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Maurine – Part 2 [To Little Birds That Never Tire Of Humming]
by [?]


To little birds that never tire of humming
About the garden in the summer weather,
Aunt Ruth compared us, after Helen’s coming,
As we two roamed, or sat and talked together.
Twelve months apart, we had so much to say
Of school days gone–and time since passed away;
Of that old friend, and this; of what we’d done;
Of how our separate paths in life had run;
Of what we would do, in the coming years;
Of plans and castles, hopes and dreams and fears.
All these, and more, as soon as we found speech,
We touched upon, and skimmed from this to that.
But at the first each only gazed on each,
And, dumb with joy, that did not need a voice
Like lesser joys, to say, “Lo! I rejoice,”
With smiling eyes and clasping hands we sat
Wrapped in that peace, felt but with those dear,
Contented just to know each other near.
But when this silent eloquence gave place
To words, ’twas like the rising of a flood
Above a dam. We sat there, face to face,
And let our talk glide on where’er it would,
Speech never halting in its speed or zest,
Save when our rippling laughter let it rest;
Just as a stream will sometimes pause and play
About a bubbling spring, then dash away.
No wonder, then, the third day’s sun was nigh
Up to the zenith when my friend and I
Opened our eyes from slumber long and deep:
Nature demanding recompense for hours
Spent in the portico, among the flowers,
Halves of two nights we should have spent in sleep.

So this third day, we breakfasted at one:
Then walked about the garden in the sun,
Hearing the thrushes and the robins sing,
And looking to see what buds were opening.

The clock chimed three, and we yet strayed at will
About the yard in morning dishabille,
When Aunt Ruth came, with apron o’er her head,
Holding a letter in her hand, and said,
“Here is a note, from Vivian I opine;
At least his servant brought it. And now, girls,
You may think this is no concern of mine,
But in my day young ladies did not go
Till almost bed-time roaming to and fro
In morning wrappers, and with tangled curls,
The very pictures of forlorn distress.
‘Tis three o’clock, and time for you to dress.
Come! read your note and hurry in, Maurine,
And make yourself fit object to be seen.”

Helen was bending o’er an almond bush,
And ere she looked up I had read the note,
And calmed my heart, that, bounding, sent a flush
To brow and cheek, at sight of aught HE wrote.
“Ma Belle Maurine:” (so Vivian’s billet ran,)
“Is it not time I saw your cherished guest?
‘Pity the sorrows of a poor young man,’
Banished from all that makes existence blest.
I’m dying to see–your friend; and I will come
And pay respects, hoping you’ll be at home
To-night at eight. Expectantly, V. D.”

Inside my belt I slipped the billet, saying,
“Helen, go make yourself most fair to see:
Quick! hurry now! no time for more delaying!
In just five hours a caller will be here,
And you must look your prettiest, my dear!
Begin your toilet right away. I know
How long it takes you to arrange each bow –
To twist each curl, and loop your skirts aright.
And you must prove you are au fait to-night,
And make a perfect toilet: for our caller
Is man, and critic, poet, artist, scholar,
And views with eyes of all.”
“Oh, oh! Maurine,”
Cried Helen with a well-feigned look of fear,
“You’ve frightened me so I shall not appear:
I’ll hide away, refusing to be seen
By such an ogre. Woe is me! bereft
Of all my friends, my peaceful home I’ve left,
And strayed away into the dreadful wood
To meet the fate of poor Red Riding Hood.
No, Maurine, no! you’ve given me such a fright,
I’ll not go near your ugly wolf to-night.”