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Then, when they caught my watching face,

Vanished as if by magic;
And, like some sombre thing beguiled

To strange, unwonted laughter,
The gloomy garden, having smiled,

Became the gloomier after,

ACT THE SECOND.

Yes: they were gone, the stage was bare,

Blank as before ; and therefore, Sinking within the patient's chair,

Half vexed, I knew not wherefore, I dozed ; till, startled by some call,

A glance sufficed to show me, The boy again above the wall,

The girl erect below me.

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The boy, it seemed, to add a force

To words found unavailing,
Had pushed a striped and spotted horse

Half through the blistered paling,
Where now it stuck, stiff-legged and straight,

While he, in exultation, Chattered some half-articulate

Excited explanation.

Meanwhile, the girl, with upturned face,

Stood motionless, and listened ; The ill-cut frock had gained a grace,

The pale hair almost glistened ; The figure looked alert and bright,

Buoyant as though some power Had lifted it, as rain at night

Uplifts a drooping flower.

The eyes had lost their listless way,

The old life, tired and faded,
Had slipped down with the doll that lay

Before her feet, degraded ;
She only, yearning upward, found

In those bright eyes above her
The ghost of some enchanted ground

Where even Nurse would love her.

Ah, tyrant Time! you hold the book,

We, sick and sad, begin it; You close it fast, if we but look

Pleased for a meagre minute ; You closed it now, for, out of sight,

Some warning finger beckoned ; Exeunt both to left and right ;

Thus ended Act the Second.

ACT THE THIRD.

Or so it proved. For while I still
Believed them

gone

for

ever, Half raised above the window sill,

I saw the lattice quiver ;
And lo, once more appeared the head,

Flushed, while the round mouth pouted ; “Give Tom a kiss,” the red lips said,

In style the most undoubted.

The girl came back without a thought;

Dear Muse of Mayfair, pardon,
If more restraint had not been taught

In this neglected garden ;
For these your code was all too stiff,

So, seeing none dissented,
Their unfeigned faces met as if

Manners were not invented.

Then on the scene,-by happy fate,

When lip from lip had parted,
And, therefore, just two seconds late,

A sharp-faced nurse-maid darted ;
Swooped on the boy, as swoops a kite

Upon a rover chicken,

And bore him sourly off, despite

His well-directed kicking.

a

The girl stood silent, with a look

Too subtle to unravel,
Then, with a sudden gesture took

The torn doll from the gravel ; Hid the whole face, with one caress,

Under the garden-bonnet,
And, passing in, I saw her press

Kiss after kiss upon it.

Exeunt omnes. End of play.

It made the dull room brighter, The Gladiator almost gay,

And e'en “ The Lancet" lighter.

AN AUTUMN IDYLL.

Sweet Themmes! runne softly, till I end my song."

SPENSER.

LAWRENCE.

FRANK.

JACK.

LAWRENCE.

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Push the boat in, and throw the rope ashore. Jack, hand me out the claret and the glasses ;

Here let us sit. We landed here before.

FRANK.
Jack 's undecided. Say, formose puer,

Bent in a dream above the “ water wan,"
Shall we row higher, for the reeds are fewer,

There by the pollards, where you see the swan?

JACK
Hist! That 's a pike. Look-nose against the river

Gaunt as a wolf,—the sly old privateer !
Enter a gudgeon. Snap,-a gulp, a shiver ;-

Exit the gudgeon. Let us anchor here.

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