Jane Smith (Rudyard Kipling/Alice MacDonald Fleming, 1884)
[Published in Quartette, Lahore 1884]
I journeyed, on a winter's day,
Across the lonely wold;
No bird did sing upon the spray,
And it was very cold.
I had a coach with horses four,
Three white (though one was black)
And on they went the common o'er,
Nor swiftness did they lack.
A little girl ran by the side,
And she was pinched and thin:
"Oh please sir! do give me a ride,
"I'm fetching mother's gin."
"Enter my coach, sweet chid," said I;
"For you shall ride with me,
"And I will get you your supply
"of mother's eau-de-vie."
The publican was stern and cold,
And said: "Her mother's score
"Is write, as you shall soon behold.
"Behold the bar-room door!"
I blotted out the score with tears,
And paid the money down,
And took the maid of thirteen years
Back to her mother's town;
And though the past with surges wild
Fond memories may sever,
The vision of that happy child
Will leave my spirit never.