图书图片
PDF
ePub

“ Look at your nose, you idiot! came the same voice again, louder.

Then another voice cried : “ Push your nose out, can't you, you—you two with the dog!

Neither George nor I dared to turn around. The man's hand was on the cap, and the picture might be taken any moment. Was it us they were calling to? What was the matter with our noses? Why were they to be pushed out?

But now the whole lock started yelling, and a stentorian voice from the back shouted: “ Look at your boat, sir,you in the red and black caps. It's your two corpses that will get taken in that photo, if you ain't quick.'

We looked then and saw that the nose of our boat had got fixed under the woodwork of the lock, while the incoming water was rising all around it and tilting it up. In another moment we should be over. Quick as thought, we each seized an oar, and a vigorous blow against the side of the lock with the butt-ends released the boat, and sent us sprawling on our backs.

We did not come out well in that photograph, George and I. Of course, as was to be expected, our luck ordained it that the man should set his wretched machine in motion at the precise moment that we were lying on our backs with a wild expression of “ Where am I ? and what is it? on our faces, and our four feet waving madly in the air.

Our feet were undoubtedly the leading article in that photograph. Indeed, very little else was to be seen. They filled up the foreground entirely. Behind them, you caught glimpses of the other boats and bits of the surrounding scenery; everything and everybody else in the lock looked so utterly insignificant and paltry compared with our feet that all the other people felt quite ashamed of themselves and refused to subscribe to the picture.

The owner of one steam launch, who had bespoke six copies, rescinded the order on seeing the negative. He said he would take them if anybody could show him his launch, but nobody could. It was somewhere behind George's right foot.

There was a good deal of unpleasantness over the business. The photographer thought we ought to take a dozen copies each, seeing that the photo was about nine-tenths us; but we declined. We said we had no objection to being photo'd fulllength, but we preferred being taken the right way up.

THAT BOY JOHN.

FANNIE M. P. DEAS.

E

F I could only get him! Are you sure you haven't met him?

It's nigh upon twelve hours sence he's gone.
You bet that when I reach him a lesson I will teach him,

That boy John!

A lesson I will teach him, and a sermon I will preach him, That he'll carry in his mind from this

me on. You hardly will believe that he ran off without leave,

That knave John!

He ran off without leave, with intention to deceive,
An' his ma is there at home a-takin' on.
His hide is pretty thick, but I guess this hick’ry stick

Will fetch John.

I guess this hick'ry stick will fetch him mighty quick-
What's that? You wish I wouldn't lay it on ?
Well, I'm bound to wish you joy, for it's plain you've got
no boy

Like my John.
It's plain you've got no boy that will pester an' annoy
His folks the livelong day, from early dawn,-
A shiftless, saucy scamp, jest as lazy as a tramp,

Like that John.
Jest as lazy as a tramp, of the reg'lar gipsy stamp;
Won't cut a stick of wood, nor mow the lawn,
Must shoot or fish all day, or else be off to play-

That's my John.
I'm pledged to stop his play an' to show him that my way
Shall be his-or bid him else begone for good.

I'd stand his loss, for he's nothin' but a cross,

Is my John.

He's nothin' but a cross, an' it's only pitch an' toss
How soon old Nick will get him for his own.
He's aiming to, that's flat! Why, ain't that thing a hat?

Looks like John's !

Yes, sir, it is a hat, an' a ragged one at that,
A-layin' near the water on that stone !
A fish-pole, too-I'm bound he's hidin' somewheres round-

Here you, John!

He's hidin' somewheres round. Hark! wasn't that a sound
Among them bushes ? Let's creep softly on.
Why, where's the little chap? A-takin' of a nap?

Wake up, John!

:

He's takin' of a nap. What! met with some mishap ?
Not he. I ain't afeared. Why, he'll be gone
'Way off sometimes at night alone. Oh, he's all right.

Halloo! John!

I'll wager he's all right. Say, what's that gleamin' white
Yonder-across the stream—see, farther on,
Among them reeds? A face? To sleep in such a place!

No! 'Tain't John.

Asleep in this cold place-oh, stranger, touch his face!
Oh, my heart's joy, a-layin' here alone,
Cast up like some poor weed that the river doesn't need,

My boy John !

Cast up like some poor weed, while his father's secret need
Will be the voice and happy smile that's gone,
And to think he'll never know that I always loved him so,

My dead John!

A COMPLAINT.

I

TUDOR JENKS.
THINK it really mean—don't you?

To leave us nothing at all to do,

In a world all made to order so A modern boy has no earthly show! Columbus sailed across the sea, Which might have been done by you or me, And now they call him great and wise, They praise his genius and enterprise, Although when he found our native land He took it for India's coral strand.

There's Newton, too, saw an apple fall
Down from a branch, and that was all;
Yet they talk of his great imagination
And say he discovered gravitation.
Goodness me! Why, I could have told
Him all about it. At ten years old
I knew why things fell, and I studied the rule
For “ falling bodies" in grammar-school.
There's noble George, who wouldn't lie
Perhaps he couldn't. He didn't try.
But if I should cut down a cherry-tree,
My father would only laugh at me.

Benjamin Franklin—what did he do?
Flew a big kite-on Sunday, too,
Standing out in a heavy shower,
Getting soaked for half an hour,
Fishing for lightning with a string
To see if he couldn't bottle the thing.
Suppose I should fly my kite in the rain ?
People would say I wasn't sane.
Why should there such a difference be
Between Ben Franklin, Esq., and me?

I can see steam move a kettle-lid

Quite as well as James Watt did,
And I can explain about' engines, too-
Bigger and better than Watt ever knew;
But somehow he took all the praise
And I am neglected nowadays.
Then there's Napoleon First of France
Suppose that we had had his chance,
No doubt we'd have been emperors, too;
But we'd have conquered at Waterloo,
I wouldn't have had old Grouchy make
Such a stupid and grave mistake;
I should have sent him the proper way,
To arrive in time and save the day!

Still what makes me feel the worst
Is Adam's renown for being first.
That was easy enough, you know;
It was just a thing that happened so;
And my sister says: “If it had been me
I wouldn't have touched the apple-tree.”
That's so. If she sees a snake to-day
She gives a scream and she scoots away.
To write such things as Shakespeare's plays
Was not so hard in Queen Bess's days;
But now, when everything has been done,
I can not think of a single one
To bring a boy to wealth and fame.
It's a regular, downright, burning shame!

[ocr errors]

P. S.—When it's fine I shall play baseball;
For you know it never would do at all
To forget about “ Jack," who becomes, they say,
A very dull boy, without plenty of play.
But, wait! When a rainy Saturday comes,
As soon I've finished Monday's sums,
I'm going to build a great flying-machine
That will make T. Edison look pea-green!

« 上一页继续 »