The Honeymoon Train [poem by A.G. Stephens]

[Editor: This poem by A. G. Stephens was published in The Bulletin Reciter, 1901.]

The Honeymoon Train.

Hark how the chill westerly rattles the windows!
I ’ll draw up my chair to the side of the fire:
That new book, I fancy, must wait till to-morrow —
I ’m lazy, and old eyes so easily tire.

By George! good cigar, this! Nell chose it, and lit it,
And thrust me in here till she clears things away:
A nice little dinner she gave me this evening —
Soup, fish, pâté, salad and cheese — all O.K.

Dear Nellie! Heigho, as I stare at the embers,
The years roll away down their dusty old track:
I mind well the first time I saw her — at Harry’s —
Her father was dead: she was still wearing black.

All black, with an old-fashioned brooch made of silver,
And châtelaine of silver, and quaint silver belt,
She looked — how she looked! . . there, that coal in the centre!
That’s she! . . ah, the picture’s beginning to melt.

In three months we married — let’s see — eighteen-ninety:
Just forty years gone — how the time slips away!
The thirteenth — no, was it? — the fifteenth — yes, fifteenth:
Why, hang it! we ’re forty years married to-day!

Whew! now je comprends — all those little side glances!
Her colour, her chatter, the dress that she wore!
The wine, this cigar! why, I smelt something extra —
Old duffer I was not to see it before!

All years ago? Nonsense! it happened this morning —
The wedding, the breakfast, the table all set
And people all glaring — O Lord! they encored me!
A dream! no, I feel the rice down my back yet.

And then comes a mist, but I know at the station
I wrung the guard’s hand: did he think me insane?
Then handkerchiefs waving — “Good-bye and God bless you!”
A whistle! we ’re off by the honeymoon train!

That journey! O, Paradise holds nothing sweeter!
(What bliss can be bought for a twelve shilling fare!)
With Nell on my knee (she got off at the stations)
Pretending to scold when I let down her hair.

And now we ’ve arrived, and had welcome and dinner,
And Nell for a moment has gone to our room —
Our room! O delicious! — I think that ’s her footstep:
We ’ll sit — not too long — and spend love in the gloom.

“Cigar out! No gas lit!” My dear, I’ve been dozing! . .
How well you look, Nellie! your eyes shine again.
What, kisses! Hang grey hairs! I ’m gay three-and-twenty —
God bless us! we’re off by the honeymoon train.

A. G. Stephens.

A.G. Stephens (editor), The Bulletin Reciter: A Collection of Verses for Recitation from “The Bulletin” [1880-1901], Sydney: The Bulletin Newspaper Company, 1902 [first published 1901], pages 229-231

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