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From Half-Hours With The Best Humorous Authors, selected and arranged by Charles Morris, Vol. II. American; J. B. Lippincott Company; Philadelphia; 1889, pp. 24-29.




[In the following poems girlish æstheticism and culture are satirized by a brace of unfeeling and unsympathetic rhymesters, — whom we shall not dignify with the name of poets. We can only say, “Go on, girls: there is more to the universe than bread-and-butter, and you are as well entitled to your share of the utterly utter as your greedy and grasping brothers.”]


OH, she was so utterly utter!
She couldn’t eat plain bread-and-butter,
        But a nibble she’d take
        At a wafer of cake,
Or the wing of a quail for her supper:
Roast beef and plum-pudding she’d sneer at,
A boiled leg of mutton she’d jeer at,
        But the limb of a frog
        Might her appetite jog,
Or some delicate bit that came near that.
The consequence was, she grew paler,
And more wishy-washy, and frailer,
        Ate less for her dinner,
Grew thinner and thinner,
     Till I really think,
     If you marked her with ink,
        Put an envelope on her,
        And stamped it upon her,
You could go to the office and mail her!
        Her voice was so low and so thrilling,
        Its cadence was perfectly killing;
And she talked with a lisp and a stutter,
For she was so utterly utter!

Oh, she was so very æsthetic!
Her face was quite long and pathetic;
        The ends of her hair
        Floated loose on the air,
And her eyes had a sadness prophetic;
The bangs she wore down on her forehead
Were straight and deliciously horrid;
        And a sad-colored gown
        Going straight up and down
She wore when the weather was torrid.
It was terrible hard to enthuse her,
But a bit of old china would fuse her;
And she’d glow like a coal or a candle
At the mention of Bach or of Handel.
At pinks and sweet-williams and roses
She’d make the most retroussé noses.
        But would swoon with delight
        At a sunflower bright
And use it in making her poses.
She moved with the sleepiest motion,
As if not quite used to the notion,
        And her manner was chill
        As a water-fowl’s bill
When he’s fresh from a dip in the ocean!
It was quite the reverse of magnetic,
But, oh, it was very æsthetic!

And if, with your old-fashioned notions,
You could wish that more cheerful emotions,
        More sunshine and grace,
        Should appear in her face,
More gladness should speak in her motions, —
If you heard with a homesick dejection
The changes in voice and inflection,
26         And sighed for smooth tresses,
        And the plain, simple dresses,
That used to command your affection, —
        Oh, hide your rash thoughts in your bosom!
        Or, if you must speak out and use ’em,
        Then under your breath you must mutter;
        For she is too UTTERLY utter!


She was a Boston maiden, and she’d scarcely passed
And as lovely as an houri, but of grave and sober mien,
A sweet encyclopædia of every kind of lore,
Though love looked coyly from behind the glasses that
        she wore.

She sat beside her lover, with her elbow on his knee,
And dreamily she gazed upon the slumbering summer sea,
Until he broke the silence, saying, “Pray, Minerva dear,
Inform me of the meaning of the Thingness of the Here?

“I know you’re just from Concord, where the lights of
        wisdom be,
Your head crammed full to bursting, with their philoso-
        phy, —
Those hoary-headed sages and maids of hosiery blue:
Then solve me the conundrum, love, that I have put to

She smiled a dreamy smile, and said, “The Thingness of
        the Here
Is that which is not passed and hasn’t yet arrived, my
27 Indeed,” the maid continued, with a calm, unruffled brow,
“The Thingness of the Here is just the Thisness of the

A smile illumed the lover’s face; then, without undue
He slid a manly arm around the maiden’s slender waist,
And on her cherry lips impressed a warm and loving kiss,
And said, “Love, this is what I call the Nowness of the

[To the above we add a prose contribution in the same vein, and aimed, like the last, at the maidenly scion of the “hub of the universe.”]


A few days ago a Boston girl, who had been attending the School of Philosophy at Concord, arrived in Brooklyn, on a visit to a seminary chum. After canvassing thoroughly the fun and gum-drops that made up their education in the seat of learning at which their early scholastic efforts were made, the Brooklyn girl began to inquire the nature of the Concord entertainment.

“And so you are taking lessons in philosophy! How do you like it?”

“Oh, it’s perfectly lovely! It’s about science, you know, and we all just dote on science.”

“It must be nice. What is it about?”

“It’s about molecules as much as anything else, and molecules are just too awfully nice for anything. If there’s anything I really enjoy, it’s molecules.”

“Tell me about them, my dear. What are molecules?”

“Oh, molecules! They are little wee things, and it takes ever so many of them. They are splendid things. Do 28 you know, there ain’t anything but what’s got molecules in it? And Mr. Cook is just as sweet as he can be, and Mr. Emerson too. They explain everything so beautifully.”

“How I’d like to go there!” said the Brooklyn girl, enviously.

“You’d enjoy it ever so much. They teach protoplasm, too; and if there is one thing perfectly heavenly its protoplasm. I really don’t know which I like best, protoplasm or molecules.”

“Tell me about protoplasm. I know I should adore it.”

“’Deed you would. It’s just too sweet to live. You know it’s about how things get started, or something of that kind. You ought to hear Mr. Emerson tell about it. It would stir your soul. The first time he explained about protoplasm there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. We named our hats after him. This is an Emerson hat. You see, the ribbon is drawn over the crown and caught with a buckle and a bunch of flowers. Then you turn up the side with a spray of forget-me-nots. Ain’t it just too sweet? All the girls in the school have them.”

“How exquisitely lovely! Tell me some more science.”

“Oh, I almost forgot about differentiation. I am really and truly positively in love with differentiation. It’s different from molecules and protoplasm, but it’s every bit as nice. And Mr. Cook! You should hear him go on about it. I really believe he’s perfectly bound up in it. This scarf is the Cook scarf. All the girls wear them, and we named them after him, just on account of the interest he takes in differentiation.”

“What is it, anyway?”

“This is mull, trimmed with Languedoc lace ——”

“I don’t mean that, — that other.”

“Oh, differentiation! Ain’t it sweet? It’s got something 29 to do with species. It’s the way you tell one hat from another, so you’ll know which is becoming. And we learn all about ascidians, too. They are the divinest things! I’m absolutely enraptured with ascidians. If I only had an ascidian of my own I wouldn’t ask anything else in the world.”

“What do they look like, dear? Did you ever see one?” asked the Brooklyn girl, deeply interested.

“Oh, no; nobody ever saw one except Mr. Cook and Mr. Emerson; but they are something like an oyster with a reticule hung on its belt. I think they are just heavenly.”

“Do you learn anything else besides?”

“Oh, yes. We learn about common philosophy and logic, and those common things like metaphysics; but the girls, don’t care about those. We are just in ecstasies over differentiations and molecules, and Mr. Cook and protoplasms, and ascidians and Mr. Emerson, and I really don’t see why they put in those vulgar branches. If anybody beside Mr. Cook and Mr. Emerson had done it, we should have told him to his face that he was too terribly, awfully mean.”

And the Brooklyn girl went to bed that night in the dumps, because fortune had not vouchsafed her the advantages enjoyed by her friend.


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