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    And never in the sunny noon
        The small flies skim its leaden breast;
    Nor ever 'mid those death-bound leaves
        The woodguest hums herself to rest.

  And nowhere through the lanky grass
         Beams out the violet's tender eye;
    Nor lily pale upon the bank
         Bends down to see its beauty die.

   But all is rough, and all is still,
         And all is night that dimmeth day,
    And all is Upas deathfulness,
         That saps the spirit's life away.

    Oh, why, when all the earth is glad,
         And every lake is fringed with bloom,
    Hast thou been chosen, Dismal Pool,
         To be the only home of gloom?

  'Tis surely from some primal curse
         Thou liest thus so deep away;
     Unvisited of moon by night,
          Unvisited of sun by day.

   Or are thy waters human tears
         That flow in secret evermore?
    And are those traces human steps
         That, like mine own, have press'd thy shore?

    But wherefore have I hither come?
          And wherefore am I tarrying still
     Where loathsome things of fear and doubt
         Sink on my heart their pinious chill?

    Already droops my soul of Youth
         Within this deadly atmosphere;
     And o'er the morning's hills of gold
         Are clinging shadows dense and drear.

      Fast fades the past, where life was peace;
          Dim grow the future's gates of bliss;
     Ah! luckless one, if all thy days
          Shall be a present like to this!

     O, burial-place of every love!
           Dread catacomb of faith and joy!
      Come, Hope, to lead me from this spot,
           Thou wast my angel when a boy!

HELENA MATHEWSON.

CHAPTER THE FIRST.

MY father was rector of Lichendale, a
little, grey-walled town, of which few but
north-country people have ever heard. My
mother died when I was quite a child,
leaving melittle Helena, as I was always
calledwith no other companions than my
two brothers, Paul and Lawrence, and our
faithful, old nurse, Hannah. My eldest
brother, Paul, was grave and moody;
and Lawrence and I, who were warm
allies, were nearly always quarrelling with
him. Lawrence could not bear to hear
what Paul so firmly maintained;—that
unless Helena were a better girl, and more
careful over her spelling, she would be
burnt alive after she died. Not seeing the
inconsistency of this terrible threat,
and, fearing from Paul's authoritative tone,
that he had the power to execute it,
Lawrence would take up my cause with
fiery zeal, and often cudgelled Paul into
granting me a milder sentence. We used to
take our lesson-books into the study every
morning; and, while I learnt my spelling,
my brothers read and construed with my
father.

But Paul soon grew too old for mere
home-schooling; and, after much secrecy and
mysterious preparation, he was sent to the
grammar-school at Sawbridge. Lawrie and
I made merry over his departure. We had
wilder games than ever in the garden and
woods, and got into twice as many scrapes
as before; so that sometimes even Hannah
lost all patience with us, and dragged us
little trembling culpritsbefore my father,
who lifted his kind eyes from his book, and
tried, with but little success, to look
displeased.

Those happy days passed too quickly,
Lawrence went to school; and, after two or
three years there, to Rome. He had always
said he would be an artist; and he did not
flinch from his plan as he grew out of childhood,
but adhered to it so steadily that at
length my father consented to his going to
Italy to study. He was very young to be
sent so far alone; but my father had lived
for so long in Lichendale, that he seemed to
have forgotten how full of danger and
temptation a city like Rome would be to
one eager and reckless as Lawrence.

Poor Lawrie! I remember our last parting
well. He was so glad to be going to Italy, so
sorry to leave Lichendale, and so charmed with
the unusual hurry and bustle, and his suddenly
acquired importance, that smiles and tears
chased each other away in quick succession
from his face. I can see now his last, sad
look, as the mail-coach, which had stopped
for him at our gate, drove off; and I remember
turning out of the sunny garden into the
house, and running upstairs that I might
sob undisturbed in some quiet hiding-place.
But Paul, who had come over for the day
to say good bye to Lawrence, soon
discovered me; and, instead of trying to
comfort me, talked in a slow, measured moan
of the wickedness of my grief, and of
his belief that despondency was a child of
the devil.

Lawrence's letters were frequent and
affectionate, and at first almost homesick. The
pleasures of Rome were great, he wrote,
but still he loved Lichendale and Helena,
far, far more dearly than ever, and often
longed to come back. Gradually, however,
another tone crept into them. There were
fewer allusions to home, and to the time
when he should return to us; but, instead,
the thin blue sheets were covered with
accounts of the grand English families that
he met, whose patronage seemed to intoxicate
him, and of beautiful ladies, whom, I
feared, he liked better than, little Helena,

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