THE BLACKSMITHS STORY.
By Frank Olive.
Well, no! my wife ain't dead, sir, but I've lost her all the same;
She left me voluntarily, and neither was to blame.
It's rather a queer story, and I think you will agree-
When you bear the circumstances-'twas rather rough on me.
She was a soldier's widow. He was killed at Malvern Hill;
And when I married her she seemed to sorrow for him still;
But I brought her here to Kansas, and I never want to see
A better wife then Mary was for five bright years to me.
The change of scene brought cheerfulness, and soon a rosy glow
Of happiness warmed Mary's cheeks and melted all their snow,
I think she loved me some-I'm bound to think that of her, sir,
And as for me-I cant begin to tell how I loved her!
Three years ago the baby came our humble home to bless;
And then I reckon I was nigh to perfect happiness;
'Twas hers-'twas mine:-but I've no language to explain to you,
How that little girl's weak fingers our hearts together drew!
Once we watched it through a fever, and with each gasping breath,
Dumb with an awful, worldless woe, we waited for his death;
And, though I'm not a pious man, our souls together there.
For heaven to spare our darling, went up in voiceless prayer.
And when the doctor said 'twould live, our joy what words could tell?
Clasped in each other's arms, our grateful tears together fell.
Sometimes, you see, the shadow fell across our little nest.
But it only made the sunshine seem a doubly welcome guest.
Work came to me a plenty, and I kept the anvil ringing;
Early and late you'd find me there a hammering and singing;
Love nerved my arm to labor, and moved my tongue to song,
And though my singing wasn't sweet, it was tremendous strong!
One day a one-armed stranger stopped to have me nail a shoe,
And while I was at work, we passed a compliment or two;
I asked him how he lost his arm. He said 'twas shot away
At Malvern Hill. "At Malvern Hill Did you know Robert May?"
"That's me, "said he. "You, you! "I gasped, chocking with horrid doubt;
"If youre the man, just follow me; we'll try this mystery out!"
With dizzy steps, I led him to Mary. God! 'Twas true!
Then the bitterest pang of mystery, unspeakable, I knew.
Frozen with deadly horror, she stared with eyes of stone,
And from her quivering lips there broke one wild despairing moan.
'Twas he! the husband of her youth, now risen from the dead.
But all too late-and with a bitter cry, her senses fled.
What could be done? He was reported dead. On his return
He strove in vain some tiding of his absent wife to learn.
'Twas well that he was innocent! Else I'd 've killed him, too,
So dead he never would have riz till Gabriel's trumpet blew!
It was agreed that Mary then between as should decide,
And each by her decision would sacredly abide.
No sinner, at the judgment-seat, waiting eternal doom,
Could suffer what I did, while wailing sentence in that room.
Rigid and breathless, there we stood. " with nerves as tense as steel,
While Mary's eyes sought each white face, in piteous appeal.
God! could not woman's duty be less hardly reconciled
Between her lawful husband and the father of her child?
Ah, how my heart was chilled to ice, when she knelt down and said:
"Forgive me, John! He is my husband! Here! Alive! not dead!"
I raised her tenderly, and tried to tell her she was right,
But somehow, in my aching breast, the prisoned words stuck tight!
"But John, I can't leave baby." - "What! wife and child! "cried
"Must I yield all! Ah. cruel fate! Better that I should die."
Think of the long, sad lonely hours, waiting in gloom for me-
No wife to cheer me with her love-no babe to climb my knee!
And yet-you are her mother, and the sacred mother love
Is still the purest, tenderest tie that heaven ever wove.
Take her, but promise, Mary-for that will bring no shame"My little girl shall bear, and learn to lisp her father's name!"
It may be, in the life to come, I'll meet my child and wife;
But yonder, by my cottage gate, we parted for this life;
One long hand-clasp from Mary, and my dream of love was done,
One long embrace from baby, and my happiness was gone!