The Kiplings and India: A Collection of Writings from British India, 1870-1900

Pink Dominoes (Rudyard Kipling)

"They are fools who kiss and tell"--
  Wisely has the poet sung.
Man may hold all sorts of posts
  If he'll only hold his tongue.

Jenny and Me were engaged, you see,
  On the eve of the Fancy Ball;
So a kiss or two was nothing to you
  Or any one else at all.

Jenny would go in a domino--
  Pretty and pink but warm;
While I attended, clad in a splendid
  Austrian uniform.

Now we had arranged, through notes exchanged
  Early that afternoon,
At Number Four to waltz no more,
  But to sit in the dusk and spoon.

[new stanza added in 1888 edition* not included here]

When Three was over, an eager lover,
  I fled to the gloom outside;
And a Domino came out also
  Whom I took for my future bride.

That is to say, in a casual way,
  I slipped my arm around her;
With a kiss or two (which is nothing to you),
  And ready to kiss I found her.

She turned her head and the name she said
  Was certainly not my own;
But ere I could speak, with a smothered shriek
  She fled and left me alone.

Then Jenny came, and I saw with shame
  She'd doffed her domino;
And I had embraced an alien waist
  But I did not tell her so.

Next morn I knew that there were two
  Dominoes pink, and one
Had cloaked the spouse of Sir Julian House,
  Our big Political gun.

Sir J. was old, and her hair was gold,
  And her eye was a blue cerulean;
And the name she said when she turned her head
  Was not in the least like "Julian."

Now wasn't it nice, when want of pice
  Forbade us twain to marry,
That old Sir J. in the kindest way,
  Made me his Secretary?

[Last stanza removed in 1888 version of the poem.]

Glossary: Dominoes 
Glossary: Pice

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