It was a summer evening;
Old Kaspar was at home,
Sitting before his cottage door--
Like in the Southey pome--
And near him, with a magazine,
Idled his grandchild, Geraldine.
"Why don't you ask me," Kaspar said
To the child upon the floor,
"Why don't you ask me what I did
When I was in the war?
They told me that each little kid
Would surely ask me what I did.
"I've had my story ready
For thirty years or more."
"Don't bother, Grandpa," said the child;
"I find such things a bore.
Pray leave me to my magazine,"
Asserted little Geraldine.
Then entered little Peterkin,
To whom his gaffer said:
"You'd like to hear about the war?
How I was left for dead?"
"No. And, besides," declared the youth,
"How do I know you speak the truth?"
Arose that wan, embittered man,
The hero of this pome,
And walked, with not unsprightly step,
Down to the Soldiers' Home,
Where he, with seven other men,
Sat swapping lies till half-past ten.