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The Homecoming
by [?]


Gruffly growled the wind on Toller downland broad and bare,
And lonesome was the house, and dark; and few came there.

“Now don’t ye rub your eyes so red; we’re home and have no cares;
Here’s a skimmer-cake for supper, peckled onions, and some pears;
I’ve got a little keg o’ summat strong, too, under stairs:
– What, slight your husband’s victuals? Other brides can tackle theirs!”

The wind of winter mooed and mouthed their chimney like a horn,
And round the house and past the house ’twas leafless and lorn.

“But my dear and tender poppet, then, how came ye to agree
In Ivel church this morning? Sure, there-right you married me!”
– “Hoo-hoo!–I don’t know–I forgot how strange and far ‘twould be,
An’ I wish I was at home again with dear daddee!”

Gruffly growled the wind on Toller downland broad and bare,
And lonesome was the house and dark; and few came there.

“I didn’t think such furniture as this was all you’d own,
And great black beams for ceiling, and a floor o’ wretched stone,
And nasty pewter platters, horrid forks of steel and bone,
And a monstrous crock in chimney. ‘Twas to me quite unbeknown!”

Rattle rattle went the door; down flapped a cloud of smoke,
As shifting north the wicked wind assayed a smarter stroke.

“Now sit ye by the fire, poppet; put yourself at ease:
And keep your little thumb out of your mouth, dear, please!
And I’ll sing to ‘ee a pretty song of lovely flowers and bees,
And happy lovers taking walks within a grove o’ trees.”

Gruffly growled the wind on Toller Down, so bleak and bare,
And lonesome was the house, and dark; and few came there.

“Now, don’t ye gnaw your handkercher; ’twill hurt your little tongue,
And if you do feel spitish, ’tis because ye are over young;
But you’ll be getting older, like us all, ere very long,
And you’ll see me as I am–a man who never did ‘ee wrong.”

Straight from Whit’sheet Hill to Benvill Lane the blusters pass,
Hitting hedges, milestones, handposts, trees, and tufts of grass.

“Well, had I only known, my dear, that this was how you’d be,
I’d have married her of riper years that was so fond of me.
But since I can’t, I’ve half a mind to run away to sea,
And leave ‘ee to go barefoot to your d-d daddee!”

Up one wall and down the other–past each window-pane –
Prance the gusts, and then away down Crimmercrock’s long lane.

“I–I–don’t know what to say to’t, since your wife I’ve vowed to be;
And as ’tis done, I s’pose here I must bide –poor me!
Aye–as you are ki-ki-kind, I’ll try to live along with ‘ee,
Although I’d fain have stayed at home with dear daddee!”

Gruffly growled the wind on Toller Down, so bleak and bare,
And lonesome was the house and dark; and few came there.

“That’s right, my Heart! And though on haunted Toller Down we be,
And the wind swears things in chimley, we’ll to supper merrily!
So don’t ye tap your shoe so pettish-like; but smile at me,
And ye’ll soon forget to sock and sigh for dear daddee!”

December 1901.