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Of rage and base fear from that hot-throated pack
Two dozen lank demons stretched dead in a crack!
That struck to my heart as I lifted his head,
His bonny boy-face all so furrowed and red!
He lived, scarred and seamed as-you know him. I hold
No battle-marks borne with more honor. But she?
Slowly, half-shamed, but—the thing had to be.
Many a winsome one fails at the push.
She hasn't belle Marguerite's sparkle and flush;
GONE BEFORE.—B. F. Taylor.
There's a beautiful face in the silent air,
Which follows me ever and near;
The dimpled hand and ringlet of gold
Lie low in a marble sleep:
And my vigil alone I keep.
There's a sinless brow with a radiant crown,
And a cross laid down in the dust;
Ah, well! and summer is come again,
As it floats in the sunshine and the rain,
There's a beautiful region above the skies,
And I long to reach its shore,
DEATH OF DORA.—Charles Dickens.
It is evening; and I sit in the same chair, by the same bed, with the same face turned towards me. We have been silent, and there is a smile upon her face. I have ceased to carry my light burden up and down stairs now. She lies here all the day.
"My dear Dora!"
"You won't think what I am going to say, unreasonable, after what you told me, such a little while ago, of Mr. Wickfield's not being well? I want to see Agues. Very much I want to see her."
"I will write to her, my dear."
"What a good, kind boy! Doady, take me on your arm. Indeed, my dear, it's not a whim. It's not a foolish fancy. I want, very much, indeed, to see her!"
"I am certain of it. I have only to tell her so, and she is sure to come."
"You are very lonely when you go down stairs, now?" Dora whispers, with her arm about my neck.
"How can I be otherwise, my own love, when I see your empty chair?"
"My empty chair!" She clings to me for a little while, in silence. "And you really miss me, Doady?" looking up, and brightly smiling. "Even poor, giddy, stupid me?"
"My heart, who is there upon earth that I could miss so much?"
"Oh, husband! I am so glad, yet so sorry!" creeping closer to me, and folding me in both her arms. She laughs, and sobs, and then is quiet, and quite happy.
"Quite!" she says. '' Only give Agnes my dear love, and tell her that I want very, very much to see her; and I have nothing left to wish for!"
"Except to get well again, Dora."
"Ah, Doady! Sometimes I think—you know I always waa » silly little thing!—that that will never be.'"
"Don't say so, Dora! Dearest love, don't think so I" "I won't, if I can help it, Doady. But I am very happy, though my dear boy is so lonely by himself, before his childwife's empty chair 1"
It is night; and I am with her still. Agnes has arrived; has been among us, for a whole day and an evening. She, my aunt, and I, have sat with Dora since the morning, altogether. We have not talked much, but Dora has been perfectly contented and cheerful. We are now alone.
Do I know now that my child-wife will soon leave me 7 They have told me so; they have told me nothing new to my thoughts; but I am far from sure that I have taken that truth to heart. I cannot master it. I have withdrawn by myself, many times to-day, to weep. I have remembered Who wept for a parting between the living and the dead. I have bethought me of all that gracious and compassionate history. I have tried to resign myself, and to console myself; and that, I hope, I may have done imperfectly; but what I cannot firmly settle in my mind is, that the end will absolutely come. I hold her hand in mine, I hold her heart in mine, I see her love for me, alive in all its strength. I cannot shut out a pale, lingering shadow of belief that she will be spared.
"I am going to speak to you, Doady. I am going to say something I have often thought of saying, lately. You won't mind?" with a gentle look.
"Mind, my darling?"
"Because I don't know what you will think, or what you may have thought sometimes. Perhaps you have often thought the same. Doady, dear, I am afraid I was too young."
I lay my face upon the pillow by her, and she looks into my eyes, and speaks very softly. Gradually, as she goes on, I feel, with a stricken heart, that she is speaking of herself as past.
"I am afraid, dear, I was too young. I don't mean in years only, but in experience, and thoughts, and everything. I was such a silly little creature! I am afraid it would have been better, if we had only loved each other as a boy and girl, and forgotten it I have begun to think I was not fit to be a wife."
I try to stay my tears, and to reply, " Oh, Dora, love, as fit as I to be a husband!"
"I don't know," with the old shake of her curls. "Perhaps! But, if I had been more fit to be married, I might have made you more so, too. Besides you are very clever, nnd I never was."
"We have been very happy, my sweet Dora."
"I was very happy, very. But as years went on, my dear Ooy would have wearied of his child-wife. She would have been less and less a companion for him. He would have been more and more sensible of what was wanting in his home. She wouldn't have improved. It is better as it is."
"Oh, Dora, dearest, dearest, do not speak to me so. Every word seems a reproach!"
"No, not a syllable!" she answers, kissing me. "Oh, my dear, you never deserved it, and I loved you far too well, to say a reproachful word to you, in earnest—it was all the merit I had, except being pretty—or you thought me so. Is it lonely down stairs, Doady?"
"Don't cry! Is my chair there?" "In its old place."
"Oh, how my poor boy cries! Hush, hush! Now, make me one promise. I want to speak to Agnes. When you go down stairs, tell Agnes so, and send her up to me; and while I speak to her, let no one come—not even aunt. I want to speak to Agnes by herself. I want to speak to Agnes quite alone."
I promise that she shall, immediately; but I cannot leave her, for my grief.
"I said that it was better as it is!" she whispers as she holds me in her arms. "Oh, Doady, after more years, you never could have loved your child-wife better than you do; and after more years, she would so have tried and disappointed you, that you might not have been able to love her half so well! I know I was too young and foolish. It is much better as it is!"
Agnes is down stairs, when I go into the parlor; and I give her the message. She disappears, leaving me alone with Jip.
His Chinese house is by the fire; and he lies within it, on his bed of flannel, querulously trying to sleep. The bright moon is high and clear. As I look out on the night, my tears fall fast, and my undisciplined heart is chastened heavily—heavily.
1 sit down by the fire, thinking with a blind remorse of all those secret feelings I have nourished since my marriage. I think of every little trifle between me and Dora, and feel the truth, that trifles make the sum of life. Ever rising from the sea of my remembrance, is the image of the dear child as I knew her first, graced by my young love, and by her own, with every fascination wherein such love is rich. Would it, indeed, have been better if we had loved each other as a boy and girl, and forgotten it? Undisciplined heart, reply!
How the time wears, I know not; until I am recalled by my child-wife's old companion. More restless than he was he crawls out of his house, and looks at me, and wanders to the door, and whines to go up stairs.
"Not to-night, Jip I Not to-night!"
He comes very slowly back to me, licks my hand, and lifts his dim eyes to my face. "Oh, Jip! It may be never again!"
He lies down at my feet, stretches himself out as if to sleep, and with a plaintive cry, is dead. "O Agnes! Look, look here!"
That face, so full of pity and of grief, that rain of tears, that awful mute appeal to me, that solemn hand upraised towards Heaven!
"Agnes?"—It isover. Darkness comes before my eyes; and for a time all things are blotted out of my remembrance.
A CONSTANT Reader.—paumk.nas Mix.
The overworked scribe of the Mudville Gazette
Sat wondering,—moneyless wight,—
With the times so deplorably tight,—
And a stranger stepped into the room,