Monday, May 17, 2010

Memoirs of a Folk-Song Collector in Rural England

Miss de Hyde has journeyed to a small hamlet in Somersetshire, in hopes to record some 'rustic songs'. Now read on...

I had arranged accommodation at the hostelry in Lingham Peveril. The Horne Goat overlooked the small village green with its duckpond charmingly indistinguishable from it due to its thick covering of algae. The manservant, Old Trouser, showed me to my room, insisting that he be paid two-and-sevenpence-three-farthings in advance, "as was the custom". Unpacking, I noticed that the increasingly sultry weather had not treated my wax cylinders kindly, and I resolved to make the acquaintance of the local butcher, with a view to my storing them in his chill room, once I had succeeded in re-shaping them to the correct profile. Somewhat fatigued by the journey, and moreso by the weather, the temperature surely having reached the upper eighties, I secured the door and removed my clothes to lay on the bed for a while in the hope of becoming cooler. I gained the strange feeling that I was being watched, but could not determine whether, nor wherefrom. I put this feeling from my mind, but became aware of a draught, seemingly emanating from a knothole in the panelling beside the bed. On putting my finger into the hole to ascertain for certain that it was the origin of my discomfort, I was sure I heard a faint cry. Stopping the knothole with tissue paper, I retired and slumbered for perhaps an hour. Pulling on sufficient clothing to render myself decent, I rang for a servant to fetch me a cup of tea. Old Trouser appeared in answer, with a bandage over one eye - an accident in the stables, he gave me to understand. Artisans are unfortunate enough to run continual risk of injury in the course of their duties, it seems.

(to be continued)

7 comments:

Dogsbody, Scrivener and Wretch said...

I indict the author of this post for sexism!

What is this word 'MANservant'?
How do we know that Old Trouser is a MAN?
Surely, Miss de Hyde, if in need of assistance, would require a WOMANservant, (meaning one who serves a woman.)
This willing (can't wait) attendant, in spite of his apparent desire, should be correctly described as a 'gender-neutral-person-servant'.

Yours in anticipation of the next thrilling episode!
DSandW.

parkingspaceman said...

DS&W- You have no authority to indict anyone for anything. Furthermore, no crime has been committed, although perhaps you should be.
You also seem to have forgotten that these memoirs emanate from before the turn of the previous century, and must be judged in the context of their time, written in ignorance of modern fads.

parkingspaceman said...

DS&W asks "How do we know that Old Trouser is a MAN?". Well, if you'd bothered to read the text you'd have found: "The manservant, Old Trouser, showed me to my room, insisting that he...". In English, the pronoun 'he' is used to stand for the male gender. The female pronoun 'she' is used for the female gender, and such things as ships, which are thought, sometimes humourously, to have feminine characteristics. To adapt the old joke for DS&W: "yesterday, I couldn't spell 'graduate'; today I are one". Really, DS&W! This cannot be ignorance, it must be stupidity. Are you suffering from the onset of senility?

Dogsbody, Scrivener and Wretch said...

" ... the ONSET of senility" ...?
It arrived - oh, I can't remember when!

parkingspaceman said...

I remember ... it was a Thursday... sometime after the Queen's Jubilee... I think.

Dogsbody, Scrivener and Wretch said...

Which queen?
Is George dead, then?

parkingspaceman said...

Which George do you mean? There's been five, you know. And a saint. And they're all dead. Sorry if this comes as a shock; I broke it as gently as I could.