bold and free,
Roved in careless errantry.
With Vizcaino had he fared,
And his strange adventures dared;
Restless ever, drifting on,
Far as foot of man had gone;

On his cheek the salt that clings
To the Headland of the Kings,
Flung from the enchanted sea
Of Saint Francis Assisi!
Rover o'er the ocean blue—
What has he to do with you?

Only this: he sailed one day
To your Massachusetts Bay,
And this voyage was his last,
For Love seized and held him fast.
Of that old romance of his
None can tell you more than this;
Saving that, as legacies
To his child, he left his eyes,
Black as the obsidian stone,
With a luster all their own,
Seeing as by magic ken
Deep into the hearts of men.
And mid tides of changing years,
Dreams and hopes and cares and fears,
Life that flows and ebbs alway,
Love has kept them loyally.

Once, it chanced, they came to shine,
Straight into this heart of mine.

Little lady, cease your play
For a moment, if you may;
All I ask is, silently,
Turn your mother's eyes on me!

Consulado Ingles, Calle de las Olas Altas, Mazatlan, Sinaloa,
January 10, 1895.

According to Captain Younghusband, lately assistant English resident at Clritral, a mountain district of India which has just been attracting considerable attention, the principal evil in the mountains outside of his station is the want of desire for money. The mountaineers, secluded from mankind amid their hills, have never used any money, and consequently have no idea of the value of coins. They took the rupees to be ornaments, and were greatly aggrieved when after carrying loads up the hills they were paid only in little bits of silver. But the government wanted work done, and, not being willing to force labor, had to train the people to the use of money, so they brought peddlers up from the plains. Then, when the people found they could get the goods they wanted with their rupees, they were willing to take them.