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And from the great mid-ball there came
A sound as of a gathering flame
That laps and strains upon the wind.
No longer did Ralph lag behind,
But o'er the weedy threshold went,
Nerving his heart to'ards his intent.

The hall was bright, the hall was warm,
The luill was peopled with a swarm
Of stately shapes that sumptuously
Were round a black, carved table sitting
On golden chairs, for a palace fitting;
And every one, with an awful eye
An eye like gloom and flame commixed
Looked at Balph, who stood transfixed,
But steadily looked at them again.
He saw, and felt within his brain,
That they were ghosts.The eddying air,
Which his quick entrance woke up there,
Made them waver like a mist:
It was an uncouth sight I wist!
The wall behind was scarcely veiled:
Yet some of those strange shapes were mailed:
And some were clad in coloured silk,
And some in vestments white as milk,
And some in velvet, rayed with gold,
And all in fashions quaint and old.
With mystical light their features burned;
And Ralph, in every ghostly face
Which met him in that haunted place,
Strange likeness to himself discerned!

Brave at all times, he did not run;
And the ghosts rose up, every one,
And bowed to him, but spoke no word;
Then motioned him towards the board,
And seated him in pomp and state
At the upper end; and, on a plate
Like moonlight, gave him food divine,
And, in a sparkling goblet, wine
That kindled in his heart and veins.

But I must here draw in the reins,
And must in briefer language tell
The wonders of that spectacle:
How viands, marvellous and rare,
Came swiftly sliding through the air,
And, being done with, vanished straight;
And how, all round, there seemed to wait
Invisible servants, who supplied

Ralph's vaguest wish; and how the room
Grew gorgeous with itSipomp and pride,
And like a flower appeared to bloom;

And how no syllable was spoken,
Leaving the quietness unbroken,
Save by a low, long music sound,
That filled the air, and lingered round,
Like one heart-deep and endless sigh
Welling from out Eternity;
And how, when all the feast was ended,
With odours and sweet airs attended,
The banquet faded noiselessly;
And how a dance went through the hall,
Wild, flashing, swift, aerial,
With bird-like pipings heard aloft,
And inner chucklings, deep and soft:
These matters I must quickly pass.

At length, as in a magic glass
Where shades of unborn things appear,
Ralph all too plainly could espy,
In every spectre's troubled eye,

Strange tokens that the morn was near.
The phantom light shrank up in fear;
The ghosts began to droop and languish;
The music wailed and writhed in anguish;
A sense of Death was in the place.
Then one of that unfleshly race,
Older and greyer than his brothers.
Stood some way forward from the others,
And spoke to Ralph (who dumbly stood,
And listened to him in his blood)
These words, which made a musical chime,
Like echoes of a far-off time:—

"Oh, living flower upon the tree
Of our defrauded pedigree!
True son of our majestic line!

We are thy fathers (though our bones
Lie under long-forgotten stones),
And all these spreading lands are thine.
They are now held, against thy right,
By him who shut thee out this night,
The scion of a younger branch
Which, in a former day, did launch
At their own kindred poisonous lies
And subtly-painted perjuries,
Wresting from us our just estate,
And these old hallsnow desolate
Deserting for a modern house
More fit for revel and carouse.
Thou see'st where I am standing. Here,
Beneath this flag-stone, which shall bear
Marks of my presence, thou shalt find
A written parchment, making clear
The truth. past doubt. But now, behind
The Easteni hills I feel the sun;
And his sharp arrows through me run
Like ice. I dare no longer stay."

Instantly, all had passed away.
The white dawn looked into the room,
And shivered within the empty gloom:
Ralph shivered, too; and on the ground
Fell suddenly into sleep profound.

Our Tale may now be ended soon.
Ralph woke from out his sleep at noon,
Removed the stone, and, in a hole
Beneath it, found the parchment scroll;
And in short time the lands were his.
Urged by his ghostly sympathies,
The ancient castle he restored,
And lived there like a worthy lord,
In pomp, and gravity, and state.
The old possessor, from whose gate
Ralph, the right owner, had been spurned,
He would not suffer to be turned
From out his home, but still allowed

A sum sufficient to maintain
His kinsman in that mansion proud,
On this condition broad and plain
Never again to let his door
Be barred against the homeless poor.

Now, ever as the ages roll,
God prosper such a noble soul!

MECHANICS BY INSTINCT.

IF sponges were created before insects, the
Euplectella must have been the first weavers;
but man's teacher of the art of forming tissues
by interlacing thread was undoubtedly the
spider. An African species of that insect
made doors for its dwelling, long before

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