Working on this poem is my latest excuse for not getting another Fairy Tale chapter posted. (This wouldn't exactly qualify as a Christmas poem if I posted it late, now would it?) This is my third one, so I suppose it's practically a tradition! If you want to reread the other two, you can find them here:
'Twas the night before Christmas in Bath, that quaint town,
As Sir Walter Elliot admired his new dressing gown.
"By Jove, I'm a fine fellow!" said he with a smile,
And he smirked at himself in the mirror a while.
Such a paragon! A picture! A grand baronet!
(Had he learned, he'd be proficient on the clarinet.)
His departure from Kellynch was not so bad, it seemed,
And to conquer the Pump Room society he now schemed.
His must hold a Christmas party! Why, yes! It was simple!
The guest list would start with the Viscountess Dalrymple,
And Miss Carteret must come, whatever the reason.
This fete would be Bath's event of the season!
What mattered the cost? Or the very late date?
Since Christmas was tomorrow, he just couldn't wait!
To the top of the stair! To the end of the hall!
(He kept tight hold of the banister, for fear he should fall.)
The carpeted corners he rapidly rounded,
And on his daughter's bedroom door he now pounded.
The hinges squeaked loudly, though softer than thunder,
Then Elizabeth peered out, all bereft of her slumber.
She blinked and she glowered; she yawned and looked surly,
Annoyed with her father for waking her so early.
At this hour, how dare he be so lively and hearty?
She was in no mood to listen to his plans for a party.
"What can you be thinking?" she waspishly groused.
"We could never fit so many guests in this house!
You know they'll want food, and music - what a nuisance!
And what about gentlemen who would ask me to dance?
They'll have other engagements by this time, I'm sure,
So they would quickly decline any invitation of yours.
So from asking my help, I request you desist, sir -
If you must continue, then speak to my sister.
I need all my beauty sleep, I'm back to bed in a trice -
Or Mr. William Elliot won't look at me twice."
Before her father could comment on her very ill grace,
Elizabeth had swiftly slammed the door in his face.
Sir Walter was peeved by behavior so snooty -
Didn't Liz know that helping him was her duty?
How annoying! What nerve! Why was she so contrary?
What to try next? Ah! An express sent to Mary!
So to his desk he ran, and a letter he penned,
Then rang for a footman for his mail to send.
(The poor fellow appeared with his wig all askew -
But when his master called for him, well, what could he do?)
With astonishing swiftness the horses did run,
For a reply was returned before the clock had struck one.
Sir William broke the seal and unfolded the epistle,
And thinking of his party, he started to whistle.
But his musical merriment soon came to an end -
For Mary was firm, and she just would not bend.
"Dear father," she wrote, "this night I can't aid you.
Without me, my boys - what on earth would they do?
Charles spoils them rotten as soon as I turn my back,
And his mother is worse, always giving them snacks!
You just can't imagine the upheaval they make,
When those boys are rambunctious from too much rich cake!
Planning our Christmas dinner is hard enough on my nerves:
Have we enough venison, and enough currant preserves?
I'm so ill and tired, I can hardly lift a finger,
And I think in this world I am not long to linger.
I groan and I flutter, to one goal I aspire -
To whine like Mrs. Bennet over in Hertfordshire."
Now was Sir Walter mad - who else would take his part?
Mrs. Clay? Lady Russell? Or perhaps Martha Stewart?
The baronet fussed, and he fumed, and he moaned -
But suddenly he realized he was no longer alone.
Who was behind him? He turned around slowly,
And there he saw Anne, middle daughter of his three.
He grabbed her hands joyfully and swung her around,
As his Christmas plans gleefully he did expound.
Anne must arrange everything, as she always would!
(While Sir Walter took all the credit he could.)
But Anne released herself, and shook her head with a sigh,
"This idea is less solid than a cloud in the sky.
Plan a party in one night? No, I just won't do it!
And if I even tried, I'm sure I would rue it.
Father dear, this is too much an impossible task.
You don't comprehend what it is that you ask.
Where would we get the money to accomplish this scheme?
Papa, don't you know what the word retrench means?"
She sighed again gently, her face it looked bleak.
"Besides, dad, I've had just one heck of a week.
Dealing with Mary, the Musgroves, and their kin -
Why, that walk to Winthrop nearly did me in!
The visit to Lyme was not such a treat,
Just ask Louisa, who didn't land on her feet!
Of course, she met Benwick, who's quite a nice fellow -
But the tone when I left could not be called mellow.
My return to Bath is also not a winner,
I'm welcomed here only to be a fourth at dinner!
If that's not enough, there's Mr. Elliot to endure!
His insincerity will soon drive me crazy, I'm sure.
There's only one thing I wish for Christmas this year -
But he's off to Shropshire, and not around here."
Anne hadn't won yet - she had to change her dad's mind!
But what excuse to cancel this party could she find?
She thought, and she thought, 'til she got a great notion:
"Papa, are you running out of your Gowland's lotion?
Is that a wrinkle I see? And what's that up there?
Could it be? Good gracious! You've got some grey hair!"
Sir Walter gasped, then he ran to the mirror.
"A wrinkle? Gray hair? Oh, Heavens, the horror!
I can't hold a party if I'm not looking my best!
I'd be the object of everyone's jests!"
Anne laughed as her father escaped to his bed.
"So much for that ridiculous business!" she said.
But the events of this Christmas Eve aren't quite over -
And what happened next you soon shall discover.
Then to Anne's ears there came a great knocking!
The front door in its frame was practically rocking.
Who could be calling so late on this night?
Anne opened the door bravely, prepared for a fright.
What to her wondering eyes should appear,
But a handsome Navy man, saying, "My dear!"
Perhaps her wistful thoughts a small prayer had sent forth,
Since there on her doorstep was he: Frederick Wentworth!
He hesitated then asked, "Anne, may I come in?"
If I stand here in the snow, I'll get soaked to the skin.
I've come to apologize, I've conquered my pride,
And the hope of my future is what you shall decide.
In the year six I left, I treated you ill,
But when I returned I found I loved you still.
Half agony, half hope! On your word I depend,
For you pierce my soul, and I'm yours to the end."
Anne's heart did beat, and her pulse did now race!
But in the next moment her Captain she embraced.
"All is forgiven! I grant you reprieve!
You're the best Christmas present a girl could receive."
Anne brought him inside, in a state of pure bliss,
And before the door closed they had exchanged a kiss.
So says this couple whose love shines so bright:
"Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night."