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The Open Fire Henry van Dyke

Altars Of Remembrance

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Well, the fireplace is still standing. The butternut-tree spreads its broad branches above the stream. The violets and the bishop's-caps and the wild anemones are sprinkled over the banks. The yellow-throat and the water-thrush and the vireos still sing the same tunes in the thicket. And the elder of the two lads often comes back with me to that pleasant place and shares my fisherman's luck beside the Swiftwater.

But the younger lad?

Ah, my little Barney, you have gone to follow a new stream,--clear as crystal,--flowing through fields of wonderful flowers that never fade. It is a strange river to Teddy and me; strange and very far away. Some day we shall see it with you; and you will teach us the names of those blossoms that do not wither. But till then, little Barney, the other lad and I will follow the old stream that flows by the woodland fireplace,--your altar.

Rue grows here. Yes, there is plenty of rue. But there is also rosemary, that 's for remembrance! And close beside it I see a little heart's-ease.

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Fisherman's Luck
Henry van Dyke

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