19th Century Women's Poetry

Anna Maria Pratt (fl. 1890s)

Born in Chelsea, MA, Pratt was a teacher for several years in Cleveland, Ohio. Her focus was on children's literature, and she published Little Rhymes for Little People in 1896.

A Mortifying Mistake
I studied my tables over and over,
and backward and forward, too;
But I could n't remember six times nine,
and I didn't know what to do,
Till sister told me to play with my doll, and
not to bother my head.
"If you call her `Fifty-four' for a while,
you'll learn it by heart," she said.
So I took my favorite, Mary Ann (though I
thought 't was a dreadful shame
To give such a perfectly lovely child such a
perfectly horrid name),
And I called her my dear little "Fifty-
four" a hundred times, till I knew
The answer of six times nine as well as the
answer of two times two.

Next day Elizabeth Wigglesworth, who
always acts so proud,
Said, "Six times nine is fifty-two," and I
nearly laughed aloud!
But I wished I had n't when teacher said,
"Now, Dorothy, tell if you can."
For I thought of my doll and--sakes
alive!--I answer, "Mary Ann!"