"Heirlums," 'e sez.  "I've 'ad the trousiz pressed.
   Me father married in 'em, that 'e did.
See this 'ere fancy vest?
         See this 'ere lid?
Me gran'dad brought that frum 'is native land
In forty-two-an' then 'twas second-'and."

Clobber?  Oh, 'el!  Pants uv wild shepherd's plaid,
   A coat that might 'ave knocked the cliners flat
When father was a lad,
         A tall, pot 'at
That caught the mange back in the diggin's days,
A fancy vest that called fer loud 'oorays.

But loud 'oorays don't 'arf ixpress my rage
   When Danny comes upholstered fer the jig.
I've seen it on the stage,
         Rat comic rig;
But never at a country dance before
'Ave I seen sich crook duds as Danny wore.

"You want to crool my scheme," I sez, "with rags
   Like that?  This ain't no fancy dress affair.
Wot sort uv tile an' bags
         Is them to wear?
But 'e don't tumble;  )e's as pleased as pie.
"By gum," 'e sez, "this ort to catch 'er eye."

"You posin' fer a comic film, or wot?"
   I arsts 'im --" with noorotic togs like those!
Jazz clobber!  Ain't you got
         No decent clo'es?"
But 'e's too tickled with 'imself to 'eed.
"This orter catch 'er eye," 'e sez, "this tweed."

It caught 'er eye, all right, an' many more.
   They starts to come before the daylight fades;
An', fer a hour before
         The crowd parades,
Ole Danny 'eld the centre uv the stage,
While I stood orf an' chewed me silent rage.

That's 'ow it alwiz is: I try to show
   'Ow I can use me bean in deep-laid lurks;
An' then some fool must go
         An' bust the works.
'Ere, I 'ave planned a coop in slap-up-style,
 An' Danny spikes me guns with gran'pa's tile.

Rose never seemed so free frum ugly dreams,
   Not since she came, as that night at the dance;
But my matchmakin' schemes
         Makes no advance;
Fer every time I gits a chance to score,
Doreen butts in, an' crools me pitch once more.

Reel thortless, women is.  She ort to seen
   I 'ad intents -- in spite uv Danny's clo'es --
An' that 'e was reel keen.
         Concernin' Rose.
Not 'er.  She larfs, an' chatters with the push,
As if rich 'usbands grew on every bush.

Once, f'rinstance, I gits busy when I seen
   Rose sittin' out; an' brings Dan on the run.
"Why, mercy!" sez Doreen.
         "'Ere's Mister Dunn
Perlite enough to arst me fer a dance.
'E knows us marrid ones don't git much chance."

An' there she grabs 'im, fair out uv me 'ands!
   An' lets young Wally Free git off with Rose;
While like a fool I stands,
         Kickin' me toes
An' cursin' all the fool things women do.
I'd think 'twas done apurpis, less I knoo.

That's 'ow it was all night. I schemed a treat,
   Workin' shrood points, an' sweatin' blood, almost;
But every time I'm beat
         Right on the post.
All me matchrnakin's bust -- the task uv days --
Through Danny's duds an' my wife's tackless ways.

Nice chaperong she is!  While Free an' Rose
   Dance 'arf the night Doreen jist sits an' beams.
When I seen that, up goes
         My 'opes an' schemes.
But all that Danny sez is, "Stone the crows!
Yeh'd think I'd took 'er eye, with them good clo'es."

When we git 'ome that night I shows me spleen
   By 'intin' Rose will be left on the shelf.
An' then I see Doreen
         Smile to 'erself.
"I would n't be su'prised," she sez, "to see
Rose marrid, some fine day, to Wally Free."

To Wally Free!  Yeh could 'ave knocked me flat
   With 'arf a brick. I seen it in a flash.
A grinnin' coot like that!
         Without no cash!
Besides, a man 'oo'd keep a thievin' cow
Like 'is, won't make no 'usband any'ow.

I'm sick uv everything.  It ain't no joke.
   I've tried to do good works; an' now I've found
When you git 'elpin' folk
         They jist turn round
An' bite the 'and that feeds 'em, so to speak.
An' yet they sez the strong should 'elp the weak.

Wot rot! ... I wisht I 'ad some reel ixcuse
   To push some face in, jist to ease me mind.
Spike Wegg, 'e 'ad 'is use --
         'Im an' 'is kind.
If I could give me ole left-'ook one swing,
I might feel kinder like to everything.

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2002-06