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meet his gaze, my eyes the first to look in his. Go! He is so weary; look, as a tired child waiting for the night. I pray thebells may not awaken him. You startled me at first. Yet 'twas a likely mistake. Sleep is not unlike death.
Death. Death. Death.
Rudolf, darling, do not heed the chimes; it is but the knell of the old year they are tolling. Soon will strike up marriage-bells; a wedding-peal; your's and mine, Rudolf.
They have left us, dear; we are quite alone. See, your wife so soon to be. Kiss her, sweetest, as she kisses you. Feel how warm her cheek is as it nestles close to yours. Ah, how cold, how very cold-you are. But you have come a long distance through the snow, no wonder. Rudolf, I do not want you to awaken sooner than you wish, only, dearest, won't you unclasp your dear hands a moment, and entwine them in your darling's once again. See, so -the icy chillness !
Ding, dong, bell, toll!
Do I disturb you, bonniest? Listen, then, and as I lay my head upon the pillow close beside you, I will sing a lullaby and lull you in your sleep
Sleep, sleep, my darling
I am guarding you.
Rudolf, are you still dreaming? or can you feel the throbbing of my heart as it answers yours? O Rudolf, you frighten me! It is unlike you to remain thus long so very still and white! and oh, though I can hear the beating of my own heart keeping time with the bells, pit-pat, ding-dong! yours, darling! yours is silent! silent!! silent!!! Awake, awake, I cannot bear the awful stillness longer! Darling! Darling!! Darling!!!
O my God! he does not, will not, cannot hear! Help me! The room is going round! The floor sinks under me !
Is it summer? is it winter? is it morning, noon, or night?
Who knows? who cares?
Am I asleep, awake, or dead? What matter?
And the bells ring on for ever!
Tra la, tra la, tra la ! Ding dong bell, toll.
Ha, ha, ha! How they ring!
O dear, what will I do? They have taken him quite away!
Where are you?
My heart is breaking,
"For the touch of a vanish'd'hand
And the sound of a voice that is still!' 1
Let me die!
Yes, Die. "Now for the great experiment! I yield my soul, if I have a soul, to God; if there be God."
There see! I cannot lie.
Who was it said that?
And he died; it's only Blossom, poor little last year's Blossom, who cannot-may not die!
Last night, I thought I felt his dear arm round me; his sweet mouth upon mine. It was the clear ring of his own voice calling me, that aroused me last, to find, O, woe is me, I was but dreaming! Ah, me!
They say I'm mad !
Mad Mad! Mad!
That is what the world always says when it cannot understand. I am so weary. I would that I could lay my head upon the cold stone cross, that marks my Darling's sleeping bed, and so sink down, down, down, into the beautiful black mould beside him. "So tired, so tired, my heart and I!"" Ah, then would I rest my weary, aching head upon his dear, dead breast, and die; and he, God bless him, he would sweetly lull me in his arms to kingdom
"Ah me! the live-long day,
My heart, my weary heart
Oft from my casement watch I for gone-ah, yes, for e ver gone,
1 Tennyson. 2 Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Translated from the Italian.
mine own. But he is
Tпis is decidedly the best of Lady Hardy's novels. The story is well told, and is told without any of that affectation which so fatally mars any pleasure that a lover of style would otherwise take in perusing the majority of modern novels. The story is one of to-day. To readers of this Magazine-an organ which has for so many years advocated the good old Conservative cause against the inroads of blatant cobblers, and blasphemous and self-sufficient braggarts-it will have a special interest. And for this reason: in its pages are contrasted the extreme parties in this country. We have the representation of territorial interests, on the one hand. The man of fine instincts-instincts that are the result of refined influence. The man reserved but kindly, dignified but loving. This is Colonel Pomeroy. And the portrait is, in truth, a very admirable one. Contrasted with him is Mr. Stephen Groves; the low-born, self-sufficient, adventurous, and unscrupulous seeker after popular applause is admirably illustrated in this picture. The ease with which he makes use of tools is equalled only by the ease with which he casts them aside when they have answered his purpose. One cannot avoid entertaining a sort of pity for the little cad Haviland, who writes revolutionary odes and gains the suffrages of Padborough for the ambitious Groves. The story is slight. It must not, however, be imagined that, because we have only indicated its political bearing, it is without the love element. There are, indeed, two love stories in it running prettily side by side. There is, moreover, no lack of exciting incident. And if lovers of sensation want anything stronger than the mayor of an important town accused of and tried for murder they had better wait till they get it.
Lady Hardy's style has the quality which we usually seck for in vain in contemporary fiction-we mean, simplicity. If novelists only knew how very much they would gain in force by telling their stories in a straightforward and intelligible way, we, the public, would be almost as great gainers as they the novelists. We regret that we have at this time no greater space at our disposal in which to point out more critically the strong points of this work, and in which to justify our criticism by quotations form the work itself.
1 By Lady Duffus Hardy. Hurst and Blackett.
We can only cordially recommend our realers to make their acquaintance with the characters in the novel, feeling sure that they will find some to be delighted with and others to detest. When a novelist has succeeded in sowing either feeling in the breast of a reader, that novelist has achieved no trifling triumph.
THERE is no heart, however stern and cold,
Oh sweetest childhood! in that happy time
Hope, blending future visions with the chime
Of happiness, that peals from merry girl and boy.
The heavenly strains fade quickly, earthly strife
Brave deeds of self-denial, have a wordless voice
And busy manhood finds a time to sing
And age, again, though deaf to earthly care,
J. T. W. B.