Lady Geraldine's
Hardship





(E. B. Browning)


I turned—Heaven knows we women turn too much
To broken reeds, mistaken so for pine
That shame forbids confession—a handle I turned
(The wrong one, said the agent afterwards)
And so flung clean across your English street
Through the shrill-tinkling glass of the shop-front—paused,
Artemis mazed ’mid gauds to catch a man,
And piteous baby-caps and christening-gowns,
The worse for being worn on the radiator.


" " " "

My cousin Romney judged me from the bench:
Propounding one sleek forty-shillinged law
That takes no count of the Woman’s oversoul.
I should have entered, purred he, by the door—
The man’s retort—the open obvious door—
And since I chose not, he—not he—could change
The man’s rule, not the Woman’s, for the case.
Ten pounds or seven days. . . Just that. . . I paid!