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130 LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD

Your madcap fancy runs too riot, girl.
We must shut up your books of Botany,
And give you graver studies.

Will you shut

The book of nature, too? for it is that

I love and study. Do not take me back

To the cold, heartless city, with its forms

And dull routine; its artificial manners

And arbitrary rules; its cheerless pleasures

And mirthless masquing. Yet a little longer

O let me hold communion here with Nature.

—Well, well, we'll see. But we neglect our lecture

Upon this picture —

Poor Red Riding Hood!

We had forgotten her; yet mark, dear madam,
How patiently the poor thing waits our leisure.
And now the hidden moral.

Thus it is:

Mere children read such stories literally,

But the more elderly and wise, deduce

A moral from the fiction. In a word,

The wolf that you must guard against is — Love.

—I thought love was an infant; "toujours enfant."

—The world and love were young together, child,

And innocent—alas! time changes all things.

—True, I remember, love is now a man.

And, the song says, " a very saucy one"—

But how a wolf?

LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD.

131

-In ravenous appetite,

Unpitying and unsparing, passion is oft
A beast of prey. As the wolf to the lamb,
Is he to innocence.

1 shall remember,

For now I see the moral. Trust me, madam,
Should I e'er meet this wolf-love in my way,
Be he a boy or man, I 'll take good heed,
And hold no converse with him.

You'll do wisely.

—Nor e'er in field or forest, plain or pathway,
Shall he from me know whither I am going,
Or whisper that he'll meet me.

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132 LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD.

— Nor, in my grandam's cottage, nor elsewhere, Will I e'er lift the latch for him myself, Or bid him pull the bobbin.

Well, my dear,

You 've learned your lesson.

Yet one thing, my mother,

Somewhat perplexes me.

Say what, my love,

I will explain.

This wolf, the story goes,

Deceived poor grandam first, and ate her up: What is the moral here? Have all our grandmas Been first devoured by love?

Let us go in;

The air grows cool—you are a forward chit.

THE WITHERED ROSEBUD.

BY 1 K. MITCHELL.

Ah, why does this rose-bud more beautiful seem,
Than when gracing the stem where it grew;

All withered and pale, of a flower but the dream 1
'Tis because it was given by you —

'Tis because the sweet floweret had lingered awhile

On the bosom of beauty and youth,
Had borrowed her lustre, had stolen her smile,

And came to me breathing her truth.

And now, though its leaflets are gone to decay,

And mournfully drooping its stem,
And tints from the rainbow are fading away,

'Twill still be of roses the gem.

Like its fragrance, still lingering, fond memory the while,

Will couple this blossom with thee,
And soothe by recalling the look and the smile

That came with the rose-bud to me.

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