“What did you come to Silver Bay for?” one girl asked another on the last night of the conference. “I came,” said the other, “to see if Christianity had a left leg to stand on.” “What have you decided?” “That it is a regular centipede!” was the reply.
– Miriam Vedder, Wellesley, 1916, in The North American Student, October, 1915
Miriam Vedder hailed from Schenectady, N.Y., served as editor of the Wellesley College News and won the first [John] Masefield Prize for verse in 1916. In 1931 and ’32, she had 29 pieces published in The New Yorker. The poem below appeared in the September 17, 1932, issue:
“Horoscopes” – By Miriam Vedder, Wellesley Class of 1916.
I’ve high esteem for horoscopes
They give one such romantic hopes.
Mine said I’d meet a very fine
Young man in 1929,
And intimated wedding rings,
And other such inspiring things,
I waited for him all the year,
But that young man did not appear
Unless he was a tax-collector,
Or, possibly, the dog-inspector.
In 1930 speculation
Was to achieve the elevation
Of my depressed financial state.
But something might have sidetracked Fate
The stocks I bought that happy spring
Today are not worth anything.
A voyager upon the sea,
A traveller in wagons-lits,
I should, before the year was done,
Have been in 1931.
And yet, despite the friendly stars,
I only rode on trolley cars.
But though my fortunes have declined,
I’m vastly gratified to find
That 1932 should be
A most propitious year for me,
With riches knocking on my doors,
And sojourning on foreign shores,
And gentlemen of many nations
Offering fervent protestations.
For even though I seem to stay
At home in quite the usual way,
And no one names me as an heir,
And suitors are extremely rare,
It’s very comforting to know
That Heaven never planned things so!
* * *
My thanks to Eni Mustafaraj for finding the poem.