Johnny loses his sheep and has to face the rage of his master. Chased off the property he sets out on his adventures, just calling on the fair Helen one more time to take leave of her..(in the next chapter)
By the time John had rounded up half of his charges
The sun was so low it was red at the marges,
And where were the others? He couldn’t locate them.
Perhaps they’d been pinched or the wolves took and ate them?
Wherever they were, they were gone. It was finished.
Useless to mourn or to seek for what’s vanished.
Then what should he do? It would take some explaining.
So he set off for home with the few head remaining.
“You’re for it now Johnny, my lad, you have bungled,”
He muttered dejected as homeward he stumbled,
“My master’s an ill-starred and ill-tempered fellow,
But whither God leads us there we must follow.”
No time left for thinking of deity or mortal,
Shepherd and flock have arrived at the portal.
The master stood furious, his temper still mounting,
And, as was his habit, he started off counting.
“Don’t bother to count, sir. There’s no point in messing.
I cannot deny that half the flock’s missing;
There’s nothing to do, I am sorry, I’m gutted.
That’s all there is to it,” John mournfully muttered.
Giving a twirl to his whiskers, his master
Glared at poor Johnny and gave him this answer:
“Don’t joke with me, laddie, I don’t find that funny.
My temper, as you know, has never been sunny.”
No trifling indeed, his patience eroded,
Johnny’s employer almost exploded,
He bellowed and boomed, his face was quite blue with it:
“Give me my pitchfork! I’ll run the brute through with it!
You swindler, you thief! You’ll drown in the river!
Oh for some vultures to feed on his liver!...
Is this why I kept you and fed you your wittles?
May the hangman be using your thighbones for skittles!
Now out of my sight! Disappear altogether!”
His furious words tumbled over each other,
He picked up a stacking pole, the nearest to grab at,
And rushed at poor Johnny for something to stab at.
John took to his heels but not out of terror,
To think him a coward would be a grave error,
A tough kid he was, and had outwrestled plenty,
Albeit of winters he’d not yet reached twenty.
He only made off because he admitted
That master was right, he’d not be acquitted:
Should words come to blows he really would rather
Not strike at the man who was all but his father.
He ran till his master was thoroughly winded.
Then ambled and stopped and once more meandered
Now right and now left, who knows now, wherever.
His mind was confused, he was more lost than ever.
Tomorrow to London but a little more poetic form in the morning.