"The Little Quaker Sinner"

A little Quaker maiden, with dimpled cheek and chin,
Before an ancient mirror stood and viewed her form within,
She wore a gown of sober grey, a cape demure and prim,
With only simple fold and hem, yet dainty, neat and trim.
Her bonnet too, was grey and stiff, its only line of grace
Was in the lace, so soft and white, shirred round her rosy face.
Quoth she, "Oh how I loathe this hat! I hate this gown and cape!
I do wish all my clothes were not of such outlandish shape!
The children passing by to school have ribbons in their hair;
The little girl next door wears blue; O dear, if only I could dare
I know what I should like to do," (the words were whispered low
Lest such tremendous heresy should reach her aunts below;
Calmly reading in the parlour sat her good aunts, Faith and Peace,
Little dreaming how rebellious throbbed the heart of their young niece.
All their prudent, humble teaching, wilfully she cast aside.
Her mind now fully conquered by vanity and pride.
She, with trembling heart and fingers, on a hassock she sat down
And this little Quaker maiden sewed a tuck into her gown.
"Little Patience, art thou ready? Fifth day meeting day has come
Mercy Jones and Goodman Elder with his wife have left his home."
'Twas Aunt Faith's sweet voice that called her, and that naughty little maid
Gliding down the dark old stairway hoped their notice to evade.
Keeping shyly in the shadow as they went out at the door,
Ah, never a little Quakeress a guiltier conscience bore!
Dear Aunt Faith walked looking upward, all her thoughts were pure and holy,
And Aunt Peace walked gazing downward with a humble mind and lowly
But "Tuck-tuck!" chirped the sparrows at the little maiden's side
And in passing Farmer Watson's, where the barn-door opened wide,
Every sound that issued from it, every grunt and every cluck
Seemed to her affrightened fancy like "A Tuck!" "A Tuck!" "A Tuck!"
In the meeting Goodman Elder spoke of pride and vanity
While all the Friends seemed looking round, that dreadful tuck to see.
How it swelled in its proportions till it seemed to fill the air
And the heart of little Patience grew heavier with her care.
Oh the glad relief when prayers and exhortations ended,
Behind her two good aunts her homeward way she wended.
The pomps and vanities of life she'd seized with eager arms
And deeply had she tasted of the world's alluring charms.
Yea, to the dregs had drained them! And only this to find
All was vanity of spirit and vexation of the mind.
So, repentant, saddened, humbled, on her hassock she sat down
And this little Quaker sinner ripped the tuck out of her gown.
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Lucy Lincoln Montgomery

born 1846 in Craigville, New York. died 1931. This poem is from "St. Nicholas". She also wrote "The Bells of Dumbarton." more…

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