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I was able, and went myself to the station to meet them.
They had come alone, and Josey preceded her mother into the little room, as if she were impatient to have any meeting with a fresh face over. She was pale as any pale blossom of spring, and as calm. Her curls, tucked away under the widow's-cap she wore, and clouded by the mass of crape that shrouded her, left only a narrow line of gold above the dead quiet of her brow. Her eyes were like the eyes of a sleep-walker: they seemed to see, but not to feel sight. She smiled mechanically, and put a cold hand into mine. For any outward expression of emotion, one might have thought Mrs. Bowen the widow: her eyes were bloodshot and swollen, her nose was red, her lips tremulous, her whole face stained and washed with tears, and the skin seemed wrinkled by their salt floods. She had cried herself sick, - more over Josephine than Frank, as was natural.
It was but a short drive over to my house, but an utterly silent one. Josephine made no sort of demonstration, except that she stooped to pat my great dog as we went in. I gave her a room that opened out of mine, and put Mrs. Bowen by herself. Twice in the night I stole in to look at her: both times I found her waking, her eyes
fixed on the open window, her face set in its unnatural quiet; she smiled, but did not speak. Mrs. Bowen told me in the morning that she had neither shed a tear nor slept since the news came; it seemed to strike her at once into this cold silence, and so she had remained. About ten, a carriage was sent over from the village to take them to the funeral. This miserable custom of ours, that demands the presence of women at such ceremonies, Mrs. Bowen was the last person to evade; and when I suggested to Josey that she should stay at home with me, she looked surprised, and said, quietly, but emphatically, “ Oh, no!"
After they were gone, I took my shawl and went out on the lawn. There was a young pine dense enough to shield me
from the sun, sitting under which I could see the funeral-procession as it wound along the river's edge up toward the burying-ground, a mile beyond the station. But there was no sun to trouble me; cool gray clouds brooded ominously over all the sky; a strong south-wind cried, and wailed, and swept in wild gusts through the woods, while in its intervals a dreadful quiet brooded over earth and heaven,
over the broad weltering river, that, swollen by recent rain, washed the green grass shores with sullen flood, over the heavy masses of oak and hickory trees that hung on the farther hill-side,
over the silent village and its gathering people. The engine-shriek was borne on the coming wind froin far down the valley. There was an air of hushed expectation and regret in Nature itself that seemed to fit the hour to its event.
Soon I saw the crowd about the station begin to move, and presently the funeralbell swung out its solemn tones of lamentation; its measured, lingering strokes, mingled with the woful shrieking of the wind and the sighing of the pine-tree overhead, made a dirge of inexpressible force and melancholy. A weight of grief seemed to settle on my very breath: it was not real sorrow; for, though I knew it well, I had not felt yet that Frank was dead, -it was not real to me, - I could not take to my stunned perceptions the fact that he was gone. It is the protest of Nature, dimly conscious of her original eternity, against this interruption of death, that it should always be such an interruption, so incredible, so surprising, so new. No, - the anguish that oppressed me now was not the true anguish of loss, but merely the effect of these adjuncts; the pain of want, of separation, of reaching in vain after that which is gone, of vivid dreams and tearful waking, — all this lay in wait for the future, to be still renewed, still suffered and endured, till time should be no more.
Let all these pangs of recollection attest it, — these involuntary bursts of longing for the eyes that are gone and the voice that is still, — these recoils of baffled feeling seeking for the one per
fect sympathy forever fled, — these pleas- any music was invented for the express ures dimmed in their first resplendence purpose of making mourners as distractfor want of one whose joy would have ed as any external thing can make them, been keener and sweeter to us than our it is the bitter, hopeless, unrestrained own, - these bitter sorrows crying like wail of this tune. There is neither peace children in pain for the heart that should nor resignation in it, but the very exhave soothed and shared them! No, haustion of raving sorrow that heeds neithere is no such dreary lie as that which ther God nor man, but cries out, with the prates of consoling Time! You who are soulless agony of a wind-harp, its refusal gone, if in heaven you know how we to be comforted. mortals fare, you know that life took from At length it was over, and still in that you no love, no faith, — that bitterer tears same dead calm Josephine came home to fall for you to-day than ever wet your new
Mrs. Bowen was frightened, Mr. graves, — that the gayer words and the Bowen distressed. I could not think what recalled smiles are only like the flowers to do, at first; but remembering how somethat grow above you, symbols of the deep- 1 times a little thing had utterly broken er roots we strike in your past existence, me down from a regained calmness after - that to the true soul there is no such loss, some homely association, some recall thing as forgetfulness, no such mercy as of the past, I begged of Mr. Bowen to diminishing regret!
bring up from the village Frank's knapSlowly the long procession wound up the sack, which he had found in one of his river, — here, black with plumed hearse men's bands,—the poor fellow baving takand sable mourners, -- there, gay with en care of that, while he lost his own: regimental band and bright uniforms, – “For the captain's wife,” he said. As no stately, proper funeral, ordered by cus- soon as it came, I took from it Frank's tom and marshalled by propriety, but a coat, and his cap and sword. My heart straggling array of vehicles : here, the was in my mouth as I entered Josephine's doctor's old chaise, -there, an open wag. room, and saw the fixed quiet on her on, a dusty buggy, a long, open omnibus, face where she sat. I walked in, how. such as the village-stable kept for pleas- ever, with no delay, and laid the things ure-parties or for parties of mourning down on her bed, close to where she sat. who wanted to go en masse.
She gave one startled look at them and All that knew Frank, in or about then at me; her face relaxed from all Ridgefield, and all who had sons or broth- its quiet lines; she sank on her knees by ers in the army, swarmed to do him hon- the bedside, and, burying her head in or; and the quaint, homely array crept her arms, cried, and cried, and cried, so slowly through the valley, to the sound helplessly, so utterly without restraint, of tolling bell and moaning wind and the that I cried, too. It was impossible for low rush of the swollen river, — the first me to help it. At last the tears exhausttaste of war's desolation that had fallen ed themselves; the dreadful sobs ceased upon us, the first dark wave of a whelm- to convulse her; all drenched and tired,
she listed her face from its rest, and held As it passed out of sight, I heard the out her arms to me. I took her up, and wheels cease, one by one, their crunch put her to bed like a child. I hung the and grind on the gravelled road up
the coat and cap and sword where she could slope of the grave-yard. I knew they see them. I made her take a cup of broth, had reached that hill-side where the dead and before long, with her eyes fixed on of Ridgefield lie calmer than its living; the things I had hung up, she fell asleep, and presently the long-drawn notes of and slept heavily, without waking, till the that hymn-tune consecrated to such occa- next morning, sions — old China — rose and fell in de- I feared almost to enter her room when spairing cadences on my ear. If ever I heard her stir; I had dreaded her wak
ing, -- that terrible hour that all know ished, let them go and do their work who have suffered, the dim awakening quietly and cheerfully; but to make a shadow that darkens so swiftly to black call or write a note, to measure your sorreality; but I need not have dreaded it row and express theirs, seems to me on a for her. She told me afterward that in par with pulling a wounded man's band. all that steep she never lost the knowl- ages off and probing his hurt, to hear him edge of her grief'; she did not come into cry out and hear yourself say how bad it it as a surprise. Frank had seemed to must be ! be with her, distant, sad, yet consoling; Laura Lane was admitted, for Frank's she felt that he was gone, but not utter sake, as she had been his closest and dearly, — that there was drear separation and est relative. The day she came, Josey had loneliness, but not forever.
a severe headache, and looked wretchWhen I went in, she lay there awake, edly. Laura was shocked, and showed looking at her trophy, as she came to call it so obviously, that, had there been any it, her eyes with all their light quenched real cause for her alarm, I should bave and sodden out with crying, her face pale turned her out of the room without cereand unalterably sad, but natural in its mony, almost before she was fairly in it. sweetness and mobility. She drew me As soon as she left, Josey looked at me down to her and kissed me.
and smiled. • May I get up ?” she asked; and then, Laura thinks I am going to die," without waiting for an answer, went on,
said she; “ but I 'm not. If I could, I —“ I have been selfish, Sue; I will try would n't, Sue; for poor father and mothto be better now; I won't run away from er want me, and so will the soldiers bymy battle. Oh, how glad I am he did n't and-by.” A weary, heart-breaking look run away! It is dreadful now, dread- quivered in her face as she went on, half full Perhaps, if I had to choose if he whispering, —“ But I should — I should should have run away or — or this, I like to see him!” should have wanted him to run, - I'm In September she went away. I had afraid I should. But I am glad now. If expected it ever since she spoke of the God wanted him, I 'm glad he went from soldiers needing her. Mrs. Bowen went the front ranks. Oh, those poor women to the sea-side for her annual asthma. whose husbands ran away, and were kill- Mr. Bowen went with Josephine to Wasbed, too !”
ington. There, by some talismanic influShe seemed to be so comforted by that
she got admission to the hospitals, one thought! It was a strange trait in though she was very pretty, and under the little creature; I could not quite fath- thirty. I think perhaps her pale face
and widow's-dress, and her sad, quiet After this, she came down-stairs and manner, were her secret of success. She went about among us, busying herself in worked here like a sprite; nothing dauntvarious little ways. She never went to ed or disgusted her. She followed the the grave-yard ; but whenever she was a army to Yorktown, and nursed on the little tired, I was sure to find her sitting transport-ships. One man said, I was in her room with her eyes on that cap told, that it was “jes’ like havin' an apand coat and sword. Letters of condo- ple-tree blow raound, to see that Mis’ Adlence poured in, but she would not read dison; she was so kinder cheery an' pooty, them or answer them, and they all fell an' knew sech a sight abaout nussin', it into my hands. I could not wonder; for, did a feller lots of good only to look at of all cruel conventionalities, visits and her chirpin' abaout.” letters of condolence seem to me the most Now and then she wrote to me, and cruel. If friends can be useful in lifting almost always ended by declaring she of the little painful cares that throng in was “quite well, and almost happy.” If the house of death till its presence is ban. ever she met with one of Frank's men,
and all who were left reënlisted for the came in her way was petted ; a little war, - he was sure to be nursed like a white kitten followed her about the wards, prince, and petted with all sorts of lux- and ran to meet her, whenever she came uries, and told it was for his old cap- in, with joyful demonstrations; a great tain's sake. Mr. and Mrs. Bowen follow- dog waited for her at home, and escorted her everywhere, as near as they could ed her to and from the hospital; and three get to her, and afforded unfailing supplies canaries hung in her chamber; - and I of such extra hospital-stores as she want- confess here, what I would not to Laued; they lavished on her time and mon- ra, that she retains yet a strong taste ey and love enough to have satisfied three for sugar-plums, gingerbread, and the women, but Josey found use for it all- “ Lady's Book.” She kept only so much for her work. Two months ago, they all of what Laura called her vanity as to be came back to Dartford. A hospital had exquisitely neat and particular in every been set up there, and some one was detail of dress; and though a black gown, needed to put it in operation ; her expe- and a white linen apron, collar, and cuffs rience would be doubly useful there, and do not afford much room for display, yet it was pleasant for her to be so near these were always so speckless and spotFrank's home, to be among his friends less that her whole aspect was refreshand hers.
ing. I went in, to do what I could, being Last week there was a severe operastronger than usual, and found her hard tion performed in the hospital, and Joat work. Her face retained its round- sephine had to be present. She held the ed outline, her lips had recovered their poor fellow's hand till he was insensible bloom, her curls now and then strayed from the kindly chloroform they gave him, from the net under which she carefully and, after the surgeons were through, sat tucked them, and made her look as girl. by bim till night, with such a calm, cheerish as ever, but the girl's expression was ful face, giving him wine and broth, and gone; that tender, patient, resolute look watching every indication of pulse or was born of a woman's stern experience; skin, till he really rallied, and is now and though she had laid aside her wid doing well. ow's-cap, because it was inconvenient, As I came over, the next day, I met her face was so sad in its repose, so lone- Doctor Rivers at the door of her ward. ly and inexpectant, she scarce needed “ Really,” said he, " that little Mrs. any outward symbol to proclaim her wid- Addison is a true heroine!” owhood. Yet under all this new char- The kitten purred about my feet, and acter lay still some of those childish tastes as I smiled assent to him, I said in wardly that made, as it were, the "fresh per- to myself, fume” of her nature : everything that “ Really, she is a true woman!”
BETWEEN bright, new Leamington, At this point, however, we will turn the growth of the present century, and back, in order to follow up the other rusty Warwick, founded by King Cym- road from Leamington, which was the beline in the twilight ages, a thousand one that I loved best to take. It puryears before the mediaval darkness, sues a straight and level course, borderthere are two roads, either of which may ed by wide gravel-walks and overhung be measured by a sober-paced pedestrian by the frequent elm, with here a cottage in less than half an hour.
and there a villa, on one side a wooded One of these avenues flows out of the plantation, and on the other a rich field midst of the smart parades and crescents of grass or grain, until, turning at right of the former town, — along by hedges angles, it brings you to an arched bridge and beneath the shadow of great elms, over the Avon. Its parapet is a baluspast stuccoed Elizabethan villas and way- trade carved out of freestone, into the side ale-houses, and through a hamlet of soft substance of which a multitude of modern aspect,
and runs straight in- persons have engraved their names or to the principal thoroughfare of War- initials, many of them now illegible, while wick. The battlemented turrets of the others, more deeply cut, are illuminated castle, embowered balf-way up in foliage, with fresh green moss. These tokens inand the tall, slender tower of St. Mary's dicate a famous spot; and casting our eyes Church, rising from among clustered along the smooth gleam and shadow of roofs, have been visible almost from the the quiet stream, through a vista of wil. commencement of the walk. Near the lows that droop on either side into the entrance of the town stands St. John's water, we behold the gray magnificence School-House, a picturesque old edifice of of Warwick Castle, uplifting itself among stone, with four peaked gables in a row, stately trees, and rearing its turrets high alternately plain and ornamented, and above their loftiest branches. We can wide, projecting windows, and a spacious scarcely think the scene real, so comand venerable porch, all overgrown with pletely do those machicolated towers, the moss and ivy, and shut in from the world long line of battlements, the massive butby a high stone fence, not less mossy than tresses, the bigh-windowed walls, shape the gabled front. There is an iron gate, out our indistinct ideas of the antique through the rusty open-work of which time. It might rather seem as if the you see a grassy lawn, and almost ex- sleepy river (being Shakspeare's Avon, pect to meet the shy, curious eyes of the and often, no doubt, the mirror of his little boys of past generations, peeping gorgeous visions) were dreaming now of forth from their infantile antiquity into a lordly residence that stood here many the strangeness of our present life. I find centuries ago; and this fantasy is strengtha peculiar charm in these long-established ened, when you observe that the image English schools, where the school-boy of in the tranquil water has all the distinctto-day sits side by side, as it were, with his ness of the actual structure. Either might great-grandsire, on the same old benches, be the reflection of the otber. Wherever and often, I believe, thumbs a later, but Time has gnawed one of the stones, you unimproved edition of the same old gram- see the mark of his tooth just as plainly mar or arithmetic. The new-fangled no- in the sunken reflection. Each is so pertions of a Yankee school-committee would fect, that the upper vision seems a castle madden many a pedagogue, and shake in the air, and the lower one an old down the roof of many a time-honored stronghold of feudalism, miraculously kept seat of learning, in the mother-country. from decay in an enchanted river.