Miss Kilmansegg And Her Precious Leg Quotes

Thomas Hood

"Home-made Dishes That Drive One From Home"

Context: This long narrative poem is both humorous and satirical. The humorously grotesque story of Miss Kilmansegg has a serious interest: the satirization of man's pursuit of wealth. The heroine comes from a long line of persons who have wealth in great quantities. Indeed, Miss Kilmansegg's ancestors owned, among other possessions, geese that laid golden eggs, Colchian sheep with golden fleeces, and the Golden Ass. Miss Kilmansegg is born and reared in a golden atmosphere: everything in her surroundings is gold. But one day her horse, a bay named Banker, runs away while she is riding in London; when horse and rider fall upon the street, Miss Kilmansegg suffers a compound fracture of her right leg; when the leg has to be amputated, she insists upon its being replaced by an artificial leg of gold. Despite her artificial leg, the young woman gets about. She learns how to walk, even how to dance. She is courted by a foreign count and marries him, but, alas, the foreign count proves to be a counterfeit, and Miss Kilmansegg dreams one night she is really married to the Devil. Her misery is compared to all sorts of things, including being forced out of courtesy to eat all sorts of dishes, poorly prepared home-made food and drink, when she is a guest:

Who hath not met with home-made bread,
A heavy compound of putty and lead–
And home-made wines that rack the head,
And home-made liqueurs and waters?
Home-made pop that will not foam,
And home-made dishes that drive one from home,
Not to name each mess,
For the face or dress,
Home-made by the homely daughters?