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- Castle Nowhere - 23/23 -


BY MARIAN DOUGLAS.

Home from the mill came Patience Dow; She did not smile, she would not talk; And now she was all tears, and now, As fierce as is a captive hawk. Unmindful of her faded gown, She sat with folded hands all day, Her long hair falling tangled down, Her sad eyes gazing far away, Where, past the fields, a silver line, She saw the distant river shine. But, when she thought herself alone, One night, they heard her muttering low, In such a chill, despairing tone, It seemed the east wind's sullen moan: "Ah me! the days, they move so slow I care not if they're fair or foul; They creep along--I know not how; I only know he loved me once-- He does not love me now!"

One morning, vacant was her room; And, in the clover wet with dew; A narrow line of broken bloom Showed some one had been passing through; And, following the track it led Across a field of summer grain, Out where the thorny blackberries shed Their blossoms in the narrow lane,

Down which the cattle went to drink In summer, from the river's brink. The river! Hope within them sank; The fatal thought that drew her there They knew, before, among the rank, White-blossomed weeds upon the bank, They found the shawl she used to wear, And on it pinned a little note: "Oh, blame me not!" it read, "for when I once am free, my soul will float To him! He cannot leave me then! I know not if't is right or wrong-- I go from life--I care not how; I only know he loved me once-- He does not love me now!"

In the farm graveyard, 'neath the black, Funereal pine-trees on the hill, The poor, worn form the stream gave back They laid in slumber, cold and still. Her secret slept with her; none knew Whose fickle smile had left the pain That cursed her life; to one thought true, Her vision-haunted, wandering brain, Secure from all, hid safe from blame, In life and death had kept his name. Yet, often, with a thrill of fear, Her mother, as she lies awake At night, will fancy she can hear A voice, whose tone is like the drear, Low sound the graveyard pine-trees make: "I know not if't is right or wrong-- I go from life--I care not how; I only know he loved me once-- He does not love me now!"


Castle Nowhere - 23/23

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