CHILDREN OF OUR TOWN
BY E. MARS AND M. H. SQUIRE
WITH VERSES BY CAROLYN WELLS
CHILDREN OF OUR TOWN
CHILDREN OF OUR TOWN
PICTURED BY E. MARS AND M. H. SQUIRE
WITH VERSES BY CAROLYN WELLS
PUBLISHED BY R. H. RUSSELL NEW YORK
Copyright, 1902, by ROBERT HOWARD RUSSELL
A blustering windy day's just right For boys who want to fly a kite; And it affords the greatest joy To make and use the pretty toy.
But Aged Duffers, do not try A large-sized paper kite to fly; You could not manage tail or string, And ten to one you'd spoil the thing.
BOATS ON THE LAKE
A morning full of happiness any boy may find By sailing boats upon the lake, if he is so inclined; The wind it drives them out to sea, he pulls them back, and then They jerk and struggle to be free—away they go again! They wibble-wobble as they sail, and sometimes they upset,— Of course he reaches out for them,—of course he gets quite wet.
But Aged Grandsires, if you must sail boats in Central Park, Play properly, don't splash yourself, and run back home ere dark.
AT CONEY ISLAND
See proud Belinda smartly dressed In all her flaunting Sunday best; With muslin hat and ruffles big She cannot comfortably dig.
Ask her if she would like to play,— She will not answer either way; She'll only shake herself, and then, Just pout and grin and pout again.
Dear Grandams, meekly learn from this, How very ill-advised it is To don a costume fine and grand When you go playing in the sand.
Instead of your bespangled net, Or moire velvet edged with jet, Just wear a gingham, simply made, So you can tuck it up and wade.
IN CENTRAL PARK
In Central Park, along the Mall, We see the gay goat-carriage crawl; With little boys and girls inside, Enjoying their exciting ride.
Right willingly each nimble steed Exerts his very utmost speed; And o'er the smooth hard road they race At something like a turtle's pace.
But stout old men and portly dames, Pray, do not urge your rightful claims; And even though you have the price, Listen, I beg, to my advice.
Do not insist on getting in The little carriage for a spin; You'd not look picturesque at all Careering up and down the Mall.
THE FIRST OF APRIL
'Tis taught by philosophic schools The human race is mostly fools. And once a year you see this truth Ably set forth by jocund youth, Who broach the tenets of the creed Plainly that he who runs may read.
But Aged Idiots, 'tis not meet For you to run along the street, And with a manner bold and sly Pin tags on ladies passing by, Or sit upon the curb and look For fools to snatch your pocket-book.
Lucinda's tastes are so depraved; She likes to play and romp With children poor and ill-behaved, Who boast no style or pomp.
Their costumes are not quite correct, They have no pretty tricks; Lucinda! pray be more select, In higher circles mix.
Ah, sweet Lucinda, best of girls, How quick to take advice. Behold her with unpapered curls, And frock so rich and nice!
Her haughty stare! Who would suppose That dress would change her so Oh, blessed influence of fine clothes, How much to thee we owe!
Dear lady-readers of whatever age, Look backward and with me enjoy this page. What happy moments have we often spent Thus to our frenzied anger giving vent. Ah, me, the long-lost joys of being young! To make up faces, and stick out one's tongue; How those occasions of Xantippish strife Gave zip and zest to our dull childish life.
THE ETERNAL FEMININE
Ah, truly, as the tree is bent the tiny twig's inclined, And in the very littlest girls we see The contradictious tendencies of woman's wayward mind Developed to a marvellous degree. For each small daughter of her mother Will say one thing and do the other.
For instance, when some little girls just hate to go to school And beg that they may stay at home and play; And then, permission given, these same children, as a rule, Delight in playing school the livelong day! Ah, no wonder poets feature Woman as a captious creature.
Baby and Sis and me Stand by the fence and see Picnickers munch Lots o' good lunch, Jes' givin' nothin' to we.
Baby and Sis and me, Hungry as we can be, Haven't no right To be 'spectin' a bite,— But we're glad lookin' is free.
KINDNESS TO ANIMALS
The Bison, though he seems so grim, Is very sensitive; And when the children stare at him, He wants to cease to live.
He hears them wonder why he's there, And why he can't break through; And why he has such funny hair, And why he doesn't moo.
At this, the suffering Buffalo Can scarce restrain to weep; Their caustic comments hurt him so,— They haunt him in his sleep.
But, Grown-Up people, let me pray You'll not behave like this; The Bison pet,—and, when you may, Give him a friendly kiss.
A COLD DAY
In winter time when ice and sleet Make slidy places on the street, The children early leave their beds And rush out with their skates and sleds.
All merrily the little dears Throw snowballs in each other's ears; And thus with pretty playful ways Beguile the white and wintry days.
Oh, Venerable Veterans, I hate to disarrange your plans; But truly, if you try this game You will go home all stiff and lame.
A blithesome boy this picture shows; He has a true Mercurian pose, Like winged heels his roller-skates Send him fast-flying past his mates. When one is young, 'tis very nice To skate on rollers or on ice.
But Ancient Gaffers, do not try With active boys like this to vie. For if you get a skate on, you Acquire a rolling gait, 'tis true. But soon this proverb you'll endorse,— A rolling gait gathers remorse.
THE EXCURSION BOAT
Into the boat the breeze blows fair, It blows across the deck; It blows the little children's hair,— They get it in the neck.
And in this picture you may see The happy girls and boys, So true to life,—but thankful be You cannot hear the noise.
The great steam-whistle's fearful squeaks. The band, ill-tuned and loud; The babies with their screams and shrieks, The bustle of the crowd.
Grown People, you'd prefer, afloat, A private yacht, I'm sure; Then shun the gay excursion boat Unless you're very poor.
These merry children, I'll be bound In careless pleasure ride around; Unthinking as they onward go, What pedigree their horses show.
But, Graybeard, you learned when a boy About the Wooden Horse of Troy; And you assume these steeds to be The Trojan Sire's posterity.
Well, there you're wrong! you have forgot. They're Flying Horses, are they not? And, scions of a noble name, From Pegasus descent they claim.
But, Graybeards, curb your mad desires To mount upon these whizzing flyers. For there's the very strongest chance You'd go home in an ambulance.
With new, ill-fitting gloves, With frocks as white as snow, By two and two these little loves To First Communion go.
I watch them as they pass,— Somehow, I shrewdly guess Each child thinks little of her mass And much about her dress.
But you, dear Aged Saint, Whose eyeballs upward roll, I trust you have no worldly taint Upon your gentle soul.
Joe Munn who has a penny Has friends and friends a-many; They hang around him eagerly and offer him advice. Tim Lanigan states clearly That he loves taffy dearly And butterscotch is awful good and chocolates is nice.
Jane said, but no one heard her, "An orange would go furder," While Billy Barlow's heart beat high inside his chubby shape. It needs no divination To see the application,— Until your purse is empty from your friends you can't escape.
This picture (as you can see, I hope) Shows a fat little maiden skipping rope. She can jump "highwater" and "pepper" too, But, fat old ladies, let me tell you, If you jump "highwater" you'll lose your breath, And to jump "pepper" might cause your death.
On the East Side any day, When the street pianos play You can see the children dancing with a rhythmic whirl and sway.
All untaught their native grace, Joy in every grinning face, To the music they are gaily keeping perfect time and pace.
But, infirm and aged crones, Do not risk your ancient bones; Your old nerves would suffer sadly jarred and jolted by the stones.
A BALL GAME
There never was a place so bad But one redeeming trait it had.
Now Harlem is no good at all Save as a place for playing ball.
But there the boys will run and play Their favorite game 'most every day.
But, Reverend sir, 'twould foolish be To play, with your rheumatic knee.
And, Deacon, do not try, I beg, To play the game with your game leg.
THE RIVAL QUEENS
Now wasn't this ridiculous? Essie and Mamie had a fuss, And each declared she wouldn't play Unless she could be Queen of May.
"You think you're smart!" Miss Essie said, And Mamie sneered and tossed her head. And each one angrily declared There'd be no queen for all she cared!
Mamie was mad as she could be, And Essie pouted sulkily; With angry looks they onward stalked, While no one 'neath the May-bower walked.
Oh! social Queens, this lesson learn If for supremacy you yearn, And of your fitness there is doubt, See that your rival too's kept out.
The Little Mothers of the poor They lead a jolly life, I'm sure; For without being gray and old, They've all a mother's right to scold. As eagerly each day they meet To pass the gossip of the street, Her baby-cart, each states with pride, Is finest on the whole East side. And each, her small charge will declare The handsomest baby anywhere. Oh, Grown-up Mothers, learn to praise Your children and their pretty ways.
OTHER LITTLE MOTHERS
The Little Mothers of the rich Are really works of art, They are dressed up to such a pitch In frocks so fine and smart.
They do not have to take the charge Of baby boys or girls; No, they have dolls exceeding large With silky, flaxen curls.
Ah, Mothers in Society, Accept this reasoning sound; Dolls far less troublesome would be Than children bothering round.
FOURTH OF JULY
These boisterous boys, with bang and fizz, They make such noisy noise; But, then, perhaps the reason is, They are such boysy boys.
The girls as well,—from early morn They shoot and shoot and shoot; And on a trumpet or a horn They toot and toot and toot.
But you, whose locks are bleached by Time, (Or by the Chemist's aid), Heed my admonitory rhyme, Nor join the gay parade.
When Autumn brings around the day Devoted to thanksgiving, The children scream with laughter gay For very joy of living.
And every sort of escapade Receives their commendation; But all agree a masquerade Is best for celebration.
The boys and girls all swarm around The crowd is hourly growing; Straw hatted and grotesquely gowned,— With tin horns loudly blowing.
But dear old dames with snowy puffs, Tulle caps and Mechlin laces, Don't scramble out and join the toughs In boys' clothes and false faces.
To Bob and Sue, who have ice-cream, Life is a glowing, halcyon dream, While Tom stands empty by; And says, "Gee! fellers, ain't it prime? Say, I had ice-cream too, one time, And it was great! Oh, my!"
Ah, beaux and belles at rout or ball, Does ice-cream on your palate pall? Is it to you no treat? You never ate it from the can, Come, patronize the Ice-Cream Man, Come down to Mulberry Street!