Pieces People Ask For/She Stood on the Stair
SHE STOOD ON THE STAIR.
She stood at the turn of the stair,
With the rose-tinted light on her face,
And the gold of her hair gleaming out
From a mystical billow of lace.
And I waited and watched her apart,
And a mist seemed to compass my sight;
For last year we were nearer than friends,
And to me she was nothing to-night.
And the jasmine she wore at her throat
Was heavy with fragrance, and cast
The sorrowful present away,
And carried me back to the past.
Yes, her face is as proud and as sweet,
And the flowers are the same as of old.
Is her voice just as gentle and low?
Is her heart just as cruel and cold?
Does she dream of one summer ago,
As she stands on the rose-tinted stair?
Does she think of her Newport romance,
While she buttons her long mosquetaire?
And some one is singing a song,
And high o'er the music it rings,
And she listens and leans from the stair,
For these are the words that it sings:—
"Oh, love for a month or a week,
Oh, love for a year or a day;
But, oh for the love that will live—
That will linger forever and aye!"
There's a stillness—the music has stopped,
And she turns with an indolent grace:
Am I waking, or still do I dream,
Or is there a tear on her face?
Then I step from the shadow apart,
Till I stand by her side on the stair:
One step to the flowers and light
From the darkness and gloom of despair.
And I take both her hands in my own,
And I look in her eyes once again,—
And I shiver and tremble and shake
When I think what a fool I have been.
And I stamp and I claw at the air,
And rave at myself for a spell;
For it isn't the girl, after all,
That I met at the Newport hotel.