Lonely O'Malley/Chapter 4
In which there is a Triumphal Procession
ONLY a few birds were singing drowsily in the early morning dusk when Lonely stole through the side door, well out of sight from the bakery window, climbed the back fence, and cut across half a dozen vacant lots to the Cannery, and from there to the Boiler Works, and from there to the Railway Siding itself. The air was cool and quiet and dark, and the heavy dew wet his feet. He had gone forth breakfastless, stopping only long enough to devour a handful or two of malignantly green gooseberries from the Gubtills' bushes.
But for all that, it was a great and glorious morning.
For there, already drawing up on the Siding, was the shabbily flamboyant circus train, the gaudily lettered sleepers, the flat-cars with the solemnly covered wagons—wagons with wheels of vivid red and gold showing beneath the draggled canvas—the disembarking animals, the hurrying, hallooing, bustling, swearing circus hands, already in the midst of their day's work, with the sun not yet up over the eastern hills.
It was, I suppose, the same old shoddy circus, with the same old shoddy tents and methods, and the same old indescribable smells and sounds, that has been alighting magically in small towns and as magically disappearing by night again, for a full half-century back.
Yet it was all once more new and strange and marvelous to Lonely,—the flash of the highly varnished floats, the cluck of the heavy little wagon wheels, the clinking and rattling of the chains, the shuffling and sleepy-eyed elephants (which promptly kill the reckless youth who dares to feed them so much as a thimbleful of chewing-tobacco, or, should he escape for the day, years hence will remember and single out the inexorably doomed offender), the enchanting, musty animal-smells, the grimy and foreign-looking tent-hands and stake-drivers, redolent of mystery and strong tobacco (to hold for whom even a halter shank was a never-to-be-forgotten honor), the trotting, nimble-footed Shetland ponies, the deceptive-looking zebra, whose kick was reputed to be fatal, the long-striding and stately-necked camels, the confused snarl and roar of invisible animals behind the alluring little shuttered windows, leaving youth to wonder which could be the tameless Royal Bengal Tiger and which the old Man-Eating Leopard with so many lives to his credit. Was it any wonder, indeed, that Lonely's sleep had been broken and brief the night before?
He had hoped to be on the field before any of the town boys; but when he arrived a dozen scantily-robed urchins and half a hundred men were already lined up along the railway tracks. So Lonely, after wistfully but ineffectually following one of the drivers back and forth between the railway and the tent grounds, side-tracked his attention to a more alert-looking man in a black derby, and through so doing was at last permitted to carry a pair of huge rubber boots, a leather bucket, and four horse-blankets. There was something foreign and fine, he decided, even in the smell of those particular horse-blankets.
He was struggling under this load toward the main tent entrance, happy but almost breathless, when the man in the black derby called sharply after him.
"Here you, Redhead, fetch them things round to the cook-tent!"
Lonely obeyed meekly and promptly,—though in the ordinary affairs of life he allowed no such expletives to pass unchallenged,—feeling for the moment that he was a part of that vast and stupendous machinery of amusement.
He followed his guardian in under one of the smaller tents, where his intoxicated young nostrils caught their first whiff of canvas and sawdust,—a smell like unto which there is and can be no other. Later, mingled with this strange odor, he detected the smell of coffee and cooking meat. This brought him to a standstill, causing him to scratch his russet little head absently, and wonder just how long it was since he had breakfasted and just how it was meat and coffee could smell so good.
Then, coming to his senses and getting more accustomed to his surroundings, he beheld two long tables, at which more or less grimy and hungry and tired-looking men and women sat, bolting down a hurried breakfast. One keen glance at them showed him plainly enough that these common and earthly looking persons were not the Great Beings who guided rocking and lurching Roman chariots, and fluttered around rings in crimson tights and spangled breech-cloths, and spun about trapezes in pink and gold and blue, daringly defying danger and death, and setting at naught, as the bill-boards distinctly said, all and every law of gravitation! They were the same as other folks, only hungrier and wearier looking, thought Lonely, as he still waited awkwardly, loath to take his departure into the mere light of common day.
"Catch, Starry Eyes," cried a fat woman with yellow hair, as she tossed a hot biscuit at his head. This he caught on the fly, neatly, and straightway tucked securely down in his deepest blue denim overalls' pocket. Being a real and genuine circus biscuit, it was, obviously, something too consecrated to eat.
The fat woman laughed at this, and a moment later the whole table seemed smiling at Lonely, who drew back a little, abashed. Yet behind the cheery and grateful unconcern of his answering grin he had decided that at the first grain of encouragement from them he would forsake his home and his family and his half-finished air-ship, and run away with them for all time, to carry water and hay to the elephants for the rest of a happy, happy life.
Lonely's old friend with the derby hat came in hurriedly, and sat down at one end of the long table.
"Anything else I c'n do for you?" the boy managed to squeeze out, in a sudden burst of courage.
The man at the end of the table looked Lonely up and down, sharply.
"Anything more?" asked Lonely, with one wistful shoulder hunched up.
"Yes, Carrots, there is," answered the man. "Here, sit down here!"
Lonely sat down, wonderingly.
"Now, put this into your face!"
And before the boy could fully understand, there was shoved over in front of him a cup of steaming coffee and a plate on which stood a goodly slice of beefsteak and a hot biscuit swimming in gravy.
Lonely devoured this plateful in rapt silence, far too moved to talk. He even wondered if it would be all right to keep the bone, as a sort of sacred relic.
"Now, Sunshine, d' you want a job?"
NOW, PUT THIS INTO YOUR FACE!
"D' you think you can hustle in to the Mayor's house with this letter? Or d' you know where he hangs out?"
"Yep!" answered Lonely promptly, without a quaver. He knew that he could soon find out—which amounted to about the same thing.
"He 'll give you a note to fetch back. Have it here good and quick, and I 'll make you my head trapeze man!"
Lonely looked at him steadily.
"I 'd rather do tumblin'," he ventured, earnestly; and he wondered just why the man hawhawed a little, as he pushed him hurriedly out of the tent.
He sped away from the musty-smelling place of hunger, dead drunk, hopelessly intoxicated with that wine which can be bought at few inns and leaves no taste of ashes on the lips of youth.
It was all over and done with. Alaska Alice, the flying-machine, home and friends, they were things of the past. He was to go away and join the circus!
Lonely made his way into the town floating on clouds, to the sound of celestial music. Unseeing and unheeding, he passed little hurrying groups of boys—leaving them to gaze in wonder after the Outlander who could so defy the last law of juvenile gravitation and travel away, at such a time, from that eternal centre of attraction, the circus tent.
Houses were opening up sleepily, shutters were being taken down from shop-windows, the streets were wakening to their first stir of life. And during that morning Lonely had already lived through so much! He had seen the elephants unloaded, and herded, and fed, the canvas unrolled, the main-top hoisted, the two sawdust rings laid out, the camels watered and groomed, the wagons of crimson and gold unhooded,—and last of all, he had taken the final step which led to the eternal glory and glitter of the circus tumbler.
The Mayor of Chamboro, like the little town over which he held quiet sway, was of a somnolent turn of mind. It was only after a long and weary wait that Lonely, with his precious letter, once more made his winged way back to the circus grounds.
He found his friend of the cook-tent now mounted to a little office on wheels, the centre of a new world of activity, of hurrying men, and questioning attendants, and hastily dispatched orders. He took one sharp look at Lonely, caught the paper from his hand, ran his eye over it, and rattled out:
"Be at the ticket-wagon at one!"
Lonely's last plaguing doubt died away at that too significant and business-like speech.
"Will I go on to-day?" he asked, in a transport.
"On? Go on? How d' you mean?"
"You said I was to be one o' the tumblers?" said Lonely, bravely.
The man was either too busy or too generous to laugh outright at the boy. He glanced down into the hungry, wistful face, and for one fleeting moment the grim corners of his mouth went up. Then, with a brusque "Ticket-wagon at one!" he waved the boy aside, and a moment later was in a fiery dispute about the beef supply for the lions, heatedly resenting the monopolistic methods of Chamboro's local butcher. To his last day Lonely always privately believed that it was Piggie Brennan's father who had stood between him and a life of never-ending music and spangles and applause. A butcher and his sordid squabbles about the price of beef!—to come between him and his eluding heaven! And Lonely, deep down in his heart, determined that some day he would take it out of that butcher's son's hide, if ever he got the chance.
He tried to worm his way back through the crowd, at least to demand his ticket. But the busy circle made short shrift of him, and his heart sank to its lowest depth as he found himself once more pushed and jostled ignominiously into the background. It was the old, old trick. Year after year he had helped water the elephants, and had run messages, and had piloted the tent-hands to the best drinking-well in all Cowansburg, and had borrowed matches for the stake-drivers—and year by year he had been fed on only empty and heart-breaking promises!
But in such a place and at such a time even sorrow like unto his could not long remain. He choked back an impotent sniffle or two, and ten minutes later was wandering in among the side-show canvases, hoping to get a gratuitous glimpse of the Fat Woman, trying to find out where the snakes were kept, taking an experimental pound at one of the big drums, speculating as to the contents of many mysterious boxes, and still vaguely asking himself if those star-decked and beautiful visions who rode on the piebald horses and the elephants really ate beefsteak and hot biscuits, the same as the common circus hands; and if, too, those winged, angel women in spotless white gauze who dove through tissue-paper hoops and alighted so birdlike on the crupper of an Orloff stallion, really traveled in the midst of such dust and bustle and noisy profanity.
And the mad stir and bustle kept up; attendants herded back too inquisitive boys, the city of canvas grew on the air as at the touch of unseen magicians, the banners were loosed and floated with holiday flutter and abandon, the eight and ten-teamed wagons swung ponderously and prancingly out for the procession, the musicians took their seats in the great high blue-and-white band-wagon, as haughty as the deck of a Spanish galleon, and already the more knowing ones were trailing townward, to behold the full pageant at its earliest point, and as often thereafter as nimble legs and a sadly overtaxed second-wind would permit.
It was at this juncture that a sudden halt came to the proceedings. The man from the little office-wagon was seen to run over to the great blue-and-gold float of the Goddess of Liberty. La Belle Leona, the Queen of the Air, and also one of the four pages who held up the voluminous skirts of the resplendent Goddess of the Free, had been taken ill with colic, and because of too copious draughts of brandy from the flask of Vallerita, the Sorceress of the Lion Cage, was unable to stand on firm ground, much less to retain her uncertain equilibrium upon the top of a shaking and rumbling wagon-float.
Some one suddenly caught Lonely by the shoulder, sharply, and swung him round to the float.
"Want to go on now?"
If there was a note of mockery in the question, it shot wide of Lonely's consciousness.
The boy nodded his head, for the second time too full for utterance.
"Skip in there, then, quick! They 'll fix you up!"
If the man in the derby hat had told Lonely to take his pick of all the Shetland ponies and ride off home with it, he could not have given that wide-eyed and resilient-spirited young adventurer any keener sense of bliss.
The only thorn in his rose of perfect joy was the discovery that he had to be togged up as a young woman. But already it was too late to draw back, for as he entered the many-odored little dressing-tent, thronged with trunks and boxes and dresses and women busily engaged in flinging silver-spangled finery over their bare shoulders, Lonely was promptly seized by Cavarolla, the Queen of the Tight Rope, and as peremptorily and calmly deprived of his outer raiment as though he had been a head of lettuce being made ready for the cook-tent dinner.
Yet as nobody seemed to pay the slightest attention to his pink-skinned embarrassment, he came to perspire less by the time he had been padded out with a soiled and sadly worn pair of "symmetricals" and had thrust his bandy young legs into a pair of slack and equally soiled trunk-hose. He was then backed up and plumped down on a box, with much dispatch and energy, where he was given a generous sweep of rice powder, and a hasty dab or two of red face-paint was put on his freckled cheeks—though what make-up could ever adequately hide that nebulous runway of telltale turkey-spots!
Lonely clambered up on the great wagon as nimbly and lightly as a young monkey, where in blue-and-white draped majesty already stood the somewhat stoutish lady who was to represent the Goddess of Liberty, who, indeed, for many and many a year had called out the
THE GODDESS OF LIBERTY AND HER NEW PAGE
lingering applause of all dispassionate lovers of a psychological abstraction made so substantially concrete. She was something between an angel and an enlarged Little Eva, to the wondering eyes of her new page, whose hand trembled a little even at the thought of holding up one corner of her long and flowing skirts of blue bunting. In his other hand, happily, Lonely held a wooden battle-axe covered with faded gilding—a very necessary help to his steadiness of position, as he stood there wondering just how the Goddess had managed to get safely up on so high a wagon.
What hours and hours it seemed to the excited and impatient Lonely before the great blue-and-gold float got under way! What æons he seemed to stand blinking at the strong sunlight and shaking the gathering dust from his gorgeous trunk-hose!
But at last the ten champing teams strained on the traces, the chains rattled, the whip cracked, somewhere in the dust-hung distance a band struck up, the stocky little wheels chucked and jolted on their heavy axles, the Goddess called heatedly down for her new page not to pull the clothes off her back, the tents swam out of sight, and Lonely had begun his real, his triumphal entrance into Chamboro.
Of that triumphal tour he carried away a never-fading and yet a rather muddled and hazy impression. He remembered the first delicious moment of his discovery when, at the corner of Barrison Street, a group of boys, known as the South River Gang, looked up wide-eyed and open-mouthed, and with sudden fierce gestures and loud cries proclaimed it was the baker's kid on the wagon. This caused them, one and all, to scramble down from their points of vantage and to trail helter-skelter after the blue-and-gold float. There could be no doubt about it! For all the stateliness and solemnity of the powdered page they could make out the bandy legs and the freckled nose—the New Boy had run away and joined the Circus!
It was a proud moment for Lonely O'Malley. And the news spread rapidly, for even before Main Street was reached, the whole Baxter Street Gang had been apprised of the wondrous fact, and at once joined the others and followed enviously at the heels of the great rocking float, debating how such a thing could ever come about, trying to feel important over the discovery, as they had done when it was found that Biff Perkins's uncle, one of the blacksmith's strikers in the Boiler Works, knew the horse-shoer who traveled with the Sells' Circus, and on the day of the performance had drunk two glasses of beer with him and had talked about it as though it had been nothing at all!
It was in the densest crowd on Main Street that Lonely made out Annie Eliza Gubtill, clinging to her mother's hand, and for one weak yet human moment he indulged in a not inaudible titter of triumph. In fact, he turned deliberately, and bowing with that grace and ease which was an outcropping of the courtly self-complacency of his maturer days, he threw a kiss directly and unmistakably at Annie Eliza.
Something about that mottled nose and that wide and expansive smile, touched with its hungry looking mock humility, seemed strangely familiar to Annie Eliza. She looked again, and, seeing one telltale shoulder hunched, yet not more than an inch above the other, she suddenly cried out shrilly:
"Why, it 's Lonely O'Malley! O-o-o-oh, it is Lonely O'Malley!"
And even the neglect and perfidy of other days were forgotten in the swamping tidal-wave of pride which swept over the young lady who had once known and been faithful to Lonely. And other children heard the cry, and even the clown was overlooked, and the elephants half forgotten, and the hyenas allowed to go by with a passing glance.
But like all triumphs, its hour was brief. Prodigious and vast and unrivaled and gigantic as the circus procession had been advertised to be, it had, like all such things, to come to an end sometime. The cheering melted away, the music died down, the calliope screamed its last note, the horses were unhitched and hurried off, the wagons were dismantled, and Lonely was once more hustled down into the stuffy little dressing-tent.
Here he experienced a second qualm of rebellious anger, as he found himself seized by a stout woman in a dirty apron, and once more peeled like an orange and ordered to get into his clothes, though, indeed,—and this he saw to his secret chagrin,—the dozen busy circus-women paid no more attention to him than if he had been a little girl putting on her shoes and stockings; so, holding that what was sauce for the goose was sauce for the gander, he made himself more at his ease, and was interestedly and pointedly watching the half-dressed Queen of the Tight Rope inhaling cigarette smoke, when he was seized by the woman in the dirty apron, and without ceremony or apology thrust from the tent.
He made his way disconsolately about, looking for the wagon-office, in the hope that the manager's possible delight at the grace and ease with which he had filled his part as a page might induce that bluff gentleman yet to change his mind and make serious advances as to Lonely's joining the Circus for all time. He felt vaguely disturbed, for the moment, at the thought that of late he had sadly neglected his muscles, that the angle-worm oil had been applied only scantily and carelessly, and that he had never yet perfected to his own liking his new twister back-somersault.
Yet, after all the excitement and activity of the morning, he soon began to feel an emptiness in the pit of his stomach, where the inexorable clock of nature was warning him the dinner-hour must be well at hand. Just as he was debating on his course of action, a bluff voice called to him. It was the circus manager himself.
"Here, Carrots, this is yours, I guess!"
He handed down to the startled boy a little oblong bit of pasteboard, tinted blue—the most celestial of blues, it always seemed to Lonely—and the boy remembered that it was always blue for children, red for grown-ups.
"Here, you, take a couple more!" said the man hurriedly; then he turned to speak to a passing attendant, without so much as looking at the two little pieces of blue pasteboard he was holding out for the boy to take.
Lonely shook his russet head, sadly but firmly.
In all Chamboro there was not one soul, he very well knew, who could make use of those tickets. He had not a friend in the town to bring along with him. It was useless to think of the Preacher's Son; even Annie Eliza was out of the question. His honors had come to him too late in life; he had been crowned in the hour of dissolution!
And if the man in the black derby hat had not been such a busy and preoccupied personage, he might have taken a second and longer look at the sad-eyed urchin who refused, and actually turned away from a circus ticket.
It was wonderful, however, what a hurried though substantial dinner did for Lonely's blighted hopes, broken heart, and altogether wasted life. He slipped out of the back door, wiping the crumbs from his still masticating mouth. There, as he hurried out to feed his new brindled pup, answering to the name of Shivers, and procured through the transfer of a hunting-knife and three shares in his new air-ship when completed, he caught a fleeting glimpse of Lionel Clarence, escaping from the parsonage for one last despairing study of the ever-assuaging and yet ever-inflammatory circus poster, on the back of the Barrisons' barn.
Lonely reimprisoned Shivers under the inverted baby-carriage body, where he was forced to make his new home pending the growth of those stronger ties which were to bind him equally to Homer and Gilead. Then the boy cut after the escaping Preacher's son.
Lionel Clarence, when the other boy joined him, was shaking his head with gloomy cynicism over the highly-colored panorama.
"All that is n't true!" declared the Preacher's son. "I just don't believe they ever could do those things, and have all those animals!"
After all, thought Lonely, there were worse fates than his. What if destiny had foredoomed him to life in a parsonage, and collars and long hair!
"Why, ain't you goin'?" asked the baker's son, loftily, incredulously.
Again Lionel Clarence shook his head.
"Mother said I might, perhaps,—but father decided it would n't look right, you know!"
"Who cares for looks!" cried Lonely, anarchistically, spitting through his teeth.
Lionel Clarence sighed heavily. A gentle little glow suffused Lonely's diaphragm.
"Why don't you just pike out by yourself, same as me? Just mosey off and take it in, and then rub some resin and horse-hairs on, if you 've got to get a lickin'?"
He felt truly sorry for Lionel Clarence.
"Are you goin'?" asked the Preacher's son, rapturously.
"Cert!" said the laconic Lonely, spitting again, the same as a tent-hand might.
"Will you tell me things—when you get back?"
The glow in Lonely's midriff was mounting to an intensity always ominous. Yet he decided to take his time about it, and enjoy the taste of the situation to the full.
He drew closer to the other boy with his heels well planted apart.
"Want to come?" he asked at last, casually.
"Right into the main show?"
"Of course! Right in!"
"Would n't we have to hook in?" parried the Preacher's son, infected by the other boy's spirit of adventure.
"Nope!" said Lonely, secretly feeling for his blue ticket.
"But where would we ever get half a dollar?" almost wailed Lionel Clarence. The O'Reillys, he knew, had sold their cook-stove so that the family might attend the performance en bloc; but the O'Reillys were lazy, improvident, and shiftless, a blot on the fair name of Chamboro.
Lonely smiled loftily. He flipped the blue ticket carelessly, contemptuously, disdainfully, into the other boy's lap.
"Go on, and have some fun," he cried, grandly. "I could have got half a dozen for you, if you 'd only said something about it!"
And he looked offended and hurt at the thought of such an oversight on the part of the Preacher's son. This latter youth was already peering cautiously about him, to see if the coast was clear for swift and speedy escape.
"How—how did you ever get it, Lonely?" he gasped.
"Get it?—why, I always get 'em, when I want 'em! You 'll see me in with another this afternoon!" he boasted recklessly, with little thought for the future.
Then, as Lionel Clarence shook himself together. Lonely cautioned him to be sure to get his seat up close to the band, even calling after the other boy, as he began to scurry and scramble across back lots, that he himself might drop in and meet him there, sometime after the show started.
Alone, making his hot and dusty way out to the circus grounds, without his ticket and without money. Lonely experienced that chilling reaction which always came in the wake of one of his "grand moments." Three times he was swept forlornly past the ticket-seller, without so much as catching the eye of his old-time friend; twice he was driven wrathfully and promptly outside the ropes. And time was flying. The crowd grew smaller, the shadows grew a little longer, the draught-horses placidly munched their hay, the sound of muffled music crept out through the rippling canvas. The Grand Entry had begun.
Lonely circled the long, well-guarded ring of tent-stakes, broken, humiliated, thrice chastened, and yet for all his outward aimlessness, still tense of nerve and alert of eye.
On the sunny southwest side of the great tent he crawled in under the line of huddled, heavy wagons, now empty and dismal looking, left waiting there for their midnight loads.
Lonely had suddenly noticed that the guard who patrolled this sunniest and hottest side of the tent every now and then mopped his face with a huge red handkerchief.
He most carefully and guardedly watched for his chance,—which came and went with each mopping motion. The next time the red bandanna went up to the perspiring brow there was the flash of a hurrying figure between the back wagon wheels and the tent wall, the twinkle of a pair of dusty feet as this shadow dove adroitly in under the waving canvas, and no sign of intrusion or disturbance as the uniformed guard walked past the spot, twirling his stick as he went.
THE RED BANDANA WENT UP
Lonely, in the grassy gloom within, lay still for a moment, under a bank of humanity-packed seats, cautiously looking about him for an opening in the serried avenues of feet before him.
It took him but a short while to discover several, whereupon he did his best to make a hurried but minute character study of his possible neighbors, in so far as such a study could be carried on with nothing more than the several pairs of feet which dangled before or above him.
He decided, at last, in favor of what was a rotund and comfortable-looking country-woman of about forty, deciding that here was a pair of feet on which he could pin his faith and his future.
Then he thrust his russet head through the two green boards which made up the tiers of seats, and clambered and twisted nimbly up into the vacant place.
The stout country-woman uttered a startled, "Lord bless my soul!" and peered down at Lonely, in not unnatural wonder. The youth on his other side looked envious, for there is no hero like unto the hero who can hook into a circus.
Lonely smiled up at the stout country-woman with his most winning and wistful smile, shot through with wordless melancholy, and was deciding that all was well, when he noticed one of the clowns, dressed up as a "country jake " and having great fun with the later arrivals who sought for seats, whispering to a uniformed guard just inside the ring, and unmistakably pointing at him.
As the guard made his way in through the half-dozen crowded rows. Lonely promptly and inspiredly decided on his course of action.
"Come out o' that, you!" the guard shouted angrily at the boy.
"Me?" said the pensive and placid-looking Lonely.
"Yes, you! You stole in here! Come on!"
Lonely put a calm and trusting face up to the stout woman breathing somewhat heavily at his side.
"Why, maw, I come in with you, did n't I, maw?"
The country-woman breathed still more heavily, for a pregnant second or two, and Lonely smiled sleepily, although he knew at that very second that his fate hung nicely in the balance of blind chance.
But he had not altogether erred in his choice of a colleague. She flushed purple, to the roots of her well-frizzed hair (though whether from rage or from mere maidenhood modesty Lonely could never decide), and looking straight at the big guard she said:
"Why, of course you did, Willie! and I 'd like to see that big brute lay a finger on you!"
And there were sudden cries of "Sit down!" and "Down in front!" and as the guard drew back and the end of the Grand Parade brought a sudden influx of spectators. Lonely seized the occasion to slip away and migrate to more settled quarters.
He found the open-mouthed and entranced Lionel Clarence, huddled up as close to the bass-drum as he could get, at one moment rocking and weeping tears of mirth over the introductory antics of the clowns and at the next gazing rapturously up at the crimson-clad La Belle Leona, little dreaming that the dust-stained boy at his side had that very morning worn the tights which now gyrated and twinkled so perilously high up on the swinging trapezes.
And Lonely even forgot to tell about it, as he settled back triumphantly in his hard seat, and under the heated, odorous, mysterious, enchanting dome of rippling canvas, watched the airy and nymph-like Cavarolla prance daintily out on her tight-rope.
So many dreams must fail us, Dear,
So many Springs to Autumn turn.
That you and I, slow year by year,
The wisdom of our youth unlearn,—
That stranger wisdom when to me
You seemed a golden butterfly
Who all your careless life should be
A child of Earth's too open sky.