Page:Pieces People Ask For.djvu/18

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Street-car driver, "Ninety-three!"
Very weary and worn was he,
As he dragged himself to his little home;
Long, long hours from year to year,
Never a day for rest, no cheer,
In the woods or meadows in joy to roam.

All day through in tiresome round,
Wages scanty, and prospects bound
In a treadmill life from sun to sun,
Facing the winter's cold and sleet,
Facing the summer's burning heat,
With little to hope and little won.

The clothing was poor of "Ninety-three,"
And poor as well for the family;
But the wife was patient with gentle grace.
"I've watched all day by the baby's bed;
"I think he is going, John," she said,
With an anxious look on her pallid face.
He gazed with pride on his baby boy.
"He is handsome, wife!" and a look of joy
Just for a moment dried the tears.
"How does he look in the glad daylight?
I have never seen him, except at night;"
And he sighed as he thought of the weary years.

Labor the blessing of life should be,
But it seemed like a curse to "Ninety-three,"
For twice too long were the toiling hours;
Never the time to improve the mind,
Or joy in his little ones to find:
Grasping and thoughtless are human powers.

All night long did the driver stay
By the beautiful child, then stole away,
Hoping, still hoping that God would save;
But when the sun in the heavens rose high,
The time had come for the baby to die,
And the mother had only an open grave.