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Waifs and Strays Part 1 O Henry

Out of Nazareth

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"Unfortunately," said Mr. Bloom, with a sense of the loss clearly written upon his frank face, "I'm like the Colonel--in the walk-making business myself--and I haven't had time to even take a sniff at the flowers. Poetry is a line I never dealt in. It must be nice, though --quite nice."

"It is the region," smiled Mrs. Blaylock, "in which my soul dwells. My shawl, Peyton, if you please--the breeze comes a little chilly from yon verdured hills."

The Colonel drew from the tail pocket of his coat a small shawl of knitted silk and laid it solicitously about the shoulders of the lady. Mrs. Blaylock sighed contentedly, and turned her expressive eyes-- still as clear and unworldly as a child's--upon the steep slopes that were slowly slipping past. Very fair and stately they looked in the clear morning air. They seemed to speak in familiar terms to the responsive spirit of Lorella. "My native hills!" she murmured, dreamily. "See how the foliage drinks the sunlight from the hollows and dells."

"Mrs. Blaylock's maiden days," said the Colonel, interpreting her mood to J. Pinkney Bloom, "were spent among the mountains of northern Georgia. Mountain air and mountain scenery recall to her those days. Holly Springs, where we have lived for twenty years, is low and flat. I fear that she may have suffered in health and spirits by so long a residence there. That is one portent reason for the change we are making. My dear, can you not recall those lines you wrote--entitled, I think, 'The Georgia Hills'--the poem that was so extensively copied by the Southern press and praised so highly by the Atlanta critics?"

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Mrs. Blaylock turned a glance of speaking tenderness upon the Colonel, fingered for a moment the silvery curl that drooped upon her bosom, then looked again toward the mountains. Without preliminary or affectation or demurral she began, in rather thrilling and more deeply pitched tones to recite these lines:

    "The Georgia hills, the Georgia hills!--
    Oh, heart, why dost thou pine?
    Are not these sheltered lowlands fair
    With mead and bloom and vine?
    Ah! as the slow-paced river here
    Broods on its natal rills
    My spirit drifts, in longing sweet,
    Back to the Georgia hills.

    "And through the close-drawn, curtained night
    I steal on sleep's slow wings
    Back to my heart's ease--slopes of pine--
    Where end my wanderings.
    Oh, heaven seems nearer from their tops--
    And farther earthly ills--
    Even in dreams, if I may but
    Dream of my Georgia hills.

    The grass upon their orchard sides
    Is a fine couch to me;
    The common note of each small bird
    Passes all minstrelsy.
    It would not seem so dread a thing
    If, when the Reaper wills,
    He might come there and take my hand
    Up in the Georgia hills."

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Waifs and Strays Part 1
O Henry

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