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5. My hand was on the latch, when lo!

'Twas lifted from within ! I know
I was not wild, and could I dream ?
Within I saw the wood-fire gleam,
And smiling, waiting, beckoning there,
My father, in his ancient chair !

6. Oh, the long rapture, perfect rest,

As close he clasped me to his breast !
Put back the braids the wind had blown,
Said I had like my mother grown,
And bade me tell him, frank as she,
All the lone years had brought to me.

7. Then by his side, his hand in mine,

I tasted joy serene, divine,
And saw my griefs unfolding fair
As flowers in June's enchanted air.
So warm his words, so soft his sighs,

Such tender lovelight in his eyes. 8. “O Death!” I cried, “ if these be thine,

For me the asphodels entwine ;
Fold me within thy perfect calm ;
Leave on my lips thy kiss of balm ;
And let me slumber, pillowed low,

With Margaret where the violets blow." 9. And still we talked. O'er cloudy bars

Orion bore his pomp of stars;
Within, the wood-fire fainter glowed ;
Weird on the wall the shadows showed ;
Till, in the east, a pallor born

Told midnight melting into morn. 10. Then nearer to his side I drew,

When lo! the cock, remorsely, crew!
A glance, a sigh-we did not speak-
Fond kisses on my brow and cheek,
A sudden sense of rapture flown,
And in the dawn I sat alone!

* * *

11. 'Tis true his rest this many a year

Has made the village church-yard dear;
'Tis true his stone is graven fair,
“Here lies, remote from mortal care ;”
I can not tell how both may be,
But well I know he talked with me.

12. And oft, when other fires are low,

I sit within that midnight glow-
My head upon his shoulder leant,
His tender glances downward bent,
And win the dream to sweet delay
Till stars and shadows yield to day.

. XIII.—THERE'S BUT ONE PAIR OF STOCKINGS

TO MEND TO-NIGHT.

ANONYMOUS.
1. An old wife sat by her bright fireside,

Swaying thoughtfully to and fro,
In an ancient chair whose creaky frame

Told a tale of long ago;
While down by her side, on the kitchen floor,
Stood a basket of worsted balls-a score.

2. The good man dozed o'er the latest news,

Till the light of his pipe went out,
And, unheeded, the kitten, with cunning paws,

Rolled and tangled the balls about;
Yet still sat the wife in the ancient chair,
Swaying to and fro in the fire-light glare.

2. But anon a misty tear-drop came

In her eye of faded blue,
Then trickled down in a furrow deep,

Like a single drop of dew;
So deep was the channel-so silent the stream
The good man saw naught but the dimmed eye-beam.

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4. Yet he marveled much that the cheerful light

Of her eye had weary grown,
And marveled he more at the tangled balls;

So he said in a gentle tone,
“I have shared thy joys since our marriage vow,
Conceal not from me thy sorrows now.”

5. Then she spoke of the time when the basket there

Was filled to the very brim,
And how there remained of the goodly pile.

But a single pair-for him.
“ Then wonder not at the dimmed eye-light,
There's but one pair of stockings to mend to-night.

6. “I can not but think of the busy feet, · Whose wrappings were wont to lie

In the basket, awaiting the needle's time,

Now wandered so far away;
How the sprightly steps, to a mother dear,
Unheeded fell on the careless ear.

7. “For each empty nook in the basket old,

By the hearth there's a vacant seat;
And I miss the shadows from off the wall,

And the patter of many feet;
'Tis for this that a tear gathered over my sight
At the one pair of stockings to mend to-night.

8. “ 'Twas said that far through the forest wild

And over the mountains bold,
Was a land whose rivers and darkening caves

Were gemmed with the rarest gold ;
Then my first-born turned from the oaken door,
And I knew the shadows were only four.

9. “Another went forth on the foaming waves

And diminished the basket's store-
But his feet grew cold-so weary and cold-

They'll never be warm any more-
And this nook, in its emptiness, seemeth to me
To give forth no voice but the moan of the sea..

10. “Two others have gone toward the setting sun,

And made them a home in its light,
And fairy fingers have taken their share

To mend by the fireside bright;
Some other baskets their garments fill-
But mine! Oh, mine is emptier still.

11. “ Another—the dearest—the fairest—the best

Was ta'en by the angels away,
And clad in a garment that waxeth not old,

In a land of continual day.
Oh! wonder no more at the dimmed eye-light,
While I mend the one pair of stockings to-night.”

raell's Keaded

XIV.—THE MISER.

CHARLES DICKENS. 1. Marley was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it. And Scrooge's name was good upon 'Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail.

2. Mind! I don't mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a door-nail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the country's done for. You will, therefore, permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Marley was as dead as a door-nail.

3. Scrooge knew he was dead? Of course he did. How could it be otherwise ? Scrooge and he were partners, for I don't know how many years. Scrooge was his sole executor, his sole administrator, his sole assign, his sole residuary legatee, his sole friend, and sole mourner. And even Scrooge was not so dreadfully cut up by the sad event, but that he was an excellent man of business, on the very day

of the funeral, and solemnized it with an undoubted bargain.

4. Scrooge never painted out old Marley's name. There it stood, years afterwards, above the warehouse door: Scrooge and Marley. The firm was known as Scrooge and Marley. Sometimes people new to the business called Scrooge Scrooge, and sometimes Marley, but he answered to both names. It was all the same to him.

5. Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge ! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire ; secret and self-contained and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, „shriveled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue ; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. A frost rime was on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin. He carried his own low temperature always about with him ; he iced his office in the dog-days; and didn't thaw it one degree at Christmas.

6. External heat and cold had little influence on Scrooge. No warmth could warm, no wintry weather chill him. No wind that blew was bitterer than he, no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose, no pelting rain less open to entreaty. Foul weather didn't know where to have him. The heaviest rain and snow and hail and sleet could boast of the advantage over him in only one respect. They often came down handsomely, and Scrooge never did.

7. Nobody ever stopped him in the street to say, with gladsome looks, “ My dear Scrooge, how are you? When will you come to see me?” No beggars implored him to bestow a trifle, no children asked him what it was o'clock, no man or woman ever once in all his life inquired the way to such and such a place, of Scrooge. Even the blind-men's dogs appeared to know him ; and when they saw him coming on, would tug their owners into door-ways and up courts ; and then would wag their tails as though they said, “No eye at all is better than an evil eye, dark master!”

8. But what did Scrooge care! It was the very thing he liked. To edge his way along the crowded paths of life,

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