“JILL AND JOAN” (REYNARD THE FOX, 1920) by JOHN MASEFIELD

Two bright young women, nothing meek,
Rode up on bicycles and propped
Their wheels in such wise that they dropped
To bring the parson’s son to aid.
Their cycling suits were tailor-made,
Smart, mannish, pert, but feminine.
The colour and the zest of wine
Were in their presence and their bearing;
Like spring, they brought the thought of pairing.
The parson’s lady thought them pert.
And they could mock a man and flirt,
Do billiard tricks with corks and pennies,
Sing ragtime songs and win at tennis
The silver-cigarette-case-prize.[Pg 40]
They had good colour and bright eyes,
Bright hair, bright teeth and pretty skin,
On darkened stairways after dances,
Which many lads had longed to win.
Their reading was the last romances,
And they were dashing hockey players.
Men called them, “Jill and Joan, the slayers.”
They were as bright as fresh sweet-peas.

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