THE WIFE S LETTER. 1 97
"And this !" On the brown face comes a shade;
The eyes grow dimmer, and strangely dark ; Across the temple there reddens fast The line of the rugged sabre-mark.
The solemn glance of the lifted face Is over days that have fled for aye ;
A comrade sleeps after battle well
Where the folded tents of the soldiers lie.
A vision comes of a toilsome march, A picture made out of battle-smoke
A reeling form and a crimson pool
Where the line of battle wav ring broke.
But this, the name in violet ink,
The monogram with its letters three !
Above the mouth, see ! the hand is laid, Lest we, the smile which it hides, may see.
Ah ! useless quite is the studied calm ;
Any idler near, the tale may tell That a thousand miles away, there bides
A woman fair, and she loves him well.
A gentle light in the eyes that read,
A smile through the beard and hand betrayed, A tender care for its folding up
Before its weight o er a heart is laid.
Away from common and business words, It softly lies like a sacred thing 17*