IT WAS spring the first time that I saw her, for her papa and mamma moved in
Next door, just as skating was over, and marbles about to begin;
For the fence in our back yard was broken, and I saw, as I peeped through the slat,
There were “Johnny-jump-ups” all around her, and I knew it was spring just by that.
I never knew whether she saw me, for she didn’t say nothing to me,
But “Ma! here’s a slat in the fence broke, and the boy that is next door can see.”
But the next day I climbed on our wood-shed, as you know Mamma says I’ve a right,
And she calls out, “Well, peekin’ is manners!” and I answered her, “Sass is perlite!”
But I wasn’t a bit mad, no, Papa, and to prove it, the very next day,
When she ran past our fence in the morning I happened to get in her way,—
For you know I am “chunked” and clumsy, as she says are all boys of my size,—
And she nearly upset me, she did, Pa, and laughed till tears came in her eyes.
And then we were friends from that moment, for I knew that she told Kitty Sage,—
And she wasn’t a girl that would flatter—“that she thought I was tall for my age.”
And I gave her four apples that evening, and took her to ride on my sled,
And—“What am I telling you this for?” Why, Papa, my neighbor is dead!
You don’t hear one half I am saying,—I really do think it’s too bad!
Why, you might have seen crape on her door-knob, and noticed to-day I’ve been sad.
And they’ve got her a coffin of rosewood, and they say they have dressed her in white,
And I’ve never once looked through the fence, Pa, since she died—at eleven last night.
And Ma says it’s decent and proper, as I was her neighbor and friend,
That I should go there to the funeral, and she thinks that you ought to attend;
But I am so clumsy and awkward, I know I shall be in the way,
And suppose they should speak to me, Papa, I wouldn’t know just what to say.
So I think I will get up quite early,—I know I sleep late, but I know
I’ll be sure to wake up if our Bridget pulls the string that I’ll tie to my toe;
And I’ll crawl through the fence, and I’ll gather the “Johnny-jump-ups” as they grew
Round her feet the first day that I saw her, and, Papa, I’ll give them to you.
For you’re a big man, and, you know, Pa, can come and go just where you choose,
And you’ll take the flowers in to her, and surely they’ll never refuse;
But, Papa, don’t say they’re from Johnny; they won’t understand, don’t you see?
But just lay them down on her bosom, and, Papa, she’ll know they’re from Me.