Aunt Dorothy's Lecture

Come, go and practise—get your work—
Do something, Nelly, pray.
I hate to see you moon about
In this uncertain way!
Why do you look so vacant, child?
I fear you must be ill.
Surely you are not thinking of
That Captain Cameron still?

Ah, yes—I fear'd so! You may blush;
I blush for you, my dear;
And it is scarce a week ago
Since Gerald brought him here—
The day he fell in the hunting-field,
And his pretty horse was lamed.
O child—and with your bringing up!
You ought to be ashamed.

Last night I saw you watching him,
And you danced with him thrice;
You turn'd quite red when he spoke to you—
Such manners are not nice.
You, Nelly Gray, should not be seen
(I don't wish to be harsh)
Running wild, like the servant-girls,
For a red coat and moustache.

Not that he isn't a gentleman
From spur to shako-brim—
I know good blood when I see it—yes,
I will say that for him.
He does not swagger, nor lisp, nor flirt—
Has none of those vulgar ways;
And he does not talk like a stable-boy,
As the fashion is nowadays.
In fact, I admire him very much—
My dear, you need not fret—
I do; he's very different from
The rest of Gerald's set.
He's very handsome, certainly—
I don't mind saying so.
He reminds me a bit of your uncle, when
I met him long ago.
He had a silky, long moustache
Of just that golden shade;
And broad Greek brows, with a tint of bronze,
That Indian suns had made.
He was a soldier, too, you know—
As big and strong and tall:
He'd just come home when I saw him first
At Lady Talbot's ball.

I remember when we were introduced;
By stealth I look'd him o'er—
Such haughty, indolent, gentle eyes,
I never saw before!
I felt so strange when he look'd at me;
I cannot tell you why—
But I seem'd to feel he was mine, to keep
And love, till I should die.

'Twas very odd—in a moment, too,
Before I knew his name!
But, Nelly—O how the world was changed
And brighten'd, when he came!
I was so restless all that night;—
I did not want to see,
I felt where he moved about the room
While he was away from me.
I was jealous—I could not help it,
Although I struggled hard—
Of the other girls, whose favour'd names
Were written on his card;
They were so rich, and I was poor;
They were so grandly dress'd,
And I so dowdy; and yet, and yet,
I thought he liked me best.

The last long hour he danced with them,
And oh I miss'd him so!
And then I heard our carriage call'd,
And I knew that I must go.
A big lump rose up in my throat
That I could hardly bear;
But, passing through the vestibule,
I saw him standing there.

I knew not where he came from,
But I felt no surprise
When he look'd down from his stately height
With his grave and quiet eyes,
And held his hand for a mute good-night
That said all words could say;—
Ah, love! he made me happy then
For ever and for aye.

Well, well,—but this is nonsense;
How I am running on!—
His golden hair grew thin and grey,
And now he's dead and gone.
There, go and dress for dinner, child;
It's getting late, you see;
And—perhaps I'll ask young Cameron
If he'll come in to tea.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Ada Cambridge

Ada Cambridge, later known as Ada Cross, was an English-born Australian writer. more…

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