Father, what is a Legisla…

December 19, 2011

Father, what is a Legislature?
A representative body elected by the people of the
Are women people?
No, my son, criminals, lunatics and women are not
Do legislators legislate for nothing?
Oh, no; they are paid a salary.
By whom?
By the people.
Are women people?
Of course, my son, just as much as men are.

(“I hate a woman who is not a mystery to herself, as
well as to me.”–The Phoenix.)
If you want a receipt for that popular mystery
Known to the world as a Woman of Charm,
Take all the conspicuous ladies of history,
Mix them all up without doing them harm.
The beauty of Helen, the warmth of Cleopatra,
Salome’s notorious skill in the dance,
The dusky allure of the belles of Sumatra,
The fashion and finish of ladies from France.
The youth of Susanna, beloved by an elder,
The wit of a Chambers’ incomparable minx,
The conjugal views of the patient Griselda,
The fire of Sappho, the calm of the Sphinx,
The eyes of La Vallière, the voice of Cordelia,
The musical gifts of the sainted Cecelia,
Trilby and Carmen and Ruth and Ophelia,
Madame de Staël and the matron Cornelia,
Iseult, Hypatia and naughty Nell Gwynn,
Una, Titania and Elinor Glyn.
Take of these elements all that is fusible,
Melt ’em all down in a pipkin or crucible,
Set ’em to simmer and take off the scum,
And a Woman of Charm is the residuum!
(Slightly adapted from W.S. Gilbert.)


Home and Where It Is
(An Indiana judge has recently ruled: As to the right
of the husband to decide the location of the home
that “home is where the husband is.”)
Home is where the husband is,
Be it near or be it far,
Office, theatre, Pullman car,
Poolroom, polls, or corner bar–
All good wives remember this–
Home is where the husband is.
Woman’s place is home, I wis.
Leave your family bacon frying,
Leave your wash and dishes drying,
Leave your little children crying;
Join your husband, near or far,
At the club or corner bar,
For the court has taught us this:
“Home is where the husband is.”


Who is it thinks the vote some use?
Man. (Man is often such a goose!)
Indeed it makes me laugh to see
How men have struggled to be free.
Poor Washington, who meant so well,
And Nathan Hale and William Tell,
Hampden and Bolivar and Pym,
And L’Ouverture–remember him?
And Garibaldi and Kossuth,
And some who threw away their youth,
All bitten by the stupid notion
That liberty was worth emotion.
They could not get it through their heads
That if they stayed tucked up in beds,
Avoiding politics and strife,
They’d lead a pleasant, peaceful life.
Let us, dear sisters, never make
Such a ridiculous mistake;
But teach our children o’er and o’er
That liberty is just a chore.


(“The Latin man believes that giving woman the
vote will make her less attractive.”–Anna H. Shaw.)
They must sacrifice their beauty
Who would do their civic duty,
Who the polling booth would enter,
Who the ballot box would use;
As they drop their ballots in it
Men and women in a minute,
Lose their charm, the antis tell us,
But–the men have less to lose.