Dreaming before the cheerful fire,
Cushioned in easy chair,
Methought a troupe of fairies bright,
So blithe and debonair,
Trooped gaily in the dim lit hall,
With buzz of tempered joy.
Four little fairy maiden forms
Led by a merry boy,
In robe of ermine, crown of gold,
Dove-eyed Dora as Britain’s Queen,
Whose brown hair sprayed o’er shoulders fair,
And wee feet peeped from satin sheen.
Clad in America’s proud flag,
Comes Liz with eyes of blue,
Personifying with rare grace,
Columbia’s goddess true.
The two right heartily shake hands,
By which ’tis understood
That they were pledged, come weal, come woe,
To dwell in brotherhood.
From the assembled groups around
They hearty plaudits won,
All feeling sure these nations could
Brave the whole world as one.
Then as the prince of Eastern lore
With mirthful mischief rife,
Comes Harry pressed by love to kiss
The princess back to life;
The eyes soon ope beneath his touch;
The maids in glad surprise
See the prince break the fairy spell,
And claim his willing prize.
Little Red Ridinghood comes next,
Crying in sad despair:
O grandma, what long teeth you’ve got!
What eyes! what shaggy hair!
In this case happily the wolf
Ne’er moved or spake a word;
Perhaps he was too much ashamed
To have his gruff voice heard.
Then to my wondering gaze appeared
Old goody in her shoe,
With all her numerous tribe that made
Her not know what to do.
And next a lovely belle who caught
All hearts as in a cage,
And bearing up her graceful train
A quite bewitching page.
Then the scene changed and nothing but
A barrel, labelled “flour,”
Appeared upon the mimic stage
In that glad evening hour;
When lo! from out the wooden tub
A beauteous little sprite,
Emerging kissed her tiny hands,
The household _flower_ that night.
Then ’round a caldron on a grate
To spoil the broth appeared,
Five little dainty fairy cooks
Whom _tout le monde_ now cheered.
Next came the awful family squalls,
Which Granny vainly tried
To stay with Winslow’s stuff for which
Full many a babe has cried;
The stuff and rod were all in vain,
The squallers loudly bawled;
Granny, despairing, shrieked aloud,
And all in chorus squalled.
And now “the reign of terror” dire
Was pictured by them all,
Nestling most trustingly beneath
An umbrella tall.
And still once more the scene was changed.
The fairy sprites so bright,
In robes _de nuit_ with tapers lit,
All sweetly sang “good night.”
Good night, I cried; why, how is this;
Things are then what they seem,
And these sweet picture-paintings here
Have not been all a dream?
For there’s our doctor’s pleasant smile,
There the kind brothers Gale,
And there the little happy group
Who tableaw’d each sweet tale.
There Arnold as a southern belle,
Who’d made much fun to-night,
There all the guests of Springbank too,
Applauding with their might.
Better than fiction, I exclaimed,
And crowning all the rest
Glad charity the prceeds had,
Making the pastime blest,
Thanks to ye, little happy ones,
Thanks for the vision bright,
Which with such zest and innocence,
You’ve given us to-night.
(Hannah S Battersby)
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Based on Keywords: goody, caldron, trooped, labelled, trustingly, dove-eyed, squalled, winslow, ridinghood, personifying