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Evening Song

Faintly the voices are flying to me;
Fragments and snatches fall here and fall there.
Shall I draw nearer, or will the song flee?

Pines of the forest are dark, yet I see
The light of a fire, all blazing and fair鈥
Faintly the voices are flying to me.

Strange is the melody, wild, and free,
Chanting of happiness, love, and despair.
Shall I draw nearer, or will the song flee?

Softly I steal through the dim-lighted lea,
Earnestly seeking that uncanny air.
Faintly the voices are flying to me.

Almost I catch it; again it breaks free.
What is this song, so familiar, so rare?
Shall I draw nearer, or will the song flee?

Finally I break through, the brightness I see!
Then blackness, and silence, and nothing is there.
Faintly the voices are flying to me:
Shall I draw nearer, or will the song flee?

Bedtime Hour

From Ailenroc鈥檚 Book, by Cornelia Alexander

鈥楾is the children鈥檚 bedtime hour;
They are murmuring sleepy prayers,
While my thoughts go straying backward
Down the path of the vanished years;
And, evolved from their misty shadows,
One face and form I see:
A dear little boy, with serious look,
Saying his prayers at my knee.

With brown hands closely folded
And dark head bended low,
I hear again the murmur
That the childish lips o鈥檈rflow.
鈥淟ead me not into any temptation,
From all evil deliver me,鈥
Was the nightly prayer of the little boy
Who said his prayers at my knee.

Ah me! with an aching heart beat,
I think how the years have flown
Since that time, and my firstborn
From his mother鈥檚 home is gone;
And to-night I pray: 鈥溾極ur Father,鈥
Wherever he may be,
Make him again the good little boy
Who said his prayers at my knee.鈥

At St. Roque’s

From Ailenroc鈥檚 Book, by Cornelia Alexander. Note from the blogger: St. Roch’s chapel still exists in New Orleans, and greatly resembles the description given by Mrs. Alexander more than a century ago. Here is more information about the cemetery and chapel, and here is a collection of photographs from the place which I found very interesting.

鈥淣o visit to New Orleans is complete without a pilgrimage to St. Roque, and you must go there. I have some wishes to make, and will go with you.鈥

So said my friend, whom I will call 鈥淣ell.,鈥 for short.

鈥淪ome wishes to make?鈥 I repeated.

鈥淵es,鈥 she said. 鈥淎ccording to an old legend, one may get any wish granted by walking to St. Roque鈥攏ever stopping on the way鈥攕aying a prayer, and making a wish.鈥

鈥淗ow easy! And who, pray, might St. Roque be?鈥 I asked.

鈥淥, he was just a saint,鈥 she said, lightly, 鈥渁 very holy man. I don鈥檛 know much about him, but I do know that wishes are granted at St. Roque鈥檚 Church. I鈥檝e tried it. I wished once for money, and got it.鈥

Nell. was not raised a Catholic, but has drifted that way from superstition and association.

Seeing that I was still unbelieving, she appealed to Miss Cecilia, a lovely Creole girl, a native of the city, and a pure and tender lamb of the Catholic fold. Read More

Is It I?

From Ailenroc鈥檚 Book, by Cornelia Alexander

Once I knew a joyous maiden,
Happy as a summer bird,
Laughing, singing 鈥榤ong the flowers;
Her young heart with pleasure stirred.
O the happy days of childhood!
How they flit like phantoms by!
While I retrospect those hours,
Wondering vaguely: Was it I?

How I marveled then at faces
Growing graver with the years,
And at eyes that lost their brightness,
Quenched their light in bitter tears!
Now I marvel at the gladness
Of the days so long gone by,
While I sit a silent weeper,
Wondering: Can this be I?

Happy hours鈥攖hey have fled forever;
Happy heart has left my breast;
Childhood鈥檚 days have fled like shadows,
Womanhood hath brought no rest.
All alone in wintry darkness
Sit I as the days go by,
Thinking of my happy girlhood,
Wondering: Can this be I?

The Tale of a Dinner

From Ailenroc鈥檚 Book, by Cornelia Alexander

鈥淢atilda,鈥 said Mr. Sanders, putting his head in at the kitchen door, 鈥淏rother Grice and Brother Lee, from Bumbleton, are here, and will remain to dinner.鈥

Mr. Sanders was a preacher, who preached at Bumbleton once a month; Matilda was his wife.

鈥淢ercy on me!鈥 she said, staring at him; but in a moment her gaze wandered past him across the field鈥攕till farther. She was wondering what she would have for dinner.

鈥淲ell,鈥 said Mr. Sanders, fidgeting about the door, 鈥渢hey are in the sitting room, and I must go back. It is ten o鈥檆lock, Matilda.鈥

鈥淚 know,鈥 she said, trying to smile. 鈥淚鈥檒l have dinner on time; never fear. Go back to your company.鈥

He looked back as he turned to go, saying, in a hesitating sort of way: 鈥淵ou鈥攜ou can make out, Matilda.鈥

鈥淚 think so,鈥 she answered. 鈥淒id I ever fail?鈥 Read More