A VICTORIAN IDYLL
~ by David Wagoner
“A gentleman always falls behind his wife when entering a drawing room … If (the butler) does not know them by sight, he asks whichever is nearest to him, “What name, please?” And whichever one is asked answers, ‘Mr. and Mrs. Lake.’ ” –Emily Post, Etiquette, p. 350
She came through the door like an answer in long division,
At the top of her form, trailing a dividend.
And when her husband fell down, as he always does,
Flat on his face behind her and met the rug
Like an old friend, we simply sharpened our charcoal.
When the quizzical-looking butler said, “What name, please?”
Someone said wearily, “Mr. and Mrs. Lake.”
It’s always like this. A few included him
In their sketches as an ambiguous portion
Of the water, but the rest got down to business,
Draping white samite over her rich shoulders
And drawing the sword from their imaginations.
David Wagoner alludes to the Lady of the Lake arising from the mists and handing a large crusader’s sword to King Arthur in Alfred Lord Tennyson’s Idylls Of The King.