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A prince, a brother? a little will I yield.

Best so, perchance, for us, and well for you.

O hard, when love and duty clash! I fear

My conscience will not count me fleckless; yet—
Hear my conditions: promise (otherwise

You perish) as you came to slip away,

To-day, to-morrow, soon: it shall be said,

These women were too barbarous, would not learn ;

They fled, who might have shamed us: promise, all.'

What could we else, we promised each; and she, Like some wild creature newly-caged, commenced A to-and-fro, so pacing till she paused

By Florian; holding out her lily arms.

Took both his hands, and smiling faintly said:

You are grown, and yet I knew you at the first.

I am very glad, and I am very vext

To see you, Florian. I give thee to death

My brother! it was duty spoke, not I.

My needful seeming harshness, pardon it.

Our mother, is she well?'

With that she kiss'd

His forehead, and a moment after clung

About him, and betwixt them blossom'd up

From out a common vein of


Sweet household talk, and phrases of the hearth,

And far allusion, till the gracious dews

Began to glisten and to fall and while

They stood, so rapt, we gazing, came a voice,
'I brought a message here from Lady Blanche.'
Back started she, and turning round we saw
The Lady Blanche's daughter where she stood,
Melissa, with her hand upon the lock,

A rosy blonde, and in a college gown
That clad her like an April daffodilly
(Her mother's colour) with her lips apart,
And all her thoughts as fair within her eyes,
As bottom agates seem to wave and float
In crystal currents of clear morning seas.

So stood that same fair creature at the door.

Then Lady Psyche Ah-Melissa-you!

You heard us?' and Melissa, 'O pardon me!
I heard, I could not help it, did not mean :
But, dearest Lady, I pray you fear me not,
Nor think I bear that heart within my breast,
To give three gallant gentlemen to death.'
'I trust you' said the other for we two
Were always friends, none closer, elm and vine:
But yet your mother's jealous temperament-
Let not your prudence, dearest, drowse, or prove
The Danaïd of a leaky vase, for fear

This whole foundation ruin, and I lose

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Replied Melissa 'no-I would not tell,

No, not for all Aspasia's cleverness,

No, not to answer, Madam, all those hard things

That Sheba came to ask of Solomon.'

'Be it so the other that we may live to lead

The new light up, and culminate in peace,

For Solomon may come to Sheba yet.'
Said Cyril Madam, he the wisest man

Feasted the woman wisest then, in halls
Of Lebanonian cedar: nor should you

(Tho' madam you should answer, we would ask)
Less welcome find among us, if e'er you came
Among us, debtors for our lives to you,

Myself for something more.' He said not what,


But Thanks,' she answer'd 'go: we have been too long

Together: keep your hoods about the face;

They do so that affect abstraction here.

Speak little; mix not with the rest; and hold
Your promise all, I trust, may yet be well.'

We turn'd to go, but Cyril took the child,
And held her round the knees against his waist,
And blew the swoll'n cheek of a trumpeter,

While Psyche watch'd them, smiling, and the child
Push'd her flat hand against his face and laugh'd ;
And thus our conference closed.

And then we stroll'd

From room to room: in each we sat, we heard

The grave Professor. On the lecture slate

The circle rounded under female hands

With flawless demonstration: follow'd then

A classic lecture, rich in sentiment,

With scraps of thundrous Epic lilted out
By violet-hooded Doctors, elegies

And quoted odes, and jewels five-words-long
That on the stretch'd forefinger of all Time
Sparkle for ever: then we dipt in all

That treats of whatsoever is, the state,

The total chronicles of man, the mind,

The morals, something of the frame, the rock,

The star, the bird, the fish, the shell, the flower,

Electric, chemic laws, and all the rest,

And whatsoever can be taught and known ;

Till like three horses that have broken fence,
And glutted all night long breast-deep in corn,
We issued gorged with knowledge, and I spoke :

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