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Old Susan

 When Susan's work was done, she'd sit 
With one fat guttering candle lit, 
And window opened wide to win 
The sweet night air to enter in; 
There, with a thumb to keep her place 
She'd read, with stern and wrinkled face.
Her mild eyes gliding very slow Across the letters to and fro, While wagged the guttering candle flame In the wind that through the window came.
And sometimes in the silence she Would mumble a sentence audibly, Or shake her head as if to say, "You silly souls, to act this way!" And never a sound from night I'd hear, Unless some far-off cock crowed clear; Or her old shuffling thumb should turn Another page; and rapt and stern, Through her great glasses bent on me, She'd glance into reality; And shake her round old silvery head, With--"You!--I thought you was in bed!"-- Only to tilt her book again, And rooted in Romance remain.

by Walter de la Mare
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