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To One in Paradise

by Edgar Allan Poe
  Thou wast that all to me, love,
    For which my soul did pine–
  A green isle in the sea, love,
    A fountain and a shrine,
  All wreathed with fairy fruits and flowers,
  And all the flowers were mine.

  Ah, dream too bright to last!
    Ah, starry Hope! that didst arise
  But to be overcast!
    A voice from out the Future cries,
  “On! on!”–but o’er the Past
    (Dim gulf!) my spirit hovering lies
  Mute, motionless, aghast!

  For, alas! alas! with me
    The light of Life is o’er!
  “No more–no more–no more”–
  (Such language holds the solemn sea
    To the sands upon the shore)
  Shall bloom the thunder-blasted tree,
    Or the stricken eagle soar!

  And all my days are trances,
    And all my nightly dreams
  Are where thy dark eye glances,
    And where thy footstep gleams–
  In what ethereal dances,
    By what eternal streams!

  Alas! for that accursed time
    They bore thee o’er the billow,
  From love to titled age and crime,
    And an unholy pillow!
  From me, and from our misty clime,
    Where weeps the silver willow!

by Emily Dickinson

Much madness is divinest sense
To a discerning eye;
Much sense the starkest madness.
‘T is the majority
In this, as all, prevails.
Assent, and you are sane;
Demur, — you’re straightway dangerous,
And handled with a chain.

by Emily Dickinson

Have you got a brook in your little heart,
Where bashful flowers blow,
And blushing birds go down to drink,
And shadows tremble so?

And nobody knows, so still it flows,
That any brook is there;
And yet your little draught of life
Is daily drunken there.

Then look out for the little brook in March,
When the rivers overflow,
And the snows come hurrying from the hills,
And the bridges often go.

And later, in August it may be,
When the meadows parching lie,
Beware, lest this little brook of life
Some burning noon go dry!

Miss Billy’s Decision, CHAPTER VI

by Eleanor H. Porter

AT THE SIGN OF THE PINK
After a week of beautiful autumn weather,
Thursday dawned raw and cold.  By noon an
east wind had made the temperature still more
uncomfortable.

At two o’clock Aunt Hannah tapped at Billy’s
chamber door.  She showed a troubled face to
the girl who answered her knock.

“Billy, _would_ you mind very much if I asked
you to go alone to the Carletons’ and to meet
Mary Jane?” she inquired anxiously.

“Why, no–that is, of course I should _mind_,
dear, because I always like to have you go to
places with me.  But it isn’t necessary.  You
aren’t sick; are you?”

“N-no, not exactly; but I have been sneezing
all the morning, and taking camphor and sugar
to break it up–if it is a cold.  But it is so raw
and Novemberish out, that–”

“Why, of course you sha’n't go, you poor
dear!  Mercy! don’t get one of those dreadful
colds on to you before the wedding!  Have you felt
a draft?  Where’s another shawl?”  Billy turned
and cast searching eyes about the room–Billy
always kept shawls everywhere for Aunt Hannah’s
shoulders and feet.  Bertram had been known
to say, indeed, that a room, according to Aunt
Hannah, was not fully furnished unless it contained
from one to four shawls, assorted as to size
and warmth.  Shawls, certainly, did seem to be
a necessity with Aunt Hannah, as she usually
wore from one to three at the same time–which
again caused Bertram to declare that he always
counted Aunt Hannah’s shawls when he wished
to know what the thermometer was.

“No, I’m not cold, and I haven’t felt a draft,”
said Aunt Hannah now.  “I put on my thickest
gray shawl this morning with the little pink one
for down-stairs, and the blue one for breakfast;
so you see I’ve been very careful.  But I _have_
sneezed six times, so I think ‘twould be safer not
to go out in this east wind.  You were going to
stop for Mrs. Granger, anyway, weren’t you?
So you’ll have her with you for the tea.”

“Yes, dear, don’t worry.  I’ll take your cards
and explain to Mrs. Carleton and her daughters.”

“And, of course, as far as Mary Jane is
concerned, I don’t know her any more than you do;
so I couldn’t be any help there,” sighed Aunt
Hannah.

“Not a bit,” smiled Billy, cheerily.  “Don’t
give it another thought, my dear.  I sha’n't
have a bit of trouble.  All I’ll have to do is to
look for a girl alone with a pink.  Of course I’ll
have mine on, too, and she’ll be watching for me.
So just run along and take your nap, dear, and be
all rested and ready to welcome her when she
comes,” finished Billy, stooping to give the soft,
faintly pink cheek a warm kiss.

“Well, thank you, my dear; perhaps I will,”
sighed Aunt Hannah, drawing the gray shawl
about her as she turned away contentedly.

Mrs. Carleton’s tea that afternoon was, for
Billy, not an occasion of unalloyed joy.  It was the
first time she had appeared at a gathering of
any size since the announcement of her engagement;
and, as she dolefully told Bertram afterwards,
she had very much the feeling of the picture
hung on the wall.

“And they _did_ put up their lorgnettes and say,
`Is _that_ the one?’ ” she declared; “and I know
some of them finished with `Did you ever?’ too,”
she sighed.

But Billy did not stay long in Mrs. Carleton’s
softly-lighted, flower-perfumed rooms.  At ten
minutes past four she was saying good-by to a
group of friends who were vainly urging her to
remain longer.

“I can’t–I really can’t,” she declared.  “I’m
due at the South Station at half past four to
meet a Miss Arkwright, a young cousin of Aunt
Hannah’s, whom I’ve never seen before.  We’re
to meet at the sign of the pink,” she explained
smilingly, just touching the single flower she
wore.

Her hostess gave a sudden laugh.

“Let me see, my dear; if I remember rightly,
you’ve had experience before, meeting at this
sign of the pink.  At least, I have a very vivid
recollection of Mr. William Henshaw’s going once
to meet a _boy_ with a pink, who turned out to be
a girl.  Now, to even things up, your girl should
turn out to be a boy!”

Billy smiled and reddened.

“Perhaps–but I don’t think to-day will
strike the balance,” she retorted, backing toward
the door.  “This young lady’s name is `Mary
Jane’; and I’ll leave it to you to find anything
very masculine in that!”

It was a short drive from Mrs. Carleton’s
Commonwealth Avenue home to the South Station,
and Peggy made as quick work of it as the
narrow, congested cross streets would allow.
In ample time Billy found herself in the great
waiting-room, with John saying respectfully in
her ear:

“The man says the train comes in on Track
Fourteen, Miss, an’ it’s on time.”

At twenty-nine minutes past four Billy left
her seat and walked down the train-shed platform
to Track Number Fourteen.  She had pinned
the pink now to the outside of her long coat, and
it made an attractive dash of white against the
dark-blue velvet.  Billy was looking particularly
lovely to-day.  Framing her face was the big
dark-blue velvet picture hat with its becoming
white plumes.

During the brief minutes’ wait before the clanging
locomotive puffed into view far down the long
track, Billy’s thoughts involuntarily went back
to that other watcher beside a train gate not
quite five years before.

“Dear Uncle William!” she murmured
tenderly.  Then suddenly she laughed–so nearly
aloud that a man behind her gave her a covert
glance from curious eyes.  “My! but what a
jolt I must have been to Uncle William!” Billy
was thinking.

The next minute she drew nearer the gate and
regarded with absorbed attention the long line
of passengers already sweeping up the narrow
aisle between the cars.

Hurrying men came first, with long strides,
and eyes that looked straight ahead.  These
Billy let pass with a mere glance.  The next group
showed a sprinkling of women–women whose
trig hats and linen collars spelled promptness as
well as certainty of aim and accomplishment.
To these, also, Billy paid scant attention.  Couples
came next–the men anxious-eyed, and usually
walking two steps ahead of their companions;
the women plainly flustered and hurried, and
invariably buttoning gloves or gathering up trailing
ends of scarfs or boas.

The crowd was thickening fast, now, and Billy’s
eyes were alert.  Children were appearing, and
young women walking alone.  One of these wore
a bunch of violets.  Billy gave her a second glance.
Then she saw a pink–but it was on the coat lapel
of a tall young fellow with a brown beard; so with
a slight frown she looked beyond down the line.

Old men came now, and old women; fleshy
women, and women with small children and babies.
Couples came, too–dawdling couples, plainly
newly married: the men were not two steps
ahead, and the women’s gloves were buttoned and
their furs in place.

Gradually the line thinned, and soon there were
left only an old man with a cane, and a young
woman with three children.  Yet nowhere had
Billy seen a girl wearing a white carnation, and
walking alone.

With a deeper frown on her face Billy turned
and looked about her.  She thought that somewhere
in the crowd she had missed Mary Jane,
and that she would find her now, standing near.
But there was no one standing near except the
good-looking young fellow with the little pointed
brown beard, who, as Billy noticed a second
time, was wearing a white carnation.

As she glanced toward him, their eyes met.
Then, to Billy’s unbounded amazement, the man
advanced with uplifted hat.

“I beg your pardon, but is not this–Miss
Neilson?”

Billy drew back with just a touch of hauteur.

“Y-yes,” she murmured.

“I thought so–yet I was expecting to see
you with Aunt Hannah.  I am M. J. Arkwright,
Miss Neilson.”

For a brief instant Billy stared dazedly.

“You don’t mean–Mary Jane?” she gasped.

“I’m afraid I do.”  His lips twitched.

“But I thought–we were expecting–”
She stopped helplessly.  For one more brief
instant she stared; then, suddenly, a swift
change came to her face.  Her eyes danced.

“Oh–oh!” she chuckled.  “How perfectly
funny!  You _have_ evened things up, after
all.  To think that Mary Jane should be a–”
She paused and flashed almost angrily suspicious
eyes into his face.  “But mine _was_ `Billy,’ ”
she cried.  “Your name isn’t really–Mary
Jane’?”

“I am often called that.”  His brown eyes
twinkled, but they did not swerve from their
direct gaze into her own.

“But–” Billy hesitated, and turned her
eyes away.  She saw then that many curious
glances were already being flung in her direction.
The color in her cheeks deepened.  With an odd
little gesture she seemed to toss something aside.
“Never mind,” she laughed a little hysterically.
“If you’ll pick up your bag, please, Mr.
Mary Jane, and come with me.  John and Peggy
are waiting.  Or–I forgot–you have a trunk,
of course?”

The man raised a protesting hand.

“Thank you; but, Miss Neilson, really–I
couldn’t think of trespassing on your hospitality
–now, you know.”

“But we–we invited you,” stammered Billy.

He shook his head.

“You invited _Miss_ Mary Jane.”

Billy bubbled into low laughter.

“I beg your pardon, but it _is_ funny,” she sighed.
“You see _I_ came once just the same way, and
now to have the tables turned like this!  What
will Aunt Hannah say–what will everybody
say?  Come, I want them to begin–to say it,”
she chuckled irrepressibly.

“Thank you, but I shall go to a hotel, of course.
Later, if you’ll be so good as to let me call, and
explain–!”

“But I’m afraid Aunt Hannah will think–”
Billy stopped abruptly.  Some distance away
she saw John coming toward them.  She turned
hurriedly to the man at her side.  Her eyes still
danced, but her voice was mockingly serious.
“Really, Mr. Mary Jane, I’m afraid you’ll have
to come to dinner; then you can settle the rest
with Aunt Hannah.  John is almost upon us–
and _I_ don’t want to make explanations.  Do you?”

“John,” she said airily to the somewhat dazed
chauffeur (who had been told he was to meet a
young woman), “take Mr. Arkwright’s bag,
please, and show him where Peggy is waiting.
It will be five minutes, perhaps, before I can come
–if you’ll kindly excuse me,” she added to
Arkwright, with a flashing glance from merry
eyes.  “I have some–telephoning to do.”

All the way to the telephone booth Billy was
trying to bring order out of the chaos of her mind;
but all the way, too, she was chuckling.

“To think that this thing should have happened
to _me!_” she said, almost aloud.  “And here I
am telephoning just like Uncle William–Bertram
said Uncle William _did_ telephone about _me!_”

In due course Billy had Aunt Hannah at the
other end of the wire.

“Aunt Hannah, listen.  I’d never have
believed it, but it’s happened.  Mary Jane is–a
man.”

Billy heard a dismayed gasp and a muttered
“Oh, my grief and conscience!” then a shaking
“Wha-at?”

“I say, Mary Jane is a man.”  Billy was
enjoying herself hugely.

“A _ma-an!_”

“Yes; a great big man with a brown beard.
He’s waiting now with John and I must go.”

“But, Billy, I don’t understand,” chattered
an agitated voice over the line.  “He–he called
himself `Mary Jane.’  He hasn’t any business
to be a big man with a brown beard!  What shall
we do?  We don’t want a big man with a brown
beard–here!”

Billy laughed roguishly.

“I don’t know.  _You_ asked him!  How he
will like that little blue room–Aunt Hannah!”
Billy’s voice turned suddenly tragic.  “For pity’s
sake take out those curling tongs and hairpins,
and the work-basket.  I’d _never_ hear the last of
it if he saw those, I know.  He’s just that kind!”

A half stifled groan came over the wire.

“Billy, he can’t stay here.”

Billy laughed again.

“No, no, dear; he won’t, I know.  He says
he’s going to a hotel.  But I had to bring him home
to dinner; there was no other way, under the
circumstances.  He won’t stay.  Don’t you worry.
But good-by.  I must go.  _Remember those curling
tongs!_” And the receiver clicked sharply against
the hook.

In the automobile some minutes later, Billy
and Mr. M. J. Arkwright were speeding toward
Corey Hill.  It was during a slight pause in the
conversation that Billy turned to her companion
with a demure:

“I telephoned Aunt Hannah, Mr. Arkwright.
I thought she ought to be–warned.”

“You are very kind.  What did she say?–if
I may ask.”

There was a brief moment of hesitation before
Billy answered.

“She said you called yourself `Mary Jane,’
and that you hadn’t any business to be a big man
with a brown beard.”

Arkwright laughed.

“I’m afraid I owe Aunt Hannah an apology,”
he said.  He hesitated, glanced admiringly at the
glowing, half-averted face near him, then went
on decisively.  He wore the air of a man who has
set the match to his bridges.  “I signed both
letters `M. J. Arkwright,’ but in the first one
I quoted a remark of a friend, and in that remark
I was addressed as `Mary Jane.’  I did not know
but Aunt Hannah knew of the nickname.”
(Arkwright was speaking a little slowly now, as if
weighing his words.)  “But when she answered,
I saw that she did not; for, from something she
said, I realized that she thought I was a real
Mary Jane.  For the joke of the thing I let it pass.
But–if she noticed my letter carefully, she saw
that I did not accept your kind invitation to give

`Mary Jane’ a home.”

“Yes, we noticed that,” nodded Billy, merrily.
“But we didn’t think you meant it.  You see
we pictured you as a shy young thing.  But,
really,” she went on with a low laugh, “you see
your coming as a masculine `Mary Jane’ was
particularly funny–for me; for, though perhaps
you didn’t know it, I came once to this very same
city, wearing a pink, and was expected to be Billy,
a boy.  And only to-day a lady warned me that
your coming might even things up.  But I didn’t
believe it would–a Mary Jane!”

Arkwright laughed.  Again he hesitated, and
seemed to be weighing his words.

“Yes, I heard about that coming of yours.
I might almost say–that’s why I–let the
mistake pass in Aunt Hannah’s letter,” he said.

Billy turned with reproachful eyes.

“Oh, how could–you?  But then–it was a
temptation!”  She laughed suddenly.  “What
sinful joy you must have had watching me hunt
for `Mary Jane.’ ”

“I didn’t,” acknowledged the other, with
unexpected candor.  “I felt–ashamed.  And when
I saw you were there alone without Aunt Hannah,
I came very near not speaking at all–until I
realized that that would be even worse, under the
circumstances.”

“Of course it would,” smiled Billy, brightly;
“so I don’t see but I shall have to forgive you,
after all.  And here we are at home, Mr. Mary
Jane.  By the way, what did you say that `M. J.’
did stand for?” she asked, as the car came to a
stop.

The man did not seem to hear; at least he did
not answer.  He was helping his hostess to alight.
A moment later a plainly agitated Aunt Hannah
–her gray shawl topped with a huge black one
–opened the door of the house.

Dreams

by Edgar Allan Poe
  Oh! that my young life were a lasting dream!
  My spirit not awakening, till the beam
  Of an Eternity should bring the morrow.
  Yes! though that long dream were of hopeless sorrow,
  ‘Twere better than the cold reality
  Of waking life, to him whose heart must be,
  And hath been still, upon the lovely earth,
  A chaos of deep passion, from his birth.
  But should it be–that dream eternally
  Continuing–as dreams have been to me
  In my young boyhood–should it thus be given,
  ‘Twere folly still to hope for higher Heaven.
  For I have revelled when the sun was bright
  I’ the summer sky, in dreams of living light
  And loveliness,–have left my very heart
  Inclines of my imaginary apart [1]
  From mine own home, with beings that have been
  Of mine own thought–what more could I have seen?
  ‘Twas once–and only once–and the wild hour
  From my remembrance shall not pass–some power
  Or spell had bound me–’twas the chilly wind
  Came o’er me in the night, and left behind
  Its image on my spirit–or the moon
  Shone on my slumbers in her lofty noon
  Too coldly–or the stars–howe’er it was
  That dream was that that night-wind–let it pass.
  _I have been_ happy, though in a dream.
  I have been happy–and I love the theme:
  Dreams! in their vivid coloring of life
  As in that fleeting, shadowy, misty strife
  Of semblance with reality which brings
  To the delirious eye, more lovely things
  Of Paradise and Love–and all my own!–
  Than young Hope in his sunniest hour hath known.

Silence. A Fable

by Edgar Allan Poe
The mountain pinnacles slumber; valleys, crags, and caves _are silent_.

“LISTEN to _me_,” said the Demon, as he placed his hand upon my head.
“The region of which I speak is a dreary region in Libya, by the borders
of the river Zäire. And there is no quiet there, nor silence.

“The waters of the river have a saffron and sickly hue; and they flow
not onward to the sea, but palpitate forever and forever beneath the red
eye of the sun with a tumultuous and convulsive motion. For many miles
on either side of the river’s oozy bed is a pale desert of gigantic
water-lilies. They sigh one unto the other in that solitude, and stretch
towards the heaven their long and ghastly necks, and nod to and fro
their everlasting heads. And there is an indistinct murmur which cometh
out from among them like the rushing of subterrene water. And they sigh
one unto the other.

“But there is a boundary to their realm–the boundary of the dark,
horrible, lofty forest. There, like the waves about the Hebrides, the
low underwood is agitated continually. But there is no wind throughout
the heaven. And the tall primeval trees rock eternally hither and
thither with a crashing and mighty sound. And from their high summits,
one by one, drop everlasting dews. And at the roots, strange poisonous
flowers lie writhing in perturbed slumber. And overhead, with a rustling
and loud noise, the gray clouds rush westwardly forever until they roll,
a cataract, over the fiery wall of the horizon. But there is no wind
throughout the heaven. And by the shores of the river Zäire there is
neither quiet nor silence.

“It was night, and the rain fell; and, falling, it was rain, but, having
fallen, it was blood. And I stood in the morass among the tall lilies,
and the rain fell upon my head–and the lilies sighed one unto the other
in the solemnity of their desolation.

“And, all at once, the moon arose through the thin ghastly mist, and was
crimson in color. And mine eyes fell upon a huge gray rock which stood
by the shore of the river and was lighted by the light of the moon. And
the rock was gray and ghastly, and tall,–and the rock was gray. Upon
its front were characters engraven in the stones; and I walked through
the morass of water-lilies, until I came close unto the shore, that I
might read the characters upon the stone. But I could not decipher them.
And I was going back into the morass when the moon shone with a fuller
red, and I turned and looked again upon the rock and upon the
characters;–and the characters were DESOLATION.

“And I looked upwards, and there stood a man upon the summit of the
rock; and I hid myself among the water-lilies that I might discover the
action of the man. And the man was tall and stately in form, and wrapped
up from his shoulders to his feet in the toga of old Rome. And the
outlines of his figure were indistinct–but his features were the
features of a deity; for the mantle of the night, and of the mist, and
of the moon, and of the dew, had left uncovered the features of his
face. And his brow was lofty with thought, and his eye wild with care;
and in the few furrows upon his cheek, I read the fables of sorrow, and
weariness, and disgust with mankind, and a longing after solitude.

“And the man sat upon the rock, and leaned his head upon his hand, and
looked out upon the desolation. He looked down into the low unquiet
shrubbery, and up into the tall primeval trees, and up higher at the
rustling heaven, and into the crimson moon. And I lay close within
shelter of the lilies, and observed the actions of the man. And the man
trembled in the solitude;–but the night waned, and he sat upon the
rock.

“And the man turned his attention from the heaven, and looked out upon
the dreary river Zäire, and upon the yellow ghastly waters, and upon the
pale legions of the water-lilies. And the man listened to the sighs of
the water-lilies, and to the murmur that came up from among them. And I
lay close within my covert and observed the actions of the man. And the
man trembled in the solitude;–but the night waned, and he sat upon the
rock.

“Then I went down into the recesses of the morass, and waded afar in
among the wilderness of the lilies, and called unto the hippopotami
which dwelt among the fens in the recesses of the morass. And the
hippopotami heard my call, and came, with the behemoth, unto the foot of
the rock, and roared loudly and fearfully beneath the moon. And I lay
close within my covert and observed the actions of the man. And the man
trembled in the solitude;–but the night waned, and he sat upon the
rock.

“Then I cursed the elements with the curse of tumult; and a frightful
tempest gathered in the heaven, where before there had been no wind. And
the heaven became livid with the violence of the tempest–and the rain
beat upon the head of the man–and the floods of the river came
down–and the river was tormented into foam–and the water-lilies
shrieked within their beds–and the forest crumbled before the wind–and
the thunder rolled–and the lightning fell–and the rock rocked to its
foundation. And I lay close within my covert and observed the actions of
the man. And the man trembled in the solitude;–but the night waned, and
he sat upon the rock.

“Then I grew angry and cursed, with the curse of silence, the river, and
the lilies, and the wind, and the forest, and the heaven, and the
thunder, and the sighs of the water-lilies. And they became accursed,
and _were still._ And the moon ceased to totter up its pathway to
heaven–and the thunder died away–and the lightning did not flash–and
the clouds hung motionless–and the waters sunk to their level and
remained–and the trees ceased to rock–and the water-lilies sighed no
more–and the murmur was heard no longer from among them, nor any shadow
of sound throughout the vast illimitable desert. And I looked upon the
characters of the rock, and they were changed;–and the characters were
SILENCE.

“And mine eyes fell upon the countenance of the man, and his countenance
was wan with terror. And, hurriedly, he raised his head from his hand,
and stood forth upon the rock and listened. But there was no voice
throughout the vast illimitable desert, and the characters upon the rock
were SILENCE. And the man shuddered, and turned his face away, and fled
afar off, in haste, so that I beheld him no more.”

Now there are fine tales in the volumes of the Magi–in the iron-bound,
melancholy volumes of the Magi. Therein, I say, are glorious histories
of the Heaven, and of the Earth, and of the mighty Sea–and of the Genii
that overruled the sea, and the earth, and the lofty heaven. There was
much lore, too, in the sayings which were said by the sybils; and holy,
holy things were heard of old by the dim leaves that trembled around
Dodona–but, as Allah liveth, that fable which the demon told me as he
sat by my side in the shadow of the tomb, I hold to be the most
wonderful of all! And as the Demon made an end of his story, he fell
back within the cavity of the tomb and laughed. And I could not laugh
with the Demon, and he cursed me because I could not laugh. And the lynx
which dwelleth forever in the tomb, came out therefrom, and lay down at
the feet of the Demon, and looked at him steadily in the face.
 

Miss Billy’s Decision, CHAPTER XIV

by Eleanor H. Porter

M. J. MAKES ANOTHER MOVE
Billy came down-stairs on the thirteenth of
December to find everywhere the peculiar flatness
that always follows a day which for weeks has
been the focus of one’s aims and thoughts and
labor.

“It’s just as if everything had stopped at Marie’s
wedding, and there wasn’t anything more to do,”
she complained to Aunt Hannah at the breakfast
table.  “Everything seems so–queer!”

“It won’t–long, dear,” smiled Aunt Hannah,
tranquilly, as she buttered her roll, “specially
after Bertram comes back.  How long does he
stay in New York?”

“Only three days; but I’m just sure it’s going
to seem three weeks, now,” sighed Billy.  “But
he simply had to go–else he wouldn’t have
gone.”

“I’ve no doubt of it,” observed Aunt Hannah.
And at the meaning emphasis of her words,
Billy laughed a little.  After a minute she said
aggrievedly:

“I had supposed that I could at least have a sort
of `after the ball’ celebration this morning picking
up and straightening things around.  But John
and Rosa have done it all.  There isn’t so much
as a rose leaf anywhere on the floor.  Of course
most of the flowers went to the hospital last night,
anyway.  As for Marie’s room–it looks as
spick-and-span as if it had never seen a scrap
of ribbon or an inch of tulle.”

“But–the wedding presents?”

“All carried down to the kitchen and half
packed now, ready to go over to the new home.
John says he’ll take them over in Peggy this
afternoon, after he takes Mrs. Hartwell’s trunk to
Uncle William’s.”

“Well, you can at least go over to the
apartment and work,” suggested Aunt Hannah, hopefully.

“Humph!  Can I?” scoffed Billy.  “As if I
could–when Marie left strict orders that not
one thing was to be touched till she got here.
They arranged everything but the presents before
the wedding, anyway; and Marie wants to fix
those herself after she gets back.  Mercy!  Aunt
Hannah, if I should so much as move a plate one
inch in the china closet, Marie would know it–
and change it when she got home,” laughed Billy,
as she rose from the table.  “No, I can’t go to
work over there.”

“But there’s your music, my dear.  You said
you were going to write some new songs after the
wedding.”

“I was,” sighed Billy, walking to the window,
and looking listlessly at the bare, brown world
outside; “but I can’t write songs–when there
aren’t any songs in my head to write.”

“No, of course not; but they’ll come, dear, in
time.  You’re tired, now,” soothed Aunt Hannah,
as she turned to leave the room.

“It’s the reaction, of course,” murmured Aunt
Hannah to herself, on the way up-stairs.  “She’s
had the whole thing on her hands–dear child!”

A few minutes later, from the living-room,
came a plaintive little minor melody.  Billy was
at the piano.

Kate and little Kate had, the night before, gone
home with William.  It had been a sudden
decision, brought about by the realization that
Bertram’s trip to New York would leave William
alone.  Her trunk was to be carried there to-day,
and she would leave for home from there, at the
end of a two or three days’ visit.

It began to snow at twelve o’clock.  All the
morning the sky had been gray and threatening;
and the threats took visible shape at noon in
myriads of white snow feathers that filled the
air to the blinding point, and turned the brown,
bare world into a thing of fairylike beauty.  Billy,
however, with a rare frown upon her face, looked
out upon it with disapproving eyes.

“I _was_ going in town–and I believe I’ll go
now,” she cried.

“Don’t, dear, please don’t,” begged Aunt
Hannah.  “See, the flakes are smaller now, and
the wind is coming up.  We’re in for a blizzard–
I’m sure we are.  And you know you have some
cold, already.”

“All right,” sighed Billy.  “Then it’s me for the
knitting work and the fire, I suppose,” she finished,
with a whimsicality that did not hide the wistful
disappointment of her voice.

She was not knitting, however, she was sewing
with Aunt Hannah when at four o’clock Rosa
brought in the card.

Billy glanced at the name, then sprang to her
feet with a glad little cry.

“It’s Mary Jane!” she exclaimed, as Rosa
disappeared.  “Now wasn’t he a dear to think
to come to-day?  You’ll be down, won’t you?”

Aunt Hannah smiled even while she frowned.

“Oh, Billy!” she remonstrated.  “Yes, I’ll
come down, of course, a little later, and I’m glad
_Mr. Arkwright_ came,” she said with reproving
emphasis.

Billy laughed and threw a mischievous glance
over her shoulder.

“All right,” she nodded.  “I’ll go and tell
_Mr. Arkwright_ you’ll be down directly.”

In the living-room Billy greeted her visitor
with a frankly cordial hand.

“How did you know, Mr. Arkwright, that I
was feeling specially restless and lonesome to-
day?” she demanded.

A glad light sprang to the man’s dark eyes.

“I didn’t know it,” he rejoined.  “I only
knew that I was specially restless and lonesome
myself.”

Arkwright’s voice was not quite steady.  The
unmistakable friendliness in the girl’s words and
manner had sent a quick throb of joy to his
heart.  Her evident delight in his coming had
filled him with rapture.  He could not know that
it was only the chill of the snowstorm that had
given warmth to her handclasp, the dreariness
of the day that had made her greeting so cordial,
the loneliness of a maiden whose lover is away
that had made his presence so welcome.

“Well, I’m glad you came, anyway,” sighed
Billy, contentedly; “though I suppose I ought
to be sorry that you were lonesome–but I’m
afraid I’m not, for now you’ll know just how I
felt, so you won’t mind if I’m a little wild and
erratic.  You see, the tension has snapped,” she
added laughingly, as she seated herself.

“Tension?”

“The wedding, you know.  For so many weeks
we’ve been seeing just December twelfth, that
we’d apparently forgotten all about the thirteenth
that came after it; so when I got up this morning
I felt just as you do when the clock has
stopped ticking.  But it was a lovely wedding,
Mr. Arkwright.  I’m sorry you could not be
here.”

“Thank you; so am I–though usually, I
will confess, I’m not much good at attending
`functions’ and meeting strangers.  As perhaps
you’ve guessed, Miss Neilson, I’m not particularly
a society chap.”

“Of course you aren’t!  People who are doing
things–real things–seldom are.  But we aren’t
the society kind ourselves, you know–not
the capital S kind.  We like sociability, which is
vastly different from liking Society.  Oh, we have
friends, to be sure, who dote on `pink teas and
purple pageants,’ as Cyril calls them; and we even
go ourselves sometimes.  But if you had been here
yesterday, Mr. Arkwright, you’d have met lots
like yourself, men and women who are doing
things: singing, playing, painting, illustrating,
writing.  Why, we even had a poet, sir–only
he didn’t have long hair, so he didn’t look the
part a bit,” she finished laughingly.

“Is long hair–necessary–for poets?”
Arkwright’s smile was quizzical.

“Dear me, no; not now.  But it used to be,
didn’t it?  And for painters, too.  But now they
look just like–folks.”

Arkwright laughed.

“It isn’t possible that you are sighing for the
velvet coats and flowing ties of the past, is it,
Miss Neilson?”

“I’m afraid it is,” dimpled Billy.  “I _love_
velvet coats and flowing ties!”

“May singers wear them?  I shall don them at
once, anyhow, at a venture,” declared the man,
promptly.

Billy smiled and shook her head.

“I don’t think you will.  You all like your
horrid fuzzy tweeds and worsteds too well!”

“You speak with feeling.  One would almost
suspect that you already had tried to bring about
a reform–and failed.  Perhaps Mr. Cyril, now,
or Mr. Bertram–”  Arkwright stopped with
a whimsical smile.

Billy flushed a little.  As it happened, she had,
indeed, had a merry tilt with Bertram on that
very subject, and he had laughingly promised
that his wedding present to her would be a velvet
house coat for himself.  It was on the point of
Billy’s tongue now to say this to Arkwright;
but another glance at the provoking smile on
his lips drove the words back in angry confusion.
For the second time, in the presence of this man,
Billy found herself unable to refer to her engagement
to Bertram Henshaw–though this time
she did not in the least doubt that Arkwright
already knew of it.

With a little gesture of playful scorn she rose
and went to the piano.

“Come, let us try some duets,” she suggested.
“That’s lots nicer than quarrelling over velvet
coats; and Aunt Hannah will be down presently
to hear us sing.”

Before she had ceased speaking, Arkwright was
at her side with an exclamation of eager acquiescence.

It was after the second duet that Arkwright
asked, a little diffidently.

“Have you written any new songs lately?”

“No.”

“You’re going to?”

“Perhaps–if I find one to write.”

“You mean–you have no words?”

“Yes–and no.  I have some words, both of
my own and other people’s; but I haven’t found
in any one of them, yet–a melody.”

Arkwright hesitated.  His right hand went
almost to his inner coat pocket–then fell back
at his side.  The next moment he picked up a
sheet of music.

“Are you too tired to try this?” he
asked.

A puzzled frown appeared on Billy’s face.

“Why, no, but–”

“Well, children, I’ve come down to hear the
music,” announced Aunt Hannah, smilingly,
from the doorway; “only–Billy, _will_ you run
up and get my pink shawl, too?  This room _is_
colder than I thought, and there’s only the white
one down here.”

“Of course,” cried Billy, rising at once.  “You
shall have a dozen shawls, if you like,” she laughed,
as she left the room.

What a cozy time it was–the hour that
followed, after Billy returned with the pink shawl!
Outside, the wind howled at the windows and
flung the snow against the glass in sleety crashes.
Inside, the man and the girl sang duets until they
were tired; then, with Aunt Hannah, they feasted
royally on the buttered toast, tea, and frosted
cakes that Rosa served on a little table before the
roaring fire.  It was then that Arkwright talked
of himself, telling them something of his studies,
and of the life he was living.

“After all, you see there’s just this difference
between my friends and yours,” he said, at last.
“Your friends _are_ doing things.  They’ve succeeded.
Mine haven’t, yet–they’re only _trying_.”

“But they will succeed,” cried Billy.

“Some of them,” amended the man.

“Not–all of them?” Billy looked a little
troubled.

Arkwright shook his head slowly.

“No.  They couldn’t–all of them, you know.
Some haven’t the talent, some haven’t the
perseverance, and some haven’t the money.”

“But all that seems such a pity-when they’ve
tried,” grieved Billy.

“It is a pity, Miss Neilson.  Disappointed
hopes are always a pity, aren’t they?”

“Y-yes,” sighed the girl.  “But–if there
were only something one could do to–help!”

Arkwright’s eyes grew deep with feeling, but
his voice, when he spoke, was purposely light.

“I’m afraid that would be quite too big a
contract for even your generosity, Miss Neilson–
to mend all the broken hopes in the world,” he
prophesied.

“I have known great good to come from great
disappointments, “remarked Aunt Hannah, a
bit didactically.

“So have I,” laughed Arkwright, still
determined to drive the troubled shadow from the
face he was watching so intently.  “For instance:
a fellow I know was feeling all cut up last Friday
because he was just too late to get into Symphony
Hall on the twenty-five-cent admission.  Half
an hour afterwards his disappointment was turned
to joy–a friend who had an orchestra chair
couldn’t use his ticket that day, and so handed
it over to him.”

Billy turned interestedly.

“What are those twenty-five-cent tickets to
the Symphony?”

“Then–you don’t know?”

“Not exactly.  I’ve heard of them, in a vague
fashion.”

“Then you’ve missed one of the sights of Boston
if you haven’t ever seen that long line of patient
waiters at the door of Symphony Hall of a Friday
morning.”

“Morning!  But the concert isn’t till afternoon!”

“No, but the waiting is,” retorted Arkwright.
“You see, those admissions are limited–five
hundred and five, I believe–and they’re rush
seats, at that.  First come, first served; and if
you’re too late you aren’t served at all.  So the
first arrival comes bright and early.  I’ve heard
that he has been known to come at peep of day
when there’s a Paderewski or a Melba for a
drawing card.  But I’ve got my doubts of that.
Anyhow, I never saw them there much before
half-past eight.  But many’s the cold, stormy
day I’ve seen those steps in front of the Hall
packed for hours, and a long line reaching away
up the avenue.”

Billy’s eyes widened.

“And they’ll stand all that time and wait?”

“To be sure they will.  You see, each pays
twenty-five cents at the door, until the limit is
reached, then the rest are turned away.  Naturally
they don’t want to be turned away, so they try
to get there early enough to be among the fortunate
five hundred and five.  Besides, the earlier
you are, the better seat you are likely to get.”

“But only think of _standing_ all that time!”

“Oh, they bring camp chairs, sometimes, I’ve
heard, and then there are the steps.  You don’t
know what a really fine seat a stone step is–if
you have a _big_ enough bundle of newspapers to
cushion it with!  They bring their luncheons, too,
with books, papers, and knitting work for fine
days, I’ve been told–some of them.  All the
comforts of home, you see,” smiled Arkwright.

“Why, how–how dreadful!” stammered
Billy.

“Oh, but they don’t think it’s dreadful at
all,” corrected Arkwright, quickly.  “For twenty-
five cents they can hear all that you hear down
in your orchestra chair, for which you’ve paid so
high a premium.”

“But who–who are they?  Where do they
come from?  Who _would_ go and stand hours like
that to get a twenty-five-cent seat?” questioned
Billy.

“Who are they?  Anybody, everybody, from
anywhere? everywhere; people who have the
music hunger but not the money to satisfy it,”
he rejoined.  “Students, teachers, a little milliner
from South Boston, a little dressmaker from Chelsea,
a housewife from Cambridge, a stranger from
the uttermost parts of the earth; maybe a widow
who used to sit down-stairs, or a professor who has
seen better days.  Really to know that line, you
should see it for yourself, Miss Neilson,” smiled
Arkwright, as he reluctantly rose to go.  “Some
Friday, however, before you take your seat, just
glance up at that packed top balcony and judge
by the faces you see there whether their owners
think they’re getting their twenty-five-cents’
worth, or not.”

“I will,” nodded Billy, with a smile; but the
smile came from her lips only, not her eyes:
Billy was wishing, at that moment, that she
owned the whole of Symphony Hall–to give
away.  But that was like Billy.  When she was
seven years old she had proposed to her Aunt Ella
that they take all the thirty-five orphans from the
Hampden Falls Orphan Asylum to live with them,
so that little Sallie Cook and the other orphans
might have ice cream every day, if they wanted
it.  Since then Billy had always been trying–in
a way–to give ice cream to some one who
wanted it.

Arkwright was almost at the door when he
turned abruptly.  His face was an abashed red.
From his pocket he had taken a small folded
paper.

“Do you suppose–in this–you might find
–that melody?” he stammered in a low voice.
The next moment he was gone, having left in
Billy’s fingers a paper upon which was written
in a clear-cut, masculine hand six four-line stanzas.

Billy read them at once, hurriedly, then more
carefully.

“Why, they’re beautiful,” she breathed, “just
beautiful!  Where did he get them, I wonder?
It’s a love song–and such a pretty one!  I
believe there _is_ a melody in it,” she exulted, pausing
to hum a line or two.  “There is–I know there
is; and I’ll write it–for Bertram,” she finished,
crossing joyously to the piano.

Half-way down Corey Hill at that moment,
Arkwright was buffeting the wind and snow.
He, too, was thinking joyously of those stanzas–
joyously, yet at the same time fearfully.
Arkwright himself had written those lines–though
not for Bertram.

Proof

by Emily Dickinson

That I did always love,
I bring thee proof:
That till I loved
I did not love enough.

That I shall love alway,
I offer thee
That love is life,
And life hath immortality.

This, dost thou doubt, sweet?
Then have I
Nothing to show
But Calvary.

A Dream within a Dream

by Edgar Allan Poe
  Take this kiss upon the brow!
  And, in parting from you now,
  Thus much let me avow–
  You are not wrong, who deem
  That my days have been a dream:
  Yet if hope has flown away
  In a night, or in a day,
  In a vision or in none,
  Is it therefore the less _gone_?
  _All_ that we see or seem
  Is but a dream within a dream.

  I stand amid the roar
  Of a surf-tormented shore,
  And I hold within my hand
  Grains of the golden sand–
  How few! yet how they creep
  Through my fingers to the deep
  While I weep–while I weep!
  O God! can I not grasp
  Them with a tighter clasp?
  O God! can I not save
  _One_ from the pitiless wave?
  Is _all_ that we see or seem
  But a dream within a dream?

The Organ Grinder

by Evaleen Stein

Hark! I hear the organ-grinder
Coming down the street,
And the sudden clatter-patter
Of the children’s feet!

Come, oh, let us run to meet him!
Did you ever hear
Tunes so gay as he is playing,
Or so sweet and clear?

See the brown-faced little monkey,
Impudent and bold,
With his little scarlet jacket
Braided all in gold!

And his tiny cap and tassel
Bobbing to and fro,
Look, oh, look! he plucks it off now,
Bowing very low.

And he’s passing it politely–
Can it be for _pay_?
O dear me! I have no penny!
Let us run away!

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