Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tudor Village

Taking the Census
~ Charles R. Thatcher

When the census is taken, of course,
All the elderly females are furious,
They don't like to tell their real age,
For gov'ment they say is too curious:
I got hold of a chap that went round,
For I wanted to twig their rum capers,
So I tipped him a crown on the sly
To let me look over his papers.

There's that elderly dame, Mother Baggs,
Has marked down her age twenty-seven,
Although she's possessed of five kids,
The eldest of which is eleven;
Miss Fluffen says she's thirty-two,
But to tell such a story is naughty,
She's a regular frumpish old maid,
And if she's a year old she's forty.

There's another thing struck me as queer,
As the papers I sat overhauling,
Beneath occupation, thinks I,
I'll soon find out each person's calling;
But the first I looked at made me grin,
My wash'woman, old Mother Archer,
Beneath occupation I found
Had described herself as a clear starcher.

The chemists's assistant up here,
When his paper I happened to see, sirs,
'Pon my honour had had the vile cheek
To mark after his name M.D., sirs,
And Bolus, that wretched old quack,
Whom folks here regard with suspicion,
When his paper I looked at, I found
He'd put himself down a physician!

Here's a barbarous custom you'll say,
No less than three diff'rent hairdressers,
In the papers which they have all filled up
Have described themselves all as professors;
In Heidelberg district I find
My bounceable friend, Harry Potter,
In the paper he has sent in,
Tries to make us believe he's a squatter.

My friend said he called on two girls,
Who are noted for cutting run capers,
They live in an elegant crib,
And he knocked at the door for their papers;
They handed him what he required,
He read, but exclaimed with vexation,
'The instructions you haven't fulfilled --
'You've not put down your occupation.'

'Well, Poll, that's a good 'un,' says one,
And both of them burst out a-laughing,
But the young man exclaimed precious quick
'I can't stay all day while you're chaffing;'
'Occupation' says she with a scream,
(Her laughter was pretty near killing her),
'Poll, I'm blowed if I knows what you are,
But, young man, shove me down as a milliner.'

Groooan.  Back to work today. After a few days at home engaged in tidy-ups and cleaning, I've got the hands of a Tudor washerwoman.  I'd like to pick another occupation today.  A milliner sounds good. (The poem, incidentally, from my limited research, really does make a reference to 'Harry Potter'.  Spooky.)

Oh well, best off.  Crawling towards the weekend.
Image: Model Tudor Village, Fitzroy Gardens, Melbourne, Victoria.


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