Sonnets in a Lodging House


Each morn she crackles upward, tread by tread,
All apprehensive of some hideous sight:
Perhaps the Fourth Floor Back, who reads in bed,
Forgot his gas and let it burn all night —
The Sweet Young Thing who has the middle room,
She much suspects: for once some ink was spilled,
And then the plumber, in an hour of gloom,
Found all the bathroom pipes with tea-leaves filled.

No League of Nations scheme can make her gay —
She knows the rank duplicity of man;
Some folks expect clean towels every day,
They'll get away with murder if they can!
She tacks a card (alas, few roomers mind it)
Please leave the tub as you would wish to find it!


Men lodgers are the best, the Mrs. said:
They don't use my gas jets to fry sardines,
They don't leave red-hot irons on the spread,
They're out all morning, when a body cleans.
A man ain't so secretive, never cares
What kind of private papers he leaves lay,
So I can get a line on his affairs
And dope out whether he is likely pay.
But women! Say, they surely get my bug!
They stop their keyholes up with chewing gum,
Spill grease, and hide the damage with the rug,
And toast marshmallows when their callers come.
They always are behindhand with their rents —
Take my advice and let your rooms to gents!
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