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To this did Johnny answer make, Both with his head and with his hand, And proudly shook his bridle too ; And then ! the words were not a few, Which Betty well could understand.
And now that Johnny is just going,
Though Betty's in a mighty flurry,
She gently pats the Pony's side,
On which her Idiot Boy must ride,
And seems no longer in a hurry.
But when the pony moved his legs,
Oh! then for the poor Idiot Boy !
For joy he cannot hold the bridle,
For joy his head and heels are idle,
He's idle all for very joy.
And while the Pony moves his legs,
In Johnny's left hand you may see,
The green bough motionless and dead;
The Moon that shines above his head
Is not more still and mute than he.
His heart it was so full of glee,
That till full fifty yards were gone,
He quite forgot his holly whip,
And all his skill in horsemanship,
Oh ! happy, happy, happy John.
And while the Mother, at the door,
Stands fixed, her face with joy o'erflows,
Proud of herself, and proud of him,
She sees him in his travelling trim-
How quietly her Johnny goes.
The silence of her Idiot Boy, What hopes it sends to Betty's heart ! He's at the guide-post—he turns right; She watches till he's out of sight, And Betty will not then depart.
Burr, burr,—now Johnny's lips they burr,
As loud as any mill, or near it :
Meek as a lamb the Pony moves,
And Johnny makes the noise he loves,
And Betty listens, glad to hear it.
Away she hies to Susan Gale :
Her messenger's in merry tune :
The owlets hoot, the owlets curr,
And Johnny's lips they burr, burr, burr,
As on he goes beneath the moon.
His steed and he right well agree:
For of this Pony there's a rumour,
That, should he lose his eyes and ears,
And should he live a thousand years,
He never will be out of humour..
But then he is a horse that thinks !
And when he thinks, his pace is slack ;
Now, though he knows poor Johnny well,
Yet, for his life, he cannot tell
What he has got upon his back.
So through the moonlight lanes they go,
And far into the moonlight dale,
And by the church, and o'er the down,
To bring a Doctor from the town,
To comfort poor old Susan Gale.
And Betty, now at Susan's side,
Is in the middle of her story,
What speedy help her Boy will bring,
With many a most diverting thing,
Of Johnny's wit, and Johnny's glory.
And Betty, still at Susan's side,
By this time is not quite so flurried ;
Demure with porringer and plate
She sits, as if in Susan's fate
Her life and soul were buried.
But Betty, poor good woman! She-
You plainly in her face may read it-
Could lend out of that moment's store
Five years of happiness or more,
To any that might need it.
But yet I guess that now and then
With Betty all was not so well;
And to the road she turns her ears,
And thence full many a sound she hears,
Which she to Susan will not tell.
Poor Susan moans, poor Susan groans :
“As sure as there's a moon in heaven,"
Cries Betty, “he'll be back again ;
They'll both be here—'tis almost ten-
Both will be here before eleven.”
Poor Susan moans, poor Susan groans;
The clock gives warning for eleven :
'Tis on the stroke—“ He must be near,"
Quoth Betty, “and will soon be here,
As sure as there's a moon in heaven.”
The clock is on the stroke of twelve,
And Johnny is not yet in sight :-
The moon's in heaven, as Betty sees,
But Betty is not quite at ease;
And Susan has a dreadful night.
And Betty, half an hour ago,
On Johnny vile reflections cast:
“A little idle, sauntering Thing !”
With other names, an endless string;
But now that time is gone and past.
And Betty's drooping at the heart,
That happy time all past and gone,
“ How can it be he is so late ?
The Doctor, he has made him wait;
Susan ! they'll both be here anon.”
And Susan's growing worse and worse,
And Betty's in a sad quandary:
And then there's nobody to say
If she must go, or she must stay !
She's in a sad quandary.
The clock is on the stroke of one; But neither Doctor nor his Guide Appears along the moonlight road ; There's neither horse nor man abroad, And Betty's still at Susan's side.
And Susan now begins to fear
Of sad mischances not a few,
That Johnny may perhaps be drowned,
Or lost, perhaps, and never found :
Which they must both for ever rue.
She prefaced half a hint of this,
With, “God forbid it should be true !"
At the first word that Susan said
Cried Betty, rising from the bed,
“Susan, I'd gladly stay with you.