“If you will only sing as you were singing just now, nobody will hear the rest of the choir,” vowed the young man, who during her remarks had never taken his eyes off the girl’s radiant face.
Helen seemed not to notice it, for she had been arranging the marigolds; now she was drying them with her handkerchief before fastening them upon her dress.
“You ought to learn to sing yourself,” she said while she bent her head down at that task. “Do you care for music any more than you used to?”
“I think I shall care for it just as I did then,” was the answer, “whenever you sing it.”
“Pooh!” said Helen, looking up from her marigolds; “the idea of a dumb poet anyway, a man who cannot sing his own songs! Don’t you know that if you could sing and make yourself gloriously happy as I was just now, and as I mean to be some more, you could write poetry whenever you wish.”
“I can believe that,” said Arthur.
“Then why haven’t you ever learned? Our English poets have all been ridiculous creatures about music, any how; I don’t believe there was one in this century, except Browning, that really knew anything about it, and all their groaning and pining for inspiration was nothing in the world but a need of some music; I was reading the ‘Palace of Art’ only the other day, and there was that ’lordly pleasure house’ with all its modern improvements, and without a sound of music. Of course the poor soul had to go back to the suffering world, if it were only to hear a hand-organ again.”
“That is certainly a novel theory,” admitted the young poet. “I shall come to you when I need inspiration.”
“Come and bring me your songs,” added the girl, “and I will sing them to you. You can write me a poem about that brook, for one thing. I was thinking just as I came down the road that if I were a poet I should have beautiful things to say to that brook. Will you do it for me?”
“I have already tried to write one,” said the young man, hesitatingly.
“A song?” asked Helen.
“Oh, good! And I shall make some music for it; will you tell it to me?”
“Now, if you can remember it,” said Helen. “Can you?”
“If you wish it,” said Arthur, simply; “I wrote it two or three months ago, when the country was different from now.”
He fumbled in his pocket for some papers, and then in a low tone he read these words to the girl: