|Kate O'Flaherty Chopin|
Sacred Heart Alumna, St. Louis - Class of 1898
The Congé – 1867
The Congé is past and the frolic and fun
Was over, before it seemed scarcely begun;
For with playing and romping and teasing away,
The quick fleeting hours soon filled up the day.
But the morning was not to amusement devoted
For Madam to all of her “Brights” had allotted
The task (this displayed a heart ever trusting)
Of arranging and breaking and mending and dusting,
Her chemical tools, which of delicate make
We could easily handle and --- easily break.
There was Lizzie who thought with importance of air
That we could do nothing if she was not there,
And Frank --- thinking much, and speaking but little
Who handled with safety tools e’en the most brittle
While Katie O’F, poor unfortunate lass
Broke implements stoutest as though they were glass.
But this war of destruction, thanks, soon was to cease
And the room and its contents left happily in peace.
For kind Madam Hamilton, with due form and state,
Announced the dinner no longer could wait,
And arranging the girls with artistical taste,
Led the way to the hall without trouble or haste.
But ye Fates! On arriving I found ‘twas my doom
For what I presume of more benches or room,
To sit between Lizzie and Nina my cousin
Who seemed to have appetites due to a dozen,
And gave me scarce time to breathe or to think
With asking for butter --- the bread ---or a drink.
But between these demands which indeed were not few,
I found time to admire an arrangement or two
Of the garlands of flowers and pigs a la fry
Which in every direction were greeting the eye.
But all these howe’er beautiful sink into nought,
In considering the fun which the afternoon brought;
For through cellar and basement and garret so high,
We tumbled and tossed in the game of “I spy.”
Now into the barn yard --- the loft or the stable,
Hiding in every place ---any place that we were able;
And thrown into ecstasies of foolish delight
At not being found or at seeking aright.
But at length Madam M. with mysterious air,
Comes whispering that the girls must prepare
To enter a room, shut out from all light,
To see a strange thing ___ a most wonderful sight;
Which sight we soon found was a new source of pleasure
Got up by “our Madam” whose mind is a treasure,
Ever teeming with jewels of science and fun,
And in whom we all think sets and rises the sun.
‘Twas a strange magic lantern which displayed a queer sight
Of devils in every conceivable plight.
Of hills and volcanoes; St. Peter’s at Rome;
Of Pantheons at Paris --- or a neat cottage home.
Of monkies and tigers and elephants rare ---
All displayed with precision and mentioned with care.
When, at the best part we are told we must leave;
For fear that the already fast fading light
Would leave us in fear at the coming of night.
And as I reluctantly arose to obey,
Though my reason said “homeward” my heard bade me stay.
So greatly put out --- nearly ready to cry,
I kissed my companions --- bade Madam good bye ---
And secretly knowing I’d no time to waste
Turned my steps towards home with all possible haste.
Written in 1867 By Kate O’Flaherty