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Maurine – Part 1 [I Sat And Sewed, And Sang Some Tender Tune]
by [?]


I sat and sewed, and sang some tender tune,
Oh, beauteous was that morn in early June!
Mellow with sunlight, and with blossoms fair:
The climbing rose-tree grew about me there,
And checked with shade the sunny portico
Where, morns like this, I came to read, or sew.

I heard the gate click, and a firm, quick tread
Upon the walk. No need to turn my head;
I would mistake, and doubt my own voice sounding,
Before his step upon the gravel bounding.
In an unstudied attitude of grace,
He stretched his comely form; and from his face
He tossed the dark, damp curls; and at my knees,
With his broad hat he fanned the lazy breeze,
And turned his head, and lifted his large eyes,
Of that strange hue we see in ocean dyes,
And call it blue sometimes and sometimes green,
And save in poet eyes, not elsewhere seen.
“Lest I should meet with my fair lady’s scorning,
For calling quite so early in the morning,
I’ve brought a passport that can never fail,”
He said, and, laughing, laid the morning mail
Upon my lap. “I’m welcome? so I thought!
I’ll figure by the letters that I brought
How glad you are to see me. Only one?
And that one from a lady? I’m undone!
That, lightly skimmed, you’ll think me SUCH a bore,
And wonder why I did not bring you four.
It’s ever thus: a woman cannot get
So many letters that she will not fret
O’er one that did not come.”
“I’ll prove you wrong,”
I answered gaily, “here upon the spot!
This little letter, precious if not long,
Is just the one, of all you might have brought,
To please me. You have heard me speak, I’m sure,
Of Helen Trevor: she writes here to say
She’s coming out to see me; and will stay
Till Autumn, maybe. She is, like her note,
Petite and dainty, tender, loving, pure.
You’d know her by a letter that she wrote,
For a sweet tinted thing. ‘Tis always so:-
Letters all blots, though finely written, show
A slovenly person. Letters stiff and white
Bespeak a nature honest, plain, upright.
And tissuey, tinted, perfumed notes, like this,
Tell of a creature formed to pet and kiss.”
My listener heard me with a slow, odd smile;
Stretched in abandon at my feet, the while,
He fanned me idly with his broad-brimmed hat.
“Then all young ladies must be formed for that!”
He laughed, and said.
“Their letters read, and look,
As like as twenty copies of one book.
They’re written in a dainty, spider scrawl,
To ‘darling, precious Kate,’ or ‘Fan,’ or ‘Moll.’
The ‘dearest, sweetest’ friend they ever had.
They say they ‘want to see you, oh, so bad!’
Vow they’ll ‘forget you, never, NEVER, oh!’
And then they tell about a splendid beau –
A lovely hat–a charming dress, and send
A little scrap of this to every friend.
And then to close, for lack of something better,
They beg you’ll ‘read and burn this horrid letter.'”

He watched me, smiling. He was prone to vex
And hector me with flings upon my sex.
He liked, he said, to have me flash and frown,
So he could tease me, and then laugh me down.
My storms of wrath amused him very much:
He liked to see me go off at a touch;
Anger became me–made my colour rise,
And gave an added lustre to my eyes.
So he would talk–and so he watched me now,
To see the hot flush mantle cheek and brow.
Instead, I answered coolly, with a smile,
Felling a seam with utmost care, meanwhile.
“The caustic tongue of Vivian Dangerfield
Is barbed as ever, for my sex, this morn.
Still unconvinced, no smallest point I yield.
Woman I love, and trust, despite your scorn.
There is some truth in what you say? Well, yes!
Your statements usually hold more or less.
Some women write weak letters–(some men do;)
Some make professions, knowing them untrue.
And woman’s friendship, in the time of need,
I own, too often proves a broken reed.
But I believe, and ever will contend,
Woman can be a sister woman’s friend,
Giving from out her large heart’s bounteous store
A living love–claiming to do no more
Than, through and by that love, she knows she can:
And living by her professions, LIKE A MAN.
And such a tie, true friendship’s silken tether,
Binds Helen Trevor’s heart and mine together.
I love her for her beauty, meekness, grace;
For her white lily soul and angel face.
She loves me, for my greater strength, maybe;
Loves–and would give her heart’s best blood for me.
And I, to save her from a pain, or cross,
Would suffer any sacrifice or loss.
Such can be woman’s friendship for another.
Could man give more, or ask more from a brother?”