The Pas Trois

Miss Vardill

O balmy is the evening breeze
That waves thy bow’rs, sweet Tuileries!
When with full heart and close-knit thumbs
A gentle swain expectant comes.
Divine Blondel! how oft and long
Thine eye has scann’d yon busy throng
Exploring ev’ry plum’d capote
Lac’d pelerine or redingote
Beneath some envious veil to view
Thy Decima, with eyes of blue!
And hark! her step his faith rewards — 
No — ’tis a Colonel of the Guards.
“Monsieur Le Loup! fine weather this — ”
“Why, for a stroll not much amiss — 
But yonder comes a cloud and you
Have no surtout or parapluie.”
On stalks the warrior, and the swain
Returns to sigh and gaze again.
Well, now the sun a form reveals,
A lengthening shadow this way steals.
“It is my Decima! I see
Those lips so rich with Baume de vie!
Those eyes whose flashes scar’d the gnomes
Of darkness from the catacombs;
Those smiles which cheer’d me when I lay
All ruins on the soft pavé — 
Those cheeks where all the cupids dwell
Reste! ’tis again mon Colonel!”
“What, lounging still, Blondel! we’ve stay’d
These three hours in the promenade — 
Adieu! bonsoir! the sky is full
Of thunder and the walk grows dull.”
“Not dull, Monsieur, when eyes of blue
Wait to mix love-drops with the dew
Sweet evening gives!” — “Morbleu, ’tis I
She waits for here.” — “Sir, I deny — 
I have her billet here — she says
Her heart is like a sugar’d vase
Candied in Cupid’s oven, fit
To hold the nosegays of my wit.”
“Her heart for you! Diantre — was it
No better than a china-closet
For such a vain conceited elf
To lodge upon the empty shelf!
But hush — the lady comes.” — “Fi donc!
’Tis but our Ballet-Chief, Leon — 
We’ll send him hence — Monsieur, I see
Great signs of rain — Tant mieux for me!
’Tis best on soft and sliding ground
To practise pirouette and bound.
Mon cher Blondel! observe, I pray,
This new pas grâve and balancé.
Ah ca, mon colonel, with us
Will you try waltzing a la Russe?”
“Sir, English waltzing is enough
Thus with a cane or fisticuff — ”
“O bête sauvage! I never fight
Without lorgnettes to aid my sight — 
Adieu, messieurs — that spangled flounce
And peagreen shoe ma belle announce!”
“How, at this hour!” — “O fie, I show
No gentle lady’s billet-doux.”
“Boaster of Fibsters!” every swain
Exalts his courage and his cane
Not Vestris nor Le Picq could show
More pirouettes or capers new,
Till peeping thro’ a myrtle’s shade
Thus spoke a laughing blue-ey’d maid.
“Together met, one summer’s day,
A dove, a peacock, and a jay:
Each heard the call that pleas’d his ear,
And deem’d his love-sick partner near;
Each boasting thought himself preferr’d,
But none perceiv’d the mocking-bird.”