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So saying, Annie off did flee;
   And carol'd blithely as she went,
"'My heart's my own, my will is free, '
                        My love's still mine to give."


Next daythe sky had not a cloud
   Beneath the old oak-tree we sat
At work, while Walter read aloud
                        The love of fair Elaine.

Then came a stranger bounding through
   The trees of skirting copse, and raised
His cap. and smiling at us two,
                        Said, " Ladies, neighbour-love

"Of old may warrant this address;
   You have forgotten me, I fear;
But I remember you; yes, yes;
                        The little girls so loved

"By my dear mother——" There he paused:
   And then went on: "My playmates once;
And now——" He glanced at us, and caused
                        A smile of love from Walter.

"'Tis ' Hateful Hal!' exclaim'd our Annie.
   "Precisely so," he laughing said;
"You know me well; there are not many
                        Can boast that name of love

"You gave me formerly; so call
   Me by it still; I like it best."
She redden'd; bit her lip; let fall
                        Some words of aught but love.

"The very same, that hateful way
   Of his! so masterful, so bluff!"
I heard her mutteringly say,
                        With eyes that flash'd no love.

My Walter asked him courteously
   Of all his many wanderings;
"You are a sailor, sir, I see;
                        A calling that I love.

"Your banded cap, your jacket blue,
   Your epaulette, and sunburnt cheek,
All show me by these tokens true,
                        You love a seaman's life."

"Ay, that I do!" frank Harry said;
   " And yet, when I return at length,
And see the happy life you've led,—
                        The life of home and love,—

"I feel that life on land may be,
   With books and women by your side,
As nearly good as life at sea;
                        A life to lead and love."

My Walter smiled and look'd at me;
   While Annie bit her lip again,
And knit her brow, and tried to be
                        Unlovely in a frown.

"The same imperious lordly style!
   So! ' Women,' truly! Likely he
Should ever find one to beguile
                        With needlework and love

"His home on land, or bring him books,
   Or listen while he read aloud,
Or tend upon him with her looks
                        Of fond and happy love."

She murmur'd this with flushing face,
   As Waller led his guest away.
To show him o'er our pleasant place,
                        Our home of happy love.

Then, seeing me still sitting there,
   She broke into a trilling laugh,
And said, "Why, Minnie, do you care
                        For stitching, still, my love?

"Can you remain so quiet, mouse.
   While Walter is with Hateful Hal,
And making welcome to his house
                        A man we cannot love?

You know his hospitable way,
   His friendly kindly earnestness;
If Hateful Harry, now, should stay!
                        Oh, think of that, my love!"

"We'll try and bear it, dear, if so,"
   I answer'd quietly: then rose:
"I think I'll fold my work, and go
                        And see to it, my love."

We went; she would my basket carry,
   And ran before: and soon we join'd
The gentlementhat " Hateful Harry"
                        And Walter my beloved.

It proved as she had said; he had
   Been ask'd, and he had gladly stay'd.
"Come, Annie, " whisper'd I, " it's bad;
                        But never mind, my love;

"We'll make the best of it, and treat
   Him so politely, that he can't
Be churlish, rude, and bluffly meet
                        With roughness so much love."

Bright Annie gave a careless look,
   A careless toss of head, and smiled;
Then pencil and her sketching took
                        Amusement that she loves.

While I my needle closely plied;
   And Walter ask'd, and Harry told
Of countries distant, far and wide,
                        That he had seen and loved.

"And have you never chanced to meet
   In any of those foreign lands
A woman 'bove all others sweet,
                        A woman you could love?"

"In none," said bluntly " Hateful Hal;"
   " Abroad I never once set eyes
On any, and I never shall,
                        On any I could love.

"The only woman in my life
   I could have loved, deep hated me;
So never shall I take a wife,
                        And never shall I love."

There came a silence on us all:
   And shortly after took his leave
Our guest; but, in the outer hall.
                        He said to Walter, "Love,

"Such love as you have shown to me,
   A manly love of friend to friend,
A welcome home to one from sea,
                        Brings hearty love in turn.