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The evening comes, the fields are still.
See, pulsing with the first-born star,
Only a newsboy, under the light
Of the lamp post plying his trade in vain; Men are too busy to stop to-night,
Hurrying home through the sleet and rain. Never since dark a paper sold;
Where shall he sleep, or how be fed ? He thinks, as he shivers there in the cold, While happy children are safe in bed.
Is it strange if he turns about
With angry words, then comes to blows, When his little neighbor, just sold out,
Tossing his pennies, past him goes? "Stop!" - some one looks at him, sweet and mild, And the voice that speaks is a tender one: "You should not strike such a little child,
you should not use such words, my son!"
Is it his anger or his fears
That have hushed his voice and stopped his arm? "Don't tremble," these are the words he hears;
"Do you think that I would do you harm?" "It isn't that," and the hand drops down;
"I wouldn't care for kicks and blows; But nobody ever called me son,
Because I'm nobody's child, I s'pose."
O men! as ye careless pass along,
Remember the love that has cared for you; And blush for the awful shame and wrong
Of a world where such a thing could be true! Think what the child at your knee had been
If thus on life's lonely billows tossed; And who shall bear the weight of the sin, If one of these "little ones" be lost!
A LILY'S WORD.
"My delicate lily, — Blossom of fragrant snow,
Breathing on me from the garden,
Tell me what blessing the kind heavens give?
"One loving smile of the sun
Charms me out of the mold:
One tender tear of the rain
Bébée was a hard-working Brabant peasant girl; up while the birds twittered in the dark; to bed when the red sun sank beyond the far blue line of the plains.
She hoed, and dug, and watered, and planted her little plot; she kept her cabin as clean as a freshblossomed primrose; she milked her goat, and swept her floor.
She sat, all the warm days, in the town, selling her flowers, and in the winter time, when her garden yielded her nothing, she strained her sight over lacemaking in the city to get the small bit of food that stood between her and that hunger which to the poor means death.
Now when she woke to the full sense of her wonderful sixteen years - Bébée, standing barefoot on the mud floor, was as pretty a sight as was to be seen betwixt Scheldt and Rhine.
This wondrous morning, with the bright burden of her sixteen years upon her, she dressed herself quickly and fed her fowls, and, as happy as a bird, went to sit on her little wooden stool in the doorway.