Lumberman's Christmas

" Well, Carlo, so this here is Chris'mus,
By jingo, I almost forgot,
T'aint what you an' me has been used to,
'Afore we come out here to squat.
Seems jist like the rest of the winter,
The same freezin' air, the same snow,
I guess that we can't be mistaken!
This almanac book says it's so.
Well, Carlo, you lazy old beggar,
Right here in the shanty we'll stay
An' celebrate Chris'mus together,
The loggin' will keep for a day.
We'll hang up this bit o' green cedar
Atop our old keresene light,
It'll make things look somethin' like Chris'mus,
An' brighten us up a great sight.
You're waggin' yer tail, are you, Carlo?
An' puttin' yer head on my knee.
That's one way to say Merry Chris'mus,
An' make believe you're fond o' me:
You scamp, I most think you're not foolin',
I see it right thar in yer eyes.
Don't fail me, old dog, it would kill me,
You're all the possession I prize.

Last Chris'mus — you bet I remember —
We weren't in a shanty that day,
In lumberin' tracts with the railroad
Some sixty an' odd miles away.
No, sir, we were home in the village,
With mother, an' Billy, an' Jack,
An', somehow, I feel like this minute
I kinder jist want to go back.
An' she was thar too, an' I loved her;
Yes, Carlo, I'll say so to you,
Because you believe that I'm honest.
An' them that thinks likewise is few.
You see she had promised to marry
Old Jack an' my heart kinder broke,
For tryin' to stand by him squar-like
Meant, love-words must never be spoke.
Somehow it got out, an' the neighbours
Said Jack was suspicious of me;
I carried my heart out too open,
The world as it run by could see.
I stood it until that thar' mornin'
On the Bay, when the storm caught us squar',
I hoped that we both would be drownded,
An' told her my love then and thar',
Her voice answered strange like an' broken,
Her lips they was white and compressed,
" Oh, Jamie, I'm glad you have spoken,
For, dear one, I loved you the best. "
An' then, with the storm devils ragin'
Far out of my arms she was thrown.
O, God, when I come to my senses,
I was safe on the shore — but alone .
Alone, with her words still a soundin',
Those wild, lovin' words she jist said,
Alone with the terrible sorrow
Of known' my darlin' was dead.
Alone, with my brave brother Billy,
Who saved my dishonourable life,
For all says I drowned her a purpose
To keep her from bein' Jack's wife.
I think I'd have borne it quite manly,
But when I looked Jack in the face,
He asked me to give the straight ticket,
I told him my love and disgrace;
But never a word did I mention
About them last words that she spoke,
I'd lose him enough, Heaven knows it,
His heart with my own had been broke.
It's hard on me havin' this achin',
This homelessness here in my breast,
But the hardest to bear is the knowin'
That Jack — well — he thinks like the rest .
No, Carlo, we won't be returnin'
To them parts for some time to come,
Though knowin' the white-haired old mother
Is waitin' to see us come home;
I guess she looks older this Chris'mus,
An' sadder, mayhap, than I be;
For she an' brave Billy, an' you sir,
Are all that believes now in me.
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