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and encouraging through the times of their
difficulty and depression, and saying " Thank
God for all this! " the pressure was as
affectionately and gratefully returned. Then
my brother and his wife rose up, and passed
into the blaze of light which surrounded the
gay and youthful company within.


SUE was a pretty, gentle girla farmer's
orphan daughter, and the landlord's niece
whom I strongly suspected of being engaged
to be married very shortly, to the writer of
the letter that I saw her reading at least
twenty times, when I passed the bar, and
which I more than believe I saw her kiss one
night. She told me a tale of that country
which went so pleasantly to the music of her
voice, that I ought rather to say it turned
itself into verse, than was turned into verse
by me.

A little past the village
The inn stood, low and white,
Green shady trees behind it,
And an orchard on the right,
Where over the green paling
The red-cheeked apples hung,
As if to watch how wearily
The sign-board creaked and swung.

The heavy-laden branches
Over the road hung low,
Reflecting fruit or blossom
In the wayside well below;
Where children, drawing water,
Looked up and paused to see,
Amid the apple branches,
A purple Judas Tree.

The road stretch'd winding onward
For many a weary mile
So dusty footsore wanderers
Would pause and rest awhile;
And panting horses halted,
And travellers loved to tell
The quiet of the wayside inn,
The orchard, and the well.

Here Maurice dwelt; and often
The sunburnt boy would stand
Gazing upon the distance,
And shading with his hand
His eyes, while watching vainly
For travellers, who might need
His aid to loose the bridle,
And tend the weary steed.

And once (the boy remember'd
That morning many a day
The dew lay on the hawthorn,
The bird sang on the spray)
A train of horsemen, nobler
Than he had seen before,
Up from the distance gallopp'd,
And paused before the door.

Upon a milk-white pony,
Fit for a faery queen,
Was the loveliest little damsel
His eyes had ever seen;

A servant-man was holding
The leading rein, to guide
The pony and its mistress
Who cantered by his side.

Her sunny ringlets round her
A golden cloud had made,
While her large hat was keeping
Her calm blue eyes in shade;
One hand held firm the silken reins
To keep her steed in check,
The other pulled his tangled mane,
Or stroked his glossy neck.

And as the boy brought water,
And loosed the rein, he heard
The sweetest voice, that thank'd him
In one low gentle word;
She turned her blue eyes from him,
Look'd up, and smiled to see
The hanging purple blossoms
Upon the Judas Tree.

And show'd it with a gesture,
Half pleading, half command,
Till he broke the fairest blossom,
And laid it in her hand;
And she tied it to her saddle
With a ribbon from her hair,
While her happy laugh rang gaily,
Like silver on the air.

But the champing steeds were rested
The horsemen now spurr'd on,
And down the dusty highway
They vanish'd and were gone.
Years pass'd, and many a traveller
Paused at the old inn-door,
But the little milk-white pony
And the child return'd no more.

Years pass'd, the apple branches
A deeper shadow shed;
And many a time the Judas Tree,
Blossom and leaf lay dead;
When on the loitering western breeze
Came the bells' merry sound,
And flowery arches rose, and flags
And banners waved around.

And Maurice stood expectant,
The bridal train would stay
Some moments at the inn-door,
The eager watchers say;
Theycome the cloud of dust draws near--
'Mid all the state and pride,
He only sees the golden hair
And blue eyes of the bride.

The same, yet, ah! still fairer,
He knew the face once more
That bent above the pony's neck
Years past at the inn-door:
Her shy and smiling eyes look'd round,
Unconscious of the place
Unconscious of the eager gaze
He fix'd upon her face.

He pluck'd a blossom from the tree
The Judas Treeand cast
Its purple fragrance towards the bride,
A message from the Past.

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