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if they fall, for the law reformer has no power
to help them, and they can only save



GREY plaster walls, with many a stain of damp,
Scotch carpet, with broad margin of bare floor,
Five crippled chairs, round table, and a lamp,
Once bright with gilding, bright, alas, no more.
A couch of failed chintz; an easy chair,
Out at the elbows, failing in the spine,
Yet softly cushion'd; and, reposing there,
Sits the old teacher in the warm fire-shine;
Old ornaments, or hopelessly decay'd,
Come here to wait the last long stage of all
The final smashthe debt of pottery paid:
The invalided can no further fall.
A hearthrug of a pattern most antique,
Rejected of state-chambers long ago,
Worn, faded, sullied: if a rug could speak,
That rug would tell us many a tale, I trow.
How it first lay beneath a young bride's feet,
Fresh, fringed, and brilliant, in its day of bloom.
Then, how the children crouch'd round nurse, would
To hear long stories in the twilight gloom.
Next, how the boys, at home for Christmas time,
Kneeling upon it, on the ruddy bar
Roasted their chestnuts, while the old yule-chime
Rung carolling out across the moorland far.


A lively outlook on the churchyard drear;
Four birches, ivy-clad, and snowy white,
Their branches stretch across the panes so near,
And thick, and close, they half shut out the light.
But, when the fire burns up and she's alone,
The curtain drawn, work over for the day;
Old times come back again, old friends long gone
Into the dreamland of the past away.
Kind memory opens wide her silent door,
Familiar faces smile; no clouds between
She is at home; she is a child once more,
'Midst Christmas jests and laughter, Twelfth Night's
The scarlet-berried holly shines with light,
Reflected from the joy of other years;
And pictured scenes start out before her sight,
Scarce dimmed at all by rising mists of tears.


It is not winter there. The hopeful spring
Glows out on the dead promises of youth;
Gilds them with beauty, wafts them with its wing
Far, far beyond the silver realms of truth.
Love's river swiftly glides through pleasant lands,
Bright with perpetual summer, fair and gay.
"Wake, dreamer by the hearth! 'Tis lost in sands
Of bitter grief,—it is no longer May!"

"No longer May!" The driving sleet comes fast,
Dash'd 'gainst the panes by loud December winds.
Thy mimic joys fade back into the past,
Life, with its present cares, thy fancy binds.
Look out into the sky: all cloud, all rain,
Night hangs above the sobbing leafless wood,
The blasts go shrieking round the trembling vane,
Christmas is here in his most dreary mood.
How much of wearying work, how little love!
My life one long, long dead-time of the year.
"Look out again!" there is a light above,
Glancing through darkness: rest will soon be here.
"Patience, O weary heart, thy peace draws near!"


I FELL asleep last night at twenty minutes
past eleven, somewhere off the coast of
Portugal, which was then a mere
blue-rimmed line on our rightor, shall I say,
starboard?—the sea running by us in rolling
hills of blue liquid, ghastly and livid. This
morning, at half-past seven, I awake, look
out of my square bedroom porthole and see,
beating up against our black ship's side,
a merry, sunny sea, of the exact colour of
soda-water; with a light playful effervescing
froth feathering about its fluent curves.

"Halloa, steward? Why, the great
steam-engine, stops. Are we going down?"

No, we are snug in the Tagus, and have
stopped off the famous Belem watch-tower
that Don Manuel (surnamed the Fortunate)
built. We are waiting for the adouaneros, or
Custom House officers, to come on board,
and the sanidad, or health-officers to give us
pratique, and pronounce our bill of health
clean; for we have been visiting Vigo, where
the yellow fever is raging, and have been
threatened and worried with flag-signals at
Oporto, and we may be put in quarantine,—
fifteen days' imprisonment, with not even
hard labour to amuse ourselves with.

There is a great putting off of boats, great
locking and strapping of bags and
port-manteaus; for we are near Lisbon, and are
going to land. The lady with the celestial
and terrestrial globe and the two parrots
that she is so anxious about, is hard at work
packing the two hemispheres safe for transport;
the puling little usher who is going
out to the Catholic college at Lisbon, at last
tries to drag himself out of his little tray of
a berth, which he has for seven days kept
immoveably in; the Newcastle lawyer, who
fancies every place like Constantinople, and
contradicts you about everything out of
Murray, bustles about his boxes, which are
being hauled out of the hold. A splashing
under our bow, and a strong voice hailing us.
It is the quarantine boat, manned by eight
stout Portuguese, with straw hats, and red
sashes round their waists. The officer holding
official papers in his hand, stands up, and
directs the men to pull in under our quarter,
that he may come on board. Among the men
are two handsome stalwart blacks, with bare
arms, swollen with ropes of straining muscles.
I feel directly that I am in a country
connected with the Brazils, and that the old
slave element in the population has not yet
died out.

Now we have got our sanitary passport;
and, though one or two brown-coated officials