The vanishing figure






Helen Montfaucon, nee Snape,
Moved me to passionate love—
Hers was a figure of exquisite shape,
Hers was the voice and the eye of a dove.

Wholly untinted her face,
Wholly ungilded her hair—
She held pearl—powder and rouge a disgrace
She it was told me so. Hence my despair!

No, neither powder of rice,
Rouge nor bronzed locks were her line,—
Hers was a figure of rarest device
Perfect in contour—Milosian, divine.

What was it happened? Who knows?
I can but faintly suggest—
Maybe in waltzing I held her too close
Close to the violets pinned on my breast.

There was a pin 'neath the flowers,
Something went off with a gasp—
Sighed like a sibillant gas–jet. Great Powers!
Helen Montfaucon grew lean in my clasp.

Shrivelled, shrank, dwindled, went small,
Said that the room was too hot—
Fled from the cloak–room, and fled from the ball.
I saw her going. Her figure was not!

There are advertisements. Yes.
Can they mean anything? No.
Say, was it possible ... Helen's ball dress
Hid ought less solid than Helen below?