Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Dukite Snake

Well, mate, you’ve asked about a fellow
You met today, in a black-and-yellow
Chain-gang suit, with a peddler’s pack,
Or with some such burden, strapped to his back.
Did you meet him square? No, passed you by?
Well, if you had, and had looked in his eye,
You’d have felt for your irons then and there;
For the light in his eye is a madman’s glare.
Ay, mad, poor fellow! I know him well,
And if you’re not sleepy just yet, I’ll tell
His story, a strange one as ever you heard
Or read; but I’ll vouch for it, every word.

You just wait a minute, mate: I must see
How that damper’s doing, and make some tea.
You smoke? That’s good; for there’s plenty of weed
In that wallaby skin. Does your horse feed
In the hobbles? Well, he’s got good feed here,
And my own old bush mare won’t interfere.
Done with that meat? Throw it there to the dogs,
And fling on a couple of banksia logs.

And now for the story.

 That man who goes
Through the bush with the pack and the convict’s clothes
Has been mad for years; but he does no harm,
And our lonely settlers feel no alarm
When they see or meet him. Poor Dave Sloane
Was a settler once, and a friend of my own.
Some eight years back, in the spring of the year,
Dave came from Scotland, and settled here.
A splendid young fellow he was just then,
And one of the bravest and truest men
That I ever met: he was kind as a woman
To all who needed a friend, and no man—
Not even a convict—met with his scorn,
For David Sloane was a gentleman born.
Ay, friend, a gentleman, though it sounds queer:
There’s plenty of blue blood flowing out here,
And some younger sons of your “upper ten”
Can be met with here, first-rate bushmen.
Why, friend, I—Bah! curse that dog! you see
This talking so much has affected me.

Well, Sloane came here with an axe and a gun;
He bought four miles of a sandal-wood run.
This bush at that time was a lonesome place,
So lonesome the sight of a white man’s face
Was a blessing, unless it came at night,
And peered in your hut, with the cunning fright
Of a runaway convict; and even they
Were welcome, for talk’s sake, while they could stay.

Dave lived with me here for a while, and learned
The tricks of the bush, how the snare was laid
In the wallaby track, how traps were made,
How ’possums and kangaroo rats were killed,
And when that was learned, I helped him to build
From mahogany slabs a good bush hut,
And showed him how sandal-wood logs were cut.
I lived up there with him days and days,
For I loved the lad for his honest ways.

I had only one fault to find: at first
Dave worked too hard; for a lad who was nursed,
As he was, in idleness, it was strange
How he cleared that sandal-wood off his range.
From the morning light till the light expired
He was always working, he never tired;
Till at length I began to think his will
Was too much settled on wealth, and still
When I looked at the lad’s brown face, and eye
Clear open, my heart gave such thought the lie.
But one day—for he read my mind—he laid
His hand on my shoulder: “Don’t be afraid,”
Said he, “that I’m seeking alone for pelf.
I work hard, friend; but ’tis not for myself.”

And he told me then, in his quiet tone,
Of a girl in Scotland, who was his own,
His wife,—’twas for her: ’twas all he could say,
And his clear eye brimmed as he turned away.
After that he told me the simple tale:
They had married for love, and she was to sail
For Australia when he wrote home and told
The oft-watched-for story of finding gold.

In a year he wrote, and his news was good:
He had bought some cattle and sold his wood.
He said, “Darling, I’ve only a hut, but come.”
Friend, a husband’s heart is a true wife’s home;
And he knew she’d come. Then he turned his hand
To make neat the house, and prepare the land
For his crops and vines; and he made that place
Put on such a smiling and homelike face,
That when she came, and he showed her round
His sandal-wood and his crops in the ground,
And spoke of the future, they cried for joy,
The husband’s arm clasping his wife and boy.

Well, friend, if a little of heaven’s best bliss
Ever comes from the upper world to this,
It came into that manly bushman’s life,
And circled him round with the arms of his wife.
God bless that bright memory! Even to me,
A rough, lonely man, did she seem to be,
While living, an angel of God’s pure love,
And now I could pray to her face above.
And David he loved her as only a man
With a heart as large as was his heart can.
I wondered how they could have lived apart,
For he was her idol, and she his heart.

Friend, there isn’t much more of the tale to tell:
I was talking of angels awhile since. Well,
Now I’ll change to a devil,—ay, to a devil!
You needn’t start: if a spirit of evil
Ever came to this world its hate to slake
One mankind, it came as a Dukite Snake.

Like? Like the pictures you’ve seen of Sin,
A long red snake, as if what was within
Was fire that gleamed through his glistening skin.
And his eyes!—if you could go down to hell
And come back to your fellows here and tell
What the fire was like, you could find no thing,
Here below on the earth, or up in the sky,
To compare it to but a Dukite’s eye!

Now, mark you, these Dukites don’t go alone:
There’s another near when you see but one;
And beware you of killing that one you see
Without finding the other; for you may be
More than twenty miles from the spot that night,
When camped, but you’re tracked by the lone Dukite,
That will follow your trail like Death or Fate,
And kill you as sure as you killed its mate!

Well, poor Dave Sloane had his young wife here
Three months,—’twas just this time of the year.
He had teamed some sandal-wood to the Vasse,
And was homeward bound, when he saw in the grass
A long red snake: he had never been told
Of the Dukite’s ways,—he jumped to the road,
And smashed its flat head with the bullock-goad!

He was proud of the red skin, so he tied
Its tail to the cart, and the snake’s blood dyed
The bush on the path he followed that night.
He was early home, and the dead Dukite
Was flung at the door to be skinned next day.
At sunrise next morning he started away
To hunt up his cattle. A three hours’ ride
Brought him back: he gazed on his home with pride
And joy in his heart; he jumped from his horse
And entered—to look on his young wife’s corse,
And his dead child clutching his mother’s clothes
As in fright; and there, as he gazed, arose
From her breast, where ’twas resting, the gleaming head
Of the terrible Dukite, as if it said,
“I’ve had vengeance, my foe: you took all I had.”

And so had the snake—David Sloane was mad!
I rode to his hut just by chance that night,
And there on the threshold the clear moonlight
Showed the two snakes dead. I pushed in the door
With an awful feeling of coming woe:
The dead was stretched on the moonlit floor,
The man held the hand of his wife,—his pride,
His poor life’s treasure,—and crouched by her side.
O God! I sank with the weight of the blow.

I touched and called him: he heeded me not,
So I dug her grave in a quiet spot,
And lifted them both,—her boy on her breast,—
And laid them down in the shade to rest.
Then I tried to take my poor friend away,
But he cried so woefully, “Let me stay
Till she comes again!” that I had no heart
To try to persuade him then to part
From all that was left to him here,—her grave;
So I stayed by his side that night, and, save
One heart-cutting cry, he uttered no sound,—
O God! that wail—like the wail of a hound!

’Tis six long years since I heard that cry,
But ’twill ring in my ears till the day I die.
Since that fearful night no one has heard
Poor David Sloane utter sound or word.
You have seen to-day how he always goes:
He’s been given that suit of convict’s clothes
By some prison officer. On his back
You noticed a load like a peddler’s pack?
Well, that’s what he lives for: when reason went,
Still memory lived, for the days are spent
In searching for Dukites; and year by year
That bundle of skins is growing. ’Tis clear
That the Lord out of evil some good still takes;
For he’s clearing this bush of the Dukite snakes.

When Brownie Died

He was only a dog-and not a pedigreed dog, at that. Reckoned in dollars and cents, the loss occasioned by his death was inconsiderable. But he was a friendly dog, on speaking and romping terms with every child in the neighborhood, and to the tender heart of childhood his death was something akin to a calamity. At noon one day he darted in front of my car and both wheels passed over his body.

His front legs were broken, but by using his hind legs and his nose, he half dragged, half jerked his shattered frame to the parking, where he stretched out to die. School had just dismissed, and in a very short time a solemn circle of children formed about him. I shall never forget the picture; the noon-day sun shining down upon a mangled dog; the circle of sorrowing children who had romped with him but a few hours before, and who loved him as only children can love a canine friend; one of the little lads with his hat removed-an unconscious recognition of the presence of death; quivering lips and moistened eyes all about; truly, a tragedy of childhood.
 He was only a dog-but he loved the children, and his last act was to raise his head, gaze at the circle of pitying eyes, wag his tail as a token of friendship-and then the light went out. He was only a dog-but the grief of that group of children was inexpressible, and, though it was no fault of mine, I felt strangely like a criminal who had robbed childhood of one of its dearest possessions. Through her tears, my dark.eyed girl asked me to write something about "Brownie." It was my car that killed him. It shall be my pen to sing his requiem.

 No dog was he of pedigree-but when his mangled frame lay stretched beneath the noonday sun, the little children came And formed a silent circle 'round the spot where "Brownie's" breath was coming in convulsive gasps-the agony of death. And when the end approached, he raised his head from off the ground And turned a loving eye upon his playmates gathered 'round, And bade them all a mute farewell, and bravely, feebly tried to wag his friendly tail-and it was thus that "Brownie" died.

 No dog was he of pedigree-but when he lifeless lay, the silent band of children there dispersed and walked away. With bitter tears and heaving sobs, and sad, dejected air, and the glory of the noonday sun seemed clouded everywhere. And when the word went swiftly forth that "Brownie" met his end.

From blocks around the kiddies came to see their faithful friend, and gazed awhile in silent awe, and mutely turned aside to hide the covert tears that flowed the day that "Brownie" died. No dog was he of pedigree-but figures of the mart can not compute or value the affections of the heart; And some will say there's one dog less to clutter up the street, and just a dollar lopped from off the next year's tax receipt; but the loss to happy childhood, in whose heart he was enshrined ... is something that can never be computed or defined, and the measure of their grief was such that furtively, a tear that welled up from my heart the day that "Brownie" died.

No dog was he of pedigree-and theologians say the soul of him will not survive to greet the Judgment Day; But little children loved him, and his mission here on earth was to make the children happy-and he thereby proved his worth. And despite my churchly teachings, something whispers , that if children go to heaven, faithful dogs will go there too, and abiding love assures me that a soul all true and tried went to romp with heaven's children on the day that "Brownie" died!

-Phil Carspecken

Lady Paying Her Fare

Ladies, have you ever noticed one of your own sex paying her fare on a street car?
 I saw one today and here's what happened.
Woman with satchel enters car, sits down; enter conductor, asks fare; woman opens satchel, takes out purse, shuts satchel, opens purse, takes out dime, shuts purse, opens satchel, puts in purse, shuts satchel, offers dime, receives nickel, opens satchel, takes out purse, shuts satchel, opens purse, puts in nickel, closes purse, opens satchel, puts in purse, closes satchel. "Stop the car, please."

Guilty Or Not Guilty

She stood at the bar of justice,
A creature wan and wild;
In form, too small for a woman,
In features, too old for a child,
For a look, so worn, and pathetic,
Was stamped on her pale young face,
It seemed long years of suffering,
Must have left that silent trace.

"Your name," said the Judge, as he eyed her,
With a kindly look, yet keen,
"Is Mary McGuire, if you please, sir."
"And your age?" "I'm turned fifteen."
"Well, Mary," and from a paper he slowly and gravely read.
"Y ou are charged here, I am sorry to say it,
With stealing three loaves of bread.
You don't look like an old offender,
And I hope that you can show
The charge is false-Now tell me
Are you guilty of this or no?"

A passionate burst of weeping was,
at first, her sole reply,
But she dried her tears in a moment
and looked in the judge's eye.
"I will tell you just how it was, sir,
My father and mother are dead,
and my little brothers and sisters were hungry,
and asked me for bread.

At first I earned it for them,
by working hard all day,
But somehow the times grew hard, sir,
and work all fell away.
I could get no more employment,
the weather was bitter cold,
The little ones cried and shivered,
Little Johnnie's but four years old.

So what was I to do, sir,
I am guilty, but do not condemn,
I took, (0 God was it stealing)
the bread to give to them.
one so learned in such matters,
so wise in dealing with men,
seemed on a simple sentence,
sorely puzzled just then.

And no one blamed him or wondered,
when he went to her and smiled
And kindly led from the court room himself,
the Guilty Child.
Everyone in the courtroom,
grey-bearded and thoughtless youth,
Knew as they looked upon her,
that the prisoner spoke the truth.

Out from their pockets came handkerchiefs,
out from their eyes came tears,
And out from old, faded wallets,
treasures hoarded for years.
The judge's face was a study,
the strangest ever you saw,
As he cleared his throat and murmured
something about the law.


If I Were Sending My Boy Afar

If I were sending my boy afar
To live and labor where strangers are,
I should hold him close till the time to go,
Telling him things which he ought to know;
I should whisper counsel and caution wise,
Hinting of dangers which might arise,
And tell him the things I have learned from life,
Of its bitter pain and its cruel strife
And the sore temptations which men beset,
And then add this: "Boy, don't forget
When your strength gives out and your hope grows dim,
Your father will help if you'll come to him."
If I were sending my boy away,
I should hold him close on the parting day
And give him my trust. Through thick and thin
I should tell him I counted on him to win,
To keep his word at whatever cost,
To play the man though his fight be lost.
But beyond all that I should whisper low;
"If trouble comes, let your father know;
Come to him, son, as you used to do
When you were little, he'll see you through.
I am trusting you in a distant land.
You trust your father to understand.
Trust me wherever you chance to be,
Know there is nothing to hide from me,
Tell me it all-your tale of woe,
The sting of failure that hurts you so.
Never, whatever your plight may be,
Think it something to hide from me;
Come to me first in your hour of need,
Come though you know that my heart will bleed;
Boy, when the shadows of trouble fall,
Come to your father first of all."

-Edgar A. Guest

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Two Church Spiders

Two spiders, so the story goes,
Upon a living bent,
Entered a church-building one day,
And hopefully were heard to say,
"Here we will have at least fair play,
With nothing to prevent."
Each chose his place and went to work
The light web grew apace;
One on the altar spun his thread,
But shortly came the sexton dread
And swept him off, and so, half dead,
He sought another place.
"I'll try the pulpit next," said he,
"There surely is a prize;
The desk appears so neat and clean,
I'm sure no spider there has been
Besides, how often have I seen
The pastor brushing flies."
He spun his threads, but alas!
His hopes proved visionary;
With dusting-brush the sexton came,
And spoiled his geometric game,
Nor gave him time or space to claim
The right of sanctuary.
At length, half starved, and weak and lean,
He sought his former neighbor,
Who now had grown so sleek and round,
He weighed a fraction of a pound,
And looked as if the art he'd found
Of living without labor.
"How is it, friend," he asked,
"That I endured such thumps and knocks
While you have grown so very gross?"
" 'Tis plain," he answered "not a loss
I've met, since first I spun across
The contribution box."


Boy Or Girl

Some folks pray for a boy, and some
For a golden-haired little girl to come.
Some claim to think there is more of joy
Wrapped up in the smile of a little boy,
While others pretend that the silky curls
And plump, pink cheeks of the little girls
Bring more of bliss to the old home place
Than a small boy's queer little freckled face.
Now which is better, I couldn't say
If the Lord should ask me to choose to-day;
If He should put in a call for me,
And say: "Now, what shall your order be,
A boy or girl: I have both in store,
Which of the two are you waiting for?"
I'd say with one of my broadest grrins:
"Send either one, if it can't be twins."
I've heard it said to some people's shame
They cried with grief when a small boy came,

For they wanted a girl.
And some folks I know
Who wanted a boy just took on so,
When a girl was sent.
But it seems to me
That mothers and fathers should happy be
To think when 'the stork has come and gone
That the Lord would trust them with either one.
Boy or girl? There can be no choice;
There's something lovely in either voice,
And all that I ask the Lord to do
Is to see that the Mother comes safely through,
And guard the baby and have it well,
With a perfect form, and a healthy yell,
And a pair of eyes, and a shock of hair
The boy or girl-and its dad won't care.

-Edgar A. Guest

Don't Quit

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you are trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh;
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must-but don't you quit.

Life is queer with' its twists and turns
As everyone of us sometimes learns,
And many a "failure" turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out';
Don't give up, though the pace seems slow,
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man;
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor's cup;
And he learned too late, when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Tell Him Now

If with pleasure you are viewing any work a man is doing,
If you like him or you love him, tell him now;
Don't withhold your approbation 'til the parson makes oration
As he lies with snowy lilies o'er his brow;
For no matter how you shout it, he won't really care about it;
He won't know how many tear drops you have shed;
If you think some praise is due him, now's the time to slip it to him,
For he cannot read his tombstone when he's dead!

More than fame and more than money is the comment kind and sunny,
And the hearty warm approval of a friend;
For it gives to, life a savor, and it makes you stronger, braver,
And it gives you heart and spirit to the end;
If he earns your praise, bestow it; if you like him let him know it;
Let the words of true encouragement be said;
Do not wait till life is over and he's underneath the clover,
For he cannot read his tombstone when he's dead.


Going Home For Christmas

He little knew the sorrow that was in his vacant chair;
He never guessed they'd miss him or he'd surely have been there;
He couldn't see his mother or the lump that filled her throat,
Or the tears that started falling as she read his hasty note;
And, he couldn't see his father, sitting sorrowful and dumb,
Or he never would have written, that he thought he couldn't come.
He couldn't see the fading of the cheeks that once were pink,
And the silver in the tresses; and he didn't stop to think
How the years are passing swiftly, and next Christmas it might be
There would be no-home to visit and no mother dear to see;
He didn't think about it-I'll not say he didn't care
He was heedless and forgetful or he'd surely have been there.
Are you going home for Christmas?
Have you written you'll be there?
Going home to kiss the mother and to show her that you care?
Going home to greet the father in a way to make him glad?
If you're not I hope there'll never come a time you'll wish you had.
Just sit down and write a letter-it will make their heart strings hum
With a tune of perfect gladness-if you'll tell them that you'll come.

-Edgar A. Guest

A Father's Confession To His Son

Listen, Son:
I am saying this to you as you lie asleep, one little paw crumpled under your cheek and the blond curls stickily wet on your damp forehead. I have stolen into your room alone. Just a few minutes ago, as I sat reading my paper in the library, a hot, stifling wave of remorse swept over me. I could not resist it. Guiltily I came to your bedside. These are the things I was thinking, son:
I had been cross to you. I scolded you as you were dressing for school because you gave your face merely a dab with a towel. I took you to task for not cleaning your shoes. I called out angrily when I found you had thrown some of your things on the floor.
At breakfast I found fault, too. You spilled things. You gulped down your food. You put your elbows on the table. You spread butter too thick on your bread. And as you started off to play and I made for my train, you turned and waved a little hand and called, "Goodbye!" and I frowned, and said, "Hold your shoulders back."
Then it began all over again in the late afternoon. As I came up the hill road I spied you down on your knees playing marbles. There were holes in your stockings. I humiliated you before your friends by making you march ahead of me back to the house. Stockings were expensive -and if you had to buy them you would be more careful! Imagine that, son, from a father! It was such stupid, silly logic.
Do you remember, later, when I was reading in the library, how you came in, softly, timidly, with a sort of hurt, hunted look in your eyes? When I glanced up over my paper, impatient at the interruption, you hesitated at the door. "What is it you want?" I snapped.
You said nothing, but ran across, in one tempestuous plunge; and threw your arms around my neck and kissed me, again and again, and your small arms tightened with an affection that God has set blooming in your heart and which even neglect could not wither. And then you were gone, pattering up the stairs.
Well, son, it was shortly afterwards that my paper slipped from my hands and a terrible sickening fear came over me. Suddenly I saw myself as I really was, in all my horrible selfishness, and I felt sick at heart.
What had habit been doing to me? The habit of complaining, of finding fault, of reprimanding-all of these were my rewards to you for being a boy. It was not that I did not love you, it was that I expected so much of youth. I was measuring' you by the yardstick of my own years.
And there was so much that was good, and fine, and true in your character. You did hot deserve my treatment of you, son. The little heart of you was as big as the dawn itself over the wide hills. All this was shown by your spontaneous impulse to rush in and kiss me good night. Nothing else matters tonight, so I have come to your bedside in the darkness, and I have knelt there, choking with emotion, and so ashamed! It is a feeble atonement. I know you would not understand these things if I told them to you during your waking hours, yet I must say what I am saying. I must burn sacrificial fires alone, here in your bedroom, and make free confession. And I have prayed God to strengthen me in my new resolve. Tomorrow I will be a real daddy! I will chum with you, and suffer when you suffer and laugh when you laugh. I'll be a real daddy.

-Author unknown.

Was Merely Whisperin' Bill

So you're takin' the census, mister?
There's three of us livin' still,
My wife and I, an' our only son,
that folks call Whisperin' Bill;
But Bill couldn't tell ye his name, sir,
an' so it's hardly worth givin' ,
For ye see a bullet killed his mind,
an' left his body livin'.

Set down for a minute, mister;
ye see Bill was only fifteen
At the time O' the war,
an' as likely a boy as ever this world has seen;
An' what with the news of battles lost,
the speeches an' all the noise,
I guess every farm in the neighborhood
lost a part of its crop O' boys.

'Twas the harvest time when Bill left home;
every stalk in the fields of rye
Seemed to stand tip-top to see him off
an' wave a fond good-bye;
His sweetheart was here with some other girls
-the sassy little miss!
An' pretendin' she wanted to whisper
in his ear, she gave him a rousin' kiss.

Oh, he was a handsome feller,
an' tender an' brave an' smart.
An' tho' he was bigger than I was,
the boy had a woman's heart.
I couldn't control my feelin's,
but I tried with all my might.
An' his mother an' me stood a-cryin'
till Bill was out o' sight.

His mother she often told him
 when she knew he was goin' away,
That God would take care o' him,
 maybe, if he didn't forgit to pray;
An' on the bloodiest battle-fields,
when bullets whizzed in the air
An' Bill was a-fightin' desperit,
 he used to whisper a prayer.

Oh, his comrades has often told me
that Bill never flinched a bit,
When every second a gap in the ranks
 told where a ball had hit.
An' one night when the field was covered
 with the awful harvest o' war.
They found my boy 'mongst the martyrs
 o' the cause he was fightin' for.

His fingers were clutched in the dewy grass
 — oh, no, sir, he wasn't dead,
But he lay sort of helpless an' crazy
 with a rifle-ball in his head ;
An' if Bill had really died that night
 I'd give all I've got worth givin';
For ye see the bullet had killed his mind
 an' left his body livin'.

An officer wrote an' told us how
 the boy had been hurt in the fight,
But he said that the doctors reckoned
 they could bring him round all right,
An' then we heard from a neighbor,
 dis- abled at Malvern Hill,
That he thought in the course of a week or so
he'd be comin' home with Bill.

We was that anxious t' see him
we'd set up an' talk o' nights
Till the break o' day had dimmed the stars
an' put out the northern lights;
We waited an' watched for a month or more,
an' the Summer was nearly past.
When a letter came one day that said
 they'd started for home at last.

I'll never forgit the day Bill came
 'twas harvest-time again
An' the air-bloom over the yellow fields
 was sweet with the scent o' the grain;
The door-yard was full o' the neighbors,
 who had come to share our joy,
An' all of us sent up a mighty cheer
 at the sight o' that soldier boy.

An' all of a sudden somebody said:
"My God! don't the boy know his mother?"
An' Bill stood a-whisperin', fearful like,
 an' starin' from one to another:
"Don't be afraid. Bill," said he to himself,
 as he stood in his coat o' blue,
"Why, God'll take care o' you, Bill;
 God'll take care o' you."

He seemed to be loadin' an' firin' a gun,
an' to act like a man who hears
 The awful roar o' the battle-field
a-soundin' in his ears;
I saw that the bullet had touched his brain
 an' somehow made it blind,
With the picture o' war before his eyes
 an' the fear o' death in his mind.

I grasped his hand, an' says I to Bill,
 "Don't ye remember me?
I'm yer father — don't ye know me?
 How frightened ye seem to be!"
But the boy kep' a-whisperin' to himself,
 as if 'twas all he knew,
"God'll take care o' you, Bill;
God'll take care o' you."

He's never known us since that day,
nor his sweetheart, an' never will:
Father an' mother an' sweetheart-
 are all the same to Bill.
An' many's the time his mother
 sets up the whole night through,
An' smooths his head, and says:
"Yes, Bill, God'll take care o' you."

Unfortunit? Yes, but we can't complain.
It's a livin' death more sad
 When the body chngs to a life o' shame
 an' the soul has gone to the bad;
An' Bill is out o' the reach
o'' harm an' danger of every kind.
We only take care of his body,
 but God takes care of his mind.

The Diet Squad

Ten plump and chubby matrons started out to diet;
One chanced upon a custard pie and couldn't help but try it.
Nine tubbies had for dinner an olive on a plate!
One smelled the doughnuts cooking and then there were eight!
Eight roly-polies thought that slenderness was heaven;
One went to a picnic and then there were seven.
Seven struggled valiantly their waistlines for to fix;
One walked by a baker's shop and then there were six.
Six chewed their lonesome carrots and tried to Jeep alive;
One attended a bridge luncheon and then there were five.
Five breakfasted on watered bran and vainly longed for more;
Her hubby brought home chocolate creams and then there were four.
Four gnawing, hollow stomachs, courageous as could be;
One day the maid made waffles and then there were three.
Three, stuck to counting calories 'till hollow-eye and blue;
One choked on pie with "a la mode" and then there were two.
Two survived on spinach soup and wished they'd ne'er begun;
A cheese souffle took one away and then there was but one.
One lone survivor weighed herself to see how well she'd done;
She found she'd gained a pound or two-and then there were none!

The Boy Who Scoffed At Santa Claus

"I don't believe in Santa Claus,
There ain't no such a man!
It's all a fairy tale, because
I know from Cousin Dan"
'Twas thus spoke Henry Lucius Stout,
A boy aged eight I knew.
His mother said, "You'd best watch out
You're standin' near the flue."

Now, Santa happened just to be
Upon the roof, right pat,
A-peekin' down if he could see
What Lucius Stout was at.
He heard those words with angry frown
And up and shook his head,
And took his book and wrote 'em down,
Exactly what he said.

When Christmas mornin' came around,
And Lucius ran to see
What he had got, alas! he found
His stockin' quite M.T.,
Except a note that he pulled out
Instead of some fine toy:
"I don't believe in Lucius Stout
There ain't no such a boy!"

-W illiam Wallace Whitelock

Why Is It?

Why is it the tenderest feet must tread the roughest road?
Why is it the weakest back must carry the heaviest load?
While the feet that are surest and firmest have the smoothest paths to go,
And the back that is straightest and strongest has never a burden to know.
Why is it the brightest eyes are the ones soon dimmed with tears?
Why is it the lightest heart must ache and ache for years?
While the eyes that are hardest and coldest shed never a bitter tear,
And the heart that is meanest and smallest has never an ache to fear.
Why is it those who are saddest have always the gayest laugh?
Why is it those who need not have always the biggest half?
While those who know never sorrow have never a smile to give,
And those who want just a little must strive and struggle to live.
Why is it the sweetest smile has for its sister sigh?
Why is it the strongest love is the love we always pass by?
While the smile that is cold and indifferent is the one for which we pray,
And the love we kneel and worship is only common clay.
Why is it the noblest thoughts are the ones never expressed?
Why is it the finest deeds are the ones never confessed?
While the thoughts that are lie all others are the ones we always tell,
And deeds worth little praise are the ones published well.
Why is it the friends we trust are the ones who always betray?
Why is it the lips we wish to kiss are the ones so far away?
While close by our side (if we knew it) is a friend who loyal would be,
And the lips we might have kissed are the lips we never see.
Why is it the things we all can have are the ones, we always refuse?
Why is it none of us live the lives (if we could) we'd choose?
While the things we all can have are the ones we always hate,
And life seems never complete no matter how long we wait.

-Author unknown.

Kittens and Babies

There were two little kittens, a black and a gray
And grandmama said, with a frown,
"It will never do to keep them both,
The black one we'd better drown."

"Don't cry, my dear," to tiny Bess
"One kitten's enough to keep;
Now, run to nurse, for it is growing late
And time you were fast asleep.

The morrow dawned, rosy and sweet
Came little Bess from her nap
The nurse said, "Go on down to momma's room
And look in grandmas lap."

"Come here," said grandma, with a smile,
from the rocking-chair where she sat,
"God has sent you two little sisters;
Now! What do you think about that?"

Bess looked at the babies a moment,
with their wee heads, yellow and brown,
And then to grandma soberly said,
"Which one are you going to drown?"

Around the Corner

Around the corner I have a friend,
In this great city which has no end;
Yet days go by and weeks rush on,
And before I know it a year is gone,
And I never see my friend’s face;
For Life is a swift and terrible race.
He knows I like him just as well
As in the days when I rang his bell
And he rang mine. We were younger then;
And now we are busy, tired men
Tired with playing a foolish game,
Tired with trying to make a name.
"Tomorrow," I say, "I will call on him."
But tomorrow comes-and tomorrow goes,
And the distance between us grows and grows.
Around the corned-yet miles away
"Here's a telegram, sir, Jim died today!"
And that's what we get-yet deserve in the end
Around the corner a vanished friend.

--Charles Hanson Towne

At The End Of A Nurse's Day

Seven o'clock! And the nurse's work
Was done for another day;
She heaved a sort of tired sigh,
And put the charts away;

Then sat for a moment and bowed her head
Over the little white desk;
"I wonder," she said to herself, "After all,
Am I really doing my best?

"Perhaps I could have begun the day
With a Brighter, cheerier smile,
And answered the bells with a 'right away,'
Instead of an 'after awhile’,

“And I might have listened with sweeter grace,
To the story of 6's woes;
She may be suffering more, perhaps,
More than anyone knows.

“And I, might have refrained from that half-way frown,
(Although I was busy then)
When that frail little body, with sad blue eyes,
Kept ringing again and again.

"And I might have spoken a kindlier word,
To the heart of that restless boy,
And stopped a moment to help him find
The missing part of his toy.

"Or perhaps the patient in 18 A,
Just needed a kindlier touch;
There are lots of things that I might have done,
And it wouldn't have taken much."

She sighed again and brushed a tear;
Then whispered, praying low,
"O, God, how can you accept this day,
When it has been lacking so?"

And God looked down; He heard that sigh,
And saw that shining tear;
So sent His Angel Messenger,
To whisper in her ear:

"Perhaps, you could have done better today,
But, ah, the Omnipotent One,
Se-Ming your fault doesn't forget
The beautiful things you've done.

If He knows, little nurse, that you love, your work,
In this Big House of Sorrow,
So gladly forgives the lack of today,
For you will do better tomorrow."

And the nurse looked up, with the tenderest smile,
"To-morrow, I'll make it right,”
Then added a note in the order book,
Be good to them tonight!

-Alice Hansche Sorensen, R. N.

His Dream

Papa (at the breakfast - table): "Willie, my boy, why are you looking so thoughtful? Are you not feeling well?"
Willie (very seriously): "Yes, papa; but I had a strange dream this morning."
Papa: "Indeed? What was it?"
 Willie: "I dreamed, papa, that I died and went to heaven; and when St. Peter met me at the gate, instead of showing me the way to the golden street, as I expected, he took me out into a large field, and in the middle of the field there was a ladder reaching- away up into the sky and out of sight. Then St. Peter told me that heaven was at the top, and that in order to get there I must take the big piece of chalk he gave me.and slowly climb the ladder, writing on each rung some sin I had committed."
Papa (laying down his newspaper): "And did you finally reach heaven, my son?"
Willie! "No, papa, for just as I was trying to think of something to write on the second rung I looked up into the sky and saw you coming down."
Papa: "And what was I coming down for, pray?"
Willie: "That's just what I asked you, papa, and you told me you were going for more chalk."

Saturday, September 6, 2014

I Wanted a Drinik

TIME: 2 A. M.
"MA, I want a drink!"
"Hush, darling; turn and go to sleep."
"I want a drink! "
"No, you are restless. Turn over, dear, and go to sleep."
-(After five minutes.)
 "Ma, I want.a drink!"
 "Lie still, Ethel, and go to sleep."
"But I want a drink!"
"No, you don't want a drink; you had a drink just before you went to bed. Now be still and go right to sleep."
"I do, too, want a drink!"
"Don't let me speak to you again, child, go to sleep."
(After five minutes.) "Ma, won't you please give me a drink?"
"If you say another word I'll get up and spank you. Now go to sleep. You are a naughty girl."
(After two mimutes.) "Ma, when you get up to spank me will you give me a drink?"

A Kiss In The Rain

One stormy morn I chanced to meet
A lassie in the town;
Her locks were like the ripened wheat,
Her laughing eyes were brown
I watched her as she tripped along
Till madness fined my brain,
And then-and then-I know 'twas wrong
I kissed her in the rain
With raindrops shining on her cheek
Like dewdrops on a rose,
The little lassie strove to speak,
My boldness to oppose;
She strove. in vain, and quivenng,
Her fingers stole in mine;
And then the birds began to sing,
The sun began to shine.
Oh, let the clouds grow dark above,
My heart is light 'below;
'Tis always summer when we love.
However winds may blow;
And I'm as proud as any prince,
All honors I disdain:
Sbe says I am, her rain beau since
1 kissed her in the rain.


Father Used To Make

Said a young and tactless husband
To his inexperienced wife,
"If you would but give up leading
Such a fashionable life,
And devote more time to cooking
How to mix and when to bake
Then, perhaps, you might make pastry
Such as mother used to make."
And the wife, resenting, answered
(For the worm will turn, you know) :
"If you would but give up horses
And a score of clubs or so,
To devote more time to business
When to buy and what to stake
Then, perhaps, you might make money
Such as father used to make."

The Tragedy Of A Theater Hat

THE devil one day in a spirit of mirth
Was walking around, to and fro, on the earth.
When he heard a man say,
In a casual way,
"I think I'll just drop in at the matinee;
For I feel in the humor to see a good play,
And the thing is a rattler, I've heard people say.'
The devil stood by,
With a smile in his eye,
And he said, "I don't see any good reason why I,
too, shouldn't go to this play that's so fly."
Now, His Majesty, as is well known by the wise,
Assumes at his will any kind of disguise;
And he said, "I will go
To this wonderful show
In the shape of a man, and arrayed comme iltaut."
No sooner 'twas said than 'twas done,
and away His Majesty sped to the gay matinee.
In faultless attire becomingly garbed,
Concealing entirely his tail (which was barbed),
Correctly cravatted,
And duly silk-hatted,
With his two cloven hoofs patent-leathered and spatted,
He approached the box-office with jauntiest airs,
And purchased a seat in the orchestra chairs.
Then removing his tile,
He tripped down the aisle,
With a manner which showed no appearance of guile,
Although he could scarcely conceal a slight smile
 As he noticed the ladies who sat near to him,
 So modishly mannered, and quite in the swim
The maidens so trim,
And the matrons so prim
And he thought how extremely they'd be horrified
If they had any notion who sat by their side.
As His Majesty sat there enjoying it all
There entered a lady exceedingly tall;
With a rustle of silk and a flutter of fur,
She sat herself down in the seat kept for her,
Right in front of Old Nick, and exactly between
Himself and the stage. And her insolent mien
Proclaimed her at once a society queen.
Her shoulders were broad and supported a cape
Which gave you no clue to her possible shape,
'Twas so plaited and quilled,
And ruffled and frilled,
And it tinkled with bugles that never were stilled;
And wide epaulettes
All covered with jets,
Caught up here and there with enormous rosettes,
And further adorned with gold-spangled aigrettes
Encircling her neck was a boa of gauze,
Accordion-plaited and trimmed with gewgaws;
And perched on the top of her haughty, blond head
Was a HAT! Now, of course, you have all of you read
Of the theatre hats
That are seen at the mats,
That are higher than steeples and broader than flats;
But this one as far outshone all of the others
As young Joseph's dream-sheaves exceeded his brothers'.
'Twas a wide-rolling brim, and a high-peaked crown,
And black feathers stood up and black feathers hung down;
And black feathers waved wildly in every direction,
Without any visible scheme of connection.
'Twas decked with rare flowers of a marvelous size,
And colors that seemed to bedazzle the eyes.
And each vacant space
Was filled in with lace,
And twenty-three birds in the ribbons found place.
And as this arrangement quite shut off his view,
The devil was nonplussed to know what to do
And although he is not very often amazed,
Upon this occasion he found he was phased.
But, looking around,
He very soon found
That as many fair ladies, as gorgeously gowned,
Held their hats in their laps,
Or, still better, perhaps,
Had left them outside in the room with their wraps.
And assuming at once a society air,
He leaned over the back of the fair stranger's chair
And with manner well-fed,
"Beg pardon," he said,
"Will you please take that awful thing off of your head?"
When, what do you think! The lady addressed
Indignantly stared, and politely expressed
A decided refusal to grant his request.
And the poor devil sat
Behind that big hat,
So mad that he didn't know where he was at.
He could not see a thing that took place on the stage,
And he worked himself into a terrible rage.
He murmured quite low
But she heard him, you know
"Lady, since you refused to remove that chapeau.
You're condemned now to wear it wherever you go.
Since you won't take it off when a duty you owe,
You shall not take it off when you wish to do so."
Alas for the lady! The devil has power,
And the rest of her life, from that terrible hour,
The curse of the devil compelled her to wear
That enormous be-flowered and be-feathered affair.
Her lot was a sad one. If you'll reckon o'er
The times when a hat is a terrible bore,
You'll certainly say
That to wear it all day
And then wear it all night is a fate to deplore.
She wore it at dinners, she wore it at balls;
She wore it at home when receiving her calls;
She wore it at breakfast, at luncheon and tea,
Not even at prayers from that hat was she free.
She couldn't remove it on going to bed.
She rose, bathed and dressed with that hat on her head.
If she lounged in the hammock, perusing a book,
Or went to the kitchen to speak to the cook,
In summer or winter, the hat was still there,
And 'twas so in the way when she shampooed her hair.
Her lover would fain his fair sweetheart caress,
But who could to his bosom tenderly press
Twelve black, waving feathers and twenty¬three birds?
He said what he thought in appropriate words,
And broke the engagement. She vowed she would go
To a convent and bury her sorrow; but no
They wouldn't receive her. It was the old tale,
That hat quite prevented her taking the veil.
The curse was upon her! No mortal could save
She carried that ill-fated hat to her grave.

Now, all you 'young women with Gainsborough hats,
Beware how you wear them to Saturday mats.
Remember the fate
Of this maid up-to-date,
And take warning from her ere it maybe too late.

By permission of Life Publishing Company.

Dibdin's Ghost

DEAR wife, last midnight, whilst I read
The tomes you so despise,
A specter rose beside the bed,
And spake in this true wise:

"From Canaan's beatific coast
I've come to visit thee,
For I am Frognall Dibdin's ghost,"
Says Dibdin's ghost to me.

I bade him welconie, and we twain
Discussed with buoyant hearts
The various things that appertain
To bibliomaniac arts.

"Since you are fresh from t'other side,
Pray tell me of that host
That treasured books before they died,"
Says I to Dibdin's ghost.

They've entered into perfect rest;
For in the life they've won
There are no auctions to molest,
No creditors to dun.

Their heavenly rapture has no bounds,
Beside that jasper sea;
It is a joy unknown to Lowndes,"
Says Dibdin's ghost to me.

Much I rejoiced to hear him speak
Of biblio-bliss above,
For I am one of those who seek
What bibliomaniacs love.

"But tell me, for I long to hear
What doth concern me most,
Are wives admitted'to that sphere?"
Says I to Dibdin's ghost.

"The women folks are few up there;
For 'twere not fair, you know,
That they our heavenly joy should share
Who vex us here below.

The few are those who have been kind
To husbands such as we;
They knew our fads, and didn't mind,'"
Says Dibdin's ghost to me.

"But what of those who scold at us
When we would read in bed?
Or, wanting victuals, make a fuss
If we buy books instead?

And what of those who've dusted not
Our motley pride and boast
Shall they profane that sacred spot?"
Says I to Dibdin's ghost.

"Oh, No! they tread that other path,
Which leads where torments roll,
And worms, yes, bookworms, vent their wrath
Upon the guilty soul.

Untouched of bibliomaniac grace,
That saveth such as we,
They wallow in that dreadful place,"
Says Dibdin's ghost to me.

"To my dear wife will I recite
What things I've heard you say;
She'll let me read the books by night
She's let me buy by day.

For we together by and by
Would join that heavenly host;
She's earned a rest as well as I,"
Says I to Dibdin's ghost.


The Hen

Alas! my Child, where is the Pen
That can do justice to the Hen?
Like Royalty, She goes her way,
Laying foundations every day,
Though not for Public Buildings, yet
For Custard, Cake, and Omelette.
Or if too Old for such a use
They have their Fling at some Abuse,
As when to Censure Plays Unfit
Upon the Stage they make a Hit,
Or at elections Seal the Fate
Of an Obnoxious Candidate.
No wonder, Child, we prize the Hen,
Whose Egg is Mightier than the Pen.