9. An Old, Old Maid: “Mrs. Prindle’s Soliloquy,” by Emma Austin

On January 9, 1870 Addie Austin wrote to her cousin Emma. Emma did not get the school she was hoping for and had stated that she would die an old maid. It would be interesting to know if this related to Emma’s “friendship” with Chester. prindle

New York, Addie to Emma
January 9, 1870

My Dear Cousin Emma, Uncle Henry (Emma’s father) tells me that you were disappointed in not getting your school.
I am sorry, but if you are successful in
getting one in the spring, I should not care very much about teaching this winter. I think they treated you very mean though about
it. I doubt very much you are dying an old maid… Addie
The Mill on Halfway Brook, p. 149.

Emma Austin wrote “Mrs. Prindle’s Soliloquy,” a poem which compared the lives of two sisters, one married and the other unmarried.

Mrs. Prindle married because she was afraid of living and dying “an old, old maid.” Her sister Sally, “the happiest soul alive,” had no annoying husband or quarrelsome children. Sally was not “afraid of living or dying an old, old maid,” and teased her married sister.—Abby, Laurilla, and Mary Ann, p. 243. Mrs.-Prindles-sililoquoyemma.6

Mrs. Prindle’s Soliloquy
It kind-o-seems to me tonight
While darning these stocking by candlelight
That I ain’t quite the woman I used to be,
Since I let old Prindle marry me,
Because I was so much afraid
Of living, and dying an old, old maid.

I always used to dress so neat;
My hair was smooth, my temper sweet,
I have learned to be cold, seldom brush my hair,
And don’t care a pin about what I wear.
And wonder that ever I was afraid
Of living and dying an old, old maid.

How loudly that Prindle to snore contrives
Was man ever before so great alive?
It really, sometimes appears to me
He means to be hateful as he can be.
But then, I no longer need be afraid
Of living, or dying an old, old maid.

He smokes and chews and has many a trick
Disgusting enough to make one sick.
And it used to me, and among the rest,
He dotes on onions, which I detest.
But perhaps, that’s better than being afraid
Of living or dying an old, old maid.

Perhaps if I’d married some other man
My life in a different course had ran
But what could I do when my other beaux
All wailed and wailed and didn’t propose.
And I was getting so much afraid
Of living and dying and old, old maid.

Sister Sally is forty-five,
And just the happiest soul alive
With no stupid husband to annoy and perplex,
Or quarrelsome children to harass and vex
But Sally was never one bit afraid
Of living, or dying an old, old maid.

How she kids me! But it makes me mad,
For well I remember how grieved and sad
She was when she told me that all my life
I’d repent if I did become Prindle’s wife
And I told her I was more afraid
Of living like her, an old, old maid.

Previous Posts
1. Is that the New Teacher?
2. The Math Tutor
3. Chester Beers to Friend Emma, Correspondence Continues
4. What is the News? October 29, 1869
5. The Merry Laugh of the Village School
6. Teaching Advice in a Poem
7. I Would Not Wait for Erie’s Train
8. 1870 The Town of Highland

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