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hilst you were sleeping, little Dear-my-soul, strange things happened; but that I saw and heard them, I should never have believed them. The clock stood, of course, in the corner, a moonbeam floated idly on the floor, and a little mauve mouse came from the hole in the chimney corner and frisked and scampered in the light of the moonbeam upon the floor. The little mauve mouse was particuĂ‚­larly merry; sometimes she danced upon two... more...

INTRODUCTION "It is about impossible for a man to get rid of his Puritan grandfathers, and nobody who has ever had one has ever escaped his Puritan grandmother;" so said Eugene Field to me one sweet April day, when we talked together of the things of the spirit. It is one of his own confessions that he was fond of clergymen. Most preachers are supposed to be helplessly tied up with such a set of limitations that there are but a few jokes which... more...

THE ROCK-A-BY LADY The Rock-a-By Lady from Hushaby streetComes stealing; comes creeping;The poppies they hang from her head to her feet,And each hath a dream that is tiny and fleet—She bringeth her poppies to you, my sweet,When she findeth you sleeping!There is one little dream of a beautiful drum—"Rub-a-dub!" it goeth;There is one little dream of a big sugar-plum,And lo! thick and fast the other dreams comeOf popguns that bang, and... more...

INTRODUCTION One Sunday evening in the winter of 1890 Eugene Field and the writer were walking in Lake View, Chicago, on their way to visit the library of a common friend, when the subject of publishing a book for Field came up for discussion. The Little Book of Western Verse and The Little Book of Profitable Tales had been privately printed the year before at Chicago, and Field had been frequently reminded that the writer was ready and willing... more...

The determination to found a story or a series of sketches on the delights, adventures, and misadventures connected with bibliomania did not come impulsively to my brother. For many years, in short during the greater part of nearly a quarter of a century of journalistic work, he had celebrated in prose and verse, and always in his happiest and most delightful vein, the pleasures of book-hunting. Himself an indefatigable collector of books, the... more...


WE BUY A PLACE It was either Plato the Athenian, or Confucius the Chinese, or Andromachus the Cretan—or some other philosopher whose name I disremember—that remarked once upon a time, and the time was many centuries ago, that no woman was happy until she got herself a home. It really makes no difference who first uttered this truth, the truth itself is and always has been recognized as one possessing nearly all the virtues of an... more...

ALAS, POOR YORICK! In paying a tribute to the mingled mirth and tenderness of Eugene Field—the poet of whose going the West may say, "He took our daylight with him"—one of his fellow journalists has written that he was a jester, but not of the kind that Shakespeare drew in Yorick. He was not only,—so the writer implied,—the maker of jibes and fantastic devices, but the bard of friendship and affection, of melodious... more...

FATHER'S WAY. MY father was no pessimist; he loved the things of earth,—Its cheerfulness and sunshine, its music and its mirth.He never sighed or moped around whenever things went wrong,—I warrant me he'd mocked at fate with some defiant song;But, being he warn't much on tune, when times looked sort o' blue,He'd whistle softly to himself this only tune he knew,— [Transcriber's Note: You can play this music (MIDI file) by... more...

HUMIN NATUR' ON THE HAN'BUL 'ND ST. JO Durin' war times the gorillas hed torn up most uv the cypress ties an' used 'em for kindlin' an' stove wood, an' the result wuz that when the war wuz over there wuz n't anythink left uv the Han'bul 'nd St. Jo but the rollin' stock 'nd the two streaks uv rails from one end uv the road to the other. In the spring uv '67 I hed to go out into Kansas; and takin' the Han'bul 'nd St. Jo at Palmyry Junction, I wuz... more...

JOHN SMITH.   To-day I strayed in Charing Cross as wretched as could be  With thinking of my home and friends across the tumbling sea;  There was no water in my eyes, but my spirits were depressed  And my heart lay like a sodden, soggy doughnut in my breast.  This way and that streamed multitudes, that gayly passed me by—  Not one in all the crowd knew me and not a one knew... more...