THE SALON ON THE RUE GALANTIÈRE

"Your Denmark sends us the tallest cavaliers

And with the most beautiful mustachios

And fairest skin, whom even an old woman

Must here confess to adore."

“Ah no, my Countess,"

I bowed and smiled. "Old woman? Such you will find

In the Hyrcanian forest of aurochs and wolf

That we call Europe, that crouches out there barbarously,

Northward and southward, east and west, at the borders

Of sunlit France, whose Christian king's unique

That by some national miracle of wit

He has no old women in his domains,

But only such as gaining grace and youth

In girlhood, at last become them wholly,

Such as the one who here to this lonely emissary

From far-off Denmark through kindness renders honor."

She saw my fright at my unwonted speech

And said gaily: "Why, Lord Horatio,

Are you sure you're not a Parisian cavalier

Disguised as a Northman? But no, our local poppets

Have no such eloquence, are empty as pasteboard.

Well, have it so. And say, out of my youth—­

Or, if you will, the silly, pretty days

Before my present youth—there comes to me

Still a tall boy bright from your cool north,


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