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Sweet Memories

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Three f„ merations sat in the soft glow of the (leep crimson lamp shade that mellowed evcrything iii the little parlor, ïhore was one daughter seated at the piano, singing sweet and low. She most of all was glorified by the roddy rays trom the trauslucent paper that feil over her. There was tho mother, and beside her sat the motber's mother, near the circumferenco of the halo, tho one listening with a glow of pride, the orher, to whom the girl's voice wasnew - the grandmother was a visitor at the house - listeniüjT as ono who hears a voice calliug in a lönesorne place. She sat there thinking, thinking, thinking, did this dear old soul, of a day wheu she, too, had sat at the piauo herself, so prondly, and had suug the tender bal - lads of that bygoue day with a voice full oí' pasflion, a deep contralto voice, one that tiouched the heart in its most saored depths, wbeu the ntiong, clear notes were strook and then broke into a pleading tremolo in the upper register. Fifty years ago that graudam's voice had thrilled hearts now dttst, or worse than dust - hearts that were nurnb to tendor tbings - and there was borne iu the burden of her songs one message, that of love - even before her heart had kuown its meauing her voice had spoken love. The voice of the girl sitting at the piano was like her grandmother's had been. It huiitod chords in the hearts of those who htard her and set them pulsiug in echo to her own sweet longing that could find no words. God only knows what long, silent, rusted chords sbe touohed with her resonant voice, did thischilfi, in hor grandmother's soul. She sang the simple ballads of the dy- "Last Night," "TheClang of the Woodeu Shoon, " "Marguerite" - aad as she sang her mother, to whom the singing was an old story, slipped out of the room - taking all her years with her perhaps - and left tÜDin together, together even in youth that sees visions. The young siiall seo visions, and the old shall dream dreams, saith the prophet. But when, by some magie of a voice or some alchemy of the soul, old age, whieh has dreamed dreams, sees in oue vivid flash of light the dreams of the past as visions - there is tragedy. Tho girl under the crimson lamp shade turuert idly from leaf to leaf in her portfolio and sang by pieceineal. The eider woruan ouly asked that she keep ou siuging. She only asked to hear that voice, her owu voice, to the very quaver on C. And her dreams were all but visions, and life was all but youth again. Thero had been a wild song, oue that the hearer did not know, aud the chorus sobbed out: Oh, is it forever, Love, that we must severf O love, will you never Come baek agaiu? Aud tho story that the song told of was of two lovers who had met under the roses and had known "the love of a day, the love of a life. " What a swirl of fancies the singing of the cbild.sent eddying through the aged brain! The music did not cease. The girl recalled a sweet old song, a peaoeful, sorrowful ditty our grandmothers sang: Could ye come back to me, Douglas, Douglas, In the old likeness I knew, I 'd 1"' so fnithful, so loving, Douglas, Douglas, Douglas, tender and true. The girl sang on tintil shethoughtshe harl tired her grandmother, and tbin whirling around on the stool she said gayly: "Well, grandma, how do you like it? Haven't I improved in ten years?" She rose as she said this, and without even waiting for a reply, as is the way of careless, thoughtless youth, she left the room huiuming: Now all r.v n besjde are; to me like sliadows, Douglas, Douglas, tender and true. The girl went to her mother, who, she knew, was attending to some duties of the household. The words "all men like shadows" ran through the aged woman's head when the girl left the room, and she was thankful for the child's thoughtlessness which had left her alone for a moment. The spell of the pleading song was upon her. lier life was turned backward. Youug faces smiled at her. Sho wemed as bold as youth, this shy old woman, who two honra bef ore had been afraid to protest against thn overcharge of a cabman. She heard her daughter's steps aud the child's in the room above hér, and, thrilled with the mesmeric enchantment of the M)iig, she became wrapped in a consnming longing to trjif she could not sing the old song again She tiptoed about tho room, and closing the doors and looking ever behind lier, she circled to the piano. She wished to sing out loud somethiug that was iu her heart, to put it into words aud let it come trom her lips. She believed that to say the ach ing words would e.aj'e a throbbing in her heart. She could not at firat liring herself to begin the song, so 8he fuinbled among the keys, pretending to hunt for ;he air, and said the words of the flrst stanza to herself in silence. She touch'il tho pianissimo pedal of the instruneiit; then, as her hands upon tho keys ed her to the second bar, she moaned: s I my heart on your doad heart, Douglas, : Dougrlas, Douglás, taiider and true. And wfien she hoard the horrid croak of her own voi;e she remembered - everything. iod pitied her and sent her ■wogreat teurs, tears that were of youth that had been kent sacred thronuh all he yeurs.


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