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A Dedication

    Oft when the house lay silent in the heat
    My thoughts would be so full of you, my sweet,
    That dreaming half--I seemed to hear once more
    Your little fingers fluttering at the door,
    The pitter patter of your childish feet
    In joyous rhythm cross the echoing floor.

    Then small, soft hands would nestle into mine,
    And warm soft arms around my neck would twine,
    As soft and warm the dream child on my knees,
    Cuddling so close in clear young voice would tease
    And tease and tease in mimicked glad young whine
    For "Just one little story if you please."

    So half in jest and half in earnest, too,
    Mostly I think to dream my dreaming true,
    I'd conjure up long tales of lands afar
    And days gone by that yet remembered are;
    Shaping my stories with this end in view
    To gain the verdict "Tell some more, Mamma."

    For I was happy when I had beguiled
    Into my life the spirit of a child.
    Thus one by one the weary hours flew
    And page by page a little volume grew,
    So--that my dreams with truth be reconciled,
    Take it, my darling, it was writ for you.


April, 1875

    Long years have sped since that poor book was penned.
    None read the pages. Therefore at the end
    Of this world's life I dedicate to two
    Small boys--her sons--whose question'ng eyes of blue
    Tell me that dreams of childhood never end
    _This_ book. So take it boys--'twas writ for you.