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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889


By Dora Read Goodale (1866–1953)

HERE by the kitchen fire I sit

Until the generous loaves be brown:

The firelight flickers up and down;

I, waiting, ponder over it.

The cat comes purring to my knee,

And, springing to my lap, she lies,

The firelight darting in her eyes,

And old traditions come to me.

“The black cat,” so the legends say,

“The witches ride by night,” forsooth!

The fancy-witchery of youth

Has touched the room with mystery!

The clock ticks slow, the fire burns down.

I see strange faces in the grate—

A hooded monk, a muse, a fate,

An ancient knight with armor on!

I see a mask: I know it hides

The smile of one I know by day—

The face behind it drops away

And leaves a pair of burning eyes!

I wait—the firelight glimmers red—

Where is my fairy coach and four

To take me from the narrow door,

By eager longing fancy-led?

The cat is restless where she lies;

The soul of one who lived below

A thousand years and more ago

Looks through me from her narrow eyes!

The clock strikes slowly from the wall—

I count the heavy strokes to eight;

The fire burns lower in the grate;

A mouse is stirring in the wall!

I rouse me from my revery—

I strike a match—I kneel before

And open wide the oven door—

King Alfred fared as ill as I!