Black Beetles in Amber
Said Waterman, his agitable wick
Still sputtering, "what calls you back so quick?
It scarcely was a century ago
You left us." "I have come to bring," said Nick,
"St. Peter's answer (he is never slow
In correspondence) to your application
For pardon--pardon me!--for commutation.
"He says that he's instructed to reply
(And he has so instructed me) that sin
Like yours--and this poor gentleman's who's in
For bad advice to you--comes rather high;
But since, apparently, you both begin
To feel some pious promptings to the right,
And fain would turn your faces to the light,
Eternity seems all too long a term.
So 'tis commuted to one-half. I'm quite
Prepared, when that expires, to free the worm
And quench the fire." And, civilly retreating,
He left them holding their protracted meeting.
A LIFTED FINGER
[The Chronicle did a great public serv