I have been out for a walk long after dark - or, rather, long after sunset, for the moon was shining bright in the cold indigo sky. At all times of year walking by moonlight gives me exquisite delight. Is it because I have done it so rarely, or because of the great beauty and mystery of it all? I went along our high road, the road along which Nelson travelled to Portsmouth on his way to Trafalgar, never to return. This evening it shone white and dry in the moonlight, and the tall black telegraph-poles - double the height and strength of those they replaced a few years ago, and which I have always hated for their aggressive size by daylight - in the winter moonlight only seemed to me straight and strong, and as if proud to support that wonderful network of wires which now encompasses the entire globe, annihilating time and making the far and the near as one, ceaselessly carrying those messages of happiness and despair, life and death, which in the space of a moment, in the opening of an envelope, bring sorrow or joy to many a home. Something of the mystery of it all the wires sang to me to-night, with Ĉolian sounds different from any I have ever heard, on this one of the last evenings of a year that is nearly gone. By my lonely fireside this poem came to my recollection:

The old friends, the old friends,

We loved when we were young, With sunshine on their faces

And music on their tongue! The bees are in the Almond flower,

The birds renew their strain; But the old friends once lost to us

Can never come again.

The old friends, the old friends,

Their brow is lined with care; They've furrows in the faded cheek

And silver in the hair; But to me they are the old friends still,

In youth and bloom the same As when we drove the flying ball

Or shouted in the game.

The old men, the old men,

How slow they creep along! How naughtily we scoffed at them

In days when we were young! Their prosing and their dosing,

Their prate of times gone by, Their shiver like an aspen-leaf

If but a breath went by.

But we, we are the old men now;

Our blood is faint and chill; We cannot leap the mighty brook

Or climb the break-neck hill. We maunder down the shortest cuts,

We rest on stick or stile, And the young men, half ashamed to laugh,

Yet pass us with a smile.

But the young men, the young men,

Their strength is fair to see; The straight back and the springy stride,

The eye as falcon free;

They shout above the frolic wind

As up the hill they go; But though so high above us now,

They soon shall be as low.

Oh! weary, weary, drag the years,

As life draws near the end; And sadly, sadly, fall the tears

For loss of love and friend. But we'll not doubt there's good about

In all of human kind; So here's a health before we go

To those we leave behind!