James Whitcomb Riley (7 October 1849 - 22 July 1916 / Greenfield, Indiana)
A Delicious Interruption
All were quite gracious in their plaudits of
Bud's Fairy; but another stir above
That murmur was occasioned by a sweet
Young lady-caller, from a neighboring street,
Who rose reluctantly to say good-night
To all the pleasant friends and the delight
Experienced,--as she had promised sure
To be back home by nine. Then paused, demure,
And wondered was it _very_ dark.--Oh, _no!_--
She had _come_ by herself and she could go
Without an _escort_. Ah, you sweet girls all!
What young gallant but comes at such a call,
Your most abject of slaves! Why, there were three
Young men, and several men of family,
Contesting for the honor--which at last
Was given to Cousin Rufus; and he cast
A kingly look behind him, as the pair
Vanished with laughter in the darkness there.
As order was restored, with everything
Suggestive, in its way, of 'romancing,'
Some one observed that _now_ would be the chance
For _Noey_ to relate a circumstance
That _he_--the very specious rumor went--
Had been eye-witness of, by accident.
Noey turned pippin-crimson; then turned pale
As death; then turned to flee, without avail.--
'_There!_ head him off! _Now!_ hold him in his chair!--
Tell us the Serenade-tale, now, Noey.--_There!_'
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