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Cape Cod Ballads, and Other Verse
by Joseph C. Lincoln
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Cape Cod Ballads

and Other Verse

By

Joseph C. Lincoln

With Drawings by Edward W. Kemble

1902



To My Wife

This book is affectionately dedicated



Preface

A friend has objected to the title of this book on the ground that, as many of the characters and scenes described are to be found in almost any coast village of the United States, the title might, with equal fitness, be "New Jersey Ballads," or "Long Island Ballads," or something similar.

The answer to this is, simply, that while "School-committee Men" and "Village Oracles" are, doubtless, pretty much alike throughout Yankeedom, the particular specimens here dealt with were individuals whom the author knew in his boyhood "down on the Cape." So, "Cape Cod Ballads" it is.

The verses in this collection originally appeared in Harper's Weekly, The Youth's Companion, The Saturday Evening Post, Puck, Types, The League of American Wheelmen Bulletin, and the publications of the American Press Association. Thanks are due to the editors of these periodicals for their courteous permission to reprint.

J.C.L.



CONTENTS

PREFACE

LIST OF DRAWINGS

THE COD-FISHER

THE SONG OF THE SEA

THE WIND'S SONG

THE LIFE-SAVER

"THE EVENIN' HYMN"

THE MEADOW ROAD

THE BULLFROG SERENADE

SUNDAY AFTERNOONS

THE OLD DAGUERREOTYPES

THE BEST SPARE ROOM

THE OLD CARRYALL

OUR FIRST FIRE-CRACKERS

WHEN NATHAN LED THE CHOIR

HEZEKIAH'S ART

THE SUNDAY-SCHOOL PICNIC

"AUNT 'MANDY"

THE STORY-BOOK BOY

THE SCHOOL-COMMITTEE MAN

WASTED ENERGY

WHEN THE MINISTER COMES TO TEA

"YAP"

THE MINISTER'S WIFE

THE VILLAGE ORACLE

THE TIN PEDDLER

"SARY EMMA'S PHOTYGRAPHS"

WHEN PAPA's SICK

THE BALLAD OF MCCARTY'S TROMBONE

SUSAN VAN DOOZEN

SISTER SIMMONS

"THE FIFT' WARD J'INT DEBATE"

HIS NEW BROTHER

CIRCLE DAY

SERMON TIME

"TAKIN' BOARDERS"

A COLLEGE TRAINING

A CRUSHED HERO

A THANKSGIVING DREAM

O'REILLY'S BILLY-GOAT

THE CUCKOO CLOCK

THE POPULAR SONG

MATILDY'S BEAU

"SISTER'S BEST FELLER"

"THE WIDDER CLARK"

FRIDAY EVENING MEETINGS

THE PARSON'S DAUGHTER

MY OLD GRAY NAG

THROUGH THE FOG

THE BALLADE OF THE DREAM-SHIP

LIFE'S PATHS

THE MAYFLOWER

MAY MEMORIES

BIRDS'-NESTING TIME

THE OLD SWORD ON THE WALL

NINETY-EIGHT IN THE SHADE

SUMMER NIGHTS AT GRANDPA'S

GRANDFATHER'S "SUMMER SWEETS"

MIDSUMMER

"SEPTEMBER MORNIN'S"

NOVEMBER'S COME

THE WINTER NIGHTS AT HOME

"THE LITTLE FELLER'S STOCKIN'"

THE ANT AND THE GRASSHOPPER

THE CROAKER

THE OLD-FASHIONED GARDEN

THE LIGHT-KEEPER

THE LITTLE OLD HOUSE BY THE SHORE

WHEN THE TIDE GOES OUT

THE WATCHERS

"THE REG'LAR ARMY MAN"

FIREMAN O'RAFFERTY

LITTLE BARE FEET

A RAINY DAY

THE HAND-ORGAN BALL

"JIM"

IN MOTHER'S ROOM

SUNSET-LAND

THE SURF ALONG THE SHORE

AT EVENTIDE

INDEX OF FIRST LINES



LIST OF DRAWINGS

THE LIFE-SAVER, "He's a hero born and bred, but it hasn't swelled his head."

THE BULLFROG SERENADE, "With the big green-coated leader's double-bass."

THE OLD DAGUERREOTYPES, "Grandpa's collar a show."

OUR FIRST FIRE-CRACKERS, "Do yer 'member how yer fired 'em, slow and careful, one by one?"

HEZEKIAH'S ART, "I swan, he did look like a daisy!"

THE SCHOOL-COMMITTEE MAN, "'And with—ahem—er—as I said before.'"

WHEN THE MINISTER COMES TO TEA, "He sets and says it's lovely."

THE VILLAGE ORACLE, "'Well now, I vum! I know, by gum! I'm right because I be!'"

THE BALLAD OF MCCARTY'S TROMBONE, "'By—Killarney's—lakes—and—fells, Toot—tetoot toot—toot—toot—dells!'"

His NEW BROTHER, "Why'd they buy a baby brother, When they know I'd good deal ruther Have a dog?"

A COLLEGE TRAINING, "'That was jolly, Guv'nor, now we'll practice every day.'"

A THANKSGIVING DREAM, "He stood up on his drumsticks."

THE POPULAR SONG, "The washwoman sings it all wrong."

MATILDY'S BEAU, "I recollect I spent an hour a-tyin' my cravat."

MY OLD GRAY NAG, "He ain't the sort that the big-bugs sport"

MAY MEMORIES, "Oh, the lazy days of boyhood, when the world was fair and new!"

NINETY-EIGHT IN THE SHADE, "Collar kerflummoxed all over my neck."

NOVEMBER'S COME, "Hey, you swelled-up turkey feller!"

THE ANT AND THE GRASSHOPPER, "The Grasshopper wore his summer clothes, And stood there kicking his frozen toes."

THE LIGHT-KEEPER, "It seems ter me that's all there is: jest do your duty right."

"THE REG'LAR ARMY MAN," "They ain't no tears shed over him When he goes off ter war."

A RAINY DAY, "'Settin' 'round and dreamin'."

"JIM," "Seem to see her tucked in bed, With the kitten's furry head Peekin' out."



CAPE COD BALLADS



THE COD-FISHER

Where leap the long Atlantic swells In foam-streaked stretch of hill and dale, Where shrill the north-wind demon yells, And flings the spindrift down the gale; Where, beaten 'gainst the bending mast, The frozen raindrop clings and cleaves, With steadfast front for calm or blast His battered schooner rocks and heaves.

To same the gain, to some the loss, To each the chance, the risk, the fight: For men must die that men may live— Lord, may we steer our course aright..

The dripping deck beneath him reels, The flooded scuppers spout the brine; He heeds them not, he only feels The tugging of a tightened line.

The grim white sea-fog o'er him throws Its clammy curtain, damp and cold; He minds it not—his work he knows, 'T is but to fill an empty hold.

Oft, driven through the night's blind wrack, He feels the dread berg's ghastly breath, Or hears draw nigh through walls of black A throbbing engine chanting death; But with a calm, unwrinkled brow He fronts them, grim and undismayed, For storm and ice and liner's bow— These are but chances of the trade.

Yet well he knows—where'er it be, On low Cape Cod or bluff Cape Ann— With straining eyes that search the sea A watching woman waits her man: He knows it, and his love is deep, But work is work, and bread is bread, And though men drown and women weep The hungry thousands must be fed.

To some the gain, to some the loss, To each his chance, the game with Fate: For men must die that men may liveDear Lord, be kind to those who wait.

* * * * *

THE SONG OF THE SEA

Oh, the song of the Sea— The wonderful song of the Sea! Like the far-off hum of a throbbing drum It steals through the night to me: And my fancy wanders free To a little seaport town, And a spot I knew, where the roses grew By a cottage small and brown; And a child strayed up and down O'er hillock and beach and lea, And crept at dark to his bed, to hark To the wonderful song of the Sea.

Oh, the song of the Sea— The mystical song of the Sea! What strains of joy to a dreaming boy That music was wont to be! And the night-wind through the tree Was a perfumed breath that told Of the spicy gales that filled the sails Where the tropic billows rolled And the rovers hid their gold By the lone palm on the key,— But the whispering wave their secret gave In the mystical song of the Sea.

Oh, the song of the Sea— The beautiful song of the Sea! The mighty note from the ocean's throat, The laugh of the wind in glee! And swift as the ripples flee With the surges down the shore, It bears me back, o'er life's long track, To home and its love once more. I stand at the open door, Dear mother, again with thee, And hear afar on the booming bar The beautiful song of the Sea.

* * * * *

THE WIND'S SONG

Oh, the wild November wind, How it blew! How the dead leaves rasped and rustled, Soared and sank and buzzed and bustled As they flew; While above the empty square, Seeming skeletons in air, Battered branches, brown and bare, Gauntly grinned; And the frightened dust-clouds, flying. Heard the calling and the crying Of the wind,— The wild November wind.

Oh, the wild November wind, How it screamed! How it moaned and mocked and muttered At the cottage window, shuttered, Whence there streamed Fitful flecks of firelight mild: And within, a mother smiled, Singing softly to her child As there dinned Round the gabled roof and rafter Long and loud the shout and laughter Of the wind,— The wild November wind.

Oh, the wild November wind, How it rang Through the rigging of a vessel Rocking where the great waves wrestle! And it sang, Light and low, that mother's song; And the master, staunch and strong, Heard the sweet strain drift along— Softened, thinned,— Heard the tightened cordage ringing Till it seemed a loved voice singing In the wind,— The wild November wind.

* * * * *

THE LIFE-SAVER

(Dedicated to the Men in the United States Life-saving Service.)

When the Lord breathes his wrath above the bosom of the waters, When the rollers are a-poundin' on the shore, When the mariner's a-thinkin' of his wife and sons and daughters, And the little home he'll, maybe, see no more; When the bars are white and yeasty and the shoals are all a-frothin', When the wild no'theaster's cuttin' like a knife; Through the seethin' roar and screech he's patrollin' on the beach,— The Gov'ment's hired man fer savin' life.

He's strugglin' with the gusts that strike and bruise him like a hammer, He's fightin' sand that stings like swarmin' bees, He's list'nin' through the whirlwind and the thunder and the clamor— A-list'nin' fer the signal from the seas; He's breakin' ribs and muscles launchin' life-boats in the surges, He's drippin' wet and chilled in every bone, He's bringin' men from death back ter flesh and blood and breath, And he never stops ter think about his own;

He's a-pullin' at an oar that is freezin' to his fingers, He's a-clingin' in the riggin' of a wreck, He knows destruction's nearer every minute that he lingers, But it do'n't appear ter worry him a speck: He's draggin' draggled corpses from the clutches of the combers— The kind of job a common chap would shirk— But he takes 'em from the wave and he fits 'em fer the grave, And he thinks it's all included in his work.

He is rigger, rower, swimmer, sailor, doctor, undertaker, And he's good at every one of 'em the same: And he risks his life fer others in the quicksand and the breaker, And a thousand wives and mothers bless his name. He's an angel dressed in oilskins, he's a saint in a "sou'wester", He's as plucky as they make, or ever can; He's a hero born and bred, but it hasn't swelled his head, And he's jest the U.S. Gov'ment's hired man.

* * * * *

"THE EVENIN' HYMN"

When the hot summer daylight is dyin', And the mist through the valley has rolled, And the soft velvet clouds ter the west'ard Are purple with trimmings of gold,— Then, down in the medder-grass, dusky, The crickets chirp out from each nook, And the frogs with their voices so husky Jine in from the marsh and the brook.

The chorus grows louder and deeper, An owl sends a hoot from the hill, The leaves on the elm-trees are rustling A whippoorwill calls by the mill. Where swamp honeysuckles are bloomin' The breeze scatters sweets on the night, Like incense the evenin' perfumin', With fireflies fer candles alight.

And the noise of the frogs and the crickets And the birds and the breeze are ter me Lots better than high-toned supraners, Although they don't get to "high C"; And the church, with its grand painted skylight, Seems cramped and forbiddin' and grim 'Side of my old front porch in the twilight When God's choir sings its "Evenin' Hymn."

* * * * *

THE MEADOW ROAD

Just a simple little picture of a sunny country road Leading down beside the ocean's pebbly shore, Where a pair of patient oxen slowly drag their heavy load, And a barefoot urchin trudges on before: Yet I'm dreaming o'er it, smiling, and my thoughts are far away 'Mid the glorious summer sunshine long ago, And once more a happy, careless boy, in memory I stray Down a little country road I used to know.

I hear the voice of "Father" as he drives the lumbering steers, And the pigeons coo and flutter on the shed, While all the simple, homelike sounds come whispering to my ears, And the cloudless sky of June is overhead; And again the yoke is creaking as the oxen swing and sway, The old cart rattles loudly as it jars, Then we pass beneath the elm trees where the robin's song is gay, And go out beyond the garden through the bars;

Down the lane, behind the orchard where the wild rose blushes sweet, Through the pasture, past the spring beside the brook Where the clover blossoms press their dewy kisses on my feet And the honeysuckle scents each shady nook; By the meadow and the bushes, where the blackbirds build their nests, Up the hill, beneath the shadow of the pine, Till the breath of Ocean meets us, dancing o'er his sparkling crests, And our faces feel the tingling of the brine.

And my heart leaps gayly upward, like the foam upon the sea, As I watch the breakers tumbling with a roar, And the ships that dot the azure seem to wave a hail to me, And to beckon to a wondrous, far-off shore.

* * * * *

Just a simple little picture, yet its charm is o'er me still, And again my boyish spirit seems to glow, And once more a barefoot urchin am I wandering at will Down that little country road I used to know.

* * * * *



THE BULLFROG SERENADE

When the toil of day is over And the dew is on the clover, And the night-hawk whirls in circles overhead; When the cow-bells melt and mingle In a softened, silver jingle, And the old hen calls the chickens in to bed; When the marshy meadows glimmer With a misty, purple shimmer, And the twilight flush is changing into shade; When the firefly lamps are burning And the dusk to dark is turning,— Then the bullfrogs chant their evening serenade:

"Deep-deep, deep-deep, deep-deep, deep-deep! Better go 'round! Better go 'round! Better go 'round,"

First the little chaps begin it, Raise their high-pitched voices in it, And the shrill soprano piping sets the pace; Then the others join the singing Till the echoes soon are ringing With the big green-coated leader's double-bass. All the lilies are a-quiver, And the grasses by the river Feel the mighty chorus shaking every blade, While the dewy rushes glisten As they bend their heads to listen To the bullfrogs' summer evening serenade:

"Deep-deep, deep-deep, deep-deep, deep-deep! Better go 'round! Better go 'round! Better go 'round!"

And the melody they're tuning Has the sweet and sleepy crooning That the mother hums the baby at her breast, Till the world forgets its sorrow And the cares that haunt the morrow, And is sinking, hushed and happy, to its rest Sometimes bubbling o'er with gladness, Sometimes soft and fall of sadness, Through my dreaming rings the music they have played, And my memory's dearest treasures Have been fitted to the measures Of the bullfrogs' summer evening serenade:

"Deep-deep, deep-deep, deep-deep, deep-deep! Better go 'round! Better go 'round! Better go 'round!"

* * * * *

SUNDAY AFTERNOONS

From the window of the chapel softly sounds an organ's note, Through the wintry Sabbath gloaming drifting shreds of music float, And the quiet and the firelight and the sweetly solemn tunes Bear me, dreaming, back to boyhood and its Sunday afternoons:

When we gathered in the parlor, in the parlor stiff and grand, Where the haircloth chairs and sofas stood arrayed, a gloomy band, Where each queer oil portrait watched us with a countenance of wood, And the shells upon the what-not in a dustless splendor stood.

Then the quaint old parlor organ with the quaver in its tongue, Seemed to tremble in its fervor as the sacred songs were sung, As we sang the homely anthems, sang the glad revival hymns Of the glory of the story and the light no sorrow dims.

While the dusk grew ever deeper and the evening settled down, And the lamp-lit windows twinkled in the drowsy little town, Old and young we sang the chorus and the echoes told it o'er In the dear familiar voices, hushed or scattered evermore.

From the window of the chapel faint and low the music dies, And the picture in the firelight fades before my tear-dimmed eyes, But my wistful fancy, listening, hears the night-wind hum the tunes That we sang there in the parlor on those Sunday afternoons.

* * * * *



THE OLD DAGUERREOTYPES

Up in the attic I found them, locked in the cedar chest, Where the flowered gowns lie folded, which once were brave as the best; And like the queer old jackets and the waistcoats gay with stripes, They tell of a worn-out fashion—these old daguerreotypes. Quaint little folding cases fastened with tiny hook, Seemingly made to tempt one to lift up the latch and look; Linings of purple velvet, odd little frames of gold, Circling the faded faces brought from the days of old.

Grandpa and grandma, taken ever so long ago, Grandma's bonnet a marvel, grandpa's collar a show, Mother, a tiny toddler, with rings on her baby hands Painted—lest none should notice—in glittering, gilded bands.

Aunts and uncles and cousins, a starchy and stiff array, Lovers and brides, then blooming,—now so wrinkled and gray: Out through the misty glasses they gaze at me, sitting here Opening the quaint old cases with a smile that is half a tear.

I will smile no more, little pictures, for heartless it was, in truth, To drag to the cruel daylight these ghosts of a vanished youth; Go back to your cedar chamber, your gowns and your lavender, And dream, 'mid their bygone graces, of the wonderful days that were.

* * * * *

THE BEST SPARE ROOM

I remember, when a youngster, all the happy hours I spent When to visit Uncle Hiram in the country oft I went; And the pleasant recollection still in memory has a charm Of my boyish romps and rambles round the dear old-fashioned farm. But at night all joyous fancies from my youthful bosom crept, For I knew they'd surely put me where the "comp'ny" always slept, And my spirit sank within me, as upon it fell the gloom And the vast and lonely grandeur of the best spare room.

Ah, the weary waste of pillow where I laid my lonely head! Sinking, like a shipwrecked sailor, in a patchwork sea of bed, While the moonlight through the casement cast a grim and ghastly glare O'er the stiff and stately presence of each dismal haircloth chair; And it touched the mantel's splendor, where the wax fruit used to be, And the alabaster image Uncle Josh brought home from sea; While the breeze that shook the curtains spread a musty, faint perfume And a subtle scent of camphor through the best spare room.

Round the walls were hung the pictures of the dear ones passed away, "Uncle Si and A'nt Lurany," taken on their wedding day; Cousin Ruth, who died at twenty, in the corner had a place Near the wreath from Eben's coffin, dipped in wax and in a case; Grandpa Wilkins, done in color by some artist of the town, Ears askew and somewhat cross-eyed, but with fixed and awful frown, Seeming somehow to be waiting to enjoy the dreadful doom Of the frightened little sleeper in the best spare room.

Every rustle of the corn-husks in the mattress underneath Was to me a ghostly whisper muttered through a phantom's teeth, And the mice behind the wainscot, as they scampered round about, Filled my soul with speechless horror when I'd put the candle out. So I'm deeply sympathetic when some story I have read Of a victim buried living by his friends who thought him dead; And I think I know his feelings in the cold and silent tomb, For I've slept at Uncle Hiram's in the best spare room.

* * * * *

THE OLD CARRYALL

It's alone in the dark of the old wagon-shed, Where the spider-webs swing from the beams overhead, And the sun, siftin' in through the dirt and the mold Of the winder's dim pane, specks it over with gold. Its curtains are tattered, its cushions are worn, It's a kind of a ghost of a carriage, forlorn, And the dust from the roof settles down like a pall On the sorrowin' shape of the old carryall.

It was built long ago, when the world seemed ter be A heaven, jest made up for Mary and me, And my mind wanders back to that first happy ride When she sat beside me,—my beauty and bride. Ah, them were the days when the village was new And folks took time to live, as God meant 'em ter do; And there's many a huskin' and quiltin' and ball That we drove to and back in the old carryall.

And here in the paint are the marks of the feet Where a little form climbed ter the high-fashioned seat, And soft baby fingers them curtains have swung, And a curly head's nestled the cushions among; And then come the gloom of that black, bitter day When "Thy will be done" looked so wicked ter say As we drove to the grave, while the rain seemed to fall Like the tears of the sky on the old carryall.

And so it has served us through sunshine and cloud, Through fun'rals and weddin's, from bride-wreath ter shroud; It's old and it's rusty, it's shaky and lame, But I love every j'int of its rickety frame. And it's restin' at last, for its race has been run, It's lived out its life and its work has been done, And I hope, in my soul, at the last trumpet call I'll have done mine as well as the old carryall.

* * * * *

OUR FIRST FIRE-CRACKERS

O you boys grown gray and bearded, you that used ter chum with me In that lazy little village down beside the tumblin' sea, When yer sniff the burnin' powder, when yer see the banners fly, Don't yer thoughts, like mine, go driftin' back to Fourths long since gone by? And, amongst them days of gladness, ain't there one that stands alone, When yer had yer first fire-crackers—jest one bunch, but all yer own?

Don't yer 'member how yer envied bigger chaps their fuss and noise, 'Cause yer Ma had said that crackers wasn't good fer little boys? Do yer 'member how yer teased her, morn and eve and noon and night, And how all the world yelled "Glory!" when at last she said yer might?

Do yer 'member how yer bought 'em, weeks and weeks ahead of time, After savin' all yer pennies till they footed up a dime? Do yer 'member what they looked like? I can see 'em plain as plain, With a dragon on the package, grinnin' through a fiery rain.



Do yer 'member how yer fired 'em, slow and careful, one by one? Do'n't it seem like each was louder than the grandest sort of gun? Can't yer see the big, red flashes, if yer only shut yer eyes, And jest smell the burnin' powder, sweeter'n breaths from paradise?

O you boys, gray-haired and bearded. O you youngsters grown ter men, We can't buy them kind of crackers now, nor never shall again! Fer the joys thet used ter glitter through the fizz and puff and crash, Has, ter most of us, been deadened by the grindin' chink of cash; But I'd like ter ask yer, fellers, how much of yer hoarded gold Would yer give if it could buy yer one glad Fourth like them of old? How much would yer spend ter gain it—that light-hearted, joyous glow That come with yer fust fire-crackers, when yer bought 'em long ago?

* * * * *

WHEN NATHAN LED THE CHOIR

I s'pose I hain't progressive, but I swan, it seems ter me Religion isn't nigh so good as what it used ter be! I go ter meetin' every week and rent my reg'lar pew, But hain't a mite uplifted when the sarvices are through; I take my orthodoxy straight, like Gran'pop did his rum, (It never hurt him, neither, and a deacon, too, by gum!) But now the preachin' 's mushy and the singin' 's lost its fire: I 'd like ter hear old Parson Day, with Nathan leadin' choir.

I'd like ter know who told these folks that all was perfect peace, And glidin' inter heaven was as slick as meltin' grease; Old Parson Day, I tell yer what, his sermons made yer think! He'd shake yer over Tophet till yer heard the cinders clink. And then, when he'd gin out the tune and Nate would take his stand Afore the chosen singers, with the tuning-fork in hand, The meetin'-house jest held its breath, from cellar plum ter spire, And then bu'st forth in thunder-tones with Nathan leadin' choir.

They didn't chime so pretty, p'r'aps, as does our new quartette, But all them folks was there ter sing, and done it, too, you bet! The basses they 'd be rollin' on, with faces swelled and red, And racin' the supraners, who was p'r'aps a bar ahead; While Nate beat time with both his hands and worked like drivin' plow, With drops o' sweat a-standin' out upon his face and brow; And all the congregation felt that Heav'n was shorely nigher Whene'er they heerd the chorus sung with Nathan leadin' choir.

Rube Swan was second tenor, and his pipes was kinder cracked, But Rube made up in loudness what in tune he might have lacked; But 'twas a leetle cur'us, though, for p'r'aps his voice would balk, And when he'd fetch a high note give a most outrageous squawk; And Uncle Elkanah was deef and kind er'd lose the run, And keep on singin' loud and high when all the rest was done; But, notwithstandin' all o' this, I think I'd never tire Of list'nin' ter the good old tunes with Nathan leadin' choir.

We've got a brand-new organ now, and singers—only four— But, land! we pay 'em cash enough ter fee a hundred more; They sing newfangled tunes and things that some folks think are sweet, But don't appeal ter me no more'n a fish-horn on the street. I'd like once more ter go ter church and watch old Nathan wave His tunin'-fork above the crowd and lead the glorious stave; I'd like ter hear old Parson Day jest knock the sinners higher, And then set back and hear a hymn with Nathan leadin' choir.

* * * * *

HEZEKIAH'S ART

My son Hezekiah's a painter; yes, that's the purfession he's at; An artist, I mean,—course he ain't a whitewasher or nothin' like that. At home he was always a-drawin' and shirkin' his work 'round the place, And kept me continyerly jawin' or dressin' him down with a trace; Till I says ter Mother, "Between us, this thing might's well be understood; Our Hez is jest simply a gen'us, and a gen'us is never no good; He won't stop fer jawin's and dressin's; he'll daub and he'll draw all the while; So he might as well have a few lessons, and learn how ter do it in style."

So I sold a slice of the wood-lot ter the folks at the summer hotel, That fetched me some cash—quite a good lot—so now he's been gone a long spell; He's got a room up ter the City, an' calls it a name that is queer— I ain't up in French, more's the pity—but something that's like "attyleer." I went up last month on a visit, and blamed if that place wa'n't a sight! The fourteenth or fifteenth—which is it?—well, anyhow, it's the top flight; I wouldn't have b'lieved he could be there, way up on that breath-takin' floor, If't wa'n't fer the sign that I see there—"H. Lafayette Boggs"—on the door.

That room was a wonder fer certain! The floor was all paint-spots and dirt, Each window was hung with a curtain, striped gay as a calico shirt; The walls was jest like a museum, all statoos and flim-flam and gush And picters—good land! when I see 'em I jest had ter turn 'round and blush; And Hez! he looked like a gorilla,—a leetle round hat on his head, And hair that would stuff a big piller, and necktie blue, yeller, and red; I swan, he did look like a daisy! I tell yer, it went ter my heart, 'Cause, course I supposed he was crazy, until he explained it was ART.



This Art, it does stagger a feller that ain't got a connerseer's view, Fer trees by its teachin' is yeller, and cows is a shade of sky-blue. Hez says that ter paint 'em like natur' is common and tawdry and vile; He says it's a plaguey sight greater to do 'em "impressionist style." He done me my portrait, and, reely, my nose is a ultrymarine, My whiskers is purple and steely, and both of my cheeks is light green. When Mother first viewed it she fainted—she ain't up in Art, don't yer see? And she had a notion 'twas painted when Hez had been off on a spree.

We used ter think Hezzy would shame us by bein' no good anyhow, But he says some day he'l be famous, so we're sort er proud of him, now. He says that the name he's a-makin' shall ring in Fame's thunderin' tone; He says that earth's dross he's forsaken, he's livin' fer Art's sake alone. That's nice, but what seems ter me funny, and what I can't get through my head Is why he keeps writin' fer money and can't seem ter earn nary red. I've been sort er thinkin' it over, and seems ter me, certain enough, That livin' for Art is just clover, but that livin' on it is tough.

* * * * *

THE SUNDAY-SCHOOL PICNIC

Oh! the horns are all a-tootin' as we rattle through the town, And we fellers are a-hootin' and a-jumpin' up and down, And the girls are all a-gigglin' and a-tryin' ter be smart, With their braided pig-tails wigglin' at the joltin' of the cart; There's the teachers all a-beamin', rigged up in their Sunday clothes, And the parson's specs a-gleamin' like two moons acrost his nose, And the sup'rintendent lookin' mighty dignerfied and cool, And a-bossin' of the picnic of the Baptist Sunday-school.

Everybody's got their basket brimmin' full of things ter eat, And I've got one—if yer ask it—that is purty hard ter beat,— 'Cept that Sis put in some pound-cake that she made herself alone, And I bet yer never found cake that was quite so much like stone. There'll be quarts of sass'parilla; yes, and "lemmo" in a tub; There'll be ice-cream—it's vernilla—and all kinds of fancy grub; And they're sure ter spread the table on the ground beside the spring, So's the ants and hoppergrasses can just waltz on everything.

Then the girls they'll be a-yippin', 'cause a bug is in the cream; And a "daddy-long-legs" skippin' round the butter makes 'em scream; And a fuzzy caterpillar—jest the littlest kind they make— Sets 'em holl'rin', "Kill her! kill her!" like as if it was a snake. Then, when dinner-time is over and we boys have et enough, Why, the big girls they'll pick clover, or make wreaths of leaves and stuff; And the big chaps they'll set 'round 'em, lookin' soft as ever wuz, Talkin' gush and actin' silly, same as that kind always does.

Then, we'll ride home when it's dark'nin' and the leaves are wet with dew, And the lightnin'-bugs are sparklin' and the moon is shinin', too; We'll sing "Jingle bells" and "Sailing," "Seein' Nelly home," and more; And that one that's slow and wailin', "Home ag'in from somethin' shore." Then a feller's awful sleepy and he kinder wants ter rest, But the stuff he's et feels creepy and like bricks piled on his chest; And, perhaps, he dreams his stummick has been stepped on by a mule; But it ain't: it's jest the picnic of the Baptist Sunday school!

* * * * *

"AUNT 'MANDY"

Our Aunt 'Mandy thinks that boys Never ought ter make a noise, Or go swimming or play ball, Or have any fun at all; Thinks a boy had ought ter be Dressed up all the time, and she Hollers jest as if she's hurt At the littlest mite er dirt On a feller's hands or face, Or his clothes, or any place.

Then at dinner-time she's there, Sayin', "Mustn't kick the chair!" Or "Why don't yer sit up straight?" "'Tain't perlite to drum yer plate." An' yer got ter eat as slow, 'Cause she's dingin' at yer so. Then, when Chris'mus comes, she brings Nothin', only useful things: Han'kershi'fs an' gloves an' ties, Sunday stuff yer jest despise.

She's a ole maid, all alone, 'Thout no children of her own, An' I s'pose that makes her fuss 'Round our house a-bossin' us. If she 'd had a boy, I bet, 'Tween her bossin' and her fret She'd a-killed him, jest about; So God made her do without, For he knew no boy could stay With Aunt 'Mandy every day.

* * * * *

THE STORY-BOOK BOY

Oh, the story-book boy! he's a wonderful youth, A prodigy reeking with goodness and truth; As brave as a lion, as wise as a sage, And sharp as a razor, though twelve years of age. His mother is good and she's awfully poor, But he says, "Do not fret, I'll provide for you, sure!" And the hard grasping landlord, who comes to annoy, Is braved to his teeth by the story-book boy.

Oh, the story-book boy! when he sees that young churl. The Squire's spoiled son, kick the poor crippled girl, He darts to the rescue as quick as he can, And dusts the hard road with the cruel young man; And when he is sought by the vengeful old Squire, He withers the latter with tongue-lashing ire; For the town might combine his young nerve to destroy, And never once shake him—the story-book boy.



Oh, the story-book boy! when the Judge's dear child Is dragged through the streets by a runaway wild, Of course he's on hand, and a "ten-strike" he makes, For he stops the mad steed in a couple of "shakes"; And he tells the glad Judge, who has wept on his hat, "I did but my duty!" or something like that; And the very best place in the Judge's employ Is picked out at once for the story-book boy.

Oh, the story-book boy! all his troubles are o'er, For he gets to be Judge in a year or two more; And the wicked old landlord in poverty dies, And the Squire's son drinks, and in gutters he lies; But the girl whom he saved is our hero's fair bride, And his old mother comes to their home to abide; In silks and sealskins, she cries, in her joy: "Thank Heaven, I'm Ma of a story-book boy!"

* * * * *

THE SCHOOL-COMMITTEE MAN

Sometimes when we're in school, and it's the afternoon and late, And kinder warm and sleepy, don't yer know; And p'r'aps a feller's studyin' or writin' on his slate, Or, maybe chewin' paper-balls to throw, And teacher's sort er lazy, too—why, then there'll come a knock And everybody'll brace up quick's they can; We boys and girls'll set up straight, and teacher'll smooth her frock, Because it's him—the school-committee man.

He'll walk in kinder stately-like and say, "How do, Miss Brown?" And teacher, she'll talk sweet as choclate cake; And he'll put on his specs and cough and pull his eyebrows down And look at us so hard 't would make yer shake. We'll read and spell, so's he can hear, and speak a piece or two, While he sets there so dreadful grand and cool; Then teacher'll rap her desk and say, "Attention!" soon's we're through, And ask him, won't he please address the school.

He'll git up kinder calm and slow, and blow his nose real loud, And put his hands behind beneath his coat, Then kinder balance on his toes and look 'round sort er proud And give a big "Ahem!" ter clear his throat; And then he'll say: "Dear scholars, I am glad ter see yer here, A-drinkin'—er—the crystal fount of lore; Here with your books, and—er—and—er—your teacher kind and dear, And with—ahem—er—as I said before."

We have ter listen awful hard ter every word of his And watch him jest like kittens do a rat, And laugh at every joke he makes, don't care how old it is, 'Cause he can boss the teacher,—think of that! I useter say, when I growed up I 'd be a circus chap And drive two lions hitched up like a span; But, honest, more I think of it, I b'lieve the bestest snap Is jest ter be a school-committee man.

* * * * *

WASTED ENERGY

South Pokus is religious,—that's the honest, livin' truth; South Pokus folks are pious,—man and woman, maid and youth; And they listen every Sunday, though it rains or snows or shines, In their seven shabby churches, ter their seven poor divines, Who dispense the balm and comfort that the thirstin' sperit needs, By a-fittin' of the gospel ter their seven different creeds, Each one sure his road ter Heaven is the only sartin way,— Fer South Pokus is religious, as I started off ter say.

Now the Pokus population is nine hundred, more or less, Which, in one big congregation, would be quite a church, I guess, And do lots of good, I reckon; but yer see it couldn't be,— Long's one's tweedledum was diff'rent from the other's tweedledee. So the Baptists they are Baptists, though the church is swamped in debt, And the Orthodox is rigid, though expenses can't be met, And the twenty Presbyterians 'll be Calvinists or bust,— Fer South Pokus is religious, as I said along at fust.

And the Methodist is buried, when his time comes 'round ter die, In the little weedy graveyard where no other sect can lie, And at Second Advent socials, every other Wednesday night, No one's ever really welcome but a Second Adventite; While the Unitarian brother, as he walks the village streets, Seldom bows unless another Unitarian he meets; And there's only Univers'lists in a Univers'list's store,— Fer South Pokus is religious, as I think I said before.

I thought I'd read that Jesus come ter do the whole world good,— Come ter bind the Jew and Gentile in a lovin' brotherhood; But it seems that I'm mistaken, and I haven't read it right, And the text of "Love your neighbor" must be somewhere written "Fight"; But I want ter tell yer, church folks, and ter put it to yer strong, While you're fighting Old Nick's fellers pull tergether right along: So yer'd better stop your squabblin', be united if yer can, Fer the Pokus way of doin' ain't no use ter God or man.

* * * * *

WHEN THE MINISTER COMES TO TEA

Oh! they've swept the parlor carpet, and they've dusted every chair, And they've got the tidies hangin' jest exactly on the square; And the what-not's fixed up lovely, and the mats have all been beat, And the pantry's brimmin' over with the bully things ter eat; Sis has got her Sunday dress on, and she's frizzin' up her bangs; Ma's got on her best alpacky, and she's askin' how it hangs; Pa has shaved as slick as can be, and I'm rigged way up in G,— And it's all because we're goin' ter have the minister ter tea.



Oh! the table's fixed up gaudy with the gilt-edged chiny set, And we'll use the silver tea-pot and the comp'ny spoons, you bet; And we're goin' ter have some fruit-cake and some thimbleberry jam, And "riz biscuits," and some doughnuts, and some chicken, and some ham. Ma, she'll 'polergize like fury and say everything is bad, And "Sich awful luck with cookin'," she is sure she never had; But, er course, she's only bluffin', for it's as prime as it can be, And she's only talkin' that way 'cause the minister's ter tea.

Everybody'll be a-smilin' and as good as ever was, Pa won't growl about the vittles, like he generally does, And he'll ask me would I like another piece er pie; but, sho! That, er course, is only manners, and I'm s'posed ter answer "No." Sis'll talk about the church-work and about the Sunday-school, Ma'll tell how she liked that sermon that was on the Golden Rule, And if I upset my tumbler they won't say a word ter me:— Yes, a boy can eat in comfort with the minister ter tea!

Say! a minister, you'd reckon, never 'd say what wasn't true; But that isn't so with ours, and I jest can prove it, too; 'Cause when Sis plays on the organ so it makes yer want ter die, Why, he sets and says it's lovely; and that, seems ter me, 's a lie: But I like him all the samey, and I only wish he'd stay At our house fer good and always, and eat with us every day; Only think of havin' goodies every evenin'! Jimminee! And I'd never git a scoldin' with the minister ter tea!

* * * * *

"YAP"

I've got a little yaller dog, a wuthless kind of chap, Who jest ain't good fer nothin' but ter eat and sleep and "yap." Fer all 'round general wuthlessness I never see his beat, And yet he makes more fuss and noise than all the farm complete. There ain't a mite of sense inside that yaller hide of his; But, as he ain't no good, he likes ter pester them that is. The critters all despise him, but there ain't a one but feels A little mite oneasy when he's "yappin'" round their heels.

Yer see, he loves ter sneak around behind 'em, out of sight, And give a sudden snap and snarl as if he meant ter bite; Of course they know he wouldn't hurt, and only means to scare, But still, it worries 'em ter know the little scamp is there; And if they do git nervous-like and try to hit him back He swells up so with pride it seems as if his skin would crack; And then he's wuss than ever, so they find it doesn't pay, But let him keep on "yappin'" till he's tired and goes away.

There's lots of people built like him—yer see 'em everywhere— Who, 'cause they ain't no use themselves, can't somehow seem ter bear Ter see another feller rise, but in their petty spite And natural meanness, snarl and snap and show they'd like ter bite. They don't come out in front like men, and squarely speak their mind, But like that wuthless yaller pup, they're hangin' 'round behind. They're little and contemptible, but if yer make a slip It must be bothersome ter know they'll take that chance ter nip.

But there! perhaps it isn't right ter mind 'em, after all; Perhaps we ought ter thank the Lord our souls ain't quite so small; And they, with all their sneakin' ways, must be, I rather guess, The thorns that prick your fingers 'round the roses of success: Fer, when yer come ter think of it, they never bark until A feller's really started and a good ways up the hill; So, 'f I was climbin' up ter fame I wouldn't care a rap, But I'd think I was somebody when the curs begun ter "yap."

* * * * *

THE MINISTER'S WIFE

She's little and modest and purty, As red as a rose and as sweet; Her children don't ever look dirty, Her kitchen ain't no way but neat. She's the kind of a woman ter cherish, A help ter a feller through life, Yet every old hen in the parish Is down on the minister's wife.

'Twas Mrs. 'Lige Hawkins begun it; She always has had the idee That the church was built so's she could run it, 'Cause Hawkins is deacon, yer see; She thought that the whole congregation Kept step ter the tune of her fife, But she found 't was a wrong calkerlation Applied ter the minister's wife.

Then Mrs. Jedge Jenks got excited— She thinks she's the whole upper crust;— When she found the Smiths was invited Ter meet'n', she quit in disgust. "You can have all the paupers yer choose to," Says she, jest as sharp as a knife; "But if they go ter church I refuse to!" "Good-by!" says the minister's wife.

And then Mrs. Jackson got stuffy At her not comin' sooner ter call, And old Miss Macgregor is huffy 'Cause she went up ter Jackson's at all. Each one of the crowd hates the other, The church has been full of their strife; But now they're all hatin' another, And that one's the minister's wife.

But still, all their cackle unheedin', She goes, in her ladylike way, A-givin' the poor what they're needing And helpin' the church every day: Our numbers each Sunday is swelling And real, true religion is rife, And sometimes I feel like a-yellin', "Three cheers fer the minister's wife!"

* * * * *



THE VILLAGE ORACLE

* * * * *

"I am Sir Oracle, and when I ope my lips let no dog bark!"

* * * * *

Old Dan'l Hanks he says this town Is jest the best on earth; He says there ain't one, up nor down, That's got one half her worth; He says there ain't no other state That's good as ourn, nor near; And all the folks that's good and great Is settled right 'round here.

Says I "D'jer ever travel, Dan?" "You bet I ain't!" says he; "I tell you what! the place I've got Is good enough fer me!"

He says the other party's fools, 'Cause they don't vote his way; He says the "feeble-minded schools" Is where they ought ter stay; If he was law their mouths he'd shut, Or blow 'em all ter smash; He says their platform's nawthin' but A great big mess of trash.

Says I, "D'jer ever read it, Dan?" "You bet I ain't!" says he; "And when I do; well, I tell you, I'll let you know, by gee!"

He says that all religion's wrong 'Cept jest what he believes; He says them ministers belong In jail, the same as thieves; He says they take the blessed Word And tear it all ter shreds; He says their preachin's jest absurd; They're simply leatherheads.

Says I, "D'jer ever hear 'em, Dan?" "You bet I ain't!" says he; "I'd never go ter hear 'em; no; They make me sick ter see!"

Some fellers reckon, more or less, Before they speak their mind, And sometimes calkerlate or guess,— But them ain't Dan'l's kind. The Lord knows all things, great or small, With doubt he's never vexed; He, in his wisdom, knows it all,— But Dan'l Hanks comes next.

Says I, "How d' yer know you're right?" "How do I know?" says he; "Well, now, I vum! I know, by gum! I'm right because I be!"

* * * * *

THE TIN PEDDLER

Jason White has come ter town Drivin' his tin peddler's cart, Pans a-bangin' up an' down Like they'd tear theirselves apart; Kittles rattlin' underneath, Coal-hods scrapin' out a song,— Makes a feller grit his teeth When old Jason comes along.

Jason drives a sorrel mare, Bones an' skin at all her j'ints, "Blooded stock," says Jase; "I swear, Jest see how she shows her p'ints! Walkin' 's her best lay," says he, Eyes a-twinklin' full of fun, "Named her Keely Motor. See? Sich hard work ter make her run."

Jason's jest the slickest scamp, Full of jokes as he can hold; Says he beats Aladdin's lamp, Givin' out new stuff fer old; "Buy your rags fer more 'n they're worth, Give yer bran'-new, shiny tin, I'm the softest snap on earth," Says old Jason, with a grin.

Jason gits the women's ear Tellin' news and talkin' dress; Can 't be peddlin' forty year An' not know 'em more or less; Children like him; sakes alive! Why, my Jim, the other night, Says, "When I git big I'll drive Peddler's cart, like Jason White!"

* * * * *

"SARY EMMA'S PHOTYGRAPHS"

Our Sary Emma is possessed ter be at somethin' queer; She's allers doin' loony things, unheard of fur and near. One time there wa'n't no limit ter the distance she would tramp Ter get a good-fer-nothin', wuthless, cancelled postage-stamp; Another spell folks couldn't rest ontil, by hook or crook, She got 'em all ter write their names inside a leetle book; But though them fits was bad enough, the wust is nowadays, Fer now she's got that pesky freak, the photygraphin' craze.

She had ter have a camera—and them things cost a sight— So she took up subscriptions fer the "Woman's Home Delight" And got one fer a premium—a blamed new-fangled thing, That takes a tin-type sudden, when she presses on a spring; And sence she got it, sakes alive! there's nothin' on the place That hain't been pictured lookin' like a horrible disgrace: The pigs, the cows, the horse, the colt, the chickens large and small; She goes a-gunnin' fer 'em, and she bags 'em, one and all.

She tuk me once a-settin' up on top a load er hay: My feet shets out the wagon, and my head's a mile away; She took her Ma in our back yard, a-hanging out the clothes, With hands as big as buckets, and a face that's mostly nose. A yard of tongue and monstrous teeth is what she calls a dog; The cat's a kind er fuzzy-lookin' shadder in a fog; And I've got a suspicion that what killed the brindle calf Was that he seen his likeness in our Sary's photygraph.

She's "tonin'," er "develerpin'," er "printin'," ha'f the time; She's allers buyin' pasteboard ter mount up her latest crime: Our front room and the settin'-room is like some awful show, With freaks and framed outrages stuck all 'round 'em in a row: But soon I'll take them picters, and I'll fetch some of 'em out And hang 'em 'round the garden when the corn begins ter sprout; We'll have no crows and blackbirds ner that kind er feathered trash, 'Cause them photygraphs of Sary's, they beat scarecrows all ter smash.

* * * * *

WHEN PAPA'S SICK

When Papa's sick, my goodness sakes! Such awful, awful times it makes. He speaks in, oh! such lonesome tones, And gives such ghas'ly kind of groans, And rolls his eyes and holds his head, And makes Ma help him up to bed, While Sis and Bridget run to heat Hot-water bags to warm his feet, And I must get the doctor quick,— We have to jump when Papa's sick.

When Papa's sick Ma has to stand Right 'side the bed and hold his hand, While Sis, she has to fan an' fan, For he says he's "a dyin' man," And wants the children round him to Be there when "sufferin' Pa gets through"; He says he wants to say good-by And kiss us all, and then he'll die; Then moans and says his "breathin''s thick",— It's awful sad when Papa's sick.

When Papa's sick he acts that way Until he hears the doctor say, "You've only got a cold, you know; You'll be all right 'n a day or so"; And then—well, say! you ought to see— He's different as he can be, And growls and swears from noon to night Just 'cause his dinner ain't cooked right; And all he does is fuss and kick,— We're all used up when Papa's sick.

* * * * *



THE BALLAD OF McCARTY'S TROMBONE

Sure, Felix McCarty he lived all alone On the top av a hill be the town av Athione, And the pride av his heart was a batthered trombone, That he played in an iligant style av his own. And often I've heard me ould grandfather say, That, long as he lived, on Saint Patherick's Day, the minute the dawn showed the first streak av gray McCarty would rise and this tune he would play:

"Pertaters and fishes make very good dishes, Saint Patherick's Day in the mornin'!" With tootin' and blowin' he kept it a-goin', For rest was a thing he was scornin'; And thim that were lazy could niver lie aisy, But jumped out av bed at the warnin'; For who could be stayin' aslape with him playin' "Saint Patherick's Day in the mornin'?"

And thin whin the b'ys would fall in fer parade, McCarty'd be gay with his buttons and braid, And whin he stipped out fer ter head the brigade, Why, this was the beautiful tune that he played:

"By—Killarney's—lakes—and—fells, Toot—tetoot toot—toot—toot—dells!" And—the heel av—McCart—y's—boot Marked—the time at—iv'—ry—toot, While—the slide at—aich—bass—note Seemed—ter slip half—down—his throat, As—he caught his—breath—be—spells:— "By—Killarney's—lakes—and—fells!"

Now McCarty he lived ter be wrinkled and lean, But he died wan fine day playin' "Wearin' the green," And they sould the ould horn to a British spalpeen, And it bu'st whin he tried ter blow "God save the Queen";

But the nights av Saint Patherick's Days in Athlone Folks dare not go by the ould graveyard alone, For they say that McCarty sits on his tombstone And plays this sad tune on a phantom trombone:

"The harp that wance through Tara's halls The sowl av music shed, Now hangs as mute on Tara's walls As if that sowl were dead." And all who've heard the lonesome keens That that grim ghost has blown, Know well by Tara's harp he means That batthered ould trombone.

* * * * *

SUSAN VAN DOOZEN

I'll write, for I'm witty, a popular ditty, To bring to me shekels and fame, And the only right way one may write one to-day Is to give it some Irish girl's name. There's "Rosy O'Grady," that dear "steady lady," And sweet "Annie Rooney" and such, But mine shall be nearly original, really, For Susan Van Doozen is Dutch.

O Susan Van Doozen! the girl of my choos'n', You stick in my bosom like glue; While this you're perusin', remember I'm mus'n', Sweet Susan Van Doozen, on you. So don't be refus'n' my offer, and bruis'n' A heart that is willing to woo; And please be excus'n', not cold and refus'n',— O Susan Van Doozen, please do!

Now through it I'll scatter—a quite easy matter— Some lines that we all of us know, How "The neighbors all cry as she passes them by, 'There's Susan, the pride of the row!'" And something like "daisy" and "setting me crazy," —These lines the dear public would miss— Then chuck a "sweetheart" in, and "never to part" in, And end with a chorus like this:

O Susan Van Doozen! before I'd be los'n' One glance from your eyes of sky-blue, I vow I'd quit us'n' tobacco and booz'n', (That word is not nice, it is true). I wear out my shoes, 'n' I'm los'n' my roos'n' My reason, I should say, dear Sue,— So please change your views 'n' become my own Susan, O Susan Van Doozen, please do!

* * * * *

SISTER SIMMONS

Almost every other evening jest as reg'lar as the clock When we're settin' down ter supper, wife and I, there comes a knock An' a high-pitched voice, remarking', "Don't get up; it's me, yer know"; An' our mercury drops from "summer" down ter "twenty-five below," An' our cup of bliss turns sudden inter wormwood mixed with gall, Fer we know it's Sister Simmons come ter make her "reg'lar call."

In she comes an' takes the rocker. Thinks she'll slip her bunnit off, But she'll keep her shawl on, coz she's 'fraid of addin' ter her cough. No, she won't set down ter supper. Tea? well, yes, a half er cup. Her dyspepsy's been so lately, seems as if she should give up; An', 'tween rheumatiz an' as'ma, she's jest worn ter skin an' bone. It's a good thing that she told us,—by her looks we'd never known.

Next, she starts in on the neighbors; tells us all their private cares, While we have the fun er knowin' how she talks of our affairs; Says, with sobs, that Christmas comin' makes her feel so bad, for, oh! Her Isaiah, the dear departed, allers did enjoy it so. Her Isaiah, poor henpecked critter, 's been dead seven years er more, An' looked happier in his coffin than he ever did afore.

So she sits, her tongue a-waggin' in the same old mournful tones, Spoilin' all our quiet evenin's with her troubles an' her groans, Till, by Jude, I'm almost longin' fer those mansions of the blest, "Where the wicked cease from troublin' an' the weary are at rest!" But if Sister Simmons' station is before the Throne er Grace, I'll just ask 'em to excuse me, an' I'll try the other place.

* * * * *

"THE FIFT' WARD J'INT DEBATE"

Now Councilman O'Hoolihan do'n't b'lave in annixation, He says thim Phillypynos air the r-r-ruin av the nation. He says this counthry's job is jist a-mindin' av her biz, And imparyilism's thrayson, so ut is, so ut is. But big Moike Macnamara, him that runs the gin saloon, He wants the nomina-a-tion, so he sings a different chune; He's a-howlin' fer ixpansion, so he puts ut on the shlate Thot he challenged Dan O'Hoolihan ter have a j'int debate.

Ho, ho! Begorra! Oi wisht that ye 'd been there! Ho, ho! Begorra! 'Twas lovely, Oi declare; The langwudge, sure 't was iligant, the rhitoric was great, Whin Dan and Mack, they had ut back, At our big j'int debate.

'T was in the War-r-d Athletic Club we had ut fixed ter hear 'em, And all the sates was crowded, fer the gang was there ter cheer 'em; A foine debatin' platfor-r-m had been built inside the ring, And iverybuddy said 't was jist the thing, jist the thing. O'Hoolihan, he shtarted off be sayin', ut was safe Ter say that aich ixpansionist was jist a murth'rin thafe; And, whin I saw big Mack turn rid, and shtart ter lave his sate, Oi knew we 'd have a gor-r-geous toime at our big j'int debate.

Thin Moike he tuk his tur-r-n ter shpake, "Av Oi wance laid me hand," Says he, "upon an 'Anti,' faith! Oi'd make his nose ixpand; Oi 'd face the schnakin' blackguar-r-d, and Oi'd baste him where he shtood. Oi'd annix him to a graveyard, so Oi would, so Oi would!" Thin up jumped Dan O'Hoolihan a-roar-r-in' out "Yez loie!" And flung his b'aver hat at Mack, and plunked him in the eye; And Moike he niver shtopped ter talk, but grappled wid him straight, And the ar-r-gymint got loively thin, at our big j'int debate.

Oi niver in me loife have seen sich char-r-min' illycution, The gistures av thim wid their fists was grand in ixecution; We tried to be impar-r-tial, so no favoroite we made, But jist sicked them on tergither, yis indade, yis indade. And nayther wan was half convinced whin Sar-r-gint Leary came, Wid near a dozen other cops, and stopped the purty game; But niver did Oi see dhress-suits in sich a mortial state As thim the or-r-ators had on at our big j'int debate.

Ho, ho! Begorra! Oi wisht that ye'd been there! Ho, ho! Begorra! The foight was on the square; Ter see the wagon goin' off, wid thim two on the sate!— Oi 'd loike ter shtroike, 'twixt Dan and Moilce, Another j'int debate.

* * * * *

HIS NEW BROTHER

Say, I've got a little brother, Never teased to have him, nuther, But he's here; They just went ahead and bought him, And, last week the doctor brought him, Wa'n't that queer?

When I heard the news from Molly, Why, I thought at first 't was jolly, 'Cause, you see, I s'posed I could go and get him And then Mama, course, would let him Play with me.

But when I had once looked at him, "Why!" I says, "My sakes, is that him? Just that mite!" They said, "Yes," and, "Ain't he cunnin'?" And I thought they must be funnin',— He's a sight!



He's so small, it's just amazin', And you 'd think that he was blazin', He's so red; And his nose is like a berry, And he's bald as Uncle Jerry On his head.

Why, he isn't worth a dollar! All he does is cry and holler More and more; Won't sit up—you can't arrange him,— I don't see why Pa do'n't change him At the store.

Now we've got to dress and feed him, And we really didn't need him More 'n a frog; Why'd they buy a baby brother, When they know I'd good deal ruther Have a dog?

* * * * *

CIRCLE DAY

Me and Billy's in the woodshed; Ma said, "Run outdoors and play; Be good boys and don't be both'rin', till the company's gone away." She and sister Mary's hustlin', settin' out the things for tea, And the parlor's full of women, such a crowd you never see; Every one a-cuttin' patchwork or a-sewin' up a seam, And the way their tongues is goin', seems as if they went by steam. Me and Billy's been a-listenin' and, I tell you what, it beats Circus day to hear 'em gabbin', when the Sewin' Circle meets.

First they almost had a squabble, fightin' 'bout the future life; When they'd settled that they started runnin' down the parson's wife. Then they got a-goin' roastin' all the folks there is in town, And they never stopped, you bet yer, till they'd done 'em good and brown. They knew everybody's business and they made it mighty free, But the way they loved each other would have done yer good to see; Seems ter me the only way ter keep yer hist'ry off the streets Is to be on hand a-waitin' when the Sewin' Circle meets.

Pretty quick they'll have their supper, then's the time to see the fun; Ma'll say the rolls is awful, and she's 'fraid the pie ain't done. Really everything is bully, and she knows it well enough, But the folks that's havin' comp'ny always talks that kind of stuff. That sets all the women goin', and they say, "How can you make Such delicious pies and biscuits, and such lovely choc'late cake?" Me and Billy don't say nothin' when we pitches in and eats Up the things there is left over when the Sewin' Circle meets.

I guess Pa do'n't like the Circle, 'cause he said ter Uncle Jim That there cacklin' hen convention was too peppery for him. And he'll say to Ma, "I'm sorry, but I've really got ter dodge Down t' the hall right after supper—there's a meetin' at the lodge." Ma'll say, "Yes, so I expected." Then a-speakin' kinder cold, "Seems ter me, I'd get a new one; that excuse is gettin' old!" Pa'll look sick, just like a feller when he finds you know he cheats, But he do'n't stay home, you bet yer, when the Sewin' Circle meets.

* * * * *

SERMON TIME

"Blessed are the poor in spirit": there, I'll just remember that, And I'll say it over 'n over, till I've got it good and pat, For when I get home from meetin', Gran'ma'll ask me for the text, And if I say I've forgot it, she'll be goin' for me next, Say in', I don't pay attention, and what am I comin' to; Tellin' 'bout when she was little, same as old folks always do. Say, I'll bet she didn't like it any better than the rest, Sittin' 'round all stiff and starchy, dressed up in your Sunday best.

"Blessed are the poor"—I tell yer, some day I'll be clearin' out, Leavin' all this dressin' nonsense, 'cause I'm goin' ter be a scout, Same as "Deadwood Dick," a-killin' all the Injuns on the plains: He do'n't comb his hair, you bet yer; no, nor wash, unless it rains. And bimeby I'll come home, bringin' loads of gold and di'mon' rings; My, won't all the boys be jealous when they see those kind of things! 'N' I'll have a reputation, folks'll call me "Lariat Ben," Gran'ma'll think I 'mount ter somethin', maybe, when she sees me then.

"Blessed are the"—There's a blackbird, outside, sittin' on a limb,— Gosh! I wish it wasn't Sunday, p'raps I wouldn't go for him. Sis says stonin' birds is wicked, but she's got one on her hat,— S'pose that makes it right and proper, if yer kill 'em just for that. There's that dudey city feller, sittin' in the Deacon's pew. Needn't feel so big now, Smarty, just because your clothes are new; Me and Sam has rigged a hat line; when it's dark to-morrer night We'll just catch your shiny beaver and we'll send it out of sight.

"Blessed are"—There's Mr. Wiggin sound asleep. I wish he'd snore. Cracky! Now he's been and done it, dropped his hymn-book on the floor. See how cross his wife is lookin'. Say, I bet they'll have a row; Pa said that she wore the breeches, but she's got a dress on now. There's Nell Baker with her uncle. Her 'n I don't speak at school, 'Cause she wouldn't help a feller when I clean forgot the rule. Used to be my girl before that—Gee! what was that text about? "Blessed—blessed—blessed" something. I'll ask Sis when we get out.

* * * * *

"TAKIN' BOARDERS"

We'd never thought of takin' 'em,—'t was Mary Ann's idee,— Sence she got back from boardin'-school she's called herself "Maree" An' scattered city notions like a tom-cat sheds his fur. She thought our old melodeon wa'n't good enough fer her, An' them pianners cost so that she said the only way Was ter take in summer boarders till we 'd made enough to pay; So she wrote advertisements out to fetch 'em inter camp, An' now there's boarders thicker here than June bugs round a lamp.

Our best front parlor'll jest be sp'iled; they h'ist up every shade An' open all the blinds, by gum! an' let the carpet fade. They're in there week days jest the same as Sunday; I declare, I really think our haircloth set is showin' signs o' wear! They set up ha'f the night an' sing,—no use ter try ter sleep, With them a-askin' folks ter "Dig a grave both wide an' deep," An' "Who will smoke my mashum pipe?" By gee! I tell yer what: If they want me to dig their graves, I'd jest as soon as not!

There ain't no comfort now at meals; I can't take off my coat, Nor use my knife to eat, nor tie my napkin 'round my throat, Nor drink out of my sasser. Gosh! I hardly draw my breath 'Thout Mary Ann a-tellin' me she's "mortified to death!" Before they came our breakfast time was allus ha'f-past six; By thunderation! 't wouldn't do; you'd orter hear the kicks! So jest to suit 'em 't was put off till sometime arter eight, An' when a chap gits up at four that's mighty long ter wait.

The idee was that Mary Ann would help her Ma; but, land! She can't be round a minute but some boarder's right on hand Ter take her out ter walk or ride—she likes it well enough, But when you 're gittin' grub for twelve, Ma finds it kinder tough. We ain't a-sayin' nothin' now, we'll see this season through, But folks that bought one gold brick ain't in love with number two; An' if you're passin' down our way next summer, cast your eye At our front fence. You'll see a sign, "NO BOARDERS NEED APPLY."

* * * * *

A COLLEGE TRAINING

Home from college came the stripling, calm and cool and debonair, With a weird array of raiment and a wondrous wealth of hair, With a lazy love of languor and a healthy hate of work And a cigarette devotion that would shame the turbaned Turk. And he called his father "Guv'nor," with a cheek serene and rude, While that raging, wrathful rustic calld his son a "blasted dude." And in dark and direful language muttered threats of coming harm To the "idle, shif'less critter" from his father's good right arm.

And the trouble reached a climax on the lawn behind the shed,— "Now, I'm gon' ter lick yer, sonny," so the sturdy parent said, "And I'll knock the college nonsense from your noddle, mighty quick!"— Then he lit upon that chappy like a wagon-load of brick. But the youth serenely murmured, as he gripped his angry dad, "You're a clever rusher, Guv'nor, but you tackle very bad"; And he rushed him through the center and he tripped him for a fall, And he scored a goal and touchdown with his papa as the ball.



Then a cigarette he lighted, as he slowly strolled away, Saying, "That was jolly, Guv'nor, now we'll practice every day"; While his father from the puddle, where he wallowed in disgrace, Smiled upon his offspring, proudly, from a bruised and battered face, And with difficulty rising, quick he hobbled to the house. "Henry's all right, Ma!" he shouted to his anxious, waiting spouse, "He jest licked me good and solid, and I tell yer, Mary Ann, When a chap kin lick your husband he's a mighty able man!"

* * * * *

A CRUSHED HERO

On a log behind the pigsty of a modest little farm, Sits a freckled youth and lanky, red of hair and long of arm; But his mien is proud and haughty and his brow is high and stern, And beneath their sandy lashes, fiery eyes with purpose burn. Bow before him, gentle reader, he's the hero we salute, He is Hiram Adoniram Andrew Jackson Shute.

Search not Fame's immortal marbles, never there his name you'll find, For our hero, let us whisper, is a hero in his mind; And a youth may bathe in glory, wade in slaughter time on time, When a novel, wild and gory, may be purchased for a dime. And through reams of lurid pages has he slain the Sioux and Ute, Bloody Hiram Adoniram Andrew Jackson Shute.

Hark, a heavy step advancing,—list, a father's angry cry, "He hain't shucked a single nubbin; where's that good-fer-nothin' Hi?" "Here, base catiff," comes the answer, "here am I who was your slave, But no more I'll do your shuckin', though I fill a bloody grave! Freedom's fire my breast has kindled; there'll be bloodshed, tyrant! brute!" Quoth brave Hiram Adoniram Andrew Jackson Shute.

"Breast's a-blazin', is it, Sonny?" asks his father with a smile, "Kind er like a stove, I reckon, what they call 'gas-burner' style. Good 'base-burner' 's what your needin'"—here he pins our hero fast, "Come, young man, we'll try the woodshed, keep the bloodshed till the last." Then an atmosphere of horse-whip, interspersed with cow-hide boot, Wraps young Hiram Adoniram Andrew Jackson Shute.

* * * * *

Weep ye now, oh, gentle reader, for the fallen, great of heart, As ye wept o'er Saint Helena and the exiled Bonaparte; For a picture, sad as that one, to your pity I would show Of a spirit crushed and broken,—of a hero lying low; For where husks are heaped the highest, working swiftly, hushed and mute, Shucketh Hiram Adoniram Andrew Jackson Shute.

* * * * *

A THANKSGIVING DREAM

I'm pretty nearly certain that't was 'bout two weeks ago,— It might be more, or, p'raps 't was less,—but, anyhow, I know 'T was on the night I ate the four big saucers of ice cream That I dreamed jest the horriblest, most awful, worstest dream. I dreamed that 'twas Thanksgiving and I saw our table laid With every kind of goody that, I guess, was ever made; With turkey, and with puddin', and with everything,—but, gee! 'T was dreadful, 'cause they was alive, and set and looked at me.

And then a great big gobbler, that was on a platter there, He stood up on his drumsticks, and he says, "You boy, take care! For if, Thanksgivin' Day, you taste my dark meat or my white, I'll creep up to your bedroom in the middle of the night; I'll throw off all the blankets, and I'll pull away the sheet, I'll prance and dance upon you with my prickly, tickly feet; I'll kick you, and I'll pick you, and I'll screech, 'Remember me!' Beware, my boy! Take care, my boy!" that gobbler says, says he.



And then a fat plum puddin' kind er grunted-like and said: "I'm round and hot and steamin', and I'm heavier than lead, And if you dare to eat me, boy, upon Thanksgivin' Day, I'll come at night and tease you in a frightful sort of way. I'll thump you, and I'll bump you, and I'll jump up high and fall Down on your little stomach like a sizzlin' cannon-ball I'll hound you, and I'll pound you, and I'll screech 'Remember me!' Beware, my boy! Take care, my boy!" that puddin says, says he.

And then, soon as the puddin' stopped, a crusty ol' mince pie Jumped from its plate and glared at me and winked its little eye; "You boy," it says, "Thanksgivin' Day, don't dare ter touch a slice Of me, for if you do, I'll come and cramp you like a vise. I'll root you, and I'll boot you, and I'll twist you till you squeal, I'll stand on edge and roll around your stomach like a wheel; I'll hunch you, and I'll punch you, and I'll screech, 'Remember me!'"

* * * * *

I don't know what came after that, 'cause I woke up, you see.

You wouldn't b'lieve that talk like that one ever could forget, But, say! ter-day's Thanksgivin,' and I've et, and et, and et! And when I'd stuffed jest all I could, I jumped and gave a scream, 'Cause all at once, when 't was too late, I 'membered 'bout that dream. And now it's almost bedtime, and I ought ter say my prayers And tell the folks "good-night" and go a-pokin' off up-stairs; But, oh, my sakes! I dasn't, 'cause I know them things'll be All hidin' somewheres 'round my bed and layin there fer me.

* * * * *

O'REILLY'S BILLY-GOAT

A solemn Sabbath stillness lies along the Mudville lanes, Among the crags of Shantytown a peaceful quiet reigns, For down upon McCarty's dump, in fiery fight for fame, The Shanties meet the Mudvilles in the final pennant game; And heedless of the frantic fray, in center field remote, Behind the biggest ash-heap lies O'Reilly's billy-goat.

The eager crowd bends forward now, in fierce excitement's thrall, The pitcher writhes in serpent twist, the umpire says, "Play ball!" The batsman swings with sudden spite,—a loud, resounding "spat," And hissing through the ambient air the horse-hide leaves the bat; With one terrific battle-cry, the "rooter" clears his throat, But still serene in slumber lies O'Reilly's billy-goat.

Alas, alas for Shantytown! the Mudvilles forge ahead; Alas for patriotic hopes! the green's below the red; With one half inning still to play the score is three to two, The Shantys have a man on base,—be brave my lads, and true; Bold Captain Muggsy comes to bat, a batsman he of note, And slowly o'er the ash-heap walks O'Reilly's billy-goat.

The yelling Mudville hosts have wrecked his slumbers so serene, With deep disgust and sullen eye he gazes o'er the scene. He notes the center-fielder's garb, the Mudvilles' shirt of red; He firmly plants his sturdy legs, he bows his horned head, And, as upon his shaggy ears the Mudville slogan smote, A sneer played 'mid the whiskers of O'Reilly's billy-goat.

The valiant Muggsy hits the ball. Oh, deep and dark despair! He hits it hard and straight, but ah, he hits it in the air! The Mudville center-fielder smiles and reaches forth in glee, He knows that fly's an easy out for such a man as he. Beware, oh rash and reckless youth, nor o'er your triumph gloat, For toward you like a comet flies O'Reilly's billy-goat.

Across the battle-field is borne a dull and muffled sound, The fielder like a bullock falls, the ball rolls on the ground. Around the bases on the wing the gallant Muggsy speeds, And follows swiftly in the track where fast his comrade leads. And from the field of chaos where the dusty billows float, With calm, majestic mien there stalks O'Reilly's billy-goat.

Above the crags of Shantytown the flaunting pennant waves, And cheering myriads chant the praise of Muggsy's lusty braves. The children shout in gladsome glee, each fair one waves her hand, As down the street the heroes march with lively German band; But wilder grows the tumult when, with ribboned horns and coat, They see, on high in triumph borne, O'Reilly's billy-goat.

* * * * *

THE CUCKOO CLOCK

When Ezry, that's my sister's son, come home from furrin parts, He fetched the folks a lot of things ter brighten up their hearts; He fetched 'em silks and gloves and clothes, and knick-knacks, too, a stock, But all he fetched fer us was jest a fancy cuckoo clock. 'T was all fixed up with paint and gilt, and had a little door Where sat the cutest little bird, and when 't was three or four Or five or six or any time, that bird would jest come out And, 'cordin' ter what time it was, he'd flap his wings and shout: "Hoo-hoo! Hoo-hoo! Hoo-hoo!"

Well, fust along we had it, why, I thought 'twas simply prime! And used to poke the hands around ter make it "cuckoo" time; And allers when we'd company come, they had ter see the thing, And, course they almost had a fit when "birdie" come ter sing. But, by and by, b'gosh! I found it somehow lost its joys, I found it kind er made me sick to hear that senseless noise; I wished 't was jest a common clock, that struck a gong, yer know, And didn't have no foolish bird ter flap his wings and go: "Hoo-hoo! Hoo-hoo! Hoo-hoo!"

Well, things git on from bad to wuss, until I'm free ter grant, I'd smash it into kindlin', but a present, so, I can't! And, though a member of the church, and deacon, I declare, That thing jest sets me up on end and makes me want ter swear! I try ter be religious and ter tread the narrer way, But seems as if that critter knew when I knelt down ter pray, And all my thoughts of heaven go a-tumblin' down ter,—well, A different kind of climate—when that bird sets out ter yell: "Hoo-hoo! Hoo-hoo! Hoo-hoo!"

I read once in a poetry book, that Ezry had ter home, The awful fuss a feller made about a crow, that come And pestered him about ter death and made him sick and sore, By settin' on his mantel-piece and hollerin' "Nevermore!" But, say, I'd ruther have the crow, with all his fuss and row, His bellerin' had some sense, b'gosh! 'T was English, anyhow; And all the crows in Christendom that talked a Christian talk Would seem like nightingales, compared ter that air furrin squawk: "Hoo-hoo! Hoo-hoo! Hoo-hoo!"

* * * * *

THE POPULAR SONG

I never was naturally vicious; My spirit was lamb-like and mild; I never was bad or malicious; I loved with the trust of a child. But hate now my bosom is burning, And all through my being I long To get one solid thump on the head of the chump Who wrote the new popular song.



The office-boy hums it, The book-keeper drums it, It's whistled by all on the street; The hand-organ grinds it, The music-box winds it, It's sung by the "cop" on the beat. The newsboy, he spouts it, The bootblack, he shouts it, The washwoman sings it all wrong; And I laugh, and I weep, And I wake, and I sleep, To the tune of that popular song.

Its measures are haunting my dreaming; I rise at the breakfast-bell's call To hear the new chambermaid screaming The chorus aloud through the hall. The landlady's daughter's piano Is helping the concert along, And my molars I break on the tenderloin steak As I chew to that popular song.

The orchestra plays it, The German band brays it, 'T is sung on the platform and stage; All over the city They're chanting the ditty; At summer resorts it's the rage. The drum corps, it beats it, The echo repeats it, The bass-drummer brings it out strong, And we speak, and we talk, And we dance, and we walk, To the notes of that popular song.

It really is driving me crazy; I feel that I'm wasting away; My brain is becoming more hazy, My appetite less every day. But, ah! I'd not pray for existence, Nor struggle my life to prolong, If, up some dark alley, with him I might dally Who wrote that new popular song.

The bone-player clicks it, The banjoist picks it, It 'livens the clog-dancer's heels; The bass-viol moans it, The bagpiper drones it, They play it for waltzes and reels. I shall not mind quitting The earthly, and flitting Away 'mid the heavenly throng, If the mourners who come To my grave do not hum That horrible popular song.

* * * * *

MATILDY'S BEAU

I hain't no great detective, like yer read about,—the kind That solves a whole blame murder case by footmarks left behind; But then, again, on t'other hand, my eyes hain't shut so tight But I can add up two and two and get the answer right; So, when prayer-meet'ns, Friday nights, got keepin' awful late, And, fer an hour or so, I'd hear low voices at the gate— And when that gate got saggin' down 'bout ha'f a foot er so— I says ter mother: "Ma," says I, "Matildy's got a beau."



We ought ter have expected it—she's 'most eighteen, yer see; But, sakes alive! she's always seemed a baby, like, ter me; And so, a feller after her! why, that jest did beat all! But, t' other Sunday, bless yer soul, he come around ter call; And when I see him all dressed up as dandy as yer please, But sort er lookin' 's if he had the shivers in his knees, I kind er realized it then, yer might say, like a blow— Thinks I, "No use! I'm gittin' old; Matildy's got a beau."

Just twenty-four short years gone by—it do'n't seem five, I vow!— I fust called on Matildy—that's Matildy's mother now; I recollect I spent an hour a-tyin' my cravat, And I'd sent up ter town and bought a bang-up shiny hat. And, my! oh, my! them new plaid pants; well, wa'n't I something grand When I come up the walk with some fresh posies in my hand? And didn't I feel like a fool when her young brother, Joe, Sang out: "Gee crickets! Looky here! Here comes Matildy's beau!"

And now another feller comes up my walk, jest as gay, And here's Matildy blushin' red in jest her mother's way; And when she says she's got ter go an errand to the store, We know he 's waitin' 'round the bend, jest as I've done afore; Or, when they're in the parlor and I knock, why, bless yer heart! I have ter smile ter hear how quick their chairs are shoved apart. They think us old folks don't "catch on" a single mite; but, sho! I reckon they fergit I was Matildy's mother's beau.

* * * * *

"SISTER'S BEST FELLER"

My sister's best feller is 'most six-foot-three, And handsome and strong as a feller can be; And Sis, she's so little, and slender, and small, You never would think she could boss him at all; But, my jing! She do'n't do a thing But make him jump 'round, like he worked with a string! It jest makes me 'shamed of him sometimes, you know, To think that he'll let a girl bully him so.

He goes to walk with her and carries her muff And coat and umbrella, and that kind of stuff; She loads him with things that must weigh 'most a ton; And, honest, he likes it,—as if it was fun! And, oh, say! When they go to a play, He'll sit in the parlor and fidget away, And she won't come down till it's quarter past eight, And then she'll scold him 'cause they get there so late.

He spends heaps of money a-buyin' her things, Like candy, and flowers, and presents, and rings; And all he's got for 'em 's a handkerchief case— A fussed-up concern, made of ribbons and lace; But, my land! He thinks it's just grand, "'Cause she made it," he says, "with her own little hand"; He calls her "an angel"—I heard him—and "saint," And "beautif'lest bein' on earth"—but she ain't.

'Fore I go an errand for her any time I jest make her coax me, and give me a dime; But that great, big silly—why, honest and true— He'd run forty miles if she wanted him to. Oh, gee whiz! I tell you what 'tis! I jest think it's awful—those actions of his. I won't fall in love, when I'm grown—no sir-ee! My sister's best feller's a warnin' to me!

* * * * *

"THE WIDDER CLARK"

It's getting on ter winter now, the nights are crisp and chill, The wind comes down the chimbly with a whistle sharp and shrill, The dead leaves rasp and rustle in the corner by the shed, And the branches scratch and rattle on the skylight overhead. The cracklin' blaze is climbin' up around the old backlog, As we set by the fireplace here, myself and cat and dog; And as fer me, I'm thinkin', as the fire burns clear and bright, That it must be mighty lonesome fer the Widder Clark ter-night.

It's bad enough fer me, b'gosh, a-pokin' round the place, With jest these two dumb critters here, and nary human face To make the house a home agin, same as it used ter be While mother lived, for she was 'bout the hull wide world ter me. My bein' all the son she had, we loved each other more— That's why, I guess, I'm what they call a "bach" at forty-four. It's hard fer me to set alone, but women folks—'t ain't right, And it must be mighty lonesome fer the Widder Clark ter-night.

I see her t' other mornin', and, I swan, 't wa'n't later 'n six, And there she was, out in the cold, a-choppin' up the sticks To kindle fire fer breakfast, and she smiled so bright and gay, By gee, I simply couldn't bear ter see her work that way! Well, I went in and chopped, I guess, enough ter last a year, And she said "Thanks," so pretty, gosh! it done me good ter hear! She do'n't look over twenty-five, no, not a single mite; Ah, hum! it must be lonesome fer the Widder Clark ter-night.

I sez ter her, "Our breakfasts ain't much fun fer me or you; Seems's if two lonesome meals might make one social one fer two." She blushed so red that I did, too, and I got sorter 'fraid That she was mad, and, like a fool, come home; I wish I'd stayed! I'd like ter know, now, if she thinks that Clark's a pretty name— 'Cause, if she do'n't, and fancies mine, we'll make 'em both the same. I think I'll go and ask her, 'cause 't would ease my mind a sight Ter know 't wa'n't quite so lonesome fer the Widder Clark ter-night.

* * * * *

FRIDAY EVENING MEETINGS

Oh, the Friday evening meetings in the vestry, long ago, When the prayers were long and fervent and the anthems staid and slow, Where the creed was like the pewbacks, of a pattern straight and stiff, And the congregation took it with no doubting "but" or "if," Where the girls sat, fresh and blooming, with the old folks down before, And the boys, who came in later, took the benches near the door.

Oh, the Friday evening meetings, how the ransomed sinners told Of their weary toils and trials ere they reached the blessed fold; How we trembled when the Deacon, with a saintly relish, spoke Of the fiery place of torment till we seemed to smell the smoke; And we all joined in "Old Hundred" till the rafters seemed to ring When the preacher said, "Now, brethren: Hallelujah! Let us sing."

Oh, the Friday evening meetings, and the waiting 'round about, 'Neath the lamplight, at the portal, just to see when she came out, And the whispered, anxious question, and the faintly murmured "Yes," And the soft hand on your coat-sleeve, and the perfumed, rustling dress,— Oh, the Paradise of Heaven somehow seemed to show its worth When you walked home with an angel through a Paradise on earth.

Oh, the Friday evening meetings, and the happy homeward stroll, While the moonlight softly mingled with the love-light in your soul; Then the lingering 'neath the lattice where the roses hung above, And the "good-night" kiss at parting, and the whispered word of love,— Ah, they lighted Life's dark highway with a sweet and sacred glow From the Friday evening meetings in the vestry, long ago.

* * * * *

THE PARSON'S DAUGHTER

Little foot, whose lightest pat Seems to glorify the mat, Waving hair and picture hat, Grace the nymphs have taught her; Gown the pink of fit and style, Lips that ravish when they smile,— Like a vision, down the aisle Comes the parson's daughter.

As she passes, like a dart To each luckless fellow's heart Leaps a throbbing thrill and smart, When his eye has sought her; Tries he then his sight to bless With one glimpse of face or tress— Does she know it?—well, I guess! Parson's pretty daughter.

Leans she now upon her glove Cheeks whose dimples tempt to love, And, with saintly look above, Hears her "Pa" exhort her; But, within those upturned eyes, Fair as sunny summer skies, Just a hint of mischief lies,— Parson's roguish daughter.

From their azure depths askance, When the hymn-book gave the chance, Did I get one laughing glance? I was sure I caught her. Are her thoughts so far amiss As to stray, like mine, to bliss? For, last night, I stole a kiss From the parson's daughter.

* * * * *



MY OLD GRAY NAG

When the farm work's done, at the set of sun, And the supper's cleared away, And Ma, she sits on the porch and knits, And Dad, he puffs his clay; Then out I go ter the barn, yer know, With never a word ner sign, In the twilight dim I harness him— That old gray nag of mine.

He's used ter me, and he knows, yer see, Down jest which lane ter turn; Fact is—well, yes—he's been, I guess, Quite times enough ter learn; And he knows the hedge by the brook's damp edge, Where the twinklin' fireflies shine, And he knows who waits by the pastur' gates— That old gray nag of mine.

So he stops, yer see, fer he thinks, like me, That a buggy's made fer two; Then along the lane, with a lazy rein, He jogs in the shinin' dew; And he do'n't fergit he can loaf a bit In the shade of the birch and pine; Oh, he knows his road, and he knows his load— That old gray nag of mine.

No, he ain't the sort that the big-bugs sport, Docked up in the latest style, But he suits us two, clean through and through, And, after a little while, When the cash I've saved brings the home we've craved, So snug, and our own design, He'll take us straight ter the parson's gate— That old gray nag of mine.

* * * * *

THROUGH THE FOG

The fog was so thick yer could cut it 'Thout reachin' a foot over-side, The dory she'd nose up ter butt it, And then git discouraged an' slide; No noise but the thole-pins a-squeakin', Or, maybe, the swash of a wave, No feller ter cheer yer by speakin'— 'Twas lonesomer, lots, than the grave.

I set there an' thought of my trouble, I thought how I'd worked fer the cash That bust and went up like a bubble The day that the bank went ter smash. I thought how the fishin' was failin', How little this season I'd made, I thought of the child that was ailin', I thought of the bills ter be paid.

"And," says I, "All my life I've been fightin' Through oceans of nothin' but fog; And never no harbor a-sightin'— Jest driftin' around like a log; No matter how sharp I'm a-spyin', I never see nothin' ahead: I'm sick and disgusted with tryin'— I jest wish ter God I was dead."

It wa'n't more'n a minute, I'm certain, The words was jest out er my mouth, When up went the fog, like a curtain, And "puff" came the breeze from the south; And 'bout a mile off, by rough guessin', I see my own shanty on shore, And Mary, my wife and my blessin', God keep her, she stood in the door.

And I says ter myself, "I'm a darlin'; A chap with a woman like that, To set here a-grumblin' and snarlin', As sour as a sulky young brat— I'd better jest keep my helm steady, And not mind the fog that's adrift, For when the Lord gits good and ready, I reckon it's certain ter lift."

* * * * *

THE BALLADE OF THE DREAM-SHIP

My dream-ship's decks are of beaten gold, And her fluttering banners are brave of hue, And her shining sails are of satin fold, And her tall sides gleam where the warm waves woo: While the flung spray leaps in a diamond dew From her bright bow, dipping its dance of glee; For the skies are fair and the soft winds coo, Where my dream-ship sails o'er the silver sea.

My dream-ship's journeys are long and bold, And the ports she visits are far and few; They lie by the rosy shores of old, 'Mid the dear lost scenes my boyhood knew; Or, deep in the future's misty blue, By the purple islands of Arcady,— And Spain's fair turrets shine full in view, Where my dream-ship sails o'er the silver sea.

My dream-ship's cargo is wealth untold, Rare blooms that the old home gardens grew, Sweet pictured faces, and loved songs trolled By lips long laid 'neath the churchyard yew; Or wondrous wishes not yet come true, And fame and glory that is to be;— Hope holds the wheel all the lone watch through, Where my dream-ship sails o'er the silver sea.

ENVOY

Heart's dearest, what though the storms may brew, And earth's ways darken for you and me? The breeze is fair—let us voyage anew, Where my dream-ship sails o'er the silver sea.

* * * * *

LIFE'S PATHS

It's A wonderful world we're in, my dear, A wonderful world, they say, And blest they be who may wander free Wherever a wish may stray; Who spread their sails to the arctic gales, Or bask in the tropic's bowers, While we must keep to the foot-path steep In this workaday life of ours.

For smooth is the road for the few, my dear, And wide are the ways they roam: Our feet are led where the millions tread, In the worn, old lanes of home. And the years may flow for weal or woe, And the frost may follow the flowers, Our steps are bound to the self-same round In this workaday life of ours.

But narrow our path may be, my dear, And simple the scenes we view, A heart like thine, and a love like mine, Will carry us bravely through. With a happy song we'll trudge along, And smile in the shine or showers, And we'll ease the pack on a brother's back By this workaday life of ours.

* * * * *

THE MAYFLOWER

In the gleam and gloom of the April weather, When the snows have flown in the brooklet's flood, And the Showers and Sunshine sport together, And the proud Bough boasts of the baby Bud; On the hillside brown, where the dead leaves linger In crackling layers, all crimped and curled, She parts their folds with a timid finger, And shyly peeps at the waking world.

The roystering West Wind flies to greet her, And bids her haste, with a gleeful shout: The quickening Saplings bend to meet her, And the first green Grass-blades call, "Come out!" So, venturing forth with a dainty neatness, In gown of pink or in white arrayed, She comes once more in her fresh completeness, A modest, fair little Pilgrim Maid.

Her fragrant petals, their beauties showing, Creep out to sprinkle the hill and dell, Like showers of Stars in the shadows glowing, Or Snowflakes blossoming where they fell; And the charmed Wood leaps into joyous blooming, As though't were touched by a Fairy's ring, And the glad Earth scents, in the rare perfuming, The first sweet breath of the new-born Spring.

* * * * *

MAY MEMORIES

To my office window, gray, Come the sunbeams in their play, Come the dancing, glancing sunbeams, airy fairies of the May; Like a breath of summer-time, Setting Memory's bells a-chime, Till their jingle seems to mingle with the measure of my rhyme.

And above the tramp of feet, And the clamor of the street, I can hear the thrush's singing, ringing high and clear and sweet,— Hear the murmur of the breeze Through the bloom-starred apple trees, And the ripples softly splashing and the dashing of the seas;

See the shadow and the shine Where the glossy branches twine, And the ocean's sleepy tuning mocks the crooning in the pine; Hear the catbird whistle shrill In the bushes by the rill, Where the violets toss and twinkle as they sprinkle vale and hill;

Feel the tangled meadow-grass On my bare feet as I pass; See the clover bending over in a dew-bespangled mass; See the cottage by the shore, With the pansy beds before, And the old familiar places and the faces at the door.



Oh, the skies of blissful blue, Oh, the woodland's verdant hue,— Oh, the lazy days of boyhood, when the world was fair and new! Still to me your tale is told In the summer's sunbeam's gold, And my truant fancy straying, goes a-Maying as of old.

* * * * *

BIRDS'-NESTING TIME

The spring sun flashes a rapier thrust Through the dingy school-house pane, A shining scimitar, free from rust, That cuts the cloud of the drifting dust, And scatters a golden rain; And the boy at the battered desk within Is dreaming a dream sublime, For study's a wrong, and school a sin, When the joys of woods and fields begin, And it's just birds'-nesting time.

He dreams of a nook by the world unguessed, Where the thrush's song is sung, And the dainty yellowbird's fairy nest, Lined with the fluff from the cattail's crest, 'Mid the juniper boughs is hung; And further on, by the elder hedge, Where the turtles come out to sleep, The marsh-hen builds, by the brooklet's edge, Her warm, wet home in the swampy sedge, 'Mid the shadows so dark and deep.

He knows of the spot by the old stone wall, Where the sunlight dapples the glade, And the sweet wild-cherry blooms softly fall, And hid in the meadow-grass rank and tall, The "Bob-white's" eggs are laid. He knows, where the sea-breeze sobs and sings, And the sand-hills meet the brine, The clamorous crows, with their whirring wings, Tell of their treasure that sways and swings In the top of the tasselled pine.

* * * * *

And so he dreamed, with a happy face, Till the noontide recess came, And when't was over, ah, sad disgrace, The teacher, seeing an empty place, Marked "truant" against his name; While he, forgetful of book or rule, Sought only a tree to climb: For where is the boy who remembers school When the cowslip blows by the marshy And it's just birds'-nesting time?

* * * * *

THE OLD SWORD ON THE WALL

Where the warm spring sunlight, streaming Through the window, sets its gleaming, With a softened silver sparkle in the dim and dusky hall, With its tassel torn and tattered, And its blade, deep-bruised and battered, Like a veteran, scarred and weary, hangs the old sword on the wall.

None can tell its stirring story, None can sing its deeds of glory, None can say which cause it struck for, or from what limp hand it fell; On the battle-field they found it, Where the dead lay thick around it— Friend and foe—a gory tangle—tossed and torn by shot and shell.

Who, I wonder, was its wearer, Was its stricken soldier bearer? Was he some proud Southern stripling, tall and straight and brave and true? Dusky locks and lashes had he? Or was he some Northern laddie, Fresh and fair, with cheeks of roses, and with eyes and coat of blue?

From New England's fields of daisies, Or from Dixie's bowered mazes, Rode he proudly forth to conflict? What, I wonder, was his name? Did some sister, wife, or mother, Mourn a husband, son, or brother? Did some sweetheart look with longing for a love who never came?

Fruitless question! Fate forever Keeps its secret, answering never. But the grim old blade shall blossom on this mild Memorial Day; I will wreathe its hilt with roses For the soldier who reposes Somewhere 'neath the Southern grasses in his garb of blue or gray.

May the flowers be fair above him, May the bright buds bend and love him, May his sleep be deep and dreamless till the last great bugle-call; And may North and South be nearer To each other's heart, and dearer, For the memory of their heroes and the old swords on the wall.

* * * * *

NINETY-EIGHT IN THE SHADE

Pavements a-frying in street and in square, Never a breeze in the blistering air, Never a place where a fellow can run Out of the shine of the sizzling sun: "General Humidity" having his way, Killing us off by the hundred a day; Mercury climbing the tube like a shot,— Suffering Caesar! I tell you it's hot!

Collar kerflummoxed all over my neck, Necktie and bosom and wristbands a wreck, Handkerchief dripping and worn to a shred Mopping and scouring my face and my head; Simply ablaze from my head to my feet, Back all afire with the prickles of heat,— Not on my cuticle one easy spot,— Jiminy Moses! I tell you it's hot!

Give me a fan and a seat in the shade, Bring me a bucket of iced lemonade; Dress me in naught but the thinnest of clothes, Start up the windmill and turn on the hose: Set me afloat from my toes to my chin, Open the ice-box and fasten me in,— If it should freeze me, why, that matters not,— Brimstone and blazes! I tell you it's HOT!

* * * * *



SUMMER NIGHTS AT GRANDPA'S

Summer nights at Grandpa's—ain't they soft and still! Just the curtains rustlin' on the window-sill, And the wind a-blowin', warm and wet and sweet— Smellin' like the meadows or the fields of wheat; Just the bullfrogs pipin' in amongst the grass, Where the water's shinin' like a lookin'-glass; Just a dog a-barkin' somewheres up along, So far off his yelpin' 's like a kind of song.

Summer nights at Grandpa's—hear the crickets sing, And the water bubblin' down beside the spring; Hear the cattle chewin' fodder in the shed, And an owl a-hootin' high up overhead; Hear the "way-off noises," faint and awful far— So mixed-up a feller do'n't know what they are— But so sort er lazy that they seem ter keep Sayin' over 'n' over, "Sonny, go ter sleep."

Summer nights at Grandpa's—ain't it fun ter lay In the early mornin' when it's gettin' day— When the sun is risin' and it's fresh and cool, And you 're feelin' happy coz there ain't no school?— When you hear the crowin' as the rooster wakes, And you think of breakfast and the buckwheat cakes; Sleepin' in the city's too much fuss and noise; Summer nights at Grandpa's are the things for boys.

* * * * *

GRANDFATHER'S "SUMMER SWEETS"

Grandfather's "summer sweets" are ripe. Out on the gnarled old tree, Out where the robin redbreasts pipe, And buzzes the bumblebee; Swinging high on the bending bough, Scenting the lazy breeze, What is the gods' ambrosia now To apples of gold like these?

Ruddy the blush of their maiden cheeks After the sunbeam's kiss— Every quivering leaflet speaks, Telling a tale of bliss; Telling of dainties hung about, Each in a verdant wreath, Shimmering satin all without, Honey and cream beneath.

Would ye haste to the banquet rare, Taste of the feast sublime? Brush from the brow the lines of care, Scoff at the touch of Time? Come in the glow of the olden days, Come with a youthful face, Come through the old familiar ways, Up from the dear, old place.

Barefoot, trip through the meadow lane, Laughing at bruise and scratch; Come, with your hands all rich with stain Fresh from the blackberry patch; Come where the orchard spreads its store And the breath of the clover greets; Quick! they are waiting you here once more,— Grandfather's "summer sweets."

Grandfather's "summer sweets" are ripe, Out on the gnarled, old tree— Out where the robin redbreasts pipe, And buzzes the bumblebee; Swinging high on the bending bough, Scenting the lazy breeze, What is the gods' ambrosia now To apples of gold like these?

* * * * *

MIDSUMMER

Sun like a furnace hung up overhead, Burnin' and blazin' and blisterin' red; Sky like an ocean, so blue and so deep, One little cloud-ship becalmed and asleep; Breezes all gone and the leaves hangin' still, Shimmer of heat on the medder and hill,—Labor and laziness callin' to me: "Hoe or the fishin'-pole—which'll it be?"

There's the old cornfield out there in the sun, Showin' so plain that there's work ter be done; There's the mean weeds with their tops all a-sprout, Seemin' ter stump me ter come clean 'em out; But, there's the river, so clear and so cool, There's the white lilies afloat on the pool, Scentin' the shade 'neath the old maple tree— "Hoe or the fishin'-pole—which'll it be?"

Dusty and dry droops the corn in the heat, Down by the river a robin sings sweet, Gray squirrels chatter as if they might say: "Who's the chump talkin' of workin' to-day?" Robin's song tells how the pickerel wait Under the lily-pads, hungry for bait; I ought ter make for that cornfield, I know: But, "Where's the fishin'-pole? Hang the old hoe!"

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