Mary Called Him 'Mister'

A poem by Henry Lawson

They'd parted but a year before, she never thought he’d come,
She stammer’d, blushed, held out her hand, and called him ‘Mister Gum.’
How could he know that all the while she longed to murmur ‘John.’
He called her ‘Miss le Brook,’ and asked how she was getting on.

They’d parted but a year before; they’d loved each other well,
But he’d been to the city, and he came back such a swell.
They longed to meet in fond embrace, they hungered for a kiss,
But Mary called him ‘Mister,’ and the idiot called her ‘Miss.’

He stood and lean’d against the door, a stupid chap was he,
And, when she asked if he’d come in and have a cup of tea,
He looked to left, he looked to right, and then he glanced behind,
And slowly doffed his cabbage-tree, and said he ‘didn’t mind.’

She made a shy apology because the meat was tough,
And then she asked if he was sure his tea was sweet enough;
He stirred the tea and sipped it twice, and answer’d ‘plenty, quite;’
And cut the smallest piece of beef and said that it was ‘right.’

She glanced at him at times and cough’d an awkward little cough;
He stared at anything but her and said, ‘I must be off.’
That evening he went riding north, a sad and lonely ride,
She locked herself inside her room, and there sat down and cried.

They’d parted but a year before, they loved each other well,
But she was such a country girl and he was such a swell ;
They longed to meet in fond embrace, they hungered for a kiss,
But Mary called him ‘Mister’ and the idiot called her ‘Miss.

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