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And he wrote it all to Mildred, as if praise were

only pleasure, As if fame were only honour, when he laid them

in her hands.

Mildred heard it without wonder, as a sure result

expected, For how could it fail, since merit and renown go

side by side : And the neighbours who first fancied genius ought

to be suspected, Might at last give up their caution, and could

own him now with pride.

Years flowed on. These empty honours led to

others they called better, He had saved some slender fortune, and might

claim his bride at last : Mildred, grown so used to waiting, felt half startled

by the letter That now made her future certain, and would

consecrate her past.

And he came: grown sterner, older-changed in

deed: a grave reliance Had replaced his eager manner, and the quick

short speech of old : He had gone forth with a spirit half of hope and

half defiance; He returned with proud assurance half disdainful

and half cold.

Yet his old self seemed returning while he stood

sometimes, and listened To her calm soft voice, relating all the thoughts

of these long years ; And if Mildred's heart was heavy, and at times her

blue eyes glistened, Still in thought she would not whisper aught of

sorrow or of fears.

Autumn with its golden corn-fields, autumn with its

storms and showers, Had been there to greet his coming with its :

forests gold and brown;

And the last leaves still were falling, fading still the

year's last flowers, When he left the quiet village, and took back his

bride to town.

Home—the home that she had pictured many a

time in twilight, dwelling On that tender gentle fancy, folded round with

loving care; Here was home—the end, the haven; and what

spirit voice seemed telling, That she only held the casket, with the gem no

longer there?

Sad it may be to be longing, with a patience faint

and weary,
For a hope deferred—and sadder still to see it

fade and fall; Yet to grasp the thing we long for, and, with sorrow

sick and dreary,
Then to find how it can fail us, is the saddest

pain of all.

What was wanting? He was gentle, kind and

generous still, deferring To her wishes always; nothing seemed to mar

their tranquil life: There are skies so calm and leaden that we long for

storm-winds stirring, There is peace so cold and bitter, that we almost

welcome strife.

Darker grew the clouds above her, and the slow

conviction clearer, That he gave her home and pity, but that heart,

and soul, and mind Were beyond her now; he loved her, and in youth

he had been near her, But he now had gone far onward, and had left

her there behind.

Yes, beyond her: yes, quick-hearted, her Love

helped her in revealing It was worthless, while so mighty; was too weak,

although so strong;

There were courts she could not enter; depths she

could not sound; yet feeling It was vain to'strive or struggle, vainer still to

mourn or long.

He would give her words of kindness, he would

talk of home, but seeming With an absent look, forgetting if he held or

dropped her hand; And then turn with eager pleasure to his writing,

reading, dreaming, Or to speak of things with others that she could

not understand.

He had paid, and paid most nobly, all he owed; no

need of blaming; It had cost him something, may be, that no future

could restore: In her heart of hearts she knew it; Love and

Sorrow, not complaining, Only suffered all the deeper, only loved him all

the more.

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