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THE UNHAPPY LOT OF MR. KNOTT. PART I.

SHOWING. HOW HE BUILT HIS HOUSE AND HIS WIFE MOVED INTO IT.

My worthy friend, A. Gordon Knott,
From business snug withdrawn,
Was much contented with a lot
That would contain a Tudor cot
*Twixt twelve feet square of garden-plot,
And twelve feet more of lawn.

He had laid business on the shelf
To give his taste expansion,
And, since no man, retired with pelf,
The building mania can shun,
Knott, being middle-aged himself,
Resolved to build (unhappy elf!)
A mediaeval mansion.

/

He called an architect in counsel;
“I want,” said he, “a-you know what,
(You are a builder, I am Knott,)
A thing complete from chimney-pot

Down to the very grounsel;
Here's a half-acre of good land;

Just have it nicely mapped and planned And make your workmen drive on ; Meadow there is, and upland too, And I should like a water-view, D'you think you could contrive one 2 (Perhaps the pump and trough would do, If painted a judicious blue 2) The woodland Pve attended to ; ” (He meant three pines stuck up askew, ‘Two dead ones and a live one.) “A pocket-full of rocks 'twould take To build a house of free-stone, But then it is not hard to make What now-a-days is the stone ; The cunning painter in a trice Your house's outside petrifies, And people think it very gneiss Without inquiring deeper; My money never shall be thrown Away on such a deal of stone, When stone of deal is cheaper.”

And so the greenest of antiques
Was reared for Knott to dwell in ;
The architect worked hard for weeks
In venting all his private peaks
Upon the roof, whose crop of leaks
Had satisfied Fluellen ;
Whatever any body had
Out of the common, good or bad,
Knott had it all worked well in,
A donjon-keep, where clothes might dry,
A porter's lodge that was a sty,
A campanile slim and high,
Too small to hang a bell in ;
All up and down and here and there,
With Lord-knows-whats of round and square
Stuck on at random every where, -
It was a house to make one stare,
All corners and all gables;
Like dogs let loose upon a bear,
Ten emulous styles staboyed with care,
The whole among them seemed to tear,
And all the oddities to spare
Were set upon the stables.

Knott was delighted with a pile
Approved by fashion’s leaders;
(Only he made the builder smile,
By asking, every little while,
Why that was called the Twodoor style,
Which certainly had three doors 2)
Yet better for this luckless man
If he had put a downright ban
Upon the thing in limine :
For, though to quit affairs his plan,
Ere many days, poor Knott began
Perforce accepting draughts, that ran
All ways—except up chimney;
The house, though painted stone to mock,
With mice white lines round every block.
Some trepidation stood in,
When tempests (with petrific shock,
So to speak,) made it really rock,
Though not a whit less wooden ;
And painted stone, howe'er well done.
Will not take in the prodigal sun
Whose beams are never quite at one
With our terrestrial lumber ;
So the wood shrank around the knots,
And gaped in disconcerting spots,
And there were lots of dots and rots
And crannies without number,
Wherethrough, as you may well presume,
The wind, like water through a flume,
Came rushing in ecstatic,
Leaving, in all three floors, no room
That was not a rheumatic ;
And, what with points and squares and rounds
Grown shaky on their poises,
The house at nights was full of pounds,
Thumps, bumps, creaks, scratchings, raps—till
—“ Zounds !”
Cried Knott, “this goes beyond all bounds,
I do not deal in tongues and sounds,
Nor have I let my house and grounds
To a family of Noyeses l’’

But, though Knott's house was full of airs,
He had but one—a daughter;
And, as he owned much stocks and shares,
Many who wished to render theirs
Such vain, unsatisfying cares,
And needed wives to sew their tears,
In matrimony sought her ;
They vowed her gold they wanted not,
Their faith would never falter,
They longed to tie this single Knott
In the Hymenaeal halter;
So daily at the door they rang,
Cards for the belle delivering,
Or in the choir at her they sang,
Achieving such a rapturous twang
As set her nerves ashivering.

Now Knott had quite made up his mind
That Colonel Jones should have her;
No beauty he, but oft we find
Sweet kernels 'neath a roughish rind,
So hoped his Jenny’d be resigned
And make no more palaver;

Glanced at the fact that love was blind,
That girls were ratherish inclined
To pet their little crosses,
Then nosologically defined
The rate at which the system pined
In those unfortunates who dined
Upon that metaphoric kind
Of dish—their own proboscis.

But she, with many tears and moans,
Besought him not to mock her,
Said 'twas too much for flesh and bones
To marry mortgages and loans,
That fathers’ hearts were stocks and stones
And that she’d go, when Mrs. Jones,
To Davy Jones's locker;
Then gave her head a little toss
That said as plain as ever was,
If men are always at a loss
Mere womankind to bridle—
To try the thing on woman cross,
Were fifty times as idle;
For she a strict resolve had made
And registered in private,
That either she would die a maid,
Or else be Mrs. Doctor Slade,
If woman could contrive it ;
And, though the wedding-day was set,
Jenny was more so, rather,
Declaring, in a pretty pet,
That, howsoe'er they spread their net,
She would out-Jennyral them yet,
The colonel and her father.

Just at this time the Public's eyes
Were keenly on the watch, a stir
Beginning slowly to arise

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