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Lower and lower fell the dying flame,
   Midst the white ashes on the broad hearthstone;
The quivering shadows swiftly went and came,
   The silver sconces darken'd one by one.

O! faded, watchful, honest, hoping eye,
   Look out into the waste of blank white snow,
Where windy shadows of the night sweep by,
   With soundless, trackless step, and moaning low!
O! stretch'd and starting ear, get thee to rest!
   Morning is coming from the cloudy east;
The Yule-tide fire is out, thy prayer unblest,
   Untouch'd, untasted, stands the Yule-tide feast.
O! weary vigil, kept with floods of tears!
   O! faithful heart! O! eager, aching heart,
Weariest thou not with all those waiting years?
   Yearnest thou not to rest thee and depart?

"Not yet, not yet, a little longer space;
   A few more hours, a few more months of pain;
Sooner or later I shall see his face,
   It is a weary watch, but not in vain!"

"Listen! a muffled foot upon the snow,
   A heavy tread across the empty hall!
My master! O! my master, is it thou?"
   Cried Avice, with a wild and joyous call.

Bronzed was his face and iron-grey his hair,
   His eyes were dim with thick unfallen tears;
Deep-furrow'd was his brow with pain and care,
   Stamp'd with the woe of many hopeless years.
He sat him down in his accustom'd place.
   "O! master, welcome, welcome to thy home!"
Cried Avice, gazing on his stern dark face.
   "I thank thee, Avice. Quick, bid Lilian come!"

"Lilian, my master! Lilian is not here,
   Low lieth she beneath the churchyard sod;
Silent her loving heart, and deaf her ear,
   Her body dust, her pure soul gone to God!"

No word spake he, but from his breath a groan,
   The pent-up agony of his dark life,
Burst, with the thrill of heartbreak in its tone,
   Then ceased for aye his time of earthly strife.
They buried him at Angel Lilian's feet,
   At twilight, on the closing year's last day.
Through the hoar moss you read the legend yet,
   "Here lyeth Lilian Leigh and Percie Grey."


THE slave-owners of the Southern States
of America thoroughly understand that their
system is passing through a crisis. Some
hope to tide over the danger of reform, and to
rivet the old chains tighter than ever by
violently severing the Union; others, of a
better sort, are ready to adopt any course of
action which shall be at once practical and
just; which shall not, for sake of an ethical
right, inflict a social wrong, and which does
not found its humanity to the one side, on
cruelty to the other. This is precisely the
problem so difficult to solve. If Jefferson's
plan had been adopted when proposed, there
would have been no slaves now to vex the
politics and undermine the prosperity of the
Southern States. His wish was, that all
negroes born after the passing of a certain
law, should be declared free; that they
should remain with their parents until of
a certain age, that then they should be
brought up at the public expense to tillage,
arts, or sciences, according to their geniuses,
till the females should be eighteen, and the
males twenty-one years of age, when they
should be colonised to such place as the
circumstances of the time should render
most proper, sending them out with implements
of household and the handicraft
arts; that they should then be declared
to be a free and independent people; that
protection arid assistance should be afforded
them until they had acquired strength; and
that, at the same time, an equal number of
white people, from other parts of the world,
should be induced, by proper encouragements,
to migrate into Virginia. If the slaveowners
would consent to this, slavery would
die gradually and gently, without causing a
social earthquake and without inflicting a
class wrong. This was Jefferson's scheme;
and this is still the only practicable-looking
theory set forth by the more moderate

Indeed, in the imperial city of Washington,
slavery is gradually decreasing by its own
natural retrocession before free labour. So
much so, that people are speculating on the
time when it shall be demanded of the general
government to incorporate Washington
among the Free States, by the constant
immigration of free white labour;
which is cheaper and more efficient than
that of the enslaved black. There are,
already, more Irish and German labourers
than slaves in Washington: and their
numbers increase yearly. The majority of
servants are free negroes, this class constituting
one-fifth of the population: the slaves being
one-fifteenth. The negroes of Washington
are often persons of great intellectual
development: but they are not generously
dealt with, even in Washington. In April
last year, "twenty-four genteel coloured
men," so described in the Police Report, were
arrested on the charge of meeting together
in a private house on secret business: the
law forbidding all gatherings whatsoever of
the coloured population, not overlooked by
one white man, at the least. On being
searched, a bible, a volume of Seneca's Morals,
Life in Earnest, the printed constitution of a
"Society to relieve the sick and bury the
dead," together with a subscription paper to
"purchase the freedom of Eliza Howard,"
whom her owner was willing to sell for
six hundred and fifty dollars, were found

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