THE DARK DAY
Listen, and I will tell you of the famous dark day in Connecticut. It
was in the month of May, more than a hundred years ago.
The sun rose bright and fair, and the morning was without a cloud. The
air was very still. There was not a breath of wind to stir the young
leaves on the trees.
Then, about the middle of the day, it began to grow dark. The sun was
hidden. A black cloud seemed to cover the earth.
The birds flew to their nests. The chickens went to roost. The cows
came home from the pasture and stood mooing at the gate. It grew so
dark that the people could not see their way along the streets.
Then everybody began to feel frightened. "What is the matter? What is
going to happen?" each one asked of another. The children cried. The
dogs howled. The women wept, and some of the men prayed.
"The end of the world has come!" cried some; and they ran about in the
"This is the last great day!" cried others; and they knelt down and
In the old statehouse, the wise men of Connecticut were sitting. They
were men who made the laws, and much depended upon their wisdom.
When the darkness came, they too began to be alarmed. The gloom was
"It is the day of the Lord." said one.
"No use to make laws," said another, "for they will never be needed."
"I move that we adjourn," said a third.
Then up from his seat rose Abraham Davenport.
His voice was clear and strong, and all knew that he, at least, was
"This may be the last great day," he said. "I do not know whether the
end of the world has come or not. But I am sure that it is my duty to
stand at my post as long as I live. So, let us go on with the work
that is before us. Let the candles be lighted."
His words put courage into every heart. The candles were brought in.
Then with his strong face aglow in their feeble light, he made a speech
in favor of a law to help poor fishermen.
And as he spoke, the other lawmakers listened in silence till the
darkness began to fade and the sky grew bright again.
The people of Connecticut still remember Abraham Davenport, because
he was a wise judge and a brave lawmaker. The poet Whittier has written
a poem about him, which you will like to hear.