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Open wide on her lap lay the well-worn psalm

book of Ainsworth, Printed in Amsterdam, the words and the

music together, Rough-hewn, angular notes, like stones in the

wall of a churchyard, Darkened and overhung by the running vine of

he verses.

Such was the book from whose pages she sang

the old Puritan anthem, She, the Puritan girl, in the solitude of the

forest, Making the humble house and the modest ap

parel of home-spun Beautiful with her beauty, and rich with the

wealth of her being ! Over him rushed, like a wind that is keen

and cold and relentless, Thoughts of what might have been, and the

weight and woe of his errand

All the dreams that had faded, and all the

hopes that had vanished, All his life henceforth a dreary and tenantless

mansion, Haunted by vain regrets, and pallid, sorrowful

faces. Still he said to himself, and almost fiercely he

said it, “Let not him that putteth his hand to the

plough look backwards ; Though the ploughshare cut through the

flowers of life to its fountains, Though it pass o'er the graves of the dead and

the hearths of the living, It is the will of the Lord ; and his mercy en

dureth for ever!”

So he entered the house : and the hum of

the wheel and the singing

Suddenly ceased; for Priscilla, aroused by his

step on the threshold, Rose as he entered, and gave him her hand, in

signal of welcome, Saying, “I knew it was you, when I heard

your step in the passage; For I was thinking of you, as I sat there sing

ing and spinning.” Awkward and dumb with delight, that a

thought of him had been mingled Thus in the sacred psalm, that came from the

heart of the maiden, Silent before her he stood, and gave her the

flowers for an answer, Finding no words for his thought. He remem

bered that day in the winter, After the first great snow, when he broke a

path from the village, Reeling and plunging along through the drifts

that encumbered the doorway,

Stamping the snow from his feet as he entered

the house, and Priscilla Laughed at his snowy locks, and gave him a

seat by the fireside, Grateful and pleased to know he had thought

of her in the snow-storm. Had he but spoken then! perhaps not in vain

had he spoken ; Now it was all too late ; the golden moment

had vanished! So he stood there abashed, and gave her the

flowers for an answer.

Then they sat down and talked of the birds

and the beautiful Spring-time, Talked of their friends at home, and the May

Flower that sailed on the morrow. “I have been thinking all day,” said gently

the Puritan maiden, “ Dreaming all night, and thinking all day, of

the hedge-rows of England,

They are in blossom now, and the country is

all like a garden; Thinking of lanes and fields, and the song of

the lark and the linnet, Seeing the village street, and familiar faces of

neighbors Going about as of old, and stopping to gossip

together, And, at the end of the street, the village church,

with the ivy Climbing the old gray tower, and the quiet

graves in the churchyard. Kind are the people I live with, and dear to

me my religion; Still my heart is so sad, that I wish myself back

in Old England. You will say it is wrong, but I cannot help it:

I almost Wish myself back in Old England, I feel so

lonely and wretched.”

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