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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

Frederick Locker-Lampson 1821–95

On an Old Muff

TIME has a magic wand!

What is this meets my hand,

Moth-eaten, mouldy, and

Cover’d with fluff?

Faded, and stiff, and scant;

Can it be? no, it can’t,—

Yes, I declare, it ’s Aunt

Prudence’s muff!

Years ago, twenty-three,

Old Uncle Doubledee

Gave it to Aunty P.

Laughing and teasing:

“Prue of the breezy curls,

Whisper those solemn churls,

What holds a pretty girl’s

Hand without squeezing?”

Uncle was then a lad

Gay, but, I grieve to add,

Sinful, if smoking bad

Baccy’s a vice:

Glossy was then this mink

Muff, lined with pretty pink

Satin, which maidens think

“Awfully nice!”

I seem to see again

Aunt in her hood and train

Glide, with a sweet disdain,

Gravely to Meeting:

Psalm-book, and kerchief new,

Peep’d from the Muff of Prue;

Young men, and pious too,

Giving her greeting.

Sweetly her Sabbath sped

Then; from this Muff, it ’s said,

Tracts she distributed:

Converts (till Monday!),

Lur’d by the grace they lack’d,

Follow’d her. One, in fact,

Ask’d for—and got—his tract

Twice of a Sunday!

Love has a potent spell;

Soon this bold ne’er-do-well,

Aunt’s too susceptible

Heart undermining,

Slipp’d, so the scandal runs,

Notes in the pretty nun’s

Muff,—triple-corner’d ones,

Pink as its lining.

Worse follow’d: soon the jade

Fled (to oblige her blade!)

Whilst her friends thought that they ’d

Lock’d her up tightly:

After such shocking games

Aunt is of wedded dames

Gayest, and now her name’s

Mrs. Golightly.

In female conduct, flaw

Sadder I never saw.

Faith still I ’ve in the law

Of compensation.

Once Uncle went astray,

Smok’d, jok’d, and swore away;

Sworn by he ’s now, by a

Large congregation.

Changed is the Child of Sin;

Now he ’s (he once was thin)

Grave, with a double chin,—

Blest be his fat form!

Changed is the garb he wore,

Preacher was never more

Priz’d than is Uncle for

Pulpit or platform.

If all ’s as best befits

Mortals of slender wits,

Then beg this Muff and its

Fair Owner pardon:

All ’s for the best, indeed

Such is my simple creed:

Still I must go and weed

Hard in my garden.