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Full Online Book HomePoemsNothing To Eat - Mrs. Merdle At Home
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Nothing To Eat - Mrs. Merdle At Home Post by :Laurence_Baker Category :Poems Author :Horatio Alger Date :May 2012 Read :1798

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Nothing To Eat - Mrs. Merdle At Home

She Discourseth of Nothing to Eat and the Cost thereof.

Why Merdle--why did you bring Dinewell to-day?
So very, though welcome, so quite unexpected!

For dinner, if any, I'm sure I can't say,
Our servants with washing are all so infected.

If any's provided, 't is nothing but scraps
Of pot-luck or pick up of some common fare;
Or something left over from last week perhaps,
Which you've brought a friend, and an old one, to share.

I never, I'm sure now, so much was ashamed,
To think he'll discover--what's true to the letter--
We've nothing, or next to't that's fit to be named,
For one who is used every day to what's better.

But what can you expect if you come on a Monday?
Our French cook's away too, I vow and declare--
But if you would see us with something to spare,
Let's know when you're coming, or come on a Sunday;
For that of all others, for churchmen or sinners,
A day is for gorging with extra good dinners.

If Merdle had told me a friend would be here,
A dinner I'd get up in spite of the bills--
I often tell butcher he's wonderful dear--
He says every calf that a butcher now kills,
Will cost near as much as the price of a steer,
Before all the banks in their discount expanded
And flooded the country with 'lamp-black and rags,'
Which poor men has ruined and shipwrecked and stranded
On Poverty's billows and quick-sands and crags.

And that is just what, as our butcher explains,
The dickens has played with our beef and our mutton;
But something is gained, for, with all of his pains,
The poor man won't make of himself such a glutton.

I'm sure if they knew what a sin 't is to eat,
When things are all selling at extravagant prices,
That poor folks more saving would be of their meat,
And learn by example how little suffices.

I wish they could see for themselves what a table--
What examples we set to the laboring poor,
In prudence, and saving, in those who are able
To live like a king and his court on a tour.

I feel, I acknowledge, sometimes quite dejected
To think, as it happens with you here today,
To drop in so sudden and quite unexpected,
How poor we are living some people will say.

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Nothing To Eat - Mrs. Merdle goes to Market
With prices outrageous they charge now for meat,And servants so worthless are every day growing,I wonder we get half enough now to eat,And shouldn't if 't want for the fact of my goingTo market to cheapen potatoes and beef,And talk to the butchers about their abuses,And listen to stories beyond our belief,They tell while they cheat us, by way of excuses.And grocers--do tell us--is 't legal to chargeSuch prices for sugar, and butter, and flour?Oh, why don't the Mayor in his wisdom enlargeBoth weight and measure as he does 'doubtful power?'
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Nothing To Eat - The Merdle Origin
Now Merdle, _en passant_, I had known for a scoreOf years, when a dinner with Jones, Brown or SmithAs good as one gets for a quarter or more,Was a thing unthought of, or else but a mythIn Merde's day-dreaming of things yet in store,When hope painted visions of a painted abode,And hope never hoped for anything more--I'm sure never dreamed he would dine _a la mode_.In dreams wildest fancy I doubt if he dreamed,That time in its changes that wears rocky shores,Should change what so changeless certainly seemed,Till Merdle, Jack Merdle, would own twenty stores,Much more own a bank, e'en the
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