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LISA.

CHAPTER VI. That night a dark shadow, as of a coming terrible sorrow, fell upon Lisa’s soul. Perhaps she was over weary, having only lain down for a few minutes and then rising again to the many duties of poor folk, before any sleep had closed her tired eyes. Or, again, was it the heavy-charged thunderclouds, which slowly gathered and seemed to weigh down the-ahr,‘that oppressed her; vfhile the, neighbors gossiped in her • tired* eafrs, ’coming in and out to ask after remiwding her that she must leave him and silver dear ones to other care to-morrow. Yes 1 to-morrow They meant well; so why j her heart grow heavier? The sun-clouds were growing redder and redder; the storm must burst'sooto, she thought, as she looked out at Uhe summer night

Then a thought struck her. Her beautiful lily 1 : ’, 1 j By to-morrow it would,- i>e bruised and battered—may be dead. Some vague : superstition- -as fe hfer own life and that of the flower, her symbol, had unconsciously so, grpspi up within her that she felt uneasiness overpower her feverishly tired and overwrought brain. She glided-outskfe, and Jean, who dumbly watched, Jier with eyes like those of a loving ddg, tonight followed close. 1 1 Already a few heavy rain-drops splashed upon them, and heaven’s thunder (that crashes and reverlievates to warn fqlk of their sins, and teujify them to repentance) was faintly to be heard growling in the distance. ;j * Quick, quick! ’ said the boy, J * lift the pot, and put it in shelter, or we shall get soaked.’ ‘Here, then, dear Jean; and Lisa, with a sudden thought, pushed wider her little lattice. Jean, laughing, jumped over the low sill, while with some difficulty she lifted the bigpot, and they got the great lilf ißto’iia: room. i,-?.

It was the tiniest closet of a room, with barely space to turn in; and the roof sloped so low they had to put the plant close to her pillow, not to brc|k its beautiful head.

‘How it smells; stronger than incense,’ said her boy brother, snuffing the broad flowers. ! ‘

‘Art thou not going to take the beautiful plant over to thy new home, my Lily ? said her old father, in tones of warm if rough affectipp.|w|ien r l . later on they wenttotheir catty rest, poor people must ! | ‘ Oh, no!’ she said, smiling sweet but tired look. ; * The other ‘lily must always grow here to remind you of me, when I am gone away.’ 1; These were her last as she took her leave of them.,

‘ She is too pale and salnt-like, and looks strangely like her as she lay dead,’ thought the miy% remembering with a thrill common! ® all human hearts such another summers night five years But he .wefit to his hard-earned sWSpjike the others-; and 1 toil and all their eyes fast, though, the overhead, and the rain fell through - ness as from heaven’s opened sluices. Before her crucifix the Lily of Vaucourt had prayed long jnto the night, for she was’ weeping, bay&fa ftgainst a growing horror of fallen upon her spirit, but importunately, to te- saeSd this strange mystery, tws pfjtfc* Evil One Which overhung ttnd grew, and grew, taking awful possession of her.

T She threw out her qrms with a hitter ‘cry; ‘Save! help I bring me aga% tg life and light,put,of;terrible blackness her very flesh turning cold with the chill of those as. though they were going down into the'valley of the shadow of death; as uf there was no heaven, no mercy, po help jp |his life or the next; as if after praying fll our lives, our prayers chad -been shown to be useless appeals to anemptykky; as it—after all 1 after ail!—tthere was no God.

Such a raomepLof. awful soqkewpr, one of the Devil’s devices. to frighten mortal souls, if temptations fail,:-hated come and will yet come to thebighest and best of human minds. But 4 God be thanked, it will not not too long. At that great though silent cry from Lisa’s suffering spirit, theintfstfl!yddt£ ness around it seemed rent with a Tfty of the old glad light; the terrible fear vanished, as' of a stud. Alone in space and eternity, without foothold or trust in any beneficent superior power, Ifee faith was nO deldsidn j itifriumpbed n the hour of need. . flow often . , • / ‘. . . The steps offaitl} r// , Fall on the seeming void and find The rock beneath.’ 1 , !

So now the casement rattled, and the rain and wind still howled, but the darkness and terror, as of an evil powet that-had terrified the lily-maiden's pprp soul, had passed—as if borne away on tlie wings 6f one of those storm-blasts. Still and white, Lisa lay down on her humble, marrow couch, withboth hands crossed upon her breast, and the strong scent of the lily passed into her brain in narcotic waves of torpor, with > eaoh more and more Heavily drawn breathy What was Jacques doing?! that.was her faint last conscious thought ..m Outside a little hut in the forest four strong men are waiting in'the flight' and rain and tempest, watching door and window with loaded arms—whisper? ing one to another as nearer they crawl and crawl. ■ ~ * *->.? t ) Inside a man sits alone ‘ byYbme dying wood embers—all alone. Yet to him another ghastly companion, as ff Jl fellow woodcutter, with a gash across his throat, rises from’' the floor, Itakesfli place by his hearth, grins and nbds in dreadful jest—keeps theraurdererfroip hearing any sound at the door now-r-------will not be silenced—will not go 1. ; ? There will be a rush into the hut soon —a scuffle; sharp shots* and bloody work, maybe, under that- night blackness. What will be the end to Jacques Lemaltre? By Lisa’s pillow stood the great lily, but it now seemed 1 in the shadflWy moonlight to have shaped itself ifltio the form of a woman, the mother| Who bore that sleeping girl, watching, with a soft yet saddened smile that made .4 tender light amidst the gloopu Through her closed eyelids, the wepy, sleeper seemed to feel the virtue of that bl^p-

mg, and smiled an answering pea smile. Yet at times she could hardly bread . v and once half awoke. Was it morning yet —her neddin morning ? And where was her dear Jacques ? Through the wild night, along black ' forest paths five men are stumbling on theif way, and he in their midst is bleeding, wounded, and heavily\ttoned. ... tisa never knew this then, never . lived to know it after. Shall we pity her ?. ' Other peasant girls would have out- : lived the shame, the dire disgrace of ' a 'bridegroom and such a wedding ... morning. This one was but a pale . flower, drooping often in the rough soil that" bore her. The deep white chalice of her heart had unclosed but once to the poor sun-lighf of earth-love. Now the lily iaust fade and droop with winter

'coming; the pure flower could never h^ssom.. again save under brighter, all- , glorious skies, in another spring of life denied to souls on earth. JPoo.r Lisa had loved Jacques so ' ; ' j3 ‘dadrly : f ' She had prayed it might not ; hot cruelly be her lot to live without love; tender earthly soul —still striving not to suffer that love to be greatest Did that sweet shadowy and now purified mother know it all? Clearer and clearer as the moon rose . seamed ; that ethereal figure, softer its hald’of light like a reflection from the lily stars; it enfolded the sleeper, r- iwhose breath came slower —gentler End gentler—at times almost ceased in the heavy, even terrible oppression of the scented air, while a faint glory shone bn that happy maiden face, lit with a - smile more seraphic than any Lisa had yet smiled in all her gentle life.

‘So the night passed . And thus they found the Lily of <; -Vaucourt when her wedding morning - rose: ‘ She sleeps so sound, I cannot wake her,’ Manon had come back to say with tears, the cause for which she as -yet hardly knew. ‘And oh! but the : . room is so stifling with the scent of the great lify I could scarce breathe.’ Three-days later they took their last look at their Lisa in her coffin ! 1 All in white she lay with the glorious, lilies that in sweet kindness brought her death, laid about her; the largest between her folded hands, and a sprijj of box upon her breast. And .pope,: of even those who most dearly loved the maiden, could weep while gazing at the smile which those poor peasants believed was the sign and ' V symbol vouchsafed to them of her '! . present .blessed happiness, so that they .' not sorrow. 7 , ~w S9 jwith.grief indeed that she was / gone?-from among them, but awed j:. i-whispers that thus she had been mercifully, taken away from knowing sorrow, they laid Lisa in her grave, while all Vaucourt came to do her honor; ; among the rest a grave fair Englishman, prtio knew it was his word that would cause the just,death of the man she bad i loved. • Two months later, Jacques Lemaitre was executed in the great square of a

• near town for the murder of an un:,,j happy girl and of other unknown r-i r Beople in the forest, and of his comrade, with whom, by his own con- ' fission, he had quarrelled over their plunder; and the chief witness against ' him w*aS an English doctor whom he ‘ had tried to make also his victim. ’The , steep of winters passed; the , earth quickened with the inward moving ~ of - glad. springs; and summers and '-■■■ autumns bloomed and died in ripeness, but not for years did the children of : ’Vaucourt forget to hang white lilies 'round ,onQ humble wooden cross, while still told them, with a gentle smile, and tear, of the good maiden of the mill. , ; And still from the roots of sweet r Lisa’s, lily grew up plants every year. Each of her brothers and sisters kept one, even when they came to be men ! and pjptnen and went to other cottage _ homes of their own, leaving the mill and : did Armand and the grandmother; for they always remembered how that I: their dear Lisa said, ‘ I will leave my V; lily behind, to remind you of me when lanxgone.’ ; These had been the last words of . . tht Lily of Vaucourt. ■■'Meetings.... TT biRTIOULTURAL SOCIETY. * -TOe AITNXJAL MEETING of the above ; .will be held at Messrs Jacobson and 1 ‘ Eytob’s office oh TUESDAY, May 3rd, at • Bp.pt 1 ' Business—r.. To receive the Committee’s report, and '• elect Officers and Managing Com,r .. .r. puttee for ensuing year. \ . .;. The, outgoing Committee will meet pre,vioaalyafc the same place at 7.30. r-.X'l: , S, B. POYNTZ, 698 a Hon. Sea

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18810430.2.15

Bibliographic details

LISA., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 332, 30 April 1881

Word Count
1,792

LISA. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 332, 30 April 1881

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