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Then and Now

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"Then and Now" is a poem by L. Frank Baum. It was printed in his 1898 verse collection By the Candelabra's Glare, in the section of Cycling Verse.

In five eight-lines stanzas, the poem recounts the story of Mary, a young woman who adopts the new fashion of wearing bloomers while bicycling, and the shock her choice provokes.

When Mary first wore bloomers
Tom tore his hair and swore
He never more would love her
As he'd loved her just before.
But Mary's wearing bloomers yet,
And Tom, regardless of his threat,
Still calls her "my own darling pet" —
In bloomers!

Similarly, Mary's parents, brothers, and minister, and the little boys and the dogs on the town, all react negatively to her innovation; but each and all of them get used to the change in time. Mary blithely overcomes all opposition.

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