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A Tale Of A Trumpet
by [?]

Of course the loss was a great privation, For one of her sex–whatever her station– And none the less that the Dame had a turn For making all families one concern, And learning whatever there was to learn In the prattling, tattling village of Tringham– As who wore silk? and who wore gingham? And what the Atkins’s shop might bring ’em? How the Smiths contrived to live? and whether The fourteen Murphys all pigg’d together? The wages per week of the Weavers and Skinners, And what they boil’d for their Sunday dinners? What plates the Bugsbys had on the shelf, Crockery, china, wooden, or delf? And if the parlor of Mrs. O’Grady Had a wicked French print, or Death and the Lady?

Did Snip and his wife continue to jangle? Had Mrs. Wilkinson sold her mangle? What liquor was drunk by Jones and Brown? And the weekly score they ran up at the Crown? If the Cobbler could read, and believed in the Pope? And how the Grubbs were off for soap? If the Snobbs had furnish’d their room upstairs, And how they managed for tables and chairs, Beds, and other household affairs, Iron, wooden, and Staffordshire wares? And if they could muster a whole pair of bellows? In fact, she had much of the spirit that lies Perdu in a notable set of Paul Prys, By courtesy called Statistical Fellows– A prying, spying, inquisitive clan, Who have gone upon much of the self-same plan, Jotting the Laboring Class’s riches; And after poking in pot and pan, And routing garments in want of stitches, Have ascertained that a working man Wears a pair and a quarter of average breeches!

But this, alas! from her loss of hearing, Was all a seal’d book to Dame Eleanor Spearing; And often her tears would rise to their founts– Supposing a little scandal at play ‘Twixt Mrs. O’Fie and Mrs. An Fait– That she couldn’t audit the Gossips’ accounts. ‘Tis true, to her cottage still they came, And ate her muffins just the same, And drank the tea of the widow’d Dame, And never swallow’d a thimble the less Of something the Reader is left to guess, For all the deafness of Mrs. S., Who saw them talk, and chuckle, and cough, But to see and not share in the social flow, She might as well have lived, you know, In one of the houses in Owen’s Row, Near the New River Head, with its water cut off

And yet the almond-oil she had tried, And fifty infallible things beside, Hot, and cold, and thick, and thin, Dabb’d, and dribbled, and squirted in: But all remedies fail’d; and though some it was clear (Like the brandy and salt We now exalt) Had made a noise in the public ear, She was just as deaf as ever, poor dear!

At last–one very fine day in June– Suppose her sitting, Busily knitting, And humming she didn’t quite know what tune; For nothing she heard but a sort of a whizz, Which, unless the sound of the circulation, Or of Thoughts in the process of fabrication, By a Spinning-Jennyish operation, It’s hard to say what buzzing it is. However, except that ghost of a sound, She sat in a silence most profound– The cat was purring about the mat, But her Mistress heard no more of that Than if it had been a boatswain’s cat; And as for the clock the moments nicking, The Dame only gave it credit for ticking. The bark of her dog she did not catch; Nor yet the click of the lifted latch; Nor yet the creak of the opening door; Nor yet the fall of a foot on the floor– But she saw the shadow that crept on her gown And turn’d its skirt of a darker brown.

And lo! a man! a Pedlar! ay, marry, With the little back-shop that such tradesmen carry Stock’d with brooches, ribbons, and rings, Spectacles, razors, and other odd things, For lad and lass, as Autolycus sings; A chapman for goodness and cheapness of ware, Held a fair dealer enough at a fair, But deem’d a piratical sort of invader By him we dub the “regular trader,” Who–luring the passengers in as they pass By lamps, gay panels, and mouldings of brass, And windows with only one huge pane of glass, And his name in gilt characters, German or Roman,– If he isn’t a Pedlar, at least he’s a Showman!