The Sick Cab-Rider [poem by Edmund Fisher]
[Editor: This poem by Edmund Fisher was published in The Bulletin Reciter, 1901.]
The Sick Cab-Rider.
Just shake my pillows up a bit, and take the rocking-chair,
The cough’s not half so bad to-day, so I’m feeling pretty fair ;
Not as I used to feel, of course, in the days of old lang syne,
When we didn’t “cab-it” home until the sun began to shine.
What nights we had together, Bert ! the hours were ten till four
A.m., deah boy; a.m., by Jove! and sometimes rather more.
We burnt the candle then both ends, and never snuffed the wicks ;
We started off with squashes straight, but soon began to mix.
Open the window wide — that’s right ! — the room gets rather warm.
Ah, Bert ! if I were well again, back in my summer form,
I’d play you billiards, fifty-up, and think it fun to lose,
Or take a turn down Collins-street in patent leather shoes.
I dressed myself last Sunday week : that’s bound to make you smile ;
The pants hung loose and — well, the coat was not the latest style ;
’T was nine months since I’d had it home, the collar seemed so strange,
Cut differently to yours. Heigho ! how soon the fashions change !
What was I saying, though ? Ah, yes ! the nights we had, my word !
To be in bed at sunrise, Bert, is awfully absurd ;
When the light comes stalking in my room, I’m often wide awake,
And I sigh to be about again, for pretty Flossie’s sake.
She misses me, I bet she does ; you know what women are ;
She liked me best of all the boys who patronised her bar ;
Although we kept the house up late she did n’t once complain,
Except that night when Phil got “tight” and would n’t shout champagne.
Poor Floss ! I used to send her flowers, the choicest things in bloom :
You never saw her wear ’em — true, she put them in her room.
Syd. Saunders had a notion that she gave them all away,
But I’m sure she always kept ’em, for she told me so one day.
She did n’t mind my teasing her, I never made her mad —
What hair ! my word ! what splendid teeth, and what a bust she had !
She would have let me kiss her once, I think — in fact, no doubt —
If she hadn’t been so frightened that the “boss” might be about.
We sowed some wild oats, rather — yes, by Jove ! we sowed a crop,
Do you recollect those darlings at the tea-and-coffee shop ?
Nice girls ; the little fair one, not the youngest (she was dark),
Pinched my arm last time I saw her, on the vaccination-mark.
Have a cigarette, old fellow ! — in that box you’ll find a few —
And tell me, how’s the chorus ? Have you spotted something new,
Or is your heart still constant to the one you mashed that night
From the stage-box ? You remember, she was dressed in blue and white.
You love her still — you terror ! and she’s smiling just the same ;
You ought to try to meet her, Bert, and find out what’s her name.
My mash, you know, was Maud de Vaux, she mostly played the page.
It’s hard to have to die before I ’ve seen her off the stage.
But I mustn’t make you gloomy, with this talk about the past —
They were awf’ly jolly times, and I was awf’ly jolly fast.
I must contemplate the present : here we are in “budding Spring,”
And I don’t think my pyjamas are at all the proper thing.
They are beastly winter patterns, and the buttons, too, are brutes ;
As a favour, deah old fellow, choose me half-a-dozen suits ;
Let the stripes be bright and lively, but not, of course, too wide —
And I think I’d like the jackets with a pocket either side.
They’ll last me out : yes, Bertie, they’ll last me out, I know :
What’s the odds ! I’m only going where all other johnnies go.
I’ve been reading Gordon’s poems — wish the book was better bound —
And they’ve set me almost longing to be underneath the ground.
I took my whack of pleasure, and I sometimes felt a pain ;
Perhaps I’d knock off smoking if I had to live again,
But I’ve no regrets to speak of ; there’s a heavy tailor’s bill,
And that my aunt will settle when I’m lying cold and still.
Suppose you must be toddling, if you promised Kate you’d call —
A doosid fetching filly, though her eyes are rather small ;
I’d like to stroll down with you for an hour, one afternoon :
I would lean across the counter, and, by Jingo! how I’d spoon.
Good-bye ! you must n’t mind my tears — good-bye, so glad you came ;
Remember me to all the girls I used to know by name,
And raise your hat to Flossie, whom I nevermore may see —
Yes, raise your hat to pretty Floss, and kiss your hand — for me.
A.G. Stephens (editor). The Bulletin Reciter: A Collection of Verses for Recitation from “The Bulletin” [1880-1901], The Bulletin Newspaper Company, Sydney, 1902 [first published 1901], pages 197-201
doosid = deuced (devilish; damnable)
lang syne = Scottish for “long since”; commonly known in relation to the song “Auld Lang Syne” (“old long since”), being the poem written by Robert Burns (and later set to music) which was based upon an old Scottish song
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