Just Another Minute, Please, Miss – Hoping That My Suit Might Not Prove Entirely Distasteful To Ye – I Make Ninepence A Shilling And I Saw A Dog Once't
Hopin’ an ye’ll forgive the abruptness of my visit, Miss Skimmersmarch, but I come to tell ye what but I make at present three pound a week, or thruppenfold, and Mr. Craggslymire has given me reason to expect a further rise of nineshilling per annum come this forthmass. I don’t come here in the traditional Disclosuring of Assets to the lady of the manor, neither, but for the purpose of making a declaration of my intention to support you in a lifestyle of marriage, should you find yourself agreeable.
In moresomeover and additionwise to these heretofore acknowledged funds, I also possess a mother who once et an egg, and would be more than happy to describe to you, or any children of your body, what that egg did both taste and look like. Forgive my impertinence in referring to children, but I do want you to have all information available before saying yay or nay, and it’s well known in most of London that my mother’s seen an egg, and et it, too, and I don’t mind telling you we’re all proud of her. And she’d be terrible proud to tell you all about it herself, should you choose to honor us with your presence at the next Sunday quarter-supper and egg-listenin’ hour.
I were shot once, Miss, in school, by one of my social betters, and the cost of the bullet still lodged within my spinal column come to about three ha’farthings, which increases my personal value considerably, unless the young master should ever come demanding the bullet back, which I have it on the strongest assurance he won’t.
I saw a dog once’t, Miss, although naturally I don’t expect one so gently-bred as yourself would be moved by such worldly concerns. But if ever you did need someone to help you in identifying a dog, you can trust that I’d have personal experience in the matter, and would do right by you, my intended, in saying either, “Yes, and that’s a dog for truen,” or “No’rm, tet’s no dog there.”
I do know, marmiss, that my offer might not seem like so much as others you might be likely to receive in your many visits to the parlor, like perhaps an offer that might drop from the lips of Lord Smith-Neveralone or Pepperence Waitawhile, but I do believe your ears to be true judges of worth, and that you ought to know a man who owns two full pair’n shoe and has both his wrists loves you.
Also I have some good red cheese hidden in a tree what nobody knows about but me, and my wife, if I ever were to have one, would share in the full knowledge and the pleasure of the cheese with me. Moreaddition, I was brought up in a school, and know how to open letters, close doors, and situate important files, so what means might I not find of acquiring more cheese, if I had your confidence and you was to ask me to do so? All of which might be put back in that selfsame tree for our and our future children’s delectation and cheese-wealth. I have nine jars, Miss Skimmersmarch, three of them empty and ready to hold any treasures or items which you might need storing, as a bride. I could also bring to our household a bath-stopper, three syringes, the back half of a newspaper, four strangers’ good opinion of me, a neckcloth, half a minute, and my very own grandfather, who has also seen a dog, in case you ever wanted a second opinion about whether you were looking at one, begging your pardon.
I beg of yournself only to listen to your own heart before giving me your answer. Many’s the night I have walked up and down of an evening opposite your chambermaid, only because she ha’ recently been chambermaiding near your dear person. And if you ever were to wish to husband me, you’ll’n have only to say the word, and mysel’ll come a-runnin’, with all the pennies and trivets a wife of mine’s entitled to have with me. I’ll leave ye to think a-while on’t, and shut myself up in the nearest clocktower, that I might power the gears and crankshafts therein by the hopefulness of my countenance, begrimed and begrubbied though it may be from gazing’ upon streetfolk and lessaworthies than your gracious, fairbodied self, Miss. I take my leave o’ye with a light hopefulness in my heart and full se’enweight of pre-decimalised currency and tin-florins. Thanks very much for your timely earfulness, &c.