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Maurine – Part 6 [There Was A Week Of Bustle And Of Hurry]
by [?]

The pain we feel so keenly may depart,
And e’en its memory cease to haunt the heart:
But some slight thing, a perfume, or a sound
Will probe the closed recesses of the wound,
And for a moment bring the old-time smart.

Congratulations, kisses, tears and smiles,
Good-byes and farewells given; then across
The snowy waste of weary wintry miles,
Back to my girlhoods’ home, where, through each room,
For evermore pale phantoms of delight
Should aimless wander, always in my sight,
Pointing, with ghostly fingers, to the tomb
Wet with the tears of living pain and loss.

The sleepless nights of watching and of care,
Followed by that one week of keenest pain,
Taxing my weakened system, and my brain,
Brought on a ling’ring illness.

Day by day,
In that strange, apathetic state I lay,
Of mental and of physical despair.
I had no pain, no fever, and no chill,
But lay without ambition, strength, or will.
Knowing no wish for anything but rest,
Which seemed, of all God’s store of gifts, the best.

Physicians came and shook their heads and sighed;
And to their score of questions I replied,
With but one languid answer, o’er and o’er,
“I am so weary–weary–nothing more.”

I slept, and dreamed I was some feathered thing,
Flying through space with ever-aching wing,
Seeking a ship called Rest all snowy white,
That sailed and sailed before me, just in sight,
But always one unchanging distance kept,
And woke more weary than before I slept.

I slept, and dreamed I ran to win a prize,
A hand from heaven held down before my eyes.
All eagerness I sought it–it was gone,
But shone in all its beauty farther on.
I ran, and ran, and ran, in eager quest
Of that great prize, whereon was written “Rest,”
Which ever just beyond my reach did gleam,
And wakened doubly weary with my dream.

I dreamed I was a crystal drop of rain,
That saw a snow-white lily on the plain,
And left the cloud to nestle in her breast.
I fell and fell, but nevermore found rest –
I fell and fell, but found no stopping place,
Through leagues and leagues of never-ending space,
While space illimitable stretched before.

And all these dreams but wearied me the more.

Familiar voices sounded in my room –
Aunt Ruth’s, and Roy’s, and Helen’s: but they seemed
A part of some strange fancy I had dreamed,
And now remembered dimly.

Wrapped in gloom,
My mind, o’ertaxed, lost hold of time at last,
Ignored its future, and forgot its past,
And groped along the present, as a light,
Carried, uncovered, through the fogs of night,
Will flicker faintly.

But I felt, at length,
When March winds brought vague rumours of the spring,
A certain sense of “restlessness with rest.”
My aching frame was weary of repose,
And wanted action.

Then slow-creeping strength
Came back with Mem’ry, hand in hand, to bring
And lay upon my sore and bleeding breast,
Grim-visaged Recollection’s thorny rose.
I gained, and failed. One day could ride and walk,
The next would find me prostrate: while a flock
Of ghostly thoughts, like phantom birds, would flit
About the chambers of my heart, or sit,
Pale spectres of the past, with folded wings,
Perched, silently, upon the voiceless strings,
That once resounded to Hope’s happy lays.

So passed the ever-changing April days.
When May came, lightsome footed, o’er the lea,
Accompanied by kind Aunt Ruth and Roy,
I bade farewell to home with secret joy,
And turned my wan face eastward to the sea.
Roy planned our route of travel: for all lands
Were one to him. Or Egypt’s burning sands,
Or Alps of Switzerland, or stately Rome,
All were familiar as the fields of home.