He gave me an odd little look askance,
And mutter’d, ‘A man must do something though;’
I answer’d the look with a loving glance,
’But the something need not be cards, you know;
There is plenty to do before we die,
That may suit a gay and a careless mood;
We are so happy, Harry, you and I,
That I think we ought to be ever so good.
Playing at cards for money, I’m clear,
Is an alien thing in beautiful lives’—
He grumbled, ’The fellows will think me queer;
But then the poor fellows have not got wives.’
We talk’d the matter delightfully out;
Our words were earnest and bright and free;
We twisted it round, we turn’d it about,
And we both agreed that it should not be.
‘You are my angel,’ he cried, with a kiss;
‘I fear lest your wings are spreading to fly,’
And his angel I ought to be, in this,
For ’tis he who is tempted, and not I.
O, women have no temptations at all;
They have only to keep their white lives white;
But men are so tempted, that men must fall—
O wonderful Harry who stands upright!
* * * * *
Again the sweet evenings we had at first:
He reads, and I work; or we play and sing;
And looks and words that, if life were accurs’d,
In memory only, would rapture bring.
Engagements of course will sometimes arise;
But the joy is still in the coming back;
And sometimes he dines with us (Jack Devize),
And sometimes my husband dines out with Jack.
Under the cliff with its towering crest,
Where the wandering sea has fill’d the space,
A sweet little village has made its nest,
A sort of miniature watering place.
Scarcely a mile by the upper cliff way—
Further of course by the beach-shaded road—
Little Bellhaven contentedly lay,
Easily reached from our pleasant abode.
Therein a Church, and a place of Dissent,
A shop where we purchase our sugar and shoes,
Therein a Library ladies frequent;
Therein a club where the men read the news;
Also a chamber where, lit from above,
Balls white and crimson disport on green baize,
That capital game which gentlemen love,
Where Harry conquers whenever he plays.
Billiards require grace, agility, skill;
No one without them can hope to excel;
But Harry never did anything ill
That it is manly and right to do well.
In my pretty turn-out with ponies gray,
At a rattling pace to the club I come,
And feel like a queen triumphantly gay,
As I drive my conquering Hero home.
I like him to play; I like him to win;
I like to wait by the Ocean expanse,
To watch its wild waves come careering in,
In regular order unknown to chance.