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Then you'll think it no very great wonder,
Nor so strange, nor so bold a conceit, That unless there's a boy there a-whistling,
Its music will not be complete. It was late in the autumn of '40;
We had come from our far Eastern home Just in season to build us a cabin,
Ere the cold of the winter should come; And we lived all the while in our wagon
That husband was clearing the place
And building it took many days.
In under its roof, wben our store
And busband must journey for more;
Was vet such a distance away,
At least a whole night and a day.
And the nearest was more than a mile;
For we had been busy the while.
Just staid till the job was well done;
Had shouldered his axe and had gone. Well, husband just kissed me and started
I could scarcely suppress a deep groan
So long in the house all alone;
And braver ores might well have feared,
And savages sometimes appeared.
Till husband was off on his ride,
And all the day long sat and cried, As I thought of the long, dreary hours
When the dark ness of night should fall,
With no one in reach of my call.
To hide ev'ry ray of light,
I hung up a quilt by the window,
And almost dead with affright,
Scarce daring to draw a full breath,
Should bring us a horrible death.
And scarcely an inch had I stirred, When suddenly, far in the distance,
A sound as of whistling I heard, I started up dreadfully frightened,
For fear 'twas an Indian's call;
The red man ne'er whistles at all.
I thought, were he coining for ill,
Would come without warning, and still. Then the sounds, coming nearer and nearer,
Took the form of a tune light and gay, And I knew I needn't fear evil
From one who could whistle that way. Very soon I heard footsteps approaching,
Then came a peculiar dull thump, As if some one was heavily striking
An axe in the top of a stump; And then, in another brief moinent,
There came a light tap on the door, When quickly I undid the fast'ning,
And in stepped a boy, and before
Or either had time to speak,
And gave him a kiss on the cheek.
But he only smiled at my fright, As he said, “I'm your neighbor's boy, Elick,
Come to tarry with you through the night. “ We saw your husband go eastward,
And made up our minds where he'd gono, And I said to the rest of our people,
"That woman is there all alone, And I ventrira she's awfully lonesome,
And though she may have no great fear, I think for would feel a bit safer
If uniy d w were but near.'
"So, taking my axe on my shoulder,
For fear that a savage might stray Across my path and need scalping,
I started right down this way; And coming in sight of the cabin,
And thinking to save you alarm, I whistled a tune, just to show you
I didn't intend any harm. "And so here I am, at your service;
But if you don't want me to stay, Why, all you need do is to say so,
And should'ring my axe, I'll away." I dropped in a chair and near fainted,
Just at thought of his leaving me then,
As he said, “I guess I'll remain.”
How terribly frightened I'd been,
Of any I ever had seen;
And slept all the blessed night through,
Near so brave a young fellow and true. So now, my dear friend, do you wonder,
Since such a good reason I've given, Why I say I shan't care for the music,
Unless there is whistling in heaven?
And now what I've said I repeat,
THE NEWSBOY'S DEBT.-H. R. HUDSON.
Only last year, at Christmas-time,
While pacing down a city street, ( saw a tiny, ill-clad boy
One of the thousands that we meetAs ragged as a boy could be,
With half a cap, with one good shoe; Just patches to keep out the wind
I know the wind blew keenly too: A newsboy, with a newsboy's lungs,
A square Scotch face, an honest brow, And eyes that liked to smile so well
They had not yet forgotten how: A newsboy, liawking his last sheets
With loud persistence. Now and then Stopping to beat his stiffened hands,
And trudging bravely on again. Dodging about among the crowd,
Shouting his “Extras” o'er and o'er; Pausing by whiles to cheat the wind
Within some alley, by some door. At last he stopped-six papers left,
Tucked hopelessly beneath his armTo eye a fruiterer's outspread store:
Here products of some country farm, And there confections, all adorned
With wreathed and clustered leaves and flowers, While little founts, like frosted spires,
Tossed up and down their minic showers. He stood and gazed with wistful face,
All a child's longing in his eyes; Then started, as I touched his arm,
And turned in quick, mechanic wise, Raised his torn cap with purple hands,
Said, “ Papers, Sir? World ! Herald! Times !" And brushed away a freezing tear
That marked his cheek with frosty rimes. “How many have you? Never mind
Don't stop to count-J'll take them all ; And when you pass niy office here,
With stock on hand, give me a call.”
He thanked me with a broad Scotch smile,
A look half wondering and half glad. I fumbled for the proper "change,
And said, “You seem a little lad "To rough it in the streets like this.”
“I'm ten years old this Christmas-time !" “Your name?" “Jim Hanley.” “Here's a bill
I've nothing else, but this one dime"Five dollars. When you get it changed
Come to my office-that's the place. Now wait a bit, there's time enough:
You need not run a headlong race.
We hired a stable-loft to-day,
The fruiierer's window pretty, hey? “Or were you hungry?” “Just a bit,”
He answered, bravely as he might. “I couldn't buy a break fast, Sir,
And had no money left last night." “And you are cold ?” “Ay, just a bit.
I don't mind cold.” Why, that is strange!" He smiled and pulled his ragged cap,
And darted off to get the "change.” So, with a half-unconscious sigh,
I sought my office desk again: An hour or more my busy wits
Found work enough with book and pen. But when the mantel clock struck five
I started with a sudden thought, For there beside my hat and cloak
Lay those six papers I had bought. “Why, where's the boy ? and where's the 'chango
He should have brought au hour ago ? Ah, well! alı, well! they're all alike!
I was a fool to tempt him so. “Dishonest! Well, I might have known!
And yet his face seemed candid too. He would have earned the difference
If he had brought me what was due. But caution often comes too late."
And so I took my homeward way,
The only lesson of the day.