Skip to main content

Full text of "Mere Micheaux"

See other formats


Early Journal Content on JSTOR, Free to Anyone in the World 

This article is one of nearly 500,000 scholarly works digitized and made freely available to everyone in 
the world by JSTOR. 

Known as the Early Journal Content, this set of works include research articles, news, letters, and other 
writings published in more than 200 of the oldest leading academic journals. The works date from the 
mid-seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries. 

We encourage people to read and share the Early Journal Content openly and to tell others that this 
resource exists. People may post this content online or redistribute in any way for non-commercial 

Read more about Early Journal Content at 
journal-content . 

JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source objects. JSTOR helps people 
discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching 
platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit 
organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please 


down in French Quarter 
near Houston Street. As 
she had seen seventy-five 
years of life go by her, she 
was not pretty. Her 
chin nearly met her nose and she mumbled 
her words. Her hair, what there was of 
it, was yellowish grey, and hung over her 
eyes. Her hands were claw-like, but 
they served for her vocation — which was 
sorting rags. She worked in a dark cellar 
on Sullivan Street, in company with two 
other old women and a "boss." 

Once on a time Mere Micheaux had 
been "La Petite Micheaux," a grisette 
of the Quartier Latin. This the dwellers 
in the neighborhood did not know. They 
considered her a disagreeable old woman, 
with a fine command of indecent language. 

Mere Micheaux lived in a back garret, 
up a dirty court, in company with a starved 
looking cat. However, Mere Micheaux 
gave her half her own food, and never 
beat her even when she was very drunk. 

Mere Micheaux was the terror of child- 
ren, who considered her a witch, yet if it 
had not been for her, little Clairette would 
have starved to death. When Clairette's 
mother died, the child, with the instinct of 
the wounded animal, would have hidden 
away. But Mere Micheaux took her to 
the dingy garret and gave her of her crusts. 

There was less for the cat and herself, 
but by curtailing the drinking, the three 
managed to get along. 

When Winter came, Mere Micheaux 
piled all the rags in the room on Clairette. 

She shivered herself to sleep every night, 
and her cough and rheumatism were not 
the better for it. 

Then came Pneumonia, the Dispensary 
Doctor, and finally, Death. She did not 
die in the odor of sanctity, but as she had 
lived. She reviled the Priest 'till he fled, 
and with her last breath cursed God. 

But her last look was for Clairette, who 
was sobbing beside the bed. 

Enter Maid, skipping merrily in she 
announces the coming of Beauty, 
whom they all love«3*Enter Beauty. 
The people scatter flowers at her feet 
— Song. 

Enter numerous boxes, bundles, etc. 
Containing gifts for Beauty. These 
are opened and the contents are ad- 
mired by townspeople, — when the 
last few boxes are reached, they re- 

The neighbors say that she is damned, 
but I hope she's not. It would be lonely 
in Heaven for Clairette and the mangy 
cat if she were. 


Today would be a pauper were 

It not that he may borrow 
From one who can all gifts confer, — 

The Golden Prince, Tomorrow. 


Brothers, who strive with the aching heart, 
Battling with poverty, sorrow and care, 
Dreaming strange dreams from life apart, 
Seeking sweet fame or here or there, — 
I give you greetings, and raise a prayer 
To cheer you forth on the valiant quest, 
Or ever the trail be rough or fair, 
God grant that it may lead to rest. 

Poverty chills Love's warmest heart, 
Ambition will wither when singed with 

And few can follow the paths of Art 
When they wind through leagues of poi- 
soned air ; 
And the poet who dreams in the garret 

The teeth of the hunger-wolf at his breast, 
For the sake of the song I raise my prayer, 
God grant that it may lead to rest. 

You who toil in the busy mart, 
Blinded with lust of the golden glare, 
Never heeding a broken heart, 
But robbing here and cheating there, 
With never a thought, much less a care, 
For a struggling soul by your greed opprest, 
Heed well my song and join my prayer, 
God grant that it may lead to rest. 


Prince, who knows how the fight may fare ? 
The Sphinx's riddle may be a jest ; ■ 
Scorn not the dreamer, but join my prayer, 
God grant that it may lead to rest. 

veal as their carrier a miniature 
darky. J- The largest parcel an 
elaborate casket, on being opened 
by the maid, contains a servant for 

Enter First Merchant. Announces 
that he has purchased a farm and 
will remove his family to same. 
Exit Three Sisters and First Mer- 
chant, followed by townspeople.