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Too Old for Dolls A Novel

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THE ENGLISH FLAPPER From Nature's anvil hot she hails,The forge still glowing on her cheek.Untamed as yet, Life still prevailsWithin her breast and fain would speak. But all the elfs upon the plain,And in the arbour where she lolls,Repeat the impudent refrain;Too young for babes, too old for dolls. Her fingers deft have guessed the knackOf making each advantage tell:Her hat, her hair still down her back,Her frocks and muff of mighty spell; Her springtide "tailor-mades" quite plain:In summer-time her parasols;Each eloquent with the refrain:Too young for babes, too old for dolls. Behold with what grave interestShe looks at all, or hind or squire;In truth more keenly than the bestMatriculation marks require. She's told to learn from all she sees;To watch the seasons, how they go,And note the burgeoning of trees,Or bulbs and pansies, how they grow. "Enough that they are fair!" she cries;"Why should I learn how lilies blow?"And, dropping botany, she sighsFor some new flounce or furbelow. The murmur of the woodland wild,The sound of courting birds that sing,Are sweeter music to this childThan all piano practising. She reads of love time and again,And writes sad lays and barcarolles,All emphasising the refrain:Too young for babes, too old for dolls. And, truth to tell, the world's a thingOf wonder for a life that's new,And trembling her passions singTheir praise within her father's pew. Magnificats or credos sung,Thus oft acquire a deeper note,When they're intoned by voices young,Or issue from a virgin's throat. For all the world's a wondrous thing,And magic to the life that's new,And heartily her voice-chords ringBeside her father's in his pew. Who sees her clad in muslin white,With eyes downcast and manner prim,May well be minded by the sight,Of angels pure or cherubim. Yet, oh, the secret lusts of life!The thrills and throbs but half divined;The future and the great word "Wife,"Which ofttimes occupy her mind! The wicked thoughts that come and go,The dreams that leave her soul aghast,And make her long to hold and knowThe entertaining truth at last! But still the elfs upon the plain,And in the arbour where she lolls,With merry gesture cry again:Too young for babes, too old for dolls.

First published in The New Age, December 4th, 1919.

Too Old for Dolls

On a vast Chesterfield, every unoccupied square inch of which seemed to bulge with indignant pride, Mrs. Delarayne reclined in picturesque repose. Her small feet, looking if possible more dainty than usual in their spruce patent leather shoes, were resting on a rich silk cushion whose glistening gold tassels lay heavily amid all the crushed splendour of the couch. Other cushions, equally purse-proud and brazen, supported the more important portions of the lady's frame, and a deep floorward curve in the line of the Chesterfield conveyed the impression that, however tenderly Mrs. Delarayne might wish to be embraced by her furniture and its wedges of down, she was at all events a creature of substantial proportions and construction....