A Leap Year Episode.

A poem by Hattie Howard

Such oranges! so fresh and sweet,
So large and lovely - and so cheap!
They lay in one delicious heap,
And added to the sumptuous feast
For each and all in taste expert
The acme of all fine dessert;
So, singling out the very least
As in itself an ample treat,
While sparkling repartee and jest
Exhilarated host and guest,
Of rarity so delicate
In dreamy reverie I ate,
By magic pinions as it were
Transported from this realm of snows
To be a happy sojourner
Away down where the orange grows;
Amid the bloom, the verdure, and
The beauty of that tropic land,
While redolence seemed wafted in
From orchard-groves of Mandarin.

In dinner costume a la mode,
Expressing from the spongy skin
The nectar that ran down her chin
In little rills of lusciousness,
Sat Maud, the beautiful coquette;
Her dainty mouth, like "two lips" wet
With morning dew, her crimson dress,
A sad discoloration showed
Where orange-juice - it was a sin! -
A polka-dot had painted in;
Which moved the roguish girl to say
Half-ruefully (half-décolleté) -
"I'm glad it's Leap Year now, for I - "
Her voice was like a moistened lute
"Shall wear the flowers, by and by -
I do not like this leaky fruit!"
And looking straight and saucily
At cousin Ned, her vis-a-vis;
While Will, who never dared propose,
Was blushing like a red, red rose.

The company was large, and she
Touched elbows with the exquisite,
Gay Archibald, who took her wit
And pertness all as meant for him;
Who, thereby lifted some degrees
Above less-favored devotees,
With rainbow sails began to trim
His craft of sweet felicity;
So mirth in reckless afterlude
Convulsed the merry multitude,
Who laughed at Archie's self-esteem,
And pitied Will's long-cherished dream;
While all declared, for her and Ned -
His face was like a silver tray -
The wedding-banquet should be spread
Before a twelvemonth passed away.
But, ah, the sequel - blind were we
To woman and her strategy!
For he so long afraid to speak
Bore off the bride within a week.

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