One day she strayed on the metals, and fell asleep
on the track;
I didn’t ‘appen to miss her, sir, or I should ha’ called her back.
She’d gone quite out of earshot, and I daresen’t leave my post,
For the lightnin’ express was comin’, but four hours late at the
‘Ave you ever seen the “lightnin’”
thunder through New Cross?
Fourteen miles an hour, sir, with stoppages, of course.
And just in the track of the monster was where my darling slept.
I could hear the rattle already, as nearer the monster crept!
I might turn the train on the sidin’, but I
glanced at the loop line
That right on the outer metals was lyin’ a bundle of straw;
And right in the track of the “lightnin’” was where my darlin’ laid,
But the loop line ’ud smash up the engine, and there’d be no
I thought of the awful disaster, of the blood and
Of the verdict, “No blame to the pointsman, he did it all for the
And I thought of the compensation the Co. would ’ave to pay
If I turned the train on the sidin’ where the ’eap of stubble lay.
So I switched her off on the main, sir, and she thundered
by like a
And I didn’t recover my senses till I’d drunk ‘arf a gallon o’ ale.
For though only a common pointsman, I’ve a father’s feelings, too,
So I sank down in a faint, sir, as my Polly was ’id from view.
And now comes the strangest part, sir, my Polly was
roused by the
You think she escaped the engine by lyin’ flat on the ground?
No! always a good ’un to run, sir, by jove she must ’ave flown,
For she raced the “lightnin’ express,” sir, till the engine was
puffed and blown!!!
When next you see the boss, sir, tell him o’
what I did,
How I nobly done my dooty, though it might a killed my kid;
And you may, if you like, spare a trifle for the agony I endured,
When I thought that my Polly was killed, sir, and I ’adn’t got her
BY NATHANIEL PARKER WILLIS.
’Twas late, and
the gay company was gone,
And light lay soft on the deserted room
From alabaster vases, and a scent
Of orange leaves, and sweet verbena came
Through the unshutter’d window on the air.
And the rich pictures with their dark old tints
Hung like a twilight landscape, and all things
Seem’d hush’d into a slumber. Isabel,
The dark-eyed spiritual Isabel
Was leaning on her harp, and I had stay’d
To whisper what I could not when the crowd
Hung on her look like worshippers. I knelt,
And with the fervour of a lip unused
To the cool breath of reason, told my love.
There was no answer, and I took the hand