These agent men! these agent men!
We hear the dreaded step again,
We see a stranger at the door;
And brace ourselves for war once more.
He bows and smiles. "Walk in," we say,
He smiles again. "I come to-day,
Dear Madam, with a great invention;
And Sir, pray give me your attention;
Now here, you se, is something new,
And just the thing, my friends, for you."
In vain we interrupt and say:
"We shall not buy of you to-day."
"But, Madam, Sir, you have not seen
The beauties of this new machine;
When thus arranged, your old afair,
'Tis plain to see, is just nowhere."
"No doubt," I say; "'Tis very fine,
And quite superior to mine."
This gives him courage. On he goes,
And every sentence glibly flows,
Until his lesson is repeated
To "warranted if fitly treated."
"Yes, new and fine, and grand," we say,
"But still we shall not buy to-day."
"But, Madam, Sir, pray list to reason,
'Twill buy itself in half a season;
You see the thing is bound to go."
"Oh certainly, we see, we know,
But still we do not wish to buy."
He turns and leaves us with a sigh,
And while we hasten to our labor
He goes and persecutes our neighbor.
But lo! another follows on,
Before the last is fairly gone.
One day a reaper, next a mower,
And then a fanning mill, and sower;
Machines of all kinds 'neath the sun,
Each better than the other one;
A rocker for each dining chair,
A brace to hold the broom in air,
A book, just out, and you must buy
Or give a proper reason why.
So if we sometimes turn away
Abruptly, Sirs, you must remember,
That we have heard your tale each day
From early Spring to late December.
Why! if we listened to you all,
And gave you the required attention,
I think ere long each one would call,
The "county house," the best invention.
Shells by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Milwaukee: Hauser & Storey, 1873.
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