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There was dancing and revelry and feasting,
On yonder night in stately Haddon Hall,
For the gentles, who had trooped to the bridal
From every side, made merry at the ball;
The blaring horns and fiddles shrill were going,
And the jests rose high above them all.


And no smile was merrier or brighter,
No laugh rippled blither on the air,
Than that of the blooming little maiden,
Fair Dorothy, so gaily dancing there.
And her sire forgot to frown, laughing lightly:
"So, girl, you have ceased my will to dare!"


The prin stepmother, smiling grimly,
Told herself how the plotting had been wise
That kept the wild cadet of yonder castle
From bearing off so beautiful a prize:
"Since after all it cost," quoth my lady,
"Only tears and a dozen paltry sighs."


The bride cried: "Methought you had been rueing
Your lost love John Manners; and so soon
Have you quite, Doll, forgot his fervent wooing?"
But she whirled away, swinging to the tune
Of "The wind that shakes the Barley," further parley
Lost and drowned in the blare of the bassoon.


And no step was lighter or was freer
Than Dorothy's, upon that merry night;
The roses in her cheek glowed like fire,
Her eyes mocked the jewels with their light.
The smile about her mouth, coming, going,
Made each face the brighter for the sight.


The dance-notes were ringing blithe and joyous,
The light forms swinging down the floor,
And the wax-lights a brighter sheen were flinging
Over merriment that grew from more to more;
Till none could hear, across the noisy revel,
The opening and shutting of a door.


A foot paused a moment on the threshold,
A face shone an instant in the stream
Of light, ere the portal, softly closing,
Shut in again the taper's yellow gleam;
A cloaked and hooded form across the terrace
Sped silent as a figure in a dream.


A shimmer of white damask in the moonlight,
A hurried backward glance of alarm,
And the maiden gains the shadow of the yew-trees
And the shelter of her lover's clasping arm,--
There was low laugh that trembled into weeping,
And the light touch of kisses soft and warm.


And light the sturdy knight swung the lady
To the saddle of the ready-waiting bay,--
One glance at lighted hall and dusky forest,
Then foot in the stirrup and away!
In the white moon-light across the moorland
Riding on till the dawning of the day.


The mad merry measure of the music
Sounded on, and the revel gaily sped--
Or ever grim Sir George and his lady
Had learned that their prisoner had fled,
With priest, and ring, and book, upon the morrow
John Manners and fair Dorothy were wed.