Then Muriel, pondering,—“And he said
You think he did not add, ‘nor to myself?’”
And with her soft, calm, inward voice, the dame
Unruffled answered, “No, sweet heart, not he:
What need he care?” “And why not?” Muriel cried,
Longing to hear the answer. “O, he knows,
He knows, love, very well”: with that she smiled.
“Bless your fair face, you have not really thought
He did not know you loved him?”
“He never told me, goody, that he knew.”
“Well,” quoth the dame, “but it may chance, my dear,
That he thinks best to let old troubles sleep:
Why need to rouse them? You are happy, sure?
But if one asks, ‘Art happy?’ why, it sets
The thoughts a-working. No, say I, let love,
Let peace and happy folk alone.
‘It would not be agreeable to my wife.’
And he went on to add, in course of time
That he would ask you, when it suited you,
To write a few kind words.”
“I can do that.”
“So Laurance went, you see,”
The soft voice added, “to take down that child.
Laurance had written oft about the child,
And now, at last, the father made it known
He could not take him. He has lost, they say,
His money, with much gambling; now he wants
To lead a good, true, working life. He wrote,
And let this so be seen, that Laurance went
And took the child, and took the money down
And Muriel found her talking sweet,
And asked once more, the rather that she longed
To speak again of Laurance, “And you think
He knows I love him?”
“Ay, good sooth, he
No fear; but he is like his father, love.
His father never asked my pretty child
One prying question; took her as she was;
Trusted her; she has told me so: he knew
A woman’s nature. Laurance is the same.
He knows you love him; but he will not speak;
No, never. Some men are such gentlemen!”
THE NIGHT WATCHES.
WITH AN INTRODUCTORY SONG OF EVENING, AND A
CONCLUDING SONG OF THE EARLY DAY.
(Old English Manner.)
Come out and hear the waters shoot, the owlet hoot,
the owlet hoot;
Yon crescent moon, a golden boat, hangs dim behind the tree, O!
The dropping thorn makes white the grass, O sweetest lass, and sweetest
Come out and smell the ricks of hay adown the croft with me, O!”
“My granny nods before her wheel, and drops
her reel, and drops her reel;
My father with his crony talks as gay as gay can be, O!
But all the milk is yet to skim, ere light wax dim, ere light wax dim;
How can I step adown the croft, my ’prentice lad, with