“In this country me do rough-a work. In Pal-aer-mo do polit-a work!”
“Poor chap!” I said, after a pause, thinking of our friend from Pal-aer-mo. “Do you know Hafiz, Colin?” I continued. “There is an ode of his that came back to me as our poor Italian was talking. I think I will say it to you. It is just the time and place for it.”
“Do,” said Colin. And then I repeated:
"At sunset, when the eyes of exiles fill,
And distance makes a desert of the heart,
And all the lonely world grows lonelier still,
I with the other exiles go apart,
And offer up the stranger’s evening prayer.
My body shakes with weeping as I pray,
Thinking on all I love that are not there,
So desolately absent far away—
My Love and Friend, and my own land and home.
O aching emptiness of evening skies!
O foolish heart, what tempted thee to roam
So far away from the Beloved’s eyes!
To the Beloved’s country I belong—
I am a stranger in this foreign place;
Strange are its streets, and strange to me its tongue;
Strange to the stranger each familiar face.
’Tis not my city! Take me by the hand,
Divine protector of the lonely ones,
And lead me back to the Beloved’s land—
Back to my friends and my companions
O wind that blows from Shiraz, bring to me
A little dust from my Beloved’s street;
Send Hafiz something, love, that comes from thee,
Touched by thy hand, or trodden by thy feet."
“My! but that makes one feel lonesome,” was Colin’s comment. “I wonder if there will be any mail from the folk at Mount Morris.”
THE OLD LADY OF THE WALNUTS AND OTHERS
What manner of men we were and what our business was, thus wandering along the highroads with packs on our backs and stout sticks in our hands, was matter for no little speculation, and even suspicion, to the rural mind. We did not seem to fit in with any familiar classification of vagabond. We might be peddlers, or we might be “hoboes,” but there was a disquieting uncertainty about us, and we felt it necessary occasionally to make reassuring explanations. Once or twice we found no opportunity to do this, as, for instance, one sinister, darksome evening, we stood in hesitation at a puzzling cross-road—near Dansville, I think—and awaited the coming of an approaching buggy from which to ask the way. It was driven by two ladies, who, on our making a signal of distress to them, immediately whipped up with evident alarm, and disappeared in a flash. Dear things! they evidently anticipated a hold-up, and no doubt arrived home with a breathless tale of two suspicious-looking characters hanging about the neighbourhood.