Miss Edith Makes Another Friend

A poem by Francis Bret Harte

Oh, you’re the girl lives on the corner? Come in if you want to come quick!
There’s no one but me in the house, and the cook but she’s only a stick.
Don’t try the front way, but come over the fence through the window that’s how.
Don’t mind the big dog he won’t bite you just see him obey me! there, now!

What’s your name? Mary Ellen? How funny! Mine’s Edith it’s nicer, you see;
But yours does for you, for you’re plainer, though maybe you’re gooder than me;
For Jack says I’m sometimes a devil, but Jack, of all folks, needn’t talk,
For I don’t call the seamstress an angel till Ma says the poor thing must “walk.”

Come in! It’s quite dark in the parlor, for sister will keep the blinds down,
For you know her complexion is sallow like yours, but she isn’t as brown;
Though Jack says that isn’t the reason she likes to sit here with Jim Moore.
Do you think that he meant that she kissed him? Would you if your lips wasn’t sore?

If you like, you can try our piano. ’Tain’t ours. A man left it here
To rent by the month, although Ma says he hasn’t been paid for a year.
Sister plays oh, such fine variations! why, I once heard a gentleman say
That she didn’t mind that for the music in fact, it was just in her way!

Ain’t I funny? And yet it’s the queerest of all that, whatever I say,
One half of the folks die a-laughing, and the rest, they all look t’other way.
And some say, “That child!” Do they ever say that to such people as you?
Though maybe you’re naturally silly, and that makes your eyes so askew.

Now stop don’t you dare to be crying! Just as sure as you live, if you do,
I’ll call in my big dog to bite you, and I’ll make my Papa kill you, too!
And then where’ll you be? So play pretty. There’s my doll, and a nice piece of cake.
You don’t want it you think it is poison! Then I’ll eat it, dear, just for your sake!

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