Country Pubs by C.J. Dennis

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Recent severe criticism of the catering arrangements in country hotels uttered by Mr. Menzies, M.L.A., has revived the demand for improvement in such places.  But one is moved to wonder if this protest will do any more than dozens of others in getting real improvements.

We know those little country pubs,
   By cross-road and by creek,
Where faithfully the landlord scrubs
   His counter once a week,
And stands before his shining bar
   To cater for man's thirst
With all the best; but where the meals are
   He caters with the worst.
"Wottle you 'ave?"  There's beer or brandy,
Rum or half-and-half or shandy.
   Wine or whisky.  Bottles wink --
   "Wottle you 'ave, boys?  Name your drink" ...
But in the grimy dining room
A slattern lass of grease and gloom
   Intones in accents charged with grief:
   "Wottle you 'ave?  There's corn-beef." 
In the bar the talk grows gay,
   The landlord beams, for trade agog,
And yokels wile dull hours away
   Idly yarning o'er their grog ...
But in that cave of gastric woes
   Grimly the hungry traveller eats,
To end by turning up his nose
   And hoping to fill up on sweets.
"Wottle you 'ave?" -- The cups are cloudy.
Linen soiled.  The waitress dowdy,
   Comes like an avenging fate
   Snatching at the greasy plate --
Soggy cabbage; soapy "spuds" --
Droning flies and smell of suds.
   Now she whines, like some lost soul:
   "Wottle you 'ave?  There's jam-roll."

First published in The Herald, 23 February 1933

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on February 23, 2013 7:57 AM.

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