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a web of many textures

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'T was the social hour of evening,
And the ruddy fire gleamed bright,
On the grateful tea-urn glancing,
With a fond and loving light,
When our happy circle gathered
Round about the plenteous board,
And those cheerful words were spoken
That contented hearts afford;
And the little voices blended
With the graver tones of love,
And the blest domestic picture
Forecast seemed of bliss above; —
Whilst thus at the table sitting,
Heart and eye and tongue elate,
Came a sound of some one rapping —
Rapping softly at the gate.


Page 136
The bitter wind without was howling,
Rattling rude the window blind,
And the frost upon the casement
Many a witchy shape defined;
Whilst the snow in angry swirlings
Darted by like figures white,
Phantoms seeming, adding terror
To the dreariness of night.
Maggy then her form presented,
And thus spoke she soft and mild:
“Please ye, very cold and hungry,
Stands outside a little child,
And for bread the poor thing 's asking
For the ones at home in need;
Shall I give her, may it please ye?
It will be a Christian deed.”
Then our little Mary whispered:
“Tell me, what did Maggy say?
Tell me of the little beggar, —
Tell me all about it, pray.”
Then we told her all the story —
How some people wanted bread,
And the fearful, tearful struggle
Where pale famine reared its head.
And she listened when we told her
Of her own far happier state
Than that of the little beggar
Lately knocking at the gate;
Listened like a child, half heeding,
To our dismal tale of woe —
Gravely heard us to the ending,
Rocking gently to and fro.
Long she sat, and we, not noting
Talked again of this and that,
Till sweet Mary, sadly sobbing,
Waked us from our busy chat.
“What 's the matter, darling?” asked we,
And with trembling voice she said,
“I was weeping at the story
Of the child who wanted bread!”


Page 137
Then our hearts were full of gladness,
And our eyes were full of tears,
At the words our darling uttered
In this dawning of her years;
'T was the gush of heavenly pity
That another's woe unsealed,
And we gloried in the promise
Its deep sympathy revealed.