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Alexander's Bridge

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<SPAN name="link2H_EPIL" id="link2H_EPIL"> <!-- H2 anchor --> </SPAN> </p> <div style="height: 4em;"> <br /><br /><br /><br /> </div> <h2> EPILOGUE </h2> <p> Professor Wilson had been living in London for six years and he was just back from a visit to America. One afternoon, soon after his return, he put on his frock-coat and drove in a hansom to pay a call upon Hilda Burgoyne, who still lived at her old number, off Bedford Square. He and Miss Burgoyne had been fast friends for a long time. He had first noticed her about the corridors of the British Museum, where he read constantly. Her being there so often had made him feel that he would like to know her, and as she was not an inaccessible person, an introduction was not difficult. The preliminaries once over, they came to depend a great deal upon each other, and Wilson, after his day's reading, often went round to Bedford Square for his tea. They had much more in common than their memories of a common friend. Indeed, they seldom spoke of him. They saved that for the deep moments which do not come often, and then their talk of him was mostly silence. Wilson knew that Hilda had loved him; more than this he had not tried to know. </p> <p> It was late when Wilson reached Hilda's apartment on this particular December afternoon, and he found her alone. She sent for fresh tea and made him comfortable, as she had such a knack of making people comfortable. </p> <p> "How good you were to come back before Christmas! I quite dreaded the Holidays without you. You've helped me over a good many Christmases." She smiled at him gayly. </p> <p> "As if you needed me for that! But, at any rate, I needed YOU. How well you are looking, my dear, and how rested." </p> <p> He peered up at her from his low chair, balancing the tips of his long fingers together in a judicial manner which had grown on him with years. </p> <p> Hilda laughed as she carefully poured his cream. "That means that I was looking very seedy at the end of the season, doesn't it? Well, we must show wear at last, you know." </p> <p> Wilson took the cup gratefully. "Ah, no need to remind a man of seventy, who has just been home to find that he has survived all his contemporaries. I was most gently treated&mdash;as a sort of precious relic. But, do you know, it made me feel awkward to be hanging about still." </p> <p> "Seventy? Never mention it to me." Hilda looked appreciatively at the Professor's alert face, with so many kindly lines about the mouth and so many quizzical ones about the eyes. "You've got to hang about for me, you know. I can't even let you go home again. You must stay put, now that I have you back. You're the realest thing I have." </p> <p> Wilson chuckled. "Dear me, am I? Out of so many conquests and the spoils of conquered cities! You've really missed me? Well, then, I shall hang. Even if you have at last to put ME in the mummy-room with the others. You'll visit me often, won't you?" </p> <p> "Every day in the calendar. Here, your cigarettes are in this drawer, where you left them." She struck a match and lit one for him. "But you did, after all, enjoy being at home again?" </p> <p> "Oh, yes. I found the long railway journeys trying. People live a thousand miles apart. But I did it thoroughly; I was all over the place. It was in Boston I lingered longest." </p> <p> "Ah, you saw Mrs. Alexander?" </p> <p> "Often. I dined with her, and had tea there a dozen different times, I should think. Indeed, it was to see her that I lingered on and on. I found that I still loved to go to the house. It always seemed as if Bartley were there, somehow, and that at any moment one might hear his heavy tramp on the stairs. Do you know, I kept feeling that he must be up in his study." The Professor looked reflectively into the grate. "I should really have liked to go up there. That was where I had my last long talk with him. But Mrs. Alexander never suggested it." </p> <p> "Why?" </p> <p> Wilson was a little startled by her tone, and he turned his head so quickly that his cuff-link caught the string of his nose-glasses and pulled them awry. "Why? Why, dear me, I don't know. She probably never thought of it." </p> <p> Hilda bit her lip. "I don't know what made me say that. I didn't mean to interrupt. Go on please, and tell me how it was." </p> <p> "Well, it was like that. Almost as if he were there. In a way, he really is there. She never lets him go. It's the most beautiful and dignified sorrow I've ever known. It's so beautiful that it has its compensations, I should think. Its very completeness is a compensation. It gives her a fixed star to steer by. She doesn't drift. We sat there evening after evening in the quiet of that magically haunted room, and watched the sunset burn on the river, and felt him. Felt him with a difference, of course." </p> <p> Hilda leaned forward, her elbow on her knee, her chin on her hand. "With a difference? Because of her, you mean?" </p> <p> Wilson's brow wrinkled. "Something like that, yes. Of course, as time goes on, to her he becomes more and more their simple personal relation." </p> <p> Hilda studied the droop of the Professor's head intently. "You didn't altogether like that? You felt it wasn't wholly fair to him?" </p> <p> Wilson shook himself and readjusted his glasses. "Oh, fair enough. More than fair. Of course, I always felt that my image of him was just a little different from hers. No relation is so complete that it can hold absolutely all of a person. And I liked him just as he was; his deviations, too; the places where he didn't square." </p> <p> Hilda considered vaguely. "Has she grown much older?" she asked at last. </p> <p> "Yes, and no. In a tragic way she is even handsomer. But colder. Cold for everything but him. `Forget thyself to marble'; I kept thinking of that. Her happiness was a happiness a deux, not apart from the world, but actually against it. And now her grief is like that. She saves herself for it and doesn't even go through the form of seeing people much. I'm sorry. It would be better for her, and might be so good for them, if she could let other people in." </p> <p> "Perhaps she's afraid of letting him out a little, of sharing him with somebody." </p> <p> Wilson put down his cup and looked up with vague alarm. "Dear me, it takes a woman to think of that, now! I don't, you know, think we ought to be hard on her. More, even, than the rest of us she didn't choose her destiny. She underwent it. And it has left her chilled. As to her not wishing to take the world into her confidence&mdash;well, it is a pretty brutal and stupid world, after all, you know." </p> <p> Hilda leaned forward. "Yes, I know, I know. Only I can't help being glad that there was something for him even in stupid and vulgar people. My little Marie worshiped him. When she is dusting I always know when she has come to his picture." </p> <p> Wilson nodded. "Oh, yes! He left an echo. The ripples go on in all of us. He belonged to the people who make the play, and most of us are only onlookers at the best. We shouldn't wonder too much at Mrs. Alexander. She must feel how useless it would be to stir about, that she may as well sit still; that nothing can happen to her after Bartley." </p> <p> "Yes," said Hilda softly, "nothing can happen to one after Bartley." </p> <p> They both sat looking into the fire. </p> <hr /> <p> <SPAN name="link2H_4_0013" id="link2H_4_0013"> <!-- H2 anchor --> </SPAN> </p> <div style="height: 4em;"> <br /><br /><br /><br /> </div> <h2> THE BARREL ORGAN by Alfred Noyes </h2> <pre xml:space="preserve"> There's a barrel-organ caroling across a golden street, In the City as the sun sinks low; And the music's not immortal; but the world has made it sweet And fulfilled it with the sunset glow; And it pulses through the pleasures of the City and the pain That surround the singing organ like a large eternal light; And they've given it a glory and a part to play again In the Symphony that rules the day and the night. And now it's marching onward through the realms of old romance, And trolling out a fond familiar tune, And now it's roaring cannon down to fight the King of France, And now it's prattling softly to the moon, And all around the organ there's a sea without a shore Of human joys and wonders and regrets; To remember and to recompense the music evermore For what the cold machinery forgets. . . . Yes; as the music changes, Like a prismatic glass, It takes the light and ranges Through all the moods that pass; Dissects the common carnival Of passions and regrets, And gives the world a glimpse of all The colors it forgets. And there LA TRAVIATA sights Another sadder song; And there IL TROVATORE cries A tale of deeper wrong; And bolder knights to battle go With sword and shield and lance, Than ever here on earth below Have whirled into&mdash;A DANCE!&mdash; Go down to Kew in lilac time; in lilac time; in lilac time; Go down to Kew in lilac time; (it isn't far from London!) And you shall wander hand in hand with love in summer's wonderland; Go down to Kew in lilac time; (it isn't far from London!) The cherry-trees are seas of bloom and soft perfume and sweet perfume, The cherry-trees are seas of bloom (and oh, so near to London!) And there they say, when dawn is high and all the world's a blaze of sky The cuckoo, though he's very shy, will sing a song for London. The nightingale is rather rare and yet they say you'll hear him there At Kew, at Kew in lilac time (and oh, so near to London!) The linnet and the throstle, too, and after dark the long halloo And golden-eyed TU-WHIT, TU WHOO of owls that ogle London. For Noah hardly knew a bird of any kind that isn't heard At Kew, at Kew in lilac time (and oh, so near to London!) And when the rose begins to pout and all the chestnut spires are out You'll hear the rest without a doubt, all chorusing for London:&mdash; COME DOWN TO KEW IN LILAC TIME; IN LILAC TIME; IN LILAC TIME; COME DOWN TO KEW IN LILAC TIME; (IT ISN'T FAR FROM LONDON!) AND YOU SHALL WANDER HAND IN HAND WITH LOVE IN SUMMER'S WONDERLAND; COME DOWN TO KEW IN LILAC TIME; (IT ISN'T FAR FROM LONDON!) And then the troubadour begins to thrill the golden street, In the City as the sun sinks low; And in all the gaudy busses there are scores of weary feet Marking time, sweet time, with a dull mechanic beat, And a thousand hearts are plunging to a love they'll never meet, Through the meadows of the sunset, through the poppies and the wheat, In the land where the dead dreams go. Verdi, Verdi, when you wrote IL TROVATORE did you dream Of the City when the sun sinks low Of the organ and the monkey and the many-colored stream On the Piccadilly pavement, of the myriad eyes that seem To be litten for a moment with a wild Italian gleam As A CHE LA MORTE parodies the world's eternal theme And pulses with the sunset glow? There's a thief, perhaps, that listens with a face of frozen stone In the City as the sun sinks low; There's a portly man of business with a balance of his own, There's a clerk and there's a butcher of a soft reposeful tone, And they're all them returning to the heavens they have known: They are crammed and jammed in busses and&mdash;they're each of them alone In the land where the dead dreams go. There's a very modish woman and her smile is very bland In the City as the sun sinks low; And her hansom jingles onward, but her little jeweled hand Is clenched a little tighter and she cannot understand What she wants or why she wanders to that undiscovered land, For the parties there are not at all the sort of thing she planned, In the land where the dead dreams go. There's an Oxford man that listens and his heart is crying out In the City as the sun sinks low; For the barge the eight, the Isis, and the coach's whoop and shout, For the minute gun, the counting and the long disheveled rout, For the howl along the tow-path and a fate that's still in doubt, For a roughened oar to handle and a race to think about In the land where the dead dreams go. There's a laborer that listen to the voices of the dead In the City as the sun sinks low; And his hand begins to tremble and his face is rather red As he sees a loafer watching him and&mdash;there he turns his head And stares into the sunset where his April love is fled, For he hears her softly singing and his lonely soul is led Through the land where the dead dreams go. There's and old and hardened demi-rep, it's ringing in her ears, In the City as the sun sinks low; With the wild and empty sorrow of the love that blights and sears, Oh, and if she hurries onward, then be sure, be sure she hears, Hears and bears the bitter burden of the unforgotten years, And her laugh's a little harsher and her eyes are brimmed with tears For the land where the dead dreams go. There's a barrel-organ caroling across a golden street, In the City as the sun sinks low; Though the music's only Verdi there's a world to make it sweet Just as yonder yellow sunset where the earth and heaven meet Mellows all the sooty City! Hark, a hundred thousand feet Are marching on to glory through the poppies and the wheat In the land where the dead dreams go. So it's Jeremiah, Jeremiah, What have you to say When you meet the garland girls Tripping on their way? All around my gala hat I wear a wreath of roses (A long and lonely year it is I've waited for the May!) If any one should ask you, The reason why I wear it is, My own love, my true love, is coming home to-day. It's buy a bunch of violets for the lady (IT'S LILAC TIME IN LONDON; IT'S LILAC TIME IN LONDON!) Buy a bunch of violets for the lady; While the sky burns blue above: On the other side of the street you'll find it shady (IT'S LILAC TIME IN LONDON; IT'S LILAC TIME IN LONDON!) But buy a bunch of violets for the lady; And tell her she's your own true love. There's a barrel-organ caroling across a golden street, In the City as the sun sinks glittering and slow; And the music's not immortal, but the world has made it sweet And enriched it with the harmonies that make a song complete In the deeper heavens of music where the night and morning meet, As it dies into the sunset glow; And it pulses through the pleasures of the City and the pain That surround the singing organ like a large eternal light, And they've given it a glory and a part of play again In the Symphony that rules the day and night. And there, as the music changes, The song runs round again; Once more it turns and ranges Through all its joy and pain: Dissects the common carnival Of passions and regrets; And the wheeling world remembers all The wheeling song forgets. Once more La TRAVIATA sighs Another sadder song: Once more IL TROVATORE cries A tale of deeper wrong; Once more the knights to battle go With sword and shield and lance, Till once, once more, the shattered foe Has whirled into&mdash;A DANCE&mdash; Come down to Kew in lilac time; in lilac time; in lilac time; Come down to Kew in lilac time; (it isn't far from London!) And you shall wander hand in hand with Love in summer's wonderland; Come down to Kew in lilac time; (it isn't far from London!) COME DOWN TO KEW IN LILAC TIME; IN LILAC TIME; IN LILAC TIME; COME DOWN TO KEW IN LILAC TIME; (IT ISN'T FAR FROM LONDON!) AND YOU SHALL WANDER HAND IN HAND WITH LOVE IN SUMMER'S WONDERLAND; COME DOWN TO KEW IN LILAC TIME; (IT ISN'T FAR FROM LONDON!) </pre> <p> <br /> <br /> </p> <pre xml:space="preserve"> End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Alexander's Bridge and The Barrel Organ, by Willa Cather and Alfred Noyes
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