Pine, Rose and Fleur de Lis

by Susie Frances Harrison




Well! ’tis over. Good-bye, Jeanette!
Good-bye, Nanon, and you, my pet,
Natalie—child of the dancing eye,
Chère Natalie, good-bye, good-by!
Farewell—for a while, each spire-deckt town,
Each slip of a girl, so lithe and brown,
Each rushing river, each mountain mere,
Each vesper bell, so haunting clear!
Farewell, Madelon, farewell, Corinne,
And M’mselle Plouffe, so tall and thin!
Before we visit your shores again
Old Hymen you may entertain,
And now, to please us, pray let us know
If it really happens—thus—and—so.
A piece of red satin for Sunday wear,
Some stout white lace that will never tear,
An ostrich plume of a vivid green,
Some red glass earrings fit for a queen,
A pair of blue kids and a nickel chain—
These you shall have. In return we fain
Would purchase a few of your home-made chairs—
Those neat little rocker’d light wooden affairs—
Some home-made flannel, some knitted socks,
Some seeds of your double purple stocks,
And—if you will—of your hollyhocks.
We know, mes filles, this is much to demand,
For the latter came from that gracious land,
Your own belle France in the long ago,
Brought by your sires from St. Malo.
So farewell, Natalie, farewell, child—
The summer is passing, the birds fly south,
And we who were for a time beguil’d
By a laughing eye, by a mocking mouth,
We pass with the summer, we fly like the birds,
And phrases are empty—no comfort in words.
Shall you be still our sweet Natalie
When we come next year, just as free and gay,
Just as fond of the dance and the fête and the play?
We ask it, you know, since maidens like you
Are rare in the Vale of the Richelieu,
And they marry so young—there’s your friend Jeannette
Is only fourteen, and you, my pet,
Are one year older already—ah! stay
At the “Sacred Heart” for a year and a day
Before you consent. “Consent! Ma foy!
You think, I suppose, that I like that boy,
Mdme. Brosse’s Alphonse!!” Why, you know you do,
So promise, ma mie, when he comes to woo,
You will send him home to his own Berthier,
And keep him there for a year and a day.



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