"I cannot believe," said a London judge, "that the laws regarding a man's wife is the same as for a man's dog or a noisy machine." He was discussing a case in which the neighbours of a man sought to put him in gaol because, in his absence, his wife persistently cried, whined, and moaned.
I sea, "Mrs. B.,--an' I think you'll agree--
To call any one dawgs ain't a 'abit with me;
An' no more ain't it been to find likeness atween
A decent-spoke soul an' a noisy machine.
No, there's limits, mum, limits, that's puttin' it plain,
To me 'ablts of speech when I wish to complain."
But I sez, "Mrs. B, if you'll listen to me,
You'll know that men ain't all they're reckoned to be.
As for weepin' an' wailin' because they leaves 'ome,
It ain't been me 'abit; I sez let 'em roam.
As I sez to my George--an' it's tellln' no lies--
When 'e 'angs round the 'ouse 'e is worse'n the flies.
As for moanin' an' groanin', you'll find it a fack,
The time for sich doin's is when they comes back."
I sez. "Mrs. B., I am all thirty-three,
Tho' you'd 'ardly believe it by lookin' at me,
An' I've studied the men from their 'eads to their toes.
An' there's none worth yer owlin' as fur as that goes.
Taint 'owlin' but growlin' you gits out of them.
As fer dawgs--well, I never was one to condemn."
I sez. "But, Mrs. B., if you listen to me
You'll give up the 'abit of gin in yer tea.
For tea's a nice tipple; an' so, ma'am, is gin;
But to mix 'em together is worsen a sin ...
Oh, shut up yer yelpin'! Why, dawgs an' machines
Don't 'arf-way describe wot sich catterwauls means!"
First published in The Herald, 21 December 1936;
and later in
The Queenslander, 6 May 1937.