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X. At the Sign of the Balsam Bough Henry van Dyke


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"Ah, madame, it is the chanson of a young man who demands of his blonde why she will not marry him. He says that he has waited long time, and the flowers are falling from the rose-tree, and he is very sad."

"And does she give a reason?"

"Yes, madame--that is to say, a reason of a certain sort; she declares that she is not quite ready; he must wait until the rose-tree adorns itself again."

"And what is the end--do they get married at last?"

"But I do not know, madame. The chanson does not go so far. It ceases with the complaint of the young man. And it is a very uncertain affair--this affair of the heart--is it not?"

Then, as if he turned from such perplexing mysteries to something plain and sure and easy to understand, he breaks out into the jolliest of all Canadian songs:

    "My bark canoe that flies, that flies,
    Hola! my bark canoe!"

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Little Rivers
Henry van Dyke

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