Page:Pieces People Ask For.djvu/71

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61
THE READING-CLUB.

But fished in the brook through the livelong day, instead of helping get in the hay,
Or "lift" at the work in any way.

So the Deacon frowned a frown most stern: "'Twas time that a lazy youth should learn
To earn his salt; 'twas different when he was his age,—the men was men,
Not idle care-naughts; and going to school made something besides a college fool."
Then, growing milder, "Wal, 'bout Peachblow—I reckoned a cure you'd hap to know,
In that heathen gabble you chatter so."

Quoth the idle scapegrace, with twinkling eye, "I've heard of a cure which you might try."
Then some Latin words he gravely said. "If on to her back a weight is laid,
She'll give milk straightway, and quiet be." Said the doubting Deacon, "I'll try and see."

Out in the stable Peachblow stood, calm chewing her cud as a heifer should.
Spoke the Deacon: "William, you're young and spry; you can climb on her back, now, quicker'n I.
You'll do for the weight. I'll fetch the stool, and milk the critter: you just keep cool."
But scarce had the hopeful gained his seat, when out flew the placid Peachblow's feet,
And milker and milking-stool upset, in a way too hurried for etiquette.

And the Deacon roared in his wrath, "Get down! I'll try myself,—that'll bring her roun'."
And, puffing and grumbling, with Will to boost, he found himself on his novel roost.
But, alas! with what little certainty can we plume our minds on things to be!
For, just as the Deacon, with voice elate, cried, "Go to milkin'; you needn't wait!"
The stanchion was loosed by some luckless Fate,—

And wildly out through the open door dashed—as she never had dashed before—