Posted on Sunday, 17 December 2000
Yes, it's that time of year again! The tradition continues! For anyone who missed the previous poems, here are the links:
Merry Christmas, everyone, and may 2001 be another wonderful year for the DWG!
'Twas the night before Christmas in the cottage at Barton,
Where the Yuletide festivities soon would be starting.
Mrs. Dashwood presided o'er the holiday cheer,
Happy to have such good friends and family near.
Her three daughters also helped with the preparations,
With candles and holly and other such decorations.
Elinor and Marianne for some reason were restive,
While Margaret was simply all set to be festive.
She would stay up all night, young Meg did declare,
Of every bright moment she'd be highly aware.
And then later on, she would play her best trick,
And catch a glimpse of that merry St. Nick!
Her sisters both laughed at her determined intention,
And the truth of it certainly neither would mention.
Secretly each wanted the aid of that jolly old elf,
To make true a wish each held close to herself.
But Elinor hid her distraction for the sake of the party,
Making her eyes bright and trying her best to be hearty;
Marianne at the piano would play to any request,
For they both knew their duty, and now here were the guests.
First came Sir John Middleton, with all of his canines;
"My Flossie's the best pointer!" he was heard to opine.
Brim full of goodwill, there was no man cheerier
(Though enduring his bad jokes could make one much wearier).
Close behind was his mama-in-law, Mrs. Jennings by name,
Who giggled and chortled and laughed as she came.
"What Christmas secrets have you all got this year?
I'll winkle them out of you in no time, my dears!
And who are your beaux, for you must all have sweethearts!
The guessing of their initials is one of my best arts.
Mister F? Mister R? Mister ABCD?
There must be thousands in love with the Dashwood sisters three!"
Following close was her daughter Charlotte, and Charlotte's husband too,
Mr. Palmer who was as taciturn as a Brit only can do;
Though resigned to the party with this talkative bunch,
He'd hide behind his newspaper and large glass of punch.
Charlotte squealed, "Mr. Palmer is so very droll!
You'll never believe what he said as we were cresting the knoll!
Though he hardly reads novels, which we all know he hates,
He told me that I could surely out-talk Emma's Miss Bates!"
More party guests followed, 'til the cottage near overflowed;
(Where Mrs. D. fit them all, I never have knowed!)
And when a lone rider at last up the drive spurred,
All their faces pressed to the windows, to see what had occurred.
The man sprang off his horse, and on a purposeful vector
Soon came to the door: why, it was the new rector!
Edward Ferrars it was, who recently had been given
The highly respectable Delaford living.
But was he alone? Rumors soon would be rife,
If he came to a party but left behind his wife.
For had he not married that younger Steele girl, Lucy?
Oh, the gossip for this was sure to be juicy!
Mrs. Dashwood greeted him there at the door,
And of his welcome he seemed very sure.
Yet was the atmosphere a tiny bit strained;
For her awkwardness Mrs. D. could hardly be blamed.
"Edward dear, don't stand there right out in the cold.
And where is Mrs. Ferrars, if I may be so bold?"
Ed frowned in confusion, but then recovered himself.
"My mother is in London, and in the very best health."
Then into the house his hostess drew him forward.
"I'm glad to hear it, but I meant Mrs. Edward."
Now was the trouble revealed, and it was his job
To correct it: "Ah, you mean Mrs. Rob."
A gasp flew 'round the room, it was not to be tarried;
What a surprise - Mr. Ferrars not married!
But how had it happened that things worked out this way?
The Christmas guests waited to hear what he'd say.
Edward looked about before beginning his tale,
For there was one person only who really deserved the details.
Seeing that her attention was rapt with the others,
He described how Lucy had run off with his brother.
"It happened quite suddenly; I suppose that it's shocking.
But yesterday on Lucy's door came a knocking.
It's really amazing, her luck's on a roll:
It was the Publishers Clearinghouse Grand Prize Patrol!
She had been so upset when I lost all my money,
And now that she'd won some, she cried, 'Farewell, my honey!'
She went at once to Robert (who was still in his pajamas),
And now they're off honeymooning in the Bahamas.
I should be distraught, but I know sooner or later
She'll leave him in Vegas for an Elvis impersonator.
So I came to Barton as fast as I could ride,
And now I must ask: Elinor, will you be my bride?"
The guests all applauded as the eldest Dashwood sis
Cried for joy before saying that she would be his.
She could hardly resist, listening as Edward avers
That his heart is now and has always been hers!
Marianne smiled with the rest to see the happy pair;
Could she expect a delightful future like theirs?
She had made some mistakes, but she'd learned from them, too.
And given opportunity, she knew just what she'd do.
"Why should I pine for a scoundrel like Willoughby?
He is not worth a sonnet! Not one sad soliloquy!
For I hope to be soon at the altar standing -
That is, if he'll have me - with my own dear Brandon.
Now there's a real man! No one else can compare!
And now that I love him, I am walking on air!
Once we are wed, my life will ne'er be the same -
So what does it matter if I don't know his first name?"
No sooner had she thought this, than a large parcel arrived,
Needing a whole team of porters to carry it up the drive.
It was wrapped gaily, tied with a huge red bow,
And addressed to Marianne, who did not at all know
Who would have sent it or what might be inside.
That she was curious could not be denied!
A note was attached, a single solitary clue:
"For Christmas and always, I give myself to you."
Oh, could it be? The best Christmas present ever!
Swiftly the paper was torn, and the ribbon was severed.
She pulled open the box, which turned out to hold
Colonel Brandon, resplendent in scarlet and gold.
(Having good taste in men, Marianne knew how to pick 'em,
Since the Colonel looked an awful lot like Alan Rickman!)
No proposal was needed, it was all a done deal,
Their happiness soon with a long kiss was sealed.
Then did the Christmas party really get moving,
And of their jollity I will not be reproving.
They all had marvelous reason to celebrate,
Letting joy and laughter through the hills reverberate.
Two Christmas wishes fulfilled, but there must be three,
So the last is a wish for all of you from me.
May your holiday be merry, may your New Year be bright -
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!