It was clear that poor Richard was out of the running,
His mortification he could not disguise.
She flirted with Edward, the company shunning,
Soul leaping to soul through their eloquent eyes.
Devotion of years had he lavished in vain,
But the luck took a turn when Ted trod on her train.
There sounded a rip as if stitches were slitting,
The lady herself was brought up with a jerk.
Ted smiled his excuses, facetiously fitting
The little mishap with a humorous quirk.
Poor innocent fool! his smile faded to gloom,
For he read in her look his immutable doom.
Her peach-blossom face wore a look so malignant
His dexterous epigram faltered and failed,
Her eye scattered lightnings forbidding, indignant,
His ardour was quenched and his countenance paled,
While she riddled his length with a fire of disdain.
From his head to his foot (on her gossamer train).
So she took Dick instead, and their days pass serenely,
He watches his feet and is careful to steer;
She sweeps o’er the carpet majestic and queenly;
He follows a yard and a half in the rear.
His duties are heavy, but perfectly plain:
To work for her, love her, and keep off her train.