Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

And I saw-how I envied him-
A girl of such delicate grace;
Sixteen, all laughter and love;

As gay as a linnet, and yet
5 As tenderly sweet as a dove:

Half woman, half child—Fleurette.

Then I turned to the wall again
(I was awfully blue, you see),

And I thought with a bitter pain: 10 "Such visions are not for me."

So there like a log I lay,
All hidden, I thought from view,
When sudden I heard her say:

“Ah! Who is that malheureux? 15 Then briefly I heard him tell

(However he came to know)
How I'd smothered a bomb that fell
Into the trench, and so

None of my men were hit,
20 Though it busted me up a bit.

Well, I didn't quiver an eye,
And he chattered, and there she sat;
And I fancied I heard her sigh-

But I wouldn't just swear to that. 25 And maybe she wasn't so bright,

Though she talked in a merry strain,
And I closed my eyes ever so tight,
Yet I saw her ever so plain:

Her dear little tilted nose, 30 Her delicate, dimpled chin,

Her mouth like a budding rose,
And the glistening pearls within;
Her eyes like the violet:
Such a rare little queen-Fleurette.

And at last when she rose to go,
The light was a little dim,
And I ventured to peep, and so

I saw her graceful and slim, 5 And she kissed him and kissed him, and, oh,

How I envied and envied him!

So when she was gone I said
In rather a dreary voice

To him of the opposite bed:
10 "Ah, friend, how you must rejoice!

But me, I'm a thing of dread.
For me nevermore the bliss,
The thrill of a woman's kiss."

Then I stopped, for lo! she was there, 15 And a great light shone in her eyes.

And me! I could only stare,
I was taken so by surprise,
When gently she bent her head:

“May I kiss you, sergeant?” she said. 20 Then she kissed my burning lips,

With her mouth like a scented flower,
And I thrilled to the finger-tips,
And I hadn't even the power

To say: “God bless you, dear!” 25 And I felt such a precious tear

Fall on my withered cheek,
And darn it! I couldn't speak.

[ocr errors][merged small]

NOTES AND QUESTIONS

Biography. Robert W. Service (1874- ), a Canadian poet, has been called “the Kipling of the Arctic World.” His earlier poetry, which is full of the grandeur and the lure of the Yukon, established his fame as a poet. His experiences during the World War as an ambulance driver in France are set forth in The Rhymes of a Red Cross Man, from which “Fleurette” is taken. This poem is considered by many of his admirers as his masterpiece. The humorous poem, “The Cremation of Sam McGee," in The Spell of the Yukon, gives a good idea of his pre-war poetry.

Discussion. 1. Who is speaking in this poem? 2. Why does he speak so lightly of the loss of his leg? 3. Why does the nurse refuse to give him a mirror? 4. Who was Caliban? 5. What comparison could there be between the soldier's face and Caliban's? 6. What did the French soldier tell his sister about the Canadian? What shows that she was impressed by the story? 7. What feeling must a story of self-sacrifice inspire? 8. What caused the great light that shone in the girl's eyes? 9. How did she show him that he was not "a thing of dread”? 10. The French sentence, page 145, lines 30 and 31, means

"It is you, it is you, Marcel !
My brother, how happy I am !"

Find in the Glossary the meaning of other French words in the poem, and of: gargoyle; linnet. 11. Pronounce: Fleurette.

Class Reading. Bring to class and read “Grand Père" (another war poem), Service.

Newspaper Reading. Not all heroic deeds of adventure occur on the battlefield. Bring to class and read an item from your daily newspaper, telling of a brave action by someone.

Suggested Theme Topic. How crippled and disfigured soldiers of the World War were marvelously helped by surgery, and fitted with artificial legs, arms, etc., so that they could carry on useful occupations.

[merged small][graphic][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Marley was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge

signed it; and Scrooge's name was good upon 'Change, for any5 thing he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a doornail.

Mind! I don't mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a doornail. I might

have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest 10 piece of ironmongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our an

cestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the Country's done for. You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Marley was as dead as a doornail.

*See Silent and Oral Reading, page 11.

Scrooge knew he was dead? Of course he did. How could it be otherwise ? Scrooge and he were partners for I don't know how many years. Scrooge was his sole executor, his sole adminis

trator, his sole assign, his sole residuary legatee, his sole friend, 5 and sole mourner. And even Scrooge was not so dreadfully cut

up by the sad event but that he was an excellent man of business on the very day of the funeral, and solemnized it with an undoubted bargain.

The mention of Marley's funeral brings me back to the point 10 I started from. There is no doubt that Marley was dead. This

must be distinctly understood or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate. If we were not perfectly convinced that Hamlet's father died before the play began, there

would be nothing more remarkable in his taking a stroll at night 15 in an easterly wind upon his own ramparts, than there would

be in any other middle-aged gentleman rashly turning out after dark in a breezy spot-say Saint Paul's Churchyard for instance -literally to astonish his son's weak mind.

Scrooge never painted out old Marley's name. There it stood, 20 years afterwards, above the warehouse door: Scrooge and Mar

ley. The firm was known as Scrooge and Marley. Sometimes people new to the business called Scrooge Scrooge and sometimes Marley, but he answered to both names; it was all the same to him.

Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! A squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary

as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped 30 his pointed nose, shriveled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his

eyes red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. A frosty rime was on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin. He carried his own low temperature always about

with him; he iced his office in the dog days; and didn't thaw it 35 one degree at Christmas.

25

« ForrigeFortsett »