Brothers; even those of you who are already in the sear and yellow leaf, and full of years and iniquity,
Sometimes, I doubt not, let your thoughts go back to those days of antiquity
When mother tucked you into your little bed.
After your little prayers were said;
And, having said goodnight,
She most inconsiderately took away the light.
Then came, my brothers, that dread half-hour in the day of a child;
When your mind was filled with weird imaginings and fancies wild
Of Bogey-men and Hobgoblins, Ogres and Demons; so that, for a space, you lay
Filled with a child's vague fear of the dark, and longing for the day.
Then, to comfort you, there came the thought
That guardian angels, as you had been taught,
Hovered ever near
To watch over timid little boys and girls and still their fear.
Is not that what other said?
And, in your childish mind you pictured a feathered friend roosting benevolently
at the foot of your bed.
Then were you filled with solace deep;
You sighed contentedly and went to sleep.
I would speak to you of another kind of mother;
Of our political mamma or historical mater:
Mrs. Britannia, to wit, who lives on the other side of the equator.
You have doubtless seen her pictured upon certain coins of the realm,
Sitting on the sharp edge of a shield, holding a picthfork, and wearing an absurd
and elaborate helm.
That is the lady; our dear old mum;
Mother of a large and parti-colored family that has given her much trouble and
promises more in the years to come.
Hitherto she has tucked us into bed.
And, for a trifling cash consideration, to allay our dread,
Has, so to speak, left us the light
In the shape of a few more or less efficient warships that might or might not be
of use in a fight;
But that was neither here nor there
So long as they served their purpose, and, like a candle of childhood's days,
dissipated the shadows and the attendant thoughts that scare.
But, behold, my brother, we are no longer an infant nation.
We have doffed our swaddling clothes, and have gone into pants, and top-hats,
and motor-coats, and split-skirts, and other habilments of adult
We are no longer young enough to pet and fondle, to nurse and bounce and dandle;
And, behold, mother has taken away the candle!
This is well enough;
And nobody would be complaining if the dear old lady didn't try to fill us up with
That was designed alone for infant ears,
And to allay imaginery fears.
She forgets, the poor old worried mum, that we have, so to speak, arrived now
at years of discretion,
And (if you pardon the expression)
Endeavors to pull her trusting offsping's leg with the old, old tale
Of the beautiful and ever watchful guardian angel that will never fail
To banish the naughty, nasty bogeys, the wicked ogres that lurk
Around our little bed.... Brother, that guardian angel gag won't work!
We happen to know a little about this saffron-colored seraph, this Mongolian
cherub to whose tender care our doting parent would leave us;
And, unless our eyes deceive us,
He bears a most remarkable reseblance to the ogre that we fear!
We have not the least doubt that he will most obligingly hover near
Our little cot.
But we are very, very anxious concerning certain little childish possessions
we have got.
We have out own private opinions about the sort of watch he will keep;
And we have wisely, if rebelliously, decided that WE WILL NOT GO TO SLEEP!!
Speaking of guardian angels and other birds,
I should just like to say a few words
In reference to this guardian angel illusion.
It will be remebered that mother herself, when she was young, and not so
handy with the flatiron of war as she is to-day,
Had a little experience of her own in that way.
It was a Saxon guardian angel, with fierce whiskers and a spear,
That poor mother put her maiden trust in: and it would appear
That he treated her in a very shameful and ungentlemanly style;
For, after he had expelled the Scot burglar or the Pict fowl-thief or whoever it was,
he remarked, with a sinister smile:
'Well, not that I am here,
I think I'll stay for a while.'
And that's how mother got married....he did marry her in the end, or so I
And made an honest woman of her, and in time they built up a very respectable home
in the land.
But, after all, despite his morals, he was a white man, and a decent sort of fellow.
And things miht have been very different if his color had happened to be yellow.
Since then, if any reliance can be placed on the hi
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