Page images

Now all this happiness, beyond a doubt, By this silk hat I hold was brought about, Or by its brother. Poor old English tile ! Many have sneered at thy ungainly style; Many, with ridicule and gibe—why not?Have dubbed thee “stove-pipe,” called thee

“chimney-pot." They, as æsthetes, are not far wrong, maybe; But I, for all that thou hast done for me, Raise thee, in spite of nonsense sung or said, With deep respect, and place thee on my head. From Harper's Magazine, by permission. Translation of



NEW YORK, July 20, 1883. DEAR GIRL:

The town goes on as though It thought you still were in it;

The gilded cage seems scarce to know

That it has lost its linnet.
The people come, the people pass;

The clock keeps on a-ticking;
And through the basement plots of grass

Persistent weeds are pricking.

I thought 'twould never come—the Spring

Since you had left the city;
But on the snow-drifts lingering

At last the skies took pity.
Then Summer's yellow warmed the sun,

Daily decreasing distance-
I really don't know how 'twas done

Without your kind assistance.

Aunt Van, of course, still holds the fort:

I've paid the call of duty;
She gave me one small glass of port-

'Twas '34 and fruity.
The furniture was draped in gloom

Of linen brown and wrinkled ;

I smelt in spots about the room

The pungent camphor sprinkled. I sat upon the sofa where

You sat and dropped your thimbleYou know you said you didn't care;

But I was nobly nimble. On hands and knees I dropped, and tried

To-well, I tried to miss it: You slipped your hand down by your side

You knew I meant to kiss it!

Aunt Van, I fear we put to shame

Propriety and precision; But, praised be Love, that kiss just came

Beyond your line of vision.
Dear maiden aunt! the kiss, more sweet

Because 'tis surreptitious,
You never stretched a hand to meet,

So dimpled, dear, delicious.
I sought the Park last Saturday;

I found the Drive deserted;

The water-trough beside the way

Sad and superfluous spurted. I stood where Humboldt guards the gate,

Bronze, bumptious, stained, and streakyThere sat a sparrow on his pate,

A sparrow chirp and cheeky.

Ten months ago! Ten months ago!

It seems a happy second, Against a lifetime lone and slow,

By Love's wild time-piece reckonedYou smiled, by Aunt's protecting side,

Where thick the drags were massing, On one young man who didn't ride,

But stood and watched you passing.

I haunt Purssell's—to his amaze

Not that I care to eat there, But for the dear clandestine days

When we two had to meet there. Oh, blessèd is that baker's bake,

Past cavil and past question:

I ate a bun for your sweet sake,

And memory helped digestion. The Norths are at their Newport ranch;

Van Brunt has gone to Venice; Loomis invites me to the Branch,

And lures me with lawn tennis. O bustling barracks by the sea !

O spiles, canals, and islands ! Your varied charms are naught to me

My heart is in the Highlands ! My paper trembles in the breeze

That all too faintly flutters Among the dusty city trees,

And through my half-closed shutters: A northern captive in the town,

Its native vigor deadened,
I hope that, as it wandered down,

Your dear pale cheek it reddened.

I'll write no more! A vis-à-vis

In halcyon vacation

« PreviousContinue »