Friends and Neighbors eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 294 pages of information about Friends and Neighbors.

Those who would walk together must keep in step.


AY, the world keeps moving forward,
  Like an army marching by;
Hear you not its heavy footfall,
  That resoundeth to the sky? 
Some bold spirits bear the banner—­
  Souls of sweetness chant the song,—­
Lips of energy and fervour
  Make the timid-hearted strong! 
Like brave soldiers we march forward;
  If you linger or turn back,
You must look to get a jostling
  While you stand upon our track. 
    Keep in step.

My good neighbour, Master Standstill,
  Gazes on it as it goes;
Not quite sure but he is dreaming,
  In his afternoon’s repose! 
“Nothing good,” he says, “can issue
  From this endless moving on;
Ancient laws and institutions
  Are decaying, or are gone. 
We are rushing on to ruin,
  With our mad, new-fangled ways.” 
While he speaks a thousand voices,
  As the heart of one man, says—­
    “Keep in step!”

Gentle neighbour, will you join us,
  Or return to “good old ways?
Take again the fig-leaf apron
  Of Old Adam’s ancient days;—­
Or become a hardy Briton—­
  Beard the lion in his lair,
And lie down in dainty slumber
  Wrapped in skins of shaggy bear,—­
Rear the hut amid the forest,
  Skim the wave in light canoe? 
Ah, I see! you do not like it. 
  Then if these “old ways” won’t do,
    Keep in step.

Be assured, good Master Standstill,
  All-wise Providence designed
Aspiration and progression
  For the yearning human mind. 
Generations left their blessings,
  In the relies of their skill,
Generations yet are longing
  For a greater glory still;
And the shades of our forefathers
  Are not jealous of our deed—­
We but follow where they beckon,
  We but go where they do lead! 
    Keep in step.

One detachment of our army
  May encamp upon the hill,
While another in the valley
  May enjoy its own sweet will;
This, may answer to one watchword,
  That, may echo to another;
But in unity and concord,
  They discern that each is brother! 
Breast to breast they’re marching onward,
  In a good now peaceful way;
You’ll be jostled if you hinder,
  So don’t offer let or stay—­
    Keep in step.


“I GUESS we will have to put out our Johnny,” said Mrs. Cole, with a sigh, as she drew closer to the fire, one cold day in autumn.  This remark was addressed to her husband, a sleepy, lazy-looking man, who was stretched on a bench, with his eyes half closed.  The wife, with two little girls of eight and ten, were knitting as fast as their fingers could fly; the baby was sound asleep in the cradle; while Johnny, a boy of thirteen, and a brother of four, were seated on the wide hearth making a snare for rabbits.  The room they occupied was cold and cheerless; the warmth of the scanty fire being scarcely felt; yet the floor, and every article of furniture, mean as they were, were scrupulously neat and clean.

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Friends and Neighbors from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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