"IT seems that in Nineteen Seventeen,
She worked in an officers' club or canteen
Here in New York. She was under twenty,
Young and lovely, and men in plenty
Wanted to marry her. . . Tom, Dick and Harry. . . ,
But there wasn't one that she wanted to marry.
"Then one day into her canteen came
Kent, in his officer's shoulder straps.
They had met as children - had had perhaps
One of those strange ethereal wild
Love affairs that you have as a child.
She knew him at once; he was just the same
Silent, sensitive boy, athirst
For every sort of beauty and knowledge,
Unfit for fighting, and so the first
To enlist, to leave some nice little college
Where he'd been teaching. . . and what was worse. . .
Writing rather poor English verse.
"Some weeks before his regiment
Sailed for France, she married Kent.
"In the course of the next infernal spring
As to just when and where I'm a little bit hazy -
In the course of that final German drive
The boy went through some terrible thing -
Was lost or blown up or buried alive,
And he went insane - went raving crazy -
Is utterly out of his mind to-day,
Hopeless, shut up in some remote
Asylum. Terrible scenes occur
Whenever she sees him, and yet they say
He's always calling, longing for her,
And tries when he sees her to cut her throat.
"That beautiful woman. . . that poor mad poet -
As sad a story as ever I heard."
She looked at her husband; if he was stirred
By her tale, he certainly did not show it.
"Perhaps you knew it already," said Ruth.
"No," he answered, and spoke the truth.