Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, 1912–22
Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.  1912–22.
The Little Café
By Florence Wilkinson
From “Latin Quarter Ways”


SLEEK, pleasant, pompous and paternal
    Is our Eugene;
High priest and saint and alchemist of
    His copper-bright cuisine.
He knows us all, translates us into French—        5
    Sonia the Muscovite,
Lee, of Kentucky, with his Pan’s bold eyes,
    And Neville Denzil Whyte.
“Petite Marmotte,” and “Drôle,” and “Bon Sujet,”
    He’s handy with his phrase,        10
The while he masks his horror at a misapplied
    Sauce Béarnaise.
He supervises with a noble air
    The ignorant’s menu:
The little mademoiselle from Maine?—“Mais oui,        15
    Red wine and pot-au-feu.”
Some twenty years ago he boiled the mash
    For pigs, in rough Savoy,
Crumbling the black bread from his hairy hand—
    A peasant boy.        20
Belloy, that Beaux-Arts chap who dines alone,
    Saw once the ancestral stock,
The father of Eugene, glued to the soil
    As lichen to its rock.
Eugene had bought him with his hoarded sous        25
    The Auberge d’Or at Gex;
The old man to his neighbors brags of ’Gene,
    Their simple souls to vex—
How since he took the Grand’ route years agone,
    A lord he is become, “Englees he spig.”        30
So saying, flourishes in their awed faces,
    His broom of twig.

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