Works in the Herald 1935
Some saw in him a Scottish wreck; some said that he was mad;
A few proclaimed his genius, but all agreed 'twas sad
   That Doctor Andy Deveraux had let things slide so far.
   "A mighty clever cove," they said, "but weak, and -- there you are."
For down at Paddy Clancy's bar you find him night or day,
A silent and sardonic man, who went his bitter way.
   "Last night," some housewife would exclaim, "I thought I'd seen a ghost;
   'Twas that awful Doctor Deveraux, going home by post."

"Going home by post," they said.  A sorry township jest;
Long since had Clancy tackled him, and had to give him best.
   "'Tis under this 'Blackfeller's Act' I'll put yeh!  Not a sup!"
   But the bitter tongue had lashed him till he gladly gave it up.
So Deveraux would drink alone, brooding, till wits grew dense,
Then sought his own home, late at night, along the three-wire fence;
   From post to post, in staggering spurts, he made his shameful way.
  "Doc's going home by post," men sneered.  "Broke out again today." 

None knew his story in the town nor, clearly, whence he came;
Nor yet what foul thing rode him -- what sorrow or what shame -
   To cause a once fine, brilliant mind (as his degrees inferred),
   Its urge to brief forgetfulness.  And Deveraux spoke no word.
Long since, kind Doctor Littlejohn had sought to play the friend,
To meet a wall of fierce reserve, and get snubbed in the end.
   So age and drink took Deveraux, and he sank down and down,
   To be a thing for men's contempt, the butt of half the town.

Some say it was a drunken freak; some say a hero's act,
An epic of self-sacrifice.  Yet there remains the fact
   That there's a tale in that old town men tell until today,
   And I have gained thro' hearsay, for I'd been long away.
The details are a little vague -- a garbled tale and wild,
Of how the drunken Deveraux died to save a stricken child.
   And whether by the truth or by tradition 'twas devised,
   I only know that there today he has been canonised.

Herald, 15 July 1935, p6

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2002-07