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"And yet she turns indifferent ear
   To all advances, one by one;
She will not for a moment hear
                        A hint of offer'd love.

"There's Blandford of Northaughton Glen,
   Sir Edwin Leigh of Ash-tree Hurst;
Good fellows both, and manly men,
                        Men whom I trust and love.

"Will Blandford's heart is hers, I've heard,
   If she'd encourage him to speak;
Sir Edwin wants but half a word
                        To make him own his love.

"How is it, Minnie mine, that she
   Thus resolutely shuns my friends?
Dost think, my mouse, that it can be
                        Bright Annie will not love?

"Can it be true that she is cold?
   I mean, is cold to love itself;
That she is warm I know of old,
                        In friend and sister love.

"So happy am I with my wife,
   My darling little quiet mouse,
I'd fain see Annie's daily life
                        Of happy wedded love."

"Dear Walter," I replied, " I've thought,
   With thee, 'tis strange our Annie shows
No sign of preference, when sought
                        By those who'd win her love.

"She's full of tenderness for all;
   For me, for thee, for parents, friends:
For every prattling toddler small
                        She kisses has and love.

"Her eyes so beaming, yet so kind,
   Her mouth so mischievous yet sweet,
Her voice that round one's heart doth wind,
                        Proclaim her form'd for love.

"It is that she has not yet found
   The very man she could prefer;
'Tis that prevents her, I'll be bound,
                        From listening to love."

Therewith I nodded my wise head
   In such a final little way,
That Walter laugh'd, and bant'ring said,
                        " An oracle of love!"

But that same evening he ask'd
   Our Annie which of his two friends
She thought the pleasanter, and task'd
                        Her closely as to love.

His brother fondness gave him right
   To question her; and she replied
With just her own sweet look of bright
                        Sincerely open love:

"Sir Edwin Leigh and Blandford, both
   Are gentlemen of merit, true;
But, brother Walter, by my troth
                        That is not cause for love.

"Unless you'd have me have the two,
   The merit of that one is wrong'd
Who's left; but what should poor I do
                        With such a dual love?

"If merit be a ground of love,
   Why, all the meritorious men
I ought to take, and be above
                        Slight scruples in my love."

"Come, come," said Walter, " I suspect,
   For all your saucy merriment,
You cannot seriously object
                        To either man, my love."

"To either? Nay, to neither, I;
   They're both the very best of men
The men to treat respectfully,
                        To anything but love.

"The one's too good, the other just
   As bad; the one's a sort of man
So excellent, he gives disgust
                        To all idea of love.

"The other has the world's esteem,
   And that's enough, at least in my
Opinion it doth surely seem
                        Enough, without my love.

"I know no jot against' them, I;
   But, Walter, this you'll own is true;
They're irreproachable that's why
                        I cannot give them love."

"But, Annie, have you made a vow
   To give up thoughts of marriage, dear?
Are you resolved, come, tell us now,
                        T' abjure for ever love?"

"Why, as to whether I will marry,
   I've not decided yet the point;
I only know that ' Hateful Harry'
                        I'd love as soon as them."

"Who's ' Hateful Harry'? " Walter said.
   " Oh, he," said I, and laugh'd aloud,
"Is one she named so, when a lad;
                        A lad to loathe, not love."

"Just so," said she; " an odious boy,
   A neighbour's son, who, from a child,
Unto the age of hob'dehoy,
                        Had none but mother's love.

"None but a mother could descry
   A quality to like in him;
A mischief-loving imp that I
                        Detested couldn't love.

"A wilful peremptory way
   He had, that teased my very soul;
A way of having his own say,
                        In spite of law or love.

"He contradicted bluntly, flat,
   He plagued me constantly at play,
Though I a girl and he a brat,
                        A brat no one could love.

"I named him ' Hateful Hal,' or ' Harry,'
   I hated him most heartily;
So fancy whether him I'd marry,
                        Or give to him my love!

"And yet I'd marry ' Hateful Hal'
   Far rather than the one or other;
This shows you that I never shall
                        Give love to one of them."