The Downward Road.
Two Yankee maids of simple mien,
And earnest, high endeavour,
Come sailing to the land of France,
To escape the winter weather.
When first they reached that vicious shore
They scorned the native ways,
Refused to eat the native grub,
Or ride in native shays.
'Oh, for the puddings of our home!
Oh, for some simple food!
These horrid, greasy, unknown things,
How can you think them good?'
Thus to Amanda did they say,
An uncomplaining maid,
Who ate in peace and answered not
Until one day they said--
How _can_ you eat this garbage vile
Against all nature's laws?
How _can_ you eat your nails in points,
Until they look like claws?'
Then patiently Amanda said,
'My loves, just wait a while,
The time will come you will not think
The nails or victuals vile.'
A month has passed, and now we see
That prophecy fulfilled;
The ardour of those carping maids
Is most completely chilled.
Matilda was the first to fall,
Lured by the dark gossoon,
In awful dishes one by one
She dipped her timid spoon.
She promised for one little week
To let her nails grow long,
But added in a saving clause
She thought it very wrong.
Thus did she take the fatal plunge,
Did compromise with sin,
Then all was lost; from that day forth
French ways were sure to win.
Lavinia followed in her train,
And ran the self-same road,
Ate sweet-bread first, then chopped-up brains,
Eels, mushrooms, pickled toad.
She cries, 'How flat the home _cuisine_
After this luscious food!
Puddings and brutal joints of meat,
That once we fancied good!'
And now in all their leisure hours
One resource never fails,
Morning and noon and night they sit
And polish up their nails.
Then if in one short fatal month
A change like this appears,
Oh, what will be the next result
When they have stayed for years?