Gateway to the Classics: Display Item
James Whitcomb Riley

Prior to Miss Belle's Appearance

What makes you come here  fer, Mister,

So much to our  house?—Say? 

Come to see our big sister!—

An' Charley he says 'at you kissed her

An' he ketched you, th'uther day!—

Didn' you, Charley?—But we p'omised Belle

An' crossed our heart to never to tell—

'Cause she  gived us some o' them-er

Chawk'lut-drops 'at you bringed to her!

Charley he's my little b'uther—

An' we has a-mostest fun,

Don't we, Charley?—Our Muther,

Whenever we whips one anuther,

Tries to whip us— an' we run— 

Don't we, Charley?—An' nen, bime-by,

Nen she gives us cake—an' pie—

Don't she, Charley?—when we come in

An' pomise never to do it ag'in!

He's  named Charley—I'm Willie — 

An' I'm got the purtiest name!

But Uncle Bob he  calls me "Billy"—

Don't he, Charley?—'N' our filly

We named "Billy," the same

Ist like me! An' our Ma said

'At "Bob puts foolishnuss into our head!"—

Didn' she, Charley?—An' she  don't know

Much about boys— 'Cause Bob said so!

Baby's a funniest feller!

Nain't no hair on his head—

Is  they, Charley?—It's meller

Wite up there! An' ef Belle er

Us ask wuz we  that way, Ma said—

"Yes; an' yer Pa's  head wuz soft as that,

An' it's that way yet!"—An' Pa grabs his hat

An' says, "Yes, childern, she's right about Pa—

'Cause that's the reason he married yer Ma!"

An' our Ma says 'at "Belle couldn'

Ketch nothin' at all but ist 'bows!' " —

An' Pa  says 'at "you're soft as puddun!"—

An' Uncle Bob says "you're a good-un—

'Cause he can tell by yer nose!"—

Didn' he, Charley?—An' when Belle'll play

In the poller on th' pianer, some day,

Bob makes up funny songs about you,

Till she gits mad—like he wants her to!

Our sister Fanny  she's 'leven 

Years old! 'At's mucher 'an I— 

Ain't it, Charley? . . . I'm seven!—

But our sister Fanny's in Heaven! 

Nere's where you go ef you die!—

Don't you, Charley?—Nen you has wings— 

Ist like Fanny!— an' purtiest things!— 

Don't you, Charley?—An' nen you can fly— 

Ist fly—an' ever' thing! . . . Wisht I'd  die!