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Phantom of the crystal air,
Daughter of sweet mystery!
Here is one has need of thee;
Hear his prayer-
Echo, lift thy drowsy head,
And repeat each charmëd word
Thou must needs have overheard
Breathe the vows she since denies !
She hath broken every vow ;
What she would she would not now-
Those sweet lies,
Thomas Bailey Aldrich. COLONEL MULBERRY SELLERS.
in his COLONEL MULBERRY SELLERS was
library,” which was his “ drawing-room," and was also his “picture gallery," and likewise his "workshop.” Sometimes he called it by one of these names, sometimes by another, according to occasion and circumstance. He was constructing what seemed to be some kind of a frail mechanical toy, and was apparently very much interested in his work.
He was a white-headed man now, but otherwise he was as young, alert, buoyant, visionary, and enterprising as ever. His loving old wife sat near by, contentedly knitting and thinking, with a cat asleep in her lap. The room was large, light, and had a comfortable look-in fact, a home-like look—though the furniture was of a humble sort, and not over-abundant, and the knickknacks and things that go to adorn a living-room not plenty and not costly. But there were natural flowers, and there was an abstract and unclassifiable something about the place which betrayed the presence in the house of somebody with a happy taste and an effective touch.
Even the deadly chromos on the walls were somehow without offence; in fact, they seemed to belong there, and to add an attraction to the room—a fascination, anyway; for whoever got his eye on one of them was like to gaze and suffer till he died—you have seen that kind of pictures. Some of these terrors were landscapes, some libelled the sea, some were ostensible portraits, all were crimes. All the portraits were recognisable as dead Americans of distinction, and yet, through labelling, added by a daring hand, they were all doing duty here as Earls of Rossmore.” The newest one had left the works as Andrew Jackson, but was doing its best now as “Simon Lathers Lord Rossmore, Present Earl.” On one wall was a cheap old railroad map of Warwickshire. This had been newly labelled, “The Rossmore Estates." On the opposite wall was another map, and this was the most imposing decoration of the establishment, and the first to catch a stranger's attention, because of its great size. It had once borne simply the title SIBERIA; but now the word “FUTURE” had been written in front of that word. There were other additions, in red ink,many cities, with great populations set down, scattered over the vast country at points where neither cities nor populations exist to-day. One of these cities, with population placed at 1,500,000, bore the name “ Libertyorloffskoizalinski,” and there was a still more populous one, centrally located and marked “ Capitol,” which bore the name “Freedomslovnaivenovich.”
The mansion—the Colonel's usual name for the housewas a rickety old two-storey frame of considerable size, which had been painted, some time or other, but had nearly forgotten it. It was away out in the ragged edge of Washington, and had once been somebody's country place. It had a neglected yard around it, with a paling fence that needed straightening up, in places, and a gate that would stay shut. By the door-post were several modest tin signs. Mulberry Sellers, Attorney-at-Law and Claim Agent," was the principal one. One learned from the others that the Colonel was a Materialiser, a Hypnotiser, a Mind-cure dabbler, and so on. For he was a man who could always find things to do.
A white-headed negro man, with spectacles and damaged white cotton gloves, appeared in the presence, made a stately obeisance, and announced
“Marse Washington Hawkins, suh."
The Colonel and his wife were on their feet in a moment, and the next moment were joyfully wringing the hands of a stoutish, discouraged-looking man, whose general aspect
suggested that he was fifty years old, but whose hair swore to a hundred.
"Well, well, well, Washington, my boy, it is good to look at you again. Sit down, sit down, and make yourself at home. There now-why, you look perfectly natural; ageing a little, just a little, but you'd have known him anywhere, wouldn't you, Polly ? ”
"Oh, yes, Berry, he's just like his pa would have looked if he'd lived. Dear, dear, where have you dropped from? Let me see, how long is it since"I should
say it's all of fifteen years, Mrs. Sellers.” Well, well, how time does get away with us.
Yes, and oh, the changes that-"
There was a sudden catch of her voice and a trembling of the lip, the men waiting reverently for her to get command of herself and go on; but, after a little struggle, she turned away with her apron to her eyes, and softly disappeared.
“Seeing you made her think of the children, poor thing -dear, dear, they're all dead but the youngest. But banish care, it's no time for it now—on with the dance, let joy be unconfided, is my motto-whether there's any dance to dance or any joy to unconfide, you'll be the healthier for it every time--every time, Washington—it's my experience, and I've seen a good deal of this world. Come, where have you disappeared to all these years, and are you from there now, or where are you from?”
“I don't quite think you would ever guess, Colonel. Cherokee Strip.”
My land!” “Sure as you live.” “You can't mean it. Actually living out there?”
“Well, yes, if a body may call it that; though it's a pretty strong term for 'dobies and jackass rabbits, boiled beans and slap-jacks, depression, withered hopes, poverty in all its varieties