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

Through all these months Roy had been true as steel;
And by his every action made me feel
He was my friend and brother, and no more,
The same big-souled and trusty friend of yore.
Yet, in my secret heart, I wished I knew
Whether the love he felt one time was dead,
Or only hidden, for my sake, from view.
So when he came to me one day, and said,
The velvet blackness of his eyes ashine
With light of love and triumph: “Cousin, mine,
Congratulate me! She whom I adore
Has pledged to me the promise of her hand;
Her heart I have already,” I was glad
With double gladness, for it freed my mind
Of fear that he, in secret, might be sad.

From March till June had left her moons behind,
And merged her rose-red beauty in July,
There was no message from my native land.
Then came a few brief lines, by Vivian penned:
Death had been near to Helen, but passed by;
The danger was now over. God was kind;
The mother and the child were both alive;
No other child was ever known to thrive
As throve this one, nurse had been heard to say.
The infant was a wonder, every way.
And, at command of Helen, he would send
A lock of baby’s golden hair to me.
And did I, on my honour, ever see
Such hair before? Helen would write, ere long:
She gained quite slowly, but would soon be strong –
Stronger than ever, so the doctors said.
I took the tiny ringlet, golden–fair,
Mayhap his hand had severed from the head
Of his own child, and pressed it to my cheek
And to my lips, and kissed it o’er and o’er.
All my maternal instincts seemed to rise,
And clamour for their rights, while my wet eyes
Rained tears upon the silken tress of hair.
The woman struggled with her heart before!
It was the mother in me now did speak,
Moaning, like Rachel, that her babes were not,
And crying out against her barren lot.

Once I bemoaned the long and lonely years
That stretched before me, dark with love’s eclipse;
And thought how my unmated heart would miss
The shelter of a broad and manly breast –
The strong, bold arm–the tender clinging kiss –
And all pure love’s possessions, manifold;
But now I wept a flood of bitter tears,
Thinking of little heads of shining gold,
That would not on my bosom sink to rest;
Of little hands that would not touch my cheek;
Of little lisping voices, and sweet lips,
That never in my list’ning ear would speak
The blessed name of mother.

Oh, in woman
How mighty is the love of offspring! Ere
Unto her wond’ring, untaught mind unfolds
The myst’ry that is half divine, half human,
Of life and birth, the love of unborn souls
Within her, and the mother-yearning creeps
Through her warm heart, and stirs its hidden deeps,
And grows and strengthens with each riper year.

As storms may gather in a placid sky,
And spend their fury, and then pass away,
Leaving again the blue of cloudless day,
E’en so the tempest of my grief passed by.
‘Twas weak to mourn for what I had resigned,
With the deliberate purpose of my mind,
To my sweet friend.

Relinquishing my love,
I gave my dearest hope of joy to her.
If God, from out His boundless store above,
Had chosen added blessings to confer,
I would rejoice, for her sake–not repine
That th’ immortal treasures were not mine.