THE FIRST QUARREL.
(in the isle OF WIGHT.) I * (From Tennyson's . nevj volume , * ‘ Ballads and other poems”) i. “Wait a little,” you say, “you are sure it’ll all come right. ” But the boy was bom i’ trouble, an’ looks so wan an’ so white : Wait ! an’ once 1 ha’ waited—l hadn’t to wait for long ; Now I wait, wait, wait for Harry—No, no, you are doing me wrong ! Harry and I were married : the boy can hold up his head. The boy was born in wedlock, but after . my man was dead ; I ha’ work’d for him fifteen years, an’ I work an’ 1 wait to the end I am all alone in the world, an’ you are my only friend.
Doctor, if you can wait, I’ll tell you the tale o’ my life, When Harry an’ I were children, he call’d me his own little wife ; I was happy when I was with him, an’ sorry when he was away, An’ when w'e play’d together, I lov’d him better than play ; He workt me the daisy chain—he made me the cowslip ball, Ho fought the boys that were rude, an’ I loved him better than all. Passionate girl tho’ I was, an’ often at home in disgrace, I never could quarrel with Harry—l had but to look in his face. HI.
There was a farmer in Dorset of Harry’s kin, that had need Of a good stout lad at his farm ; he sent, an’ the father agreed ; So Harry was bound to the Dorsetshire farm for years an’ for years ; I walked with him down to the quay, poor lad, an’we parted in tears. The boat was beginning to move, we heard them a-ringing the bell, “I’ll never love any but you, God bless you, my own little Nell.”
I was a child, an’ he was a child,, an’ he came to harm ; There was a girl, a hussy, who workt with him up at the farm. One had deceived her an’ left her alone with her sin an’ her shame, And so she was wicked with Harry : the girl was the most to blame.
And years went over, till I that was little had grown so tall, The men would say of the maids, “ Our Nelly’s the flower of em all. ” I didn’t take heed o' them, but taught myself all I could, To make a good wife to Harry, when Harry came home for good. VL Often I seem’d unhappy, and as often happy too, For I heard it abroad in the never love any but you “ I’ll never love any but you,” the morning song of the lark, “ I’ll never love any but you,’ the nightingale’s hymn in the dark. VII.
And Harry came home at last, but ho looked at me sidelong and shy, Text me a bit, till he told me that so many years had gone by, I had grown so handsome and tall—that I might ha’ forgot him somehow— ’ For he thought—there were other lads—he was feared to look at me now. vin. Hard was the frost in the field, we were married b’ Christmas day, Married among the red berries, an’ all as . men yas May— Those’were the pleasant times, my :honse an’my man were my pride, We seemed like ships i’ the Channel a-sail- . ing with wind an’ tide. ii. But work was ■ scant in the Isle, tho’ he tried the villages round. So Harry went over the Solent to see if • work could be found ; An’ he wrote,“‘l ha’ six weeks’ work little wife, so far as I know ;. , I’ll come for an hour to-morrow, an’ kiss you before I go. ” ■X.; . Sol set to righting the house, for-wasn’t he coming that day 1 ' An’ I hit on an old deal-box that was push’d in a corner away. It was full of old odds an’ ends, an’ a letter along wi’ the rest, I had better ha’ put my naked hand in ■ a hornet’s nest. ■ ' : XI. “ Sweetheart ” —this, was the letter—this .., was the letter I read— t “ You promised to findme work.near.you, air I wish T was dead— Didn’t you kiss me an’ promise 1 you haven’t done it, my lad, An’ I almost died o’ your going away, an’ i I wish that I had.”. ; ; r - xn. , I too wish that I had—in the pleasant •; -times:that had past, : '.-i 5 Before I , quarrel’d with Harry—my quarrel—the first and the last..xm.
For Harry came in, an’l flung him, the letter-that drove me wild, And he told it me all at once, as simple as any child. “ What can it matter my lass, what I did with my single life 1 I ha’ been as true to you as ever a man to his wife ; : An' she wasn’t one o’ the worst.” “ Then,” I said, “ I’m none of the best.” An’ he smiled at me, “ Ain’t you my.love! Come, come, little wife, let it rest! The man isn’t like the woman, no need to make such a stir. ” - But he anger’d me all the more, an* I said, “ You were keeping with her, When I was a-loving you all along an’ the same as before. ” An’ he didn’t speak for a while, an’ he anger’d me more and more. Then ■he patted my hand in his gentle way, “ Let bygones be !” •* Bygones ! you: kept yours hush’d,” I said, “-when you married me! Bygones ma’ be come-agains ; an’ she—in her shame an? her sin— You’ll have her to nurse my child, if I
die p’my lying in ' ; You’ll make her its second mother ! Iliate her—an’ I hate you !” Ah, Harry, my man, you had better ha’ beaten me black an’ blue Than ha’ spoken as kind as you did, when I were so crazy wi’spite, “ Wait a little, my lass, I am sure it will all come right. ” xtv. An’, he took three turns in the rain, an’ I ;■ watch’d him, un’ when he came in 1 felt that my heart was hard, he was all wet thro’to the skin, ■ ~ An’ I never said “ Off wi’ the wet.” I never said “On wi’ the dry.” : : ; So I know my heart was hard, when lie came to bid me good-by. “ You said that you hated me, Ellen, but that isn’t true, you knbw^; I am ! going to leave you a bit—you’ll kiss i . me before Igo ?” [J: XV. : v, “ Going ! you’re going to her— kies her—if you will I said— J was near my time wi’ the l boy, 1 must “ ha’been light i’my head— ■ J “ I had sooner be cursed than kissed !” I didn’t knew well , what I meant. But I turned ray 'face from Kim, an* ho turn’d his face an’ he went. ; ; r
. 'X >Vs. And then jie sent me a letter, “ I’ve gptteu my dg| , You wouldn't kissihe/my lass, an’ I never loye ( d yyu i I am Jot “for ivhat she “wrote, " I'ha’ six weeks’ work .in Jersey an’ go to- : nighrfytlie boat.” 7 ' J
xvn. , An’ me wind began to rise, an* I thought out at sea, An’ I flat I had been to blame ; he was always kind to me. “Wait a little, my lass, I am sure it’ll all come right ” An’ the boat went down that night—the boat went down that night.
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Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 263, 8 February 1881
THE FIRST QUARREL. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 263, 8 February 1881
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