Page images
PDF
EPUB
[merged small][merged small][graphic][merged small]

for the weaker side, he lay in his cot with the clammy dew of exhaustion upon his fine old face. Kirby was put at his desk and the city editor himself undertook the assignment:

"Is it over yet?" he asked, as the city editor bent down at command of his eyes. "No," was the answer. "It will go to the jury this afternoon."

Sept. 15.- Longworth trial, U. S. Court. Full the good angel in black, lest the patient should And the city editor went out at a sign from

descriptive report.

And, with Kirby for conferences, he followed the evidence and searched for the clues and failures of testimony in which lay corroboration or disproval of the old man's pet theory.

Poor old man! Beyond interest in any mystery now save that last one which we must all face some day and explore - God helping us-as best we can. We could not carry the burden of details into the room where Death stood at the foot of that low bed and guarded his feeble prey. And Longworth was too weak to ask, if he wanted to know. Even the cough was a mere convulsion now, the voice only a feeble rattle.

over-exert himself.

It was late in the afternoon when Kirby and the city editor walked constrainedly to the old man's door bearing with them more than the import of the verdict. That was, that, in the absence of the corpus delicti and the non-intervention of statutory lapse, the payment to the second Mrs. Longworth was not a legal one, but that it was still due to the first and legal Mrs. Longworth. More than this, they bore a cruel suspicion that had been preying upon Kirby all day, and for which the city editor's own conscience had been active in remorse. There was high contention between them.

"I tell you," said Kirby, doggedly, "that

it is very singular this man should begin to recover to-day when this trial is at an end. It is singular that his condition at this particular time should prevent his appearance at the trial, where there were those who might have been able to recognize him. If he is my wife's father, and the scoundrel who has played this villainous deceit upon his wife and child, I will know

it."

It was in vain the city editor urged upon Kirby his own suspicion and its dissipation. He was obdurate.

"As long as I thought he was dying," said Kirby, hotly, "I was willing to let it die with him; but now that he begins to get well on this day, I shall know the truth before I go home."

"How will you get it?" asked the city editor, pausing at the top of the stairway, whence at the end of the hall we could see old man Longworth's room.

"From his own lips," said Kirby. "And would you," cried the other, "go into that old man's room and ask such a question at the side of a death-bed? for I tell you he is not getting well."

Kirby stopped at this, for a hand was laid upon his arm with some weight. He was excited and obstinate.

"Brown," said he, calmly, " I am not cruel. You cannot understand this as I feel it. I have had this suspicion more than a week, keeping it in my own heart. I have never mentioned it even to my wife, nor to you. I could not ask him while he lay there gasping. But why, man, he may be my wife's father! And if he is," he concluded, deliberately, "I am going to know it."

[ocr errors]

Now, Kirby," I said, tightening the grasp upon his arm, and communicating the earnestness I felt, "that old man is not your wife's father. I know it. I would go bail for him upon any charge. You are going back to a suspicion which I myself tested. And I tell you that you shall not go in there and strike to that generous old heart the blow you are so ill-prepared to deal."

"Shall not?" cried Kirby. "SHALL not!"

"But —,” cried Kirby, with an oath, "I will!" And turning away angrily, he strode down the hall.

In a moment he was overtaken, and two hands were laid upon his shoulders with a grip that was not to be evaded. He turned furiously, but he saw that no violence was intended.

"Kirby," I said, almost in despair, but quite as determined as he, "you are not yourself. You must not do a wrong like this upon the wild desire to right another wrong. You and VOL. XXXVIII.—117.

I are not enemies, and I propose we shall remain friends."

"You go about your proposition very singularly," he returned.

"No," said I, "I do not. We will go in there, and I will question him in a way to leave it clear to you whether you are called upon to follow up your suspicion or not. You are too excited to do it kindly. If you think you are justified in questioning him when I am done, you may do so. But I tell you that if you are cruel to that old man without justification it will be better for you, so help me God! that you had never gone in there, for I may be compelled to make his injuries my own."

Kirby flushed hotly, but he said, "I will agree to that"; and, turning the knob quietly, we entered the room.

Old man Longworth's eyes shone feverishly bright from the shadows of the pillows among which he lay propped, and as we approached the bed they looked all the curiosity he felt in his undaunted soul.

"Well," said I, "it is over, and we gain the case. That is, the corpus delicti was not proved, and Longworth may have stepped ashore." "

6

The weak eyes gleamed a little brighter and he lifted his hand slightly, only to let it fall wearily. Then we saw that the rally of the morning had been deceptive, and that old man Longworth was deeper in the shadows of that inevitable valley. I hesitated in the presence of such a fact to carry out my part of that inquest of curiosity which was pushing Kirby to such lengths. But I said with as kindly a smile as I could assume to mask the intent:

"But the mystery seems to end there, Mr. Longworth, for all we can do to solve it. We do not know where to turn for the missing Robert Longworth unless you are the man."

The hint, given with a jesting smile, went on its mission. At first there was an answering shadow of a smile upon the old man's face; then a troubled look; and finally the poison of the bitter jest stung him. The possibility of the suspicion flashed fully into his mind. Startled surprise, it seemed, mingled with inexpressible pain, was in his eyes as he signed to Kirby to come nearer. There was upon Kirby's strong countenance a look of determination that made it almost cruel as he bent over the bed to hear the faint whisper.

"Do - you," asked old man Longworth, painfully, as his startled eyes searched Kirby's inmost recesses and conveyed all the astonishment the pitiless suspicion aroused, "doyou — believe - that?"

"Do I believe what?" answered Kirby, with nervous but manly hesitation and evasion.

"Brown, we shall always be friends. You knew better than I felt."

"That-I-am-your-wife's-father?" to be busy with our work and ambitions, we The pain, the sorrow, the surprise, the mor- left him to his repose and the thoughts that tification, and the implied reproach in his voice I should not dare try to follow, and walked were mirrored upon the wasted face, where away in silence. But as we parted Kirby said, there was also infinite and yearning eagerness with his voice a little choked: for answer. His very soul was answering for his innocence. I felt, rather than saw, the remorse that sprung into Kirby's eyes, and recognized that he recoiled from any collision with that gentle spirit in its last struggle. It had all passed quickly, but the old man had perceived that such a suspicion actually existed, and so, after a moment of hesitation, Kirby blurted out in a great explosion of manly recantation: "No, I don't!"

Peace fell instantly upon the worn old face in the pillows, but succeeding it came a sad smile, as if there might still be a doubt in Kirby's honest mind, when there should be complete re-assurance. Signing Kirby forward again, he murmured :

her

[ocr errors]

"You— must-bring-your-wife — and mother- -to-see- me- - to-morrow." "Oh, no, no!" cried Kirby, in deep distress; "not that. I don't know what it was induced me - but I cannot do that."

it."

The next morning Kirby came with his wife and her mother to pay that visit of re-assurance and generous confidence. I had got there hours earlier, but a visitor had entered even before me. So when the girlish young wife and her handsome mother entered, upon the couch near the window, where the sun came streaming into the chamber, now so barren, lay a white coverlid over stark and rigid outlines. With reverent hands I turned down the corner of the folds, and as she looked upon the features Mrs. Longworth uttered one penetrant shriek and gasped:

"My husband!"

But the sound never reached the soul that had quietly "stepped ashore."

Kirby led her from that surprising room, and I drew the pall again over the dead face. But "Unless," said I, gently, "he might desire as I did so I wondered what mystery, what

"I do," said old man Longworth; and there was a mute appeal in his eyes to which Kirby answered with a nod. Then, pressing the friendly and thin hands that were never again

depths of motive, or what shallows of expedience, were stilled behind that pallid and serene mask, upon which hovered the trace of a smile so gentle as to wave curiosity back dismayed forever.

Young E. Allison.

COMPENSATION.

"JORD, I am weary!" cried my soul. "The sun
Is fierce upon my path, and sore the weight
Of smarting burdens; ere the goal be won

I sink, unless thou help, dear Lord!" And straight
My fainting heart rose bravely up, made strong
To bear its cross: God granted me a song!

"Lord, I am conquered! Ceaseless, night and day,
A thousand cruel ills have hedged me round,
Till like a stag the hounds have brought to bay
My stricken heart lies bleeding on the ground!"

When lo! with new-found life my soul, made strong,
Spurned all its foes: God granted me a song!

"Lord, I am dying! Earth and sea and sky
Fade and grow dark; yet, after all, the end
Wrings from my breaking heart a feeble sigh
For this poor world, not overmuch its friend!"

But suddenly with immortal power made strong,
My soul, set free, sprung heavenward in a song!

Stuart Sterne.

SONGS OF IRELAND.

PANCAKE DAY.

(Pancake day immediately precedes Lent, and the custom of tossing the cake still prevails in every

district of the south of Ireland.)

ON in on

N pancake day in the morning,

Shan O'Leary throd his own leather,
Which is the politeness for sphakin'
He was barefoot in cold winter weather.
His clothing was patches and holes,
But his heart it was merry and light,

As he knocked at the door of Norah McShane,

Soon as ever the bog-fire was bright—
On pancake day in the morning.

On pancake day in the morning,
Norah opened the door wid a cry
Of surprise at the sight of young Shan,
Who gin her a blink wid his eye.
Swate Norah she bade him come in:
Och, vourneen," the rascal he said,
"Now, Norah, the pancake we 'll toss,
To thry if this year we will wed-
On pancake day in the morning!"

On pancake day in the morning,
Swate Norah she gave the first toss;
The pancake fell back in the pan,
Reversed, without ruffle or loss.
"Arrah, it's good luck you will have,"
Said Shan," an' now give me a thry;
An' lest I should toss it askew,
Och, Norah, jist turn 'way your eye-
On pancake day in the morning!"

On pancake day in the morning,-
The pity, och hone, I should tell,-
Shan's elbow it got a bad jog,
An' the cake in the ashes it fell!
'T was Norah the mischief had done,
"Ah, vo, an' ah, vo," then she said,
"Poor Shan, an' whatever you do,
This year an' you never will wed-
On pancake day in the morning!"

On pancake day in the morning,
Shan knew the thrick she had played,
An' widout so much as a word
His footsteps he never delayed.
"What is it yiz afther forgetting,"
Cried Norah, "to thus run away?"
"It's yourself I 'm afther forgetting,"
Said Shan widout any delay-
On pancake day in the morning!

On pancake day in the morning,
Losing Shan was none of her game,
An' calling his thratement a shame!
An' so she fell weeping and wailing,
Then Shan, wid a laugh in his heart,
Cried, "Norah, 't is never you fret,"
An' to end up the quarrel, the wedding
In less than a jiffy was set-

On pancake day in the morning!

SWEET MOLLIE.

OF all the colleens in the land,
Sweet Mollie is the daisy;
Though when I'm wid her or widout,
My heart is never aisy!
Ahone, an' I am quarely lost
Whenever she comes tripping!
An' afther her widout delay,
Avick, I'm lightly skipping!-
Och, of all the colleens in the land,
Sweet Mollie is the daisy;

Though when I'm wid her or widout,
My heart-

(The cunning crathure, wid her witching ways, her gold head, an' her rollicking black eyes.)

My heart is never aisy!

Musha, if Mollie would be mine,
The world would all admire her;
A lady I would make of her,
In silk I would attire her!
Arrah, an' I would sphake the praste
Widout a minute's tarry,
If Mollie would but name the day
Or night on which she'd marry !—
Och, of all the colleens in the land,
Sweet Mollie is the daisy;

Though when I'm wid her or widout,
My heart-

(Mollie, my darling, Mollie, acushla, Mollie vourneen, alanna machree.)

My heart is never aisy!

Ah, vo, she 'll be the death o' me,
My heart wid love is burning,
An' all because o' love o' her,
My head is quarely turning!
Faix, Mollie, if you kill me quite,
Think on your sitavation,
Wid you a-weeping day and night,
Widout my consolation!—

Och, of all the colleens in the land,
Sweet Mollie is the daisy;

Though when I 'm wid her or widout,
My heart

(The cruel deludher, who knows betther than to chate me wid her soothering ways, breaking my heart into smithereens, och, hone! My heart is never aisy!

If Mollie were a prisoner,
Faix, I would be her warden;

An' till she 'd give a pogue to me,
I'd never thrate o' pardon:
Bad cess, it 's I 'm the prisoner,
Wid fetters firm and weighty,
An' if Mollie will not marry me,
I'll stay one till I 'm eighty!-
Och, of all the colleens in the land,
Sweet Mollie is the daisy ;

Though when I 'm wid her or widout,
My heart-

(Bedad, hold your whisth, for whether she loves me or not, I will love her all my life long.)

Though my heart be never aisy!

THERE'S A GREEN GRAVE IN IRELAND.

THERE's a green grave in Ireland,
Where my heart lies buried deep;
Where Mary, my fond sweetheart,
Rests in her dreamless sleep:

We loved when both our hearts were young,
And hope throbbed in each breast;
But nevermore has hope been mine
Since Mary sank to rest!

I've lived through many weary years,
Since on that summer morn
Sweet Mary gave her farewell kiss
And left me all forlorn:

I hear her sweet voice calling me,
I have not long to stay;

Bright hope will once again be mine
When death bids me away!

There's a green grave in Ireland, Where my heart lies buried deep; Oh, lay me there beside my love, In my last, dreamless sleep!

HEY FOR A LASS!

I AXED her for a pogue,
The black-eyed saucy rogue,
For a single little pogue,
An' she scornful turned away!
Wid a blue-eyed swate colleen
I was shortly afther seen,

An' what did the black-eyed queen
But weep the livelong day!

COME OVER THE S'A.

ОCH, Larry, come over the s'a-
Though you'll die seven deaths coming over,
But yiz would n't be stopphin' for that,
When yiz live ever afther in clover:
Ameriky is a foin land,

'T is a flowing wid milk an' wid honey-
Which is only the poethry of sphakin'
That a man has a pocket o' money!—
Och, Larry, come over the s'a!

Och, Larry, come over the s'a,
The poorest have praties in store,
An' though you will miss the poteen,
There's whisky and 'baccy galore!
The men they are all o' them lords,
An' each colleen I know is a quean;
If you choose you can vote for yourself,
An' no one will think it is m'an!-
Och, Larry, come over the s'a!

Och, Larry, come over the s'a,
An' when comin' fetch over your sthick,
The chances for foighten are few,
But the bobbies may play you a thrick!
Two dollars a day you can git,
Widout workin' scarce any at all,
Jist to throw up a scrapin' o' dirt,
Or to carry the bricks for a wall!-
Och, Larry, come over the s'a!

AN' IF I HAD MONEY GALORE. AN' if I had money galore, I'd git me a scrapin' o' ground; Wid sphadin' I'd toss it about, An' wid praties I'd set it around: I'd buy me a bit of a cow, An' a nate little pig in a pen, An' laste I 'd be ch'atin' in Lent, I'd have me a duck of a hen: Och! the thought of it sets me agog, Till the c'aling is down to the floor! Bedad! what a Paddy I'd be, An' if I had money galore!

An' if I had money galore,

I'd sphort me a coat wid a tail,
An' the gossoon that throd on the same
A b'atin' I 'd give wid a flail!
I'd build me a bit of a house,
To Norah I'd fall on my kneas,
An' wid Father McCarthy to wed,
We'd live ever afther at 'ase:
Och! the thought of it sets me agog,
Till the c'aling is down to the floor!
Bedad! what a Paddy I 'd be,
An' if I had money galore!

Jennie E. T. Dowe.

« PreviousContinue »