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Thrice her white lips opening quiver,
E'er she dares to speak again;
Creeping down the little river
Steals the darkness back again;
"Loveth he me?"
Comes a sound of fairy laughter,
Trilling sweep the echoes after,
"He loveth thee!"

Up she rises, gaily, gladly,
On her lip the rose-flush warms;
All the tiny zephyrs madly
Wake and toy with her alarms,
As she trips away;
Startled by a dead leaf falling,
Or a wakeful echo calling
To the coining day.

Hastes she from the haunted hollow,
Light of heart, and swift of foot;
Ever as she goes, there follow
Voices murmuring like the lute,
"He loveth thee!"
All her spirits inly ringing
To their wild and tuneful singing,
"He loveth me!"

Many a mile of lonely woodland
Lies between her and her home;
Hill, and dale, and heathery moorland,
Where the hunters rarely come
Seeking their game.
But, it chanced that morning early
While the dew lay light and pearly,
Herbert Wilford came.

With a downcast brow and darkling,
Full of pride and full of ire,
And an eye both hot and sparkling,
Kindled at his wild heart's fire
And his teeth set.
In an opening of the glade,
Suddenly within the shade,
There they two met.

O'er her face there came a flushing:
Could it be the morning light?
Or a tide of blushes rushing
From her pure love into sight,
To betray her?
Herbert in her fair face peering,
With hot gaze her forehead searing,
Looked as he could slay her.

"Hast thou been to Haunted Hollow,
Wilful, false, proud, fickle May?
Art thou pleased to see me follow
On thy steps till break of day,
Vain little heart?
'Tis said that on the Eve St. John,
Maids to Holy Well have gone
To ask their fate.

"'Tis a year, May, since we parted
I in anger, thou in tears.
I have seen thee merry-hearted,
Joyous with thy young compeers,
Forgetting me.
If the echo told thee truly,
As I read thy blush unruly,
It said, 'Slill loveth he.'"

From his dark brow passed the glooming;
From her heart fled all her fears,
While the purple fells were blooming,
Under morning's lustrous tears,
Upon the lea.
And tinkled, as they went, the hare-bells,
All the little fairy joy-bells,
"Loveth he me?"
"He loveth thee!"
"Loveth she me?"
"She loveth thee!"


I HAD spoken confidently enough, while
arguing the question of Doctor Knapton's
respectability with the Treasurer of the
Duskydale Institution; but, if my perceptions
had not been blinded by my enthusiastic
admiration for the beautiful Laura, I think I
should have secretly distrusted my own
opinion as soon as I was left by myself. Had
I been in full possession of my senses, I
might have questioned, on reflection, whether
the doctor's method of accounting for the
suspicions which kept his neighbours aloof
from him, was quite satisfactory. Love is
generally described, I believe, as the tender
passion. When I remember the insidiously
relaxing effect of it on all my faculties, I
feel inclined to alter the popular definition,
and to call it a moral vapour-bath.

What the managing-committee of the
Duskydale Institution thought of the change
in me, I cannot imagine. Doctor and Miss
Knapton left the town on the day they had
originally appointed, before I could make any
excuse for calling again; and, as a necessary
consequence of their departure, I lost all
interest in the affairs of the ball, and
yawned in the faces of the committee when I
was obliged to be present at their deliberations
in my official capacity. It was all
Laura with me, whatever they did. I read
the Minutes through a soft cloud of
yellow muslin. Notes of melodious laughter
bubbled, in my mind's-ear, through all the
drawling and stammering of our speech-
making members. When our dignified
President thought he had caught my eye, and
made oratorical overtures to me from the
top of the table, I was lost in the
contemplation of silk purses and white fingers
weaving them. I meant "Laura" when I
said 'hear, hear"—and when I officially
produced my subscription-list, it was all
a-glow with the roseate hues of the marriage-
licence. If any unsympathetic male readers
should think this statement exaggerated, I
appeal to the ladiesthey will appreciate the
rigid, yet tender, truth of it.

The night of the ball came. I have
nothing but the vaguest recollection of it.
I remember that the more the perverse
lecture-theatre was warmed the more