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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 265 pages of information about The Feast of the Virgins and Other Poems.

But the “Rangers” came at last—­just as we were out of lead,—­
  And I thanked the Lord, and Mollie thanked Him, too;
Then she put her arms around my neck and sobbed and cried and said: 
  “Bless the Lord!—­I knew that He would help us through.”

And yonder on the hooks hangs that same old trusty gun,
  And above it—­I am sorry they’re so few—­
Hang the black and braided trophies[BX] yet that I and Mollie won
  In that same old bloody battle with the Sioux.

[BX] Scalp-locks.

Fifteen years have rolled away since I laid my knapsack down,
  And my prairie claim is now one field of grain;
And yonder down the lake loom the steeples of a town,
  And my flocks are feeding out upon the plain.

The old log-house is standing filled with bins of corn and wheat,
  And the cars they whistle past our cottage-home;
But my span of spanking trotters they are “just about” as fleet,
  And I wouldn’t give my farm to rule in Rome.

For Mollie and I are young yet, and monarchs, too, are we—­
  Of a “section” just as good as lies out-doors;
And the children are so happy (and Mollie and I have three)
  And we think that we can “lie upon our oars.”

[Illustration:  THE PIONEER]

So this summer we went back to the old home by the hill: 
  O the hills they were so rugged and so tall! 
And the lofty pines were gone but the rocks were all there still,
  And the valleys looked so crowded and so small;

And the dear familiar faces that I longed so much to see,
  Looked so strangely unfamiliar and so old,
That the land of hills and valleys was no more a home to me,
  And the river seemed a rivulet as it rolled.

So I gladly hastened back to the prairies of the West—­
  To the boundless fields of waving grass and corn;
And I love the lake-gemmed land where the wild-goose builds her nest,
  Far better than the land where I was born.

And I mean to lay my bones over yonder by the lake—­
  By and by when I have nothing else to do—­
And I’ll give the “chicks” the farm, and I know for Mollie’s sake,
  That the good and gracious Lord will help ’em through.

NIGHT THOUGHTS

Le notte e madre dipensien.”

I tumble and toss on my pillow,
  As a ship without rudder or spars
Is tumbled and tossed on the billow,
  ’Neath the glint and the glory of stars. 
’Tis midnight and moonlight, and slumber
  Has hushed every heart but my own;
O why are these thoughts without number
  Sent to me by the man in the moon?

Thoughts of the Here and Hereafter,—­
  Thoughts all unbidden to come,—­
Thoughts that are echoes of laughter—­
  Thoughts that are ghosts from the tomb,—­
Thoughts that are sweet as wild honey,—­
  Thoughts that are bitter as gall,—­
Thoughts to be coined into money,—­
  Thoughts of no value at all.

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