Prior To Miss Belle's Appearance

A poem by James Whitcomb Riley

What makes you come HERE fer, Mister,
So much to our house? - SAY?
Come to see our big sister! -
An' Charley he says 'at you kissed her
An' he ketched you, th'uther day! -
Didn' you, Charley? - But we p'omised Belle
An' crossed our heart to never to tell -
'Cause SHE gived us some o' them-er
Chawk'lut-drops 'at you bringed to her!

Charley he's my little b'uther -
An' we has a-mostest fun,
Don't we, Charley? - Our Muther,
Whenever we whips one anuther,
Tries to whip US - an' we RUN -
Don't we, Charley? - An' nen, bime-by,
Nen she gives us cake - an' pie -
Don't she, Charley? - when we come in
An' pomise never to do it ag'in!

HE'S named Charley. - I'm WILLIE -
An' I'm got the purtiest name!
But Uncle Bob HE calls me "Billy" -
Don't he, Charley? - 'N' our filly
We named "Billy," the same
Ist like me! An' our Ma said
'At "Bob puts foolishnuss into our head!" -
Didn' she, Charley? - An' SHE don't know
Much about BOYS! - 'Cause Bob said so!

Baby's a funniest feller!
Nain't no hair on his head -
IS they, Charley? - It's meller
Wite up there! An' ef Belle er
Us ask wuz WE that way, Ma said, -
"Yes; an' yer PA'S head wuz soft as that,
An' it's that way yet!" - An' Pa grabs his hat
An' says, "Yes, childern, she's right about Pa -
'Cause that's the reason he married yer Ma!"

An' our Ma says 'at "Belle couldn'
Ketch nothin' at all but ist 'BOWS!" -
An' PA says 'at "you're soft as puddun!" -
An' UNCLE BOB says "you're a good-un -
'Cause he can tell by yer nose!"-
Didn' he, Charley? - An' when Belle'll play
In the poller on th' pianer, some day,
Bob makes up funny songs about you,
Till she gits mad-like he wants her to!

Our sister FANNY she's 'LEVEN
Years old! 'At's mucher 'an I -
Ain't it, Charley? . . . I'm seven! -
But our sister Fanny's in HEAVEN!
Nere's where you go ef you die! -
Don't you, Charley? - Nen you has WINGS -
IST LIKE FANNY! - an' PURTIEST THINGS! -
Don't you, Charley? - An' nen you can FLY -
Ist fly-an' EVER'thing! . . . I Wisht I'D die!

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