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Bewildering Emotions
by [?]

The merriment that followed was subdued–
As though the story-teller’s attitude
Were dual, in a sense, appealing quite
As much to sorrow as to mere delight,
According, haply, to the listener’s bent
Either of sad or merry temperament.–
“And of your two appeals I much prefer
The pathos,” said “The Noted Traveler,”–
“For should I live to twice my present years,
I know I could not quite forget the tears
That child-eyes bleed, the little palms nailed wide,
And quivering soul and body crucified….
But, bless ’em! there are no such children here
To-night, thank God!–Come here to me, my dear!”
He said to little Alex, in a tone
So winning that the sound of it alone
Had drawn a child more lothful to his knee:–
“And, now-sir, I’ll agree if you’ll agree,–
You tell us all a story, and then I
Will tell one.”

But I can’t.”

“Well, can’t you try?”
“Yes, Mister: he kin tell one. Alex, tell
The one, you know, ‘at you made up so well,
About the Bear. He allus tells that one,”
Said Bud,–“He gits it mixed some ’bout the gun
An’ ax the Little Boy had, an’ apples, too.”–
Then Uncle Mart said–“There, now! that’ll do!–
Let Alex tell his story his own way!”
And Alex, prompted thus, without delay