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A Williams Anthology by Compiled by Edwin Partridge Lehman and Julian Park

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ninety-nine hundredths of the people that pass through here look at it
the same way. But to you, Fred, I'm pretty sure it would be rather
attractive, and I know that it would be to me with this beastly foot."

"What! Stay here all night? I guess not."

"If you only knew what it was," I ventured.

"Probably another of Washington's headquarters, or the site of the
Battle of--."

"Wait a minute before you explode, and give me a chance. This is the
Spanish colony."


"The Spanish colony."

"What Spanish colony?"

"Of all things, do you mean to tell me that you never heard of it?"

"I do."

"Well," I said, "it's wonderful how much New Yorkers don't know about
themselves. This place was settled a long time ago by the few
Spaniards there were in this part of the country, and they've stuck
together ever since. I don't believe there are a hundred people in the
city that know about the place. Maybe it's on account of the war, when
these people had to keep pretty quiet, but whatever it is, they are
here. I've been through here before and I've often wished that I could
have stopped off. Now the Lord seems to have taken matters into His
own hands."

If there was anything Henderson enjoyed it was tales and relics of the
old Romance lands, and I knew it. Then there was my ankle, which was
throbbing painfully.

"If your old foot really is as bad as you say," said Henderson, "why,
we can put up here over night. To-morrow is Sunday, you know, and we
don't have to be back."

He spoke condescendingly, but I knew that if I suggested that after
all we might get back he would almost get down on his knees and plead
with me. So I spared him the trouble. We started again toward the
little hamlet. Henderson wanted to stop at the first house we came to,
but I pulled him on.

"Let's tackle that larger white one ahead there to the right," I
suggested. "It looks to be the best of the lot--and besides, the last
time I was through here I noticed a mighty pretty girl standing in the
doorway--one of those black-eyed story-book _senoritas_ you so dote

"I'm surprised at a man of your age and dignity noticing _senoritas_,"
he laughed. Nevertheless he turned into the little garden and raised
the iron knocker.

The door was opened almost instantly by a short, rather stoutish man,
well past the prime of life. There was nothing in his dress to mark
him from the average middle-class New Yorker, but his face was swarthy
and the hair that was not grey was glistening black. We explained our

"I am afraid you can find no accommodations," he said, with but the
slightest trace of an accent.

Henderson said something to him in Spanish, and as he did so the man
stared a moment, smiled, showing all his teeth, and then answered in
the same tongue with a flood of words that I could barely understand.
Then he took our hats and bowed the way into a little parlor.

"Will the _senor_ with the injured foot recline upon the sofa? I will
bring in hot water to bathe it. We have a large room upstairs with a
bed for two, where the _senores_ may pass the night." He took out a
large gold watch. "It is now quarter before six. Dinner will be served
at half after the hour. Till then the _senores_ may rest. I will bring
the hot water to your chamber."

Promptly at six-thirty Henderson and I descended the stairs. The rest
and a bath had done us both good, and even my ankle, though badly
swollen, had ceased to give much pain. From the house and from our
host we had gathered much of interest. His family had come over some
seventy-five years ago and had moved directly to the little house,
which the widower Senor Lucas de Marcelo and his daughter Adelita
still possessed. Don Lucas himself was a jeweller, going in to the
city every day. We found him waiting for us at the foot of the stairs.

"In but a moment dinner will be prepared," he said. "If the _senores_
will pardon me, I must go out to the kitchen. To-night is the big
dance, the _mascarade_, for which Adelita must dress." He raised his
voice. "Adela! Hasten, little one."

"I am coming," called a clear girlish voice.

Henderson and I waited in the little parlor. Back in the house we
could hear our host moving about among the pots and pans. Then from
the top of the stairs there sounded a soft voice:


Don Lucas dropped his work and stepped into the parlor.

There was a swish, a click of high heels on the stairs, a flash of
red, with a momentary glimpse of white, and the girl stood before us.
The father spoke:

"_Senores_, my daughter."

She bent low and then arose, smiling as her father had smiled, showing
the white of her teeth. She was dressed all in red, from the roses in
her black hair to her tiny, outrageously high-heeled Spanish slippers.
The hair was parted in the middle and drawn back, giving an almost
child-like expression to the handsome face with its snapping black
eyes and full red lips. Under the dark wave behind each ear she had
effectively pinned a cluster of rose-buds. Over her gleaming shoulders
she had thrown a scarf of the thinnest red silk, and a similar scarf,
fringed with black lace, was drawn about her hips and knotted at the
left side. The heavily ruffled skirts fell within a few inches of the
floor, but as she turned they swung higher, showing her slippers and a
bit of red silk-covered ankle. In her hand she dangled a tiny black
mask. Her father looked at her proudly.

"It is the dancing costume of the Old Country," he explained. "It is
in honor of the _mascarade_ to-night."

We passed into the little dining-room. Just before we sat down
Henderson managed to whisper to me:

"Whew! I guess you're right about the good-looking girl."

All through the meal he watched her covertly, and the moment he took
his eyes from her face I noticed that she would glance over at him.
Then the second he turned her way her eyes would drop and a dull red
would suffuse her face and neck. Whether Henderson noticed it or not I
do not know, but I did. When the coffee was brought in by Adelita our
host opened a box of mellow cigars, and we passed out into the parlor.
In the doorway the girl stopped her father and excitedly whispered in
his ear.

"Please," she pleaded, "you know you are old and do not like to stay
so late, and he is young and big and could take as good care of me as
you. Please, _padre_."

"Would it be right?" he queried. Then he thought a moment. "Perhaps--"

"_Bueno_," she cried. "Good. Ask him, _padre_, please, please."

The old man smiled. Then he came over to where Fred and I were

"Did you hear the girl," he asked, "the little scamp? She thinks I am
too old to take her to the ball--and too uninteresting. She wishes to
know if the _senores_ would care to go with her in my place. It would
perhaps be interesting to you."

I guessed what she really wanted, so I spoke:

"You go, Fritz. I'd like to, only my foot's too bad."

"I won't go without you," he said.

Here I took him aside and told him what I had seen at the table.

"Now," I said, "if you don't go you're a fool. And personally I'd
rather stay here anyhow and talk to the _don_."

"All right. I'll do it."

The girl was watching him, and as he spoke she smiled. Then she walked
over to him, put both her hands in his, looked up into his face and
laughed aloud, a cheery, rippling laugh.

"For to-night," she said, "you shall be my cavalier, _mi caballero_."
Then I heard him whisper in Spanish:

"I will. And you shall be my lady."

After half an hour of bustling and sewing and rummaging in trunks,
there appeared on the stairs some six feet of Spanish cavalier. I held
him off at arm's length.

"Well, old man, you look like a prince. You pretty near match the
princess. But where did you get that rig?"

"Oh, the boots and the picture hat"--he nodded his head and the
feather moved majestically--"they belong to old Marcelo. He used to
wear 'em. They have had a masquerade ball here every year for the past
fifty years, more or less--Don Lucas couldn't quite remember. These
boots"--they were patent leather with yellow tops--"fit as if they
belonged to me. This cape is an old one of the girl's turned inside
out"--it was light yellow satin--"and the red sash is hers too. I tell
you, this is the best fun I've had in years. And isn't the girl a
queen though!"

"Well," I began--but here she came into the room.

"It is time," she said, "that we started, you and I." Her father
descended the stairs. Adelita threw her arms about his neck and kissed

"Good-night, _Padre_--till later. _Buenas noches_. Good-night,
_senor_." This to me.

"_Buenas noches_, Adela," murmured the old man. "Good-night, _senor_.
Take good care of the daughter." The father and I passed into the

She took Henderson's hand and led him out of the door. They did not go
out of the gate, but turned through the little garden, past the house,
and followed a narrow path that ran down the hill. As the grass was
high on either side he followed where she led, holding fast to the
hand she stretched out to him. Suddenly as the path dipped down the
hill she commenced to run. Henderson held back. She looked over her
shoulder, laughing.

"Are you afraid to follow?" she asked in Spanish.

"No, little one, I am not," he answered in the same tongue, "but I am
afraid that with those high heels you will wrench your ankle."

"Oho," she laughed, "I was born for this." But she stopped and walked

The moon was just rising, big and red, as if it were autumn instead of
late spring. The girl drew in a deep breath.

"Look at that, _Senor Federico mio_, look at that." She still spoke in
the Old World tongue.

Now they had reached the little brook that tumbled down through the
rolling valley. The girl spoke again.

"Here the path is wider. You may walk beside me--if you like." She
glanced up from under her black lashes. "The hall is but a short half
mile down the stream here to the left." They proceeded, walking
slowly, the brook purling and murmuring at their side. The girl drew
in her breath again, deliberately and deep.

"Smell the roses. It is the long arbor of Don Benito, through which we
must pass. Ah, it is wonderful."

The heavy musk of roses seemed literally to fill the bottom of the
vale. With it was mingled the scent of the grass and of the field
flowers. Over all hung the moon, yellow and near.

"It is wonderful," mused Henderson. She came close to him.

"Remember," she said, "to-night I am your lady, and you--you are my
cavalier. Take care of the feather in your cavalier's hat, for here is
the arbor." He bowed his head, and they passed beneath the
sweet-scented array of blossoms and buds. Then, as they rounded a
corner of the slope, there came to them from far down the valley the
sound of music and the glint of lights through the uneasy leaves of
the maples.

"Hear it," the girl cried, "hear it! They may be dancing. Let us
hurry. 'Sh! Now we are getting too near. We must mask. Here, _senor_,
help me with my mask and I will do the same for you. Thank you. Stoop
lower, please. There, now it is right!" They proceeded. "I wonder what
Carlos will say to this. He will be surprised when we unmask. Until
then he will not know me--nor you either." She lowered her voice. "I
told him that my costume was to be that of a shepherdess."

They were close to the hall now. A turn brought them to a wider path
which led directly to the building. Up the steps and into the throng
of masks they passed, the girl now holding tight to the man's arm. The
orchestra was playing a waltz and the pair swung into the whirl,
dancing fast and gracefully. The music stopped; a man in the costume
of a Spanish sailor came up and asked for the next. The girl looked
down, then glanced quickly up and pointed silently to the tall
cavalier at her side. The sailor bowed and passed on. Then the music
started again.

"I cannot speak, you see," the girl panted as they swept around a
corner, "or they would know my voice. Of course--oh look, there is
Carlos. He must be looking everywhere for me."

A tall man, clad in the helmet and boots of a Spanish military
officer, stood in the center of the floor, intently watching each
couple as it passed. Adelita he followed closely with his eyes, as if
perplexed. Then he shook his head.

"He does not know me," she laughed.

But at the end of that dance he strode up to her and bowed.

"May I have the honor?"

She said nothing, but inclined her head. Then they waltzed off.
Henderson stood at the side watching the whirling crowd. The vivid
reds and yellows and greens of the costumes blended harmoniously in a
swirl of color that seemed a part of the music, the laughter, and the
splendor of the night. Just then the couple passed, the man talking
intently, the girl with her head bowed, saying nothing. As the dance
ended, Henderson was about to go up and accost an attractive looking
shepherdess, when he felt a hand on his shoulder. He turned around,
surprised. It was the tall officer whom Adelita had called Carlos.

"Stranger," he said in English, "why have you made my Adela, Senorita
de Marcelo, try to hide from me? Do you think, although she has not
spoken, that I could fail to know her? Do you think I would not
recognize her even if she came in a black cowl and robe? Who are you
that have dared speak to her as you have? I have watched her--and you.
Hear me, interloper, I will not have you dance with her or speak to
her again. The rest of the house is yours--and welcome." He was
answered in Spanish.

"With my compliments, mind your own business. When I need advice I
shall come to you, and not before. Who are you--and pray, who am I?"

"I--I am Senor Carlos Gerardo," he answered in the native tongue. "How
do I know you? Bah! I know every man in the room. You heard what I
said about Adelita. Now remember."

Henderson turned on his heel and walked directly over to where the
girl stood, talking with the shepherdess. Adelita looked down as he
came up and tapped the floor nervously with the toe of a red slipper.
Her face was flushed.

"May I have this dance?" he asked.


They swung off to the tune of a catchy American popular air. Few of
the dances had been Spanish. He waited, and at last she broke the

"Carlos danced with me and tried to get me to speak, but I would not.
Nevertheless he knows me, and is angry--very angry. But it will do him
good. He--he said he was going to speak to you."

"He did," put in Henderson dryly. "Is it the custom here to allow no
other man to dance with one's friends?"

"No," she said, "it is not. But he--Carlos is very jealous."

After the dance the officer came up to Henderson again.

"You heard me," he muttered. "I cannot bear with this."

Again Henderson turned on his heel and again he asked her for the next
dance. She had it with the sailor, but promised him the one after.

It was warm inside, so after their waltz Fred and the girl went out on
a little balcony which hung low over the brook. The moon was high in
the heavens, and shone softly through the whispering leaves. From up
the valley a gentle breeze brought the heavy scent of the roses.

"It is so hot inside," the girl said, her voice so low that it seemed
part of the night, "and out here it is so cool and--and wonderful."
Again she came close. "For to-night you are my cavalier, and I am your
lady. Oh, if to-night could but be every night. You are so big and
kind and--different."

"And you," he said, with the romance of it mounting to his head, "you
are more than different. If to-night only _was_ every night. For
to-night you are my lady."

A shadow darkened the doorway behind them and a long arm shot out for
Henderson's neck. Surprised, he turned blindly. It was Don Carlos.
Quick as a flash Fred hit him full between the eyes, and with the
other arm tried to loosen the hold on his throat. There was no sound;
the girl stood breathless. Again he struck and the hand at his throat
tore away. There was a flash of steel in the hand of the Spaniard--but
the blow never fell. The girl stood between them, her arms spread
apart, her eyes flashing.

"Carlos," she said slowly, "if you ever strike a blow like that, be
eternally cursed by me. You fool! Know you not that I was playing with
you? How I hate you! Go!" She stamped her foot. "Go, I say."

He turned with bent head, and without a word passed into the building.
As he disappeared, the girl sank back, her face white, almost greyish,
against the red of her dress.

"Hold me, _senor_," she said weakly. "I am not well. Could--would you
take me home--to my father?"

Without a word Henderson picked her up bodily and stepped off the
little low balcony into the grass. Not until they reached the arbor
did she speak.

"Thank you. I think I can walk now."

He set her down and she smoothed her rumpled skirts. Then they
proceeded together slowly. Silently they followed the path which a few
hours before they had so gaily trod, and silently they ascended the

The old man and I had not yet gone to bed when they entered the house.
She came in laughing.

"Is it not early, my angel?" he asked. "It is but little past
midnight." She smiled.

"Yes, _padre_, it is early--but I--I thought I would return."

Late that night, as Henderson and I lay in bed--he telling me the
story of the evening--we could hear the girl in the next room,
sobbing, sobbing as if her heart would break. It made Henderson

"I'd like to do something," he said. "The scoundrel! He ought to be

I grunted and tried to get to sleep, but it was useless. Fred was
tossing restlessly, and the girl in the other room was still sobbing,
sobbing. Suddenly there sounded a whistle, low but clear. The sobbing
ceased. The whistle sounded again. We heard a quiet step and the noise
of an opening window.

"_O Carlos mio_," she breathed in the mother tongue, "I knew you would

"Adela _mia_," he called softly, "my angel, I hoped you would be here
and--and you are."

"You have been so long," she sighed.

"Henderson," I said, "if you have any decency, go to sleep."

We rolled over and closed our eyes, while unknown to us the breeze
wafted up the heavy night odor of the roses and the yellow moon slowly
moved toward the western heavens.

_Literary Monthly_, 1906.



When March has tuned his willow pipes,
The robins in the rain
Take up the song with plaintive notes
And sing the sweet refrain.

Then April, sleepy child of Spring,
Awakes, to music yields,
Goes dancing 'cross the fields.

The modest buds, once red and brown,
Burst forth in plumes of green,
And interlace the barren boughs
With wreaths of vernal sheen.

The old sun-dial beside the walk
Takes heart for sunny day;
But half-awake marks sleepy hours
By light through spring-time haze.

When March has tuned his willow pipes,
The children passing by
Kneel down and pluck the early flowers,
And smile, they know not why.

_Literary Monthly_, 1906.



I'm coming, I'm coming,
The miller has lifted
The gates that have bound me;
At last I am free,
And where the grey sands
O'er my courses have drifted
My swift happy waters
Shall hurrying be.
Like hearts that unburdened
From grief come to weeping,
And smile 'mid their tears
At old sorrows past;
So my sunny waters,
The white rapids leaping,
From dark fearsome valleys
Come singing at last.

I'm coming, I'm coming,
The children shall love me;
The beeches, the willows,
The golden elm trees
That close by the village
Are drooping above me,
Shall float on my billows
Their last withered leaves.
The grey flocks shall meet me,
The meadow larks greet me,
And oft the shy new moon,
In veiled halo lace,
Through bare tangled branches,
In sad brooding shallows,
Shall trail her cloud tresses,
Shall bathe her pale face.

I'm coming, I'm coming,
O hearken, sad-hearted,
My sweet singing voices
Shall teach you by day;
And in the night's darkness
The stars gently mirrored,
All borne on my current,
Shall mark you the way.
Dark mountains may tower,
Dark valleys may lower,
But follow, sad-hearted,
Come smiling, light-hearted,
Come fare to the river;
His Hand in the forest
Has marked the true way.

_Literary Monthly_, 1907.




She told me of her garden, all the flowers,
Of hallowed lilies and the glories bright,
Frail tinted cups filled with the morning's light;
The primrose drooping for the evening hours.
She spoke of hedges, hawthorns, and the powers
Of weeds and frost in April, and the blight
Of birds and children; prayed her blossoms might
Not so allure them to her paths and bowers.
And I turned silently upon my way,
And sought His untrod forests and the hills,
My free companions of no guile nor art--
Their holy strength is more than rocks and clay;
I sought the comfort loneliness instills:
Dear Christ! She spoke her own vain, selfish heart.

_Literary Monthly_, 1910.



Over the hills
Softly the slumber light
Seems to me creeping,
Stealing with twilight,
While the world sleeping
Breathes in the lower light
Prayers for its loved ones
Over the hills.

Stars watch, and the fire glows,
Fading it goes, fainter it glows,
Lips of vain speaking silently close--
The breath comes, but the breath goes.

Some mothers stifled lie,
Sobbing till life is gone;
Some fathers bitter die
In their remorse ere dawn;

Stars watch, and the fire glows--
Something comes, something goes.

Far in the night
Beckon the locust trees,
Whispering, calling,
And from their drooping leaves
White blossoms falling
Float on a magic breeze,
Far in a phantom world,
Far in the night.

Clocks chime and the night goes,
Slowly it goes, brighter it grows,
Tired hands folded rest in repose--
The breath comes, but the breath goes.

Some watchers on the hill
Wide-eyed await the dawn;
Some workers in the mill
Wearying are toiling on;

Clocks chime, and the night goes--
Slowly it lighter grows.

_Literary Monthly_, 1910.



The moon hath a hidden face and fair,--
Never we gaze on its features calm;
She gazeth afar on the star-lit air,
On star-lighted regions whose breath is balm;
But never, ah never, her glance doth show
To the world of men in the deeps below.

O love, do you know that there dwells in thee
A hiddenest spirit that dreams alway,
And never the world can her features see,
Of the spirit that shunneth the earthly day?
Only I know that she lives, to rise
Some day, some night, in your love-lit eyes.

_Literary Monthly_, 1906.




Are we but truants from a parent stern--
Whose strait commands with fear we long obeyed,
Till, gladdened by the sunlight, far we strayed,
And lingered by the woodside and the byrne,
The bird's sweet passion at the sun's return,
The flower's grieving at his sight delayed,
With wistful, long-pent love, to watch and learn,
Till evening come, and we turn home dismayed?

Or have we grown unto our fuller seeing,
The manhood of our days, when evermore
Our Father speaks and, punishment decreeing,
Is high and silent from his sapphire door?
Forever past, the childhood of our being:
He stoops to reason who but spake before.

_Literary Monthly_, 1908.




Beside the grim, the grey, cold sea
I heard a goblin call to me;
Beneath a rock, beside the water,
He cried, "Go pray thy lady daughter
To bring some wine to me.

"For coldly runs the salt, salt tide,
And I am prisoned fast and long,
And I was wont to feast and song,
And roaming through the woodland wide.

"For coldly runs the salt, salt tide,
And I am wont to have my will,
And he that brooks it fareth ill,
When I may roam the woodland wide.

"Of old, of old I roamed the wood,
Of old I dwelt in lordly state,
Before they came, the black-heart brood,
To make me thus disconsolate.

"For coldly runs the salt, salt tide,
And stones are hard that prisons be;
Yet here in daily hope I bide,
That one will hear and come to me.

"They came with drums and dancing fire,
And wreaths and chants and incense sweet;
They stole away my heart's desire,
That was all fair and lithe and fleet.

"And coldly runs the salt, salt tide;
Alone they bound and prisoned me,
Nor may I taste of aught beside,
Though well I know the sweets there be.

"A thousand gnomes brought golden urns,
With red, red wine and crystal filled;
And all my couch was flowers and ferns,
And whatsoever maid I willed.

"But coldly runs the salt, salt tide,
And men ride up the high, white road.
And many a goodly maid beside--
Nor ever glance to my abode.

"The bee sucks sweetness all the day,
And dwells in flowers from morn to night;
But never, never need he stay,
And never feels he gloom nor blight.

"But coldly flows the salt, salt tide,
And I am weary of my breath;
Though all the world is fair beside,
And yet I taste nor life nor death.

"In feasts we sat at silken boards,
Endraped with silver gossameres,
And 'round me sat my bearded lords,
And maidens served whose sires were peers.

"And coldly runs the salt, salt tide;
I loved too well and she was fair,
And here in bondage dire I bide,
Who never thought to know despair.

"I hate the stone, I fear the water;
I dread the grey, the moaning sea;
I pray thee bid thy lady daughter
To fetch some wine to me.

"For coldly, coldly, runs the tide;
And all the foam is salt and strong;
And here, athirst and cramped, I bide,
And I have waited, waited long."

_Literary Monthly_, 1910.



Across the breadth of many memoried years
I catch a whiff of strong, salt air
Light-hearted blowing of the gentle wind,
And all the swaying of the sad and silent sea;
On high a golden star, bright, peerless, free,
In endless space confined,--
And light as laughter 'gainst my cheek, star-lit with tears,
A wavy lock of sweet brown hair.

The star wove silver webs across the ways
Carved by the wind, a half-breathed sigh,
That spoke in ripples. "O Heart's Delight,"
I cried, "The skiff comes for me now across the water."
And, as I bent to kiss her, Love's fair daughter,
She barely breathed, "Good-night,"
And some musician blended Chopin with her phrase:
"Good-bye, Love's youth, Youth's love, good-bye."

_Literary Monthly_, 1907.



The deep, dark clouds are yonder massed,
And rain has drenched fields drear and dun,
But o'er the farthest hills at last
I see the sun!

_Literary Monthly_, 1905.



Mysterious damozel in white,
White like the swans that glide upon the pool below,
Who art thou that with fingers light
Playest upon those ivory keys such music low?

O winged youth in dreamful thought,
With eyelids weighed with utter sweetness, who art thou,
With garments by the breezes caught,
Whose hands with drowsy motion ply the bellows now?

The youth and damsel answer not.
But thou, O listening knight-at-arms, thou mayest tell
Who are these minstrels mild, and what
The strains that here outside this quiet city swell.

The youth with languid moving wrist
In puissance may with any of the gods compare;
No marvel thou must stay and list,
For 'tis the Song of Love breathes on the evening air.

Know by the calm her lips disclose,
By the fine shades and faery lustre of her eyes,
The damsel is the queen of those
Whose names are written Beatrice in Paradise.

While yon still towers in sunset lie,
Her face oblivious of all else I'll ponder long.
My body thrills with ecstasy!
My heart beats with the rhythmic pulsing of the song!

_Literary Monthly_, 1906.



The north road, the south road,
Highway, byway,
There never was a road men trod
That did not lead them home.

The east road, the west road,
Your way, my way,
Men's tangled footprints end in God,
Through Arcady or Rome.

_Literary Monthly_, 1907.



Her beauty lies upon her face
As sunlight masks the barren sea;
A fitful, accidental grace
Which time shall ruin utterly.

Not like the Beauty all divine
(The "house of God," the poet saith),
Which is the craftsman-soul's design,
Its majesty supreme in death.

_Literary Monthly_, 1908.



The Fool was sitting by his half-built sod house. This was the season
of building, for the sun shone; and moreover presently would come the
bitter unending rain of winter, when it were better to be abiding
safely at home. Nevertheless the Fool sat happily idle, for he never
_could_ get enough of the sunshine, though he rose with the sun in the
morning and wistfully watched it set at night. Now he was twirling a
dandelion between thumb and finger, and gazing out across the valley
to the running hills of the north country. It so happened that the
Fool's house was on a cross-road, and presently, as he was a-sitting
at his ease, along came the King of that land, with a great cavalcade
of soldiers and retainers. And because on their brazen shields and
helmets the sun was reflected more brightly than from yonder peak, the
Fool turned to gaze at them as they wound past. In sooth, had it not
been for that, he would never have given them a glance at all, not
having much curiosity about the things other people love to gape at.

Beside the King rode the King's Favorite, a very goodly man, one who
was closest of all to the King's ear and heart. Plainly enough could
the Fool see, even though he was only dreamily a-looking, a bright
golden figure seated upon the saddle with the King's Favorite. This,
as all men know, was Preferment, and a sudden wistful longing seized
upon the Fool's heart, that he had never known the like of since the
time he had cried for the moon. His jaw dropped, and his eyes grew
misty. In a little while the troop was by, gone around the hill, but
the Fool could not forget them, and many new desires tugged at his

"Why," he wondered, "doth not Preferment live with me? Am I not as fit
a man as the King's Favorite?" And he stretched out his long legs and
looked at them.

As long as the Fool was occupied with dreaming and laying the sods on
his house, or hunting for the dun deer of a moonlit night, he was
company enough for himself, turning his fancies over and over in his
mind, as the wind bundles the clouds about the sky; then when he had
arranged his conceptions to his taste, he was free to admire them
undisturbed, until a new fancy happened along to displace them; just
as the wind leaves off driving the clouds at sunset, and in the west
there is a sweet tableau for men to look at, till night blots out the
scene. So the Fool was usually well content to be alone. But when, as
now, he was perplexed by any problem that disturbed his simple
cheerfulness, he had to seek some other and wiser man for counsel, not
being one of those men, more mind than heart, who unravel problems
with as much accuracy and equanimity as a skilful weaver plies his

So that evening, with the moon sending his shadow out ahead of him,
the Fool walked overfield to the cave of the Wise Man. Timidly
approaching, he peered through the entrance and found the Wise Man
sitting still and alone, gazing into the ashes of a flickering fire.

"Please," said the Fool anxiously, "why does Preferment ride with the
King's Favorite and never with me?"

The other did not stir for a long while, but after the Fool had
shifted several times from one foot to the other, beginning to despair
of an answer, the Wise Man spoke.

"Because," he said slowly, still looking into the fire, "thou hast
never desired him to." And, having spoken, he kept silent, and after a
little the Fool turned away.

"I never desired him to?" he muttered over and over to himself. "What
does that mean?" And he stood stock still and looked about for
explanation; but none was vouchsafed by the moon, or the bushes, or
night itself, the customary adviser of the Fool's doubts and queries.

"How is this?" he said again. "Did the King's Favorite, then, desire
him? And will Preferment come if he be wanted? And how does one ask

All this was inexplicable to the Fool and he took courage to return to
the cave.

"Tell me," he asked of the Wise Man, "did the King's Favorite want
Preferment more than I? And how does Preferment come if he is wanted?"

The Wise Man nodded gently to himself. "Aye," he muttered, "so it is,
so it is." The Fool gazed in amazement at this, but because he thought
all Wise Men are somewhat mad, he waited and did not run away, as his
heels advised.

"Listen," the Wise Man began again, "this man has so wanted Preferment
all his life that he has given up everything that is dear to him. He
has crushed underfoot every dream and vision save this alone, to be
seen in the company of Preferment." The Wise Man turned and looked
about at the Fool. "He has no sod house,--no days afield and by the
brook. He never heard the night-song of the wind or the winter-rune of
the pine. Nothing of all these things that you love has he had."

The Fool's eyes were round with amazement. "No sod house?" But the
other was sunk into a reverie and gave no answer. The Fool stood first
on one foot, then on the other, then with his old smile he turned and
skipped away. As he returned through the night, walking, hopping, or
running, as the need came to him, he crooned to himself a song he had
once made up.

"My lips are a-tremble with a grave little song.
I care not if the wide world hear.'
Its words happened forth as I dreamed and trudged along.
I care not if the wide world hear.

"It has not worth nor weight, it is neither sweet nor strong.
I care not if the wide world hear.
For I sing it to myself when the great doubts throng
And I care not if the wide world hear."

That was all, but he hummed it with great content, beating time with
one hand; and as for the King's Favorite, for all that Preferment
rideth on the pommel of his saddle, I doubt not he never sang such a
song to himself, or took such pleasure in the singing.

_Literary Monthly_, 1907.



Upon mine ear a deep, unbroken roar
Thunders and rolls, as when the moving sea,
Too long asleep, pours on th' resisting shore
Full half his cohorts, tramping audibly.

Yet here's no rushing of exasperate wind,
Booming revolt amidst a factious tide;
Nor hateful shock on toothed reef and blind,
Of foaming waves that with a sob subside.

No! but more fateful than the restless deep,
Whose crested hosts rise high but fall again,
I hear, in solemn and portentous sweep,
The slow, deliberate marshalling of men.

No monarch moves them, pawns to gain a goal;
They felt a fever rising in the soul.

_Literary Monthly_, 1909.



All verse, all music; artistry
Of cunning hand and feeling heart,
All loveliness, whate'er it be,
Is but the hint and broken part

Of that vast beauty and delight
Which man shall know when he is free;
When in his soul the alien night
Folds up like darkness from the sea.

For e'en in song man still reveals
His ancient fear, a mournful knell;
Like one who dreams of home, but feels
The bonds of an old prison cell.

_Literary Monthly_, 1909.



Jane always called him the professor, a name which that individual
accepted without comment, as he did everything else. In fact, since he
had been possessed of titular rights, but two people had ignored
them--his mother and Mary. His mother had been dead--oh, a very long
time, and it was nineteen years and some months since Mary had
followed her. When Mary had died people said that Jane was coming to
live with the professor; Jane came, and now people said quite
unthinkingly that the professor lived with his sister. Jane was
high-minded, also strong-minded; her hair was very thin and very
straight, a fact for which she was sternly and devoutly thankful. Jane
was stern and devout in everything--even in cooking preserves. To the
professor, Jane had been surrounded by a sort of halo of preserves,
ever since he had recovered from his awe of her unapproachable
angularity as to allude to her before admiring play-mates as the "old

When the professor had married, Jane had strongly disapproved--Mary's
cheeks were much too pink, her hands much too soft, and her ways of
life led her into the flowery meadows of the world and the flesh, if
not the devil. The professor had been infatuated, and the year or so
of married life seemed only to augment such infatuation, and
incidentally Jane's ire. Well, the golden year was over, and the
little butterfly had gone to its rest, fretfully, fearfully. And then
Jane wrote; wrote that the professor needed somebody to superintend
him, to see that he did not take cold, and to cook his preserves; so
she was coming. The professor did not wish to be superintended, he
wanted to take cold in comfort without being asked how he took it, and
he abominated preserves; to all of which Jane was supremely
indifferent. Jane came; the professor wore overshoes and ate

So the professor lived with his sister. At first the direful system
which ruled everything from the time of the cat's entrance to the date
when the furnace fire should be started, chafed on him. His
declarations of independence were received pityingly, as the prattles
of a tired child. Gradually he resigned himself, and the germs of
discontent followed the wake of the other germs which Jane had
promptly and forcefully annihilated.

So the years went on; in time the professor grew tired of ranting and
mild objections gave way to sighs of resignation. There had been bones
to pick in plenty. The professor had a sneaking fondness for dirt--not
mud, but historic dust, so to speak; Jane decreed all foreign matter
as damned eternally. The professor liked fiction; he had once in the
first years of Jane's rule started a novel, which having been
inadvertently left in the living-room, was consigned to the flames;
Jane had intimated, moreover, that the authors of such monstrosities
would probably end in the embrace of the same element. Whereupon the
professor's wrath was great; but his house was built on the sand; so
was his novel; and five years afterwards he knew it.

Although Jane's fanatical cleanliness had been far-reaching, the
professor's study was nearly immune. In the first place the door was
usually locked and the key discreetly lost; and in the next place the
professor had mildly but very obstinately insisted, through all the
twenty years, that his desk, which is the sanctum sanctorum of the man
with a past, remain untouched. Jane sniffed copiously over this
stipulation, and, as she liked to do a thing thoroughly or not at all,
the study remained as a whole comfortably mussy. Sometimes, however,
Jane had twinges of conscience, resulting in the disappearance of all
old, unbound, and destructible matter which presented itself. So the
professor painstakingly replaced equally old and disreputable matter
around the study when the whirlwind had passed, and waited till the
dust settled.

Of late the professor had been ill with a chronic rheumatism. He
grumbled a good deal about the "positively senile" character of his
affliction and finally agreed to take to his bed for a few days in the
hope of luring nature to a hasty cure. The professor was rather
helpless when he was ill; Jane was painfully and triumphantly
energetic. One memorable day, when the invalid had fallen into a
restless sleep, he was awakened by the vigorous ministrations of Jane,
who was creaking around the room in an ostentatious effort, to be
quiet. The professor looked and wondered what she would do if he were
to yell. Seeing he was awake, she stepped over briskly and began to
arrange his bedclothes and pillows. Her hand touched his sore leg. He
winced and groaned inwardly.

"I am going to sit here and read to you," she announced with the stern
cheerfulness which gave the recipient of her benefits a fitting sense
of the self-sacrifice which prompted them. Jane usually read tracts,
and the professor did not feel religious; in fact he was conscious of
an emotion of most unchristian belligerence.

"Aren't you neglecting your house-work to attend to me?" remarked the
victim with clumsy and obvious intent.

"My house is always in order, professor," answered the supremely
ignorant one tartly.

"How fortunate; my study, too,--I suppose that is in order?" The
professor felt most out of place as an inquisitor but he was

Jane looked at him, with as near a quizzical expression as her very
unquizzical nature would permit.

"You know I'd do it if you weren't so stubborn about using a
wastebasket instead of that desk," she said.

"Better clean it out, Jane--clean it all out--anything, anything,--"
but she was gone. He took the tract which she had left on his table
and carefully tore it in four pieces, and hid them under the mattress.
Then he went to sleep. The professor was in distinctly a rebellious

In the natural course of time, which, when one has numerous queer
pains in most unexpected places, is short,--the professor awoke and
lay on his back watching a fly walking around the edge of a rosebud.
Pretty soon the fly flew away--then the professor thought of something
else--something he had not thought of for some years. Strange how
inactivity of the body affects one. The professor raised himself in
bed with some effort and drew on his dressing gown and slippers. Then
he hobbled across the room, out of the door, and down the hallway
towards his study.

At the turn of the narrow corridor the odor of long-hidden dust met
him,--and he hobbled faster. His lips were set in a manner that was
strange to him, and a fear was in his heart--a fear of the cleanliness
which may be akin to godliness, but to which a pressed flower is as
the dust upon the walls. At the door he hesitated, bewildered. On his
desk was heaped a pile of papers, in which letters, lecture notes, old
pamphlets, were scattered in contemptuous disorder. Jane had just
dropped an armful into the fire which blazed with that comfortless
instability common to paper fires in the daytime. She had gathered
another armful and was advancing toward the hearth, when she saw the
apparition in the door-way and stopped. The professor was paler than
usual, and his hands shook a little.

"Do you know what you're doing, Jane?" he asked, quietly enough.

"Yes," she answered defiantly, "I do. You've had 'em hanging around
long enough."

"You know whose letters they are?"

"Yes," she said. "Why, what--"

The professor, forgetting his rheumatism, had advanced in two strides,
and with one blow knocked the papers from her arms, so that they lay
scattered on the floor.

There are wrongs committed against the sacredness of sentiment which
cannot be put in words. The professor checked the torrent which rose
to his lips: Jane would never understand. The only thing which she did
comprehend was a strength in her brother of which she had never
dreamed--not the strength of the worm which turns, but of the man who
had endured because he wished to, and whose endurance was at an end.

"You never had a heart, did you, Jane?" he said finally. "The past is
not sacred to you, and the present---well, the present does not count
for much when one has no dreams--or visions.... I think, Jane, you had
better go."

"Where?" she questioned vaguely. There was no asperity in her voice
now, only puzzled helplessness. It was the inevitable surrender of the
commonplace in the light of a greater understanding--in the
realization of an unknown law to the significance of which some never
attain. She had come inadvertently to a marriage feast for which she
had no wedding garment; and she was naked and ashamed.

"Anywhere--anywhere; only go," said the professor. His thoughts were
far away now.

"I shall not come back, professor--perhaps it is better," she said.

There was a new tone in her voice, and the professor turned sharply.
Jane hesitated. Then he caught sight of a photograph lying among the
letters on the floor.

"That, too," he murmured. He stood and looked at it; Jane passed out
of the room.

Slowly and painfully the professor stooped down and gathered up his
wife's letters and his wife's photograph. He sat down in the big plush
chair by the fireside and thought for a long time. He was thinking of
an old quotation from some Sanskrit poem--"Every yesterday a dream of
happiness, every to-morrow a vision of hope--" That was all he could
remember, but his mind said it over and over. Well, his
yesterdays--the yesterdays of long ago--were dreams of happiness--he
had no visions; to-morrow offered him nothing. After a while he took
Mary's picture and looked at it. His dreams slowly settled to
earth--and he began to adjust his perspective. It was a long, long
time since he had even remembered--since the dream had been more than
a vague light shining through the mist. Now he wondered, as he stared
at the pictured eyes, so laughingly helpless, at the chin, so
characterless, at the pretty mouth from which no word worth listening
to had ever proceeded--wondered whether the light was other than a
reflection from Youth's glamour. Then he took up the letters and read
them one by one. He wondered why they seemed so shallow--why he had
never noticed their irresponsible dancing from light to shade, from
light affection to unreasonable and trifling fretfulness. The last
letter he held in his hand for some time after he had read it. It was
written from a summer resort. "You had better not come down," it read,
"you would just spoil the delightful little time I am having with Mr.
Sanders--so stay at home with your books like the dear old bore you
are. Please send me ..." He remembered how it had hurt. He remembered
shortly afterwards how she had been taken ill, and how she had chafed
and feared, and how the dark had taken her while she cried in terror.
He remembered--so much. He wished that he had not tried to remember.

It began to grow dark. The professor lifted the bundle of letters and
the photograph, and placed them in the fire-place as carefully as if
they had been burnt-offerings. Well, they were--to a dead Romance. The
charred paper crumbled where he had laid the letters--a few black
pieces floated drunkenly up the chimney. The fire had gone out long
before. The professor fumbled in his pocket for a match. When he had
found it he struck it on the brick hearth, but his hand trembled so
that it burnt his fingers and he dropped it. He lit another,
carefully, deliberately, and held it to the pile of papers. They
caught, the edges blackened and curled; finally the whole mass blazed
viciously. The photograph had fallen to one side and remained unburnt.
He stooped over and placed it on top of the blazing papers; then it,
too, burned.

A light flared from the gas jet, and the professor looked up. Jane
stood there in her black travelling dress. Her eyes were red with

"Good-bye, professor," she said. "I thought you wouldn't mind if ..."
She hesitated. The professor thought she looked rather pitiful and
thin and tired.

"No, Jane," he answered quietly. "You are not to go. I don't suppose
you will understand, but my dreams have all gone--and the vision has
come. And I need you, Jane."

"Then you forgive me?" she said tremulously. "I did not know ..."

"There is nothing to forgive, Jane. I did not know, either."

Jane broke down and the professor rose and put his arms around her,
awkwardly, and kissed her. He had not kissed her in years. They sat
down together before the hearth and gazed into the blackened ashes. He
held her hand in his. Finally she spoke. She almost understood--

"Shall we have apple dumplings for supper, professor? The kind you
used to like?" She was smiling now.

"No, Jane," he said gravely, "we'll have peach preserves."

_Literary Monthly_, 1909.




All men must feel the beauty of a star
That rides in the illimitable space
Of heav'n; the beauty of an Helen's face;
Or of a woodland water, glimpsed afar,
Where haze-empurpled meadows, undefined
And slumbrous, intervene; of quiet, cool,
Sequester'd glades, where in the level pool
The long green rushes dip before the wind.

These all men feel. But three times blessed he
Whose eye and ear, of finer fibre spun,
Sense the elusive thread of beauty, where
The common man hath deemed that none can be.
The beauty of the commonplace is one
In substance with the beauty of the rare.

_Literary Monthly_, 1910.




We lesser poets clothe in garb ornate,
In words of dizzy fire, in awkward phrase,
In humble thunderings, that only daze,
Though meant to rouse in flames of love or hate,
The thoughts that those brave souls of stuff divine,
Whose words breathe inspiration, have long since
In jewelled lines set forth. Where we bear hints
Of grape, they bear the ruddy full-pressed wine.

And yet the fire that thrills us is no less,
Nor coarser, than the fire that they, the great,
Have felt. Our pens are feebler; but the play
Of deep emotions, the fine stir and stress
That mark the soul's rare movements, are, in state,
Equal to those of lines that make men pray.

_Literary Monthly_, 1909.




There was shouting and hand-clapping from all the gay company, and a
shower of gay words for me when I had done with my singing; and my
lord, greatly pleased, and prophesying that some day when I should be
riper in years I might win the crown of peacock's feathers from the
hands of the Princess Eleanor herself, bade me come on the morrow dawn
to sing an alba under the casement of the bridal chamber. The bride,
too, this new wife that had taken my own lady's place by my lord's
side, she, come but yesterday from her thick-witted Bohemia, and whom,
never loving, I might always truly pity, spoke me fair and besought me
to make verses thenceforth in praise of none save her. I answered as
best I might, but I fear me my speech came but falteringly, what with
my heart beating against my ribs like the armor-smith's hammer, and
the thought uppermost in my mind of the dark business yet to come that
night, before the shame and wrong of it all might be righted--a black
business that none but I in all that company wotted of.

So presently, when all the people made a noisy procession to see the
bridegroom and the bride to their high chamber, I did not go among
them, but stole apart in the shadow and tarried there until the
serving-folk had ceased their scurrying about and the house had grown
quiet in its besotted sleep. Then I crept back to a dark corner by the
great hearth where the stone was warm to the touch and whence I might
see if any passed along the hall. I was all alone there with the
drained goblets, the withering garlands, and the gutted torches, not a
soul abroad, and not a sound save the breathing of the dormant
stag-hounds by the hearth, or the faint disputes of the rats over the
pasty fragments on the table.

Sitting thus, I would go hot of a flash and then cold just as sudden.
Fear? No, by Our Lady, but this was the first time I had ever had a
finger in such a pie as this now baking, and the strangeness of it
made me tremble. But fear, pah! Besides I was in the right, and does
that not make the just hand steady and the pious eye true? I took up
my lute and touching the strings so gently that I myself could scarce
hear, I sang, soft as summer wind at even, so softly that none, not
even the great hounds heard.

Sang I:

The vision tender
Which thy love giveth me,
Still bids me render
My vows in song to thee;
Gracious and slender,
Thine image I can see,
Wherever I wend, or
What eyes do look on me.

Yea, in the frowning face
Of uttermost disgrace
Proud would I take my place
Before thy feet,
Lady whose aspect sweet
Doth my poor soul efface
Leaving but joy and grace
In me to meet.

Who shall deny me
The memory of thine eyes?
Evermore by me
Thy lithe white form doth rise,
If God were nigh me
Still, in so sure a wise
Quick might I hie me
Into His paradise.

Thus I sang to the memory of my true lady, for it was the last song
our brave Renaud had made for her before he rode away to Terre Sainte.
So when the song was finished I sat a long time still, taking counsel
with my sad heart over the black past: how, four May-times ago, I had
ridden blithely forth as singing page in my lady's train, when she
left her own fair land of Aragon to be wedded to this grim Count Fael
of the North; how from that time forth I had dwelt here in his castle,
vassal to him only because he was lord to my liege lady, but fearing
alway his stern face, that froze the laugh on the lips and made
joyousness die, stillborn; how my sole happiness had been to serve my
lady and sing her such songs as I made, and my grief to see her fair
face fade and her grey eyes grow less laughing day by day. Then one
morning had come this brave Renaud, Chatelain of far-off Coucy,
seeming to bring in his eyes, his voice, his lute, all the merry
Spring times we had missed. So he came often and often, teaching me
the great art of song he knew so well; and we were all very happy. But
bye-and-bye he came only when my lord was out a-hawking or to tourney,
and then very quietly, but always with his lute and with song to my
lady. I guessed well which way the wind was blowing, but surely the
pitiful Virgin granted my lady, and justly, this one little hour of
happiness. So it went on and on for a long time and it seemed that my
lord was always away to hunt or to battle, and that when he came back
the songs of Renaud of Coucy never ceased, but only changed their
place, coming now by night under my lady's casement.

Then there was spread abroad through the land this great fire in all
hearts to go to Terre Sainte and to deliver the holy Jerusalem of Our
Lord from the curse of the Saracen hand, and our poor Renaud must feel
himself among the first to go. So one sad morning at early dawn he had
come under my lady's window and sung her that farewell which so filled
my heart, and I had heard from my post in my lady's antechamber. But
oh, Mother of God! so had my lord, who, being at home and sleepless,
had risen betimes and was walking in the cool of the morning on a
little pleasaunce next my lady's tower, and hearing the song, had
looked unseen at the singer, had guessed the bitter truth, but had
held his peace till a riper time.

From then we went on much as before Renaud had come to us, except that
I sang his songs to my lady with all the art he had taught me, while
she sat pale and fair, her hands idle on the tambour frame and her
eyes looking on something far, far off. So for a long time there was
no ill-hap, only my lady's eyes grew dreamier and dreamier and her
thoughts dwelt less and less in this dark Castle of Fael, and she
cared no longer to go a-maying in the pleasant meadows with her women.
Then, one twilight, when my lord had been back from the hunt three
days, and when there had been deep wassailing in the hall, and my lady
had kept to her chamber the whole time--one twilight I stumbled over a
dead man at the foot of the little-used stair to my lady's tower and,
dragging the body to the light, found it to be Jaufré that had been
aforetime esquire to Renaud. But why he should be lying here scarce an
hour dead, here in fair France in this Castle of Fael under my lady's
tower, when he might have been serving his master in all the blithe
fighting in Terre Sainte,--I could not guess. But I raised not hue nor
cry for, certes, there was some black mystery here; only wept silently
and prayed mercy on his soul that had been so brave and so merry a
fellow. After a while, when my eyes were less red, I went and mingled
among the folk in the hall, where there was talk of how my lord had
passed through to his chamber an hour ago, very pale and with the
wine-fumes all cleared away, it would seem, and had let call the cook,
who came back with something under his apron and looking as if he had
seen a spirit, but dumb as a stone. Also, said they, my lord had
commanded that he and my lady would sup alone in her great chamber,
and that I only should serve them.

So presently I went up and served my lord and my lady where they sat
at a little table alight with many tapers, like the shrine in the
great church at Soissons, with the goblets and the silver dishes
making a brave show among them. There was a strange air over it all,
like the breathless moment in a tourney when the tucket has blown and
the knights pause before giving spur. My lady, when she spoke at all,
spoke in a voice as of some one stifling, but my lord said never a
word and ate and drank but little, his eyes always on my lady's face.
Bye-and-bye up came two little meat pasties, borne by the fat cook
himself, who charged me with a certain one for my lady and another for
my lord. I thought nothing whatever on this, for often there was
special pasty made for my lady without hare's meat, which she
disliked. So I served the pasties, and I remember the faint sweetness
of her garments, like wind from apple-blossoms, and how yellow was her
hair and how clear her face in the light of the many tapers. That
course, too, they ate in silence, but before I could take away the
dishes, my lord broke the stillness.

"Lady," quoth he, "is the flavor of this pasty pleasing to thy

"Ay, sir," spake my lady, "it hath a piquant savor I have not met

"Lady," said he, "it is fashioned of passing good meat and rare, so
rare that I doubt thou wilt ever enjoy its like again. For far
countries have contributed to its making, with spices from Araby and
Cathay, and corn from Egypt, and citron from Spain, and from the Terre
Sainte there is, minced into very little pieces, the heart of that
noble sieur Renaud, the worshipful Chatelain of Coucy. His esquire I
haply intercepted with a dagger on his way to thy chamber with his
dead lord's heart in a silver casket as a gift for thee."

For a while my lady did not move, the gold chalice closed in her
delicate fingers half-way to her lips; then with one little breathless
sob such as the hare gives when the fangs of the hound are about to
close upon her, she, very slowly, set down the goblet, and, just as
slowly, rose to her feet, her face the grey-white of the pearls at her

"Messire," said she, and her voice was clear and steadfast, but very
faint, like a bell tolling afar off in the deep forest, "messire, thou
hast done me great honor in this feast, and on none daintier, I wot
well, sup the Blessed Saints in Paradise. But since such viand has
consecrated these my lips, it is only seemly in me to take vow never
to let other pass them, the which I swear by the blood of Holy Jesu."

Then, swift as thought, she fled from the great chamber into her
closet, where she was wont to pray, swung the door to behind her, and
slid the bolt. At that sound up sprang my lord and let cry a great
shout, so that all the serving-folk rushed in with great hubbub and
stood stricken and panting, while my lord called thrice at the door.
But no answer came therefrom, and the great room was very, very still;
until at last the people were commanded to beat down the door. Then
all the folk crowded close together to peer within, spoiling the table
of its waxen tapers to cast light into the darkness, and there, O Kind
Mother of God, lay my lady all in a little huddled heap before the
shrine, an empty vial in her hand, and the breath departing from her
body. Then came her women with low sobbing and laid her on her bridal
bed and began to make ready the grave clothes.

From that time I had lived on here in the castle of the black shadow,
the better that I might do honor to my lady's memory and bring surer
retribution on him that had been my lord, for, certes, I, vassal to my
lady alone, no longer owed allegiance to her murderer. Now at last was
come my chance on this night when he had brought him home a new wife
to take the place of her that was but a little while in earth. Poor
ladies, both! and if the thought that the blessed Jesu was merciful
sometimes made me falter, the thought that Messire God was just, and
that I might be the unworthy instrument of His justice, made my
purpose burn within me like a new torch. Thus the long night drew near
its ending, and the great logs in the fire had turned to coals when
the appointed hour came. I stole in shadow from the hall, my heart
pounding, but my purpose very steady, and passed silently through
passages and corridors where here and there lay one in besotted sleep,
until at last I came out in a little court by the postern. The warders
were long since guzzled to a torpor in their quarters, so there was
neither let nor hindrance when I slid the bolt and welcomed in
Avenging Justice in the shape of him who stood without, my old lord of
Aragon, uncle and protector to my lady. We met with silent greeting as
his picked men of arms filed in after him till the little court was
full; then some were despatched to possess the guard quarters and the
drunken soldiery, others to stand watch over the serving-folk.

After I had pointed them out the way to the high chamber where Fael
lodged that night, I stood watching as they went in silent file up the
stone stair. Then I turned and passed out by the postern and down the
hill to the encampment of my countrymen. I knew that behind me Justice
was taking her relentless course and that I had been her minister.

_Literary Monthly_, 1908.




Where, where is Ganymede? Where are the fair
That graced the tales of Ilium years agone?
Where are the visions of earth's aureate dawn,
When the wing'd bearer bore Jove's nectar rare,
When Naiads laughed and wept and sunned their hair
At sun-kissed pools, deep-recessed, where the fawn
And satyr sought the sloping cool-cropped lawn,
And glimpsed the gods and lurking maidens there?
Where now is Ganymede, and where is Pan?
Where is fair Psyche, where Apollo brave?
Are they all fled, affrighted at the span
Of centuries? Or sunk beneath the wave
Of solemn Lethe? No, rare poet; when
I scan thy pages they all live again.

_Literary Monthly_, 1907.

[Footnote 1: Copyright, 1908, by Julian Park.]



The muse of poetry is a lady of many whims. Fancy, not reason, seems
to determine her actions. She loads the untutored ploughman with the
most lavish gifts, while the scholar sits neglected in his study. She
places a golden crown on the brow of the slave and flings a tasselled
cap at the master. And yet the fool's raiment is worn with as serious
and dignified mien as is the kingly crown. She is a malicious person,
and while she keeps a straight face before you, it is a hundred to one
that she winks behind your back. To be most trusted when she is most
deceitful, that is her role.

Very few of us have not at some time come under her spell. The most
guiltless-looking has somewhere in the lower drawer of his desk or at
the bottom of the tin box where he keeps his old papers, a manuscript,
which he at times, half tenderly, half contemptuously, lifts out,
after making sure that no prying eye is near. _He_ has caught the muse
winking. Were he still illusioned, that poem would never have wasted
its aesthetic fragrance within such close confines. It would have been
most neatly printed in calendar form and sent to appreciative friends.

But though the majority of us have become chary of the muse, there are
some who have never seen through her trickery. To this unfortunate
class belonged a certain Mrs. Simons--her real name is charitably
withheld--who found that she could gratify a moody disposition, of
which she was the unhappy possessor, by writing verses. No one
appreciated them, but, far from dampening her enthusiasm, it afforded
her a sort of bitter joy, that considerably increased her already
large number of available themes. Her poems now proclaimed that she,
Mrs. Simons, was singing to stocks and stones; no one would listen,
and her tender nature would soon succumb to this unwarranted neglect.
But triumph would come, when, as a cold corpse, she would lie in an
open grave, with all her formerly unsympathetic friends and relatives
weeping and wringing their hands at the sad spectacle. Alas, their
grief and contriteness of heart would be too late. The little word
which might have saved her from this early death, now spoken, would
fall on deaf ears. At last her verses would be read and their gloomy
prophecy would fill the world, ever afterwards, with remorse. But Mrs.
Simons did not wilt away and die like a flower deprived of water and
sunshine. She could not overcome her naturally sound constitution,
and, in spite of her wishes to the contrary, she lived to a ripe old

Verse demands, as a rule, serious, if not exalted, themes. It is
strange how ambitious they sometimes are. I knew a young man who had
never been especially fond of poetry and had never attempted to write
it, until, one day, he had an imperative desire to test his powers in
that line. And what was the modest subject that the tyro chose? A
history of the earth from its birth "amidst the crash of worlds,"
through the countless centuries until, cold and dry, it affords no
sustenance to life, and becomes a vast desert like the moon. The poem
came to an abrupt end after "monsters huge" had appeared upon the
scene, and, to my knowledge, was never resumed.

Among the many who have advertised their bigotry or their ignorance by
publishing original compositions, for which it would be hard to find
any suitable descriptive term, are two women, one of whom is well
known. They are Julia A. Moore, self-styled "The Sweet Singer of
Michigan," whose works are included by Dr. Crothers in _The Hundred
Worst Books_, and a Mrs. L., a native of Rhode Island, but "by
adoption a westerner," as she explains in her introduction. If it were
a question of which had the less poetic merit it would be hard indeed
to decide between them, but as to the sincerity of the one and the
pomposity of the other, there can be no doubt. The Sweet Singer plays
upon the strings of her own heart in a way that makes your eyes grow
dim. She has moments of modesty, too, about her work that are very
gratifying. But Mrs. L. is cold and egotistical; lifted so high above
the ordinary plane of life, in her estimation, that no arrows of
criticism can possibly reach her. The introduction to her book
_Mariamne, Queen of the Jews, and Other Poems_, is concise and
statistical. One can see that she has perfect self-confidence in her

"The authoress is a native of Rhode Island, but by adoption a

"Graduated from the Female College, Oxford, Ohio, when under the
control of the Rev. John Walter Scott, D.D.

"Married and lived thirteen wedded years in Covington, Kentucky. Then,
urged by her only brother, Levi L., a lawyer residing at M., Illinois,
she removed (1870) to that city. Here she engaged in arduous and
unremitting study, laboring to deserve the esteem of the gifted and
cultured people with whom she had cast her lot. With the same laudable
ambition that moves the man of business to be identified as successful
in his life career, the writer, whose only wealth is the acquisition
of knowledge and the cultivation of an inherited gift, comes before
the public in a pursuit that has ever proved the animating ally of
education and good breeding and the strong cordon of social

Her first poem, _Mariamne, Queen of the Jews_, has a footnote which
contains this interesting, if rather incomprehensible, sentence:

"The reader must take the production with its stamp of originality,
which is the plainer synonym of afflatus or inspiration."

Undoubtedly she successfully diagnosed the case.

Two passages from this remarkable poem, which is her most ambitious
effort, will bear quoting:

"The swooping winds across the spicery snare,
The aromatic smells of redolent wood,
Camphor, cinnamon, cassia, are incense there,
And the tall aloe soaring into the flood
Of pearlaceous moonlight stimulates the air
Which scarcely soughs, so heavy with vesper scents;
The calamus growing by the pond, did spare
A spicey breath, with sweet sebaceous drents
Of nard, and Jiled's balsamic tree, balm sweet,
Were all which filled this estival retreat."

The other:

"The problem of Existence here when tried,
God remains God though matter returns to dust;
The fool can read this truth; but, if denied,
Does spirit return to be from what it came?
Is there reunition of love with God as at first?
The Brahmin trusts his soul even higher, its flame
Refines in th' Nirvana that absorbs its load,
Though this divine psychism seems lotus flowed,
Seems spirit inane as that on flowers bestowed;
Islamism prepictures the voluptuary's abode
Of Love unending: It is 'Love, love, love,'
Which souls have cried since eons began to move."

Now it is an infinite relief to turn from this inflated but would-be
stately style to the homely diction of the Sweet Singer, as found in
the _Sentimental Song Book_. Her book of verse is small and
insignificant, and has not the prosperous, self-satisfied appearance
of Mrs. L.'s volume, with its gold letters shining from a green cloth
background. At the top of its paper cover the price is modestly given:
25 cents. Then is printed: "The Sweet Singer of Michigan Salutes the
Public," with a likeness of the author directly beneath. She is
depicted as a strong, masculine woman with heavy, black eyebrows,
large, black eyes, and a mass of coarse, black hair tumbling over her
shoulders in a way that makes one think that she has washed and sunned
it, and has forgotten to put it up again. She wears a sort of crown or
band at the top of her head. There is nothing in the homely face, with
the squat nose and thick lips, that would betray sentimentalism, and
yet those honest eyes were probably continually suffused with the
tears for which her ultra-sensitive nature was responsible. Below her
picture follows this simple introduction, without reference to any
"laudable ambition," "acquisition of knowledge," or "cultivation of
inherited gifts."

* * * * *

"Dear Friends: This little book is composed of truthful pieces. All
those which speak of being killed, died or drowned, are truthful
songs; others are 'more truth than poetry.' They are all composed by
the author.

"I was born in Plainfield, and lived there until I was ten years of
age. Then my parents moved to Algoma, where they have lived until the
present day, and I live near them, one mile west of Edgerton.


* * * * *

Among those pieces "which speak of being killed, died or
drowned,"--and it was on these melancholy topics that she was at her
best--are four poems which deal with the sad history of the House
family. They seemed to have had the most abominable luck. When they
couldn't get shot or induce the small-pox to hasten their departure
from this world of care, they passed away for no reason at all.
Somehow they just could not keep alive. Martin House is the first of
whom she speaks. He enlisted with a friend in the federal army at
Grand Rapids. The final stanza of "The Two Brave Soldiers" discloses
their fate--

"It was down in old Virginia
Those noble soldiers fell,
In the battle of Hanover town,
As many a one can tell.
They fought through many a battle
And obeyed their captain's call,
Till, alas, the bullets struck them
That caused them to fall."

Hattie House had no reasonable excuse for dying, but she managed to
fool her mother:

"Hattie had blue eyes and light flaxen hair,
Her little heart was light and gay,
And she said to her mother that morning fair,
'Mother, can I go out and play?'

"Her mother tied her little bonnet on,
Not thinking it would be the last
She would ever see her dear little one
In this world, little Hattie House.

"She left the house, this merry little girl,
That bright and pleasant day--
She went out to play with two little girls
That were about her age.

"She was not gone but a little while
When they heard her playmates call--
Her friends hastened there to save the child,
But, alas, she was dead and gone.

"Those little girls will not forget
The day little Hattie died,
For she was with them when she fell in a fit,
While playing by their side."

Lois House, however, did not have to resort to any subterfuge. The
divine Providence spared her the trouble. She had just married an
exemplary young man, who "had courted her a long time in triumph and
glee," and

"They loved each other dearly and never deceived,
But God he did part them, one which he laid low,
The other He left with his heart full of woe."

The last verse almost has a touch of poetry in it:

"They placed her fair form in the coffin so cold,
And placed there Joy's picture as they had been told;
They bore her to her grave, all were in sad gloom,
And gently laid her down to rest in her tomb."

In "William House and Family" she disposes of them collectively:

"They once did live at Edgerton,
They once did live at Muskegon,
From there they went to Chicago,
Which proved their fatal overthrow."

Pathos evidently appealed to Julia A. Moore in a way that was not to
be resisted. She was also very careful about facts. For instance, what
could be more explicit than these lines from "The Brave Page Boys"?

"John S. Page was the eldest son--
Edward C. Fish was his brother-in-law;
They both enlisted in the Mechanic,
And served their time in the war.
Fernand O. Page was the second son;
He served in the Third Infantry;
He was wounded and lost both his feet
On duty at Yorktown siege."

Enos Page was rather unfortunate:

"In the Eighth Michigan Cavalry
This boy he did enlist;
His life was almost despaired of,
On account of his numerous fits,
Caused by drinking water poisoned--
The effect cannot outgrow;
In Northern Alabama, I hear,
Came this dreadful blow."

In "The Grand Rapids Cricket Club," one of the few poems that deal
only with minor misfortunes, a certain player, Mr. Follet, tried a
good remedy for a novel accident.

"And Mr. Follet is very brave,
A lighter player than the rest,
He got struck severe at the fair grounds,
For which he took a rest."

I could quote from the _Sentimental Song Book_ until I had entirely
exhausted the material, and each verse would create a surprise. And
yet, in spite of the grammatical distortions, in spite of the
sentimentality, there is something pleasing in the absolute
unaffectedness of the little book. That Mrs. Moore has been
appreciated is borne out by the fact that when she travelled from town
to town she used to be met at the station by a brass band or by a
delegation of prominent citizens. Wherever she went she was humored,
and her numerous friends vied with each other in showing her
attentions. All this she took as a natural recognition of her genius,
and happily was never undeceived. However innocent the _Sentimental
Song Book_ may be of any literary value, the writer's sincere attempt
to express her ideas are as plain as the face which embellishes the
cover of the book. She was an ignorant woman, and her utter disregard
of grammatical and poetic principles can be easily forgiven. But what
can be said in behalf of Mrs. L., a graduate of the Oxford Female
College, Ohio, when, in a piece entitled "Genesis," occurs this

"Once, the stars the Lord has scattered
Bountifully on the sky,
Some soul thought they there were spattered
For an ornamental dye;
The huge Opalescent Concave
Wore the polish of a stone
Which the fracturing fires engrave
With a thunder-splitting tone;
And the things they claimed as sponsors
For the young religious thought
Were the things that were the monsters
Recently from chaos brought.
Then the tree inlaced in corsets
Laced some maiden in its arms,
'Twas a lover's trick, to toss its
Purgatories at her charms,
And the lilies in the shallows,
And the echoes 'mong the hills,
And the torrents in their wallows,
And the wind's great organ mills,
And the waters of the fountain,
And the mists upon the river
Had the gods who made a mountain
Of our cosmographic sliver."

Evidently they did not give as thorough a course in the pronunciation
of French at the Oxford Female College as they do here at Williams. At
least this deplorable fact is indicated by the first stanza of "La
Fille du Regiment":

"Proudly marches on the nation
Which its patriots will defend,
But remains a loyal station
With its daughters to commend,
Cheerfully to send the heroes
Who are called to field and tent,
Cheers for those who hold the vetoes,
Vive la Fille du Regiment."

Shall we attribute it to a coincidence that Mrs. L.'s best poem
strikes a very familiar chord? It is called the "River of Tears":

"The world is swept by a sorrowful flood,
The flood of a river of tears,
Poured from the exhaustless human heart
For thousands and thousands of years.
It is sweeping thousands and thousands of lives
On its currents, swift and strong,
O the river of tears for thousands of years
Has swept like a flood along."

Perhaps its poetic merit may be explained by the first few lines of
Bryant's "Flood of Years":

"A mighty hand from an exhaustless urn
Pours forth the never ending flood of years
Among the nations. How the rushing waves
Bear all before them!"

--and so on. There is no need of continuing.

But why disturb the bones of poor Mrs. L., who is but one of the many
thousands of contributors to mortal verse? May they rest in peace. She
had her dream, and never woke out of it. Undoubtedly she was all the
happier as it was. And now let the Sweet Singer raise her harmonious
voice once more, and close this paper with the last stanza of her
poem, "The Author's Early Life," which I think is the most beautifully
extraordinary--since I cannot say extraordinarily beautiful--of the
entire collection.

"My childhood days have passed and gone,
And it fills my heart with pain
To think that they will nevermore
Return to me again.
And now kind friends, what I have wrote,
I hope you will pass o'er,
And not criticise as some have done,
Hitherto herebefore."

_Literary Monthly_, 1910.



At first the darkness was impenetrable, black and choking. There was
no sound, except for the occasional soft spatter of water that dripped
to the stone floor from the mouldy ceiling. Then through a narrow,
barred window came the moonlight in a mottled shaft of phosphorescent
green, and licked its way across the floor, to the edge of the bier.
It shone on two kneeling, crouching figures, and full on the face of
the corpse.

The eunuch, a great, gaunt negro, lifted his head and showed his red,
rolling eyes and his skin, gleaming like bronze in the moonlight. "He

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