Tom and Kitty.

Where two white cots o’erarched with shade1
Their pale-blue smoke-wreaths blent,2
There played and strayed a boy and maid,3
Companions well-content.4
Together schoolward, shine or wet,5
They trudged the cart-ruts through ;6
Above one book their ringlets met ;7
One apple served the two.8
And oft across the hedge you’d hear,9
Or through the door ajar,10
Is Tommy here ?— then, never fear !11
My Kitty won’t be far.”12
If Tommy’s knuckles chanced to ache,13
As school-boys’ knuckles do,14
The dominie, for pity’s sake,15
Would nobble Kitty’s too.16
When Tommy tumbled in the pond,17
And gasped, with horror mute,18
His playmate fond his visage conned,19
Then promptly followed suit.20
When Tommy smoked beneath the rick21
His furtive first cigar,22
They both crawled homeward, deadly sick23
For Kitty was not far.24
But years flowed by with silent stream,25
And work must follow play ;26
Behind them like a land of dream27
Their vale of childhood lay.28
Her needle now must Kitty ply29
To earn a humble fee ;30
And Tom must sigh a long good-bye31
For Tom is off to sea.32
To-night,” she sobbed, “ you’ll sail away33
Beyond the harbour-bar ;34
But when you pray, look up and say,35
My Kitty is not far.’ ”36
Two years went by—for him, two years37
Of range and change and stir ;38
Of hopes and fears, of pray’rs and tears,39
And patient toil for her.40
And then beside the old lych-gate41
Two neighbours, looking out,42
Beheld a sailor walk and wait,43
A cheery lad and stout.44
’Tis Tom,” one said ; “ he’s getting wed45
God bless the honest tar ! ”46
The other gravely shook her head :47
Then Kitty won’t be far ! ”48