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Thus rebuked, for a season was silent the penitent housemaid ; And Elizabeth said in tones even sweeter and softer : “Dost thou remember, Hannah, the great May-Meeting in London, When I was still a child, how we sat in the silent assembly, Waiting upon the Lord in patient and passive submission ? No one spake, till at length a young man, a stranger, John Estaugh, Moved by the Spirit, rose, as if he were John the Apostle, Speaking such words of power that they bowed our hearts, as a strong wind Bends the grass of the fields, or grain that is ripe for the sickle. Thoughts of him to-day have been oft borne inward upon me, Wherefore I do not know; but strong is the feeling within me That once more I shall see a face I have never forgotten.”
E’en as she spake they heard the musical jangle of sleigh-bells,
, with a dreamy sound and faint in the distance, Then growing nearer and louder, and turning into the farmyard, Till it stopped at the door, with sudden creaking of runners. Then there were voices heard as of two men talking together, And to herself, as she listened, upbraiding said Hannah the housemaid, “It is Joseph come back, and I wonder what stranger is with him.”
Down from its nail she took and lighted the great tin lantern Fierced with holes, and round, and roofed like the top of a lighthouse, And went forth to receive the coming guest at the doorway, Casting into the dark a network of glimmer and shadow Over the falling snow, the yellow sleigh, and the horses, And the forms of men, snow-covered, looming gigantic. Then giving Joseph the lantern, she entered the house with the stranger. Youthful he was and tall, and his cheeks aglow with the night air ; And as he entered, Elizabeth rose, and, going to meet him, As if an unseen power had announced and preceded his presence, And he had come as one whose coming had long been expected, Quietly gave him her hand, and said, - Thou art welcome, John Estaugh." And the stranger replied, with staid and quiet behavior, “ Dost thou remember me still, Elizabeth ? After so many Years have passed, it seemeth a wonderful thing that I find thee. Surely the hand of the Lord conducted me here to thy threshold. For as I journeyed along, and pondered alone and in silence On his ways, that are past finding out, I saw in the snow-mist, Seeningly weary with travel, a wayfarer, who by the wayside Paused and waited. Forthwith I remembered Queen Candace's eunuch, How on the way that goes down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, Reading Esaias the Prophet, he journeyed, and spake unto Philip, Praying him to come up and sit in his chariot with him. So I greeted the man, and he mounted the sledge beside me, And as we talked on the way he told me of thee and thy homestead, How, being led by the light of the Spirit, that never deceiveth, Full of zeal for the work of the Lord, thou hadst come to this country. And I remembered thy name, and thy father and mother in England, And on my journey have stopped to see thee, Elizabeth Haddon, Wishing to strengthen thy hand in the labors of love thou art doing.”
And Elizabeth answered with confident voice, and serenely Looking into his face with her innocent eyes as she answered,
“Surely the hand of the Lord is in it ; his Spirit hath led thee
Then, with stamping of feet, the door was opened, and Joseph
When the supper was ended they drew their chairs to the fireplace,
Then Elizabeth told her story again to John Estaugh,
Meanwhile Joseph sat with folded hands, and demurely
Then came the hour of sleep, death's counterfeit, nightly rehearsal
Now was the winter gone, and the snow ; and Robin the Redbreast,
Then it came to pass, one pleasant morning, that slowly
Then Elizabeth said, though still with a certain reluctance,
And John Estaugh made answer, surprised by the words she had spoken,
Then Elizabeth said, not troubled nor wounded in spirit, “So is it best, John Estaugh. We will not speak of it further. It hath been laid upon me to tell thee this, for to-morrow Thou art going away, across the sea, and I know not When I shall see thee more ; but if the Lord hath decreed it, Thou wilt return again to seek me here and to find me.” And they rode onward in silence, and entered the town with the others.
Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing,
Now went on as of old the quiet life of the homestead.
Still as of old disparaged the eminent mèrits of Joseph,
Meanwhile John Estaugh departed across the sea, and departing
Then John Estaugh came back o'er the sea for the gift that was offered,
And not otherwise Joseph, the honest, the diligent servant, Sped in his bashful wooing with homely Hannah the housemaid ; For when he asked her the question, she answered, Nay”; and then added : “But thee may make believe, and see what will come of it, Joseph.”
It matters little," quoth the Jew;
“ The cloak of truth is lined with lies, “A PLEASANT and a winsome tale,” Sayeth some proverb old and wise ; The Student said, “though somewhat And Love is master of all arts, pale
And puts it into human hearts And quiet in its coloring,
The strangest things to say and do." As if it caught its tone and air From the gray suits that Quakers wear; And here the controversy closed Yet worthy of some German bard, Abruptly, ere ’t was well begun; Hebel, or Voss, or Eberhard,
For the Sicilian interposed Who love of humble themes to sing, With, “Lordlings, listen, every one In humble verse; but no more true That listen may, unto a tale Than was the tale I told to you.” That 's merrier than the nightingale ;
A tale that cannot boast, forsooth, The Theologian made reply,
A single rag or shred of truth; And with some warmth, “That I deny ; That does not leave the mind in doubt 'Tis no invention of my own,
As to the with it or without; But something well and widely known A naked falsehood and absurd To readers of a riper age,
As mortal ever told or heard.
Simply because it pleases me."
THE SICILIAN'S TALE.
THE MONK OF CASAL-MAGGIORE. In daily papers, and at flood Bear freighted vessels to and fro, ONCE on a time, some centuries ago, But later, when the ebb is low,
In the hot sunshine two Franciscan Leave a long waste of sand and mud.”
Wended their weary way with footsteps | This being done, he leisurely untied slow
From head and neck the halter of the Back to their convent, whose white jack, walls and spires
And put it round his own, and to the Gleamed on the hillside like a patch of tree snow ;
Stood tethered fast as if the ass were he. Covered with dust they were, and torn by briers,
And, bursting forth into a merry laugh, And bore like sumpter-mules upon their He cried to Brother Anthony: “Away! backs
And drive the ass before you with your The badge of poverty, their beggar's
staff ; sacks.
And when you reach the convent you
inay say The first was Brother Anthony, a spare
You left me at a farm, half tired and And silent man, with pallid cheeks and half thin,
Ill with a fever, for a night and day, Much given to vigils, penance, fasting, And that the farmer lent this ass to bear prayer,
Our wallets, that are heavy with good Solemn and gray, and worn with dis
fare.” cipline, As if his body but white ashes were, Now Brother Anthony, who knew the Heaped on the living coals that glowed pranks within ;
Of Brother Timothy, would not per. A simple monk, like many of his day,
suade Whose instinct was to listen and obey. Or reason with him on his quirks and
cranks, A different man was Brother Timothy, But, being obedient, silently obeyed ;
Of larger mould and of a coarser paste; And, smiting with his staff the ass's A rubicund and stalwart monk was he,
flanks, Broad in the shoulders, broader in the Drove him before him over hill and waist,
glade, Who often filled the dull refectory Safe with his provend to the convent With noise by which the convent was gate, disgraced,
Leaving poor Brother Timothy to his But to the mass-book gave but little fate.
heed, By reason he had never learned to read. Then Gilbert, laden with fagots for his
fire, Now, as they passed the outskirts of a Forth issued from the wood, and stood wood,
aghast They saw, with mingled pleasure and To see the ponderous body of the friar surprise,
Standing where he had left his donkey Fast tethered to a tree an ass, that stood
last. Lazily winking his large, limpid eyes. Trembling he stood, and dared not venThe farmer Gilbert of that neighborhood ture nigher, His owner was, who, looking for sup- But stared, and gaped, and crossed plies
himself full fast; Of fagots, deeper in the wood had strayed, For, being credulous and of little wit, Leaving his beast to ponder in the shade. He thought it was some demon from the
pit. As soon as Brother Timothy espied The patient animal, he said : “Good. While speechless and bewildered thus he lack !
gazed, Thus for our needs doth Providence pro- And dropped his load of fagots on the vide ;
ground, We'll lay our wallets on the creature's Quoth Brother Timothy : “Be not back."