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Mother's Last Words by Mary Sewell

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Mother's Last Words by Mary Sewell page 9


THE second week was bleak and cold,
A drizzling rain fell day by day,
And with their wet umbrellas up,
The people hurried on their way.

And no one thought about the boys,
Who patiently stood sweeping there;
And sometimes over Christy’s face,
There fell a shade of blank despair.

Discouraged, wet, and weary oft,
Cold, shivering, to their bed they crept;
But still all night, that angel bright,
Stood by, to guard them, as they slept.

And these poor boys would sleep as well
As rich men, on their beds of down,
And wake up with a lighter heart,
Than many a king who wear a crown.

But winter time came on apace,
And colder still the weather grew,
And then they left the street at night,
Their clothes were often wetted through.

Their coats were almost worn to rags,
Their bare feet went upon the stones;
But still they always went to church,
And to the school on afternoons,

And never joined with wicked boys,
And never stopped away to play,
But tried to do their very best,
And swept the crossing every day.

One day a boy came up, and said,
“I know a dodge worth two of that;
Just take to picking pockets, lad,
And don’t hold out that ragged hat.”

“What, thieve!” Said little Christopher,
“Our dodge is twice as good as that,
We earn our bread like honest folks?”
And so he answered, tit for tat.

“Well, that’s your own look-out, of course;
For my part, I don’t see the fun
Of starving at this crossing here,
When money is so easy won.”

“How do you manage that?” said John.
“Oh! come with us, we’ll have you taught.
You’ve but a trick or two to learn,
To grip the things, and not be caught.”

“But if you should be caught?” said John,
“The end of that would spoil your fun.”
“Oh! we know how to manage that;
Come on, I’ll shew you how ‘tis done.”

“What do you get to eat?” said John,
Who pondered on these boasting words.
“What get to eat! – just what we choose –
We eat and drink away like lords.”

“Now, what d’ye say? – make up your mind,
I’m waited for, and must be gone,
We’ve pretty work to-day, on hand.”
“Well, I shan’t help to-day.” Said John.

“The more fool you,” replied the boy,
And went off whistling down the street;
And black as night, as wicked Sprite,
Went after him with rapid feet.

John went back slowly to his place,
And grumbling to himself, he said,
“I half repent, I didn’t go,
It is so hard to earn one’s bread.