Dough Face

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

Made a face of biscuit-dough,
Which our black cook gave me once;
And this girl named So-and-So
Said 't was funnier than a dunce.

And she took it; put it on
Like a false-face. Had it drawn
Over all her face. "Ain't it,"
So she said, "a perfect fit?"

She looked funny as a clown;
And I called her Dough Face; she
Laughed and said, "Let's saunter down
Where the people, too, can see.

Maybe one will recognize,
In these features, nose and eyes,
Some long-lost belov├ęd child,
And for very joy go wild."

It was getting dusk; and there
At the corner stood some girls;
When they saw us, I declare,
They just hollered, tossed their curls,

Ran away; and Dough Face fast
After them. And running past
Came some boys who, when they saw,
Shouted at her, "Mardi Graw!"

And one said, "That looks to me
Like that Girlie Good Enough.
Just as dough-faced, is n't she?
Get some dirt. Let's treat her rough."

And they got soft mud to throw.
Then she cried, "I'm So-and-So";
And the boys all shouted; for
You must know she's popular.

Then we had great times, we did:
First one boy he tried it on,
Then another; and he hid
In a house where folks were gone;

Stood there at a window where
People passing in the square
Saw him; and a nigger-man,
Scared to death, just yelled and ran.

Then another fellow clomb
A back-fence, and put the face
Over his. My! he looked rum.
Like a scarecrow in a place

Where he never ought to be.
And he rose up suddenly
By the window with a yell,
And the cook she shrieked and fell.

But the house-man, who was there
In the kitchen, was n't scared;
He just jumped up from his chair,
Banged the door wide; out he flared,

Caught that boy and cried"police!"
Tore the dough-mask, piece by piece,
From his face: then So-and-So
Screamed at him, "You let him go!"

On the hydrant was a hose;
Quick she took it; turned it on;
Streamed it in his mouth and nose:
In a moment we were gone,

Left him spluttering at our backs
Blind with water. We made tracks
Home. And So-and-So just crowed,
"End of Dough Face ep-i-sode."

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