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Mother's Last Words by Mary Sewell

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Mother's Last Words by Mary Sewell page 10

“I dare say he gets in a day
As much as we earn in a week;
“I wish I’d gone.” John muttered this;
To Christopher he did not speak.

At night, as he went sauntering home,
Ho loitered round a pastry-cook’s,
Till Christy called, “John, come along.
You’ll eat the cakes up with your looks?”

“Well, Chris, I say ‘tis very hard,
We never have good things to eat;
I’m tired of nothing else than bread,
I long for something nice and sweet.”

“They do look nice,” said little Chris,
And lingered near with hankering eyes;
“Which would you have, John, if you could?
I’d have these jolly Christmas pies.”

John answered in a grumbling tone,
“Oh! I don’t know, so let ‘em be;
Some boys do get nice things to eat;
Not honest boys, like you and me.”

“Well, never mind,” said little Chris,
You’re out of sorts this evening, John;
We’ll both be rich maybe some day.
And then we’ll eat ‘em up like fun.”

“No chance of that, for us,” said John,
“Our feet are now upon the stones;
We can’t earn food and clothing too,
And you are only skin and bones.”

“’Tis hard to work and not to eat;
But John, you would not do what’s bad!”
“No; I don’t mean to thieve – not I;
But when thieves feast, it makes one mad.”

And so John grumbled day by day,
And longed for something good to eat,
And sometimes looked out for the boy
Who went off whistling down the street.

And oh! indeed, ‘twas very hard,
When tired, hungry, cold, and wet,
To pass by all the eating-shops,
That looked so tempting in the street:

To see the people going in,
To buy the sausage-rolls and pies,
Whilst they could only stand outside,
And look at them with longing eyes.

‘Twas hard to see the smoking meat,
And smell the vapours floating round
Of roasting joints, and savoury steaks,
From steaming, kitchens under-ground.

And sometimes little Christy cried,
When limping on with chilblained toes,
He saw fine windows full of boots,
And children’s shoes in shining rows

But still he never would complain,
And sometimes said, if John was sad,
“We got on bravely yesterday,
Why should you take to moping, lad?