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Yet she would not blame him, even to me, Though she often sat and wept alone;
I it was who drew the sheet aside,
And he wept—Oh yes, I will be just—
Wondering sorrow in their baby eyes;
And he soothed them with his fond replies, Bidding me give double love and care.
Ah, I loved them well for her dear sake:Little Arthur, with his serious air;
May, with all her mother's pretty ways, Blushing, and at any word of praise Shaking out her sunny golden hair.
And the little one of all—poor child!
She had cost that dear and precious life.
And he called her "Olga—like my wife!"
Save that time, he never spoke of her:
No, he never named their mother's name.
She had been; so gentle, good, and bright;
And I always took them every night Where her picture hung in the great hall.
There she stood: white daisies in her hand,
And her red lips parted as to speak
And to bring a faint blush on her cheek.
Well, so time passed on; a year was gone,
Any one but her I could have borne!
But my lady loved her as her friend.
Through their childhood and their early youth, How she used to count upon the truth
Of this friendship that would never end!
Older, graver than my lady was,
She would give advice, and praise, and blame,
I had never liked her, and I think
That my lady grew to doubt her too,
Since her marriage; for she named her less,
At some secret wrong I never knew.
That might be or not. But now, to hear
So, the day came, and the bells rang out, And I laid the children's black aside;
Ah, Sir Arthur might look grave and stern,
When Sir Arthur bade them greet their " mother,"
Ah, the lady's tears might well fall fast,
She might strive to smile or to forget,
But I think some shadow of regret Must have risen to blight her wedding-day.
She had some strange touch of self-reproach;
For she used to linger day by day,
Watching the three children at their play.
But they always shrank away from her
And their grave, cold silence to beguile:
Even little Olga's baby-smile Quivered into tears when in her arms.
I could never chide them: for I saw How their mother's memory grew more deep In their hearts. Each night I had to tell Stories of her whom I loved so well When a child, to send them off to sleep.