It’s a pair of hapless lovers: he crosses the briny deep: and she is
“That is indeed appropriate!” she replied mockingly, as he placed the
song before her.
“And am I to do the lamenting? And who for, if you please?”
She played the air once or twice through, first in quick, and finally
in slow, time; and then gave us the whole song with as much graceful
ease as if she had been familiar with it all her life:–
“He stept so lightly to the land,
All in his manly pride:
He kissed her cheek, he pressed her hand,
Yet still she glanced aside.
‘Too gay he seems,’ she darkly dreams,
‘Too gallant and too gay
To think of me–poor simple me—
When he is far away!’
‘I bring my Love this goodly pearl
Across the seas,’ he said:
‘A gem to deck the dearest girl
That ever sailor wed!’
She clasps it tight’ her eyes are bright:
Her throbbing heart would say
‘He thought of me–he thought of me—
When he was far away!’
The ship has sailed into the West:
Her ocean-bird is flown:
A dull dead pain is in her breast,
And she is weak and lone:
Yet there’s a smile upon her face,
A smile that seems to say
‘He’ll think of me he’ll think of me—
When he is far away!
‘Though waters wide between us glide,
Our lives are warm and near:
No distance parts two faithful hearts
Two hearts that love so dear:
And I will trust my sailor-lad,
For ever and a day,
To think of me–to think of me—
When he is far away!'”
The look of displeasure, which had begun to come over Arthur’s face
when the young Captain spoke of Love so lightly, faded away as the song
proceeded, and he listened with evident delight. But his face darkened
again when Eric demurely remarked “Don’t you think ‘my soldier-lad’
would have fitted the tune just as well!”
“Why, so it would!” Lady Muriel gaily retorted.
“Soldiers, sailors, tinkers, tailors, what a lot of words would fit in!
I think ‘my tinker-lad sounds best. Don’t you?”
To spare my friend further pain, I rose to go, just as the Earl was
beginning to repeat his particularly embarrassing question about the
“You have not yet–‘
“Yes, I’ve had some tea, thank you!” I hastily interrupted him.
“And now we really must be going. Good evening, Lady Muriel!”
And we made our adieux, and escaped, while the Earl was still absorbed
in examining the mysterious bouquet.
Lady Muriel accompanied us to the door. “You couldn’t have given my
father a more acceptable present!” she said, warmly. “He is so
passionately fond of Botany. I’m afraid I know nothing of the theory
of it, but I keep his Hortus Siccus in order. I must get some sheets
of blotting-paper, and dry these new treasures for him before they fade.
“That won’t be no good at all!” said Bruno, who was waiting for us in
“Why won’t it?” said I. “You know I had to give the flowers, to stop
“Yes, it ca’n’t be helped,” said Sylvie: “but they will be sorry when
they find them gone!”
“But how will they go?”
“Well, I don’t know how. But they will go. The nosegay was only a Phlizz,
you know. Bruno made it up.”
These last words were in a whisper, as she evidently did not wish
Arthur to hear. But of this there seemed to be little risk: he hardly
seemed to notice the children, but paced on, silent and abstracted; and
when, at the entrance to the wood, they bid us a hasty farewell and ran
off, he seemed to wake out of a day-dream.
The bouquet vanished, as Sylvie had predicted; and when, a day or two
afterwards, Arthur and I once more visited the Hall, we found the Earl
and his daughter, with the old housekeeper, out in the garden,
examining the fastenings of the drawing-room window.
“We are holding an Inquest,” Lady Muriel said, advancing to meet us:
“and we admit you, as Accessories before the Fact, to tell us all you
know about those flowers.”