Who has not seen a London fog? I ween
All those who live there, often must have seen
This "darkness visible:"
For much I write not; but, for those who dwell
Where 'tis not known, an anecdote I'll tell
Both droll and risible.
'Twas on a day,—I'm not quite certain when,
For many such have been, and will again
Occur, I'll stake my life,—
A heavy fog took daylight out of sight;
So thick it was, that I am sure you might
Have cut it with a knife.
You could not see your hand before your face.
E'en cabs and coaches knew not how to trace
Their way along the town;
But, on that day, through many a window flew,
To shopmen's horror! On the pavements, too,
Folks ran each other down.
Imagine, now, a pork-shop—I don't know
Quite where; but there, in many a tempting row,
Most pleasing to the sight,
Hung pork and hams, inside, and at the door
Outside; "'twas grease, but living grease no more."
(Byron is my delight.)
Behind the counter, mute and anxious, sat
The owner of these goodly things; and at
Them first, and then the door,
He look'd alternate, for no one that day
Had call'd to buy; the fog kept folks away.
He thought the fog a bore!
Long had he sat in expectation vain;
"He sigh'd and look'd, and sigh'd and look'd again,"
Yet no one came to buy!
The day was spent, he rose to shut his shop:
Just at that moment he was led to stop,—
A person caught his eye.
"A customer at last!" the porkman thought;
Fancied some pork or hams already bought,
And bow'd, "Your servant, ma'am!
"Bad walking out o' doors to-day," quoth he.
(This could not be gainsaid at all.) Said she,
"Do you see there here ham?"
Now, though the fog as dark enough without,
Inside 'twas clear: the porkman had no doubt,
His ham he saw and knew:
He could not make the question out; no more
Could fancy why she kept so near the door,
But said, "Of course I do."
She, with a grin facetious, said, "Well, then,
I'm blow'd if you will ever see't again;"
And ran away outright.
The porkman hurried quickly to the door,
Too late, alas! to see; for, long before,
His ham was out of sight!