Saturday, 4 February 2012

Since looking closely at my recent purchase I've been pondering Original Sin! In 1900 was it rare to think of small children as innocent beings?

My antique frame is decorated with a motley collection of dolls, moulded in gesso, and it contains a print depicting a small girl diligently mending her doll's clothes beside a poem, Mending Day by Burges Johnson, a minor American humourist, poet and writer of limericks. So far, so sweet...
                                              is the poem. Mending Day.

How quickly children's clothes will rip and tear
Each time I put off mending till so late,
I re'lize that a family of eight
Can give a loving mother lots of care.
If more get born I really do declare
I'll put 'em into bed and make 'em wait.
My brother hopes to learn to operate,
But there is not a child that I would spare.

He's borrowed three that he pertends are dead.
But I won't even think of such a thin'
And yet at mending time I've often said
I almost wished-though p'raps it is a sin-
That God has sent some paper dolls instead
Whose clothes are only painted on their skin.

The little girl's brother sounds too cold-hearted for our modern sensibilities, and even she is so care-worn that she's tempted to hand a few  "children" over to him, for his surgical experiments!
Perhaps I can find a finely worked piece of darning or patching to replace this disconcerting verse.