One Snowy Night

Albery Allson Whitman

 Next Poem          

The laughter of sleigh bells was heard on the lips of the snow storm
All day long, and passers were scarcely seen thro' the falling flakes
Hurriedly going, wrapped close, and one not speaking to another.
'Twas bitter cold, and the stiffened forests tossed in the northern blast;
And the great old pines, as the gale smote their snowy heads, grumbled,
And seemed in their anguish to mutter: "Let loose our hair and our whiskers!"
The slow wreathes of smoke curled dreamily thro' the still branches
That burdened with snow, stooped down and were sad-hearted and silent.
All sounds of the barn-yard were hushed in the chill breath of Winter.
The cottage was still, and within doors the cotter kept quiet.

The nightfall came, and still the flakes were coming thickly down.
"How it snows," said Leeona, as she shut the neat door of her cottage.
Then she drew her chair near Rodney, and sat before a warm fire of logs.
This night the little green cottage was unusually cozy;
The cat on the rug sung low to the slumbering puppy,
Who yelped in a dream, and nipped at the heels of a rabbit.
The light of the fire-place, streaming across the clean hearth,
Glared on the walls, and flashed from the chairs and the tables,
Like the recollections of childhood flinging their cheer across life's path.

Now thus to her lord spoke the heroine of the Savannas:
"The approaching Christmas throws the shadows of mirth into Sussex.
Never before was there such buying of presents among us;
Never before such love without dissimulation."

Of a sudden Leeona hushed and fixed her eyes upon Rodney.
"Whoa!" cried a voice at the door, as rough as the oaths of a seaman,
"Still, Sorrel!" and a sleigh had stopped at the door of the cottage.
Leeona rose up quickly, but Rodney sat still and listened
Till she had opened the door and looked out in the darkness.
A dim lamp in the driver's hand streamed thro' the falling flakes
And discovered two men in the sleigh and one woman.
The men in their great coats wrapped dismounted, and then the woman,
Muffled in heavy furs, and veiled, stepped down between them;
When the driver reined his horses and dashed away in the silence.
The strangers entered the door and Father Eppinck before them,
And bowing, he said: "These are my friends of whom I spoke aforetime."

Rodney arose and stood erect in speechless wonder and silence,
As the tall and lovely form of Dora, the heroine of Saville,
Stood in the midst of the floor of his humble dwelling, and reached
The white hand of recognition, saying, with the sweetness of other days:
"Do mine eyes behold thee, oh Rodney, my dearest benefactor!
I have heard of you here and have come to remove you to Montreal.
My home is a home for you, and the days of your toil are ended."
For the tears of gladness and gratitude the manly hero
Of a thousand trials hard could not speak, but he seized the small hand
Extended, and wept a benediction of tears upon it, and kissed it.
His great stern face of simple fidelity and manhood brave,
Was now lighted up with a glow exceeding portrayal,
And in its effulgence approaching those who stand in white robes
Ever, within the tidal glory of the Throne Eternal.
There were greetings then, and the joy of all hearts was running over;
And there countenances all shone with the light of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Next Poem 

 Back to Albery Allson Whitman