Pretty Ann, and Joe, the hostler, one day chance to meet. Strong is Joe, and simple, and Ann is shy and sweet. As man and maid have done before, they love, and marry, too. And live happy ever after? Ah, this tale is new to you! Yes, the tale is drear, prosaic; and so poetry won't do. A baby boy comes to bless the union. Joe is working in the stables when they tell him of his joy: his heart is gay and happy, and he tells the horses so. Then, it might be the angels were jealous of such mortal happiness; it might be the devil, seeing the stage so set, entered to play the leading role. The tempter comes to the woman. He is a gentleman, suave, polished, charming, a man of manners; and Ann, knowing not the manners of men, hears and heeds and falls as the angels fall from heaven, another Eve heeding the serpent's call, facing a morn of desired delight, and the twilight of despair. One night Joe comes home with a happy cry of "Wife!" But the only answer is the whisper of desolation, the ...
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