Thus from the banquet two lovers depart,
Owning thy truth, lovely voice of my heart;
Seeking a home that, whatever befall,
Is brighter and sweeter and dearer than all;
Better than all that the world can decree,
For happy young creatures like Harry and me!
Self-ordained critics, we sit at our ease,
Life spread before us to judge as we please;
Harry in quite a ridiculous way
Prates about wine, like a swell in a play;
Next, the made dishes proceeding to scan,
With wisdom becoming a greedy old man;
Looking so charmingly youthful and gay,
I laugh in his face at his airs of gourmet;
Admitting myself but three things to be nice—
Champagne, lobster salad, and strawberry ice.
Then pass the people in sparkling review;
I ask fifty questions beginning with Who?
Midnight approaches—a sense of repose
Floating about me, my eyelids half close;
Rising, I languidly say, ’By the bye,
Who is the Captain?’ he laughs in reply,
Stands up in front of me, just face to face,
Makes me a bow with an air and a grace:
‘The Captain this moment before you’ you see—
That’s my nickname in the country,’ says he.
Pleasantly sleepy I felt ere he spake,
Now I am thoroughly widely awake;
A shock passes through me of horrid surprise,
I turn upon Harry my wondering eyes,
Catching at hopes, as the drowning at straws,
I cry, as the truth for a moment withdraws,
’You’re quizzing me, Harry—that’s what you’re at,
It cannot be you that they speak of like that!’
Then he insists on my telling, displeas’d
At any concealment, WHAT have I heard?
Worried and wearied, bewilder’d and teaz’d,
I blurt it out and repeat every word!
Harry regards me with almost a stare—
Pulls his moustache with a sort of amaze—
Passes his hand through his clustering hair
And—bursts out laughing, as if it was praise!
There is nothing so sweet or full of grace
(Can one who has seen it ever forget?)
As the smile that comes over Harry’s face;
It is Heaven on earth—and yet—and yet—
I feel a strange chill steal into my heart—
Should he permit such remarks from the crowd?
Can it be their part? Can it be his part?
They the mean snobs! he the noble and proud!
No shooting to-day of partridge or snipe;
It has steadily rained since morning broke,
In dancing spirits I kindle his pipe
(I am learning to like the smell of smoke!)
He has given up such a deal for me!
He likes to give up his bachelor way;
He says it is charming not to be free,
So he only smokes one pipe in the day.
Together we sit in his little room,
Which is fitted up like a dainty toy;
And if without there is darkness and gloom,
Within there is plenty of light and joy.