Treasure Island

William Henry Ogilvie

(21 August 1869 – 30 January 1963 / Kelso, Scotland)

As I wandered home


As I wandered home
By Hedworth Combe
I heard a lone horse whinney,
And saw on the hill
Standing statue-still
At the top of the old oak spinney
A rough-haired hack
With a girl on his back-
And 'Hounds!' I said- 'for a guinea!'

The wind blew chill
Over Larchey Hill,
And it couldn't have blown much colder;
Her nose was blue,
And her pigtails two
Hung damply over her shoulder;
She might have been ten,
Or - guessing again -
She might have been twelve months older.

To a tight pink lip
She pressed her whip
By way of imposing quiet;
I bowed my head
To the word unsaid,
Accepting the lady's fiat,
And noted the while
Her Belvoir style
As she rated a hound for riot.

A lean form leapt
O'er the fence and crept
Through the ditch with his thief's heart quaking,
But the face of the maid
No hint betrayed
That she noticed the brambles shaking,
Till she saw him clear
Of her one wild fear-
The chance of his backward breaking.

Then dainty and neat
She rose in her seat
That the better her eyes might follow
Where a shadow of brown
Over Larchley Down
Launched out like a driving swallow;
And she quickened his speed
Through bracken and weed
With a regular Pytchley holloa!

Raging they came
Like a torrent of flame-
There where nineteen couple and over,
And a huntsman grey
Who blew them away
With the note of a true hound-lover,
While his Whip sat back
On her rough old hack
And called to the last in covert.

Then cramming down flat
Her quaint little hat,
And shaking the old horse together,
She was off like a bird,
And the last that I heard
Was a 'For'ard!' that died in the heather
As she took up her place
At the tail of the chase
Like a ten-season lord of the leather.

Submitted: Wednesday, April 07, 2010

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