Two beside the hearthstone lingered

Aged sire, and lady fair ;
He of life's long journey weary ;
But her softly waving hair

Graced a forehead
Yet unmarked by trace of care.

Spake then out that youthful mother

With her babe upon her knee To the grandsire old and hoary, Like a leafless forest tree :

“Tell me, father, What thought Christmas brings to thee."

Silently he gazed upon her,

On her brow so pure and white,
On her dark eyes, softly beaming
With affection's holy light;

But a shadow
Lay upon his soul like night.

“ Daughter, in life's joyous morning

Christmas comes with merry cheer,
Fancy tints a glowing pathway
Bright’ning with each coming year :

On the picture
Falleth not a shade of fear.

Childhood smileth in its gladness,

Archeth Hope her rainbow bright-
Ah! he strives to grasp the vision;
Fades it from his eager sight:

Soon around him
Closes Disappointment's night.

“In the noontide, manhood kneeleth

Low before Ambition's shrine,
Praying : ‘Goddess, hear thy vot'ry,
I no altar seek but thine':

Fame's wan fingers
(Withered chaplets for him twine.

“But when fall the length'ning shadows,

When life's even stealeth on,

Memory opes her golden casket,
Counts her jewels one by one-

Earth's dream fadeth ;
Her bright smile remains alone.

“One by one my loved departed

To the far off spirit-land-
One by one they crossed my threshold,
Till, the last of that bright band,

Sad and weary,
By a stranger hearth I stand.

“As the wand'rer homeward speeding

Marks the Southern Cross decline, I am looking ever backward To the stars that faintly shine;

But one beameth With a radiance all divine.

Star of Bethlehem! ere the sunlight

Of another Christmas blest
Rises in the glowing Orient,
Light, oh! light me to my rest !

I would slumber
Calmly in earth's quiet breast."

Slowly, slowly crept a Shadow

Through that silent, dark'ning room
Softly loosed the cord of silver,
Led that soul from Sorrow's gloom

To the valleys
Where the flowers immortal bloom.




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The portrait of Gilbert I have the contact with a soul so noble drawn is not incorrect. He was as that it seemed to ennoble mine, lent noble as I have represented him, such a charm, and gave to my life and is certain that, in speaking to a new interest which I had never me as he did that day, he was very experienced before. far from the thought of laying a There was no apparent, or ever snare for me, or even for himself. real, difference in our interviews Whether he was absolutely sincere from what they were before, and any or not I cannot say, but probably one might have heard every word as much so as I, at least during the he addressed me. And yet I felt few first days after this conversation. that he by no means talked to me Thanks to the method of reasoning as he did to others, and I, on my I have given above, and which I side, conversed with him as I did thought original, it seemed to me with no one else. We were seldom that this frequent intercourse with alone together, it is true, but every a man unusually superior to any one evening, either in the drawing-room I had ever known, and who, very or on the terrace, he found an opfar from addressing me any silly portunity of conversing with me a flattery, almost invariably appeal- few moments without witnesses. He ed to all that was highest in my did not conceal from me that he renature, and, without alluding to the garded these as the most precious cause of my troubles, knew how to moments of the evening; and as to divert my mind completely from this I scarcely differed from him them-it seemed to me, I say, that Occasionally, something inexpressithis intimacy, this sort of imaginary ble in his voice, his looks, and even relationship which I had accepted, in his silence, made me tremble, was not only lawful, but beneficial, as if I felt the warring of some apand I regarded it even as a just proaching danger. But as he never compensation for so many cruel de- deviated a single word from the rele ceptions. In a word, I had lost, he had taken, my torpid conscience through the frivolity of my recent was not aroused! Lorenzo was life, that clearness of spiritual vision still absent, though the time fixed which is maintained by vigilance for his return had long gone by; and alone, and I was a long time with when I was expecting him the secout suspecting that this idle frivo. ond time, I received a letter anlity, with all the exuberant gayety nouncing a further delay, caused, 25 that accompanied it, was a thousand he said, by“ a circumstance that was times less dangerous than the long unforeseen and independent of bis conversations, to which the perfect will." harmony of a kindred mind, and A flush of anger rose to my face

while reading this letter, though I as well as Lando, who, I remarked, felt and acknowledged that the pro- seemed in a less serene frame of longation of his absence did not mind than usual. Gilbert and Macause me the same chagrin it once rio came after in a carozzella, which would. I did not ask why. I took formed our rear-guard. pleasure in recalling with a kind of At first everything went on pleacomplacency the aggravating wrongs santly. My aunt was very fond of I had repeatedly endured, and it pleasure excursions, and she reseemed to me he had less right than garded this as one, particularly as ever to deny a heart he had so cruel- we were all to take supper together ly wo'inded any consolation what- at my house on our return. The ever that remained.

conversation did not slacken an inThe day this second letter arrived stant as far as Resina, where we arwe were on the point of starting for rived at nightfall. There we left Mt. Vesuvius, where, for a week, the main road to take that which crowds of people had been going led directly to Mt. Vesuvius. out of curiosity, as is the case at A new crater had this time been every new eruption. It was nearly formed below the well-known cone night before we set out. My aunt from which the fire and smoke genand her two daughters were of the erally issued. It was like a large, party, besides Gilbert, Mario, and gaping wound on the side of the Lando, as well as two foreigners' mountain, which sent forth torrents who, from the time of the Carnival, of fire, ashes, and red-hot stones. had assiduously haunted the steps Consequently, instead of being of my two cousins.

One was

a obliged to climb to the summit in young Baron von Brunnenberg, an order to witness the eruption, we excellent dancer and a great lover were able to drive so near the of music; the other an Englishman, stream of lava that we only had to no less young, of fine figure and walk a short distance to see the terherculean proportions, whose name rible opening, which was approachwas Harry Leslie.

ed more or less closely, according There was a certain embarrass- to the degree of boldness or curiment at our departure among the osity with which each one was enmembers of the party, caused by the dowed. simultaneous desire of several of But the spectacle presented an them to avoid the calèche in which imposing appearance long before Donna Clelia had at once installed we saw it close at hand, and I was herself. I observed this hesitation, in the height of admiration when I which was far from flattering to my heard a murmur beside me: “O poor aunt, and hastened to take a Gesù, Gesù ! ... 0 Madonna seat beside her. The young baron, santa!..." Turning around, I bewho escorted her, then concluded held my aunt, pale with fright, kissto follow my example, and I made ing the cross of the rosary she held a sign to Lando to take the vacant in her hand. place. He obeyed me less eagerly Donna Clelia, as we are perfectly than usual.

Stella, my two cousins, aware, knew how to brave danger and the young Englishman took when she found an occasion worthy possession of the other carriage of the trouble. We had a proof of which assumed the lead, followed this on the memorable day of the with an envious eye by the baron combat on the Toledo. But, as it

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has perhaps also been perceived, because I cannot endure this storm she was rather indifferent to the of fire. It is the end of the world picturesque. Consequently, there the day of judgment! ... How was nothing at this moment to it oppresses me! ... How it stifles stimulate her courage, and I was me! ... O my God! and the povere alarmed at the condition in which I ragasze, dove sono ? ...0 holy saw her.

Virgin, lead us all back safe and “O Ginevrina mia! ..." said sound to Naples, and I promise she at last in a trembling voice, you that for nine days ..."

non mi fido! No, I have not the She finished her vow mentally, courage to go any further. . . . Ma for Mario at once decided on the donna ! ..

only thing that could be done, and This last appeal was caused by a devoted himself to the task. He stream of fire brighter than any of would take her back to Resina in the preceding ones, and accompa- the carriage, and there await or nied by a loud detonation.

return. “But merciful Lord! What fol- The exchange was soon effected. ly!" she continued. “What ca- My aunt did not require any insistprice! What madness! How can ing, after we promised to bring her you wish to rush into such a lake of daughters back without allowing fire while you are still alive! .. them to incur any danger. In the Oh! no, not yet; no, never! O twinkling of an eye she was placed mamma mia! misericordia ! ..." beside Mario in the carozzella with

Each new stream of fire produc- her back to Mt. Vesuvius, while ed a more lively exclamation of Gilbert took her place beside me, terror. All at once she leaned her and we pursued our way as fast as head on my shoulder, exclaiming: possible, in order to make up for the

“ Ginevrina!...I feel I am time we had lost. going to have a papariello !"*

We soon arrived at the place At this we stopped the carriage. where we were obliged to leave the It was evidently dangerous to take carriage. Gilbert aided me in deher any further. But what should scending, and then gave me his arm, we do? ... Must we give up our while Lando and the baron went in excursion, and retrace our steps ? search of the other members of the We were not inclined to do this. party, who only had Mr. Leslie to Besides, the other carriage was protect them. They were soon out some distance in advance, and could of sight, and Gilbert remained aloce not be recalled. In this dilemma with me. we were rejoined by the carozzella. I will not repeat here what every Gilbert and Mario leaped from their one has seen or read concerning the carriage to ascertain what had hap- eruptions of Mt. Vesuvius. I wil pened to us.

merely say to those who have not "What is it, Zia Clelia ?" said had the experience, that this exMario, approaching the carriage, traordinary spectacle, assuredly the and perceiving my aunt in the at- most wonderful and at the same titude I have just mentioned. She time the most terrific in the whole raised her head.

world of nature, causes a singular “O Mario! figlio mio! It is fascination which induces the spec

tator to approach continually near* Neapolitan for a nervous attack. er and nearer the fiery crater. It

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