Page:Pieces People Ask For.djvu/99

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89
THE READING-CLUB.

Jem's faithful steeds had served him long, of mettle true and tried:
One sought in vain for trace of blows upon their glossy hide;
And to each low command he spoke, the leader's nervous ear
Bent eager, as a lover waits his mistress' voice to hear.

With ringing crack the leathern whip, that else had idly hung,
Kept time for many a rapid mile to English songs he sung;
And yet, despite his smile, he seemed a lonely man to be,
With not one soul to claim him kin on this side of the sea.

But after I had known him long, one mellow evening-time
He told me of his English Rose, who withered in her prime;
And how, within the churchyard green, he laid her down to rest
With her sweet babe, a blighted bud, upon her frozen breast.

"I could not stay," he said, "where she had left me all alone!
The very hedge-rose that she loved, I could not look upon.
I could not hear the mavis sing, or see the long grass wave,
And every little daisy-bank seemed but my darling's grave.

"Yet somehow—why, I cannot tell—but when I wandered here,
I seemed to bring her with me too, that once had been so dear.
I love these mountain summits, where the world is in the sky,
For she is in it too,—my love!—and so I bring her nigh."

Next week I rode with Jem again. The coach was full, that day,
And there were little children there, that pleased us with their play.
A sweet-faced mother brought her pair of rosy, bright-eyed girls,
And boy like one I left at home, with silken yellow curls.

We took fresh horses at Girard's, and as he led them out—
A vicious pair they seemed to me—I heard the hostler shout,