Treasure Island

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

(5 November 1850 - 30 October 1919 / Johnstown Center / Rock County / Wisconsin)

After the Engagement


Well, Mabel, 'tis over and ended---
The ball I wrote was to be;
And oh! it was perfectly splendid---
If you could have been here to see.
I've a thousand things to write you
That I know you are wanting to hear,
And one, that is sure to delight you---
I am wearing Joe's diamond, my dear!

Yes, mamma is quite ecstatic
That I am engaged to Joe;
She thinks I am rather erratic,
And feared that I might say "no."
But, Mabel, I'm twenty-seven
(Though nobody dreams it, dear),
And a fortune like Joe's isn't given
To lay at one's feet each year.

You know my old fancy for Harry---
Or, at least, I am certain you guessed
That it took all my sense not to marry
And go with that fellow out west.
But that was my very first season---
And Harry was poor as could be,
And mamma's good practical reason
Took all the romance out of me.

She whisked me off over the ocean,
And had me presented at court,
And got me all out of the notion
That ranch life out west was my forte.
Of course I have never repented---
I'm not such a goose of a thing;
But after I had consented
To Joe---and he gave me the ring---

I felt such a queer sensation.
I seemed to go into a trance,
Away from the music's pulsation,
Away from the lights and the dance.
And the wind o'er the wild prairie
Seemed blowing strong and free,
And it seemed not Joe, but Harry
Who was standing there close to me.

And the funniest feverish feeling
Went up from my feet to my head,
With little chills after it stealing---
And my hands got as numb as the dead.
A moment, and then it was over:
The diamond blazed up in my eyes,
And I saw in the face of my lover
A questioning, strange surprise.

Maybe 'twas the scent of the flowers,
That heavy with fragrance bloomed near,
But I didn't feel natural for hours;
It was odd now, wasn't it, dear?
Write soon to your fortunate Clara
Who has carried the prize away,
And say you'll come on when I marry;
I think it will happen in May.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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