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THE OLD COUPLE.
One draught of the living waters
Shall call back his manhood's prime; It stands in a sunny meadow,
And eternal years shall measure
The love that outlived time.
But the shapes that they left behind them,
The wrinkles and silver hair, The trees fold their green arms around it,
Made holy to us by the kisses
The angel had printed there,
We will hide away ’neath the willows,
When the day is low in the west, The cowslips spring in the marshes,
Where the sunbeams cannot find them, And the roses bloom on the hill,
Nor the winds disturb their rest.
And we'll suffer no telltale tombstone,
With its age and date to rise The children have gone and left them,
O'er the two who are old no longer, They sit in the sun alone;
In the Father's house in the skies. And the old wife's tears are falling,
As she harks to the well-known tone
That won her heart in girlhood,
That has soothed her in many a care, And praises her now for the brightness
Her old face used to wear.
AT THE ROADSIDE.
She thinks again of her bridal
How, dressed in her robe of white, She stood by her gay young lover
In the morning's rosy light. Oh, the morning is rosy as ever,
But the rose from her cheek is fled;
But it falls on a silvery head.
Come back in her winter-time,
With the thrill of spring-time's prime. And looking forth from the window,
She thinks how the trees have grown, Since, clad in her bridal whiteness,
She crossed the old door-stone. Though dimmed her eyes' bright azure,
And dimmed her hair's young gold, The love in her girlhood plighted
Has never grown dim nor old. They sat in peace in the sunshine,
Till the day was almost done; And then at its close an angel
Stole over the threshold stone. He folded their hands together
He touched their evelids with balm ; And their last breath floated upward
Like the close of a solemn psalm. Like a bridal pair they traversed
The unseen mystical road That leads to the beautiful city,
“Whose builder and maker is God.” Perhaps in that miracle country
They will give her lost youth back, And the flowers of a vanished spring-time
Will bloom in the spirit's track.
I, for a time, have left behind
The giant-city with its sin,
I sit at case within mine inn;
Below this little quiet room,
From gloom to gold, from gold to gloom.
And watch the workings of the soil,
And seem so far away from toil.
To feel the pauses of the brain
And by the tinkling of the rain.
The shining pewter sound and good;
Confirm my dim and dreamful mood;
Might cause a softer heart to burn;
That cooks my dinners to a turn ?
An ale-tanned wight, at tifty sound;
Dwells not for seventy miles around.
Ilis calm predictions cannot fail;
Diffuses politics and ale
Secure to-day from fortune's frown,
Are something sweeter than the town;
The dreamful peace of brain and heart,
-All the Tour Round.
the whole, he leaned rather to Ned's side KEANE came. Ned would, of course, re-than his lordship’s ; and at all events, enturn with him. So there were some ten pre-couraged the former to speak out his indigcious days before him, a delay at which his nation, and to discover how genuine was its homeward haste no longer fretted, for all his warmth even if its light were not so brilliant. dutiful and tender sonship.
Another day, however, brought " His Cousin Keane was just the man to give land" advices from England, of several days' him sage advice upon a topic which had sud- later date; and the newspapers furnished denly acquired new importance in his eyes– Ned with occasion for a fresh diatribe. The the best investment to be made of the for- first heavy drops of a financial thunderstorm tune left him by the dear old brigadier. For had fallen thick. It taxed Keane's compoit was almost a fortune, so long had the ac- sure to the utmost, to hear among a list of cumulation been and so slender the frugal names, involved in the preliminary catastroveteran's draughts upon it. Keane was soon phes, that of Walter Sherbrooke, junior, who put in possession of its existence and amount some years back had parted partnership with -soon set reflecting upon the most advanta- that “slow coach, the governor.” Ned read geous use that might be made of it. On one it, without emphasis, among a string of othpoint Ned was positive. He would have no ers; but it sounded as a knell in Keane's dabbling in the railway share-market, which quick ear. was just then, or perhaps, more strictly, had That same afternoon he hurried on, albeen but just before, the Eldorado of adven- though with admirable tact and skill, the turous financiers. It was not the risk he conversation which he had not intended, until feared, so much as the principle he repudi- after gradual and due preparation, to hold ated. Indeed, his notions on the matter had with his lordship concerning the Cawsley a smack of primitive intolerance. It was borough. Many a step made off perilous not simply that share jobbing was gambling ground into Parliament has found footing in his estimation, and therefore execrable; firm enough to secure recovery of an endanbut what might be considered its most legit- gered balance. But the case was hopeless. imate gains were in his eyes little else but Lord Royston had but just received the letfraudulent. It was not simply that “rigs,” ter which told him that the solicitor-general and “ plants,” and “ dodges,” rose up from was dead, and that the man named to suclower jobbing regions, as foul unusual mias- ceed him had not a seat in Parliament. His mata to taint the atmosphere; but, in his colleagues hoped he saw no objection to the moral chemistry, the purest air of that mar- self-immolation of the sitting member, and ket was at best “malaria.” “ Premiums” he the election of the new Crown lawyer. This looked upon as
" loot” or plunder, not won was a thunderstroke for Keane. in open war, but treacherous ambuscade :
By and by his letters came. Some blunand there was no getting him to understand der at the post-office had kept them from that “preference-shares ” were not necessa- him in the morning. Do what he could, his rily the product of some “scoundrelly piece features, when he came down from his room of favoritism."
again, would tell of some disturbance. Lord Royston, indeed, half in fun, took up Lady Royston did not seem to notice it as the cudgels against him, for some open out- she inquired if all were well at home; but rageous declaration of the sort made over Ned marked something of the effort with the city-articles of the English newspapers which he answered in the affirmative. which the mail had brought to hand. But if He was not, therefore, much surprised at confused in argument, Ned was strong in in- the sorrowful gravity which showed through stances drawn from other columns of those the composure with which his cousin bore same journals, of the demoralizing and ruin- himself as he came, late, for private converous effects of this peculiar form of specula- sation into his own room. tion.
“ What's up, Keane? Nothing wrong at Keane, who had his old command of coun- Freshet, unless you took Lady Royston in.” tenance, took no decided part in this amica- “No, nothing wrong at Freshet,” he said. ble controversy, nor did he betray any per- “Not at Cransdale, then? For Heaven's sonal interest in the debated matter. On sake, don't keep me in suspense, man!”
For Keane did not answer at first, but sat “ What, then, can have induced him ? down, looking at him wistfully.
“What you must be the last to blame-a “I am afraid, from what I have heard you wish to leave a larger inheritance to you. say, that
you, at least, will think it wrong." Men are often tempted on the good side of “ What on earth do you mean? Are my their qualities," quoth Keane, with a sad, father and mother well?"
moralizing smile, full of compassion. “ For all I know, they are. But I am in The saying carried conviction. Ned's own a sad strait to tell you. I fear to violate a experience acknowledged its closeness to the confidence.”
truth. He was much troubled : rose up and Ned folded his arms and looked at him went walking to and fro. Presently he sat with expectation. It was no use uttering a down again and asked, string of questions at a venture.
" Is that all the bad news, Keane; or is “Give me your word of honor that what there anything behind ?” I may say passes your lips to no man, not “I have had warning to-day that his transeven to him whom, personally, it most con- actions have turned out little short of disascerns."
trous." “May I do it, honorably ?”
“ What, have you heard from him, then ? " “Should I have asked you, otherwise ?" “ No; but from a man through whose said Keane, in a quiet tone of reproof, which hands all his purchases and sales of shares his cousin felt intimately.
have passed. Here, you read out his name “I beg your pardon, and pass you my yourself this morning as among the most word.”
involved—Walter Sherbrooke, junior, share “Well, then, this railway mania, against and stock broker.” which you were speaking with such vehe- He held the paper across to Ned in conmence, you must know that it has infected firmation, pointing with his finger to the all classes of society in England."
Ned stared at him in utt amazement, not He then proceeded to give him, in lanhaving an inkling of what his drift might be. guage not wholly intelligible to the soldier,
“Adventurous speculators, whether frau- what yet appeared to be precise, businessdulent or not, are but a fraction of the crowd like, and legal details of the transactions in who elbow their way into the share-list. which his uncle had engaged himself in a The most staid and sober of our men of sort of joint responsibility with Walter Sher. business may be counted in that crowd, with brooke. hundreds of higher eminence, and of even “ It is a sad business. Your poor, dear more acknowledged worth. When you were father will feel it more acutely for your planning your schedule of moral proscription mother's sake and yours than for his own."
little knew what names must fill it up.” Ned covered his face with both hands
My dear fellow, forgive me interrupted now. Ned, “but what conceivable connection can “I have not dared to mention it to the there be between all this and anything wrong Roystons,” Keane went on. “I am sure it at Cransdale ?"
will cut them to the quick; and still more “ If you must have it in one word,” Keane the Cransdales. Of course, my uncle's inanswered, with evident pain, “I fear-indeed tegrity will come out spotless." I know—my uncle has had some large trans- “I should think so,” burst in poor Ned, actions."
with a proud indignation. “ What, my father?” Ned asked, tremu- “But an error in judgment of that sort lously, shading his eyes with one hand, as if shakes confidence in a man of businessto hide their sudden sadness.
when he goes out of his way, too, to court « Yes."
the mischief. I cannot say how I regret There followed a short silence, then Ned this rashness on the part of one so prudent spoke again,
as your father.” “ It seems incredible. No man was ever “Do not talk so, Keane. I would sooner more generous, none ever less grasping, than charge a battery or stand a volley at a dozen my father.”
yards. Can nothing be done to mend mat“ You do him no more than justice.” ters at once ?"
He was up again once more, and pacing to run. One or both of them would take pasand fro again.
sage by the Marseille's boat to-morrow, to · Nothing is a hard word. Let me see.” reach as soon as possible the telegraphic He opened a letter and read, with knit wires. But by the morrow Ned had taken brow; then brought out a pencil and made a new determination. calculations on the back of it. Ned, passing With what look should he face his father ? and repassing, sentry-like, eyed him with Were it consciousness of any fault or folly growing anxiety.
of his own which troubled it, a few frank “Let me see," muttered Keane; “ the words, and a few moments' open gaze, would French mail leaves to-morrow. From Mar- chase, as they had always chased of old, the seilles one could telegraph, and let him know momentary mist away. But the sadness of the cheque was on its way. Large as Sher- the present murky cloud was strange and brooke's deficit is, a much less sum in ready new. It hung about his father's deed. How money than the total would clear them yet, should a son's brow dare to frown, or even he says, with ease. But in the present state smile, such cloud away ? Mean souls may of the money-niarket, and known as he is think that their own stature gains in height to have this unfortunate scrip on hand, he as that of others dwindles. The nobler feel cannot find accommodation on any terms nor as if themselves grew less at every lowering for any security. Tell me, Ned, -it is a bold of the standard whereby they needs must question I shall put,-would you be willing measure what were kindred souls. Making to risk, if necessary, the brigadier's whole compassionate allowance, where once they legacy ?”
paid full reverence, humiliates and pains “In what way risk itmin fresh specula- and sickens generous hearts. Yet they, tions ? "
themselves, can bear with pain, with sick“No; but in a composition such as might ness, with humiliation. They most dread clear your father's liability forthwith.” dooming others to the bearing. What if
“Risk it for that! I would sink it, every the sight of him inflicted either on his father? farthing!”
What if his very silence should seem to “Well, I said ' risk,' because your father utter a reproach, or even his suspected pity might retrieve his loss hereafter. I imagine mortify ? it is a present desperate pressure that is on Then there was his mother. What if she him, rather than a stroke which will cripple should feel as he felt ? What if she should his resources once for all."
speak as he must, should he speak at all ? “And if it were such a stroke he would Which were the worst, a tacit conspiracy or need the money all the more. What's mine an open agreement in verdict, against one is his."
whom it were almost impious to arraign at Then flashed upon him once again remem- bar before them ? Subjects empannelled to brance of his boyish saying under the Crans- try sovereigns were surely less disloyal ; dale cedars, uttered in his own ears but yes- their procedure less incongruous! This unterday by the dying Hindoo boy, “ What a expected coming might betray her into outfather owes a son owes." Ned's mind was pouring of some confidence, which soon she one that meant its words, and would redeem might wish recalled; or it might weight her their pledge without once flinching. burden with the irksomeness of an unnatu
So, when his Cousin Keane had again ral constraint. Her wife's heart would find thought out, turned over, and partly made it easy to make a husband's apology to its him understand his scheme, it was agreed own self; her mother's heart might shrink that Walter Sherbrooke should have author- from pleading a father's excuses to a son. ity to draw upon the firm of Burkitt and He might be sparing her a keener sorrow Goring. But, inasmuch as their large bal- in keeping from her the unanticipated joy. ance at the bankers was much of it trust- She knew not, she need never know, how money or deposit-money of their numerous much the weary distances were once diminand confidential clients, Ned gave his cheque ished between her only son's embrace and on Messrs. Cox and Co., in whose hands her own ever longing arms. were his whole resources, to his Cousin Yes. It were better so. His cousin should Keane, to cover every risk the firm might have full power to act for him. He should
settle, if it might be, with this Sherbrooke, The steamers which went either way would after such sort, that Robert Locksley, too, leave that night. Keane's departure, though should never know of his son's costly sacri- earlier than his hosts had reckoned on, called fice. Costly, beyond reckoning of cost. Not for no special explanation beyond the simple for the money's sake. Ten times the sum notice that his letters had determined it. in gold had seemed a trifle to him, were it He and Lord Royston, as good men of businot for the lost hopes of which those golden ness, despatched the Rookenham affairs that threads of Amy's hair would be to him hence- afternoon. Ned meanwhile spoke to Lady forth the sad if sweet reminder.
Royston, openly even in reserve.
The man There was an end, a second time in life, hated subterfuge, and would use of such a dear iilusion. It was a plainer Trustful himself, he was bold to claim unissue than the first time between love and grudging trust. It pained him to ask of duty, and he was now too well-accustomed her a promise that she and her husband servant of the one to dally out of season would maintain for good and all the silence with allurements of the other.
they had kindly kept upon
presence with It was fantastic torment yesterday to think them hitherto. Little had he thought how that the few days which had so bound his it should help him when he first had asked heart to her, must needs leave hers unfet- them to observe it. An unexpected crisis tered; to-day the vexing thought gave con- in his life had come. He must not show solation, since no regret of hers would fol- upon what hinge it turned ; that was a secret low him. Such cordials, healthful in their not his own. He was no weathercock, she bitterness, will duty mingle in the cup of might believe, although he veered upon that disappointment for brave lips, which, at her hinge so suddenly; and once more pointed bidding, do not blench to drink.
eastward. Had it been otherwise ; had he preferred “ Your gentle breath turned me that way his suit, and had it prospered, there might once, dear Lady Royston. This time it is have been a conflict between a pledged word another wind.” and the duties of an altered circumstance. “A chilling one, I fear, dear Ned, since it Now, there was none. He had no right to blows you back from home.” sue that she should link her life to that of a He could not trust himself to say much poor subaltern, whose only portion was his more, but answered with a wistful pleassword ; who yet might need, for all he knew, antry,to stint himself of that sword's meagre wage “At any rate, it blows me back to warm to meet a father's or a mother's sharp neces- work again in India. Will you kindly make sity. His first care, therefore, in the morn- excuses for me to the Grants, and say the ing was to take a pledge of Keane that he suddenness of my departure did not allow would not, of his own act, lose an hour on me to present them, as I should have done, the way to England ; his next, to execute myself.” all necessary legal forms to put his cousin in Max Gervinus was inconsolable when he, condition to use the uttermost of his re- too, learnt how strangely soon the cord of sources. Should these prove inadequate, so good companionship must snap. Keane insisted that he might be allowed to What must be must; but I dare stay share in clearing his uncle's affairs from the no longer here, my friend, with this most disasters of Walter Sherbrooke's failure. charming lord and lady. I go not without
“With such a good heart as that speaks, you to England. I travel by Marseilles with Keane, and your known clear head to guide your cousin, and thence through Switzerland it, the matter is safest in your hands alone. to Germany once more. Ah, mine heart is And they should not be fettered. Consult- heavy, Ned! Saw you not what cloud darking me could only hamper your decision. ened the pink Etna-snow that first heavenly Any attempt to clear my ignorance could evening time? Now comes such omen true !" but waste time in which your enlightened But when the last good-by was said on judgment might be acting. There is no either side that night, and Lady Royston, need for me to go with you. I shall return with her husband, stood upon the farthest to India. I can go outward with lighter rocks of Point Dragut,—when she had waved heart than homeward, now."
her handkerchief the last time seaward,