"Of course it worries you a bit To come so far on foot - But how was _I_ to blame for it?" "Well, well!" said he. "I must admit That isn't badly put.
"And certainly you've given me The best of wine and victual - Excuse my violence," said he, "But accidents like this, you see, They put one out a little.
"'Twas MY fault after all, I find - Shake hands, old Turnip-top!" The name was hardly to my mind, But, as no doubt he meant it kind, I let the matter drop.
"Good-night, old Turnip-top, good-night! When I am gone, perhaps They'll send you some inferior Sprite, Who'll keep you in a constant fright And spoil your soundest naps.
"Tell him you'll stand no sort of trick; Then, if he leers and chuckles, You just be handy with a stick (Mind that it's pretty hard and thick) And rap him on the knuckles!
"Then carelessly remark 'Old coon! Perhaps you're not aware That, if you don't behave, you'll soon Be chuckling to another tune - And so you'd best take care!'
"That's the right way to cure a Sprite Of such like goings-on - But gracious me! It's getting light! Good-night, old Turnip-top, good-night!" A nod, and he was gone.
CANTO VII--Sad Souvenaunce
"What's this?" I pondered. "Have I slept? Or can I have been drinking?" But soon a gentler feeling crept Upon me, and I sat and wept An hour or so, like winking.
"No need for Bones to hurry so!" I sobbed. "In fact, I doubt If it was worth his while to go - And who is Tibbs, I'd like to know, To make such work about?
"If Tibbs is anything like me, It's POSSIBLE," I said, "He won't be over-pleased to be Dropped in upon at half-past three, After he's snug in bed.
"And if Bones plagues him anyhow - Squeaking and all the rest of it, As he was doing here just now - _I_ prophesy there'll be a row, And Tibbs will have the best of it!"
Then, as my tears could never bring The friendly Phantom back, It seemed to me the proper thing To mix another glass, and sing The following Coronach.
'AND ART THOU GONE, BELOVED GHOST? BEST OF FAMILIARS! NAY THEN, FAREWELL, MY DUCKLING ROAST, FAREWELL, FAREWELL, MY TEA AND TOAST, MY MEERSCHAUM AND CIGARS!
THE HUES OF LIFE ARE DULL AND GRAY, THE SWEETS OF LIFE INSIPID, WHEN thou, MY CHARMER, ART AWAY - OLD BRICK, OR RATHER, LET ME SAY, OLD PARALLELEPIPED!'
Instead of singing Verse the Third, I ceased--abruptly, rather: But, after such a splendid word I felt that it would be absurd To try it any farther.
So with a yawn I went my way To seek the welcome downy, And slept, and dreamed till break of day Of Poltergeist and Fetch and Fay And Leprechaun and Brownie!
For year I've not been visited By any kind of Sprite; Yet still they echo in my head, Those parting words, so kindly said, "Old Turnip-top, good-night!"
Lady Clara Vere de Vere Was eight years old, she said: Every ringlet, lightly shaken, ran itself in golden thread.
She took her little porringer: Of me she shall not win renown: For the baseness of its nature shall have strength to drag her down.
"Sisters and brothers, little Maid? There stands the Inspector at thy door: Like a dog, he hunts for boys who know not two and two are four."
"Kind words are more than coronets," She said, and wondering looked at me: "It is the dead unhappy night, and I must hurry home to tea."
A SEA DIRGE
There are certain things--as, a spider, a ghost, The income-tax, gout, an umbrella for three - That I hate, but the thing that I hate the most Is a thing they call the Sea.
Pour some salt water over the floor - Ugly I'm sure you'll allow it to be: Suppose it extended a mile or more, THAT'S very like the Sea.
Beat a dog till it howls outright - Cruel, but all very well for a spree: Suppose that he did so day and night, THAT would be like the Sea.
I had a vision of nursery-maids; Tens of thousands passed by me - All leading children with wooden spades, And this was by the Sea.
Who invented those spades of wood? Who was it cut them out of the tree? None, I think, but an idiot could - Or one that loved the Sea.