Works in the Bulletin 1915
   With posters done in blue and red 
      My shop is plastered o'er;
   Cute schemes for gain are in my head
      As here, beside my door,
I talk with likely customers about "this awful war."

"Our Patriotic Sale's Begun," "Amazing Sacrifice" - So do my flaunting posters run - "Goods at Three-quarter Price." "Buy One of Our 'King Albert' Hats, New Style and Very Nice."
"This awful war" - I roll my eyes "It ruins honest trade! All German goods, sir, I despise! Now these smart coats were made In England; warranted to wear, and will not shrink or fade.
"Down with the Kaiser! Sir, it wrings My upright, British soul To think of all the fearful things He's done to win his goal.... Wool comforters for soldiers, ma'am? Yes. Forward, Mister Mole!"
"Indeed, indeed it's very hard But we must not repine. . . . That flannel? Two-and-three a yard. Yes, ma'am, a special line; Cut for our Patriotic Sale"....and dear at one-and-nine!
"Ah, these poor Belgians! Sir, it shocks All human decency! .... (I sold five gross of 'Belgian' socks Last week at one-and-three!) .... Poor, starving folk! It hurts me, sir, such misery to see! "
"Come to our Patriotic Sale!" "Great War Reductions Made!" Such cunning phrases never fall To capture goodly trade. "Inspect our dress-goods! Like our troops they will not run nor fade."
"Yes, ma'am, that little ornament Was made in Germany. The price is up fifteen per cent., Because, of course, you see, 'Twas bought before the war, and now that line we can't indent."
"Ahem!....Yes, as you say, sir, true- A race of thieves and spies. And, let me say, between us two, All Germans I despise!.... Ah, that reminds me, have you seen this line of 'Joffro' ties?"
"Enlist, Young Man, if You are Fit!" So reads my window sign. (And, while you're thinking over it, Come and inspect our line Of special scarves for brave recruits. Dirt-cheap at three-and-nine.)
With posters done in red and blue My shop-front flames and flares; While busily I plan anew My patriotic snares For trusting customers who come to buy my shoddy wares.
'Tis an ill wind....Between ourselves, These Germans do some good. They've helped to clear from off my shelves Old stock I never should Have sold unless....Ah, well, a man must earn his livelihood.
"Come to Our Patriotic Sale!" "Cheap Goods While Times are Slack." With secret joy my ad. I mail Beside the Union Jack, And blithely make a hoarding of a stricken People's back.

The Bulletin, 22 April 1915, p26

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2003