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Maurine – Part 4 [Maurine, Maurine, ’tis Ten O’clock! Arise]
by [?]


“Maurine, Maurine, ’tis ten o’clock! arise,
My pretty sluggard, open those dark eyes
And see where yonder sun is! Do you know
I made my toilet just four hours ago?”

‘Twas Helen’s voice: and Helen’s gentle kiss
Fell on my cheek. As from a deep abyss,
I drew my weary self from that strange sleep
That rests not nor refreshes. Scarce awake
Or conscious, yet there seemed a heavy weight
Bound on my breast, as by a cruel Fate.
I knew not why, and yet I longed to weep.
Some dark cloud seemed to hang upon the day;
And, for a moment, in that trance I lay,
When suddenly the truth did o’er me break,
Like some great wave upon a helpless child.
The dull pain in my breast grew like a knife –
The heavy throbbing of my heart grew wild,
And God gave back the burden of the life
He kept what time I slumbered.
“You are ill,”
Cried Helen, “with that blinding headache still!
You look so pale and weary. Now let me
Play nurse, Maurine, and care for you to-day!
And first I’ll suit some dainty to your taste,
And bring it to you, with a cup of tea.”
And off she ran, not waiting my reply.
But, wanting most the sunshine and the light,
I left my couch, and clothed myself in haste,
And, kneeling, sent to God an earnest cry
For help and guidance.
“Show Thou me the way,
Where duty leads, for I am blind! my sight
Obscured by self. Oh, lead my steps aright!
Help me see the path: and if it may,
Let this cup pass:- and yet, Thou heavenly One,
Thy will in all things, not mine own, be done.”
Rising, I went upon my way, receiving
The strength prayer gives alway to hearts believing.
I felt that unseen hands were leading me,
And knew the end was peace.

“What! are you up?”
Cried Helen, coming with a tray, and cup,
Of tender toast and fragrant, smoking tea.
“You naughty girl! you should have stayed in bed
Until you ate your breakfast, and were better;
I’ve something hidden for you here–a letter.
But drink your tea before you read it, dear!
‘Tis from some distant cousin, auntie said,
And so you need not hurry. Now be good,
And mind your Helen.”

So, in passive mood,
I laid the still unopened letter near,
And loitered at my breakfast more to please
My nurse, than any hunger to appease.
Then listlessly I broke the seal and read
The few lines written in a bold free hand:
“New London, Canada. Dear Coz. Maurine!
(In spite of generations stretched between
Our natural right to that most handy claim
Of cousinship, we’ll use it all the same)
I’m coming to see you! honestly, in truth!
I’ve threatened often–now I mean to act;
You’ll find my coming is a stubborn fact.
Keep quiet, though, and do not tell Aunt Ruth.
I wonder if she’ll know her petted boy
In spite of changes? Look for me until
You see me coming. As of old I’m still
Your faithful friend, and loving cousin, Roy.”

So Roy was coming! He and I had played
As boy and girl, and later, youth and maid,
Full half our lives together. He had been,
Like me, an orphan; and the roof of kin
Gave both kind shelter. Swift years sped away
Ere change was felt: and then one summer day
A long-lost uncle sailed from India’s shore –
Made Roy his heir, and he was ours no more.