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Cooled at once by that blood-let

Upon the paparet ;
And all the tedious tasked toil of the difficult long endeavar

Solved and quit by no more fine

Than these limbs of mine,

Spanned and measured once for all

By that right hand I lost,


Bought up at so light a cost

As one bloody fall

On a soldier's bed,

And three days on the ruined wall

Among the thirstless dead.


O to think my name is crost

From duty's muster-roll ;

That I may slumber though the clarion call,

And live the joy of an embodied soul

Free as a liberated ghost.

O to feel a life of deed

Was emptied out to feed

That fire of pain that burned so brief a while,

That fire from which I come, as the dead come

Forth from the irreparable tomb,

Or as a martyr on his funeral pile

Heaps up the burdens other men do bear

Through years of segregated care,

And takes the total load

Upon his shoulders broad,

And steps from earth to God.

O to think, through good or ill,

Whatever I am you '11 love me still ;

O to think, though dull I be,

You that are so grand and free,

You that are so bright and gay,

Will pause to hear me when I will,

As though my head were gray ; .

And though there 's little I can say,

Each will look kind with honor while he hears.

And to your loving ears

My thoughts will halt with honorable scars,

And when my dark voice stumbles with the weight


Of what it doth relate

(Like tha . blind comrade blinded in the wars *

Who bore the one-eyed brother that was lame),

You '11 remember 't is the same

That cried, " Follow me,"

Upon a summer's day ;

And I shall understand with unshed tears

This great reverence that I see,

And bless the day and Thee,

Lord God of victory !

And she,

Perhaps O even she

May look as she looked when I knew her

In those old days of childish sooth,

Ere my boyhood dared to woo her.

I will not seek to sue her,

For I 'm neither fonder nor truer

Than when she slighted my lovelorn youth,

My giftless, graceless, guinealess truth,

And I only lived to rue her.

But I '11 never love another,

And, in spite of her lovers and lands,

She shall love me yet, my brother !

As a child that holds by his mother,
While his mother speaks his praises,
Holds with eager hands,
And ruddy and silent stands
In the ruddy and silent daisies,
And hears her bless her boy,
And lifts a wondering joy,
So I '11 not seek nor sue her,
But I '11 leave my glory to woo her,
And I '11 stand like a child beside,
And from behind the purple pride


I '11 lift my eyes unto her,

And I shall not be denied.

And you will love her, brother dear,

And perhaps next year you '11 bring me here

All through the balmy April-tide,

And she will trip like spring by my side,

And be all the birds to my ear.

And here all three we '11 sit in the sun,

And see the Aprils one by one,

Primrosed Aprils on and on,

Till the floating prospect closes

In golden glimmers that rise and rise,

And perhaps, are gleams of Paradise,

And perhaps, too far for mortal eyes,

New springs of fresh primroses,

Springs of earth's primroses,

Springs to be and springs for me,

Of distant dim primroses.



/""^ IVE tribute, but not oblation, to human wisdom/'

\Jf " Longer I would not wish to draw breath, than 1
may keep myself unspotted of any heinous crime."

" In the clear mind of virtue treason can find no hiding-

" The only disadvantage of an honest heart is credulity."

"The hero's soul may be separated from his body, but
never alienated from the remembrance of virtue."

" Doing good is the only certainly happy action of a
man's life."

" The journey of high honor lies not in smooth ways."

"Who shoots at the midday sun, though he is sure he
sfcall never hit the mark, yet as sure he is that he shall
shoot higher than he who aims but at a bush."

" Remember that in all miseries, lamenting becomes fools,
and action, the wise."

"The great, in affliction, bear a countenance more prince-
ly than they were wont; for it is the temper of highest
hearts, like the palm-tree, to strive most upward when it is
most burdened."

"The perfect hero passeth through the multitude as a
man that neither disdains a people", nor yet is anything
tickled with their flattery."

"In a brave bosom, honor cannot be rocked asleep by


" Contention for trifles can get but a trifling victory."
" Prefer truth, before the maintaining of an opinion."
"A man of true honor thinks himself greater in being
subject to his word given, than in being lord of a princi-

" Joyful is woe for a noble cause, and welcome all its mis-

" There is nothing evil but what is within us ; the rest is
either natural or accidental."

" While there is hope left, let not the weakness of sorrow
make the strength of resolution languish."

" Who frowns at others' feasts, had better bide away."
" Friendship is so rare, as it is to be doubted whether it
be a thing indeed, or but a word."

" Prefer your friend's profit before your own desire."
" A just man hateth the evil, but not the evil-doer."
" One look (in a clear judgment) from a fair and virtuous
woman is more acceptable than all the kindnesses so prodi-
gally bestowed by a wanton beauty."

"It is folly to believe that he can faithfully love who
does not love faithfulness."

" Who doth desire that his wife should be chaste, first be
he true; for truth doth deserve truth."

" It is no less vain to wish death than it i? cowardly to
fear it."

" Everything that is mine, even to my life, i* Ws I love,
but the secret of my friend is not mine"



THE castled crag of Drachenfels
Frowns o'er the wide and winding Rhine,
Whose breast of waters broadly swells

Between the banks which bear the vine,
And hills all rich with blossomed trees,

And fields which promise corn and wine,
And scattered cities crowning these,

Whose far white walls along them shine,
Have strewed a scene, which I should see
With double joy wert thou with me.

And peasant girls with deep-blue eyes,

And hands which offer early flowers,
Walk smiling o'er this paradise ;

Above, the frequent feudal towers
Through green leaves lift their walls of gray,

And many a rock which steeply lowers,
And noble arch in proud decay,

Look o'er this vale of vintage- bowers ;
But one thing wants these banks of Rhine,
Thy gentle hand to clasp in mine !

I send the lilies given to me :

Though long before thy hand they touch
I know that they must withered be,

But yet reject them not as such ;


For I have cherished them as dear,
Because they yet may meet thine eye,

And guide thy soul to mine even here,
When thou behold'st them drooping nigh,

And know'st them gathered by the Rhine,

And offered from my heart to thine !

The river nobly foams and flows,

The charm of this enchanted ground,
And all its thousand turns disclose f

Some fresher beauty varying round :
The haughtiest breast its wish might bound

Through life to dwell delighted here ;
Nor could on earth a spot be found

To nature and to me so dear,
Could thy dear eyes in following mine
Still sweet more these banks of Rhine !



" Not perfect, nay ! but fall of tender wants." Tne Pnnceu.

I SAT by my window sewing, one bright autumn day,
thinking much of twenty other tilings, and very lit-
tle of the long seam that slipped away from under my
fingers slowly, but steadily, when I heard the front door
open with a quick push, and directly into my open door
entered Laura Lane, with a degree of impetus that ex-
plained the previous sound in the hall. She threw herself
into a chair before me, flung her hat on the floor, threw
her shawl across the window-sill, and looked at me with-
out speaking : hi fact, she was quite too much out of breath
to speak.

I was used to Laura's impetuousness ; so I only smiled,
and said, " Good morning."

" Oh ! " said Laura, with a long breath, " I have got some-
thing to tell you, Sue."

" That 's nice," said I ; " news is worth double here in the
country ; tell me slowly, to prolong the pleasure."

"You must guess first. I want to have you try your
powers for once ; guess, do ! "

"Mr. Lincoln defeated?"

"0 no, at least not that I know of; all the returns
from this State are not in yet, of course not from the
others ; besides, do you think I 'd make such a fuss about


"You might," said I, thinking of all the beautiful and
brilliant women that in other countries and other tunes had
made " fuss " more potent than Laura's about politics.

"But I should n't," retorted she.

" Then there is a new novel out ? "

"No!" (with great indignation).

" Or the parish have resolved to settle Mr. Hermann ? "

" How stupid you are, Sue ! Everybody knew that yes-

"But I am not everybody."

" I shall have tc help you, I see," sighed Laura, half pro-
voked. " Somebody is going to be married."

" Mademoiselle, the great. Mademoiselle ! "

Laura stared at me. I ought to have remembered she
was eighteen, and not likely to have read Sevigne*. I began
more seriously, laying down my seam.

" Is it anybody I know, Laura ? "

" Of course, or you would n't care about it, and it would
be no fun to tell you."

"Is it you?"

Laura grew indignant.

" Do you think I should bounce in, in this way, to tell
you 7 was engaged ? "

" Why not ? should n't you be happy about it ? "

"Well, if I were, I should "

Laura dropped her beautiful eyes and colored.

" The thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts."

I am sure she felt as much strange, sweet shyness sealing
her girlish lips at that moment as when she came, very
slowly and silently, a year after, to tell me she was engaged
to Mr. Hermann. I had to smile and sigh both.
" Tell me, then, Laura ; for I cannot guess."
" I '11 tell you the gentleman's name, and perhaps you can
guess the lady's then : it is Frank Addison."

A WOMAN. 269

" Frank Addison ! " echoed I, in surprise ; for this young
man was one I knew and loved well, and I could not think
who in our quiet village had sufficient attraction for his fas-
tidious taste.

He was certainly worth marrying, though he had some
fault?, being as proud as was endurable, as shy as a child,
and altogether endowed with a full appreciation, to say the
least, of his own charms and merits : but he was sincere
and loyal and tender ; well cultivated, yet not priggish or
pedantic; brave, well-bred, and high-principled; handsome
besides. I knew him thoroughly ; I had held him on my
lap, fed him with sugar-plums, soothed his child-sorrows,
and scolded his naughtiness, many a time ; I had stood with
him by his mother's dying-bed and consoled him by my own
tears, for his mother I loved dearly ; so, ever since, Frank
had been both near and dear to me, for a mutual sorrow is
a tie that may bind together even a young man and an old
maid in close and kindly friendship. I was the more sur-
prised at his engagement because I thought he would have
been the first to tell me of it ; but I reflected that Laura
was his cousin, and relationship has an etiquette of prece-
dence above any other social link.

" Yes, Frank Addison ! Now guess, Miss Sue ! for he
is not here to tell you, he is in New York ; and here in
my pocket I have got a letter for you, but you sha'n't have
it till you have well guessed."

I was, I am ashamed to confess it, but I was not a
little comforted at hearing of that letter. One may shake
up a woman's heart with every alloy of life, grind, break,
scatter it, till scarce a throb of its youth beats there, but to
its last bit it is feminine still ; and I felt a sudden sweetness
of relief to know that my boy had not forgotten me.

" I don't know whom to guess, Laura ; who ever marries
after other people's fancy ? If I were to guess Sally Hetb
eridge, I might come as near as I shall to the truth."


Laura laughed.

" You know better," said she. " Frank Addison is the
last man to marry a dried-up old tailoress."

" I don't know that he is ; according to his theories of
women and marriage, Sally would make him happy. She
is true-hearted, I am sure, generous, kind, affectionate,
sensible, and poor. Frank has always raved about the
beauty of the soul, and the degradation of marrying money,
therefore, Laura, I believe he is going to marry a beauty
and an heiress. I guess Josephine Bowen."

" Susan ! " exclaimed Laura, with a look of intense aston-
ishment, " how could you guess it ? "

"Then it is she?"

" Yes, it is, and I am so sorry ! such a childish, gig-
gling, silly little creature ! I can't think how Frank could
fancy her ; she is just like Dora in ' David Copperfield,'
a perfect gosling ! I am as vexed "

"But she is exquisitely pretty."

" Pretty ! well, that is all ; he might as well have bought
a nice picture, or a dolly ! I am out of all patience with
Frank. I have n't the heart to congratulate him."

" Don't be unreasonable, Laura ; when you get as old as
I am, you will discover how much better and greater facts
are than theories. It 's all very well for men to say,

1 Beauty is unripe childhood's cheat,

the soul is all they love, the fair, sweet character, the
lofty mind, the tender woman's heart, and gentle loveliness ;
but when you come down to the statistics of love and mat-
rimony, you find Sally Hetheridge at sixty an old maid, and
Miss Bowen at nineteen adored by a dozen men and en-
gaged to one. No, Laura, if I had ten sisters, and a fairy
godmother for each, I should request that ancient dame to
endow them all with beauty and silliness, sure that theL
they would achieve a woman's best destiny, a home."

A WOMAN. 271

Laura's lace burned indignantly ; she hardly let me finish
before she exclaimed,

" Susan Lee ! I am ashamed of you ! Here are you, an
old maid, as happy as anybody, decrying all good gifts to a
woman, except beauty, because, indeed, they stand in the
way of her marriage ! as if a woman was only made to be
a housekeeper ! "

Laura's indignation amused me. I went on,

" Yes, I am happy enough ; but I should have been much
happier had I married. Don't waste your indignation,
dear ; you are pretty enough to excuse your being sensible,
and you ought to agree with my ideas, because they excuse
Frank, and yours do not."

" I don't want to excuse him ; I am really angry about it.
I can't bear to have Frank throw himself away ; she is
pretty now, but what will she be in ten years ? "

" People in love do not usually enter into such remote
calculations ; love is to-day's delirium ; it has an element of
divine faith in it, in not caring for the morrow. But Laura,
we can't help this matter, and we have neither of us any
conscience involved in it. Miss Bowen may be better than
we know. At any rate, Frank is happy, and that ought to
satisfy both you and me just now."

Laura's eyes filled with tears. I could see them glisten
on the dark lashes, as she affected to tie her hat, all the
time untying it as fast as ever the knot slid. She was a
sympathetic little creature, and loved Frank very sincerely,
having known him as long as she could remember. She
gave me a silent kiss, and went away, leaving the letter,
yet unopened, lying in my lap. I did not open it just then.
I was thinking of Josephine Bowcn.

Every summer, for three years, Mr. and Mrs. Bowen had
come to Ridgefield for country air, bringing with them their
adopted daughter, whose baptismal name had resigned in
favor of the pet appellation " Kitten," a name better


adapted to her nature and aspect than the Imperatrice ap-
pellation that belonged to her. She was certainly aa
charming a little creature as ever one saw in flesh and
blood. Her sweet child's-face, her dimpled, fair cheeks, her
rose-bud of a mouth, and great, wistful, blue eyes, that
' laughed like flax-flowers in a south wind, her tiny, round
chin, and low, white forehead, were all adorned by profuse
rings and coils and curls of true gold-yellow, that never
would grow long, or be braided, or stay smooth, or do any-
thing but ripple and twine and push their shining tendrils
out of every bonnet or hat or hood the little creature wore,
like a stray parcel of sunbeams that would shine. Her del-
icate, tiny figure was as round as a child's, her funny
hands as quaint as some fat baby's, with short fingers and
dimpled knuckles. She was a creature as much made to be
petted as a King Charles spaniel, and petted she was,
far beyond any possibility of a crumpled rose-leaf. Mrs.
Bowen was fat, loving, rather foolish, but the best of friends
and the poorest of enemies ; she wanted everybody to be
happy and fat and well as she was, and would urge the
necessity of wine, and entire idleness, and horse-exercise,
upon a poor minister, just as honestly and energetically as
if he could have afforded them : an idea to the contrary
never crossed her mind spontaneously, but, if introduced
there, brought forth direct results of bottles, bank-bills, and
loans of ancient horses, only to be checked by friendly re
monstrance, or the suggestion that a poor man might be also
proud. Mr. Bowen was tall and spare, a man of much
sense and shrewd kindliness, but altogether subject and sub-
missive to " Kitten's " slightest wish. She never wanted
anything; no princess in a story-book had less to desire;
and this entire spoiling and indulgence seemed to her only
the natural course of things. She took it as an open rose
takes sunshine, with so much simplicity, and heartiness, and
beaming content, and perfume of sweet, careless affection,

A WOMAN. 273

that she was not given over to any little vanities or affecta-
tions, but was always a dear, good little child, as happy as
the day was long, and quite without a fear or apprehension.
I had seen very little of her in those three summers, for I
had been away at the sea-side, trying to fan the flickering
life that alone was left to me with pungent salt breezes and
stinging baptisms of spray, but I had liked that little pretty
well. I did not think her so silly as Laura did ; she seemed
to me so purely simple, that I sometimes wondered if her
honest directness and want of guile were folly or not. But
I liked to see her, as she cantered past my door on her pony,
the gold tendrils thick clustered about her throat and under
the brim of her black hat, and her bright blue eyes sparkling
with the keen air, and a real wild-rose bloom on her smiling
face. She was a prettier sight even than my profuse chrys-
anthemums, whose masses of garnet and yellow and white
nodded languidly to the autumn winds to-day.

I recalled myself from this dream of recollection, better
satisfied with Miss Bowen than I had been before. I could
see just how her beauty had bewitched Frank, so bright,
so tiny, so loving : one always wants to gather a little, gay,
odor-breathing rose-bud for one's own, and such she was to

So then I opened his letter. It was dry and stiff: men's
letters almost always are ; they cannot say what they feel ;
they will be fluent of statistics, or description, or philosophy,
or politics, but as to feeling, there they are dumb, except
in real love-letters, and, of course, Frank's was unsatisfac-
tory accordingly. Once, toward the end, came out a natural
sentence : " O Sue ! if you knew her, you would n't won-
der ! " So he had, after all, felt the apology he would not
speak; he had some little deference left for his deserted

"Well I knew what touched his pride, and struck that
little, revealing spark from his deliberate pen: Josephine


Bowen was rich, and he only a poor lawyer in a country
town : he felt it even in this first flush of love, and to that
feeling I must answer when I wrote him, not merely to
the announcement, and the delight, and the man's pride.
So I answered his letter at once, and he answered mine in
person. I had nothing to say to him, when I saw him ; it
was enough to see how perfectly happy and contented he
was, how the proud, restless eyes that had always looked
a challenge to all the world were now tranquil to their
depths. Nothing had interfered with his passion. Mrs.
Bowen liked him always, Mr. Bowen liked him now ; no-
body had objected, it had not occurred to anybody to object ;
money had not been mentioned any more than it would
have been, in Arcadia. Strange to say, the good, simple
woman, and the good, shrewd man had both divined Frank's
peculiar sensitiveness, and respected it.

There was no period fixed for the engagement, it was in-
definite as yet, and the winter, with all its excitements of
South and North, passed by at length, and the first of April
the Bowens moved out to Eidgefield. It was earlier than
usual; but the city was crazed with excitement, and Mr.
Bowen was tried and worn ; he wanted quiet. Then I saw
a great deal of Josephine, and in spite of Laura, and her
still restless objections to the child's childish, laughing, incon-
sequent manner, I grew into liking her: not that there
seemed any great depth to her ; she was not specially intel-
lectual, or witty, or studious, or practical ; she did not try
to be anything : perhaps that was her charm to me. I had
seen so many women laboring at themselves to be some-
thing, that one who was content to live without thinking
about it was a real phenomenon to me. Nothing bores me
(though I be stoned for the confession, I must make it ! )
more than a woman who is bent on improving her mind, or
forming her manners, or moulding her character, or watch-
ing her motives, with that deadly-lively conscientiousness

A WOMAN. 275

that makes so many good people disagreeable. Why can't
they consider the lilies, which grow by receiving sun and
air and dew from God, and not hopping about over the lots
to find the warmest comer or the wettest hollow, to see
how much bigger and brighter they can grow ? It was real
rest to me to have this tiny, bright creature come in to me
every day during Frank's office-hours as unintentionally as
a yellow butterfly would come in at the window. Some-
times she strayed to the kitchen-porch, and, resting her
elbows on the window-sill and her chin on both palms, looked
at me with wondering eyes while I made bread or cake ;
sometimes she came by the long parlor-window, and sat
down on a bi-ioche at my feet while I sewed, talking in her
direct, unconsidered way, so fresh, and withal so good and
pure, I came to thinking the day very dull that did not
bring "Kitten" to see me.

The nineteenth of April, in the evening, my door opened
again with an impetuous bang ; but this tune it was Frank
Addison, his eyes blazing, his dark cheek flushed, his whole
aspect fired and furious.

" Good God, Sue ! do you know what they Ve done in
Baltimore ? "

" What ? " said I, in vague terror, for I had been an
alarmist from the first : I had once lived at the South.

" Fired on a Massachusetts regiment, and killed nobody
knows how many yet-; but killed, and wounded."

I could not speak : it was the lighted train of a powder-
magazine burning before my eyes. Frank began to walk
up and down the room.

" I must go ! I must ! I must ! " came involuntarily from
his working lips.

" Frank ! Frank ! remember Josephine."

It was a cowardly thing to do, but I did it. Frank turned
ghastly white, and sat down in a chair opposite me. I
had for the moment quenched his ardor ; he looked at me
with anxious eyes and drew a long sigh, almost a groan.


" Josephine ! " he ^aid, as if the name were new to him,
so vitally did the idea seize all his faculties.

" Well, dear ! " said a sweet little voice at the door.

Frank turned, and seemed to see a ghost ; for there in
the doorway stood " Kitten," her face perhaps a shade
calmer than ordinary, swinging in one hand the tasselled
hood she wore of an evening, and holding her shawl togeth
er with the other. Over her head we discerned the spare,
upright shape of Mr. Bowen, looking grim and penetrative,
but not unkindly.

" What is the matter ? " went on the little lady.

Nobody answered, but Frank and- 1 looked at each other.
She came in now and went toward him, Mr. Bowen follow-
ing at a respectful distance, as if he were her footman.

" I 've been looking for you everywhere," said she, with
the slightest possible suggestion of reserve, or perhaps ti-
midity, in her voice. " Father went first for me, and when
you were not at Laura's or the office, or the post-office, or

Online Libraryi00bostFavorite authors in prose and poetry → online text (page 39 of 66)