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I will return to judge of its effects
At daylight.” Then he went his way.
Scarcely a minute had she been in charge
When the Bavarian, to Irene turning, said,
“This doctor thought I was asleep;
But I heard every word. I thank you, lady ;
you from my very inmost heart-
Less for myself than for her sake, to whom
You would restore me, and who there at home
“Hush! Sleep if you can. Do not excite yourself. Your life depends On perfect quiet."
“ No, no!
I must at once unload me of a secret
That weighs upon me. I a promise made ;
And I would keep it. Death may be at hand."
Speak, then,” Irene said, “and ease your soul.” " It was last month, by Metz; 'twas my ill fate To kill a Frenchman.'
She turned pale, and lowered
The lamp-light to conceal it. He continued :
“ We were sent forward to surprise a cottage.
I drove my sabre
Into the soldier's back who sentry stood
Before the door. He fell; nor gave the alarm.
We took the cottage, putting to the sword
Every soul there.
Disgusted with such carnage,
Loathing such scene, I stepped into the air;
Just then the moon broke through the clouds and
There at my feet a soldier on the ground. 'Twas he,
The sentry whom my sabre had transpierced.
I stooped, to offer him a helping hand;
But, with choked voice, 'It is too late,' he said.
I must needs die.
You are an officer
To forward this,' he said, his fingers clutching
A gold medallion hanging at his breast,
"To Then his latest thought
Passed with his latest breath. The loved one's name,
Mistress or bride affianced, was not told
By that poor Frenchman. Seeing blazoned arms
On the medallion, I took charge of it,
Hoping to trace her at some future day
Among the old nobility of France,
To whom reverts the dying soldier's gift.
Here it is. Take it. But, I pray you, swear
That, if death spares me not, you will fulfill
This pious duty in my place.”
Therewith He the medallion handed her; and on it Irene saw the Viscount Roger's blazoned arms. “I swear it, sir !" she murmured. Sleep in peace!
Solaced by having this disclosure made,
The wounded man sank down in sleep. Irene,
Her bosom heaving, and with eyes aflame
Though tearless all, stood rooted by his side.
Yes, he is dead, her lover! These his arms;
His blazon this; the very blood-stains his !
Struck from behind,
Without or cry or call for comrades' help,
Roger was murdered. And there, sleeping, lies
The man who murdered him! Yes; he has boasted
How in the back the traitorous blow was dealt.
And now he sleeps with drowsiness oppressed,
Roger's assassin ; and 'twas I, Irene,
Who bade him sleep in peace! O
With what cruel mockery, cruel and supreme
Must I give him tendance here,
By this couch watch till dawn of day,
As loving mother by a suffering child !
So that he die not !
And there the flask upon the table stands
Charged with his life. He waits it! Is not this
Beyond imagination horrible ?
Oh, away ! such point
Forbearance reaches not. What !-while it glitters
There in sheath, the very sword
Wherewith the murderer struck the blow.
Fierce impulse bids it from the scabbard leap-
Shall I, in deference
To some fantastic notion that affects
Human respect and duty, shall I put
Repose and sleep and antidote and life
Into the horrible hand by which all joy
Is ravished from me? Never! I will break
The assuaging flask... But no! 'Twere needless
I need but leave to Fate to work the end.
Fate, to avenge me, seems to be at one
resolve. 'Twere but to let him die! Yes; there the life-preserving potion stands; But for one hour might I not fall asleep?
And still the struggle lasted, till the German, Roused by her deep groans from his wandering dreams, Moved, ill at ease, and, feverish, begged for drink.
Up toward the antique Christ in ivory
At the bed's head suspended on the wall
Irene raised the martyr's look sublime;
Then, ashen pale, but ever with her eyes
Turned to the God of Calvary, poured out
The soothing draught, and with a delicate hand
Gave to the wounded man the drink he asked.
And so wore on the laggard, pitiless hours.
But when the doctor in the morning came,
And saw her still beside the officer,
Tending him and giving him his drink
With trembling fingers, he was much amazed
To see that through the dreary watches of the night,
The raven locks that crowned her fair young brow at
By morning's dawn had turned to snowy white.
AID Mrs. A.
To Mrs. J.
In quite a confidential way,
It seems to me
That Mrs B.
Takes too much something in her tea,'
And Mrs. J.
To Mrs. K.
That very night was heard to say
She grieved to touch
Upon it much, But “Mrs. B. took—such and such !"
Then Mrs. C.
Went straight away And told a friend the self-same day,
“ 'Twas sad to think'
Here came a wink“ That Mrs. B. was fond of drink.”
The friend's disgust
Was such she must
Inform a lady "which she nussed,”
“ That Mrs. B.
At half past three, Was that far gone she couldn't see.”
This lady we
Have mentioned, she Gave needle-work to Mrs. B.,
And at such news
Could scarcely choose But future needle-work refuse.
Then Mrs. B.,
As you'll agree,
Quite properly—she said, said she,
That she would track
The scandal back To those who made her look so black.
Through Mrs. K.
And Mrs. J.
She got at last to Mrs. A.
And asked her why,
With cruel lie,