American Old Time Song Lyrics: 59 Sister Mary Wants To Know

Theater, Music-Hall, Nostalgic, Irish & Historic Old Songs, Volume 59

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Copyright, 1895, by Howard & Co.
Written by Walter Gilbert.
Composed by Orlando Powell.

My sister Mary's what you'd call a simple silly kid,
She doesn't seem to know what's what, I think it's time she did;
She's turned eighteen, but awful green, there's not the slightest doubt;
She hasn't been in New York long, don't know her way about.

What is she to say-what is she to do-
If a soldier wants to mash her in the Horse Guards Blue,
If he winks his eye and wants her for a quiet stroll to go,
Is it safe to trust a soldier? Sister Mary wants to know.

She's heard about the Gaiety, and how the ballet girls
Can ride about in carriages supplied by dukes and earls;
She's got a strong ambition now upon the stage to go,
She's taking dancing lessons, but she strictly wants to know:

What is she to say-what is she to do-
If a swell should want to treat her to a glass or two,
Should he offer her his chestnut mare to canter in the row,
Is it etiquette to take it? Sister Mary wants to know.

She's contemplating marriage, for she often has been told
That married men are model men, and worth their weight in gold,
But if she gets a husband who should keep late hours at night,
And never reaches home until he's paralytic tight-

What is she to say-what is she to do-
When the beauty staggers up the stairs at half past two;
If he starts his hanky panky and declares he'll boss the show,
Shall she hit him with the poker? Sister Mary wants to know.

She wants to pay a visit to a place called Union Square,
Because she's heard the cream of French society dwells there,
Where ladies dress in sealskin sacques, and diamond rings display.
She's never been before, and so if she should lose her way-

What is she to say- what is she to do -
When a Frenchman shrugs his shoulders and begins to parlez vous,
If to share a champagne supper he should beg of her to go.
Had she better ask a policeman? Sister Mary wants to know.
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III