SHE went to an auction sale,
Not that she meant to buy,
But just to feast her eye
On quiet blanc de chine statuettes. . .
Elegant ladies, tall and pale,
Porcelain bowls like a rainy sky,
Bottles in delicate cucumber greens,
Icy crystalline figurines,
Turquoise vases and lacquered screens. . .

She went with a man who came from the West
To buy for a great collector there.
He knew his subject and let her share
His knowledge.
"The Fogg Museum's best
For that particular kind of ware. . .
That is atrocious. . . that is fair. . .
(Only of course it isn't Ming)
This is the item I want. . . by far
The most beautiful, delicate, perfect thing
In the sale. . . the peachblow jar."

The bidding was instantly brisk and pleasant.
Everyone present
Bid on the jar, but it soon was plain
Out of the roomful only two
Meant business, - her friend and another man, who
From the back of the room kept bidding steadily
Raising in hundreds only too readily,
Lee, like others, turning to see
Who this mad bidder could possibly be,
Saw it was Wayne.

And when the auctioneer said "Sold
To Mr. W." (say it sadly
As if the enormous price were small)
Lee knew as well as if she'd been told
That Wayne had only been bidding madly,
Only been bidding perhaps at all
Because she was there to admire:
'That he hadn't come with a settled plan,
But had yielded himself to the spur
Of a sudden male desire
To take the peachblow jar. . . and her. . .
Away from another man.
And she thought: "He is mine once more.
He sees it is fated.
He'll be there when I get to the door. . ."
But she found that he had not waited.