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     His rigid face is grey as his gown
          (A ruddy face it is wont to be),
     From his trembling hands the beads drop down
          As the door flies open readily.

     The grey monk shudders, but not with cold
          (He has bethought what this may be),
     As wrapped in many a muffling fold
          A figure enters solemnly.
     His terrified heart emits the groan
          "Miserere Domine!"
     For closer yet without sign or tone
          The shape approaches steadily.

     The grey monk's brain has begun to swim
          Flooded o'er by memory;
     The guilt of his life comes home to him
          In one fell swoop portentously.
     Well he remembers the muffled form
          Veiled and voiceless though it be;
     Erewhile a woman young and warm:
          Now, a spectral mystery.

     The grey monk shrinks, as an icy hand,
          Pulseless as a Polar sea,
     Laid on his wrist in stern command,
          Draws him from his bended knee:
     Draws him slowly from out his cell
          Powerless to resist or flee,
     Whilst overhead the midnight bell
          Breaks the silence eerily.

     The grey monk follows through cloistered gloom
          (Miserere Domine!)
     Palsied as by a sense of doom
          And perpetual misery:
     Follows the phantom through secret ways
          Never planned by piety,
     But trodden oft in amorous days,
          Trodden one time murderously.

     The dark trees shudder as on they pass;
          The tearful dew drops dolefully;
     A low moan comes from the conscious grass;
          The gusty wind sobs humanly.
     The phantom stops at an eerie nook
          Black and gruesome as can be,
     Where even the moonbeams fear to look
          On the grey monk crouching piteously.

     Down close by the deep pool's oozy edge,
          (Pool as still as death must be),
     The grey monk kneels amid weed and sedge,
          A wretch in mortal agony.
     The spectral finger points to the pool
          Be it fact or phantasy,
     He sees a sight of dolour and dool,
          Glares, and shrieks despairingly!

     An upturned face looks out from the slime
          Fair as face of maid might be,
     A silent witness of secret crime,
          Double sin, and treachery.
     Looks as the drown├Ęd dead can look
          In his eyes reproachingly;
     The murderer reads as from written book
          The awful doom he yet must dree.

     A gracious year for remorse hath gone
          To the past's immutability,
     Since on the Eve of the good St. John
          A soul went to eternity:
     Sent all unshriven to God's white throne,
          Full of sin as soul may be;
     No single moment spared to atone
          So she went, accusingly.

     Over the fate of the missing maid
          Hung a pall of mystery;
     But the grey monk felt no whit afraid,
          Still secure in sanctity.
     He never confessed the hideous spot
          Tainting his soul like leprosy,
     Forgot his guiltbut the Judge did not.
          Doom comes sure if silently.

     Never again will he patter the prayer
          "Miserere Domine!"
     He wails it out to the midnight air,
          And echoes mock his misery.
     For when comes round each Eve of St. John
          Phantom led, in agony,
     That face in the pool he must gaze upon,
          Till Time becomes Eternity.


I DO not want to name any names, or
to hurt anybody's feelings. But facts are
facts, and there seems to me something
remarkable enough to deserve record in the
way Mary and I became man and wife. It
was done by an election; and it came
about in this wise. I was a young minister
among the Dissenters; and it was but a
short time since I had left my college,
which we, the students, considered as the
pivot of the universe, and the cradle of the
truth. We could not, any one of us, have
been wooed to Oxford or Cambridge by the
choicest distinctions. To a man we were
Radicals, and it had been our favourite
recreation to harangue one another upon
the most ultra points of religious and
political doctrines. I left college with the
conviction that I was one of the men for
whom the age was clamouring; and I
found myself called to the charge of a
small church in Little Coalmoor.

The name describes the place. It was
neither town, village, nor hamlet; but a
number of scattered houses dotted about a
wide moor of coalpit banks. Here and
there were a row of dwellings, which might
almost be called a street; and there was
every variety of places of worship. My
own chapel, the chapel of which I had had
ambitious and golden dreams while at
college, was the newest erection in the
neighbourhood; a stiff, ugly, square, red
brick building, with a cinder heap behind
it, and at the side a row of sickly poplars,
which seemed in the last stage of a
consumption. Very nearly opposite was a
handsome district churchnot the parish
church, that was at Much Coalmoor, a
thriving town two miles off, which sent up
two members to parliament. The curate,
a dainty and naturally despicable Anglican,
used frequently to meet me, as we wended
our way to our respective fanes; but we
never saw one another, except through the
remotest corner of the eye.

If my chapel was ugly, my flock was
not much better. It consisted principally
of ill-favoured, elderly men, and hard-
featured, homely women; except, of course,
my Mary, with whom I fell in love at first
sight, with a promptitude creditable to my