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Most Women Are Dull and Stupid

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Twenty-nine years I have practiced, unrelentingly and patiently,
To drip a clear comprehension of the necessary social conventions
Into this stupid girl. And for the last ten years, I thought
I'd succeeded. She behaved, she knew her place, she only called
On the most respectable of our neighbors, never traveled far,
And certainly not unexpectedly like this. She took direction
From her elders and betters, who worked hard to protect her
From fortune hunters and predators. Now it's hard enough
To keep up with her. And I've had to answer to everyone:

The Priestleys, the Rawsons, Mr. and Mrs. Edwards at Pine Nest.
I've had to explain, to justify why you would go off
So abruptly when you've got a perfectly fine doctor here.
Something shifted, that horrible morning of the accident.
Now with this Miss Lister in her life, she is utterly unmanageable.
This strange woman who insists on wearing black and even
Collecting her own rents. She mocks me. Telling me Italy
Never made her feel queasy. I think that this Miss Lister
Has my niece entirely under her unconventional spell.