Serpent player and member of a popular, unnamed local band in the amusing 1894 short story "Absent-Mindedness in a Parish Choir" by Thomas Hardy.
As you may know, sir, the players formed a very good band almost as good as the Mellstock parish players that were led by the Dewys; and that s saying a great deal. There was Nicholas Puddingcome, the leader, with the first fiddle; there was Timothy Thomas, the bass-viol man; John Biles, the tenor fiddler ; Dan'l Hornhead, with the serpent; Robert Dowdle, with the clarionet; and Mr. Nicks, with the oboe- all sound and powerful musicians, and strong-winded men they that blowed. For that reason they were very much in demand Christmas week for little reels and dancing-parties; for they could turn a jig or a hornpipe out of hand as well as ever they could turn out a psalm, and perhaps better, not to speak irreverent. In short, one half-hour they could be playing a Christmas carol in the squire's hall to the ladies and gentlemen, and drinking tay and coffee with em as modest as saints; and the next, at the Tinker's Arms, blazing away like wild horses with the "Dashing White Sergeant" to nine couple of dancers and more, and swallowing rum-and-cider hot as flame.
- Nicholas Puddingcome, leader, first fiddle
- Timothy Thomas, bass viol
- John Biles, tenor fiddle
- Dan'l Hornhead, serpent
- Robert Dowdle, clarinet
- Mr. Nicks, oboe
They play in Longpuddle, a fictional town in south England, and part of Thomas Hardy's fictional Wessex.