YOU have heard of forced potatoes, have you not, dear little folks?
Of melons forced, and cucumbers, and grapes in purple cloaks?
But I have seen, and handled, too—and oh, the sight was funny!—
A rabbit forced, a tiny one, a snow-white little Bunny.
Two little girls of ten and twelve—I love them very much—
Once thought a tenant they would like for their new rabbit-hutch,
So off to town they drove one day, and there a rabbit bought,
And home the furry tenant in their pony-carriage brought.
They petted, nursed and fondled it, and showed it every care,
And said before it went to bed its sheets of straw they’d air;
They also begged it very hard itself at home to make,
And hoped, although its bed was strange, it would not lie awake.
How happy was this Bunny white I really cannot tell,
But certainly it happy looked, and was extremely well;
Its eyes were bright, its nose was cool, its tongue a lovely pink.
And for its pulse—well, that was strong and regular, I think.
When summer came, the little girls were taken to the sea,
And left their rabbit with the groom—a youth of twenty-three.
They bathed and dug upon the shore, and played with Cousin Jack;
They heard the band upon the sand, and rode on donkey-back.
Then home they came, and went at once to see their Bunny dear,
To stroke his ribs, and pat his head, and feel each wiry ear;
But oh! alas! they found him not—the rabbit was not there!
His hutch, like Mrs. Hubbard’s shelf, was very, very bare.
Now, where is he? They called the groom, the youth of twenty-three,
And said, “Oh, George, where’s Bunny gone? Oh where, oh where is he?”
“He’s in the hot-house,” George replied; “the gardener put him there,
For he was growing thinner, miss, and losing all his hair.”
They trotted to the garden then, and there the Bunny found,
And ’neath a vine beheld their pet reposing on the ground.
“Why, what is that?” they both exclaimed; “can that a rabbit be?
I never in my life before so strange a thing did see!”
They were surprised, and certainly the sight was strange to view,
For Bunny looked so very huge, and such a bundle too!
Such fat he had, and lots of hair, they longed a bit to pull;
He was exactly like a ball of living cotton-wool.
No tailor ever did produce a coat so superfine,
’Twas white as snow, and very thick on stomach, chest and spine—
As thick as heads of stupid boys with countenances glum;
And oh! the hair was very long—as long as any sum!
A host of friends and neighbors came the funny sight to see,
To one and all a rabbit forced was quite a novelty;
And everybody petted him, and loved him very much,
And brought him goody-goodies for the larder in his hutch.
* * * * *
One day—and now my pen and ink the deepest mourning wear—
They let him out upon the lawn for exercise and air;
They turned their backs, two dogs rushed up, and one, with swelling chest,
Seized Bunny by his woolly throat, and—you must guess the rest.