Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis

(7 September 1876 - 22 June 1938 / Auburn, South Australia)

Old Town Types No. 23 - Little Miss Mix - Poem by Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis

In a rather tiny building at the bottom of the street,
With a green door and a window small and very neat,
With its shock of beads and button-cards, cottons, bones and braid,
Miss Mix, the village dressmaker, plied a modest trade.
The front shop, with its counter, was a miniature affair,
And trivial the business that was conducted there.
But the back room - the workroom - 'Hours from Nine to Six' -
Was a vestal shrine whose priestess was little Miss Mix.

Tho' man had never gazed within, the sanctum held, 'twas known,
A wealth of female mysteries, for female eyes alone:
Dress-dummies, skirt-stands, a host of fashion fads,
Hip improvers, buckram shapes, curious bustle-pads.
But Mr Mole, who owned a store, and sold things ready-made,
Was oft-times strangely bitter over Miss Mix and her trade.
'A tittle-tattle factory!' said he. 'A gossip-shop!
With its babbling cotton-biters. Why, the thing had ought to stop.'

And many another male declared that Mr Mole was right -=
Chiefly husbands - for the charges of Miss Mix were never light.
And, tho' they talked in that back room of fashion, style and cost,
Many characters were shattered, many reputations lost
As scraps of spiteful sibilants came drifting thro' that door:
'A hussy dear!' ... 'Such goings on!' ... 'And I heard something more.' ...
And many an unsuspecting wench was hounded to her doom
In mousey little Miss Mix's little back room.

When last I saw the old town, nigh twenty years ago,
Its street was little altered, its tempo still was slow;
But where the wee dressmaker's shop in old days used to stand
A 'modern' shop-front glittered, very 'arty,' very grand.
Now Miss Mix was known as Sarah in the days when I was young,
And her trade was 'Plain Dressmaking'; but now a shingle swung
All done in fancy wrought-iron, with twirls and scrolls and tricks:
'Costumiere. Parisian Modes. Direction: Sara Miques.'

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, August 29, 2012

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