[…]


Boyd Spahr

Four Poems


[104] Ante Bellum and The Gem of the Lake


“Thank you, dear auntie! For the sake of
my friends I should like to have
succeeded, but I am not at all
disappointed, as I felt certain beforehand
that my confidence would desert me; and
when we came upon the stage, and I
found so many eyes turned toward us, I
felt dizzy, and thought that I should
faint, although I tried, as Charlie had
told me, ‘to screw my courage to the
sticking point.’ At first I was scarcely
conscious of the sound that issued from
my lips; still, if I had been left alone,
perhaps I would have recovered myself;
but Julia

Eleanor, who could see Julia plainly, and
whose companion was almost hidden
from her view by intervening figures,
thought, of course, that manly form
could belong to none other than Egbert,
the husband; he alone should dare to
look thus upon the wedded Julia. “Yes; it
is he,” murmured her beating heart, with
accelerated pulsations. How benumbed
became her limbs, how her brain
whirled! But Eleanor was mistaken. It
was not the Rev. Egbert Cropper who
now sat beside the brilliant Julia! Who
then could be journeying with his wife?
Ye pitying angels! it was the young
physician, Le Fevre. Misguided,
deluded, miserable Julia

[109] The Way of the World and Robert Severne

It was not possible that men so
prominent as Eugene and Dr. Lynch
could wholly avoid each other, or that
Dick could entirely escape the presence
of his intended murderer. They met in
public places—in the church, in town
meeting, in the library, in the streets, and
not unfrequently at the social gatherings
of the two villages. They bowed to each
other; they even spoke upon indifferent
topics when compelled to do so, and it
was many weeks before the people
discovered that the doctor had ceased to

visit Pine Hill. The sufferer had the tact
to explain everything in a plausible
manner. He had given up Julia


Well, sir, you see while Brother Jenkins
was a preachin’ I was lookin’ around, not
but what I was listenin’, too, and learnin’
every blessed word; and I looked in the
poor thing’s trunks and closets, because,
you know, sir, says I to myself, ‘Maybe
there might be somethin’ as would tell
who she was,’ but I only found a few
pictures and two or three books, and
such like. And I was beginnin’ to
despair, when all at once it struck me all
of a heap-like that I knew that room; and
when I came to think about it I
remembered that it was the very one
Julia
[137] Hortense and Cameron Hall

I was aroused from the soothing effect of
his voice and words, by the grating noise
of approaching wheels on the carriage
drive. Glancing from the window, I saw
a strange face—a woman’s face—of a
ghostly pallor—bent earnestly toward
the house. It passed quickly, and soon
after there was a slight silken rustling at
the half open door. A lady entered, and
advanced toward us as the master stood
with his back to the door, and neither
saw nor heard her, until she approached
near enough to lay her hand upon his
shoulder. He started, as if stung by that
light touch—turned—and confronted the
woman. For the space of a second, utter
stagnation of the faculties seemed to be
the result of their mutual gaze. Then a
simultaneous ejaculation of “Molina!”
“Julia


With a piercing shriek of agony that
absolutely stilled Julia’s heart, Eva sank
back upon the bed in wild delirium. The
sudden shock had been too much for her
shattered nerves, and scream followed
scream, until they all wondered how her
exhausted frame could bear such intense
excitement. She was perfectly
ungovernable, and when, at last, she
became quiet from sheer exhaustion,
there was a wild, unnatural gleam of her
eye, so different from its usual soft
expression, that Julia feared that her
reason was hopelessly gone. Her whole
face was distorted, and she tore out her
hair by handfuls and strewed the floor
with her long, beautiful curls. She
heeded not father or sister or Uncle John.
Indeed, she did not seem to recognize
any of them. Grace alone could soothe
and quiet her; and Julia

[140] Bessie and Raymond and Cupid’s Album

On that evening, true to his promise to
see Bessie, Charlie called upon her, in
company with Minnie and Frederic
Sedgwick and his wife. They found her
alone. She sat in the parlor, expecting
Raymond every moment. Bessie
welcomed her friends, yet it would be
too much to say that she welcomed them
cordially and sincerely, although she
would undoubtedly have done so had she
not felt their presence a rebuke to her
weak selfishness. She had heard that
both Frederic and Charles had enlisted,
with the sanction of those dearest to
them, and she dreaded hearing them
utter a word in regard to the subject.
Charles knew her feelings, and Frederic
supposed she was somewhat opposed to
Raymond’s becoming a soldier, yet did
not dream that she could express
sentiments in sincerity, such as she had
expressed to Julia


“It must have been a picture to look
upon, Julia, in her brilliant brunette
beauty, with her long, waving hair, black
as the raven’s wing, and most beautiful
in its graceful disorder, and her faultless
figure robed in soft folds of bright
scarlet oil chintz, a dress the chieftain
himself had prepared for her, and the
priest in his black cossack and rosary
kneeling beside her. ‘Child,’ said he,
‘would you witness another frightful
human sacrifice, another feast of the
flesh and blood of your own dear
friends, then refuse longer to partake of
this food. You may not value your life as
you do your virgin innocence; but the
lives of others—the lives of fathers and
mothers are in your hands. Can you have
heard their helpless bairns calling to you
to spare their parents? You relent, Julia

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