Pearson’s Magazine (UK), November 1906


I’m not a good dancer, I freely admit,
 Though the tune be a nice one of Strauss’s;
And my partner, I fear, says, when I disappear,
 “How clumsy that Mr. Wodehouse is!”
But I shine at that function beloved of each class,
 The middle, the low, and the upper—
In the ball-room I seem an incompetent ass;
 But, by Jingo! I sparkle at supper.


I never was taught in the days of my youth
 The waltz with its intricate movements;
I don’t know the tricks of the steps (which are six),
 Let alone all the latest improvements.
As I plough round the room, on the train of a dress
 I oft with a blundering shoe step,
The Lancers I shun, and I score even less
 At that horrid invention, the two-step.


I feel that my partner regards me with hate
 Before I’ve completed the circuit.
(I hide from the start in a corner apart
 If I only can manage to work it.)
But soon comes the moment that lightens my grief,
 And my limbs, which were rigid, grow supple,
And I lead off a lady, with sighs of relief,
 To a table that’s built for a couple.


My features, once long, are relaxed in a smile,
 My faculties, frozen, again work;
And my talk as we eat would afford quite a treat
 To those who appreciate brain-work.
Do I try the pathetic? Look close, you will see
 Her form with a half-suppressed sob stir:
Am I humorous? Mark how she chuckles with glee
 Till she cannot proceed with the lobster.


My pithy remarks never fail to impress,
 My wit never known to grow stale is;
I discuss with a gay flow of satire some play
 At the Haymarket, Waldorf, or Daly’s.
On matters of taste in the region of Art
 I prove a most useful adviser,
On politics, too, I have views to impart
 Which render her better and wiser.


I’m not a good dancer, I freely admit;
 I’m what you would call a bad starter.
And I sometimes surprise in my partner’s blue eyes
 The agonised look of a martyr.
With heart in my shoes I advance to my doom,
 And shuffle along till I’m dropping;
The air appears heavily laden with gloom,
 But at supper, by Jingo! I’m topping.