When her servant passed on the fruit basket, and
Nestled in it a note, I felt weak, but took it up
To my library. Was the fruit her way of softening
The blow? "Oh, Adam, we're getting tossed out
Of Eden, but hey ho! Here's an apple!" <And one
Small part of me is listening now, to later record
How I shook off my irrational dread and boldly
Tore open the letter.> Both eager and terrified,
I read: "My love, I find it impossible to make up
My own mind. I promised you an answer, and
I'm at your mercy. I have written the words
'Yes' and 'No' on slips of paper, and put them in
A purse. If you still think it better to decide today,
The paper you draw out first must be the answer.
Whatever the event, I shall always remain
Your faithful and affectionate Ann Walker."
I drew out 'No' then 'Yes' hardly believing
That she would choose such a-- That she would
Think I would-- That--
I balled up the letter and
Set off for Crow Nest, got there in twenty-five
Minutes. The moment she entered her sitting room,
I started yelling quietly. "What am I supposed to do
With this? Do you think I want my future happiness
Decided by fate, by which bit of paper comes out
First? Like a raffle ticket?" "No..." "I'm taking it
As a no," I snapped, tossing the purse aside.
"It... isn't a no..." she whispered. "Well, it isn't
A yes! Will you accept him?" "I don't want to,
But..." "But? What!" "If I did, it would be out of
Duty." "Duty to who? Mrs. Ainsworth?" And that,
With her abject tears, her sobbing out of control,
Is how the wretched thing came tumbling out.