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married I'll take some o' this nonsense out on ye, or I'll—I'll see!” says I.

He glared at me as if he never'd seen me afore, he was so 'stonished, but I hauled him back down stairs, and we all went into the parlor at last and took our places in front of the minister. But it did seem as if delays and hitches was to be the order of the day, for jest as we got all ready ter begin, the minister was called to the door on important business that kep'him ten minutes or so, and there we stood in the middle o' the floor lookin' at one 'nother and feelin' awk’ard enough.

Among the folks I invited to i he weddin' was old Aunt Betsey Griffin, deaf as a post, and settin' beside her was old Mis? Potter, and Mis' Potter'd lost her mind, in a measure, as it were. I knew it would please 'em both ter come, so I invited 'em. Well, while we was waitin' for the minister and the room was still as the grave, all of a sudden MisPotter turned to Aunt Betsey and screamed into her ear loud enough to wake the dead :

“Who did you say our Ruth Ann is goin' ter marry?”

And Aunt Betsey screamed back jest as loud, though Mis' Potter ain't deaf a mite:

“Mr. Hannibal Hawkins !”

Mis' Potter nods her head contented, and sets and rocks for about a minute; then she leans over and screams again :

" What did you say his name was ?”

Aunt Betsey tells her, and she nods and rocks as before, but her poor old head can't hold but one idee at once, so she hollers a third time, and says she :

“What did you say her name was ?
And Aunt Betsey answers patient and loud:
“ Ruth Ann Robbins !”

Everybody was laughin' by this time, and I don't know how long them poor creatur's would ha' kep’our names goin' back’ard and for’ard if the minister hadn't come in jeet then and put an end to it.

The ceremony perceeded along smooth and proper till



Hannibal ondertook ter find the ring to put on my finger. Then there was trouble. He fumbled fust in one pocket, then another, took out a cigar, a little box o' matches, a toothpick, a penknife, a horse ches'nut that he alwers carries fur rheumatiz, and several other things; took 'em out one to a time, looked at 'em thoughtful and inquirin', and put 'em back agin.

Finally he dove into some place and took out a little wad o'paper, and all our sperits revived. That looked more like, but when he ondid it out rolled a dozen or more sugar-coated pills on to the floor! He let 'em roll and tried agin. This time he fished out a small card that 'peared ter have some writin' on it. (I found out afterward that he'd writ down on that card where he put the ring for fear he'd forgit, jest as he had.) When he'd read the card what did he dew but stoop over deliberate and pull off one o' 'em dretful boots and shake the ring out o' the toe on't! Then he put his boot back on and straightened himself up as carm as if it was customary and common for bridegrooms to carry the ring in the toe o' their boots, and takin my hand slipped the ring on to my finger as graceful as you please.

Wall, I was thankful when it was all over, you'd better believe! It hadn't seemed a mite as I expected. I supposed that the thought of the great responsibility I was assumin' and one thing a'nother would lift my

soul and make me feel dretful sollum and pious, but I declare to man I didn't think o' nothin' from beginnin' to end but jest Hannibal's odd boots and odd actions ! So little does it take to keep a woman's mind from soarin'.

After the ceremony we had cake and coffy passed round, and then as the bells was a-ringin' we perceeded to the church. It wa’n't but a few steps, jest acrost the

We walked up the broad aisle tergether, Hannibal and I a-leanin' on his arm, lookin' my best, and he his'n, with everybody's eyes upon us! I tried not to feel proud, but it was a happy moment for me, I tell ye. And



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when we set down in the old pew where I'd set ever sence I was a baby, mother on one side, Hannibal on t'other, and me in the middle, it seemed awful pleasant, somehow,

Mother alwers had a him book to herself, on account o’seein' better, ye know, so Hannibal and me we looked on tergether, and I had the proud pleasure o' hearin' him sing for the fust time. He's got a most powerful voice, and his expression does beat all! Everybody was lookin' at him. Why, he acted it all out so, as you might say! When he struck a high note he riz up to his full statur', balanced himself, kinder teeterin' on his toes, stretched up his neck, rolled his eyes 'way inter the back part of his head, and sech a tone as he fetched-highoh, terrible high! and on the contr'y, when he sung a low note, he jest scrooched all down inter his stummuck, like this, and somethin' rumbled 'way down in his chist, low-oh, terrible low and sollum! I think his "low A” was the very lowest one I ever heerd! His singin' was sartinly imposin', and I knowed it imposed on everybody that heerd it. As for me, I felt so excited and lifted up by it that I kep' awake all through the sermon, didn't even nod once, and was right on hand ter rouse up mother and Hannibal in season for the doxology. Then come the benediction, and we walked out tergether as we come in, with everybody lookin' and admirin' and en vyin'. And I tried ter realize that I was married, and that this was my weddin'-day, but somehow I couldn't; it all seemed like a dream.

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What could I do when I was shown my task
Was to have done with love, and all because
His love was not for me though he had said
I was the one in all the world for him?
Could I go to the world, mewling my tale
In ears that telegraph to smiling eyes,
*Written expressly for this Collection.

How I had loved myself away for him
And thought him true who bad no truth for me?
And must I face the new lack-lustre days
Whose never varying hours told but of time
Which I must suffer? Nay, one wild thought rose,
After the waking from the numbness which
Swooped down when I had heard he had for wife,
This year and more, while I had watched for him,
My friend who'd warned me 'gainst him, told me hou
A rich man toyed with humble maids, not loved.
The numbness past, I rose up strong and took
The pretty bauble he had given me,
The graceful dagger found in Palestine,
All crusted o'er with Eastern jewel-work,
With which I lighted up my night of hair,
As he would have it,-yea, I took the knife
To give to her be'd made his wife, to make
Her wear it in her heart, as in my hair.
I know not of the days, if many or
But few, till I had found her; all I know?
Was that my head was hot, my brain on fire,
And near my eyes floated a film of flame
That flared upon her happiness with him.
And then I found her, then I saw her in
His smiling garden, rich arrayed in all
The panoply of married womanhood.
She stood there in the evening glow and spoke
To a young maid, who left her side. Then I
Was fain to reach her. But she sang a song,
The song I used to sing to him, and I
Grew stone in listening, could not speak nor move,
Listening to the burning words of love
Wedded to music I myself had made,
Listened and looked-I poor and mean attired,
The dust of many miles fretting me o'er,
My beauty withered, hardship mine, and want-
She in the ease of languorous days, her voice
Tenderly crooning the song I made for him.
Then in my swoon I saw the little maid
Bring out to her a mass of fluttering lace,
And go indoors. And she, that foe of mine,
Had in her arms a babe, his, hers

My trance
Broke, and a glowing life was mine instead

Here was the blow to strike, to ease the child
Of its wee life, and have its father and
Its mother know who did it. Thus I plucked
The gorgeous dagger from my tattered gown,
And moving slowly with long sliding steps
Toward her who rested there alone and caught
The child's eyes in her own that loved it so;
I stood behind her and she knew it not.
Up went the knife, up o'er the resting babe,
And then was poised, the moment of descent-
When the child looked, and threw its glance to me,
The child that had its father's eyes which I
Had loved so long,—those eyes, those loving eyes!
It looked at me, the babe, and smiled and smiled,
Its mother seeing not, but stooping close
Over the little one who noticed not
Her fond caressing, but smiled upon me and
Looked at me with its father's loved eyes.
And then it spread its hands, and then I knew
The bauble knife poised in my upheld grasp
Was what it wanted.

But its mother saw
Nor heard, but spoke thus to the child :
“Oh, babe, we are alone, just you and I,
Fatherless, widowed, since these weary months, -
Fatherless babe who never saw its sire,
A mother I, who was a widow ere
I knew the sadness of maternity!
Take, take those eyes away, oh, little babe!
Those eyes so like thy father's when he spoke
To her, my friend, of love, I listening.
He loved her, and he never loved me, though
I won him with the strength of falsity.
My woe is great, I pay the penalty
Of baseness to my friend who loved as I,
But who could only trust, and watch and wait.
Oh, child, my little child, my fatherless child,
Take, take those eyes away that wound me with
The love thy father had for her!”

And then
She pressed her face within the mist of lace
That swathed the child,—the child that looked up in
My burning sight with its dead father's eyes,
And smiled on me as once its father smiled,
With tender love in the long lingering glance.

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