At Noey's House -

At Noey's house — when they arrived with him —
How snug seemed everything, and neat and trim:
The little picket-fence, and little gate —
Its little pulley, and its little weight, —
All glib as clockwork, as it clicked behind
Them, on the little red-brick pathway, lined
With little paint-keg vases and tea-pots
Of wee moss-blossoms and forget-menots:
And in the windows, either side the door,
Were ranged as many little boxes more
Of like old-fashioned larkspurs, pinks and moss
And fern and phlox; while up and down across
Them rioted the morning-glory vines
On taut-set cotton strings, whose snowy lines
Whipped in and out and under the bright green
Like basting-threads; and, here and there between,
A showy, shiny hollyhock would flare
Its pink among the white and purple there. —
And still behind the vines, the children saw
A strange, bleached, wistful face that seemed to draw
A vague, indefinite sympathy. A face
It was of some newcomer to the place. —
In explanation, Noey, briefly, said
That it was " Jason, " as he turned and led
The little fellows round the house to show
Them his menagerie of pets. And so
For quite a time the face of the strange guest
Was partially forgotten, as they pressed
About the squirrel-cage and rousted both
The lazy inmates out, though wholly loath
To whirl the wheel for them. — And then with awe
They walked round Noey's big pet owl, and saw
Him film his great, clear, liquid eyes and stare
And turn and turn and turn his head round there
The same way they kept circling — as though he
Could turn it one way thus eternally.

Behind the kitchen, then, with special pride
Noey stirred up a terrapin inside
The rain-barrel where he lived, with three or four
Little mud-turtles of a size not more
In neat circumference than the tiny toy
Dumb-watches worn by every little boy.

Then, back of the old shop, beneath the tree
Of " rusty-coats, " as Noey called them, he
Next took the boys, to show his favorite new
Pet coon — pulled rather coyly into view
Up through a square hole in the bottom of
An old inverted tub he bent above,
Yanking a little chain, with " Hey! you, sir!
Here's comp'ny come to see you, Bolivur! "
Explanatory, he went on to say,
" I named him Bolivur jes' thisaway, —
He looks so round and ovalish and fat ,
'Peared-like no other name 'ud fit but that. "

Here Noey's father called and sent him on
Some errand. " Wait, " he said — " I won't be gone
A half a' hour. — Take Bud, and go on in
Where Jason is, tel I git back ag'in. "

Whoever Jason was, they found him there
Still at the front-room window. — By his chair
Leaned a new pair of crutches; and from one
Knee down, a leg was bandaged. — " Jason done
That-air with one o' these-'ere tools we call
A " shin-hoe" — but a foot-adze mostly all
Hardware -store-keepers calls 'em. " — ( Noey made
This explanation later.)
Jason paid
But little notice to the boys as they
Came in the room: — An idle volume lay
Upon his lap — the only book in sight —
And Johnty read the title, — " Light, More Light,
There's Danger in the Dark, " — though first and best —
In fact, the whole of Jason's interest
Seemed centered on a little dog — one pet
Of Noey's all uncelebrated yet —
Though Jason , certainly, avowed his worth,
And niched him over all the pets on earth —
As the observant Johnty would relate
The Jason -episode, and imitate
The all-enthusiastic speech and air
Of Noey's kinsman and his tribute there: —
" That little dog 'ud scratch at that door
And go on a-whinin' two hours before
He'd ever let up! There! — Jane: Let him in. —
(Hah, there, you little rat!) Look at him grin!
Come down off o' that! —
W'y, look at him! ( Drat
You! you-rascal-you! ) — bring me that hat!
Look out! — He'll snap you! — He wouldn't let
You take it away from him, now you kin bet!
That little rascal's jist natchurly mean. —
I tell you, I never (Git out!!) , never seen
A spunkier little rip! ( Scratch to git in ,
And now yer a-scratchin' to git out ag'in!
Jane: Let him out.) Now, watch him from here
Out through the winder! — You notice one ear
Kind o' in side- out , like he holds it? — Well,
He's got a tick in it — I kin tell!
Yes, and he's cunnin' —
Jist watch him a-runnin',
Sidelin' — see! — like he ain't " plum'd true"
And legs don't " track" as they'd ort to do! —
Ploughin' his nose through the weeds — i jing!
Ain't he jist cuter'n anything!

" W'y, that little dog's got grown -people's sense; —
See how he gits out under the fence? —
And watch him a-whettin' his hind legs 'fore
His dead square run of a mile'd er more —
'Cause Noey's a-comin', and Trip allus knows
When Noey's a-comin' — and off he goes! —
Putts out to meet him and — There they come now!
Well-sir! it's raially singalar how
That dog kin tell , —
But he knows as well
When Noey's a-comin' home! — Reckon his smell
'Ud carry two mile'd? — You needn't to smile —
He runs to meet him , ever'-once-'n-a-while,
Two mile'd and over — when he's slipped away
And left him at home here, as he's done to-day —
'Thout ever knowin' where Noey wuz goin' —
But that little dog allus hits the right way!
Hear him a-whinin' and scratchin' ag'in? —
( Little tormentin' fice! ) Jane: Let him in.

" — You say he ain't there? —
Well now, I declare! —
Lem me limp out and look! . . . I wunder where —
Heuh , Trip! — Heuh , Trip! — Heuh , Trip! . . . There —
There he is! — Little sneak! — What-a'-you-'bout? —
There he is — quiled up as meek as a mouse,
His tail turnt up like a tea-kittle spout,
A-sunnin' hiss'f at the side o' the house!
Next time you scratch, sir, you'll half to git in,
My fine little feller, the best way you kin!
— Noey he learns him sich capers! — And they —
Both of 'em's ornrier every day! —
Both tantalizin' and meaner'n sin —
Allus a — ( Listen there! ) — Jane: Let him in.

" — Oh! yer so innocent! hangin' yer head! —
(Drat ye! you'd better git under the bed!)
. . . Listen at that! —
He's tackled the cat! —
Hah, there! you little rip! come out o' that! —
Git yer blame' little eyes scratched out
'Fore you know what yer talkin' about! —
Here! come away from there! — (Let him alone —
He'll snap you , I tell ye, as quick as a bone!)
Hi , Trip! — Hey , here! — What-a'-you-'bout! —
Oo! ouch! 'Ll, I'll be blamed! — Blast ye! Git OUT !
. . . Oh, it ain't nothin' — jist scratched me, you see. —
Hadn't no idy he'd try to bite me!
Plague take him! — Bet he'll not try that ag'in! —
Hear him yelp. — ( Pore feller! ) Jane: Let him in. "
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