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Butterfly Girls

I’m on my way to a burlesque dress rehearsal after a rather serious week – politics, work, health issues for my Little Old Lady. But there’s a time and a place for a little frivolity, yes? And with that in mind I was irresistibly reminded of a favorite Nell Brinkley drawing and text. Sentimental as all get-out – perhaps this is why the Victorians and Edwardians, living in grim times and the shadow of industrialization and the workhouse,  found consolation in sentimentality, too. The text below the picture is typed out for your reading pleasure.

Butterfly Girl by Nell Brinkley, from Trina Robbins' "A Century of Women Cartoonists."
Butterflies go with the ending of summer – butterfly girls go with the ending of the gay night that is their lives. Butterflies grow rare and at last do not flicker gold anywhere, when the sumac turns scarlet and the aspen on the far hills changes into little golden coins; butterfly girls are no more dimples and sparkle and laughter when there is no more fun to have, when the lights are out and real work comes. But I love a golden butterfly in the sun, and who doesn’t enjoy to watch the butterfly girl dance her way through the sober faces and the earnest!

Somebody said, “A butterfly lives but a day – AND WHAT IF THAT DAY IS RAINY?” So, little butterfly girl, whose day is so short, may it be sunny and clear.

Face detail of the pretty, pretty butterfly girl by Nell Brinkley.

Technically public domain but known to me thanks to Trina Robbins, writer, cartoonist, artist, and herstorian!

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