It appeared that Yegor had a family, three boys and a daughter, a sempstress
, whom he wanted to marry to a cashier in a saddler's shop.
Each of them threaded her needle with a short end of thread attached to the work, which was instantly pulled by an invisible force through the stuff, dragging the needle after it: the nimble fingers of the little sempstress
caught it at the other side, but only to lose it again the next moment.
And to divert her from thinking too highly of him he told her to go upstairs, and take her time, and see if it all fitted; and, if not, to get the village sempstress
to make a few alterations.
Two hundred sempstresses
were employed to make me shirts, and linen for my bed and table, all of the strongest and coarsest kind they could get; which, however, they were forced to quilt together in several folds, for the thickest was some degrees finer than lawn.
All the while, too, we had to work--to work from morning till night, for we had contrived to obtain some employment as occasional sempstresses
. This, however, did not please Anna, who used to tell us that there was no room in her house for a modiste's establishment.
The city anticipated at the poem's end, she suggests, is less the idealized city of a New Jerusalem than a new kind of urban center, created by the poet, which transcends the "cliched urban typologies constructed by popular print culture" such as the familiar icon of the seamstress purveyed in Thomas Hood's "The Song of the Shirt" or in Richard Redgrave's painting The Sempstress
. Instead, EBB predicts an unnarrated and perhaps unnarratable city to come.
I find them on the toilette of fashion, and in the work-bag of the sempstress
; in the hands of the lady, who lounges on the sofa, and of the lady, who sits at the counter.
Several songs in the collection are reformminded, such as "Song of Sempstress
" or "The Gin Fiend."