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A Confession.


I KNOW a little damsel

As light of foot as the air,

And with smile as gay

As th' sun o' th' May

And clouds of golden hair.

She sings with the larks at morning, And sings with the doves at e'en, And her cheeks they shine.

Like a rose on the vine,

And her name is Charlamine.

To plague me and to please me
She knows a thousand arts,

And against my will

I love her still

With all my heart of hearts!

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And th' King o' th' Sky

In her lap doth lie

When she sitteth at her door.

Her shoulder is curved like an eagle's wing

When he riseth on his way,

And my two little maids

They lay in braids

Her dark locks, day by day.

Her heart in the folds of her kerchief,
It doth not fall nor rise,

And afar I wait

At her royal gate,

And I love her with my eyes!

Now you that are wise in love-lore,
Come teach your arts to me,
For each of the darling damsels
Is as sweet as she can be!
And if I wed with Charlamine
Of the airy little feet,
I shall sicken and sigh,

I shall droop and die,

For my gentle Marguerite! And if I wed with Marguerite, Whom I so much adore,

I shall long to go

From her hand of snow

To my Lady Heleanore!

And if I wed with Heleanore, Whom with my eyes I love, 'Gainst all that is right,

In my own despite,

I shall false and faithless prove.

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Second Thoughts.




(Another Letter.)

I AM not long for this world: don't be alarmed, I mean this world of Nookside, Sussex. I took out the pony-chaise on two days when my lady particularly wanted it, and wanted it suddenly. She drives out (having learnt this art of Aunt Rachel, mind you) all alone. I have been twice with her at the wish of the Governor; but then she made the drives very short. When she goes out alone, she'll be away for three or four hours. My uncle, who has become nervous, fidgety, and is far from well, seldom accompanies her, spending most of his day in his study. He has quite given up practising, and I believe is writing a treatise on medicine: I think it is more likely to be on domestic


He has ordered me never to take out the trap without asking her permission. 'Pon my soul, this is drivelling. The rain has stopped: I shall go out for a good stretch, and get rid of my anger.

(The same continued in the evening.)

I am bothered. Listen. Walking past a farmer's house (Worley's, a great fisherman, by the way), old Worley was trying a new horse. He asked me if I'd like to ride him. Preferring the beast's society to my own, I accepted the offer, mounted him, and made for the foot of the Downs, by Budgeley (you know the country), and then up the hill to Falcon Ring: here there's a good three-mile gallop, and a narrow descent through a coppice, into a plantation, where, just on the border of the bridle-road, which takes you into the main road a mile lower down, stands a small inn, a sort of shebeen in fact, frequented, I suppose, by harvesters and gamekeepers. A little bit of an out-of-the-way place. As I descended the soft sandy way cautiously, I heard voices, some stragglers from a pic-nic party, perhaps; another step proved to me that I was about to break in upon a desperate flirtation, so I snapped a bough in two, and gave a decided cough. I heard

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and saw no more; whoever they were, they had disappeared like rabbits when disturbed at feeding time. On leading my horse out of the plantation, no easy matter, the sound of wheels, receding at a rapid pace, caught my ear. There were no signs of any pic-nic party; and the woman at the shebeen, where I watered my horse, and got a glass of hard beer, said that she had not seen any gentlefolks there to-day.

I sat on the bank for a few minutes while I lighted my pipe, and my horse was refreshing himself. I placed my left hand on something shining. A bunch of keys. One of Aunt Rachel's bunches, which I had known ever since I could recollect anything. The thing was neither rich nor rare, but how the deuce did it get there?

I re-mounted and rode home, arriving (after leaving the animal at the farmer's) about a quarter of an hour before dinner.

I was late for dinner, and was greeted with black looks.

My uncle complained of want of appetite. He wanted a relishan appetiser. Samson, the butler, was commanded to produce some peculiar pickle. It was not in the sideboard. Mistress had gone out to-day without releasing the pickles from their prisons. If she would give him the keys he would save her the trouble.

I was going to say,


"I have the keys," but on Second Thoughts I

Where were the keys?

The butler requests the keys.

My uncle, somewhat irritated at this irregularity, as Blue Beard, demands the keys.

My step-aunt-mother, as Fatima, hesitates.

She must have left them in her room.

I wait, enjoying this. No, not there.

Could she have dropped them out of doors?

Oh no, except in the garden, as “she had only been driving a little way," she said, " and hadn't left the pony-chaise."


"Well, but where did you drive to ?" asks my uncle, querulously, if he'd scour the country for these keys.

"Towards Horsley," she replies.

"Dear me," I exclaimed, "how strange! I quite forgot that I found a bunch of keys to-day," but I didn't say where.

The butler brings them down from my room.

Now Horsley lies to the east, and Falcon Ring well to the west. Moreover, Horsley is five miles to the east of our house, and Falcon Ring eight miles by Downs, is ten or eleven by road.

"You walked to Horsley to day ?" asks my uncle of me.

"I rode," I answered, with a suppressio veri. My stepmother-I mean Mrs. Pincott-who had her back to the light, looked quickly towards me, and withdrew her eyes immediately. (She certainly has got deuced fine eyes. I do admire her sometimes. Do you know I can imagine her being fascinating with some people.)

"Rode!" exclaimed my uncle. "Whose horse ?"

My explanation diverted him from his inquiries. We talked about this horse, that horse, Aunt Rachel's horse, horses in general, until he jogged off with his bag of interrogatories in another direction altogether, and finally cantered into the land of Nod, where he might have mounted a nightmare, for aught I know, so loudly did he trumpet forth his prowess behind a table-napkin.

She was in the garden.

I was going to say to her, "I picked up these keys by the little inn near Falcon Ring." Second Thought. Better not. So I didn't. I approached-I regarded her, searchingly.

She observed that the wind was getting up, and that there would be a breeze to-morrow- -a breeze from the sea over the Downs.

I couldn't help it, I said, without a second thought, "As strong a breeze as to-day."

"There was none to-day," she remarked.

“Oh, yes, there was," I returned, "so strong as to blow a bunch of keys from Horsley, across the Down, to Falcon Ring."

"My dear Dick," she replied, looking me full in the face, and speaking as sweetly as if I'd been her lover instead of her stepson, I mean nephew, "you do talk such nonsense sometimes. I must go in; your uncle expects his piano, and there is Samson with the teathings."

So in she went to wake my uncle with tea, and lull him with tunes.

But, my friend, "My dear Dick" is the first note of battle on her instrument to-night.

D. P. is not deceived this time. I shall see you very soon. Goodnight. P.S. I re-open this before post time (morning) to say that Passmore has just looked in. He is going to take the duty for a week or so here, our Nookside parson wants a vacation.

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