As I near my lonely cottage,
At the close of weary day,
There's a little bit of gladness
Comes to meet me on the way:
Dimpled, tanned, and petticoated,
Innocent as angels are,
Like a smiling, straying sunbeam
Is my Stella - like a star.
Soon a hand of tissue-softness
Slips confidingly in mine,
And with tender look appealing
Eyes of beauty sweetly shine;
Like a gentle shepherd guiding
Some lost lamb unto the fold,
So she leads me homeward, prattling
Till her stories are all told.
"Papa, I'm so glad to see you -
Cousin Mabel came today -
And the gas-man brought a letter
That he said you'd better pay -
Yes, and awful things is happened:
My poor kitty's drowned to death -
Mamma's got the 'Pigs in Clover' - "
Here she stops for want of breath.
I am like the bold knight-errant,
From his castle who would roam,
Trusting her, my faithful steward,
For a strict account of home;
And each day I toil, and hazard
All that any man may dare,
For a resting-place at even,
And the love that waits me there.
And sometimes I look with pity
On my neighbor's mansion tall:
There are chambers full of pictures,
There are marbles in the hall,
Yet with all the signs of splendor
That may gild a pile of stone,
Not a living thing about it
But the owner, grim and lone.
I believe that all his millions
He would give without repine
For a little bit of gladness
In his life, like that in mine;
This it is that makes my pathway
Beautiful, wherever trod,
Keeps my soul from wreck and ruin,
Keeps me nearer to my God.