Page:Female Prose Writers of America.djvu/231

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201
FRANCES S. OSGOOD.

THE MAGIC LUTE.

My beauty! sing to me and make me glad!
Thy sweet words drop upon the ear as soft
As rose-leaves on a well.—Festus.

On a low stool at the feet of the Count de Courcy sat his bride, the youthful Lady Loyaline. One delicate, dimpled hand hovered over the strings of her lute, like a snowy bird, about to take wing with a burst of melody. The other she was playfully trying to release from the clasp of his. At last, she desisted from the attempt, and said, as she gazed up into his proud “unfathomable eyes”—

“Dear De Courcy! how shall I thank you for this beautiful gift? How shall I prove to you my love, my gratitude, for all your generous devotion to my wishes?”

Loyaline was startled by the sudden light that dawned in those deep eyes; but it passed away and left them calmer, and prouder than before, and there was a touch of sadness in the tone of his reply—

“Sing to me, sweet, and thank me so!”

Loyaline sighed as she tuned the lute. It was ever thus when she alluded to her love. His face would lighten like a tempest-cloud, and then grow dark and still again, as if the fire of hope and joy were suddenly kindled in his soul to be as suddenly extinguished. What could it mean? Did he doubt her affection? A tear fell upon the lute, and she said, “I will sing

the lady’s lay.”

The deepest wrong that thou couldst do,
 Is thus to doubt my love for thee,
For questioning that thou question’st too
 My truth, my pride, my purity.

’Twere worse than falsehood thus to meet
 Thy least caress, thy lightest smile,