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Tamerlane

by Edgar Allan Poe
  Kind solace in a dying hour!
  Such, father, is not (now) my theme–
  I will not madly deem that power
  Of Earth may shrive me of the sin
  Unearthly pride hath revelled in–
  I have no time to dote or dream:
  You call it hope–that fire of fire!
  It is but agony of desire:
  If I _can_ hope–O God! I can–
  Its fount is holier–more divine–
  I would not call thee fool, old man,
  But such is not a gift of thine.

  Know thou the secret of a spirit
  Bowed from its wild pride into shame
  O yearning heart! I did inherit
  Thy withering portion with the fame,
  The searing glory which hath shone
  Amid the Jewels of my throne,
  Halo of Hell! and with a pain
  Not Hell shall make me fear again–
  O craving heart, for the lost flowers
  And sunshine of my summer hours!
  The undying voice of that dead time,
  With its interminable chime,
  Rings, in the spirit of a spell,
  Upon thy emptiness–a knell.

  I have not always been as now:
  The fevered diadem on my brow
  I claimed and won usurpingly–
  Hath not the same fierce heirdom given
  Rome to the Cæsar–this to me?
  The heritage of a kingly mind,
  And a proud spirit which hath striven
  Triumphantly with human kind.
  On mountain soil I first drew life:
  The mists of the Taglay have shed
  Nightly their dews upon my head,
  And, I believe, the winged strife
  And tumult of the headlong air
  Have nestled in my very hair.

  So late from Heaven–that dew–it fell
  (‘Mid dreams of an unholy night)
  Upon me with the touch of Hell,
  While the red flashing of the light
  From clouds that hung, like banners, o’er,
  Appeared to my half-closing eye
  The pageantry of monarchy;
  And the deep trumpet-thunder’s roar
  Came hurriedly upon me, telling
  Of human battle, where my voice,
  My own voice, silly child!–was swelling
  (O! how my spirit would rejoice,
  And leap within me at the cry)
  The battle-cry of Victory!

  The rain came down upon my head
  Unsheltered–and the heavy wind
  Rendered me mad and deaf and blind.
  It was but man, I thought, who shed
  Laurels upon me: and the rush–
  The torrent of the chilly air
  Gurgled within my ear the crush
  Of empires–with the captive’s prayer–
  The hum of suitors–and the tone
  Of flattery ’round a sovereign’s throne.

  My passions, from that hapless hour,
  Usurped a tyranny which men
  Have deemed since I have reached to power,
  My innate nature–be it so:
  But, father, there lived one who, then,
  Then–in my boyhood–when their fire
  Burned with a still intenser glow
  (For passion must, with youth, expire)
  E’en _then_ who knew this iron heart
  In woman’s weakness had a part.

  I have no words–alas!–to tell
  The loveliness of loving well!
  Nor would I now attempt to trace
  The more than beauty of a face
  Whose lineaments, upon my mind,
  Are–shadows on th’ unstable wind:
  Thus I remember having dwelt
  Some page of early lore upon,
  With loitering eye, till I have felt
  The letters–with their meaning–melt
  To fantasies–with none.

  O, she was worthy of all love!
  Love as in infancy was mine–
  ‘Twas such as angel minds above
  Might envy; her young heart the shrine
  On which my every hope and thought
  Were incense–then a goodly gift,
  For they were childish and upright–
  Pure–as her young example taught:
  Why did I leave it, and, adrift,
  Trust to the fire within, for light?

  We grew in age–and love–together–
  Roaming the forest, and the wild;
  My breast her shield in wintry weather–
  And, when the friendly sunshine smiled.
  And she would mark the opening skies,
  _I_ saw no Heaven–but in her eyes.
  Young Love’s first lesson is—-the heart:
  For ‘mid that sunshine, and those smiles,
  When, from our little cares apart,
  And laughing at her girlish wiles,
  I’d throw me on her throbbing breast,
  And pour my spirit out in tears–
  There was no need to speak the rest–
  No need to quiet any fears
  Of her–who asked no reason why,
  But turned on me her quiet eye!

  Yet _more_ than worthy of the love
  My spirit struggled with, and strove
  When, on the mountain peak, alone,
  Ambition lent it a new tone–
  I had no being–but in thee:
  The world, and all it did contain
  In the earth–the air–the sea–
  Its joy–its little lot of pain
  That was new pleasure–the ideal,
  Dim, vanities of dreams by night–
  And dimmer nothings which were real–
  (Shadows–and a more shadowy light!)
  Parted upon their misty wings,
  And, so, confusedly, became
  Thine image and–a name–a name!
  Two separate–yet most intimate things.

  I was ambitious–have you known
  The passion, father? You have not:
  A cottager, I marked a throne
  Of half the world as all my own,
  And murmured at such lowly lot–
  But, just like any other dream,
  Upon the vapor of the dew
  My own had past, did not the beam
  Of beauty which did while it thro’
  The minute–the hour–the day–oppress
  My mind with double loveliness.

  We walked together on the crown
  Of a high mountain which looked down
  Afar from its proud natural towers
  Of rock and forest, on the hills–
  The dwindled hills! begirt with bowers
  And shouting with a thousand rills.

  I spoke to her of power and pride,
  But mystically–in such guise
  That she might deem it nought beside
  The moment’s converse; in her eyes
  I read, perhaps too carelessly–
  A mingled feeling with my own–
  The flush on her bright cheek, to me
  Seemed to become a queenly throne
  Too well that I should let it be
  Light in the wilderness alone.

  I wrapped myself in grandeur then,
  And donned a visionary crown–
  Yet it was not that Fantasy
  Had thrown her mantle over me–
  But that, among the rabble–men,
  Lion ambition is chained down–
  And crouches to a keeper’s hand–
  Not so in deserts where the grand–
  The wild–the terrible conspire
  With their own breath to fan his fire.

  Look ’round thee now on Samarcand!–
  Is she not queen of Earth? her pride
  Above all cities? in her hand
  Their destinies? in all beside
  Of glory which the world hath known
  Stands she not nobly and alone?
  Falling–her veriest stepping-stone
  Shall form the pedestal of a throne–
  And who her sovereign? Timour–he
  Whom the astonished people saw
  Striding o’er empires haughtily
  A diademed outlaw!

  O, human love! thou spirit given,
  On Earth, of all we hope in Heaven!
  Which fall’st into the soul like rain
  Upon the Siroc-withered plain,
  And, failing in thy power to bless,
  But leav’st the heart a wilderness!
  Idea! which bindest life around
  With music of so strange a sound
  And beauty of so wild a birth–
  Farewell! for I have won the Earth.

  When Hope, the eagle that towered, could see
  No cliff beyond him in the sky,
  His pinions were bent droopingly–
  And homeward turned his softened eye.
  ‘Twas sunset: When the sun will part
  There comes a sullenness of heart
  To him who still would look upon
  The glory of the summer sun.
  That soul will hate the ev’ning mist
  So often lovely, and will list
  To the sound of the coming darkness (known
  To those whose spirits hearken) as one
  Who, in a dream of night, _would_ fly,
  But _cannot_, from a danger nigh.

  What tho’ the moon–tho’ the white moon
  Shed all the splendor of her noon,
  _Her_ smile is chilly–and _her_ beam,
  In that time of dreariness, will seem
  (So like you gather in your breath)
  A portrait taken after death.
  And boyhood is a summer sun
  Whose waning is the dreariest one–
  For all we live to know is known,
  And all we seek to keep hath flown–
  Let life, then, as the day-flower, fall
  With the noon-day beauty–which is all.
  I reached my home–my home no more–
  For all had flown who made it so.
  I passed from out its mossy door,
  And, tho’ my tread was soft and low,
  A voice came from the threshold stone
  Of one whom I had earlier known–
  O, I defy thee, Hell, to show
  On beds of fire that burn below,
  An humbler heart–a deeper woe.

  Father, I firmly do believe–
  I _know_–for Death who comes for me
  From regions of the blest afar,
  Where there is nothing to deceive,
  Hath left his iron gate ajar.
  And rays of truth you cannot see
  Are flashing thro’ Eternity—-
  I do believe that Eblis hath
  A snare in every human path–
  Else how, when in the holy grove
  I wandered of the idol, Love,–
  Who daily scents his snowy wings
  With incense of burnt-offerings
  From the most unpolluted things,
  Whose pleasant bowers are yet so riven
  Above with trellised rays from Heaven
  No mote may shun–no tiniest fly–
  The light’ning of his eagle eye–
  How was it that Ambition crept,
  Unseen, amid the revels there,
  Till growing bold, he laughed and leapt
  In the tangles of Love’s very hair!

Romance

by Edgar Allan Poe
  Romance, who loves to nod and sing,
  With drowsy head and folded wing,
  Among the green leaves as they shake
  Far down within some shadowy lake,
  To me a painted paroquet
  Hath been–a most familiar bird–
  Taught me my alphabet to say–
  To lisp my very earliest word
  While in the wild wood I did lie,
  A child–with a most knowing eye.

  Of late, eternal Condor years
  So shake the very Heaven on high
  With tumult as they thunder by,
  I have no time for idle cares
  Though gazing on the unquiet sky.
  And when an hour with calmer wings
  Its down upon my spirit flings–
  That little time with lyre and rhyme
  To while away–forbidden things!
  My heart would feel to be a crime
  Unless it trembled with the strings.

Apocalypse

by Emily Dickinson
I’m wife; I’ve finished that,
That other state;
I’m Czar, I’m woman now:
It’s safer so.

How odd the girl’s life looks
Behind this soft eclipse!
I think that earth seems so
To those in heaven now.

This being comfort, then
That other kind was pain;
But why compare?
I’m wife! stop there!

Dreamland

by Edgar Allan Poe
  By a route obscure and lonely,
  Haunted by ill angels only,
  Where an Eidolon, named NIGHT,
  On a black throne reigns upright,
  I have reached these lands but newly
  From an ultimate dim Thule–
  From a wild weird clime that lieth, sublime,
    Out of SPACE–out of TIME.

  Bottomless vales and boundless floods,
  And chasms, and caves, and Titan woods,
  With forms that no man can discover
  For the dews that drip all over;
  Mountains toppling evermore
  Into seas without a shore;
  Seas that restlessly aspire,
  Surging, unto skies of fire;
  Lakes that endlessly outspread
  Their lone waters–lone and dead,
  Their still waters–still and chilly
  With the snows of the lolling lily.

  By the lakes that thus outspread
  Their lone waters, lone and dead,–
  Their sad waters, sad and chilly
  With the snows of the lolling lily,–

  By the mountains–near the river
  Murmuring lowly, murmuring ever,–
  By the gray woods,–by the swamp
  Where the toad and the newt encamp,–
  By the dismal tarns and pools
    Where dwell the Ghouls,–
  By each spot the most unholy–
  In each nook most melancholy,–

  There the traveller meets aghast
  Sheeted Memories of the past–
  Shrouded forms that start and sigh
  As they pass the wanderer by–
  White-robed forms of friends long given,
  In agony, to the Earth–and Heaven.

  For the heart whose woes are legion
  ‘Tis a peaceful, soothing region–
  For the spirit that walks in shadow
  ‘Tis–oh, ’tis an Eldorado!
  But the traveller, travelling through it,
  May not–dare not openly view it;
  Never its mysteries are exposed
  To the weak human eye unclosed;
  So wills its King, who hath forbid
  The uplifting of the fringed lid;
  And thus the sad Soul that here passes
  Beholds it but through darkened glasses.

  By a route obscure and lonely,
  Haunted by ill angels only.

  Where an Eidolon, named NIGHT,
  On a black throne reigns upright,
  I have wandered home but newly
  From this ultimate dim Thule.

Almost!

by Emily Dickinson

Within my reach!
I could have touched!
I might have chanced that way!
Soft sauntered through the village,
Sauntered as soft away!
So unsuspected violets
Within the fields lie low,
Too late for striving fingers
That passed, an hour ago.

The Bells

by Edgar Allan Poe
I.

Hear the sledges with the bells–
Silver bells!
What a world of merriment their melody foretells!
How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,
In their icy air of night!
While the stars, that oversprinkle
All the heavens, seem to twinkle
With a crystalline delight;
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
From the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells–
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.
II.

Hear the mellow wedding bells,
Golden bells!
What a world of happiness their harmony foretells!
Through the balmy air of night
How they ring out their delight!
From the molten golden-notes,
And all in tune,
What a liquid ditty floats
To the turtle-dove that listens, while she gloats
On the moon!
Oh, from out the sounding cells,
What a gush of euphony voluminously wells!
How it swells!
How it dwells
On the future! how it tells
Of the rapture that impels
To the swinging and the ringing
Of the bells, bells, bells,
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells–
To the rhyming and the chiming of the bells!
III.

Hear the loud alarum bells–
Brazen bells!
What a tale of terror now their turbulency tells!
In the startled ear of night
How they scream out their affright!
Too much horrified to speak,
They can only shriek, shriek,
Out of tune,
In a clamorous appealing to the mercy of the fire,
In a mad expostulation with the deaf and frantic fire
Leaping higher, higher, higher,
With a desperate desire,
And a resolute endeavor
Now–now to sit or never,
By the side of the pale-faced moon.
Oh, the bells, bells, bells!
What a tale their terror tells
Of Despair!
How they clang, and clash, and roar!
What a horror they outpour
On the bosom of the palpitating air!
Yet the ear it fully knows,
By the twanging,
And the clanging,
How the danger ebbs and flows;
Yet the ear distinctly tells,
In the jangling,
And the wrangling,
How the danger sinks and swells,
By the sinking or the swelling in the anger of the bells–
Of the bells–
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells–
In the clamor and the clangor of the bells!
IV.

Hear the tolling of the bells–
Iron bells!
What a world of solemn thought their monody compels!
In the silence of the night,
How we shiver with affright
At the melancholy menace of their tone!
For every sound that floats
From the rust within their throats
Is a groan.
And the people–ah, the people–
They that dwell up in the steeple.
All alone,
And who tolling, tolling, tolling,
In that muffled monotone,
Feel a glory in so rolling
On the human heart a stone–
They are neither man nor woman–
They are neither brute nor human–
They are Ghouls:
And their king it is who tolls;
And he rolls, rolls, rolls,
Rolls
A pæan from the bells!
And his merry bosom swells
With the pæan of the bells!
And he dances, and he yells;
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the pæan of the bells–
Of the bells:
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the throbbing of the bells–
Of the bells, bells, bells–
To the sobbing of the bells;
Keeping time, time, time,
As he knells, knells, knells,
In a happy Runic rhyme,
To the rolling of the bells–
Of the bells, bells, bells–
To the tolling of the bells,
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells–
To the moaning and the groaning of the bells.

The Wife

by Emily Dickinson

She rose to his requirement, dropped
The playthings of her life
To take the honorable work
Of woman and of wife.

If aught she missed in her new day
Of amplitude, or awe,
Or first prospective, or the gold
In using wore away,

It lay unmentioned, as the sea
Develops pearl and weed,
But only to himself is known
The fathoms they abide.

The Dream

by Lord Byron

                        I.

    Our life is twofold: Sleep hath its own world,
    A boundary between the things misnamed
    Death and existence: Sleep hath its own world,
    And a wide realm of wild reality,
    And dreams in their developement have breath,
    And tears, and tortures, and the touch of Joy;
    They leave a weight upon our waking thoughts,
    They take a weight from off our waking toils,
    They do divide our being;they become
    A portion of ourselves as of our time,     
    And look like heralds of Eternity;
    They pass like spirits of the past,–they speak
    Like Sibyls of the future; they have power–
    The tyranny of pleasure and of pain;
    They make us what we were not–what they will,
    And shake us with the vision that’s gone by,
    The dread of vanished shadows–Are they so?
    Is not the past all shadow?–What are they?
    Creations of the mind?–The mind can make
    Substance, and people planets of its own     
    With beings brighter than have been, and give
    A breath to forms which can outlive all flesh.
    I would recall a vision which I dreamed
    Perchance in sleep–for in itself a thought,
    A slumbering thought, is capable of years,
    And curdles a long life into one hour.

                        II.

    I saw two beings in the hues of youth
    Standing upon a hill, a gentle hill,
    Green and of mild declivity, the last
    As ’twere the cape of a long ridge of such, 
    Save that there was no sea to lave its base,
    But a most living landscape, and the wave
    Of woods and cornfields, and the abodes of men
    Scattered at intervals, and wreathing smoke
    Arising from such rustic roofs;–the hill
    Was crowned with a peculiar diadem
    Of trees, in circular array, so fixed,
    Not by the sport of nature, but of man:
    These two, a maiden and a youth, were there
    Gazing–the one on all that was beneath 
    Fair as herself–but the Boy gazed on her;
    And both were young, and one was beautiful:
    And both were young–yet not alike in youth.
    As the sweet moon on the horizon’s verge,
    The Maid was on the eve of Womanhood;
    The Boy had fewer summers, but his heart
    Had far outgrown his years, and to his eye
    There was but one beloved face on earth,
    And that was shining on him: he had looked
    Upon it till it could not pass away;   
    He had no breath, no being, but in hers;
    She was his voice; he did not speak to her,
    But trembled on her words; she was his sight,     
    For his eye followed hers, and saw with hers,
    Which coloured all his objects:–he had ceased
    To live within himself; she was his life,
    The ocean to the river of his thoughts,
    Which terminated all: upon a tone,
    A touch of hers, his blood would ebb and flow,
    And his cheek change tempestuously–his heart 
    Unknowing of its cause of agony.
    But she in these fond feelings had no share:
    Her sighs were not for him; to her he was
    Even as a brother–but no more; ’twas much,
    For brotherless she was, save in the name
    Her infant friendship had bestowed on him;
    Herself the solitary scion left
    Of a time-honoured race.–It was a name
    Which pleased him, and yet pleased him not–and why?
    Time taught him a deep answer–when she loved 
    Another: even _now_ she loved another,
    And on the summit of that hill she stood
    Looking afar if yet her lover’s steed
    Kept pace with her expectancy, and flew.

                        III.

    A change came o’er the spirit of my dream.
    There was an ancient mansion, and before
    Its walls there was a steed caparisoned:
    Within an antique Oratory stood
    The Boy of whom I spake;–he was alone,
    And pale, and pacing to and fro: anon          
    He sate him down, and seized a pen, and traced
    Words which I could not guess of; then he leaned
    His bowed head on his hands, and shook as ’twere
    With a convulsion–then arose again,
    And with his teeth and quivering hands did tear
    What he had written, but he shed no tears.
    And he did calm himself, and fix his brow
    Into a kind of quiet: as he paused,
    The Lady of his love re-entered there;
    She was serene and smiling then, and yet 
    She knew she was by him beloved–she knew,
    For quickly comes such knowledge, that his heart
    Was darkened with her shadow, and she saw
    That he was wretched, but she saw not all.
    He rose, and with a cold and gentle grasp
    He took her hand; a moment o’er his face
    A tablet of unutterable thoughts
    Was traced, and then it faded, as it came;
    He dropped the hand he held, and with slow steps
    Retired, but not as bidding her adieu, 
    For they did part with mutual smiles; he passed
    From out the massy gate of that old Hall,
    And mounting on his steed he went his way;
    And ne’er repassed that hoary threshold more.

                        IV.

    A change came o’er the spirit of my dream.
    The Boy was sprung to manhood: in the wilds
    Of fiery climes he made himself a home,
    And his Soul drank their sunbeams: he was girt
    With strange and dusky aspects; he was not
    Himself like what he had been; on the sea   
    And on the shore he was a wanderer;
    There was a mass of many images
    Crowded like waves upon me, but he was
    A part of all; and in the last he lay
    Reposing from the noontide sultriness,
    Couched among fallen columns, in the shade
    Of ruined walls that had survived the names
    Of those who reared them; by his sleeping side
    Stood camels grazing, and some goodly steeds
    Were fastened near a fountain; and a man      
    Clad in a flowing garb did watch the while,
    While many of his tribe slumbered around:
    And they were canopied by the blue sky,
    So cloudless, clear, and purely beautiful,
    That God alone was to be seen in Heaven.

                        V.

    A change came o’er the spirit of my dream.
    The Lady of his love was wed with One
    Who did not love her better:–in her home,
    A thousand leagues from his,–her native home,
    She dwelt, begirt with growing Infancy,        
    Daughters and sons of Beauty,–but behold!
    Upon her face there was the tint of grief,
    The settled shadow of an inward strife,
    And an unquiet drooping of the eye,
    As if its lid were charged with unshed tears.
    What could her grief be?–she had all she loved,
    And he who had so loved her was not there
    To trouble with bad hopes, or evil wish,
    Or ill-repressed affliction, her pure thoughts.
    What could her grief be?–she had loved him not,  
    Nor given him cause to deem himself beloved,
    Nor could he be a part of that which preyed
    Upon her mind–a spectre of the past.

                        VI.

    A change came o’er the spirit of my dream.
    The Wanderer was returned.–I saw him stand
    Before an Altar–with a gentle bride;
    Her face was fair, but was not that which made
    The Starlight of his Boyhood;–as he stood
    Even at the altar, o’er his brow there came
    The self-same aspect, and the quivering shock
    That in the antique Oratory shook
    His bosom in its solitude; and then–
    As in that hour–a moment o’er his face
    The tablet of unutterable thoughts
    Was traced,–and then it faded as it came,
    And he stood calm and quiet, and he spoke
    The fitting vows, but heard not his own words,
    And all things reeled around him; he could see
    Not that which was, nor that which should have been–
    But the old mansion, and the accustomed hall,     
    And the remembered chambers, and the place,
    The day, the hour, the sunshine, and the shade,
    All things pertaining to that place and hour
    And her who was his destiny, came back
    And thrust themselves between him and the light:
    What business had they there at such a time?

                        VII.

    A change came o’er the spirit of my dream.
    The Lady of his love;–Oh! she was changed
    As by the sickness of the soul; her mind
    Had wandered from its dwelling, and her eyes
    They had not their own lustre, but the look
    Which is not of the earth; she was become
    The Queen of a fantastic realm; her thoughts
    Were combinations of disjointed things;
    And forms, impalpable and unperceived
    Of others’ sight, familiar were to hers.
    And this the world calls frenzy; but the wise
    Have a far deeper madness–and the glance
    Of melancholy is a fearful gift;
    What is it but the telescope of truth?    
    Which strips the distance of its fantasies,
    And brings life near in utter nakedness,
    Making the cold reality too real!

                        VIII.

    A change came o’er the spirit of my dream.
    The Wanderer was alone as heretofore,
    The beings which surrounded him were gone,
    Or were at war with him; he was a mark
    For blight and desolation, compassed round
    With Hatred and Contention; Pain was mixed
    In all which was served up to him, until, 
    Like to the Pontic monarch of old days,
    He fed on poisons, and they had no power,
    But were a kind of nutriment; he lived
    Through that which had been death to many men,
    And made him friends of mountains: with the stars
    And the quick Spirit of the Universe
    He held his dialogues; and they did teach
    To him the magic of their mysteries;
    To him the book of Night was opened wide,
    And voices from the deep abyss revealed
    A marvel and a secret–Be it so.

                        IX.

    My dream was past; it had no further change.
    It was of a strange order, that the doom
    Of these two creatures should be thus traced out
    Almost like a reality–the one
    To end in madness–both in misery.

Miss Billy’s Decision, CHAPTER I

by Eleanor H. Porter

CALDERWELL DOES SOME TALKING
Calderwell had met Mr. M. J. Arkwright in
London through a common friend; since then
they had tramped half over Europe together in a
comradeship that was as delightful as it was unusual.
As Calderwell put it in a letter to his sister, Belle:

“We smoke the same cigar and drink the same
tea (he’s just as much of an old woman on that
subject as I am!), and we agree beautifully on
all necessary points of living, from tipping to late
sleeping in the morning; while as for politics and
religion–we disagree in those just enough to
lend spice to an otherwise tame existence.”

Farther along in this same letter Calderwell
touched upon his new friend again.

“I admit, however, I would like to know his
name.  To find out what that mysterious `M. J.’
stands for has got to be pretty nearly an obsession
with me.  I am about ready to pick his pocket or
rifle his trunk in search of some lurking `Martin’
or `John’ that will set me at peace.  As it is, I
confess that I have ogled his incoming mail and
his outgoing baggage shamelessly, only to be
slapped in the face always and everlastingly by
that bland `M. J.’  I’ve got my revenge, now,
though.  To myself I call him `Mary Jane’–
and his broad-shouldered, brown-bearded six feet
of muscular manhood would so like to be called
`Mary Jane’!  By the way, Belle, if you ever
hear of murder and sudden death in my direction,
better set the sleuths on the trail of Arkwright.
Six to one you’ll find I called him `Mary Jane’
to his face!”

Calderwell was thinking of that letter now, as
he sat at a small table in a Paris caf<e’>.  Opposite
him was the six feet of muscular manhood, broad
shoulders, pointed brown beard, and all–and he
had just addressed it, inadvertently, as “Mary
Jane.”

During the brief, sickening moment of silence
after the name had left his lips, Calderwell was
conscious of a whimsical realization of the lights,
music, and laughter all about him.

“Well, I chose as safe a place as I could!” he
was thinking.  Then Arkwright spoke.

“How long since you’ve been in correspondence
with members of my family?”

“Eh?”

Arkwright laughed grimly.

“Perhaps you thought of it yourself, then–
I’ll admit you’re capable of it,” he nodded, reaching
for a cigar.  “But it so happens you hit upon
my family’s favorite name for me.”

“_Mary Jane!_  You mean they actually _call_
you that?”

“Yes,” bowed the big fellow, calmly, as he
struck a light.  “Appropriate!–don’t you
think?”

Calderwell did not answer.  He thought he
could not.

“Well, silence gives consent, they say,” laughed
the other.  “Anyhow, you must have had _some_
reason for calling me that.”

“Arkwright, what _does_ `M. J.’ stand for?”
demanded Calderwell.

“Oh, is that it?” smiled the man opposite.
“Well, I’ll own those initials have been something
of a puzzle to people.  One man declares they’re
`Merely Jokes’; but another, not so friendly, says
they stand for `Mostly Jealousy’ of more fortunate
chaps who have real names for a handle.  My
small brothers and sisters, discovering, with the
usual perspicacity of one’s family on such matters,
that I never signed, or called myself anything but
`M. J.,’ dubbed me `Mary Jane.’  And there you
have it.”

“Mary Jane!  You!”

Arkwright smiled oddly.

“Oh, well, what’s the difference?  Would you
deprive them of their innocent amusement?  And
they do so love that `Mary Jane’!  Besides,
what’s in a name, anyway?” he went on, eyeing
the glowing tip of the cigar between his fingers.
“ `A rose by any other name–’–you’ve heard
that, probably.  Names don’t always signify, my
dear fellow.  For instance, I know a `Billy’–but
he’s a girl.”

Calderwell gave a sudden start.

“You don’t mean Billy–Neilson?”

The other turned sharply.

“Do _you_ know Billy Neilson?”

Calderwell gave his friend a glance from
scornful eyes.

“Do I know Billy Neilson?” he cried.  “Does
a fellow usually know the girl he’s proposed to
regularly once in three months?  Oh, I know I’m
telling tales out of school, of course,” he went on,
in response to the look that had come into the
brown eyes opposite.  “But what’s the use?
Everybody knows it–that knows us.  Billy herself
got so she took it as a matter of course–and
refused as a matter of course, too; just as she
would refuse a serving of apple pie at dinner, if
she hadn’t wanted it.”

“Apple pie!” scouted Arkwright.

Calderwell shrugged his shoulders.

“My dear fellow, you don’t seem to realize it,
but for the last six months you have been assisting
at the obsequies of a dead romance.”

“Indeed!  And is it–buried, yet?”

“Oh, no,” sighed Calderwell, cheerfully.  “I
shall go back one of these days, I’ll warrant, and
begin the same old game again; though I will
acknowledge that the last refusal was so very
decided that it’s been a year, almost, since I received
it.  I think I was really convinced, for a while,
that–that she didn’t want that apple pie,” he
finished with a whimsical lightness that did not
quite coincide with the stern lines that had come
to his mouth.

For a moment there was silence, then Calderwell
spoke again.

“Where did you know–Miss Billy?”

“Oh, I don’t know her at all.  I know of her–
through Aunt Hannah.”

Calderwell sat suddenly erect.

“Aunt Hannah!  Is she your aunt, too?
Jove!  This _is_ a little old world, after all; isn’t
it?”

“She isn’t my aunt.  She’s my mother’s third
cousin.  None of us have seen her for years, but
she writes to mother occasionally; and, of course,
for some time now, her letters have been running
over full of Billy.  She lives with her, I believe;
doesn’t she?”

“She does,” rejoined Calderwell, with an
unexpected chuckle.  “I wonder if you know how she
happened to live with her, at first.”

“Why, no, I reckon not.  What do you mean?”

Calderwell chuckled again.

“Well, I’ll tell you.  You, being a `Mary Jane,’
ought to appreciate it.  You see, Billy was named
for one William Henshaw, her father’s chum,
who promptly forgot all about her.  At eighteen,
Billy, being left quite alone in the world, wrote to
`Uncle William’ and asked to come and live with
him.”

“Well?”

“But it wasn’t well.  William was a forty-year-
old widower who lived with two younger brothers,
an old butler, and a Chinese cook in one of those
funny old Beacon Street houses in Boston.  `The
Strata,’ Bertram called it.  Bright boy–Bertram!”

“The Strata!”

“Yes.  I wish you could see that house,
Arkwright.  It’s a regular layer cake.  Cyril–he’s
the second brother; must be thirty-four or five
now–lives on the top floor in a rugless, curtainless,
music-mad existence–just a plain crank.
Below him comes William.  William collects things
–everything from tenpenny nails to teapots, I
should say, and they’re all there in his rooms.
Farther down somewhere comes Bertram.  He’s
_the_ Bertram Henshaw, you understand; the artist.”

“Not the `Face-of-a-Girl’ Henshaw?”

“The same; only of course four years ago he
wasn’t quite so well known as he is now.  Well, to
resume and go on.  It was into this house, this
masculine paradise ruled over by Pete and Dong
Ling in the kitchen, that Billy’s na<i:>ve request for
a home came.”

“Great Scott!” breathed Arkwright, appreciatively.

“Yes.  Well, the letter was signed `Billy.’
They took her for a boy, naturally, and after something
of a struggle they agreed to let `him’ come.
For his particular delectation they fixed up a room
next to Bertram with guns and fishing rods, and
such ladylike specialties; and William went to the
station to meet the boy.”

“With never a suspicion?”

“With never a suspicion.”

“Gorry!”

“Well, `he’ came, and `she’ conquered.  I
guess things were lively for a while, though.  Oh,
there was a kitten, too, I believe, `Spunk,’ who
added to the gayety of nations.”

“But what did the Henshaws do?”

“Well, I wasn’t there, of course; but Bertram
says they spun around like tops gone mad for a
time, but finally quieted down enough to summon
a married sister for immediate propriety, and to
establish Aunt Hannah for permanency the next
day.”

“So that’s how it happened!  Well, by
George!” cried Arkwright.

“Yes,” nodded the other.  “So you see there
are untold possibilities just in a name.  Remember
that.  Just suppose _you_, as Mary Jane, should
beg a home in a feminine household–say in
Miss Billy’s, for instance!”

“I’d like to,” retorted Arkwright, with
sudden warmth.

Calderwell stared a little.

The other laughed shamefacedly.

“Oh, it’s only that I happen to have a
devouring curiosity to meet that special young lady.
I sing her songs (you know she’s written some
dandies!), I’ve heard a lot about her, and I’ve
seen her picture.”  (He did not add that he had
also purloined that same picture from his mother’s
bureau–the picture being a gift from Aunt
Hannah.)  “So you see I would, indeed, like to
occupy a corner in the fair Miss Billy’s household.
I could write to Aunt Hannah and beg a home
with her, you know; eh?”

“Of course!  Why don’t you–`Mary Jane’?”
laughed Calderwell.  “Billy’d take you all right.
She’s had a little Miss Hawthorn, a music teacher,
there for months.  She’s always doing stunts of
that sort.  Belle writes me that she’s had a dozen
forlornites there all this last summer, two or three
at a time-tired widows, lonesome old maids,
and crippled kids–just to give them a royal
good time.  So you see she’d take you, without a
doubt.  Jove! what a pair you’d make:  Miss
Billy and Mr. Mary Jane!  You’d drive the
suffragettes into conniption fits–just by the sound
of you!”

Arkwright laughed quietly; then he frowned.

“But how about it?” he asked.  “I thought
she was keeping house with Aunt Hannah.  Didn’t
she stay at all with the Henshaws?”

“Oh, yes, a few months.  I never knew just
why she did leave, but I fancied, from something
Billy herself said once, that she discovered she
was creating rather too much of an upheaval in
the Strata.  So she took herself off.  She went to
school, and travelled considerably.  She was over
here when I met her first.  After that she was with
us all one summer on the yacht.  A couple of
years ago, or so, she went back to Boston, bought
a house and settled down with Aunt Hannah.”

“And she’s not married–or even engaged?”

“Wasn’t the last I heard.  I haven’t seen her
since December, and I’ve heard from her only
indirectly.  She corresponds with my sister, and
so do I–intermittently.  I heard a month ago
from Belle, and _she_ had a letter from Billy in
August.  But I heard nothing of any engagement.”

“How about the Henshaws?  I should think
there might be a chance there for a romance– a
charming girl, and three unattached men.”

Calderwell gave a slow shake of the head.

“I don’t think so.  William is–let me see–
nearly forty-five, I guess, by this time; and he
isn’t a marrying man.  He buried his heart with
his wife and baby years ago.  Cyril, according to
Bertram, `hates women and all other confusion,’
so that ought to let him out.  As for Bertram
himself–Bertram is `only Bertram.’  He’s always
been that.  Bertram loves girls–to paint; but
I can’t imagine him making serious love to any
one.  It would always be the tilt of a chin or the
turn of a cheek that he was admiring–to paint.

No, there’s no chance for a romance there, I’ll
warrant.”

“But there’s–yourself.”

Calderwell’s eyebrows rose the fraction of an
inch.

“Oh, of course.  I presume January or February
will find me back there,” he admitted with a
sigh and a shrug.  Then, a little bitterly, he added:
“No, Arkwright.  I shall keep away if I can.  I
_know_ there’s no chance for me–now.”

“Then you’ll leave me a clear field?” bantered
the other.

“Of course–`Mary Jane,’ ” retorted Calderwell,
with equal lightness.

“Thank you.”

“Oh, you needn’t,” laughed Calderwell.  “My
giving you the right of way doesn’t insure you a
thoroughfare for yourself–there are others, you
know.  Billy Neilson has had sighing swains about I
her, I imagine, since she could walk and talk.  She
is a wonderfully fascinating little bit of femininity,
and she has a heart of pure gold.  All is, I envy
the man who wins it–for the man who wins
that, wins her.”

There was no answer.  Arkwright sat with his
eyes on the moving throng outside the window
near them.  Perhaps he had not heard.  At all
events, when he spoke some time later, it was of a
matter far removed from Miss Billy Neilson, or
the way to her heart.  Nor was the young lady
mentioned between them again that day.

Long hours later, just before parting for the
night, Arkwright said:

“Calderwell, I’m sorry, but I believe, after all,
I can’t take that trip to the lakes with you.  I–
I’m going home next week.”

“Home!  Hang it, Arkwright!  I’d counted on
you.  Isn’t this rather sudden?”

“Yes, and no.  I’ll own I’ve been drifting about
with you contentedly enough for the last six
months to make you think mountain-climbing and
boat-paddling were the end and aim of my existence.
But they aren’t, you know, really.”

“Nonsense!  At heart you’re as much of a
vagabond as I am; and you know it.”

“Perhaps.  But unfortunately I don’t happen
to carry your pocketbook.”

“You may, if you like.  I’ll hand it over any
time,” grinned Calderwell.

“Thanks.  You know well enough what I
mean,” shrugged the other.

There was a moment’s silence; then Calderwell
queried:

“Arkwright, how old are you?”

“Twenty-four.”

“Good!  Then you’re merely travelling to
supplement your education, see?”

“Oh, yes, I see.  But something besides my
education has got to be supplemented now, I reckon.”

“What are you going to do?”

There was an almost imperceptible hesitation;
then, a little shortly, came the answer:

“Hit the trail for Grand Opera, and bring up,
probably–in vaudeville.”

Calderwell smiled appreciatively.

“You _can_ sing like the devil,” he admitted.

“Thanks,” returned his friend, with uplifted
eyebrows.  “Do you mind calling it `an angel’
–just for this occasion?”

“Oh, the matin<e’>e-girls will do that fast enough.
But, I say, Arkwright, what are you going to do
with those initials then?”

“Let ‘em alone.”

“Oh, no, you won’t.  And you won’t be `Mary
Jane,’ either.  Imagine a Mary Jane in Grand
Opera!  I know what you’ll be.  You’ll be `Se<n?>or
Martini Johnini Arkwrightino’!  By the way,
you didn’t say what that `M. J.’ really did stand
for,” hinted Calderwell, shamelessly

“ `Merely Jokes’–in your estimation,
evidently,” shrugged the other.  “But my going
isn’t a joke, Calderwell.  I’m really going.  And
I’m going to work.”

“But–how shall you manage?”

“Time will tell.”

Calderwell frowned and stirred restlessly in his
chair.

“But, honestly, now, to–to follow that trail
of yours will take money.  And–er–” a faint
red stole to his forehead–“don’t they have–
er–patrons for these young and budding geniuses?
Why can’t I have a hand in this trail, too
–or maybe you’d call it a foot, eh?  I’d be no
end glad to, Arkwright.”

“Thanks, old man.”  The red was duplicated
this time above the brown silky beard.  “That
was mighty kind of you, and I appreciate it; but
it won’t be necessary.  A generous, but perhaps
misguided bachelor uncle left me a few thousands
a year or so ago; and I’m going to put them all
down my throat–or rather, _into_ it–before I
give up.”

“Where you going to study?  New York?”

Again there was an almost imperceptible
hesitation before the answer came.

“I’m not quite prepared to say.”

“Why not try it here?”

Arkwright shook his head.

“I did plan to, when I came over but I’ve
changed my mind.  I believe I’d rather work
while longer in America.”

“Hm-m,” murmured Calderwell.

There was a brief silence, followed by other
questions and other answers; after which the
friends said good night.

In his own room, as he was dropping off to
sleep, Calderwell muttered drowsily:

“By George!  I haven’t found out yet what
that blamed `M. J.’ stands for!”

El Dorado

by Edgar Allan Poe
    Gaily bedight,
    A gallant knight,
  In sunshine and in shadow,
    Had journeyed long,
    Singing a song,
  In search of Eldorado.
    But he grew old–
    This knight so bold–
  And o’er his heart a shadow
    Fell as he found
    No spot of ground
  That looked like Eldorado.

  And, as his strength
    Failed him at length,
  He met a pilgrim shadow–
    “Shadow,” said he,
    “Where can it be–
  This land of Eldorado?”

    “Over the Mountains
    Of the Moon,
  Down the Valley of the Shadow,
    Ride, boldly ride,”
    The shade replied,
  “If you seek for Eldorado!”

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