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A Maurine – Part 5 [A Visit To A Cave Some Miles Away]
by [?]

Then I turned away
And sought my room, low humming some old air
That ceased upon the threshold; for mine eyes
Fell on a face so glorified and fair
All other senses, merged in that of sight,
Were lost in contemplation of the bright
And wond’rous picture, which had otherwise
Made dim my vision.

Waiting in my room,
Her whole face lit as by an inward flame
That shed its halo ’round her, Helen stood;
Her fair hands folded like a lily’s leaves
Weighed down by happy dews of summer eves.
Upon her cheek the colour went and came
As sunlight flickers o’er a bed of bloom;
And, like some slim young sapling of the wood,
Her slender form leaned slightly; and her hair
Fell ’round her loosely, in long curling strands
All unconfined, and as by loving hands
Tossed into bright confusion.

Standing there,
Her starry eyes uplifted, she did seem
Like some unearthly creature of a dream;
Until she started forward, gliding slowly,
And broke the breathless silence, speaking lowly,
As one grown meek, and humble in an hour,
Bowing before some new and mighty power.

“Maurine, Maurine!” she murmured, and again,
“Maurine, my own sweet friend, Maurine!”

And then,
Laying her love-light hands upon my head,
She leaned, and looked into my eyes, and said
With voice that bore her joy in ev’ry tone,
As winds that blow across a garden bed
Are weighed with fragrance, “He is mine alone,
And I am his–all his–his very own.
So pledged this hour, by that most sacred tie
Save one beneath God’s over-arching sky.
I could not wait to tell you of my bliss:
I want your blessing, sweetheart! and your kiss.”
So hiding my heart’s trouble with a smile,
I leaned and kissed her dainty mouth; the while
I felt a guilt-joy, as of some sweet sin,
When my lips fell where his so late had been.
And all day long I bore about with me
A sense of shame–yet mixed with satisfaction,
As some starved child might steal a loaf, and be
Sad with the guilt resulting from her action,
While yet the morsel in her mouth was sweet.
That ev’ning when the house had settled down
To sleep and quiet, to my room there crept
A lithe young form, robed in a long white gown:
With steps like fall of thistle-down she came,
Her mouth smile-wreathed; and, breathing low my name,
Nestled in graceful beauty at my feet.

“Sweetheart,” she murmured softly, “ere I sleep,
I needs must tell you all my tale of joy.
Beginning where you left us–you and Roy.
You saw the colour flame upon my cheek
When Vivian spoke of staying. So did he; –
And, when we were alone, he gazed at me
With such a strange look in his wond’rous eyes.
The silence deepened; and I tried to speak
Upon some common topic, but could not,
My heart was in such tumult.

In this wise
Five happy moments glided by us, fraught
With hours of feeling. Vivian rose up then,
And came and stood by me, and stroked my hair.
And, in his low voice, o’er and o’er again,
Said, ‘Helen, little Helen, frail and fair.’
Then took my face, and turned it to the light,
And looking in my eyes, and seeing what
Was shining from them, murmured, sweet and low,
‘Dear eyes, you cannot veil the truth from sight.
You love me, Helen! answer, is it so?’
And I made answer straightway, ‘With my life
And soul and strength I love you, O my love!’
He leaned and took me gently to his breast,
And said, ‘Here then this dainty head shall rest
Henceforth for ever: O my little dove!
My lily-bud–my fragile blossom-wife!’