LET'S hookey Jack,' this afternoon, 

And have a game of ball, 

Of one-old-cat or two-old-cat 

Or any cat at all!" 

And Charlie White and Henry Blake 

And Tom and Willie Poole 

Made off across the Deacon's field, 

Well out of sight of school. 

But as they climbed the deacon's fence, 

Poor Tom must push away 

A hornet's nest, and then what came 

You know as well as I. 

Alas! It finished Tommy's sport 

Before 't was well begun; 

And back in school with tear-stained face 

Appeared at half-past one. 

"No two-old-cat today," said Will, 

And through the corn they go; 

But why should luckless Hall forget 

The ditch that lay below? 

With shoulder lamed and jacket torn 

And forehead black and blue, 

His heart aquake, poor Harry Blake 

Limped into school at two. 

"No one-old-cat today," said Will. 

"No use for two to try, 

Give me the bat, and do your best 

At catching on the fly." 

Perhaps 'twas only Charlie's fault 

That let the ball slip through; 

But at the school a swollen nose 

Arrived at half-past two. 

Alas! Our poor unfortunates— 

Reduced from four to one, 

"No matter, then," said sturdy Will; 

"I'll toss and catch alone." 

His lonely game was brief, indeed, 

The ball lodged in a tree, 

And meek, repentant Master Will 

Sank into school at three! 

Behold the sum of all their sport, 

Their honey turned to gall; 

No one-old-cat, no two-old-cat, 

Nor any cat at all.


—F. K. Crosby.