It is a truth universally acknowledged that a lady who wishes to send off an item bartered on eBay must be in want of packaging tape. Ah, this lamentably was the state of affairs and such a deprivation could not be borne.
Our lady, a Rubenesque spinster of three-and-thirty years, suggested to her mother a scheme of going to the shop down the way post-haste, for it was a week until Christmas and the best of couriers could not always send the required article in time. Fearing the wrath of an angry gentleman who had placed his custom and faith upon her, the lady commenced in her carriage, her good lady mother as chaperone. The mother, sullen, melancholy, and hinting her disapprobation at her, said, ” Make certain, daughter, that you buy something sweet for the time we feel peckish.”
The establishment frequented by all the ton of the neighbourhood and surrounding villages was called the Family Dollar and carried sundry items for sale. This mainly consisted of treasures imported from the orient, a plethora of genuine plastics molded into dishes and playthings for children, plus toiletries designed to cover smallpox scars and other maladies of ladies in need of the refinery.
The lady’s mother had her filial daughter go inside without her guiding hand, confident that she would find no disgrace within its doors. Nay, no disgrace indeed as our lady meandered the aisles of the store plucking up the tape, chocolate mint patties, and some sort of Christmas mint that once dissolved took on a consistency like gum. Looking at the cookies without her mother to advise which to procure, as her mother’s dark mood seemingly prevented her from issuing any hint of preference, she selected a large package of vanilla sandwich cookies with cream.
Taking these items to the cash register, our lady was assailed by the sounds of the music peculiar to certain sects of religion. This genre, aptly titled “Christian Pop,” seldom reached the tender regions of her soul as the lyrics and music intended. Instead of invoking all the comforts of religion, she oft, when not spared , chose to dissect the lyrics of such songs as though they were written by lovestruck poets for their would-be paramours. This song, however, was in a somewhat different strain, invoking the Lord thus:
Jesus is just all right with me, Jesus is just all right…
La! But an older lady, finding such a ditty insufferable, called attention to the young man attending the till. “I say, boy, this music you play upon yonder radio device, is that your personal preference?”
“Nay, madame,” said the young man. “Rather ’tis the preference of the lady proprietors.”
“I see,” spoke the lady with consternation. “You should play something soothing.”
“Ah, the ladies grew weary of the station that plays the Christmas music for the entirety of the season.”
“But that’s what the customers wish to hear whilst shopping, and they should think of the customers!” punctuated that lady.
You’d think they were playing the unexpurgated works of Eminem to hear her speak. A pretty thing this, thought our lady as she rushed from the edifice. She could not help, aversion to such music notwithstanding, how unpleasant were the manners of that lady.
Later, our lady and her mother arrived at the post office, and once more the spinster was left to her own devices as her mother waited. Soon our lady was amid a bustle of humanity all converging in a final frantic bid to send parcels for arrival by Yuletide.
She was waited upon by a lady who could be surly to some, but never to the spinster. “Is there anything fragile, liquid, perishable , or potentially hazardous inside, Madame?”
“Well…” said our lady, thinking back to a most helpful posting upon the wall sometime ago listing items that were foolhardy to send via courier, “the ___ has batteries inside.”
“No, ’tis fine and proper. What sort of ___is it?”
A ___ from the 80s, Madame,” said our lady.
“Oh, those I do recollect and my child possessed one that___.”
“Ah, indeed! I mark those, though many a year has passed betwixt then and now.”
“Please tell your mother Merry Christmas from me,” said the lady post office attendant.
Our lady counted out the change from a purse and thought uncharitably, Nay, not I, not now as my mother has declared she hates Christmas, which makes me hold the hold the holiday with similar malevolence, The spinster, acting like a hussy, could maintain a strong petulance at times, a nasty flaw to her being a genteel lady.
She was so immersed in thought that our lady almost forgot to return appropriate holiday greetings herself. “Thank you, I shall tell her…Oh dear! And Merry Christmas to you, Madame. I fear that my mind is a soupcon addled today.”
It is perhaps diverting to look at our spinster and note that despite a peculiar air hinting at wishing to sink into the floor beneath her rather than look another in the eye, she twice or thrice was complimented on her exceeding good manners in the past. It seems that some ladies and gentleman are taciturn when services were rendered inside the office. This compliment pleased our spinster in no uncertain terms.
The end of the day’s activities was nigh, but alas, the mother had lost her reading spectacles a couple of days previous and there seemed no way of finding the lost article. Despite her mother’s seasonal surliness, her most dutiful daughter did not wish to see that grand dame deprived of such creature comforts. Our lady bade the carriage to go to the shop where excellently crafted spectacles could be had, The Dollar General. As her good lady mother sought a perfect pair to match the strength of her weakened eyes, our lady perused the aisles, passing a gentleman in the stationary and place where books grace store shelves the final time.
Soon a young lady from that more southern clime came before them with a brood of children. The young lady spoke in the rapid tongue impossible to learn in finishing school book or by her dear teacher originally from Philadelphia town. Suddenly the gentleman in the aisle with her growled in a low voice, “Speak English goddamnit.”
What a fine gentleman! our lady thought as she disembarked for home. Mayhap he is a lord or an earl. Such command that can even instruct mothers and innocent babes the correct dispensation of the queen’s English. No doubt a man of the best of stock whose kind manners condescended to make foreigners feel so at home in ours, the most welcoming of lands. Such a portly stature and the pungent scent of smoke from the best of cigarettes. La! This is the sort of man I should wish to marry!