BEFORE the skulls of Primitive Man,
Lee stood and thought: "Are we part of a plan
Of Nature's; or are we just a sort
Of Cosmic Coincidence - a sport
Of God - or worse, a sport of chance
Or of Ether - Nature's great romance?
"How queer it would be, if it turned out we
Were merely eddies - Jim and me
Meaningless eddies in ether swirled
In and out of a meaningless world.
Well, if we are it's nice to think
We've had some moments upon the brink
Of dissolution - of absolute chaos
Moments of joy that well repay us."
And she paused to note that her fellow eddy
Was fifteen minutes late already.
Waiting she wandered from floor to floor,
Every instant becoming more
Uneasy, and going back to the door,
Where Wayne ought to have been at exactly four.
She went from the skulls of Primitive Man
To the mystic temples of Yucatan,
Or studied gray elephants, vast and haughty,
But with eyes like pigs' eyes, shrewd and naughty,
Flamingoes of beautiful coral pink
The ancestry of the missing link
But in between she was always hurrying
Back to the doorway, wondering, worrying -
And then she saw with a horrid sinking
Of heart, it was five! And she went home thinking,
"Something has happened - he's been struck
By a ruthless, rollicking, rumbling truck,
Or crushed by a taxi, and now is lying
In some hospital ward - unknown and dying -
Or if they knew would they send in truth
For me? Oh, no, they would send for Ruth."
And hurrying fast as the laws enable,
She found a telegram on her table,
Signed as usual, "J. H. Wayne:"
"Ruth has pneumonia alone in Maine,
Of course I am taking the very first train.
Sorry to miss you before I go.
When I know my plans, I'll let you know."
The first emotion felt by Lee
Was pure and perfect relief that he
Was safe. And then she felt the force
Of that cruel, domestic calm "of course."
And then undeniably into her head
Came the thought unbidden: - "If Ruth were dead - "
And standing alone: "Poor thing," she said