Works in the Herald 1935

Referring to the recent Parliament slum visit, a clergyman said on Sunday that little had been done hitherto to remove the blot as the vision of party politicians does not extend beyond the next election.

Me muvver, she sez as she'd like to know
   Wot these parly-mint coves is doin',
Pokin' their noses all over the show
   An' callin' her house a rooin.
"Rooin," they sez.  "Wot swualler" sez they.
   If they doubled me ole dad's wages
We could live in a toff's 'ouse straight away,
   An' I wouldn't leave school for ages.
Fer I couldn't play wag with me mates no more --
An' help in the market for thrums no more --
   Just ole lessons for ages an' ages.
Me muvver, she sez, if we had some votes
   For to win an election battle,
We wouldn't be here like a lot of goats,
   Or the poor, dumb, driven cattle.
But she don't know 'ow, an' she don't know 'oo
   Would carry 'er party banners.
But we'd live in a toff's 'ouse, spankin' noo.
   An' I'd have to learn good manners.
Fer I couldn't punch coots on the nose no more,
An' I couldn't go tearin' me clo'es no more;
   But she'd learn me proper manners.
"The slums?" sez me muvver.  "The slums indeed!"
   An' she'd like for to know 'oo said it.
Fair off of 'er floor you could eat yer feed;
   But they never give 'er no credit.
If sweepin' an scrubbin' had wealth at call
   We'd be all of us livin' in clover,
Set up in a toff's 'ouse -- barfs an' all --
   An' I'd have to wash all over!
For I couldn't just slash at the top no more,
Like a sensible, growed-up chap no more:
   But wash in a barf, all over!
Me muvver she sez to the man from the shop,
   It's these parly-mint coves ixpenses.
If we bundled out all of 'em, neck an' crop,
   Then we might 'ave some money for fences.
"A scandal!" she sez.  "An' a shame!" sez, she,
   "That fence atwixt me an' them Johnsons!"
But to live in a toff's 'ouse looks to me
   Like a lot of ole lessons an' nonsense.
For I couldn't stay out in the street no more;
An' I couldn't run 'round in bare feet no more,
Nor 'ave good wile rabbee to eat no more --
   Just manners an' lessons an' nonsense!

Herald, 21 August 1935, p6

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2005