THE window of the fruiterer's shop had been Just dressed by his dark daughter, Emmeline; I call the girl creative in her way, She gives us a fresh picture every day, And on that morning when October, proud To be the sun's love still, with silver cloud Graced his free course through song-deserted sky, What shapes, what hues, the great life-gilding eye Glowed on and gloried in! Em's background held Blonde melons, like enchanters' caskets swelled With sleeping treasures. Sharp and pure and pale, The yellows of Spain's lemons next her hale, Swart-cheeked, smooth, copper-streaked, round onions struck Soprano on contralto. Never luck, But skill beside them in a heap put down Blood-bright tomatoes. Here and there was thrown A rough-skinned cucumber's raw shadeless green, And in a left-hand corner, gaily seen, Small apples crowded, green with red flecked o'er ; Green, jewel-bloomed, still smiling, though no more Fair leaves embowered them, French grapes aloft From dexterously dangled twine hung soft.
A simple centre-piece dashed on my view The artist's single streak of gaudy blue, Thin paper lining a frail punnet where
Lay filberts woodland-brown. I stopped to stare.
Two other loiterers were staring. Girl And boy, he five, she scarcely four ; each curl Fine gold, each round face showing rose-hues, plain Through late-made dirt-marks, that meek ragged twain Gazed on earth's autumn gifts in rich array, A show, no feast. "Go in, go in, I'll pay."
They turned. I chinked the silver in my band.
"What will you have ? What fruit ? " The girl rescannea The window, a wild heart within her beat,
Tiptoe in broken shoes, she whispered : "Pete—
Is the great big 'uns ever meant to eat ?"
I see the boy now. He in still surprise Doubts, studies me, takes heart, trusts ears and eyes, Opens a mouth, cherubic when it shuts, And says: " Them's melons, silly. Please, Sir, nuts." W. G.