Two old maids owned a ruined hut Upon a stormy hill; at night They crouched with all the shutters shut,
Big eyed in gloomy candle light.
One maid was thin, one maid was fat;
The eyes of both were lonely wells.
One owned a dove, one owned a cat;
Each loved her pet, and nothing else.
And hours and hours the thin one sat Beside her dove and whispered low;
The fat one stroked her drowsy cat;
Both felt they brought love nearer so.
But one day while they sat in church,
Consoled to hear that all is love,
The cat leapt lithely to the perch,
And lovingly consumed the dove;
And when the thin maid tottered in Unribboning her dusty bonnet,
A quill lay where her dove had been;
A cat’s black paw was still upon it.
At once she raised her stiff umbrella And pounded the black cat to death;
The fat one entered screaming, “Ella,
The cat was mine,” then gasped for breath.
Their sombre eyes ached sullen flames,
They felt their loneliness like dread;
They, called each other hateful names;
The only things they loved were dead.
They wrung their shrivelled hands, they cleft The musty gloom with tetchy whines;
They packed their mildewed bags, and left On separate roads, with rigid spines.
And now the hut they left behind Leans drably on the wintry hill;
Torn crows blow by, the dismal wind Hums outside; inside, all is still.