A Monday Romance
by Mary Mapes Dodge

Biddy was at the wash-tubs, Her arms in the lather white; At the scullery door, with a basket, The baker, her own true knight.

"Set down the loaves," said Biddy, In a voice of careless scorn. "Don't ye mind I am busy a-wringin'? Bring rolls on the morra morn."

"Ah, Biddy, Biddy, Biddy, It's always wringin' ye be!" Sighed Lanty, moving streetward, "And the thing ye wring is me."

Then, quick, a thought came o'er him, And back he stepped to say: "Is it muffins ye'll be a-wantin', Or buns, for the missus' tay?"

Now stands she by the boiler, Laden with clean wet "clo'es"; Her eyes are bright as the morning, Her cheeks as red as a rose.

"Och! Go yer ways. We'll be sendin'; I haven't the time to say; I must mind me bleachin' an' bluin' Awhile I've the best o' the day."

She ran to the garden grass-plot, While he went out to the street: "It's me ye are bleachin' an' bluin', Oh, Biddy, so pretty and sweet!"

At noon, in ending his circuit, He "stopped to see Biddy a minute"; The kitchen was open and sunny, But "sorra a Biddy was in it."

Soon, eagerly, through the window Her lithe little form he was spying. He called. But she answered him coldly: "It's hangin' I am, while there's drying."

"It's hangin' I'll be, cruel Biddy!" He said to himself at the hint. "For the matter o' that, I am thinking', My hangin' would make her content."

Once more, in the top of the evening, When supper was well cleared away, Bold Lanty, in holiday raiment, Dropped in, and had courage to stay.

On the clothes-line that criss-crossed the kitchen Hung snowy-white things, chill and damp; But the coals in the range crackled brightly, And Biddy had lighted her lamp.

Full thickly the garments were hanging-- Grim collars and things nearly dried, And, largest of all, near the dresser, A table-cloth snowy and wide.

"The shower wet me wash afther dinner, An' I hung 'em within so, to dry. Och hone! but I wish you was married!" Said Biddy, pretending to sigh.

"Is it married ye wish I was, Biddy? Faix, meself do be wishin' that same; An', in thruth, that I'm single this minute It isn't mesel' that's to blame."

"And who, thin?" asked Biddy, akimbo. "Go and have her, for all I would care!" Then stepped out of sight, quite forgetting The lamp with its tale-telling glare.

Now up starts the gallant young Lanty, For dark on the cloth he espies, As it hangs there, the shadow of Biddy, Her apron held up to her eyes!

"Arrah, Biddy, me darling, what ails ye? You're kapin' me single--och hone! It's yourself' can be makin' me married-- Say, will you, dear Biddy Malone?"

Only two empty chairs by the fire, And two shadow forms on the cloth; But love is the same the world over, And Biddy no longer was wroth.