Care Free Bloke's Cigar
There's a little spark and a wisp of smoke
By the road where the tall gums are;
And a mile away a care-free bloke
Speeds onward in his car.
No thought of evil mars his day,
And he's well a hundred miles away
And safe at home, as skies grow grey,
With another fine cigar.
There's a spurt of flame in the breathless night
And a crackling in the scrub;
There's a withered mint-bush burning bright,
And a kindling dog-wood shrub.
For yards about the bush glows red
But the care-free bloke, his paper read,
Says, 'Bonzer day. And now for bed
After a bite of grub.'
There's a sickening roar as the fire sweeps down
From the mountainside aflame
On the helpless little forest town,
And one knew how it came.
Ten miles of blackened hills gape wide
And a stricken home on the mountain side ...
But the care-free bloke toils on in pride.
He saw no spark by the bush roadside,
So how is he to blame?
The miser sits beside his hoard,
The lover tarries by his bride,
And he who neither may afford
Is free to roam the whole world wide.
Ye prate of cares, of plans amiss;
With voices grave and faces long;
While I - I ask of life but this
To drink, to kiss, to troll a song
And rove a-roamin', roamin' free
A-ringin' in the changes.
Why linger here to waste a tear
When joy awaits o'er the ranges?
Why tarry there to nurse a care
When golden days are over?
For far and wide, where men abide,
There's welcome for the rover.
Who seeks to earn a life of ease:
For honor, wealth, and fame exist;
Then growing old and having these,
To sit and think of what he's miss'd?
I live for love of life alone;
You live in wait for fortune's smile
Quote proverbs at a rolling stone,
And gather moss and trouble while
I rove a-rollin', rollin' free
A-ringin' in the changes.
If there's no moss this side for me
There's heaps across the ranges.
So have your say and slave away,
And set a store by small things.
You may be lord of a hard-earned hoard,
But I'm the lord of all things.
Am I a constant lover? Nay:
Love bounded cloys, and bright eyes fade;
And he who loves and rides away
Rides on to meet a fairer maid.
'Tis sure, I'd find, if wed to Nell
'Twas Jess or Lil I loved the best.
My faith, I love them all too well
To choose but one and lose the rest.
And I live a-lovin', lovin' free
A-ringin' in the changes.
'Tis kiss me Nell, and now farewell,
Jess waits across the ranges.
And this, I boast, the rover's toast
You'll find the whole world over
'From names refrain, and tankards drain
To the lass that loves a rover.'
'Bosses Don'T Seem Right' - A Christmas Monologue
The thing's all wrong (I sez to ‘im)
Now look, there's this ‘ere Monday, Jim,
Comes before Christmas. Be a toff
An' lest us ‘ave the Monday off.
‘E ‘ums an' ‘ars. An' then he's got
To talk a lot of silly rot
Abut ‘ow business binds a man;
An' ‘e don't quite see ‘ow ‘e can
Afford to give me Monday in,
Seein' he'll lose a lot of tin
Under our capit'listic plan
Which sort of binds a business man
‘Lest his competitors was bound
To give the Monday all around.
If but (‘e sez) they would agree
To let the trade ‘ave Monday free
Then ‘e would do it. There you are!
Shows ‘ow Democracy's a bar.
It's competition, don't you see,
That robs a man of liberty.
But, under Socialism . . . Wot?
Now, listen, I ain't talkin' rot.
I know that ‘e's me boss. But look,
Our scheme of Gover'ment's all crook.
Now, under Socialism, see,
If I said, 'I want Monday free!'
Why, under right conditions, then,
They'd treat their men like they was men;
An' seein' it was Christmas week,
We would n't ‘ave to go an' seek
No favors. We'd just tell ‘em flat:
'We're takin' Monday; an' that's that!'
Wot? Bosses? . . . Well, I s'pose there'd be
This, wot you call, Bureaucracy.
To rule us. Yes; per'aps there might;
An' as you say, it don't seem right
That they should want to boss a man . . . .
But wot about his Fascist plan?
Now, under that, we'd say, 'look ‘ere
Us fellers wants this Monday clear.'
An', bein' reasonable like,
Blokes would n't ‘ave to call a strike
To get their way . . . . Well, I suppose
There's be Dictators - coves like those
To fed a coot on castor oil
If they decided not to toil
On Monday. That seems pretty tough,
All systems seems to treat men rough.
The Bush Veteran
Old Pete Parraday, he toddles up the road,
'Dangin'' things and 'darn in'' things and hefting of his load
For yesterday was pension day, Peter has his goods:
Butcher's meat and groceries and all sorts of foods;
A bit of plug 'tobaker' and a tin of 'jelly Jam,'
'Termatter' sauce and yellow soap, a knuckle-end of ham,
And a little flask of 'special stuff' discreetly tucked away.
'I takes it for me rheumatiz,' says Peter Parraday.
Old Pete Parraday, he lives all on his own.
People say he's getting old and shouldn't be alone.
They talk of institutions where he'd have most kindly care.
'Wot? Me?' says Peter Parraday. 'An' wot would I do there?
Lose me independence, an' be 'umble when they scold,
Eat an' sleep an' dress an' smoke just when an' how I'm told?
Shove ME in an Old Man's 'Ome to rust me life away?
I'd like to see 'em try it on!' says Peter Parraday.
Old Pete Parraday has little time to spare
For a bush hut and a garden are a common source of care.
There's wood to cut and meals to cook - a thousand things to plan
In the little kitchen-garden that 'do fair absorb a man.'
Green peas and radishes, brussels sprouts and beans,
Silver beet and lettuces - all sorts of green.
'Waterin' an' weedin' 'em, the hours they melts away,
An' days ain't halfways long enough,' says Peter Parraday.
Old Peter Parraday, he sits beside his door
To smoke a pipe at day's-end when fussy toil is o'er.
'This world it changes fast like,' says he, 'as time drifts by;
For old days was easy days when I was young an' spry;
An' cash was easy come by, with fortunes flowin' free,
An' many a man growed wealthy wot toed the mark with me.
But me? I seemed to miss the bus. Fair lost me chance, ses they,
Yet that don't seem to grieve me some,' grins Peter Parraday.
The Heart Of The Dove
Say, Bo, this little Yewropean war
It grieves our gloryus nation to the core
The vurry core of its great, strang, red heart,
We're tur-ble sore:
A reel sawft heart.
Naw, son! we air not takin' any part.
We figgered that ahl out, right from the start.
The great american nation stan's aside:
She keeps apart
We gat our pride.
But don't yew figger ahn no fancy paly
With Uncle Sam; he's ready for th efray.
An' wance that 'Murkan eagle's screech is heard
Watch out! An', say,
He is some eagle, yew kin take my word.
If wance that great, fierce heart of his was sturred
Aw, shucks! that little Yewropean stunt
Would look ab-surd!
You'd see some hunt!
When wance that Bird o' Freedom hit the front
Why, Gee! them dinky ings would have to shunt!
Old Yewrope would be right clean off the map!
I put it blunt:
Put up a scrap.
Wance we cut loose - Aw, Hully Gee! the gap
In Yewrope's rank 'ud make tyhem howl for pap.
We'd wipe the airth out of the Kasmic Plan
An' on the map
The true Amur'kan, sir, he is a man
Who'd lick this un-i-verse, wance he began;
Say, it's a cinch; becaws we hold the dough
If we should plan
None could say so.
Them Kings and Kaisers all would have to go.
He'd do 'em up right praper! Get me, Bo?
He'd eat hull crate-loads of their wan-harse ships!
He'd smash the show,
Wance come to grips!
Aw, shucks! This great, strang nation, sir, it whips
Creation! Wance the word has pas'd our lips
We'd just reach out, an' take the hull darn world!
We'd get the ships
Things would get whirled!
Yep! Wance that starry banner was unfurled
We'd roast the Kaiser till his whiskers curled!
Say, do you get me? Wance we j'ined the fray
The hull darn world
Out of our way.
Wance we were roused - what matter, anyway?
We air nat takin' war in ours to-day
Naw, Bo; we got no quar'l, we play the part
Of pained dismay,
Our great, sawft, strang, red heart.
The Liberal Constitution
Jack Sprat would eat no fat,
His wife would eat no lean,
And so, betwixt them both, you see,
They licked the platter clean.
Old nursery rhyme
Gentlemen, I'd like to mention, with your very kind attention,
One important point I wish you all to know;
We've a policy extensive and extremely comprehensive -
Me an' Joe.
As a fact, 'tis all-embracing, just to put the matter flat;
Therefore, where's the need to mention that we favor 'this' or 'that'?
Quite unlike the other party, we're so vigorous and hearty,
We can thrive on any diet, high or low.
And, if you decide to follow us, just notice what we swallow
Me an' Joe.
It is hardly worth while mentioning what Joseph can't digest,
And, when he has picked his dishes, I, with ease, absorb the rest.
While other folks are musing o'er the menu, picking, choosing,
In a fashion most fastidious and slow,
At embracing or surrounding - all the meal we are astounding
Me an' Joe.
As an economic method it admits no ifs or buts;
For we clean up all the courses from the oysters to the nuts.
Legislative indigestion in regard to any question
Marks the party whose vitality is low;
Weaklings in the estimation of that sturdy combination,
Me an' Joe.
For the food that is politically poisonous to me
Joe takes with relish, while - well, vice versa don't you see.
I can take, with little trouble, foods political that double
Joseph up, upon the floor, in direst woe;
But they all declare, who've seen us, we're omnivorous between us
Me an' Joe.
Joseph's fond of food imported with a dash of Tory sauce;
I love fare more democratic and Australian grown, of course.
Thus, observe, in fiscal matters we contrive to clean the platters.
'Tis surprising how we make the viands go!
With our dual constitution we can do great execution
Me an' Joe.
And the others of our party have such varied appetites
That there's really very little left to feed the cat o' nights.
For, the others at the table, watching us, are quickly able
To elect the food they fancy most - although
Some they find it hard to swallow in their brave attempts to follow
Me an' Joe.
Then a little Argus Syrup or some 'Mother 'Eralds Pills'
Are most useful in averting any gastronomic ills.
Gentlemen, 'twould only weary you to state in manner dreary,
That we favor 'this,' or 'that,' or 'so-and-so,'
When, as you well know who've seen us, we can scoff the lot between us
Me an' Joe.
And I warn you to be careful of that legislative group
Which has appetite for nothing but mere Democratic soup.
Such dyspeptic politicians are not fit for their positions;
They are weak and puny creatures: let them go;
And, whatever you adhere to, you can bet your cause is dear to
Me - or Joe.
For our iron constitution is a thing to marvel at,
And, when we 'ave dined, as I have said, there's little for the cat.
A Ballad Of Freedom
Now Mr. Jeremiah Bane
He owned a warehouse in The Lane,
An edifice of goodly size,
Where, with keen private enterprise,
He sold imported napery
And drapery - and drapery.
His singlets and his socks were sent
Out over half the continent;
In clothing for the nursery
And mercery - and mercery
He plied a most extensive trade,
And quite enormous prodfits made,
And barracked, with much fervency,
For foreign-trade - described as 'Free.'
The trade described as Free.
And this good man was known to fame
For charity; indeed, his name
Shone often in the daily press.
When needy folk were in distress
He aided - (with publicity)
Mendicity - mendicity.
And though much cash he thuswise spared
There still were people who declared
His act of private charity
A rarity - a rarity.
Donations, duly advertised,
From business point of view, he prized;
But 'good by stealth' he ne'er could see
Was any use to such as he.
Declared his hand was free.
Now Mr. Bane's employees were
Wont to address the boss as 'Sir,'
To show him most intense respect;
And there were few who would neglect
To couple with civility
Humility - humility.
They dressed in cheap but pretty clothes,
And ev'ry man turned up his nose
And scorned familiarity
Or parity - or parity
With ill-dressed toilers who 'combined.'
They thought proceedings of that kind
Were of a very 'low' degree,
For they were 'cultured,' don't you see.
Felt proud to be so free.
Though they were vilely underpaid
They were too proud - or else afraid
To advertise the fact abroad
Or see to get a Wages Board.
Besides their meek servility,
Gentility - gentility
Forbade so rash an act; but still
One man there was - (his name was Bill)
Who vowed their fool propensity
Was density - was density
An unenlightened state of mind,
A lack of wit that made them blind.
'You're but a lot of worms,' said he.
'If you were men you'd clearly see
You never can be free.'
And ev'ry day this person, Bill,
Conversed with them of unions till
They owned his arguments were true,
And one by one waxed eager to
Embrace an opportunity
For unity - for unity.
They talked about a Wages Board
Which, formerly, they had abhorred,
And girded at their slavery
With bravery - with bravery.
Each man began to feel 'The Firm'
No longer owned it for its worm;
Their independence they could see
Achieved by simple unity;
Who battle to be free.
When Mr. Bane one morning heard
About his thing he cried, 'Absurd!
They'll never get my clerks to horde
With those who seek the Wages Board,
And lose respectability!
Futility! - Futility!
My clerks are gentlemen who'd scorn
To mingle with the lowly born.
Such bosh I've never heard!' said he.
'Absurd!' said he - 'Absurd!' said he.
'As for their pay, they're quite content
They've never asked an extra cent!
And show you they are free.'
And on the morrow Mr. Bane
Called them together to 'explain':
'I have a small petition here
But first, I wish to make it clear,'
Said he, with simple gravity
And suavity - and suavity,
'That no man here is asked to sign.'
(His voice was gentle and benign)
'I trust to your humanity
And sanity - and sanity
To guide you; but I feel quite sure
That Wages Boards you can't endure.
I leave it all to you,' said he.
'It makes no difference to me.
Your choice in this is free.'
The staff it looked at Mr. Bane,
And in his eye it read, quite plain,
'Neath that expression so benign,
The fate of him who did not sign
A vision of futurity
Obscurity - obscurity
A dearth of work - in short, the sack.
They knew that he who answered back
Would earn, by his temerity,
Severity - severity.
So one and all, with shaky pen,
Signed this refusal to be men....
But surely, as you must agree,
Their choice was free as it could be,
Preferring to be free.
Still Mr. Bane grows fat and sleek,
And still, at thirty bob a week,
His clerks slave on from morn till night,
No hope of better things in sight.
But Bane, with much benignity
And dignity - and dignity,
When talk of Wages Board is heard,
Declares the notion is absurd:
'My clerks with prompt celerity
And verity - and verity
Refused the thing with one accord.
The clerks themselves don't want the Board!
It is preposterous,' says he,
'To force it on who don't agree
To fatten him are free.
The Stror 'At Coot
Ar, wimmin! Wot a blinded fool I've been!
I arsts meself, wot else could I ixpeck?
I done me block complete on this Doreen,
An' now me 'eart is broke, me life's a wreck!
The dreams I dreamed, the dilly thorts I thunk
Is up the pole, an' joy 'as done a bunk.
Wimmin! O strike! I orter known the game!
Their tricks is crook, their arts is all dead snide.
The 'ole world over tarts is all the same;
All soft an' smilin' wiv no 'eart inside.
But she fair doped me wiv 'er winnin' ways,
Then crooled me pitch fer all me mortal days.
They're all the same! A man 'as got to be
Stric' master if 'e wants to snare 'em sure.
'E 'as to take a stand an' let 'em see
That triflin' is a thing'e won't indure.
'E wants to show 'em that 'e 'olds command,
So they will smooge an' feed out of 'is 'and.
'E needs to make 'em feel 'e is the boss,
An' kid 'e's careless uv the joys they give.
'E 'as to make 'em think 'e'll feel no loss
To part wiv any tart 'e's trackin' wiv.
That all their pretty ways is crook pretence
Is plain to any bloke wiv common-sense.
But when the birds is nestin' in the spring,
An' when the soft green leaves is in the bud,
'E drops 'is bundle to some fluffy thing.
'E pays 'er 'omage—an' 'is name is Mud.
She plays wiv'im an' kids 'im on a treat,
Until she 'as 'im crawlin' at 'er feet.
An' then, when 'e's fair orf 'is top wiv love,
When she 'as got 'im good an' 'ad 'er fun,
She slings 'im over like a carst-orf glove,
To let the other tarts see wot she's done.
All vanity, deceit an' 'eartless kid!
I orter known; an', spare me days, I did!
I knoo. But when I looked into 'er eyes
Them shinin' eyes o' blue all soft wiv love
Wiv MIMIC love—they seemed to 'ipnertize.
I wus content to place 'er 'igh above.
I wus content to make of 'er a queen;
An' so she seemed them days…O, 'struth!…Doreen!
I knoo. But when I stroked 'er glossy 'air
Wiv rev'rint 'ands, 'er cheek pressed close to mine,
Me lonely life seemed robbed of all its care;
I dreams me dreams, an' 'ope begun to shine.
An' when she 'eld 'er lips fer me to kiss…
Ar, wot's the use? I'm done wiv all o' this!
Wimmin!…Oh, I ain't jealous! Spare me days!
Me? Jealous uv a knock-kneed coot like that!
'Im! Wiv 'is cute stror 'at an' pretty ways!
I'd be a mug to squeal or whip the cat.
I'm glad, I am—glad 'cos I know I'm free!
There ain't no call to tork o' jealousy.
I tells meself I'm well out o' the game;
Fer look, I mighter married 'er-an' then….
Ar strike! 'Er voice wus music when my name
Wus on 'er lips on them glad ev'nin's when
We useter meet. An' then to think she'd go…
No, I ain't jealous—but—Ar, I dunno!
I took a derry on this stror 'at coot
First time I seen 'im dodgin' round Doreen.
'Im, wiv 'is giddy tie an' Yankee soot,
Ferever yappin' like a tork-machine
About 'The Hoffis' where 'e 'ad a grip….
The way 'e smiled at 'er give me the pip!
She sez I stoushed 'im, when I promised fair
To chuck it, even to a friendly spar.
Stoushed 'im! I never roughed 'is pretty 'air!
I only spanked 'im gentle, fer 'is mar.
If I'd 'a' jabbed 'im once, there would 'a' been
An inquest; an' I sez so to Doreen.
I mighter took an' cracked 'im in the street,
When she was wiv 'im there lars' Fridee night.
But don't I keep me temper when we met?
An' don't I raise me lid an' act perlite?
I only jerks me elbow in 'is ribs,
To give the gentle office to 'is nibs.
Stoushed 'im! I owns I met 'im on the quiet,
An' worded 'im about a small affair;
An' when 'e won't put up 'is 'ands to fight
('E sez, 'Fer public brawls 'e didn't care')
I lays 'im 'cross me knee, the mother's joy,
An' smacks 'im 'earty, like a naughty boy.
An' now Doreen she sez I've broke me vow,
An' mags about this coot's pore, 'wounded pride.'
An' then, o' course, we 'as a ding-dong row,
Wiv 'ot an' stormy words on either side.
She sez I done it outer jealousy,
An' so, we parts fer ever—'er an' me.
Me jealous? Jealous of that cross-eyed cow!
I set 'im 'cos I couldn't sight 'is face.
'Is yappin' fair got on me nerves, some'ow.
I couldn't stand 'im 'angin' round 'er place.
A coot like that!…But it don't matter much,
She's welkim to 'im if she fancies such.
I swear I'll never track wiv 'er no more;
I'll never look on 'er side o' the street
Unless she comes an' begs me pardin for
Them things she said to me in angry 'eat.
She can't ixpeck fer me to smooge an' crawl.
I ain't at ANY woman's beck an' call.
Wimmin! I've took a tumble to their game.
I've got the 'ole bang tribe o' cliners set!
The 'ole world over they are all the same:
Crook to the core the bunch of 'em—an' yet
We could 'a' been that 'appy, 'er an' me…
But, wot's it matter? Ain't I glad I'm free?
A bloke wiv commin-sense 'as got to own
There's little 'appiness in married life.
The smoogin' game is better left alone,
Fer tarts is few that makes the ideel wife.
An' them's the sort that loves wivout disguise,
An' thinks the sun shines in their 'usban's' eyes.
But when the birds is matin' in the spring,
An' when the tender leaves begin to bud,
A feelin' comes—a dilly sorter thing
That seems to sorter swamp 'im like a flood.
An' when the fever 'ere inside 'im burns,
Then freedom ain't the thing fer wot 'e yearns.
But I 'ave chucked it all. An' yet—I own
I dreams me dreams when soft Spring breezes stirs;
An' often, when I'm moonin' 'ere alone,
A lispin' maid, wiv 'air an' eyes like 'ers,
'Oo calls me 'dad,' she climbs upon me knee,
An' yaps 'er pretty baby tork to me.
I sorter see a little 'ouse, it seems,
Wiv someone waitin' for me at the gate…
Ar, where's the sense in dreamin' barmy dreams,
I've dreamed before, and nearly woke too late.
Sich 'appiness could never last fer long,
We're strangers—'less she owns that she was wrong.
To call 'er back I'll never lift a 'and;
She'll never 'ear frum me by word or sign.
Per'aps, some day, she'll come to understand
The mess she's made o' this 'ere life o' mine.
Oh, I ain't much to look at, I admit.
But'im! The knock-kneed, swivel-eyed misfit?…
'Ave A 'Eart!
''Ere! 'Ave a 'eart!' 'e sez. 'Why, love a duck!
A 'uman bein' ain't a choppin' block!
There ain't no call fer you to go an' chuck
A man about when 'e 'as took the knock.
Gaw! Do yeh want to bust 'im all apart!
'Ere! 'Ave a 'eart!
'Aw, 'ave a 'eart!' 'e weeps. 'A fight's a fight;
But, strike me bandy, this is bloody war!
It's murder! An' you got no blasted right
To arst a 'uman man to come fer more.
'E 'ad no chance with you right frum the start.
Aw, 'ave a 'eart!
'Yeh've pulped 'is dile,' 'e whines; 'yeh've pinched 'is gun;
Yeh've bunged 'is eye 'an bashed in 'arf 'is teeth.
'Struth! Ain't yeh satisfied with wot yeh've done?
Or are you out to fit 'im fer a wreath?
The man's 'arf dead a'ready! Wot's yer dart?
Say, 'ave a 'eart!'
I never did 'ear sich a bloke to squeal
About a trifle. This 'ere pal uv Spike's
Don't seem to 'ave the stummick fer a deal
Uv solid stoush: rough work don't soot 'is likes.
'E ain't done much but blather frum the start,
''Ere 'ave a 'eart!'
A rat-face coot 'e is, with rat-like nerves
That's got all jangled with ixceedin' fright,
While I am 'andin' Spike wot 'e deserves.
But twice 'e tried to trip me in the fight,
The little skunk, now sobbin' like a tart,
'Aw, 'ave a 'eart!'
This 'ere's the pretty pitcher in Ah Foo's
Back privit room: Spite Wegg, well on the floor,
Is bleedin' pretty, with a bonzer bruise
Paintin' one eye, an' 'arf 'is clobber tore.
While me, the conq'rin' 'ero, stan's above
'Owlin' me love.
The rat-face mutt is dancin' up an' down;
Ah Foo is singin' jazz in raw Chinee;
The parson's starin' at me with a frown,
As if 'e thort sich things could never be;
An' I'm some bloke 'e's but 'arf rekernised
Foo's furniture is scattered any'ow,
Artisic like, in bits about the floor.
An' 'arf a dozen blokes, drawn by the row,
Nosey but nervis, 'overs near the door.
I ain't no pitcher orf no chocklit box.
I've took some knocks.
I ain't no pitcher. But - 0 Glory! - But
Ther's dicky-birds awarblin' in me soul!
To think that I ain't lost that upper-cut!
An' my left-'ook's still with me, good an' whole.
I feared me punch was dead; but I was wrong.
Me 'eart's all song!
Then, as Spike makes a move, I raised me mits
Fearin' a foul; an' Rat-face does 'is block.
'E loosens up a string uv epi-tits
That seem to jolt the parson with a shock.
Filthy an' free they was, make no mistakes.
Then Snowy wakes.
All through the fight 'e 'ad seemed kind uv dazed,
Ubsorbin' it like some saint in a dream.
But now 'e straightened up, 'is ole eyes blazed
An', as the filth flowed in a red-'ot stream,
'Is voice blew in like cool winds frum the south:
'Shut that foul mouth!'
'Shut your vile mouth, or, by the Lord! - ''Is 'and
Went up, an' there was anger on 'is face.
But Rat-face ducked. 'E weren't the man to stand
Agin that figger uv avengin' grace.
Ducked, or 'e might uv stopped one 'oly smite
Frum Snowy's right.
'Young friend,' 'E turns to me. An' then I 'ear
A yell: 'The cops! The cops is in the Lane!
'Parson,' I sez, 'we are de tropp, I fear.
Mid 'appier scenes I'll vencher to ixplain.
'Ang to me 'and, an' wave no fond farewell;
But run like 'ell!'
Some say wrong livin' reaps no good reward.
Well, I dunno. If I 'ad not cut loose
In Spadgers, in them days long, long deplored,
'Ow could I knowed the run uv Foo's caboose?
That back-way entrance, used fer Chiner's friends'
Out by a green door; down a flight uv stairs;
Along a passige; up another flight;
Through 'arf a dozen rooms, broadcastin' scares
To twenty yellow men, pea-green with fright;
Me an' the parson, through that 'eathen land,
Trips 'and in 'and.
Out uv dark corners, voices 'ere an' there
Break sudden with a jabberin' sing-song,
Like magpies flutin' on the mornin' air.
We pays no 'eed to them, but plug along,
Twistin' an' turnin' through them secret ways,
Like in a maze.
I bust a bolted door. The parson gasps:
The air inside is 'eavy with the drug.
A fat Chow goggles at the broken hasps;
Another dreams un'eedin' on a rug.
Out by the other door-past piles uv fruit
'Ow we did scoot!
Red lanterns - lacquer-work - brass pots - strange smells
Silk curtains - slippers - baskets - ginger jars
A squealin' Chinee fiddle-tinklin' bells
Queer works uv art - filth - fowls - ducks - iron bars
To winders - All pass by us in a stream,
Like 'twuz a dream.
Down to a cellar; up agen, an' out
Bananers - brandy jars - we rush pell-mell,
Turnin' to left, to right, then round about
(The parson, after, said it seemed like 'ell)
Through one last orful pong, then up a stair
Into clean air.
We're in a little yard; no thing to stop
Our flight to freedom but a fence. 'Now, jump!'
I grabs 'is rev'rince, 'eaves 'im to the top,
An' bungs me own frame over with a bump.
'Dam!' sez the parson - or it sounded so
But I dunno.
Seems that 'is coat got 'itched up on a nail.
'E jerks it free an' gently comes to earth.
'Peter the 'ermit's 'ome!' I sez. 'All 'ail!'
An' makes punk noises indicatin' mirth.
The parson, 'e walks on, as still as death.
Seems out o' breath.
I walk beside 'im; but 'e sez no word.
To put it straight, I'm feelin' pretty mean
Feelin' a bit ashamed uv wot's occurred
But still, I never planned to 'ave no scene
With Spike. I didn't start the flamin' row,
I tells 'im so. But still 'e never spoke.
I arsts 'im 'ow else could the thing be done.
I tells 'im straight I'd let no flamin' bloke
Take pot shots at me with no flamin' gun.
'E stops, an' pats me shoulder with 'is 'and:
'Young friend.' 'Is face is orful stern an' grave.
'The brawl was not your seekin', we'll suppose.
But does it 'elp this girL we wish to save?
'Ow can sich mad brutality serve Rose?
May be, in anger, you fergot, young friend,
Our Christian end?'
'Not on yer life!' I tells 'im. 'Spike's in soak,
Whether the cops 'ave got 'im now or not.
An' that removes one interferin' bloke
Wot 'ad a mind to queer our 'oly plot.
Tomorrer we'll find Rose, an' work good works
With gentler lurks.'
'Gentler?' 'e sez. 'I 'ope so.' Still 'e's grave.'The ways uv 'Eaven's strange,' 'e sez, 'an' yours
Is stranger still. Yet all may work to save
One strugglin' soul, if 'Eaven's grace endures.'
'E's dreadful solemn.
'I must own I feel
Grieved a great deal.
'Your face,' 'e sez, 'is very badly cut -'
'Now, look,' I chips. ''Old on. Let's git this right.
'Oo was it tried to stoush that rat-face mutt?
'Oo was it barracked for me in the fight?
'Oo was it used that word uv evul sense
Up on that fence?'
'Young friend!' . . . Indignant? 'Struth! I see 'im try
To keep reel stern. But soon I rekernise
The little twinkle stealin' in 'is eye,
That won't keep out, no matter 'ow 'e tries.
An' then - 'is twitchin' lips smile wide apart:
'Aw, 'ave a 'eart!'