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But if he will not take thee back again,
Then thou and I will live within one house,
And work for William's child, until he grows
Of age to help us."
So the women kissed
Each other, and set out and reached the farm.
The door was off the latch: they peeped and saw
The boy set up betwixt his grandsire's knees,
Who thrust him in the hollows of his arm,
And clapt him on the hands and on the cheeks,
Like one that loved him; and the lad stretched out
And babbled for the golden seal, that hung
From Allan's watch, and sparkled by the fire.
Then they came in; but when the boy beheld
His mother, he cried out to come to her:
And Allan sat him down, and Mary said:
"O Father! — if you let me call you so—
I never came a-begging for myself,
Or William, or this child; but now I come
For Dora: take her back; she loves you well.
0 Sir, when William died, he died at peace
With all men; for I asked him, and he said,
He could not ever rue his marrying me.—
1 had been a patient wife: but, Sir, he said That he was wrong to cross his father thus:
* God bless him!' he said, ' and may he never know
The troubles I have gone through!' Then he turned
His face and passed— unhappy that I am!
But now, Sir, let me have my boy, for you
Will make him hard, and he will learn to slight
His father's memory; and take Dora back,
And let all this be as it was before."
So Mary said, and Dora hid her face
By Mary. There was silence in the room;
And all at once the old man burst in sobs: —
"I have been to blame — to blame! I have killed
I have killed him — but I loved him — my dear son!
May God forgive me ! — I have been to blame.
Kiss me, my children!"
Then they clung about
The old man's neck, and kissed him many times.
And all the man was broken with remorse;
And all his love came back a hundredfold;
And for three hours he sobbed o'er William's child,
Thinking of William.
So those four abode
Within one house together; and as years
Went forward, Mary took another mate;
But Dora lived unmarried till her death.
"The Bull, the Fleece are crammed, and not a room For love or money. Let us picnic there At Audley Court."
I spoke, while Audley feast
Hummed like a hive all round the narrow quay,
To Francis, with a basket on his arm,
To Francis just alighted from the boat,
And breathing of the sea. "With all my heart,"
Said Francis. Then we shouldered through the swarm,
And rounded by the stillness of the beach
To where the bay runs up its latest horn.
We left the dying ebb that faintly lipped
The flat red granite; so by many a sweep
Of meadow smooth from aftermath we reached
The griffin-guarded gates, and passed through all
The pillared dusk of sounding sycamores,
And crossed the garden to the gardener's lodge,
With all its casements bedded, and its walls
And chimneys muffled in the leafy vine.
There, on a slope of orchard, Francis laid
A damask napkin wrought with horse and hound,
Brought out a dusky loaf that smelt of home,
And, half-cut-down, a pasty costly-made,
Where quail and pigeon, lark and leveret lay,
Like fossils of the rock, with golden yolks
Imbedded and injellied; last, with these,
A flask of cider from his father's vats,
Prime, which I knew; and so we sat and eat
And talked old matters over: who was dead,
Who married, who was like to be, and how
The races went, and who would rent the hall:
Then touched upon the game, how scarce it was
This season: glancing thence, discussed the farm,
The fourfield system and the price of grain;
And struck upon the corn-laws, where we split,
And came again together on the king
With heated faces; till he laughed aloud;
And, while the blackbird on the pippin hung
To hear him, clapt his hand in mine and sang—
"O! who would fight and march and countermarch,
Be shot for sixpence in a battle-field,
And shovelled up into a bloody trench
Where no one knows? but let me live my life.
"O! who would cast and balance at a desk,
Perched like a crow upon a three-legged stool,
Till all his juice is dried, and all his joints
Are full of chalk? but let me live my life.
"Who 'd serve the state? for if I carved my name
Upon the cliffs that guard my native land,
I might as well have traced it in the sands;
The sea wastes all: but let me live my life.
"O! who would love? I wooed a woman once,
But she was sharper than an eastern wind,
And all my heart turned from her, as a thorn
Turns from the sea: but let me live my life."
He sang his song, and I replied with mine:
I found it in a volume, all of songs,
Knocked down to me, when old Sir Robert's pride,
His books — the more the pity, so I said —
Came to the hammer here in March — and this —
I set the words, and added names I knew.
"Sleep, Ellen Aubrey, sleep, and dream of me: Sleep, Ellen, folded in thy sister's arm, And sleeping, haply dream her arm is mine."Sleep, Ellen, folded in Emilia's arm; Emilia, fairer than all else but thou, For thou art fairer than all else that is.
"Sleep, breathing health and peace upon her breast: Vol. i. 17