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GRANDDAD'S POLKA.- Robert C. V. MEYERS. *
Written expressly for this Collection.
Late in the summer afternoon,
And seemed like a far-off, low, sweet tune.
Is it the violin that I hear?
You say, in the waving trees, my dear?”
He said. “That's a fiddle--aye, a bassoon;
Why, girl, don't you know that old, old tune?
With your grandmother, dead this many a year! 'Twas the night I met her first, you know.
She was prettier far than you, my dear,
That were pink as the roses in your belt,
With a mist in them making it seem they'd melt.
And her gown had a waist up under her arms,
In slippers fit for a watch-guard charms.
And a nankeen waistcoat, a satin stock
And my hair on my forehead in one love-lock.
That ball where I met and danced with her-
Go round and round the room in a whir,
I hoped it would go on endlessly,
And we loved forever, Nancy and me.
" Hark! That's the polky!” He raised his arms,
As though he clasped a partner fair,
And the soft breeze waved his silvery hair. “ Dear Miss Nancy,” he murmured. “So!
One! Two! Three! And now for a start! Don't you be timid! I know how it is
Do I hear my heart, or is it your heart? “Miss Nancy, dear, they're rare violins,
They cry like my soul for you, my love; Nancy, my sweetheart, this polky is ours
Look in my eyes, my dearie, my dove! “And to think I thought I was lonely, sweet,
Thought I was sitting here all alone, Thought you had left me you love so well
Nancy, I thought you was dead and gone. " 'Twas all a dream! Why, sweetheart, I thought
I waz old, and wrinkled, and threescore ten, And my granddaughter wheeled me out in the sun,
And I was like the feeblest o' men. "I thought we had daughters and sons, sweetheart,
Some looked like you and some looked like me, And I was called old and smiled at when
I gave my opinion of things, dearie. “I thought I was often tired and cried,
'Come to me, Nancy, I want you so, For our boys and our girls they have their joys
And I'm in the way. Oh, come to me, oh!' “I thought all this, and yet all the while
'Twas the polky music, and you and me Was dancing our first dance, heart to heart,
And hand in hand, most joyfully. "Do you love me, dear, as I love you? Nay, nay,
in my eyes and say If you forgive me for telling you
So much on the very first happy day? "One! Two! Three! And away we go!”
He spread his hands, so old and thinAnd was it the breeze that sounded so
Like a far-off wailing violin ?
Or was it indeed the tune of old,
The polka Granddad thought he heard ?
And the twilight came with mystery stirred.
Nancy, sweetheart, my timid doe!”
We could not see and we could not know.
A polka which no one there had beard-
Sweetheart, you are as light as a bird !
That I was old and that you was gone,
Wheeled by our granddaughter out in the sun.
Light of my light, and warmth of my heart;
We are young and together, not old and apart.
I dreamed the sadness." From underneath
Naught shall divide us, not even death.
The soft breeze waved his silvery hair.
But Granddad was lying dead in his chair.
MRS. BROWNLOW'S CHRISTMAS PARTY.
ADAPTED FOR PUBLIC READING. It was fine Christmas weather.
Several light snowstorms in the early part of December had left the earth fair and white, and the sparkling, cold days that followed were enough to make the most crabbed and morose of mankind cheerful, as with a foretaste of the joyous season at hand. Down town, the sidewalks were crowded
with mothers and sisters, buying gifts for their sons, brothers, and husbands, who found it impossible to get anywhere by taking the ordinary course of foot-travel, and were obliged to stalk along the snowy streets beside the curbstone, in a sober but not ill-humored row.
Among those who were looking forward to the holidays with keen anticipations of pleasure, were Mr. and Mrs. Brownlow, of Shadow Street,
They had quietly talked the matter over together, and decided that, as there were three children in the family (not counting themselves, as they might well have done), it would be a delightful and not too expensive luxury, to give a little Christmas party.
"You see, John,” said Mrs. Brownlow, "we've been asked, ourselves, to half a dozen candy-pulls and parties since we've lived here, and it seems nothin' but fair that we should do it once ourselves.”
"That's so, Clarissy,” replied her Eusband slowly; “but then-there's so many of us, and my salary's--well, it would cost considerable, little woman, wouldn't it?”
“I'll tell you what !” she exclaimed. “We needn't have a regular grown-up party, but just one for children. We can get a small tree, and a bit of a present for each of the boys and girls, with ice-cream and cake, and let it go at that. The whole thing sha'n't cost ten dollars.”
"Good!” said Mr. Brownlow heartily. "I knew you'd get some way out of it. Let's tell Bob and Sue and Polly, so they can have the fun of looking forward to it.”
So it was settled, and all hands entered into the plan with such a degree of earnestness that one would have thought these people were going to have some grand gift themselves, instead of giving to others, and pinching for a month afterwards, in their own comforts, as they knew they would have to do.
First of all the question to be determined was, whom should they invite. It was finally settled that all the well-to-do families in the neighborhood should be asked, and a special invitation was to be given to Mr. Brownlow's employers. This important item having beei. arranged, they visited the toy stores where the bewildering array of tempting novelties put Mrs. Brownlow at her wit's end to make a choice, for she intended that each of her little guests should have a gift.
Christmas eve at length arrived and the huge tree which Mr. Brownlow had bought was, after an obstinate resistance, finally induced to stand upright, -as fair and comely a Christmas tree as one would wish to see. The presents were hung upon the branches, and when all was furnished, which was not before midnight, the family withdrew to their beds, with weary limbs and brains, but with light-hearted anticipation of to-morrow.
Next morning the Brownlows were early astir, full of the joyous spirit of the day. There was a clamor of Christmas greetings, and a delighted medley of shouts from the children over the few simple gifts that had beon secretly laid aside for them. But the ruling thought in every heart was the party. It was to come off at five o'clock in the afternoon, when it would be just dark enough to light the candles on the tree.
In spite of all the hard work of the preceding days, there was not a moment to spare that forenoon. The house, as the head of the family facetiously remarked, was a perfect hive of B’s.
As the appointed hour drew near, their nervousness increased. The children had been scrubbed from top to toe, and dressed in their very best clothes ; Mrs. Brownlow wore a cap with maroon ribbons, which she had a misgiving were too gaudy for a person of her sedate years. Nor was the excitement confined to the interior of the house. The tree was placed in the front parlor, close to the window, and by half-past four a dozen ragged children were gathered about the iron fence of the little front yard, gazing open-mouthed and open-eyed at the spectacular wonders within. At a quarter before five Mrs. Brownlow's heart beat hard, every time she heard 4 strange footstep in their quiet street. It was a little