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There is an earnest longing

In those who onward gaze, Looking with weary patience

Towards the coming days. There is a deeper longing,

More sad, more strong, more keen : Those know it who look backward,

And yearn for what has been.

At every hearth she pauses,

Touches each well-known chair;
Gazes from every window,

Lingers on every stair. What have these months brought Alice

Now one more year is past? This Christmas Eve shall tell us,

The third one and the last.


The wilful, wayward Dora,

In those first weeks of grief, Could seek and find in Alice

Strength, soothing, and relief.

And Alice— last sad comfort

True woman-heart can take Had something still to suffer

And bear for Herbert's sake.

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Spring, with her western breezes,

From Indian islands bore To Alice news that Leonard

Would seek his home once more. What was it-joy, or sorrow ?

What were they-hopes, or fears ? That flushed her cheeks with crimson,

And filled her eyes with tears?

He came. And who so kindly

Could ask and hear her tell
Herbert's last hours ; for Leonard

Had known and loved him well. Daily he came; and Alice,

Poor weary heart, at length, Weighed down by others' weakness,

Could lean upon his strength.


Yet not the voice of Leonard

Could her true care beguile,
That turned to watch, rejoicing,

Dora's reviving smile.
So, from that little household

The worst gloom passed away,
The one bright hour of evening

Lit up the livelong day.


Days passed. The golden summer

In sudden heat bore down
Its blue, bright, glowing sweetness

Upon the scorching town.
And sights and sounds of country

Came in the warm soft tune
Sung by the honeyed breezes

Borne on the wings of June.

One twilight hour, but earlier

Than usual, Alice thought
She knew the fresh sweet fragrance

Of flowers that Leonard brought; Through opened doors and windows

It stole up through the gloom, And with appealing sweetness

Drew Alice from her room.

Yes, he was there; and pausing

Just near the opened door,
To check her heart's quick beating,

She heard—and paused still more-His low voice-Dora's answers

His pleading—Yes, she knew
The tone—the words—the accents :

She once had heard them too.

XI. “ Would Alice blame her ?” Leonard's

Low, tender answer came:Alice was far too noble

To think or dream of blame.” “ And was he sure he loved her ?

“ Yes, with the one love given Once in a lifetime only,

With one soul and one heaven!”


Then came a plaintive murmur,-

“ Dora had once been told . That he and Alice”- “ Dearest,

Alice is far too cold
To love ; and I, my Dora,

If once I fancied so,
It was a brief delusion,

And over,—long ago.”


Between the Past and Present,

On that bleak moment's height, She stood. As some lost traveller

By a quick flash of light Seeing a gulf before him,

With dizzy, sick despair, Reels backward, but to find it

A deeper chasm there.

The twilight grew still darker,

The fragrant flowers more sweet,
The stars shone out in heaven,

The lamps gleamed down the street ;

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