Newspaper History presents media sourced from a United States newspaper dating back 108 years.

  • The Alimony Lady

    From the Rock Island Argus, July 24, 1914. By Henry Howland.

    Oh, smiling lady, your jewels flash,
        Your furs are rich and your eyes are bright,
    With a lavish hand you are spending cash,
        You know no want and your heart is light;
    You look so glad and you seem so free
        From the cares that worrying people know
    That I wonder, seeing your ecstasy,
        Who was paying your bills a year ago.

    Perhaps he lingers alone somewhere,
        Or another may bring him gladness now;
    The lines that are drawn by the hand of Care
        May be deeply etched in his aching brow;
    Remorse may gnaw at his lonely heart,
        Or another may hear him whisper low;
    But you, made up with consummate art—
        Who was paying your bills a year ago?

    You do not wail o’er the cost of things,
        Whatever your fancy craves you take;
    Your hands are laden with flashing rings
        And your fingers never from toiling ache;
    You give no thought to the ones who shrink
        Where a chill creeps in when the mad winds blow;
    Your furs are soft and your cheeks are pink;
        Who was paying your bills a year ago?

    Oh, lady fair, in another year
        You may wonder how, in your careless pride
    You forgot to pause and declined to hear
        The helpless who in their sadness cried;
    You may sit alone where the light is dim
        And mourn the fate that has brought you low,
    As you think sometimes with a pang of him
        Who was paying your bills a year ago.