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Maurine – Part 3 [One Golden Twelfth-Part Of A Checkered Year]
by [?]

“Beauteous sirens of the sea,
Come sail across the raging main with me!”
He laughed; and leaning, drew our drifting boat
Beside his own. “There, now! step in!” he said;
“I’ll land you anywhere you want to go –
My boat is safer far than yours, I know:
And much more pleasant with its sails all spread.
The Swan? We’ll take the oars, and let it float
Ashore at leisure. You, Maurine, sit there –
Miss Helen here. Ye gods and little fishes!
I’ve reached the height of pleasure, and my wishes.
Adieu despondency! farewell to care!”

‘Twas done so quickly: that was Vivian’s way.
He did not wait for either yea or nay.
He gave commands, and left you with no choice
But just to do the bidding of his voice.
His rare, kind smile, low tones, and manly face
Lent to his quick imperiousness a grace
And winning charm, completely stripping it
Of what might otherwise have seemed unfit.
Leaving no trace of tyranny, but just
That nameless force that seemed to say, “You must.”
Suiting its pretty title of the Dawn,
(So named, he said, that it might rhyme with Swan),
Vivian’s sail-boat was carpeted with blue,
While all its sails were of a pale rose hue.
The daintiest craft that flirted with the breeze;
A poet’s fancy in an hour of ease.

Whatever Vivian had was of the best.
His room was like some Sultan’s in the East.
His board was always spread as for a feast,
Whereat, each meal, he was both host and guest.
He would go hungry sooner than he’d dine
At his own table if ’twere illy set.
He so loved things artistic in design –
Order and beauty, all about him. Yet
So kind he was, if it befell his lot
To dine within the humble peasant’s cot,
He made it seem his native soil to be,
And thus displayed the true gentility.

Under the rosy banners of the Dawn,
Around the lake we drifted on, and on.
It was a time for dreams, and not for speech.
And so we floated on in silence, each
Weaving the fancies suiting such a day.
Helen leaned idly o’er the sail-boat’s side,
And dipped her rosy fingers in the tide;
And I among the cushions half reclined,
Half sat, and watched the fleecy clouds at play,
While Vivian with his blank-book, opposite,
In which he seemed to either sketch or write,
Was lost in inspiration of some kind.

No time, no change, no scene, can e’er efface
My mind’s impression of that hour and place;
It stands out like a picture. O’er the years,
Black with their robes of sorrow–veiled with tears,
Lying with all their lengthened shapes between,
Untouched, undimmed, I still behold that scene.
Just as the last of Indian-summer days,
Replete with sunlight, crowned with amber haze,
Followed by dark and desolate December,
Through all the months of winter we remember.

The sun slipped westward. That peculiar change
Which creeps into the air, and speaks of night
While yet the day is full of golden light,
We felt steal o’er us.
Vivian broke the spell
Of dream-fraught silence, throwing down his book:
“Young ladies, please allow me to arrange
These wraps about your shoulders. I know well
The fickle nature of our atmosphere, –
Her smile swift followed by a frown or tear, –
And go prepared for changes. Now you look,
Like–like–oh, where’s a pretty simile?
Had you a pocket mirror here you’d see
How well my native talent is displayed
In shawling you. Red on the brunette maid;
Blue on the blonde–and quite without design
(Oh, where IS that comparison of mine?)
Well–like a June rose and a violet blue
In one bouquet! I fancy that will do.
And now I crave your patience and a boon,
Which is to listen, while I read my rhyme,
A floating fancy of the summer time.
‘Tis neither witty, wonderful, nor wise,
So listen kindly–but don’t criticise
My maiden effort of the afternoon: