Page:Pieces People Ask For.djvu/101

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91
THE READING-CLUB.

But, suddenly, above the din, a voice rang loud and clear;
We knew it well, the driver's voice,—without one note of fear;
Some strong, swift angel's lips might thrill with such a clarion cry,—
The voice of one who put for aye all earthly passion by:—

"Still! for your lives, and listen! See yon farmhouse by the way,
And piled along the field in front the shocks of new-mown hay.
God help me turn my horses there! And when I give the word,
Leap on the hay! Pray, every soul, to Him who Israel heard!"

Within, the coach was still. 'Tis strange, but never till I die
Shall I forget the fields that day, the color of the sky,
The summer breeze that brought the first sweet perfume of the hay,
The bobolink that in the grass would sing his life away.

One breathless moment bridged the space that lay between, and then
Jem drew upon the straining reins, with all the strength of ten.
"Hold fast the babes!" More close I clasped the fair boy at my side.
"Let every nerve be steady now!" and "Jump for life!" he cried.

Saved, every soul! Oh! dizzy—sweet life rushed in every vein,
To us who from that fragrant bed rose up to hope again!
But, 'mid the smiles and grateful tears that mingled on each cheek,
A sudden questioning horror grew, that none would dare to speak.

Too soon the answer struck our ears! One moment's hollow roar
Of flying hoofs upon the bridge—an awful crash that tore