The low murmur of this forest stream was almost the first sound, except the shriek of the bird that startled him a little time ago, which had disturbed the profound silence of the wood since he entered it.
When day returned and Anna and Flora slept, the murmur they had heard may after all have been only God's thunder and really not from the southeast; but just down there under the landscape's flat rim both forts, though with colors still gallantly flying, were smoking ruins, all Dixie's brave gunboats and rams lay along the river's two shores, sunken or burned, and the whole victorious Northern fleet, save one boat rammed and gone to the bottom, was on its cautious, unpiloted way, snail-slow but fate-sure, up the tawny four-mile current and round the gentle green bends of the Mississippi with New Orleans for its goal and prey.
The sharp crackling of the branches sounded in the deep silence like so many kisses; the murmur of the river became the distant echo of passionate love-making, hushed voices whispering close to the loved one's ears words tremulous with adoration.
For a while the murmur of the running stream of Time shall be our fellow-wayfarer--till, at last, up there against the sky-line, we too turn and wave our hands, and know for ourselves where the road wends as it goes to meet the stars.
It seemed, for example, as if the steady murmur were the shouting of phantom crowds at an immeasurable distance, punctuated now again by the noise of distant guns, as, somewhere round a corner a vehicle passed over a crossing of cobble-stones; as if the bells of the churches rang with a deliberate purpose, to welcome or rejoice over some event . . .
The far-off murmur was a mutter now, defined and positive, and, as the two friends listened, grew into a drumming roll, and all at once above it came a shrill, high sound like the buzzing of a gnat close by the ear.
Quickly the murmur became an awful muttering, then a deafening roar.
The chamber was beautiful with the moon shining through its rose-tinted drapery, and the murmur of the ocean was a soothing lullaby.
A murmur of delight and sympathy went the rounds of the schoolroom.
The murmur was a curse.
A drear Murmur, between their songs, is all the woodmen hear.