Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. II. Love
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume II. Love.  1904.
IV. Wooing and Winning
Cooking and Courting
From Tom to Ned

DEAR Ned, no doubt you ’ll be surprised
  When you receive and read this letter.
I ’ve railed against the marriage state;
  But then, you see, I knew no better.
I ’ve met a lovely girl out here;        5
  Her manner is—well—very winning:
We ’re soon to be—well, Ned, my dear,
  I ’ll tell you all, from the beginning.
I went to ask her out to ride
  Last Wednesday—it was perfect weather.        10
She said she couldn’t possibly:
  The servants had gone off together
(Hibernians always rush away,
  At cousins’ funerals to be looking);
Pies must be made, and she must stay,        15
  She said, to do that branch of cooking.
“O, let me help you,” then I cried:
  “I ’ll be a cooker too—how jolly!”
She laughed, and answered, with a smile,
  “All right! but you ’ll repent your folly;        20
For I shall be a tyrant, sir,
  And good hard work you ’ll have to grapple;
So sit down there, and don’t you stir,
  But take this knife, and pare that apple.”
She rolled her sleeve above her arm,—        25
  That lovely arm, so plump and rounded;
Outside, the morning sun shone bright;
  Inside, the dough she deftly pounded.
Her little fingers sprinkled flour,
  And rolled the pie-crust up in masses:        30
I passed the most delightful hour
  Mid butter, sugar, and molasses.
With deep reflection her sweet eyes
  Gazed on each pot and pan and kettle.
She sliced the apples, filled her pies,        35
  And then the upper crust did settle.
Her rippling waves of golden hair
  In one great coil were tightly twisted;
But locks would break it, here and there,
  And curl about where’er they listed.        40
And then her sleeve came down, and I
  Fastened it up—her hands were doughy;
O, it did take the longest time!—
  Her arm, Ned, was so round and snowy.
She blushed, and trembled, and looked shy;        45
  Somehow that made me all the bolder;
Her arch lips looked so red that I—
  Well—found her head upon my shoulder.
We ’re to be married, Ned, next month;
  Come and attend the wedding revels.        50
I really think that bachelors
  Are the most miserable devils!
You ’d better go for some girl’s hand;
  And if you are uncertain whether
You dare to make a due demand,        55
  Why, just try cooking pies together.

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