Mrs Judge Jenkins


MAUD Muller all that summer day
Raked the meadows sweet with hay;
Yet, looking down the distant lane,
She hoped the Judge would come again.
But when he came, with smile and bow,
Maud only blushed, and stammered, "Ha-ow?"
And spoke of her "pa," and wondered whether
He'd give consent they should wed together.
Old Muller burst into tears, and then
Begged that the Judge would lend him "ten";
For trade was dull, and wages low,
And the "craps", this year, were somewhat slow.
And ere the languid summer died,
Sweet Maud became the Judge's bride.
But on the day that they were mated,
Maud's brother Bob was intoxicated;
And Maud's relations, twelve in all,
Were very drunk in the Judge's hall.
And when the summer came again,
The young bride bore him babies twain;
And the Judge was blest, but thought it strange
That bearing children made such a change;
For Maud grew broad and red and stout,
And the waist that his arm once clasped about
Was more than he now could span: and he
Sighed as he pondered, ruefully,
How that which in Maud was native grace
In Mrs. Jenkins was out of place;
And thought of the twins, and wished that they
Looked less like the men who raked the hay
On Muller's farm, and dreamed with pain
Of the day he wandered down the lane.
And, looking down that dreary track,
He half regretted that he came back;
For, had he waited, he might have wed
Some maiden fair and thoroughbred;
For there be women fair as she,
Whose verbs and nouns do more agree.
Alas for maiden! alas for judge!
Add the sentimental, -- that's one-half "fudge";
For Maud soon thought the Judge a bore,
With all his learning and all his lore;
And the Judge would have bartered Maud's fair face
For more refinement and social grace.
If, of all words of tongue and pen,
The saddest are, "It might have been,"
More sad are these we daily see:
"It is, but hadn't ought to be."

Bret Harte



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