Pagina-afbeeldingen
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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 furnished their room up-stairs,
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 sealed 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. Au 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 swallowed 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!

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At last-one very fine day in June

Suppose her sitting,

Busily knitting,
And humming she did n'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 vat,
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 pannels, and mouldings of brass,
And windows with only one huge pane of glass,
And his name in gilt characters, German or Roman,
If he is n't a Pedlar, at least is a Showman !

However, in the stranger came,
And, the moment he met the eyes of the Dame,
Threw her as knowing a nod as though
He had known her fifty long years ago ;
And presto! before she could utter “ Jack”.
Much less “ Robinson ”-open'd his pack-

And then from amongst his portable gear,
With even more than a Pedlar's tact,-
(Slick himself might have envied the act)-
Before she had time to be deaf, in fact,

Popped a Trumpet into her ear.

“There, Ma'am! try it!

You need n't buy it-
The last New Patent—and nothing comes nigh it
For affording the Deaf, at little expense,
The sense of hearing, and hearing of sense!
A Real Blessing—and no mistake,

Invented for poor Humanity's sake;
For what can be a greater privation
Than playing Dumby to all creation,
And only looking at conversation-
Great Philosophers talking like Platos,
And members of Parliament moral as Catos,
And your ears as dull as waxy potatoes !
Not to name the mischievous quizzers,
Sharp as knives, but double as scissors,
Who get you to answer quite by guess
Yes for No, and No for Yes."
(" That's very true,” says Dame Eleanor S.)
“ Try it again ! No harm in trying-
I'm sure you'll find it worth your buying,
A little practice—that is all-
And you 'll hear a whisper, however small,
Through an Act of Parliament party-wall, —
Every syllable clear as day,
And even what people are going to say-

I would n't tell a lie, I would n't,

But my Trumpets have heard what Solomon's could n't ; And as for Scott he promises fine, But can he warrant his horns like mine

Never to hear what a Lady should n'tOnly a guinea-and can't take less." (“That's very dear,” says Dame Eleanor S.)

“Dear!-Oh dear, to call it dear!
Why it is n't a horn you buy, but an ear;
Only think, and you'll find on reflection
You're bargaining, Ma'am, for the Voice of Affection;
For the language of Wisdom, and Virtue, and Truth,
And the sweet little innocent prattle of youth;
Not to mention the striking of clocks
Cackle of hens-crowing of cocks-
Lowing of cow, and bull, and ox-
Bleating of pretty pastoral flocks
Murmur of waterfall over the rocks

Every sound that Echo mocks-
Vocals, fiddles, and musical-box-
And zounds! to call such a concert dear!
But I must n't swear with my horn in your ear.
Why in buying that trumpet you buy all those
That Harper, or any trumpeter, blows
At the Queen's Levees or the Lord Mayor's Shows,
At least as far as the music goes,
Including the wonderful lively sound
Of the Guards' key-bugles all the year round
Come-suppose we call it a pound!
Come,” said the talkative Man of the Pack,
“Before I put my box on my back,
For this elegant, useful Conductor of Sound,
Come-suppose we call it a pound !

“Only a pound! it's only the price Of hearing a Concert once or twice,

It's only the fee

You might give Mr. C.,
And after all not hear his advice,
But common prudence would bid you stump it ;

For, not to enlarge,

It's the regular charge At a Fancy Fair for a penny trumpet. Lord ! what's a pound to the blessing of hearing !" (“ A pound 's a pound,” said Dame Eleanor Spearing.)

Try it again ! no harm in trying !
A pound's a pound there's no denying;
But think what thousands and thousands of pounds
We pay for nothing but hearing sounds :
Sounds of Equity, Justice and Law,
Parliamentary jabber and jaw,
Pious cant and moral saw,
Hocus pocus, and Nong-tong-paw,
And empty sounds not worth a straw ;
Why it costs a guinea, as I'm a sinner,

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