Page:Pieces People Ask For.djvu/235

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Who, gratis, shared my social glass,
But, when misfortune came to pass,
Referred me to the pump? Alas!
My Friend.

Through all this weary world, in brief,
Who ever sympathized with grief,
Or shared my joy, my sole relief?

Stella. That is very amusing; but, Mr. Festus, if this is the extent of your elocutionary acquirements—

Festus. Oh, I beg your pardon! By no means! With your permission, I will read something a little more sombre,—Edgar Poe's "Raven."

Stella. That is certainly more sombre. Proceed.

Reading. "The Raven," by Edgar A. Poe. Festus.

Stella. Excellent! Mr. Festus, you are certainly a good reader. But this seems to affect you.

Festus. It does, it does; for I, too, have lost one—

Stella. A raven?

Festus. Pshaw! Come, madam, I believe you are to read now, and I to listen.

Stella. Certainly. I will read, with your permission, Whittier's "Maud Muller."

Festus. I should be delighted to hear it.

Reading. "Maud Muller." Stella.

Festus. Beautiful, beautiful! Madam, this, too, affects me.

Stella. How?

Festus. When I think "it might have been."

Stella. Then I wouldn't think of it, if I were you. What shall we have now?

Festus. Suppose we read together.

Stella. Together?

Festus. Yes, a scene from some play. There's "The Marble Heart."

Stella. Oh, there's nothing in that but love-scenes!

Festus. It's a favorite play with me; and I have been thinking, while you were reading, that the character of "Marco" is one in which you might excel.