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Hidin' yonder there by the big red boulder? And out of my bosom I pulled my rosary, And says I to you, blessèd Mother, timidly, "Darlin' o' heaven,

Lean down and listen off of your throne:

Bring me a lad o' my own!"

But fearful was I lest you choose for me then the wrong lad, "Bring me Danny!" I bade.

And I kissed every bead on the rosary; aye, and the cross!

Now lies he there,

Death dew on his hair

Ah, Mary in heaven, the loss!

Ah, the loss!

Would I lay my head on the shoulder

Of any old leprechawn leppin' from back o' the boulder?
Nay, 't was Danny himself,

Lookin' to keep any harm off of me.

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The Waiting Years

By KATHARINE METCALF ROOF Author of "The Silver Cord," "The Stepmother," etc.

Illustrations by William D. Stevens

HE shadow on the sun-dial, blue upon its white-marble surface, marked four o'clock, but its edge was broken by the irregular silhouette of an encroaching rose-bush. The sun-dial in the midst of the wide, sunny garden, the old red-brick house among the elmsthese were the most sharply defined elements of Mark Faraday's picture of home. Born in Italy, for most of his young life a sojourner in foreign lands, he yet remembered being utterly happy at "Aunt Lucretia's" when at seven he had made his first visit to his mother's country. That memory had never faded. He had recalled and reclaimed each detail of its serene charm at his second visit ten years later, after his mother's death. And now in America again, he had naturally gravitated toward the old place.

The young man gave a careless friendliness to his faded little aunt, and spent long hours with his dreams, creative and subjective, in her garden. For the most part they were dreams of unheard melodies, for Mark Faraday was a composer. So little of his life had been spent in his own country that outside the garden he felt less at home in America than in Florence or Vienna. Yet place mattered little to him. An artist and a creator, his kingdom was within. Of his environment he demanded only harmony and space.

A bee buzzed into the open heart of a rose, bending it with his weight. A little breeze wafted its perfume toward him. His eyes wandered over the delicate, riotous color of the sweet-pea hedge and

rested in content upon the mignonette border. A circular path of white gravel surrounded the grass plot about the dial. From it as a center curved paths wandered outward, dividing the flower-beds. The flowers were planted without much regularity except for the borders of fouro'clock and mignonette. It was this spot that had inspired Mark's song cycle, "The Sun-dial." A certain quality of youth and freshness as natural as a spring in the woods had won for it quick recognition. Mark's artistic tendency was not exotic. Although not retrogressive, he had drunk deep at the springs of Bach, Schubert, and Mozart, and the basis of his work was sound.

Alone in the fragrant silence, he began dreaming sounds. The notes of the bee's drone, one high, one low, combining in uneven rhythm, had given him a suggestion for an accompaniment. His mind was far away, working out his pattern of harmony, when another sound, actual, familiar, broke into his reverie-the preliminary chords of one of the songs of his "Sun-dial" cycle, "Youth and Crabbed Age." Then a woman began to sing. It was Stella's voice; he recognized it at once, pleasant, sufficiently trained. Stella was a fair musician and was fond of trying over new music, but to-day she was playing in a more musicianly manner than he had believed her capable of playing. He had expected that his aunt would ask her over for tea. He enjoyed the girl's companionship. He had not known many of his own countrywomen. Their natural

ness and freedom from the personal attitude of the Continental woman interested him. It was perhaps this quality in Stella that most appealed to him. He was aware that his Aunt Lucretia hoped for a romantic conclusion to the friendship. himself had given the matter an occasional thought. Yet somehow Stella's definiteness left no room for the imaginative element to become active. It was difficult for him to visualize her as an established factor in his life, either as the restful center of a home or the adaptable companion of his nomadic wanderings. The precise nature of her lack he had not felt the necessity to characterize.

The concluding chords of his song vibrated into silence. With the ceasing of the actual sounds, his imagined music began to move again along its interrupted course; then a crash of Brahms broke into his creative weavings, and he frowned, not only for the interruption: Stella should not attempt Brahms. The hazardous attempt broke off as abruptly as it had begun. There was something fragmentary, or perhaps more correctly, something unfinished about Stella. She never had just fulfilled the promise of their first meeting. The bee theme drifted into his mind again, and had progressed a few measures, when the evolving harmonic pattern was again invaded by an alien presence, a soft one of dim outline and faded voice, his Aunt Lucretia.

"You are coming in for tea, Mark." She paused, characteristically tentative, wavering, fearful of intruding, a gentle, kindly, ineffectual presence. "And Stella is here," she added.

"I heard her." Mark rose to his excellent height and stood an instant looking down at the little old lady shading her eyes from the sunlight. They had been large and dark once; now the filmy rim of age was visible about the iris. Her white hair lay in neat ringlets upon her brow, which was wrinkled like a fine parchment. Her skin, bleached to a bloodless whiteness, retained still some of the soft texture of youth.

"And Allison Clyde," she finished her

announcement; "but you won't mind her," she added, recalling the restiveness of the present generation under boredom.

"Allison Clyde?" he repeated. He remembered the name vaguely as one of some old friend of the family. "An old lady." He had not reckoned his indifferent label a question, but his aunt took it


"We never think of her as that. She is younger," Lucretia Hall conceded, "than I am. Allison is universally admired. Mrs. Herrick"--she quoted the oracle of her circle in that last-generation manner that proclaims the accepted"says that Allison is a personage."

Miss Lucretia turned toward the house; her nephew followed her.

"Any relation to the historian, bane of my youth?" he asked.

"His daughter," Lucretia gladly expounded; “and her brother, the poet, died young. Allison herself-very gifted musically." The fragments came back to him as his aunt preceded him with her small, hesitating steps up the narrow path. The picture of an old lady playing the "Songs without Words" passed through Mark's mind, and he began to plan flight. "But she was obliged to give up her music to care for her invalid father."

"I heard Stella playing," Mark commented.

His aunt rejoined after a moment: "She does n't seem at all nervous. Young people are n't in these days. At her age, if any one asked me to play, I was terrified."

Her nephew smiled down at her, hooking her with an affectionate arm.

"What used you to play, Tante? The 'Blue Alsatian Mountains' and the 'Stéphanie Gavotte'?"

Her faded smile held a faint surprise. "How did you know?"

"I am a clairvoyant, and did you sing, "Then You'll Remember Me'?"

"No, I never sang; but Mary-your mother-did."

They reached the back porch and passed through the wide hall into the shaded spaciousness of the drawing-room. In

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