THE PICNIC.

COOL and delightful the morning, never a cloud in the sky; Romeo, gorgeous with lilacs, pawing impatient near by. Cans and umbrellas and boxes, maidens in dainty array, -

All aboard! - Let go his head, bub! - Romeo, off and away!

Nine of us, three on a seat, but nobody cramped in the least.

Proudly ignoring his spavins, gallops our high-mettled beast.

Handkerchiefs flutter responsive to cheers from a girl on a gate.

As down through the village we clatter, pursued by a poodle irate.

Round by the Winchester Farms, all fresh with the newly mown hay,

Down the long hill to the river, on by the Clapboard-tree way.

Silvery birches bend o'er us, wood-birds are wishing "good speed,"

And a brook chatters on as we journey, - a sociable fellow indeed.

What! Are we there? Goodness gracious! why, what a wee bit of a ride!

This is Miss Phoebe's opinion, - mine, too (I sit by her side).

Her I assist in unpacking, her I enthrone on a shawl,

And she watches me squeezing the lemons; they hardly need sugar at all.

There is a druggist's assistant, spectacled, spying, and spare,

With faintest of straw-colored whisker and smoothest of straw-colored hair.

Jealousy gnaws at his bosom; he fancies me ill, I'm afraid;

Yet, sternly concealing his passion, he drowns it in strong lemonade.

Then comes the dinner! How charming! work has grown merriest play.

How I like bringing the water (springs are a very long way)!

Some one goes too, - always some one whose heart with foreboding is filled

That, with one so excessively clumsy, the pail cannot help being spilled.

Old-fashioned lunatic lovers, on tree-trunks, by poets are said

To have carved; in a similar spirit I carve - but spring chicken instead.

She praises my skill as a servant; in lamest attempt to be clever,

I murmur, How blissful the service of such a fair mistress forever!

The matrons are washing the dishes and praising each other's mince-pies;

Old gentlemen sinking to slumber with beavers cocked over their eyes.

Groups are dissolving to couples; we miss all our neighbors somehow,

Which the blighted young chemist, observing, goes off by himself in a scow.

Down through the woodland we wander, an arm nestled soft within mine,

Strolling and losing out way as if by some hidden design.

(Don't blame me! 'T is quite accidental!) But hardly one rapturous hour

Has passed ere my angel in muslin discovers an oncoming shower.

'T is so; from the westward approaching it comes like a mountain of foam,

Blackest of seas at the base and whitest of spray at the dome.

The blue sky pales before it like flowers at winter's breath,

But round us the air is heavy, silent and still as death.

A pleasant position for lovers! - O joy, while the thunder-clouds warn

Most darkly, we see in the clearing what cannot be else than a barn.

'T is time, for we scarce are in shelter, though hardly disdaining to run,

Ere the pattering drops on the rooftree announce that the storm has begun.

Now let it thunder and lighten, now let the tempest arise!

The blue from the heavens has faded, but yet dwells the blue of her eyes, -

Just fancy a curtain descending; just guess at my language to her;

You cannot be much interested, and I should n't tell if you were.

It rains an indefinite time, and when the commotion is done

We hurry in search of our party to find them decidedly gone.

'T is only six miles, and the evening is starlight and pleasant and warm.

So just as the clock strikes eleven we once more appear at the farm.

Such lectures! such questions! such dosings! Why never in serious ills

Have I swallowed such loathsome decoctions of cubebs and spearmint and squills. -

Well, she wears a ring that she did n't, the druggist walks gloomy apart,

And I have two sweet little pictures, and one is inframed in my heart.

C. A. M.