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"One of the wonders, with us children, was the Ford:
How your eye lights and kindles only at the word!
From the village, past the willow, elms, past the mill,
Ran the road--every turn I can remember--till
It reached the river's bank; then, with a steep descent,
Straight down into the shallows of the stream it went.
Our heads grew giddy always, and a chill of dread
Crept over us, when first we felt the stony bed
Beneath the wheels; how strong, too, seemed the current; strayed
The wagon, and we thought "old Sorrel" also swayed
With head grown giddy like our own; and yet delight
Was mingled strangely with this hush of childish fright:
The running waters had a cool fresh sound; the tip,
Very tip of our longest finger but to dip
In that clear stream beside us, was a joy untold,
And only to be won by those who were most bold:
With sharp regret we found ourselves brought safe to land
Upon the other bank; how tame the yielding sand,
How quiet, too, the road along the sumach hedge,
How quiet, too, our tongues; but from each pine crowned ledge
Of the winding, rocky, hillside road, as we soared,
We turned wistful eyes, catching glimpses of the Ford.
In summer, oft and oft we watched the heavy wain,
Loaded high with fragrant hay, sunny sheaves of grain,
Drawn by patient oxen, cross the Ford; how they bent
Their sturdy necks against the yoke, and bravely lent
Their weight to stem the stream, as 'hock-ho-haw!' called out
The watchful farmer, with his cheery, guiding shout;
Then, up the steep bank pressed, with panting, drippind side
To stand and breathe within the elm-grove's shadow wide.
All these were pleasant pictures; but below the Ford
Whirled the mysterious Eddy, and with fear we heard
Of youths, adventurous, suddenly drawn in to die.
The widow's eldest son, you know she lived close by,
They told us was drowned there: on her we looked with awe,
For death had come to her through some peculiar law;
Besides, her idiot girl, with thick and gibberish speech,
Or, in her fits of anger, wild unearthly screech,
Who, kept, year in, year out, her well-stuffed easy-chair,
Stitching her bits of calico with aimless care,
Her crippled, helpless figure, supple, gaunt and tall,
And long fore-finger pointed at us like an awl,
The mother's mild-toned wish that we would 'often come'
A strange, charm gave to that meek widow's humble home."


Thus Margaret chatted on, till, looking up, she caught
Her good companion napping; then her dreamy thought
Took wings instead of words; the "Vineyard's" pleasant road,
Bordered with roses, to her wakened memory showed
Aglow with morning, while the older one which led
Southward to "The Bars," far-famed and ancient homestead,
With its well-treasured history of noble dead,
Of how and where each fought, and where each victim bled,
Now rose before her, in that early, tender light,
Of days when all the world was new and fair to sight.
The Ford no longer passable, the Eddy, too,
Filled up, and those fair homesteads, crowned with honor due,
Have passed to other hands; scarce would poor Margaret know
Those places now, but still her earnest cheeks will glow,
And her quick memory kindles, only at a word
Of the happy childhood spent in sight of The Ford.