HE (after a pause) : Dear, are you angry?
SHE: Yes, though not at you,
But at myself. Of course, we know it's true
That when a man respects a girl...
HE (interrupting) : I thought
You'd say that. It's the nonsense girls are taught.
You know, as well as I do, I revere
You more than any other woman, dear.
SHE (indignantly) : You'd not have done it to Elfrida Hood.
HE: Immortal gods! I shouldn't think I would.
SHE (haughtily) : If this but seems to you fit food for jest
I say no more. Silence were plainly best.
HE (very seriously) : Dear, if I jest, it is because I read
The hopelessness of aught that I could plead
In your stern eyes, which righteous wrath betray.
Were you another woman, I should say
That you were fair, and I, it seems, was mad,
But that the last long waltz that we had had :
Might very well have turned a wiser head.
A hundred things like this I might have said
To women who would take them as excuse.
You think none possible - so what's the use?
SHE: Then why discuss it further? Let us go.
HE: One minute! I should like you first to know
I did not think that this would be the end
When, two weeks since, you said you'd be my friend.
SHE (reflectively) : Only two weeks.
HE: Not long, 'tis true, and yet,
You've stopped my doing much I should regret.
Nor should I murmur that you teach how far
More hard than others all good women are.
SHE (emphatically) : That is not true, indeed it is not true.
Some men I could forgive this, but not you.
You would go home, and smile, and think I meant­
I viewed it merely as a...
HE (politely) : Precedent!
Was that the word? Indeed, in this respect
You wrong, to say the least, my intellect.
If you forgave me, I should understand
Just what it meant. . .
SHE (hastily) : Oh, please let go my hand!
Here is papa, who comes, I know, to say
That it is late, and time to go away.
HE: I do not care a bit how late it is,
I only know we cannot part like this.
Show me, at least, you do not doubt my sorrow.
SHE (hesitatingly) : Well - come as usual at five to-morrow.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011


Alice Duer Miller

Alice Duer Miller was an American writer and poet. more…

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"OVERHEARD IN A CONSERVATORY" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 9 Jul 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/1472/overheard-in-a-conservatory>.

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