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The signal came, the horses plunged
Once more she smiled around:
The purple blossom in the dust
Lay trampled on the ground.

Again the slow years fleeted,
Their passage only known
By the height the Passion-flower
Around the porch had grown;
And many a passing traveller
Paused at the old inn-door,
But the bride, so fair and blooming
Return'd there never more.

One winter morning, Maurice,
Watching the branches bare,
Rustling and waving dimly
In the grey and misty air,
Saw blazon'd on a carriage
Once more the well-known shield,
The azure fleurs-de-lis and stars
Upon a silver field.

He lookedwas that pale woman,
So grave, so worn, so sad,
The child, once young and smiling,
The bride, once fair and glad?
What grief had dimm'd that glory
And brought that dark eclipse
Upon her blue eyes' radiance,
And paled those trembling lips?

What memory of past sorrow,
What stab of present pain,
Brought that deep look of anguish,
That watch'd the dismal rain,
That watch'd (with the absent spirit
That looks, yet does not see)
The dead and leafless branches
Upon the Judas Tree.

The slow dark months crept onward
Upon their icy way,
'Till April broke in showers,
And Spring smiled forth in May,
Upon the apple-blossoms
The sun shone bright again,
When slowly up the highway
Came a long funeral train.

The bells toll'd slowly, sadly,
For a noble spirit fled;
Slowly, in pomp and honour,
They bore the quiet dead.
Upon a black-plumed charger
One rode, who held a shield,
Where azure fleurs-de-lis and stars
Shone on a silver field.

'Mid all that homage given
To a fluttering heart at rest,
Perhaps an honest sorrow
Dwelt only in one breast.
One by the inn-door standing
Watch'd with fast-dropping tears
The long procession passing,
And thought of bygone years.

The boyish, silent homage
To child and bride unknown,
The pitying tender sorrow
Kept in his heart alone,
Now laid upon the coffin
With a purple ilower, might he
Told to the cold dead sleeper;
The rest could only see
A fragrant purple blossom
Pluck'd from a Judas Tree.


I MET her in the corridor, walking to and
fro, and muttering to herself with a down-
looking aspect, and a severe economy of
dress, the season considered. I wondered
how she came there, and was, to say the
least of it, decidedly startled when she
stopped directly opposite me, and, lifting a
pair of blank, brown eyes to my face, said, in
a stern voice:

"He was not guilty, my lord judge. God
will right him yet. It will all come out
some day. I can wait: yes, I can wait. I
am more patient than death: I am more
patient than injustice."

I made a hasty and undignified retreat
down stairs when she left the passage free,
and, meeting the waiter, inquired who the
woman was. The man touched his forehead
significantly, and said that she was harmless
(I was very glad to hear it); and that she
lived on the broken victuals; and that his
mistress always gave her a dinner on Christmas-
day. While we were speaking together,
she descended to where we stood, and
repeated the exact formula of which she had
made use before. She was a tall woman,
strong-limbed, and thin to meagreness. She
might be fifty, or perhaps fifty-five; her skin
was withered, and tanned by exposure to all
sorts of weather, and her uncovered hair was
burnt to a rusty iron-grey. The waiter
suggested to her to go to the kitchen fire; at
which she broke into a scornful laugh, and
reiterated, " I am more patient than death.
I am more patient than injustice," and then
walked out at the open door into the snow.

"I don't think she feels it, sir," said the
waiter, opening my door for me to enter.

I do not think she did. I watched her
from my window. She took up a handful of
the newly-fallen snow and thrust it into her
bosom, then hugged it close, as if it were a
living thing, that could be warmed by that
eager clasp; I saw also, as she turned her
dark face up towards the sky, that the angry
scowl left it. I should imagine that all
sensation in her was dead, except in one
corner of her heart, to which had gathered
the memory of some miserable wrong, whose
acuteness would bide with her to the day of
her death.

Her name, as I learnt on further inquiry,
was Hester. She had been born and bred in
the Yorkshire dales; her parents were of the
yeoman class, and poor through improvidence
rather than misfortune. As a girl, Hester
was remarkable for her pride and her beauty,
of which no more relics remained than are
left of the summer rose-garden in drear and
misty November. She received the scant
education common to her condition half-a-

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