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FALVEY MEMORIAL LIBRARY
FALVEY MEMORIAL LIBRARY
Dime Novel and Popular Literature
The Youth's companion
Volume 37 (1863)
The Youth's companion, v. XXXVII, no. 41, Thursday, October 8, 1863.
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The Youth's companion, v. XXXVII, no. 41, Thursday, October 8, 1863.
11 February 2020
Boston : Olmstead & Co.
Dime Novel and Popular Literature
The Two rivals; or, The Composition prize.
Children's periodicals, American.
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Disclaimer of Endorsement
TE nn NUMBEE 41, OLMSTEAD & CO., PUBLISHERS. THE TWO RIVALS; OR, THE COMPOSITION PRIZE. Less than fifty years ago, in a young ladies’ school not far from the city of Boston, a prize was offered by the trustees for the best original composition which should be read by the graduating class at the approaching annual examination. The class con- sisted of only twelve young ladies. Not more than five of these dared entertain any hope of the offered reward; and of this small number there were only two whose rare gifts in writing seemed to render the hopes of the remainder quite presumptuous, Between Alice Carlton and Jane Bradford, it was generally conceded, lay the prize,—an elegant edi- tion, in green and gold, of one of our best standard poets. Alice and Jane were the two best scholars in the class ; of. nearly equal mental powers; and, of course, often rivals for school honors. ‘The con- test between them would have been closer, and the rivalry more constant, had Alice possessed the ex- ternal advantages with’ which Jane was favored. But their outward circumstances differed’ widely. Jane was blessed with excellent health, with a com- petency, and a large circle of appreciating friends. Alice was the only child of a widowed mother, poor, and among strangers: and O! severer trial still, was in feeble health and hopelessly deformed. Yet the lamp of genius burned brightly; and often be- guiled her fond mother into momentary forgetful- ness of the thin, sallow face, the stooping form, and painfully rounded shoulders of her darling. _ Something more and better than external fortune gave Jane popularity among. her companions; she had a very sweet and obliging disposition. Alice “was perhaps as good-tempered as Jane. But her - own and her mother’s struggles with misfortune, 4 ‘and her bitter personal trials had made her reserved and unsocial: and, being misunderstood by her schoolmates, she was often called cross and diso- bliging. Yet all acknowledged her superior tal- ents: and,when the composition prize was offered, and Alice was known to be writing for it, many of Jane’s friends feared for their favorite. Jane herself had only one strong motive for de- siring success; and that was to gratify her father. He was very proud of his daughter; and having always given her the best advantages, was naturally desirous that she should excel all others. Yet Jane was not so fond of study for its own sake as Alice was. The latter had always delighted in it; and looked forward to it as her chief resource under the deprivations which she felt her infirmities would always impose. But when her father’s sudden bankruptcy and death (about two years previous to our history) had left herself and mother nearly destitute, Alice eagerly pursued her studies, as af- fording the only probable means of future support. And to excel in composition was her special desire —her darling hope; since authorship, if it brought her less remuneration than teaching, would favor that seclusion which she felt to be essential to her uillity. vralice’s chother was more anxious, if possible, than Alice herself, that she should gain the prize at the approaching examination. And this arose from no excess of ambition or maternal pride. She knew the secret of her daughter’s mental efforts, although Alice seldom spoke of it; and she saw that she often suffered from despondency and a morbid self- distrust. Consequently she craved for her child the encouragement and self-confidence which a suc- ssful prize essay would be sure to give. The vaportent day arrived, and Derrick Ball was crowded to its utmost capacity by the friends and patrons of the Derrick Institute, to witness its annual exhibition. After the proficiency of the pupils had been sufficiently tested in other branch- es of study, the compositions were called for. Tach of the five writers for the prize was to read her own article in turn, 88 arranged by the principal ; Jane and Alice coming last in order.’ The young ladies who preceded Jane had very respectable pieces; but they did not read them well, and of course made a feeble impression. uncommonly good reader; tones, and distinct enuncia the merits of her essay, plause. It was no’ called, she did not rise. greatly disturbed from the outset by the thought of Speman. Jane, however, was an her clear voice, correct tion greatly enhoncing and eliciting marked ap- wv Alice’s turn; but when her name was The poor girl had been facing the unwelcome gaze of the crowd; but her own convictions, as well as her mother’s assurances that she had succeeded well in writing her piece, had helped to conquer her reluctance to read it. “Just as Jane had concluded, however, and resumed her seat, and Alice was sbout to rise, a cruel whisper from one in the seat behind the latter, reached her ear. It was addressed to Jane, and the whisperer said: “You are sure of the prize, Miss Bradford. What can that miserable hump-back do? I should think she’d be ashamed to be seen.” Jane turned her head to frown upon the rude and thoughtless speaker, and was shocked to see that the cruel words had been heard by Alice Carlton, and had cut her to the heart. A deep flush, suc- ceeded by a deadly paleness, swept across the sal- low face of poor Alice, and when her name was called, she did not attempt to rise. The teacher hastened to her, and in a low voice tried to per- suade her to read her manuscript. “But she buret into tears, and crushing the paper int her hand, said, “I cannot—I cannot—it is no matter; I shall never try again!” Jane's gentle heart was deeply pained. She whispered to her mates, earnestly, “Some of us ought to read her piece for her. I’m sure she has written a good one.” . . “Jt would be no kindness to her, poor thing. “Not one of us could read it decently before all these people, unless it is yourself; and that might lessen your chance for the prize; for Alice Carlton i ‘ood writer.” ° No such motive ought to hinder me, or shall,” replied Jane; and with a new light in her eye, and a generous glow upon her cheek, she moved quick- ly to the side of the weeping girl. . . “Alice,” she softly said, “it ee val hear your composition. It is doing injustic f| Both to ourself and the class to withhold it, Will » HAVE YOU WOUND UP THB CLOCK? you allow me to read it for you P I will do my best by it.” The genuine kindness and tender sympathy of Jane made their way to the heart of the sensitive girl; and with no words, but Only a fervent pres- sure of the hand which Jane had taken, Alice gave the paper into her keeping, and covered her face while the piece was read. It was an admirable theme—“The Uses of Study.” As Jane read, her interest in the subject, quickened by her tender compassion for the writer, became deep and fervent. Both heart and soul were thrown into the exercise; ber own perception and feeling kindled that of others; the most eager attention followed every word; the noble sentiments, as well as the beauty and force with which they were ex- pressed, touched the hearts and minds of the listen- ers; and its conclusion drew the warmest applause of the admiring audience. The prize committee whispered a few moments together; and then the chairman announced their decision. ‘In adjudging,” he said, “as we must, for its rare excellence, the offered prize in compo- sition to that written by Miss Alice Carlton, we desire to say that in our opinion, an equal testi- monial is richly due to another; and that if two prizes, instead of one, yere ours to bestow, we should most heartily give the second to the young lady whose own well-written theme was only sur- passed by that which she had the grace and kind- ness to read for another. We are sure that we do both parties a pleasure and an honor, when we re- quest that Jane Bradford present, on our bebilf, the offered prize to Alice Carlton, The bright and beaming face of Jane, as she re- ceived and bore the coveted testimonial to Alice, and the grateful sensibility of the latter as she mod- estly received it, showed to every beholder that 22 SCHOOL STREET, BOSTON. had debased the noble nature of the rivals for the Composition Prize.—Student and Schoolmate. ++ ____ ADVENTURE WITH A BEAR. . During a recent interview with an old acquaint- ance, who had spent several years of his life on board a northern whaler, he related several exciting incidents of his perilous career, and, among the rest, the subjoined encounter with a polar bear: » “One day,” said the narrator, “as several of us stood looking at a very beautiful iceberg, which was slowly drifting leeward, I fancied I saw some- thing move upon it, and said so to my companions. ««4I don’t see anything,’ was the response of sev- eral in succession. “+A white bear!’ observed the mate, who had overheard my first remark, and now stood quietly looking at the object through a telescope. _ “This announcement produced quite a sensation on board, and elicited several witticisms at the ex- pense of the formidable animal, which was naviga- ting the ocean in so novel a manner, solitary and alone. “For the last two or three days we had not had any special excitement, and several of us were eager for an adventure. We asked leave to attack the bear, and our captain, one of the kindest-heart- ed men in the world, assented, but with several words of caution, which, I fear, were too much dis- regarded. Our vessel was run down to what was considered a safe distance, and hove to, and ten of us, armed with guns, pistols, axes, spears, har- poons, boat-hooks, &c., pulled away merrily for the scene of action. “We all of us knew something of the nature and power of the beast we were going to attack—that the white bear of the polar regions is the largest, most ferocious and formidable of all his species— for, besides what we had seen of the animal, we had heard thrilling yarns of actual encounters, and hair- breadth escapes, and bloody catastrophes; bat for all this we pulled forward with the light-hearted recklessness of sailors, “There she blows,’ was the jocular exclamation of the boatswain. . _ “We had been approaching the iceberg at an angle which had hid the bear from our view; but at the moment of the exclamation, we had just turned a point from which Bruin again became vis- ible. He was sitting in a sort of niche, about fif- teen feet above the water, and looking very con~ tented and unconcerned, until he got a sight of us in such close proximity, when he growled hoarse- ly, showing his teeth, thus giving us fair warning that we might expect trouble should we venture to assail him on his own domain. : “IIe was indeed a most formidable looking an- tagonist—measuring at least twelve feet in length, with a corresponding height, breadth and bulk. I remember wondering what chance a man would have for his life if once fairly within the stroke of his tremendous paw. I know that the lion of Asia and Africa is acknowledged: to be the king of beasts and lord of the wilderness; but he does not compare in either strength or ferocity with this dangerous monster of the polar seas. “As our boat was brought round in front of the brute, at a distance of some two hundred yards, I ventured to advise the laying on our oars, and bold- ing a sort of council of war, before proceeding to an attack which clearly promised to be a most dan- gerous one. My suggestion was unheeded. The boatswain confidently asserting there would be lit- tle or no danger in advancing close and pouring in a volley, as the beast would be too badly wounded from so many balls to do us harm, even if not killed outright. . “So we rowed up to within perhaps seventy-five yards—the bear grinning and growling at us all the while. Then the boat was brought round broad- side to, and every man took up his gun and got ready to fire at the word. Sailors, as a general thing, are not good marksmen. T readily calculated that not more than half our balls would hit the beast, even at that short distance, and thought it more than doubtful if either one of the balls, or all combined, would give him a mortal wound, But I was not the commander, and had only to obey or- ders, So, taking the best aim I could, I fired with neither the pride of success nor the sting of defeat the rest, and had the instant mortification and VOL, XXXVI, pea cae ll ar ee ne a ne enn a coe reel aan in Freee ace ane