ONE morning, my heart can remember,
I sat dreaming there,
In the 'governor's' chair
In the office. The month was November,
And the weather a subject for prayer.

My mind strayed through visions unbounded--
Far-off seemed the din
That King William Street's in,
And the quill of the 'junior' sounded
Like the squeak of an elf's violin.

I was roused with a start--some one entered.
Though ground-glass divide
Off the sanctum inside,
The star where my homage was centred
In the office without I descried.

'Oh, kind Fate, to bring me my Kitty!
The boy I can send
At the bank to attend:
One partner's just gone from the City,
And the other is at the West End.

'Change two pounds, boy, for threepenny pieces!
And there isn't a franc
In the place!--I will thank
You to take down these coupons from Creasy's
To the London and Westminster Bank.'

He is gone! This can never be Kitty,
Alone here with me!
Can this ever be she,
Laughing here in the heart of the City,
With the old office cat on her knee?

'I hope, Ben,' she says, 'you are stronger,
And I hope it's not true
Work is injuring you;
And I'd better not stay any longer,
As you seem to have so much to do!'

But she does not go yet. Still she lingers,
Dry deed-boxes press
The crisp folds of her dress,
While the desk feels inquisitive fingers
In a touch that is half a caress.

Now, dreary and quiet the place is;
Here's the space on the floor
I remember of yore,
Which was brushed by her ribbons and laces
As she smiled her 'good-bye' at the door.

The violets she wore in her bosom,
So scented, dew-wet,
Are hard to forget;
The dim office grew fair with each blossom,
And their fragrance seems haunting it yet.

I'm in partnership now with old Bradley;
His brother is dead,
So I stand as the Head
Of affairs; and I'm thinking thus sadly
Of the sweetness of days that have fled.

My Wimbledon house--all that's in it--
My life, with its dower
Of money-bag power--
I would throw to the dogs in a minute,
To recall from those days but one hour.

Lost light of my eyes, little Kitty!
Too late now, too late;
But I'd give my estate
To be once more a clerk in the City--
In the office with you tête-à-tête.

More verses by Edith Nesbit