Page:All quiet along the Potomac and other poems.djvu/287

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"Then leave the child, Reuben leave Avis in safety."

" Nay, mother, the God that I serve, He is able to keep her, if such be His pleasure ;

Why, then, should I slacken or swerve?"

" Good-bye, and God bless you !" The aged eyes,


Through tears, saw the travellers start Watched their lessening forms out of sight down

the valley, Till hills wedged their two lives apart.

What wonder the woman s heart failed in her bosom

As she saw them not over the hill ! What wonder that fancies she could not exorcise

Came round in the Sabbath day still !

The child, little Avis, the dead mother s darling, What if she should be smitten and slain ?

Her tremulous hands pressed hardly her bosom, As those do who struggle with pain,

Till she fell on her knees by the worn Bible open,

Glad refuge of souls sore afraid, And out of the trust of a Puritan mother

For the loved ones in danger she prayed :

" O God of my fathers, keep Reuben in safety ! Put the arms of thy love round about ! 24*

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