Thus Fancy flitted, as did my Eyes , across the furlongs of Mixes, Bakes & Browney-concoctions! Ne'er had I seen so much Bakery! Ne'er, in the long History of Man's Attempt to slay that monstrous Beast, FLOUR, had so great a Victory-flag waved as this - Row upon Row of rampant Confectionary! But my bliss was short-liv'd.
Three Rioters approached, tupp'd with Wine & suffering a surfeit of Confidence. Each presented a weird & degenerate Aspect. One, the Oldest, smacked his toothless Lips & had no Hair, excepting a single Lock, the Texture of greazed Silk, that he stroked with the two Fingers of his right Hand. Another, fast & bulbous, seem'd little more than a Collection of Pustules, Boils, & hanging Lumps. He suck'd teeth as he nodded, plucking at his Belly with a stolen Spoon. The last, a sneering Ichabod, strutted & stuck his Stilt-Limbs e'ery which Way, climbing up the Shelves with a Cackle, flailing his frail Arms like an untied Scarecrow. Peering down at me, tapping his skeletal Digits 'gainst his Chin, he muttered,
"Sirrah, has ye seen the Bridge?"
Believing this to be a Metaphysickal Conceit, the Sort that so thrilled Col. Bainton's generation, I responded with a Titter, & gave out
"Nay, but I have a pretty Cupola!"
At once the Rioters choked out hollering Barks of Laughter, an awful Semblance of that joyous Melodie. Lumpman snuffled, and held one of his knobb'd Fingers 'neath his Nose like a Moustache; the Scarecrow stretch'd his Frame with Mirth, and the hairless Vulture stroked greedily at his single Spray of Hair. When he had stuff'd enough Breath in his reedy Lungs, the Scarecrow heaved out these Words:
"Oh, Bainton - have ye lost yr Wits? Or has yr Domestick run off with 'em?"
"Aye, - that brown'd Wench ye call yr Madame."
Rage, in his russet Mantle clad, dawned in my Heart. I remember but little from the slaughterhouse-Thrash that ensued - an occasional Detail will spring into my distract'd mind, like a Blood-soaked Tooth spat from pumell'd gums. Or perhaps the Chomp of Stubb's sturdy Jaws, hammering away at some Celery (his favorite Treat) will recall the snap of a ruffian Hip, as I twist'd his already-warp'd leg around his Back.
A joyous Romp in Summary, tho' Goodman Stubb was altogether perturb'd by my Performance. Sir, quoth he, might y'not track blood 'cross yr cane, for 'tis an awful chore to remove! But Stubb's Indolence is exceeded only by his Kindness, & later Accts. reminded me that Stubb made the aged Vulture eat his own Hair, & how the Lumpman whimper'd & moan'd as Stubb pluck'd at each Pustule, rubbing Salt & Flour into each brazen Sore.
All of which Memorys circled about my Skull as I chawed on the gracious Dollop of p.b. that coat'd my Spoon. I carry a complete Utensilry, as any gent. shou'd; but far apart from that I carry my Tub of Peanut Butter. My Travells have taken me far above the Inhabitants, amongst the Naturalls of the Shenandoah. At Dusk, their martial Cries fill the lower Clouds, scatter'd & numerous as Rain-drops. Mid-winter has already creep'd in to the middle of the Night, & sprawls his bandy Legs on that worn Chair that once support'd the blazes of Summer. Inside, the young Councillors' Works pile higher, ragged & stained as Laundry, undone & untouch'd. And I sat outside in my Knickers, and saw my Visage upsidedown, in the rheumy Eye of a Spoon.