A. G. Stephens
HARK how the chill westerly rattles the windows!
I’ll draw up my chair to the side of the fire:
That new book, I fancy, must wait till to-morrow—
I’m lazy, and old eyes so easily tire.
By George! good cigar, this! Nell chose it, and lit it,
And thrust me in here till she clears things away:
A nice little dinner she gave me this evening—
Soup, fish, pâté, salad and cheese—all O.K.
Dear Nellie! Heigho, as I stare at the embers,
The years roll away down their dusty old track:
I mind well the first time I saw her—at Harry’s—
Her father was dead: she was still wearing black,
All black, with an old-fashioned brooch made of silver,
And châtelaine of silver, and quaint silver belt,
She looked—how she looked! . . there, that coal in the centre!
That’s she! . . ah, the picture’s beginning to melt.
In three months we married—let’s see—eighteen-ninety:
Just forty years gone—how the time slips away!
The thirteenth—no, was it?—the fifteenth—yes, fifteenth:
Why, hang it! we’re forty years married to-day!
Whew! now je comprends—all those little side glances!
Her colour, her chatter, the dress that she wore!
The wine, this cigar! why, I smelt something extra—
Old duffer I was not to see it before!
All years ago? Nonsense! it happened this morning—
The wedding, the breakfast, the table all set
And people all glaring—O Lord! they encored me!
A dream! no, I feel the rice down my back yet.
And then comes a mist, but I know at the station
I wrung the guard’s hand: did he think me insane?
Then handkerchiefs waving—“Good-bye and God bless you!”
A whistle! we’re off by the honeymoon train!
That journey! O, Paradise holds nothing sweeter!
(What bliss can be bought for a twelve shilling fare!)
With Nell on my knee (she got off at the stations)
Pretending to scold when I let down her hair.
And now we’ve arrived, and had welcome and dinner,
And Nell for a moment has gone to our room—
Our room! O delicious!—I think that’s her footstep:
We’ll sit—not too long—and spend love in the gloom.
“Cigar out! No gas lit!” My dear, I’ve been dozing! . .
How well you look, Nellie! your eyes shine again.
What, kisses! Hang grey hairs! I’m gay three-and-twenty—
God bless us! we’re off by the honeymoon train.
A. G. STEPHENS.