It was the second spring, and Molly and Walter sat again in the twilighted garden. Walter had just come home from his day's work; he had been plowing. He was a broad-shouldered, lean, powerful, handsome fellow, with a rather slow step, but soldierly carriage. His hands were brown and mighty, and took a little more washing than before.
"My father does not seem quite himself!" he said to Molly.
"He has been a little depressed for a day or two," she answered.
"There's nothing wrong, is there, Molly?"
"No, nothing. It is only his spirits. They have never been good once your mother died. He declares himself the happiest man in the county, now you are at home with us."
Walter was up early the next morning, and again at his work. A new-born wind blew on his face, and sent the blood singing through his veins. If we could hear all finest sounds, we might, perhaps, gather not only the mood, but the character of a man, by listening to the music or the discord the river of his blood was making, as through countless channels it irrigated lungs and brain: Walter's that morning must have been weaving lovely harmonies! It was a fresh spring wind, the breath of the world reviving from its winter-swoon. His father had managed to pay his debts; his hopes were high, his imagination active; his horses were pulling strong; the plow was going free, turning over the furrow smooth and clean; he was one of the powers of nature at work for the harvest of the year; he was in obedient consent with the will that makes the world and all its summers and winters! He was a thinking, choosing, willing part of the living whole, its vital fountain issuing from the heart of the Father of men! Work lay all about him, and he was doing the work! And Molly was at home, singing about hers! At night, when the sun was set, and his day's work done, he would go home to her and his father, to his room and his books and his writing!
But as he labored, his thought this day was most of his father: he was trying to make something to cheer him. The eyes of the old man never lost their love, but when he forgot to smile, Molly looked grave, and Walter felt that a cloud was over the sun. They were a true family: when one member suffered, all the members suffered with it.
So throughout the morning, as his horses pulled, and the earth opened, and the plow folded the furrow back, Walter thought, and made, and remembered: he had a gift for remembering completions, and forgetting the chips and rejected rubbish of the process. In the evening he carried borne with him these verses:
How shall he sing who hath no song? He laugh who hath no mirth?
Will strongest can not wake a song! It is no use to strive or long
To sing with them that have a song, And mirthless laugh with mirth!
Though sad, he must confront the wrong, And for the right face any throng, Waiting, with patience sweet and strong, Until God's glory fills the earth; Then shall he sing who had no song, He laugh who had no mirth!
Yea, if like barren rock thou sit
Upon a land of dearth,
Round which but phantom waters flit, Of visionary birth--
Yet be thou still, and wait, wait long; There comes a sea to drown the wrong, His glory shall o'erwhelm the earth, And thou, no more a scathed rock,
Shall start alive with gladsome shock, Shalt a hand-clapping billow be,
And shout with the eternal sea!
To righteousness and love belong
The dance, the jubilance, the song! For, lo, the right hath quelled the wrong, And truth hath stilled the lying tongue! For, lo, the glad God fills the earth. And Love sits down by every hearth! Now must thou sing because of song, Now laugh because of mirth!
Molly read the verses, and rose to run with them to her father. But Walter caught and held her.
"Remember, Molly," he said, "I wrote it for my father; it is not my own feeling at the moment. For me, God has sent a wave of his glory over the earth; it has come swelling out of the deep sea of his thought, has caught me up, and is making me joyful as the morning. That wave is my love for you, Molly--is you, my Molly!"
She turned and kissed him, then ran to his father. He read, turned, and kissed Molly.
In his heart he sung this song:
"Blessed art thou among women! for thou hast given me a son of consolation!"
And to Molly he said,
"Let us go to Walter!"