Gateway to the Classics: Display Item
Eugene Field

The Hawthorne Children

The Hawthorne children—seven in all—

Are famous friends of mine,

And with what pleasure I recall

How, years ago, one gloomy fall,

I took a tedious railway line

And journeyed by slow stages down

Unto that sleepy seaport town

(Albeit one worth seeing),

Were Hildegarde, John, Henry, Fred,

And Beatrix and Gwendolen

And she that was the baby then—

These famous seven, as aforesaid,

Lived, moved, and had their being.

The Hawthorne children gave me such

A welcome by the sea,

That the eight of us were soon in touch,

And though their mother marveled much,

Happy as larks were we!

Egad I was a boy again

With Henry, John, and Gwendolen!

And, oh! the funny capers

I cut with Hildegarde and Fred!

The pranks we heedless children played,

The deafening, awful noise we made—

'Twould shock my family, if they read

About it in the papers.

The Hawthorne children all were smart;

The girls, as I recall,

Had comprehended every art

Appealing to the head and heart,

The boys were gifted, all;

'Twas Hildegard that showed me how

To hitch the horse and milk a cow

And cook the best of suppers;

With Beatrix upon the sands

I sprinted daily, and was beat,

While Henry stumped me to the feat

Of walking round upon my hands

Instead of on my "uppers."

The Hawthorne children liked me best

Of evenings, after tea;

For then, by general request,

I spun them yarns about the west—

And all involving Me!

I represented how I'd slain

The bison on the gore-smeared plain,

And divers tales of wonder

I'd told of how I'd fought and bled

In Injun scrimages galore,

Til Mrs. Hawthorne quoth, "No more!"

And packed her darlings off to bed

To dream of blood and thunder!

They must have changed a deal since then:

The misses tall and fair,

And those three lusty, handsome men,

Would they be girls and boys again

Were I to happen there,

Down in that spot beside the sea

Where we had such tumultuous glee

In dull autumnal weather?

Ah me! the years go swiftly by,

And yet how fondly I recall

The week when we were children all—

Dear Hawthorne children, you and I—

Just eight of us together!