[Editor: This poem by C.H. Souter was published in The Bulletin Reciter, 1901.]
“Who ’s biddin’ for the gin-case ? What d’ ye say?
(All right, Missis ! ) Here ! I ’ll start it at a crown !
Now then, gents ! It ’s going lively ; fire away !
Look alive, or s’elp me bob I ’ll knock it down !
Just a common bloomin’ gin-case ? No it ain’t !
Hand it up here, Mister . . . thank ye . . . Look at it!
Half to pieces — old and shaky — not much paint ;
But it ain’t a common gin-case ; not a bit.
See that lanky half-grown sapling by the door ?
He ’s her eldest son ; six foot if he ’s an inch.
But she ’s rocked him in that gin-case on the floor,
An’ there ’s been two of ’em in it at a pinch.
And the gal out there, a-leanin’ on the fence —
Them there rockers was put on when she was born.
What say ? Half-a-crown, sir ? You was nigh too late.
Sev’n-an’-six, gents ! Look alive before its gorn.
Are you done at three half-crowns ? At eight-and-six ?
Just another eighteenpence to make it ten.
Much obliged, sir ! See them marks there in the bricks ?
Them ’ere rockers made ’em ; Tom was in it then.
Well ! a pound I ’m bid : I ain’t agoin’ to dwell ;
And it ’s goin’ at a pound, this little bed
(Twenty-five? No half-bids, now; I ’m going to sell !)
Where she used to rock the little one that ’s dead.
Little hands that move no longer played along
Where the wood is wore all shiny on the side
As the cradle rocked in time to mother’s song ;
The song she has n’t sung since baby died.
No, it ain’t a common gin-case, gents, this ’ere —
But it ’s goin’ at — two pounds, at two-p’und-ten !
Two p’und Three ! — at five, and now it is n’t dear,
Except to her as used to rock it then !
And it ’s goin’ ! goin’ ! Third and last time — GONE !
Oh ! here, missus ! Here ’s a present from the chaps.
What? Oh, something in it ! There now, don’t take on!
It may come in useful for the gal, perhaps.
C. H. Souter.
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 38-39
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