"'Er pore dear Par." she sez, "'e kept a store"; An' then she weeps an' stares 'ard at the floor. "'Twas thro' 'is death," she sez, "we wus rejuiced To this," she sez ... An' then she weeps some more. "'Er par," she sez, "me poor late 'usband, kept An 'ay an' corn store. 'E'd no faults ixcept 'Im fallin' 'eavy orf a load o' charf W'ich -- killed 'im -- on the -- " 'Struth! But 'ow she wept. She blows 'er nose an' sniffs. "'E would 'a' made" She sez, "a lot of money in the trade. But, 'im took orf so sudden-like, we found 'E 'adn't kept 'is life insurince paid. "To think," she sez, "a child o' mine should be Rejuiced to workin' in a factory! If 'er pore Par 'e 'adn't died," she sobs... I sez, "It wus a bit o' luck for me." Then I gits 'as red as 'ell, "That is -- I mean," I sez, "I mighter never met Doreen If 'e 'ad not" -- an' 'ere I lose me block -- "I 'ope," I sez, "'e snuffed it quick and clean." An' that wus 'ow I made me first deboo. I'd dodged it cunnin' fer a month or two. Doreen she sez, "You'll have to meet my Mar, Some day," she sez. An' so I seen it thro'. I'd pictered some stern female in a cap Wot puts the fear o' Gawd into a chap And 'ere she wus, aweepin' in 'er tea An' drippin' moistcher like a leaky tap. Two dilly sorter dawgs made outer delf Stares 'ard at me frum orf the mantelshelf. I seemed to symperthise wiv them there pups; I felt so stiff an' brittle-like meself. Clobber? Me trosso, 'ead to foot, wus noo -- Got up regardless, fer this interview. Stiff shirt, a Yankee soot split up the back, A tie wiv yeller spots an' stripes o' blue. Me cuffs kep' playing wiv me nervis fears Me patent leathers nearly brought the tears An' there I sits wiv, "Yes, mum. Thanks. Indeed?" Me stand-up collar sorin' orf me ears. "Life's 'ard," she sez, an' then she brightens up. "Still, we 'ave alwus 'ad our bite and sup. Doreen's been sich a help; she 'as indeed. Some more tea, Willy? 'Ave another cup." Willy! O 'ell! 'Ere wus a flaming pill! A moniker that alwus makes me ill. "If it's the same to you, mum," I replies "I answer quicker to the name of Bill." Up goes 'er 'ands an' eyes. "That vulgar name!" No, Willy, but it isn't all the same, My fucher son must be respectable." "Orright," I sez, "I s'pose it's in the game." "Me fucher son," she sez, "right on frum this Must not take anythink I say amiss. I know me jooty by me son-in-lor; So, Willy, come an' give ya Mar a kiss". I done it. Tho' I dunno 'ow I did. "Dear boy," she sez, "to do as you are bid. Be kind to 'er," she sobs, "my little girl!" An' then I kiss Doreen. She sez "Ah Kid!". Doreen! Ar 'ow 'er pretty eyes did shine. No sight on earth or 'Eaving's 'arf so fine, An' as they looked at me she seemed to say "I'm proud of 'im, I am, an' 'e is mine." There was a sorter glimmer in 'er eye, An 'appy, nervis look, 'arf proud, 'arf shy; I seen 'er in me mind be'ind the cups In our own little kipsie, bye an' bye. An' then when Mar-in-lor an' me began To tork of 'ouse'old things an' scheme an' plan, A sudden thort fair jolts me where I live: "These is my wimmin folk! An' I'm a man!" It's wot they calls responsibility. All of a 'eap that feelin' come to me; An' somew'ere in me 'ead I seemed to feel A sneakin' sort o' wish that I was free. 'Ere's me 'oo never took no 'eed o' life, Investin' in a mar-in-lor an' wife: Someone to battle fer besides meself, Somethink to love an' shield frum care and strife. It makes yeh solim when yeh come to think Wot love and marridge means. Ar, strike me pink! It ain't all sighs and kisses. It's yer life. An' 'ere's me temblin' on the bloomin' brink. "'Er pore dead Par," she sez, an' gulps a sob. An' then I tells 'er 'ow I got a job, As storeman down at Jones' printin' joint, A decent sorter cop for fifty bob. The things get 'ome-like; an' we torks till late, An' tries to tease Doreen to fix the date, An' she gits sudden soft and tender-like, An' cries a bit, when we parts at the gate. An' as I'm moochin' 'omeward frum the car A sudden notion stops me wiv a jar -- Wot if Doreen, I thinks, should grow to be, A fat ole weepin' willer like 'er Mar! O, 'struth! It won't bear thinkin' of! It's crook! An' I'm a mean, unfeelin' dawg to look At things like that. Doreen's Doreen to me, The sweetest peach on w'ich a man wus shook. 'Er "pore dear Par"...I s'pose 'e 'ad 'is day, An' kissed and smooged an' loved 'er in 'is way. An' wed an' took 'is chances like a man -- But, Gawd, this splicin' racket ain't all play. Love is a gamble, an' there ain't no certs. Some day, I s'pose, I'll git wise to the skirts. An' learn to take the bitter wiv the sweet... But strike me purple! "Willy!" That's wot 'urts.
This poem was originally published in The Bulletin, 6 August 1914, p51.
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