Thursday, February 5, 2015

If You Please

From 1908 to 1918, my great great grandmother, Ethel Carson,  had a little book where she kept a record of income, expenses, and various happenings around the farm.  She also wrote or copied one poem, "If You Please," but unfortunately did not indicate who the author was or if she wrote it herself.
All dressed in gray,
A little mouse has made his home within my house;
And every night and every morn, 
I say, “I wish that mouse were gone.”
But why? A quiet soul is he,
 As any one need wish to see. 
 My house is large, my hearth is wide, 
With room for him and me beside. 
 Ah! yes! But when the lights are out, 
He likes to slyly peep about, 
And help himself to what he sees, 
Without once saying, “If you please.”
Have you ever heard this poem before, and if so, do you know who wrote it?

Update: Many thanks to Phil Gould and Carletta for finding the poem in Literature for Little People (1911) and Stickney's Second Reader, page 87, published by Ginn & Co. before 1897.
 (It is mentioned in the 1897 Proceedings of the Chicago Board of Education).   
If I ever need private investigators, I know whom to call! 

126 comments:

  1. Hello Bethany, what a cute poem. I have not heard of this poem, it would be nice if your grandmother wrote it. I love the photos.. Great post..

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  2. what a sweet poem! made me grin! and loved these scenes. thanks for sharing at good fences! wonderful post!

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  3. What a sweet little poem! I have never heard of it so I am no help in that department...would't that be neat if your great-great grandmother wrote it :)

    The picture of the home is truly lovely! Is it a home located near you? Enjoy your day, dear Bethany!

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    1. The house is not very far away--I'd say easily within 20 miles of me. Have a great day as well, Stephanie!

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  4. Very nice job with the fences. It definitely sounds like a poem your grandmother would have written. The mouse probably came in her house from the barn.

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    1. I have no doubt that she must have understood the poem very well even though it appears she did not write it--mice can be quite the problem in farm houses!

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  5. oh bethany, what a treasure that book is!! a cute poem, i have never heard it before....your images compliment it well!!!!

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    1. Yes, it was particularly neat to see the lists of customers she sold eggs and (I think) milk and perhaps lumber(?) to...some of them have some of the same last names as customers at my papa's welding shop today. We wonder if they were our customers' ancestors--and if she had similar problems with the families of our "non-paying" (former) customers.

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    2. that's just so interesting bethany.....thanks for all the kind, thoughtful comments at "it's all about purple"!!!

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  6. I have never heard this wonderful poem so I'm of no help Bethany.

    Love your images though especially the first one.

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  7. What treasures these are, that lovely little poem and your Great-Great-Great Grandmother's account book. To have something in her writing, incredible! I would love to have anything in any of my grandmother's hand writing. The house is beautiful and so is the barn. Loved these photos Bethany, thank you so much for sharing them.

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    1. My family is incredibly blessed with genealogical information, and small items that have been saved and passed down. My great great grandmother Ethel lived until 1987 (till she was 103), so my papa had time to talk with her, and she did her best to make sure copies of family history were sent to the various branches of the family.

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    2. How wonderful! I think it's marvelous that your Papa had many wonderful conversations with her. A true blessing.

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  8. NO I have never heard it but I like it. The green house looks very interesting.

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    1. Although it needs a little restoration, it is definitely a more elegant style than most of the local farmhouses.

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  9. How neat to have your great great grandmother's record book! :D I've never heard that poem before, but it's a cute one. By the way, I really like that second picture of the blue Victorian.

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    1. For me, at least, it was a traffic-stopper!

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  10. Bethany your post is a very nice memory of your great grandmother. Reading that poem I think she was not well-off at that time. Maybe she wrote it personally who knows..

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    1. Life definitely was not easy for her; she faced a lot of struggles.

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  11. I just fell in love with that green house, I'm already
    thinking of what to start with first :D
    Love that poem, I guess it's written by our great
    grandmother :)
    Have a fine weekend
    【ツ】Knipsa

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  12. Lovely scenes, Bethany! I would not be surprised if your great-great-grandmother penned that sweet poem herself. The creative juices do seem to flow in your family. :)

    Lindy

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    1. I was wondering...but the poets and artists in my family are pretty much on the other side. :)

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  13. I love, love, love this! The photos are marvelous and the poem is so cute. I bet your great, great grandmother wrote it. :)

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    1. Thanks, there's some pretty nice scenery around here! ;)

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  14. this was beautiful :) Hopefully your great great grandmother wrote it :)

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  15. Possibly your g.g. grandmother wrote it.

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    1. I was thinking that was a possibility, but it appears she did not.

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  16. the poem about the mouse made me smile. And I love your photo of that minty-turquoise house--for some reason it makes me think of the American countryside's version of a castle.

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  17. Beautiful poem Bethany and I have never heard it before either. How nice that you have such a wonderful momento of your great great grandmother. That green house is absolutely gorgeous. I love the turret!

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    1. It's one of the neater houses in the area!

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  18. I've not heard the poem before but I do like it and it went well with your photos. Nice fence shot with the horse/barn. Also that old house is pretty cool looking.

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  19. I've never heard the poem before, but perhaps your great-grandmother did write it, after all! The poem is such a cute ne; lucky for you to find such a lovely piece! I wish I had that sort of thing with me, but my great-grandmother (who lived in the Philippines), in adulthood, hid in the mountains with the rest of her family and kids (my grandma included) because the Japanese invaded during WWII. But I do love the first picture of the house! It's neat; I'd love to explore an old house like that someday.

    xoxo Morning

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    1. It sounds like your great-grandmother had a very exciting life...it must have been very scary for her during World War 2. It would be interesting to hear her life story.

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  20. I've never heard of this poem but it's adorable! And your photos are fabulous. I especially love that old home.

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    1. Considering that the house still has an elegant touch to it in its old age, I'm sure it must have been a beauty when first constructed.

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  21. Beautiful poem and what gorgeous pictures!, thanks for taking the time to share it.

    Hope you are having a wonderful evening.

    Blessings,

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  22. Love the poem. I found it in, "Literature for Little People" by Lida Brown McMurry. It's on page 16 and credited to Stickney's Second Reader and used by permission of Ginn & Co.

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    1. Thank you so much for finding it, Phil! I really appreciate it!

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  23. If you Google "Literature for Little People" the book is available as a free download in either epub or pdf format.

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  24. Your photos are beautiful as is this poem! What a treasure to have this piece of history from your great great grandmother!!! Wishing you a wonderful weekend! Nicole xoxo

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  25. Your photos are lovely! I would love to roam around that old house.
    I did some research on your poem. I found it in a couple of places. The children's Highlights magazine has used it as a teaching tool for children which was my first find. Searching further I found it in an old school reader - Stickey's Second Reader published by Ginn and Co. I was not able to find the date but a very old reader. I'm including a link to a PDF file that shows the poem in the book.
    http://cdigital.dgb.uanl.mx/la/1080078798/1080078798_05.pdf
    No author is given in either of these finds - who's to say- maybe it is your Grandma's. :)

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    1. Thank you so much for finding it, Carletta! It seems it was written a bit too early to be my Grandma's.

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  26. Dear Bethany,

    The poem is lovely and your photos are gorgeous. Thank you so much for sharing, you have made my day.

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    1. Your posts always add a smile to my day, Linda!

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  27. Halo Bethany,
    Beautiful pictures especially the green house, I love.
    The poem is beautiful.

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  28. So precious, Bethany dear! What a wonderful treasure! Love this adorable poem...I've never heard it before:). Hugs to you, friend! Kelly xx

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  29. What a treasure you have!! I would love to hold such family history. Never heard the poem but it's delightful!

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    1. I am incredibly grateful for the family history that various members of my family and my ancestors preserved. History is a fascinating study!

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  30. Hi Bethany, My grandmother (on mother’s side), except for mother and dad, was perhaps my greatest guiding light in my first 15 years or so until she passed away. During all of her adult life she kept a written (almost) daily journal in little spiral bound notebooks. I am the luckiest member of the family to have inherited those journals and I would consider them among my greatest treasures. Ethel’s little book and poem takes me back to those journals. You have a real treasure there. As always, your photos are wonderful too. Thanks for sharing your blog! John

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    1. How wonderful that you have your grandmother's journals, and that she was such a great influence in your life!

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  31. Hi Bethany,
    I have never heard that poem before. That's cool that your great grandma might have written it. :)
    Love,
    Ashley
    creatingpreciousmoments.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Ashley! It appears she did not write it, but it is still neat to see that she appreciated it enough to put it in her account book!

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  32. That poem is adorable! I've never heard it before though. Love your photos....especially the green house. Hauntingly beautiful. It would make a great subject for a poem. ;)

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    1. Come to think of it, it would--especially to someone who knew a bit of its history.

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  33. Thats a nice combination of words and pictures - and the book itself is a wonderful thing to still have.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  34. What a wonderful treasure.

    Love that house.

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  35. Olá amiga, que bela herança você possui!
    Raízes familiares nos faz pensar o quanto Deus nos ama,
    ao longo do tempo!
    Um grande abraço, Marie.

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  36. You have such a treasure there beyond just numbers and lists. You have insight into your Grandmother Ethel's thoughts. Some of the sweetest poems and stories are in children's readers.

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  37. Love all your photos and the poem also.
    Glad you found the source of the poem
    Smiles
    Oh, how wonderful to have your grandmother's book ...a treasure ...

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  38. Hello Bethany!:) Lovely old house and fence scene. What a treasure to still have your great great grandmothers book in the family, and what a sweet poem, so glad you found it to share with us. Do you know John Betjeman's poem, "Diary of a Church Mouse", from the perspective of a mouse it is very revealing.Best Regards.
    I'm sure you would enjoy reading it as much as I do. I have Betjemans book of poems on my bedside table and delight in his poetry.

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    1. Ah! I did enjoy that poem, Breathtaking, thanks so much for mentioning it! It made me smile. :)

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  39. That is a beautiful poem and I like the thought that she might have written it herself. I love that first picture you took with the horse in it. Great shot!
    Have an amazing weekend, Bethany! :)

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  40. When I read the poem I thought it seemed familiar so I was pleased to see you found the answer to the question of who wrote it. I shall think of it when next I see the mouse family who live in my garden.

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    1. Glad they've chosen to live in the garden instead of the house!

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  41. Cute poem, Bethany, and that's a wonderful old house even if it could use some TLC.

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  42. Hi Bethany,
    Nice poem and a lovely notebook!
    I remember taking 'Accountancy' classes, where we had to do homework problems, which involved 'Passbooks'. I am reminded of those!
    Loved reading the poem and the post!
    Have a Beautiful Day!!
    Peace :)

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    1. Interesting! It's always useful to have a knowledge of accounting!
      You have a great day too!

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  43. Beautiful poem Bethany!
    Love the architecture of the green house.
    Have a happy Sunday!

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  44. It's a very pretty poem. Thanks for sharing it.
    I love your photos too.

    Have an excellent week.

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  45. How wonderful Phil & Carletta found the poem for you....but with no author mentioned, it's so hard to say who the author was. Did your Great-Grandmother write poetry? If so, it could be her! It's a wonderful poem! I loved the house4 and barn. Beautiful scenes! Awesome post, Bethany!

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    1. I had never heard of her writing poetry--though I can't say for sure. She was only 13 in 1897 when the book with the poem is mentioned in the Chicago School records though, so I don't think she wrote that one.

      Thanks Marie!

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  46. I love the poem....and swoon over that beautiful old house.

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    1. I'm sure that in its glory, it was a real beauty!

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  47. I love the poem and I love the pictures that you chose to accompany it :)

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  48. Great pics... I love poetry and I really enjoyed that poem. It would be awesome if your grandmother wrote it... :)

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  49. I had never heard the poem...glad someone else found it for you. Love that old house and the shot below it, too.

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  50. Great history in your family Bethany. Tom The Backroads Traveller

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  51. I never heard that poem before. Really neat.

    I adore that aqua colored house! Imagine how it would have looked new!

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  52. Very sweet! I love the style of cursive writing back then. So flowery and beautiful.

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    1. Yes! We were looking through handwritten courthouse documents a while back--some of the handwriting was a bit hard to read--maybe even a bit messy--but it still was beautiful!

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  53. I love your photos, especially the barn photo with the horse (I love horses)! And I would have loved to see the inside of that house! Wonderful poem, too.

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    1. That would be interesting...I still have to work up a bit of nerve before I'm ready to knock on people's doors and ask for tours though ;) *grin*.

      Glad you enjoyed the poem and photos, and thanks so much for visiting!

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  54. Olá querida, passei por aqui para agradecer sua doce presença
    no meu cantinho.Obrigada !!!
    Abraços, Marie.

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  55. i've not heard it but i love that house!! i really enjoyed this post!! isn't it fun finding historical things in your own family!

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  56. Wonderful photos and sweet poem, Bethany! My Nana would have liked the poem, she had a fondness for mice. I should tell her story on my blog sometime :) I love finding old notebooks, journals, etc. For one thing, the handwriting fascinates me and I enjoy reading even mundane details about people's lives. When it's family, it's even more special. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. That would be wonderful if you do tell her story sometime on your blog. Old handwriting can be so very beautiful, and I love to learn more about my family.

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  57. I love this poem. I don't remember seeing it before, but it is a sweet one. Thanks for sharing it with us and for linking this week!

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  58. That's a great poem! I've never heard it before. Love your photos, especially of the house.

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  59. Love this though it is sad the barn is falling.

    I knew just what you meant...thanks.

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  60. Hi Bethany, I showed this post to your Uncle Jack and he was very happy to see Grandma Carson's handwriting in the picture! I think he's now hooked on your blog too!!!! Love you, Aunt Diane

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    1. So glad he enjoyed it! Grandma Carson must have been a neat person to know. Thanks so much for visiting and commenting Aunt Diane! Love you too!

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