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Bridal Ballad

by Edgar Allan Poe
  The ring is on my hand,
    And the wreath is on my brow;
  Satins and jewels grand
  Are all at my command.
    And I am happy now.

  And my lord he loves me well;
    But, when first he breathed his vow,
  I felt my bosom swell–
  For the words rang as a knell,
  And the voice seemed _his_ who fell
  In the battle down the dell,
    And who is happy now.

  But he spoke to reassure me,
    And he kissed my pallid brow,
  While a reverie came o’er me,
  And to the churchyard bore me,
  And I sighed to him before me,
  Thinking him dead D’Elormie,
    “Oh, I am happy now!”

  And thus the words were spoken,
    And thus the plighted vow,
  And, though my faith be broken,
  And, though my heart be broken,
  Behold the golden keys
    That _proves_ me happy now!

  Would to God I could awaken
    For I dream I know not how,
  And my soul is sorely shaken
  Lest an evil step be taken,–
  Lest the dead who is forsaken
    May not be happy now.

Carving a Name

by Horatio Alger, Jr.

I wrote my name upon the sand,
  And trusted it would stand for aye;
But, soon, alas! the refluent sea
  Had washed my feeble lines away.

I carved my name upon the wood,
  And, after years, returned again;
I missed the shadow of the tree
  That stretched of old upon the plain.

To solid marble next, my name
  I gave as a perpetual trust;
An earthquake rent it to its base,
  And now it lies, o’erlaid with dust.

All these have failed. In wiser mood
  I turn and ask myself, “What then?”
If I would have my name endure,
  I’ll write it on the hearts of men,

In characters of living light,
  Of kindly deeds and actions wrought.
And these, beyond the touch of time,
  Shall live immortal as my thought.

To Marie Louise

by Edgar Allan Poe
  Of all who hail thy presence as the morning–
  Of all to whom thine absence is the night–
  The blotting utterly from out high heaven
  The sacred sun–of all who, weeping, bless thee
  Hourly for hope–for life–ah, above all,
  For the resurrection of deep buried faith
  In truth, in virtue, in humanity–
  Of all who, on despair’s unhallowed bed
  Lying down to die, have suddenly arisen
  At thy soft-murmured words, “Let there be light!”
  At thy soft-murmured words that were fulfilled
  In thy seraphic glancing of thine eyes–
  Of all who owe thee most, whose gratitude
  Nearest resembles worship,–oh, remember
  The truest, the most fervently devoted,
  And think that these weak lines are written by him–
  By him who, as he pens them, thrills to think
  His spirit is communing with an angel’s.

With a Flower

by Emily Dickinson
I hide myself within my flower,
That wearing on your breast,
You, unsuspecting, wear me too –
And angels know the rest.

I hide myself within my flower,
That, fading from your vase,
You, unsuspecting, feel for me
Almost a loneliness.

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.

MRS. BROWNING’S GRAVE AT FLORENCE

by Horatio Alger, Jr.

Florence wears an added grace,
  All her earlier honors crowning;
Dante’s birthplace, Art’s fair home,
  Holds the dust of Barrett Browning.

Guardian of the noble dead
  That beneath thy soil lie sleeping,
England, with full heart, commends
  This new treasure to thy keeping.

Take her, she is half thine own;
  In her verses’ rich outpouring,
Breathes the warm Italian heart,
  Yearning for the land’s restoring.

From thy skies her poet-heart
  Caught a fresher inspiration,
And her soul obtained new strength,
  With her bodily translation.

Freely take what thou hast given,
  Less her verses’ rhythmic beauty,
Than the stirring notes that called
  Trumpet-like thy sons to duty.

Rarest of exotic flowers
  In thy native chaplet twining,
To the temple of thy great
  Add her–she is worth enshrining.

King Cotton

by Horatio Alger, Jr.

King Cotton looks from his window
  Towards the westering sun,
And he marks, with an anguished horror,
  That his race is almost run.

His form is thin and shrunken;
  His cheek is pale and wan;
And the lines of care on his furrowed brow
  Are dread to look upon.

But yesterday a monarch,
  In the flush of his pomp and pride,
And, not content with his own broad lands,
  He would rule the world beside.

He built him a stately palace,
  With gold from beyond the sea;
And he laid with care the corner-stone,
  And he called it Slavery:

He summoned an army with banners,
  To keep his foes at bay;
And, gazing with pride on his palace walls,
  He said, “They will stand for aye!”

But the palace walls are shrunken,
  And partly overthrown,
And the storms of war, in their violence,
  Have loosened the corner-stone.

Now Famine stalks through the palace halls,
  With her gaunt and pallid train;
You can hear the cries of famished men,
  As they cry for bread in vain.

The king can see, from his palace walls.
  A land by his pride betrayed;
Thousands of mothers and wives bereft.
  Thousands of graves new-made.

And he seems to see, in the lowering sky,
  The shape of a flaming sword;
Whereon he reads, with a sinking heart,
  The anger of the Lord.

God speed the time when the guilty king
  Shall be hurled from his blood-stained throne;
And the palace of Wrong shall crumble to dust,
  With its boasted corner-stone.

A temple of Freedom shall rise instead,
  On the desecrated site:
And within its shelter alike shall stand
  The black man and the white.

Miss Billy’s Decision, CHAPTER IX

by Eleanor H. Porter

A RUG, A PICTURE, AND A GIRL AFRAID
Thanksgiving came.  Once again the Henshaw
brothers invited Billy and Aunt Hannah to spend
the day with them.  This time, however, there
was to be an additional guest present in the person
of Marie Hawthorn.

And what a day it was, for everything and
everybody concerned!  First the Strata itself: from
Dong Ling’s kitchen in the basement to Cyril’s
domain on the top floor, the house was as spick-
and-span as Pete’s eager old hands could make
it.  In the drawing-room and in Bertram’s den
and studio, great clusters of pink roses perfumed
the air, and brightened the sombre richness of
the old-time furnishings.  Before the open fire
in the den a sleek gray cat–adorned with a huge
ribbon bow the exact shade of the roses (Bertram
had seen to that!)–winked and blinked sleepy
yellow eyes.  In Bertram’s studio the latest “Face
of a Girl” had made way for a group of canvases
and plaques, every one of which showed Billy
Neilson in one pose or another.  Up-stairs, where
William’s chaos of treasures filled shelves and
cabinets, the place of honor was given to a small
black velvet square on which rested a pair of
quaint Battersea enamel mirror knobs.  In Cyril’s
rooms–usually so austerely bare–a handsome
Oriental rug and several curtain-draped chairs
hinted at purchases made at the instigation of
a taste other than his own.

When the doorbell rang Pete admitted the
ladies with a promptness that was suggestive
of surreptitious watching at some window.  On
Pete’s face the dignity of his high office and the
delight of the moment were fighting for mastery.
The dignity held firmly through Mrs. Stetson’s
friendly greeting; but it fled in defeat when Billy
Neilson stepped over the threshold with a cheery
“Good morning, Pete.”

“Laws!  But it’s good to be seein’ you here
again,” stammered the man,–delight now in
sole possession.

“She’ll be coming to stay, one of these days,
Pete,” smiled the eldest Henshaw, hurrying forward.

“I wish she had now,” whispered Bertram, who,
in spite of William’s quick stride, had reached
Billy’s side first.

From the stairway came the patter of a man’s
slippered feet.

“The rug has come, and the curtains, too,”
called a “householder” sort of voice that few
would have recognized as belonging to Cyril
Henshaw.  “You must all come up-stairs and
see them after dinner.”  The voice, apparently,
spoke to everybody; but the eyes of the owner
of the voice plainly saw only the fair-haired young
woman who stood a little in the shadow behind
Billy, and who was looking about her now as at
something a little fearsome, but very dear.

“You know–I’ve never been–where you
live–before,” explained Marie Hawthorn in a
low, vibrant tone, when Cyril bent over her to
take the furs from her shoulders.

In Bertram’s den a little later, as hosts and
guests advanced toward the fire, the sleek gray
cat rose, stretched lazily, and turned her head
with majestic condescension.

“Well, Spunkie, come here,” commanded Billy,
snapping her fingers at the slow-moving creature
on the hearthrug.  “Spunkie, when I am your
mistress, you’ll have to change either your name
or your nature.  As if I were going to have such
a bunch of independent moderation as you
masquerading as an understudy to my frisky little
Spunk!”

Everybody laughed.  William regarded his
namesake with fond eyes as he said:

“Spunkie doesn’t seem to be worrying.”  The
cat had jumped into Billy’s lap with a matter-
of-course air that was unmistakable–and to Bertram,
adorable.  Bertram’s eyes, as they rested
on Billy, were even fonder than were his
brother’s.

“I don’t think any one is–_worrying_,” he
said with quiet emphasis.

Billy smiled.

“I should think they might be,” she answered.
“Only think how dreadfully upsetting I was in
the first place!”

William’s beaming face grew a little stern.

“Nobody knew it but Kate–and she didn’t
_know_ it; she only imagined it,” he said tersely.

Billy shook her head.

“I’m not so sure,” she demurred.  “As I look
back at it now, I think I can discern a few
evidences myself–that I was upsetting.  I was a
bother to Bertram in his painting, I am sure.”

“You were an inspiration,” corrected Bertram.
“Think of the posing you did for me.”

A swift something like a shadow crossed Billy’s
face; but before her lover could question its
meaning, it was gone.

“And I know I was a torment to Cyril.”  Billy
had turned to the musician now.

“Well, I admit you were a little–upsetting,
at times,” retorted that individual, with something
of his old imperturbable rudeness.

“Nonsense!” cut in William, sharply.  “You
were never anything but a comfort in the house,
Billy, my dear–and you never will be.”

“Thank you,” murmured Billy, demurely.
“I’ll remember that–when Pete and I disagree
about the table decorations, and Dong Ling
doesn’t like the way I want my soup seasoned.”

An anxious frown showed on Bertram’s face.

“Billy,” he said in a low voice, as the others
laughed at her sally, “you needn’t have Pete
nor Dong Ling here if you don’t want them.”

“Don’t want them!” echoed Billy, indignantly.
“Of course I want them!”

“But–Pete _is_ old, and–”

“Yes; and where’s he grown old?  For whom
has he worked the last fifty years, while he’s
been growing old?  I wonder if you think I’d
let Pete leave this house as long as he _wants_ to
stay!  As for Dong Ling–”

A sudden movement of Bertram’s hand arrested
her words.  She looked up to find Pete in
the doorway.

“Dinner is served, sir,” announced the old
butler, his eyes on his master’s face.

William rose with alacrity, and gave his arm
to Aunt Hannah.

“Well, I’m sure we’re ready for dinner,” he
declared.

It was a good dinner, and it was well served.
It could scarcely have been otherwise with Dong
Ling in the kitchen and Pete in the dining-room
doing their utmost to please.  But even had the
turkey been tough instead of tender, and even
had the pies been filled with sawdust instead of
with delicious mincemeat, it is doubtful if four
at the table would have known the difference:
Cyril and Marie at one end were discussing where
to put their new sideboard in their dining-room,
and Bertram and Billy at the other were talking
of the next Thanksgiving, when, according to
Bertram, the Strata would have the “dearest
little mistress that ever was born.”  As if, under
these circumstances, the tenderness of the turkey
or the toothsomeness of the mince pie mattered!
To Aunt Hannah and William, in the centre of
the table, however, it did matter; so it was well,
of course, that the dinner was a good one.

“And now,” said Cyril, when dinner was over,
“suppose you come up and see the rug.”

In compliance with this suggestion, the six
trailed up the long flights of stairs then, Billy
carrying an extra shawl for Aunt Hannah–
Cyril’s rooms were always cool.

“Oh, yes, I knew we should need it,” she nodded
to Bertram, as she picked up the shawl from the
hall stand where she had left it when she came
in.  “That’s why I brought it.”

“Oh, my grief and conscience, Cyril, how _can_
you stand it?–to climb stairs like this,” panted
Aunt Hannah, as she reached the top of the last
flight and dropped breathlessly into the nearest
chair–from which Marie had rescued a curtain
just in time.

“Well, I’m not sure I could–if I were always
to eat a Thanksgiving dinner just before,” laughed
Cyril.  “Maybe I ought to have waited and let
you rest an hour or two.”

“But ‘twould have been too dark, then, to see the
rug,” objected Marie.  “It’s a genuine Persian–
a Kirman, you know; and I’m so proud of it,”
she added, turning to the others.  “I wanted you
to see the colors by daylight.  Cyril likes it better,
anyhow, in the daytime.”

“Fancy Cyril _liking_ any sort of a rug at any
time,” chuckled Bertram, his eyes on the rich,
softly blended colors of the rug before him.
“Honestly, Miss Marie,” he added, turning to the
little bride elect, “how did you ever manage to
get him to buy _any_ rug?  He won’t have so much
as a ravelling on the floor up here to walk on.”

A startled dismay came into Marie’s blue
eyes.

“Why, I thought he wanted rugs,” she
faltered.  “I’m sure he said–”

“Of course I want rugs,” interrupted Cyril,
irritably.  “I want them everywhere except in
my own especial den.  You don’t suppose I want
to hear other people clattering over bare floors
all day, do you?”

“Of course not!” Bertram’s face was
preternaturally grave as he turned to the little music
teacher.  “I hope, Miss Marie, that you wear
rubber heels on your shoes,” he observed solicitously.

Even Cyril laughed at this, though all he said
was:

“Come, come, I got you up here to look at the
rug.”

Bertram, however, was not to be silenced.

“And another thing, Miss Marie,” he resumed,
with the air of a true and tried adviser.  “Just
let me give you a pointer.  I’ve lived with your
future husband a good many years, and I know
what I’m talking about.”

“Bertram, be still,” growled Cyril.

Bertram refused to be still.

“Whenever you want to know anything about
Cyril, listen to his playing.  For instance: if,
after dinner, you hear a dreamy waltz or a sleepy
nocturne, you may know that all is well.  But if
on your ears there falls anything like a dirge, or
the wail of a lost spirit gone mad, better look to
your soup and see if it hasn’t been scorched, or
taste of your pudding and see if you didn’t put
in salt instead of sugar.”

“Bertram, will you be still?” cut in Cyril,
testily, again.

“After all, judging from what Billy tells me,”
resumed Bertram, cheerfully, “what I’ve said
won’t be so important to you, for you aren’t the
kind that scorches soups or uses salt for sugar.
So maybe I’d better put it to you this way: if you
want a new sealskin coat or an extra diamond
tiara, tackle him when he plays like this!”  And
with a swift turn Bertram dropped himself to the
piano stool and dashed into a rollicking melody
that half the newsboys of Boston were whistling.

What happened next was a surprise to every one.
Bertram, very much as if he were a naughty
little boy, was jerked by a wrathful brother’s
hand off the piano stool.  The next moment the
wrathful brother himself sat at the piano, and
there burst on five pairs of astonished ears a
crashing dissonance which was but the prelude
to music such as few of the party often heard.

Spellbound they listened while rippling runs
and sonorous harmonies filled the room to overflowing,
as if under the fingers of the player there
were–not the keyboard of a piano–but the
violins, flutes, cornets, trombones, bass viols
and kettledrums of a full orchestra.

Billy, perhaps, of them all, best understood.
She knew that in those tripping melodies and
crashing chords were Cyril’s joy at the presence
of Marie, his wrath at the flippancy of Bertram,
his ecstasy at that for which the rug and curtains
stood–the little woman sewing in the radiant
circle of a shaded lamp.  Billy knew that all this
and more were finding voice at Cyril’s finger tips.
The others, too, understood in a way; but they,
unlike Billy, were not in the habit of finding on
a few score bits of wood and ivory a vent for their
moods and fancies.

The music was softer now.  The resounding
chords and purling runs had become a bell-like
melody that wound itself in and out of a maze of
exquisite harmonies, now hiding, now coming out
clear and unafraid, like a mountain stream emerging
into a sunlit meadow from the leafy shadows
of its forest home.

In a breathless hush the melody quivered into
silence.  It was Bertram who broke the pause
with a long-drawn:

“By George!”  Then, a little unsteadily:
“If it’s I that set you going like that, old chap,
I’ll come up and play ragtime every day!”

Cyril shrugged his shoulders and got to his
feet.

“If you’ve seen all you want of the rug we’ll
go down-stairs,” he said nonchalantly.

“But we haven’t!” chorussed several indignant
voices.  And for the next few minutes not even
the owner of the beautiful Kirman could find
any fault with the quantity or the quality of the
attention bestowed on his new possession.  But
Billy, under cover of the chatter, said reproachfully
in his ear:

“Oh, Cyril, to think you can play like that–
and won’t–on demand!”

“I can’t–on demand,” shrugged Cyril again.

On the way down-stairs they stopped at
William’s rooms.

“I want you to see a couple of Batterseas I
got last week,” cried the collector eagerly, as he
led the way to the black velvet square.  “They’re
fine–and I think she looks like you,” he finished,
turning to Billy, and holding out one of the knobs,
on which was a beautifully executed miniature of
a young girl with dark, dreamy eyes.

“Oh, how pretty!” exclaimed Marie, over
Billy’s shoulder.  “But what are they?”

The collector turned, his face alight.

“Mirror knobs.  I’ve got lots of them.  Would
you like to see them–really?  They’re right here.”

The next minute Marie found herself looking
into a cabinet where lay a score or more of round
and oval discs of glass, porcelain, and metal,
framed in silver, gilt, and brass, and mounted on
long spikes.

“Oh, how pretty,” cried Marie again; “but
how–how queer!  Tell me about them, please.”

William drew a long breath.  His eyes glistened.
William loved to talk–when he had a curio
and a listener.

“I will.  Our great-grandmothers used them,
you know, to support their mirrors, or to fasten
back their curtains,” he explained ardently.
“Now here’s another Battersea enamel, but it
isn’t so good as my new ones–that face is almost
a caricature.”

“But what a beautiful ship–on that round
one!” exclaimed Marie.  “And what’s this one?
–glass?”

“Yes; but that’s not so rare as the others.
Still, it’s pretty enough.  Did you notice this
one, with the bright red and blue and green on
the white background?–regular Chinese mode
of decoration, that is.”

“Er–any time, William,” began Bertram,
mischievously; but William did not seem to
hear.

“Now in this corner,” he went on, warming
to his subject, “are the enamelled porcelains.
They were probably made at the Worcester works
–England, you know; and I think many of them
are quite as pretty as the Batterseas.  You see
it was at Worcester that they invented that
variation of the transfer printing process that
they called bat printing, where they used oil
instead of ink, and gelatine instead of paper.  Now
engravings for that kind of printing were usually
in stipple work–dots, you know–so the prints
on these knobs can easily be distinguished from
those of the transfer printing.  See?  Now, this
one is–”

“Er, of course, William, any time–”
interposed Bertram again, his eyes twinkling.

William stopped with a laugh.

“Yes, I know.  ‘Tis time I talked of something
else, Bertram,” he conceded.

“But ’twas lovely, and I _was_ interested,
really,” claimed Marie.  “Besides, there are such
a lot of things here that I’d like to see,” she
finished, turning slowly about.

“These are what he was collecting last year,”
murmured Billy, hovering over a small cabinet
where were some beautiful specimens of antique
jewelry brooches, necklaces, armlets, Rajah
rings, and anklets, gorgeous in color and exquisite
in workmanship.

“Well, here is something you _will_ enjoy,”
declared Bertram, with an airy flourish.  “Do
you see those teapots?  Well, we can have tea
every day in the year, and not use one of them
but five times.  I’ve counted.  There are exactly
seventy-three,” he concluded, as he laughingly
led the way from the room.

“How about leap year?” quizzed Billy.

“Ho!  Trust Will to find another `Old Blue’
or a `perfect treasure of a black basalt’ by that
time,” shrugged Bertram.

Below William’s rooms was the floor once
Bertram’s, but afterwards given over to the use
of Billy and Aunt Hannah.  The rooms were open
to-day, and were bright with sunshine and roses;
but they were very plainly unoccupied.

“And you don’t use them yet?” remonstrated
Billy, as she paused at an open door.

“No.  These are Mrs. Bertram Henshaw’s
rooms,” said the youngest Henshaw brother in a
voice that made Billy hurry away with a dimpling
blush.

“They were Billy’s–and they can never seem
any one’s but Billy’s, now,” declared William to
Marie, as they went down the stairs.

“And now for the den and some good stories
before the fire,” proposed Bertram, as the six
reached the first floor again.

“But we haven’t seen your pictures, yet,”
objected Billy.

Bertram made a deprecatory gesture.

“There’s nothing much–” he began; but
he stopped at once, with an odd laugh.  “Well,
I sha’n't say _that_,” he finished, flinging open the
door of his studio, and pressing a button that
flooded the room with light.  The next moment,
as they stood before those plaques and panels
and canvases–on each of which was a pictured
“Billy”–they understood the change in his
sentence, and they laughed appreciatively.

“ `Much,’ indeed!” exclaimed William.

“Oh, how lovely!” breathed Marie.

“My grief and conscience, Bertram!  All these
–and of Billy?  I knew you had a good many,
but–”  Aunt Hannah paused impotently, her
eyes going from Bertram’s face to the pictures
again.

“But how–when did you do them?” queried
Marie.

“Some of them from memory.  More of them
from life.  A lot of them were just sketches that
I did when she was here in the house four or five
years ago,” answered Bertram; “like this,
for instance.”  And he pulled into a better light
a picture of a laughing, dark-eyed girl holding
against her cheek a small gray kitten, with alert,
bright eyes.  “The original and only Spunk,”
he announced.

“What a dear little cat!” cried Marie.

“You should have seen it–in the flesh,”
remarked Cyril, dryly.  “No paint nor painter
could imprison that untamed bit of Satanic mischief
on any canvas that ever grew!”

Everybody laughed–everybody but Billy.
Billy, indeed, of them all, had been strangely
silent ever since they entered the studio.  She
stood now a little apart.  Her eyes were wide, and
a bit frightened.  Her fingers were twisting the
corners of her handkerchief nervously.  She was
looking to the right and to the left, and everywhere
she saw–herself.

Sometimes it was her full face, sometimes her
profile; sometimes there were only her eyes
peeping from above a fan, or peering from out
brown shadows of nothingness.  Once it was
merely the back of her head showing the mass of
waving hair with its high lights of burnished
bronze.  Again it was still the back of her head
with below it the bare, slender neck and the scarf-
draped shoulders.  In this picture the curve of a
half-turned cheek showed plainly, and in the
background was visible a hand holding four playing
cards, at which the pictured girl was evidently
looking.  Sometimes it was a merry Billy with
dancing eyes; sometimes a demure Billy with long
lashes caressing a flushed cheek.  Sometimes it
was a wistful Billy with eyes that looked straight
into yours with peculiar appeal.  But always it
was–Billy.

“There, I think the tilt of this chin is perfect.”
It was Bertram speaking.

Billy gave a sudden cry.  Her face whitened.
She stumbled forward.

“No, no, Bertram, you–you didn’t mean
the–the tilt of the chin,” she faltered wildly.

The man turned in amazement.

“Why–Billy!” he stammered.  “Billy,
what is it?”

The girl fell back at once.  She tried to laugh
lightly.  She had seen the dismayed questioning
in her lover’s eyes, and in the eyes of William and
the others.

“N-nothing,” she gesticulated hurriedly.  “It
was nothing at all, truly.”

“But, Billy, it _was_ something.”  Bertram’s
eyes were still troubled.  “Was it the picture?
I thought you liked this picture.”

Billy laughed again–this time more naturally.

“Bertram, I’m ashamed of you–expecting
me to say I `like’ any of this,” she scolded, with
a wave of her hands toward the omnipresent
Billy.  “Why, I feel as if I were in a room with
a thousand mirrors, and that I’d been discovered
putting rouge on my cheeks and lampblack on
my eyebrows!”

William laughed fondly.  Aunt Hannah and
Marie gave an indulgent smile.  Cyril actually
chuckled.  Bertram only still wore a puzzled
expression as he laid aside the canvas in his
hands.

Billy examined intently a sketch she had found
with its back to the wall.  It was not a pretty
sketch; it was not even a finished one, and Billy
did not in the least care what it was.  But her
lips cried interestedly:

“Oh, Bertram, what is this?”

There was no answer.  Bertram was still
engaged, apparently, in putting away some sketches.
Over by the doorway leading to the den Marie
and Aunt Hannah, followed by William and Cyril,
were just disappearing behind a huge easel.
In another minute the merry chatter of their
voices came from the room beyond.  Bertram
hurried then straight across the studio to the
girl still bending over the sketch in the corner.

“Bertram!” gasped Billy, as a kiss brushed
her cheek.

“Pooh!  They’re gone.  Besides, what if they
did see?  Billy, what was the matter with the
tilt of that chin?”

Billy gave an hysterical little laugh–at least,
Bertram tried to assure himself that it was a
laugh, though it had sounded almost like a sob.

“Bertram, if you say another word about–
about the tilt of that chin, I shall _scream!_” she
panted.

“Why, Billy!”

With a nervous little movement Billy turned
and began to reverse the canvases nearest her.

“Come, sir,” she commanded gayly.  “Billy
has been on exhibition quite long enough.  It is
high time she was turned face to the wall to
meditate, and grow more modest.”

Bertram did not answer.  Neither did he make
a move to assist her.  His ardent gray eyes were
following her slim, graceful figure admiringly.

“Billy, it doesn’t seem true, yet, that you’re
really mine,” he said at last, in a low voice shaken
with emotion.

Billy turned abruptly.  A peculiar radiance
shone in her eyes and glorified her face.  As
she stood, she was close to a picture on an easel
and full in the soft glow of the shaded lights
above it.

“Then you _do_ want me,” she began, “–just
_me!_–not to–” she stopped short.  The man
opposite had taken an eager step toward her.  On
his face was the look she knew so well, the look
she had come almost to dread–the “painting
look.”

“Billy, stand just as you are,” he was saying.
“Don’t move.  Jove!  But that effect is perfect
with those dark shadows beyond, and just your
hair and face and throat showing.  I declare,
I’ve half a mind to sketch–”  But Billy, with
a little cry, was gone.

The City in the Sea

by Edgar Allan Poe
  Lo! Death has reared himself a throne
  In a strange city lying alone
  Far down within the dim West,
  Where the good and the bad and the worst and the best
  Have gone to their eternal rest.
  There shrines and palaces and towers
  (Time-eaten towers and tremble not!)
  Resemble nothing that is ours.
  Around, by lifting winds forgot,
  Resignedly beneath the sky
  The melancholy waters lie.

  No rays from the holy Heaven come down
  On the long night-time of that town;
  But light from out the lurid sea
  Streams up the turrets silently–
  Gleams up the pinnacles far and free–
  Up domes–up spires–up kingly halls–
  Up fanes–up Babylon-like walls–
  Up shadowy long-forgotten bowers
  Of sculptured ivy and stone flowers–
  Up many and many a marvellous shrine
  Whose wreathed friezes intertwine
  The viol, the violet, and the vine.

  Resignedly beneath the sky
  The melancholy waters lie.
  So blend the turrets and shadows there
  That all seem pendulous in air,
  While from a proud tower in the town
  Death looks gigantically down.

  There open fanes and gaping graves
  Yawn level with the luminous waves;
  But not the riches there that lie
  In each idol’s diamond eye–
  Not the gaily-jewelled dead
  Tempt the waters from their bed;
  For no ripples curl, alas!
  Along that wilderness of glass–
  No swellings tell that winds may be
  Upon some far-off happier sea–
  No heavings hint that winds have been
  On seas less hideously serene.

  But lo, a stir is in the air!
  The wave–there is a movement there!
  As if the towers had thrust aside,
  In slightly sinking, the dull tide–
  As if their tops had feebly given
  A void within the filmy Heaven.
  The waves have now a redder glow–
  The hours are breathing faint and low–
  And when, amid no earthly moans,
  Down, down that town shall settle hence,
  Hell, rising from a thousand thrones,
  Shall do it reverence.

The Church at Stratford-on-Avon

by Horatio Alger, Jr.

One autumn day, when hedges yet were green,
  And thick-branched trees diffused a leafy gloom,
Hard by where Avon rolls its silvery tide,
  I stood in silent thought by Shakspeare’s tomb.

O happy church, beneath whose marble floor
  His ashes lie who so enriched mankind;
The many-sided Shakespeare, rare of soul,
  And dowered with an all-embracing mind.

Through the stained windows rays of sunshine fall
  In softened glory on the chancel floor;
While I, a pilgrim from across the sea,
  stand with bare head in reverential awe.

Churches there are within whose gloomy vaults
  Repose the bones of those that once were kings;
Their power has passed, and what remains but clay?
  While in his grave our Shakspeare lives and sings.

Kings were his puppets, kingdoms but his stage,–
  Faint shadows they without his plastic art,–
He waves his wand, and lo! they live again,
  And in his world perform their mimic part.                  

Born in the purple, his imperial soul                       
  Sits crowned and sceptred in the realms of mind.
Kingdoms may fall, and crumble to decay,
  Time but confirms his empire o’er mankind.

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