FARM . . .
BY WILL CARLETON,
AUTHOR OF "FARM BAL
LADS," " FARM FESTIVALS,"
THE MUSSON BOOK CO.
MEMOR Y OF A NOBLEMAN,
[HE "Farm Ballads" have met with so kind
and general a reception as to encourage
the publishing of a companion volume.
In this book, also, the author has aimed to give
expression to the truth, that with every person,
even if humble or debased, there may be some
good worth lifting up and saving ; that in each
human being, though revered and seemingly imma
culate, are some faults which deserve pointing out
and correcting; and that all circumstances of life,
however trivial they appear, may possess those
alternations of the comic and pathetic, the good
and bad, the joyful and sorrowful, upon which walk
the days and nights, the summers and winters, the
lives and deaths, of this strange world.
He would take this occasion to give a word of
thanks to those who have stayed with him through
evil and good report ; who have overlooked his
literary faults for the sake of the truths he was
struggling to tell ; and who have believed what he
knows that he is honest.
With these few words of introduction, the author
launches this second bark upon the sea of popular
opinion ; grinds his axe, and enters once more the
great forest of Human Nature, for timber to go on
with his boat-building.
THE SCHOOLMASTER'S GUESTS
THREE LINKS OK A LIFE .
ROB, THE PAUPER .
THE THREE LOVERS
THE SONG OF HOME
PAUL'S RUN OFF WITH THE SlIOW
THE KEY TO THOMAS' HKART
THE DOCTOR'S STORY . ,
THE CHRISTMAS BABY
COVER THEM OVER .
RIFTS IN THE CLOUD
SOME TIME .
BROTHERS AND FRIENDS
THE LITTLE SLEEPER . . . . .158
'Tis SNOWING . . . . . .162
THE BURNING OF CHICAGO .... 166
THE RAILROAD HOLOCAUST .... 178
THE CABLE ....... 182
SHIP "CiTY OF BOSTON" ..... 185
THE GOOD OF THE FUTURE .... 188
THE JOYS THAT ARE LEFT . . . 190
HE district schoolmaster was sitting
behind his great book-laden desk,
Close-watching the motions of scholars,
pathetic and gay and grotesque.
As whisper the half-leafless branches, when
autumn's brisk breezes have come,
His little scrub- thicket of pupils sent upward
a half-smothered hum.
Like the frequent sharp bang of a waggon,
when treading a forest path o'er,
Resounded the feet of his pupils, whenever
their heels struck the floor.
There was little Tom Timms on the front seat,
whose face was withstanding a drouth ;
And jolly Jack Gibbs just behind him, wit]/
a rainy new moon for a mouth.
There were both of the Smith boys, as
studious as if they bore names that could
And Jim Jones, a heaven-built mechanic,
the slyest young knave in the room,
With a countenance grave as a horse's, and
his honest eyes fixed on a pin,
Queer-bent on a deeply-laid project to
tunnel Joe Hawkins's skin.
There were anxious young novices, drilling
their spelling-books into the brain,
THE SCHOOLMASTER'S GUESTS. 13
Loud-puffing each half-whispered letter, like
an engine just starting its train.
There was one fiercely muscular fellow, who
scowled at the sums on his slate,
And leered at the innocent figures a look of
And set his white teeth close together, and
gave his thin lips a short twist,
As to say, " I could whip you, confound you !
could such things be done with the fist!"
There were two knowing girls in the corner,
each one with some beauty possessed,
In a whisper discussing the problem, which
one the young master likes best.
A class in the front, with their readers,
were telling with difficult pains,
How perished brave Marco Bozzaris while
bleeding at all of his veins ;
i 4 FARM LEGENDS.
And a boy on the floor to be punished, a
statue of idleness stood,
Making faces at all of the others, and enjoying
the scene all he could.
A round were the walls gray and dingy, which
every old school-sanctum hath,
With many a break on their surface, where
grinned a wood-grating of lath.
A patch of thick plaster, just over the school
master's rickety chair,
Seemed threat'ningly o'er him suspended, like
Damocles' sword, by a hair.
There were tracks on the desks where the
knife-blades had. wandered in search of
their prey ;
Their tops were as duskily spattered as if
they drank ink every day.
THE SCHOOLMASTER'S GUESTS 15
The square stove it puffed and it crackled,
and broke out in red-flaming sores,
Till the great iron quadruped trembled like a
dog fierce to rush out-o'-doors.
White snow-flakes looked in at the windows;
the gale pressed its lips to the cracks ;
And the children's hot faces were streaming,
the while they were freezing their backs.
Now Marco Bozzaris had fallen, and all of his
suff 'rings were o'er,
And the class to their seats were retreating,
when footsteps were heard at the door ;
A.nd five of the good district fathers marched
into the room in a row,
And stood themselves up by the hot fire, and
shook off their white cloaks of snow ;
16 FARM LEGENDS.
And the spokesman, a grave squire of sixty,
with countenance solemnly sad,
Spoke thus, while the children all listened
with all of the ears that they had :
" We've come here, schoolmaster, intendin' to
cast an inquirin' eye 'round,
Concernin' complaints that's been entered, an'
fault that has lately been found ;
To pace off the width of your doin's, an 1 wit
ness what you've been about,
An' see if it's pay in' to keep you, or whether
we'd best turn ye out.
" The first thing I'm bid for to mention is,
when the class gets up to read,
You give 'em too tight of a reinin', an' touch
em' up more than they need ;
You're nicer than wise in the matter of holdin'
the book in onehan',
An' you turn a stray g in their doin's, an' tack
an odd d on their an.
THE SCHOOLMASTER'S GUESTS.
There ain't no great good comes of speakin'
the words so polite, as /see,
Providin' you know what the facts is, an' tell
'em off jest as they be.
An' then there's that readin' in corncert, is
censured from first unto last ;
It kicks up a heap of a racket, when folks is
Whatever is done as to readin,' providin'
things go to my say,
Sha'n't hang on no new-fangled hinges, but
swing in the old-fashioned way."
And the other four good district fathers crave
quick the consent that was due,
And nodded obliquely, and muttered, " T/iem
'ere is my sentiments tew"
" Then, as to your spellin' : I've heern tell, by
them as has looked into this,
That you turn the u out o' your labour, an'
make the word shorter than 'tis ;
iS FARM LEGENDS.
An' clip the k off o' yer musick, which makes
my son Ephraim perplexed,
An* when he spells out as he ought'r, you
pass the word on to the next.
They say there's some new-grafted books
here that don't take them letters along ;
But if it is so, just depend on't, them new-
grafted books is made wrong.
You might just as well say that Jackson didn't
know all there was about war,
As to say that old Spellin'-book Webster
didn't know what them letters was for."
And the other four good district fathers gave
quick the consent that was due,
And scratched their heads slyly and softly,
and said, " Them s my sentiments tew!'
" Then, also, your 'rithmetic doin's, as they
are reported to me,
Is that you have left Tare an Tret out, an'
also the old Rule o' Three ;
THE SCHOOLMASTER'S GUESTS. 19
An' likewise brought in a new study, some
high-steppin' scholars to please,
With saw-bucks an' crosses and pot-hooks,
an' o/s, x, y s, and z's.
We ain't got no time for such foolin' ; there
ain't no great good to be reached
By tiptoein' childr'n up higher than ever their
fathers was teached."
And the other four good district fathers gave
quick the consent that was due,
And cocked one eye up to the ceiling, and
said, " Them's my sentiments few."
" Another tiling, I must here mention, comes
into the question to-day,
Concernin' some things in the orammar you're
d> o J
teachin' our gals for to say.
My gals is as steady as clock-work, an' never
give cause for much fear,
But they come home from school t'other
evenin a-talkin' such stuff as this here :
' I love, 1 an' ' Thou lovestl an' ' He loves, 1 an'
' Ye lovel an' ' You love' an' ' 77iey '
An' they answered my questions, ' It's gram
mar' 'twas all I could get 'em to say.
Now if, 'stead of doin' your duty, you're
carryin' matters on so
As to make the gals say that they love you,
it's just all that / want to know ; "
Now Jim, the young heaven-built mechanic,
in the dusk of the evening before,
Had well-nigh unjointed the stove-pipe, to
make it come down on the floor ;
And the squire bringing smartly his foot
down, as a clincher to what he had said,
A joint of the pipe fell upon him, and larruped
him square on the head.
The soot flew in clouds all about him, and
blotted with black all the place,
THE SCHOOLMASTER'S GUESTS. 21
And the squire and the other four fathers
were peppered with black in the face.
The school, ever sharp for amusement, laid
down all their cumbersome books,
And, spite of the teacher's endeavours, laughed
loud at their visitors' looks.
And the squire, as he stalked to the door
way, swore oaths of a violet hue ;
And the four district fathers, who followed,
seemed to say, " Them's my sentiments
THREE LINKS OF A LIFE.
WORD went over the hills and plains
Of the scarce-hewn fields that tht
Through dens of swamps and jungles of trees
As if it were borne by the buzzing bees
As something sweet for the sons of men ;
Or as if the blackbird and the wren
Had lounged about each ragged clearing
To gossip it in the settlers' hearing ;
Or the partridge drum corps of the wood
Had made the word by mortals heard,
And Diana made it understood ;
Or the loud-billed hawk of giant sweep
Were told it as something he must keep ;
THREE LINKS OF A LIFE. 23
As now, in the half-built city of Lane,
Where the sons of the settlers strive for
Where the Indian trail is graded well,
And the anxious ring of the engine-bell
And the Samson Steam's deep, stuttering
And the factory's dinner-horn are heard ;
Where burghers fight, in friendly guise,
With spears of bargains and shields of lies ;
Where the sun-smoked farmer, early a-road,
Rides into the town his high-built load
Of wood or wool, or corn or wheat,
And stables his horses in the street ;
It seems as to each and every one
A deed were known ere it well be done,
As if, in spite of roads or weather,
All minds were whispering together;
So over the glens and rough hill-sides
Of the fruitful land where the Tiffin glides,
Went the startling whisper, clear and plain,
" There s a new-born baby over at Lane! "
24 FARM LEGENDS.
Now any time, from night till morn,
Or morn till night, for a long time-flight,
Had the patient squaws their children borne ;
And many a callow, coppery wight
Had oped his eyes to the tree-flecked light,
And grown to the depths of the woodland dell,
And the hunt of the toilsome hills as well,
As though at his soul a bow were slung,
And a war-whoop tatooed on his tongue ;
But never before, in the Tiffin's sight,
Had a travail bloomed with a blossom of
And the fire-tanned logger no longer pressed
His yoke-bound steeds and his furnace fire ;
And the gray-linked log-chain drooped to
And a hard face softened wiih sweet desire ;
And the settler-housewife, rudely wise,
With the forest's shrewdness in her eyes,
Yearned, with tenderly wondering brain,
For the new-born baby over at Lane.
THREE LINKS OF A LIFE. 25
And the mother lay in her languid bed,
When the flock of visitors had fled
When the crowd of settlers all had gone,
And left the young lioness alone
With the tiny cub they had come to see
In the rude-built log menagerie ;
When grave Baw Beese, the Indian chief,
As courtly as ever prince in his prime,
Or cavalier of the olden time,
Making his visit kind as brief,
Had beaded the neck of the pale-face miss,
And dimpled her cheek with a farewell
When the rough-clad room was still as
Save the deaf old nurse's needle-click,
The beat of the grave clock in its place,
With its ball-tipped tail and owl-like face,
And the iron tea-kettle's droning song
Through its Roman nose so black and long,
The mother lifted her baby's head,
And gave it a clinging kiss, and said
26 FARM LEGENDS.
Why did thou come so straight to me,
Thou queer one ?
Thou might have gone where riches be,
Thou dear one !
For when 'twas talked about in heaven,
To whom the sweet soul should be given,
If thou had raised thy pretty voice,
God sure had given to thee a choice,
My dear one, my queer one!
" Babe in the wood thou surely art,
My lone one :
But thou shalt never play the part,
My own one !
Thou ne'er shalt wander up and down,
With none to claim thee as their own ;
Nor shall the Redbreast, as she grieves,
Make up for thee a bed of leaves,
My own one, my lone one !
Although thou be not Riches' flower,
Thou neat one,
THREE LINKS OF A LIFE. 27
Yet thou hast come from Beauty's bower,
Thou sweet one !
Thy every smile's as warm and bright
As if a diamond mocked its light ;
Thy every tear's as pure a pearl
As if thy father was an earl,
Thou neat one, thou sweet one !
And thou shah have a queenly name,
Thou grand one :
A lassie's christening's half her fame,
Thou bland one!
And may thou live so good and true,
The honour will but be thy due ;
And friends shall never be ashamed,
Or when or where they hear thee named,
Thou bland one, thou grand one !
E'en like the air our rule and sport
Thou meek one,
Thou art my burden and support,
Thou weak one !
28 FARM LEGENDS.
Like manna in the wilderness,
A joy hath come to soothe and bless ;
But 'tis a sorrow unto me,
To love as I am loving thee,
Thou weak one. thou meek one !
The scarlet-coated child-thief waits,
Thou bright one,
To bear thee through the sky-blue gates,
Thou light one !
His feverish touch thy brow may pain,
And while I to my sad lips strain
The sheath of these bright-beaming eyes,
The blade may flash back to the skies,
Thou li^ht one, thou bright one !
And if thou breast the morning storm,
Thou fair one,
And gird a woman's thrilling form,
Thou rare one :
Sly hounds of sin thy path will trace,
And on thy unsuspecting face
THREE LINKS OF A LIFE. 29
Hot lust will rest its tarnished eyes,
And thou wilt need be worldly-wise,
Thou rare one, thou fair one !
Oh, that the heaven that smiles to-day,
My blest one,
May give thee light to see thy way,
My best one !
That when around thee creeps The Gloom,
The Gracious God will call thee home,
And then, increased a hundredfold,
Thou proudly hand Him back His gold,
My best one, my blest one !
A word went over the many miles
Of the \\ ell-tilled land where the Tiffin smiles,
And sought no youthful ear in vain :
" There's a wedding a-coming off at Lane I "
They stood in the shade of the western door
Father, mother, and daughter one
30 FARM LEGENDS.
And gazed, as they oft had gazed before,
At the downward olide of the western sun.
The rays of his never-jealous light
Made even the cloud that dimmed him bright ;
And lower he bent, and kissed, as he stood,
The lips of the distant blue-eyed wood.
And just as the tired sun bowed his head,
The sun-browned farmer sighed, and said :
And so you'll soon be goin' away,
My darling little Bess ;
And you ha' been to the store to-day,
To buy your weddin'-dress ;
And so your dear good mother an' I,
Whose love you long have known,
Must lay the light o' your presence by,
And walk the road alone.
So come to-night, with mother and me,
To the porch for an hour or two,
And sit on your old father's knee,
The same as you used to do ;
THREE LINKS OF A LIFE. 31
For we, who ha' loved you many a year,
And clung to you, strong and true,
Since we've had the young Professor here,
Have not had much of you !
But lovers be lovers while earth endures ;
And once on a time, be it known,
/ helped a girl with eyes like yours
Construct a world of our own ;
And we laid it out in a garden spot,
And dwelt in the midst of flowers,
Till we found that the world was a good-
And most of it wasn't ours !
You're heavier, girl, than when you come
To us one cloudy day,
And seemed to feel so little at home,
We feared you wouldn't stay ;
Till I knew the danger was passed, because
You'd struck so mortal a track,
32 FARM LEGENDS.
And got so independent an' cross,
God never would let you back !
But who would ever ha' had the whim,
When you lay in my arms an' cried,
You'd some time sit here, pretty an' prim,
A-waitin' to be a bride !
But lovers be lovers while earth goes on,
And marry, as they ought ;
And if you would keep the heart you've
Remember what you've been taught :
Look first that your wedded lives be true,
With naught from each other apart ;
For the flowers of true love never grew
In the soil of a faithless heart.
Look next that the buds of health shall rest
Their blossoms upon your cheek ;
For life and love are a burden at best
If the body be sick and weak.
THREE LINKS OF A Lll-E. 33
Look next that your kitchen fire be bright,
And your hands be neat and skilled ;
For the love of man oft takes its flight
If his stomach be not well filled.
Look next that your money is fairly earned
Ere ever it be spent ;
For comfort, and love, however turned,
Will ne'er pay ten per cent.
And, next, due care and diligence keep
That the mind be trained and fed ;
For blessings ever look shabby and cheap
That light on an empty head.
And if it shall please the gracious God
That children to you belong,
Remember, my child, and spare the rod
Till you've taught them right and wrong ;
And show 'em that though this life's a start
For the better world, no doubt,
Yet earth an' heaven ain't so far apart
As many good folks make out.
A word went over the broad hill-sweeps
Of the listening land where the Tiffin creeps :
" She married, holding on high her head ;
Biit the groom was false as the vows he said;
With lies and crimes his days are checked ;
The girl is alone, and her life is wrecked"
The midnight rested its heavy arm
Upon the grief-encumbered farm ;
And hoarse-voiced Sorrow wandered at
Like a moan when the summer's night is still :
And the spotted cows, with bellies of white,
And well-filled teats all crowded awry,
Stood in the black stalls of the night,
Nor herded nor milked, and wondered why.
And the house was gloomy, still, and cold;
And the hard-palmed farmer, newly old,
THREE LINKS OF A LIFE. 35
Sat in an unfrequented place,
Hiding e'en from the dark his face ;
And a solemn silence rested long
On all, save the cricket's dismal song.
But the mother drew the girl to her breast,
And gave to her spirit words of rest :
Come to my lap, my wee-grown baby ; rest
thee upon my knee ;
You have been travelling toward the light,
and drawing away from me ;
You turned your face from my dark path to
catch the light o' the sun,
And 'tis no more nor less, my child, than
children ever have done.
So you joined hands with one you loved,
when we to the cross-road came,
And went your way, as Heaven did say, and
who but Heaven to blame ?
You must not weep that he you chose was all
the time untrue,
36 FARM LEGENDS.
Or stab with hate the man whose heart you
thought was made for you.
The love God holds for your bright soul is
more to get and give
Than all the love of all of the men while He
may bid them live.
So let your innocence stanch the wound made
by another's guilt ;
For Vengeance' blade was ever made with
neither guard nor hilt.
Who will avenge you, darling ? The sun that
shines on high.
He will paint the picture of your wrongs
before the great world's eye.
He will look upon your sweet soul, in its pure
mantle of white,
Till it shine upon your enemies, and dazzle
all their sight.
He'll come each day to point his finger at
him who played the knave ;
THREE LINKS OF A LIFE. 37
And 'tis denied from him to hide, excepting
in the grave.
Who will avenge you, darling? Your sister,
the sky above.
Each cloud she floats above you shall be a
token of love ;
She will bend o'er you at night-fall her pure
broad breast of blue,
And every gem that glitters there shall flash
a smile to you.
And all her great wide distances to your good
name belong ;
'Tis not so far from star to star as 'twixt the
right and wrong.
Who will avenge you, darling ? All the
breezes that blow.
They will whisper to each other your tale of
guiltless woe ;
The perfumes that do load them your inno
cence shall bless.
$8 FARM LEGENDS.
And they will soothe your aching brow with
pitying, kind caress.
They will sweep away the black veil that
hangs about your fame :
There is no cloud that long can shroud a vir
tuous woman's name.
Who will avenge you, darling ? The one who
His memory must undo him, whate'er his will
may do ;
The pitch-black night will come when he
must meet Remorse alone ;
He will rush at your avenging as if it were
His every sin is but a knot that yet shall
hold him fast ;
For guilty hands but twine the strands that
fetter them at last.
Lay thee aside thy grief, darling ! lay thee
aside thy grief!
THREE LINKS OF A LIFE. 39
And Happiness will cheer thee beyond all
thy belief I
As oft as winter comes summer, as sure as
night comes day,
And as swift as sorrow cometh, so swift it
goeth away !
E'en in your desolation you are not quite
Not all who choose may count their woes
upon a mother's breast.
ROB, THE PAUPER.
OB, the Pauper, is loose again.
Through the fields and woods he
He shuns the women, he beats the men,
He kisses the children's frightened faces.
There is no mother he hath not fretted ;
There is no child he hath not petted ;
There is no house, by road or lane,
He did not tap at the window-pane,
And make more dark the dismal night,
And set the faces within with white.
Rob, the Pauper, is wild of eye,
Wild of speech, and wild of thinking ;
Over his forehead broad and high,
Each with each wild locks are linking.
ROB, THE PAUPER. 41
Yet there is something in his bearing
Not quite what a pauper should be wearing :
In every step is a shadow of grace ;
The ghost of a beauty haunts his face ;
The rags half-sheltering him to-day
Hang not on him in a beggarly way.
Rob, the Pauper, is crazed of brain :
The world is a lie to his shattered seeming.
No woman is true unless insane ;
No man but is full of lecherous scheming.
Woe to the wretch, of whate'er calling,
That crouches beneath his cudgel's falling 1
Pity the wife, howe'er high-born,
Who wilts beneath his words of scorn I
But youngsters he caresses as wild
As a mother would kiss a rescued child.
He hath broke him loose from his poor-house
He hath dragged him clear from rope and
42 FARM LEGENDS.
They might have thought ; for they know
They could keep a half-caged panther
Few are the knots so strategy-shunning
That they can escape his maniac cunning ;
Many a stout bolt strives in vain
To bar his brawny shoulders' strain ;
The strongest men in town agree,
That the Pauper is good for any three.
He hath crossed the fields, the woods, the
He hides in the swamp his wasted feature ;
The frog leaps over his bleeding feet ;
The turtle crawls from the frightful creature.
The loud mosquito, hungry-flying,
For his impoverished blood is crying ;
The scornful hawk's loud screaming sneer
Falls painfully upon his ear ;
And close to his unstartled eye
The rattlesnake creeps noisily by
ROB, THE PAUPER. 43
He hath fallen into a slough of sleep,
A haze of the past bends softly o'er him
His restless spirit a watch doth keep,
As Memory's canvas glides before him.
Through slumber's distances he travels ;
The tangled skein of his mind unravels :
The bright past dawns through a cloud of
And once again in his prime he seems ;
For over his heart's lips, as a kiss,
Sweepeth a vision like to this :