'And you brought him home.' 'I did, ay Ronald, it rested with me.'
'Love!' 'Yes.' 'I would fain you were not so calm.' 'I cannot weep. No.'
'What is he like, your poor father?' 'He is - like - this fallen tree
Prone at our feet, by the still lake taking on rose from the glow,
Now scarlet, O look! overcoming the blue both lake and sky,
While the waterfalls waver like smoke, then leap in and are not.
And shining snow-points of high sierras cast down, there they lie.'
'O Laura - I cannot bear it. Laura! as if I forgot.'
'No, you remember, and I remember that evening - like this
When we come forth from the gloomy Canyon, lo, a sinking sun.
And, Ronald, you gave to me your troth ring, I gave my troth kiss.'
'Give me another, I say that this makes no difference, none.
It hurts me keenly. It hurts to the soul that you thought it could.'
'I never thought so, my Ronald, my love, never thought you base.'
No, but I look for a nobler nobleness, loss understood,
Accepted, and not that common truth which can hold through disgrace.
O! we remember, and how ere that noon through deeps of the lake
We floating looked down and the boat's shadow followed on rocks below,
So clear the water. O all pathetic as if for love's sake
Our life that is but a fleeting shadow 't would under us show.
O we remember forget-me-not pale, and white columbine
You wreathed for my hair; because we remember this cannot be.
Ah! here is your ring - see, I draw it off - it must not be mine,
Put it on, love, if but for the moment and listen to me.
I look for the best, I look for the most, I look for the all
From you, it consoles this misery of mine, there is you to trust.
O if you can weep, let us weep together, tears may well fall
For that lost sunsetting and what it promised, - they may, they must.
Do you say nothing, mine own belovèd, you know what I mean,
And whom. - To her pride and her love from YOU shall such blow be dealt...
...Silence uprisen, is like a presence, it comes us between...
As once there was darkness, now is there silence that may be felt.
Ronald, your mother, so gentle, so pure, and you are her best,
'T is she whom I think of, her quiet sweetness, her gracious way.
'How could she bear it?' - 'Laura!' 'Yes, Ronald.' 'Let that matter rest.
You might give your name to my father's child?' 'My father's name. Ay,
Who died before it was soiled.' 'You mutter.' 'Why, love, are you here?'
'Because my mother fled forth to the West, her trouble to hide,
And I was so small, the lone pine forest, and tier upon tier,
Far off Mexican snowy sierras pushed England aside.'
'And why am I here?' 'But what did you mutter?' 'O pardon, sweet.
Why came I here and - my mother?' In truth then I cannot tell.'
'Yet you drew my ring from your finger - see - I kneel at your feet.'
'Put it on. 'T was for no fault of mine.' 'Love! I knew that full well.'
'And yet there be faults that long repented, are aye to deplore,
Wear my ring, Laura, at least till I choose some words I can say,
If indeed any word need be said.' 'No! wait, Ronald, no more;
What! is there respite? Give me a moment to think "nay" or "ay."
I know not, but feel there is. O pardon me, pardon me, - peace.
For nought is to say, and the dawn of hope is a solemn thing,
Let us have silence. Take me back, Ronald, full sweet is release.'
'Laura! but give me my troth kiss again.' 'And give me my ring.'