Robert William Service (16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)
Till midnight her needle she plied
To finish her pretty pink dress;
"Oh, bless you, my darling," she sighed;
"I hope you will be a success."
As she entered the Oddfellow's Hall
With the shy thrill of maiden romance
She felt like the belle of the Ball,
But . . . nobody asked her to dance.
Her programme was clutched in her hand;
Her smile was a tiny bit wan;
She listened, applauding the band,
Pretending she liked to look on.
Each girl had her favourite swain,
She watched them retreat and advance;
She waited and waited in vain,
but nobody asked her to dance.
Said Mother to me: "You'll agree
That any young girl who wears specs,
however so clever she be,
Is lacking in glamour of sex."
Said I: "There is one by the wall
Who doesn't seem having a chance.
She's ready to weep - Dash it all,
I'm going to ask her to dance."
I caught her just slipping away
So quietly no one would know;
But bravely she tried to seem gay,
Though her heart might be aching with woe.
Poor kid! She looked only sixteen,
And she gave me a half frightened glance
When I bowed as if she were a Queen,
And I begged: "May I please have this dance?"
She gave me her card: what a bluff!
She'd written "Sir G." and "Sir G."
So I cut out that Galahad stuff,
And I scribbled "M.E" and "M.E.";
She looked so forlorn and so frail,
Submitting like one in a trance,
So I acted the conquering male,
And guided her into the dance.
Then lo! to my joy and surprise
Her waltzing I found was divine;
And she took those damn specs from her eyes,
And behold they were jewels a-shine;
No lipstick nor rouge she had on,
But no powder or paint could enhance
On her cheeks the twin roses shone
As I had with her dance after dance.
Then all of a sudden I knew
As we waltzed and reversed round the hall
That all eyes were watching us two,
And that she was the Belle of the Ball.
The fellows came buzzing like bees,
With swagger and posture and prance,
But her programme was full of "M.E."s,
So she couldn't afford them a dance.
Said mother: "You've been a nice boy,
But had a good time I suppose.
You've filled that poor kid's heart with joy,
From now she'll have plenty of beaus." . . .
So fellows, please listen to me:
Don't look at a wallflower askance;
If a girl sitting lonely you see,
Just bow, smile and beg for a dance.
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