"Why stone the crows!" 'e sez.  "I like 'er style,
   But alwiz, some'ow, women 'ave appeared
Set fer to 'old me orf a 'arf a mile.
   I dunno wot's agin me: p'raps me beard.
But, some'ow, when I speak 'em soft they run.
I ain't no ladies' man," sez Danny Dunn.

"I like 'er style," 'e sez.  "Wot's 'er name?  Rose.
   The neatest filly that I ever see.
She'd run in double splendid.  But I s'pose,
   She'd never 'arness with the likes uv me.
Wot age you tell me?  Risin' twenty-nine?
Well, stone the flamin' crows!  She'd do me fine.

"I wonder can she milk?  Don't look that kind.
   But even if she don't I would n't care --
Not much.  Stone all the crows!  I'd 'arf a mind
   To 'ave a shave an' 'ang me 'at up there.
But I ain't got the knack uv it, yeh know,
Or I'd been spliced this twenty year ago."

Ole Danny Dunn 'as been to pay 'is call
   An' tell us 'e'll be settlin' down 'ere soon.
'E lobbed in on us sudden, ziff an' all,
   An' ain't done nothin' all the afternoon
But lap up tea an' stare pop-eyed at Rose,
'E ain't said nothin' much but "Stone the crows!"

Now, as I sees 'im orf, down by the gate,
   'E's chirpin' love-songs like a nestin' thrush.
Rose 'as 'im by the w'iskers, sure as fate;
   Fer Spring 'as sent 'im soft all uv a rush.
'E's got the beans; an' so she's fixed fer life,
If Danny's game to arst 'er fer 'is wife.

An' so me scheme works out all on its own.
   I grabbed the notion that day in the train,
When Danny tole me that 'e lived alone.
   I reckoned, then, I'd 'ave to use me brain;
But 'ere 'e is, stonin' the crows a treat,
An' keen to sling is pile at Rose's feet.

I'll show 'em!  Them 'oo thinks I got no brains
   Will crash when Rose is Mrs. Danny Dunn.
Doreen don't need to go to too much pains
   To show me that she thinks I've nex' to none,
When I take on a job I don't let go
Until I've fixed it, all sirgarneo.

"Listen," sez Danny.  "Do yeh think a man
   'As any chance?  I know I don't dress neat."
"Sling it!" I sez.  "Don't be a also-ran.
   Go in bald-'eaded!  Rush 'er orf 'er feet!
They don't know wot they want: women ain't got
No minds, till some strong man shows wot is wot.

"I'll 'elp," I tells 'im, "if you play the game.
   Don't give 'er time to think.  Take 'er be storm.
Many's the lover's bowed 'is 'ead in shame
   Becoz 'e was afraid to woo too warm.
Be masterful!  Show 'er 'oo's boss!  'Ave grit!
That's wot I done, an' come 'ome on the bit.

"Look at me now.  I got a wife wot 'eeds
   My lightest wish.  Uv course, I ain't unkind;
But I'm boss uv the show, becoz she needs
   A man to lean upon, an' guide 'er mind."
"By gum!" sez Danny; "but that must be fine.
That's 'ow I'd like to 'ave a wife uv mine."

I tells 'im there's a dance on Fridee night;
   'E must be there, tricked out in nobby clo'es
An' all spruced up.  I'll see it fixed up right
   So 'e can make the goin' good with Rose.
"I don't dance much," 'e sez.  "But p'raps me luck's
Changed round; an' stone the crows!  I'll chance the ducks!"

So far, ribuck.  I'm no back number yet;
   Although they treats me as brainless yob.
I may be slow to start; but, don't ferget,
   I still got some idears back uv me nob.
An' once I've got Rose wed an' fixed fer life
I might su'prise respeck out uv me wife.

I might, but -- Listen.  Can you tell me this:
   Why am I takin' all these speshul pains,
An' worried lest me plans will go amiss?
   Why am I so dead set to use me brains?
Dunno; no more than you; fer, spare me days!
A man's a puzzle to 'imself, some ways.

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2002-06