TIRED TO DEATH
by Mary J MacColl
An imaginary conversation between a young society belle and her friend, Grace, with off-side orders to her maid, Marie. The poet has skillfully portrayed the attitudes of the pampered daughter in a prosperous family, circa 1870.
Oh, Marie, come quickly and take off my shoes;
Now, bring my white peignoir and let down my hair;
I’m tired to death! Grace, you must excuse
me to Alice and Captain Bellair.
Not a moment of rest all this day have I had
since my coffee was brought me at ten
with the papers. Each item of interest I read—
by the way, I’m disgusted with men!
A second Maud Muller young Moneysworth’s wed,
when he might — but no matter — and then
an hour was spent dressing, a letter I wrote
to Bell Breeze — she’s a love of a girl!
Drove to Russell’s, was fitted,
then penned a sweet note
to Fred Fairleigh — that card case of pearl
he sent me — a bet on the races last week.
Yes archery is quite the rage;
a cute polo pony’s my very last freak —
I’ll never fall back of the age.
Had breakfast at one, then a short nap I took;
read Daniel Deronda till three;
I must say it’s tedious — not my style of a book —
George Eliot’s too solid for me.
Now, Southworth and Flemming are just to my taste,
and French novels are quite au fait
Kate Norris called next — oh, how tight she was laced! —
and I’m sure she was painted today.
While we talked, Clara Alden rushed in with a gush,
I thought she would strangle me quite.
Her brother is charming; you know, dear — don’t blush —
I saw that flirtation last night.
Next Mordant dropped in — he’s a donkey, but then
he’s worth a cool million or more!
Ma thinks him the nicest and wisest of men —
to me he’s a horrible bore.
But I don’t mean to snub him; his T-cart and drag
are the most stunning turn-outs I’ve seen;
While driving today we met Marion Flagg,
and with envy she fairly turned green.
One cannot well blame her, he is such a catch,
and the poor girl is growing passé.
How she has maneuvered to make a good match!
What! Grace, six o’clock did you say?
Why, I must be dressing; at seven we dine
at Delmonico’s. What shall I wear?
The German at Granger’s commences at nine —
shall I bang, frizz or scollop my hair?
How frightful to think I have not a new dresss;
I’m sure I’ve appeared at least twice
while at Newport, in each of the robes I possess.
My white mull —do you think that is nice?
Come Marie, make haste, you are always so slow —
I wish I had time to take breath.
Well, darling, good-bye, if you really must go…
Thank goodness! I’m tired to death.
From the book, BIDE A WEE by Mary J MacColl,
published in 1880 by Peter Paul & Brother of Buffalo, NY.
I found this book in a sale somewhere and it’s still in fairly good shape. Gold trimmed edges and letters! And on the first page are endorsements of Miss MacColl’s poetry by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Henry W Longfellow, Joaquin Miller, and John G Whittier. She definitely hung out with the right crowd, back in her day!
I’m posting this in honour of National Poetry Month.