Rose and Fleur de Lis
Susie Frances Harrison
DE BOHEME! OR THE NOCTURNE IN G
the Latin Quarter.)
de Bohème! Curious, are you?
earnestly want to know all
About it? Well, you needn’t go far, you
to step across the hall.
This mountain of trunks outside the door!
you might care to investigate these,
But I’ll not risk becoming a bore—
the door is open! Entrez. (Sneeze!)
and scissors, and salt and Strauss—
last weak opera—have you seen it?—
on a chair, and a little dead mouse
in a trap, where the hangings screen it.
The chair itself, though, you don’t see
at the carvings there in the middle
Of the back—all the others are occupied
the lounge has a tray, a dog and a fiddle.
There’s nothing to sit upon—but the
Madame will object!” Not she. Asleep
At twelve of the clock! What a heavy head!
wake her—but you are an artist,—Peep
For a minute longer at curve of wrist,
out-stretched upon the pillow!
Is there anything there that will assist
dream of women and willow?
How sad she looks! Very sad for her,
never sorrows a moment awake;
Now, could you fasten that mouth’s demur
canvas, mon cher, you were made! Crimson
And you moushoir went into it? All my
not have entered Bohemia so,
a sensitive Sybarite not worth his salt—
I’ll take that back, and you too, if you’ll
But not just at present. Why, pocket the stain!
come out quite easily by-and-by;
And whether it come out, or if it remain,
Bohemia does not in the least signify.
Look out for your head, for the ceiling’s
out of three globes on the chandelier,
Only one is left, and it’s cracked, will
almost if one looks at it near.
The pinned-up blind and the breakfast tray
things wherewithal to boast,
But the Dresden and Derby in shining array,
obliterate hardening toast,
And long-poured-out coffee. At last! She Stirs!
is awake. Good-day! “Bonjour!
“Mon Dieu, it is late, and the friend
late every day, I must sleep toujours!
“I am an object? Quick, say!” Ah,
of grace and delight you always must be,
most of all now, ’tis not often les femmes
well upon waking. Is it, Lee.
Lee is my friend and a fast rising painter;
things which outrival your matchless Corot;
Murky gray skies, with a curious fainter
green gleam on the landscape below.
Though, is it Corot that I mean? Lee is shocked.
it, we saw you last night in the play,
In a pink and white poem so charmingly frocked,
thrice happy Théatre Français!
He begs for a sitting, and let me suggest
stay as you are with those fair frills of lace
Brimming over the coverlet—why, you are
that soft whiteness beneath your face,
And the bright bloom of Eos on either cheek,
a most divine violet-black in your eyes,
As liquid as childhood’s—there’s
no need to seek
drugs’ and the rouge-pots’ lies.
But later, Madame, you’ll be pale, no doubt.
Not when the afternoon shadows fall,
triste interim when old loves are about,
voices and footsteps are heard over all
The playing of Monsieur Diabolus? Ah!
here as I speak, and now, friend Lee,
Whom I think, Chevalier, you yesterday saw
my room downstairs, recollect? No.3?
We’ll leave you to settle your palette
and reflect, then to rumple your hair,
And presently actively bristle with brushes.
practice, Chevalier, while I will prepare
Quelque chose pour Madame. Not a word,
my own way.
is cold, but—I have it! Margaux!
In one pocket you see; in the other a stray
fresh plums and a tiny gâteau
Picked up at Victors. A glorious cook!
Frenchman, believe me, though here in the heart
Of your Paris he works since the day he forsook
fortune of Poland for Art.
You laugh, mes amis. Well, it’s
this. He’s a Pole,
illustrious; Poles always are;
into pink butter roses his soul,
is not a common one. Follows some star
Or Muse in his cooking; is the better for blood,
always are when together you find them;
The Regent had loved him; put poison for cud
Carême in his bouquets garnis as
he twin’d them;
Now Chopin and he were great friends in their
Victor has told me, his ices and cakes
Of the best inspiration, salmis,
rarest, he owed to the delicate shakes
And the marvellous touch of ce pauvre Frédèric.
up your cake, Madame, every crumb!
Value its shape and its colouring, seek
not unworthy your finger and thumb)
For its meaning, its essence—no, not the
on with your sketching, and Lee, look here!
Madame does not exile the darling Manilla,
puff away with your conscience clear,
If you want to and can with this in your ears,
sad soul of Chopin on violin strings!
Paint me the picture the most full of tears,
own heart out and pluck off your wings,
Let the down that was snowy and dowered as your
your ne’er dying worm as it rears and recedes,
Let the blood that once warmed you through breast
to cold bone
out and delight but not drown as it feeds—
Not the grave-worm, Madame—Ah! would God
that it were!
worm, and your’s, Lee, are both of a gender).
A live thing so harmlessly, holily fair!
We were enthralled with a mirage of splendour.
And it dies not; it dies not; it will push its way,
we are, slaves to its growth and its power;
To the worship of Art were we both called one day,
worship of Art have we lived till this hour.
Feed your worm then, I say, with superlative
me the picture the most full of tears—
You will never attain to that wonderful strain
alone through the hurrying years
Can give us—the wistful, the cry of all
helpless, abandoned and blind,
Dieu inconnu, the Unknown that controls
joy and the pain of our poor human kind.
But Madame there grows restless, declares I am
old, chers amis, but not cynical, no!
You have finished, I see, my ingenious feast,
I had now but purchased another gâteau!
Lee—rehearsal draws near. Say good-bye
to it all,
and look here, Chevalier, there’s nothing
Ah! No colour, my friend! Take this red parasol,
it open at back of Madame’s little head!
Then give her the “ruby” in one slender
bury the other beneath her hair—
You’ve a picture, the Salon will
with éclat, for your subject is
You have gone to real life, the critics will
and not Art, is the luckiest creed.
Apropos, you may think of the lines that,
in some café I once tried to read.
ran—Now, mark me, Lee, you’ll
you learn more daring. Dare to fling
golden-threaded pretty stuffs away!
down the flecked Madras and tear the eyes
ceiling peacock-feathered! Sell
cheap and curtains, amber plush
making sunset in the room!
did not come to see a splash of west,
I own, upon your canvas here.
bronzes—curse the bric-à-brac!
learned to draw it? Good! Now go your way,
world, the street, the omnibus,
Lee—no name to conjure with as yet—
to follow where Detaille has led?
But Madame, I digress, and the time, how it goes!
for the present. One wish—might I claim
This smallest, most withered, and least little
the beauté altière and the
Twelve bouquets—observe, Lee—all
thrown in one night,
were guilty of some would be easy to see;
Here’s a note, there’s a case—oh!
we must take our flight,
thanks, Chevalier, for the Nocturne in G.