The Seine at Asnières

Ronald Gaskell

The minister has not been able to get away
this weekend – cables from London, Bucharest,
Berlin, St Petersburg. His secretary telephoned
just before lunch: possibly on Sunday,
probably not, or not till after three.

Lucille takes her new acquaintance,
the ambassador’s young wife, for an hour
on the river. The trees this summer
are so beautiful, the poplars dipping
and effacing their long forms of green and gold.

The Countess is delighted. After weeks of fashionable
chatter, of polite receptions, after all
the dust and heat and hurry of the boulevards,
to be drifting with this charming girl
who neither speaks nor smiles, except when smiled to!

On the bank an old painter looks up
from his canvas – judging the proportions
of the house, perhaps. Georges and Victor,
who have caught nothing, doze. The shadow
of the barn roof lengthens over the water.

All leave cancelled in Vienna, which could still
mean nothing. (Under the Pont des Arts
the light of early afternoon sways
and trembles.) London nervous.
No word yet from Brussels or Belgrade.