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- Poems of Experience - 13/13 -

Girl, though I do not even know your name, Yet here I stand, and offer you my own; It was for you I came, for you alone, Across the half world. I have never known Forgetfulness, since first your face I saw. In coming here, I but obeyed Love's law; I thought it fancy, passion, or caprice; I know now it is LOVE.

FLOWER GIRL (with emotion)

I pray you, cease; You do not understand yourself; go, go;

[Urges him towards exit.

RALPH (seizing her hand)

I will not go until I hear you say That you remember even as I do That brief encounter on the street one day.

[FLOWER GIRL turns her face away and tries to free her hand.]

RALPH (exultantly)

Oh, it is FATE; and Fate we must obey.

[Takes ring from his finger.]

Let the ship go; but with my heart I stay.

[Attempts to place ring on GIRL'S finger. She wrenches her hand free, and stands with both hands behind her as she speaks with suppressed emotion.]

The heart of every Island girl on earth I think hides one sweet dream, and it is this; To one day meet a man of higher birth - To win his heart,--to feel his tender kiss - And sail with him to some far distant land. This too has been my dream; wherein your face Shone like a beacon.

[Repels RALPH as he starts forward.]

But I know your race, Too well, too well. I know how such dreams end, You could not claim me in your land, my friend, For colour prejudice is rampant there.

RALPH (impetuously)

But I will stay for ever here, I swear, -


Nay, do not swear, you would but break the vow As many another has. Our tropic sun Affects men like a fever; when 'tis run, Then their delusions pass. Oh leave me now; I hear the whistle of your ship,--adieu! Alohoa oie--may God be with you.

[Enter ETHEL hurriedly]

Come, Ralph, your mother and your sister wait Quite frantic at the pier, lest you be late. They sent me for you.

[Exit RALPH with ETHEL; he looks back and flings GIRL a wreath. GIRL smiles and sings Hawaiian song, picks up the wreath and drops face in her hands as Curtain goes down.]


{1} Written to be read at Luncheon, given by my Publishers to the London and Provincial Booksellers, April 12, 1910.

Poems of Experience - 13/13

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