Page:Pieces People Ask For.djvu/43

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
33
THE READING-CLUB.

It was hard to part with shipmates so;
But standing by would have done no good.
We heard them moaning all day, so slow
We dragged along through the weary wood.
McGinnis, he suffered the worst of all;
Not that he ever piped his eye,
Or wouldn't have answered to the call
If they'd sounded it for "All hands to die."
I guess 'twould have sounded for him before,
But the grit inside of him kept him strong,
Till we met relief on the river shore;
And we all broke down when it came along.

All but McGinnis. Gaunt and tall,
Touching his hat, and standing square:
"Captain, the flag" … And that was all.
He just keeled over and foundered there.
The flag? We thought he had lost his head,—
It mightn't be much to lose at best,—
Till we came, by and by, to dig his bed,
And we found it folded around his breast.
He lay so calm and smiling there,
With the flag wrapped tight around his heart—
Maybe he saw his course all fair,
Only we couldn't read the chart.

James Jeffrey Roche.

BECAUSE.

"Now, John," the district teacher says,
With frown that scarce can hide
The dimpling smiles around her mouth
Where Cupid's hosts abide;
"What have you done to Mary Ann,
That she is crying so?
Don't say 'twas nothing,—don't, I say,
For, John, that can't be so.

"For Mary Ann would never cry
At nothing, I am sure;
And if you've wounded justice, John,
You know the only cure