Billy Bennett
(Almost a Gentleman)
Billy Bennett
I've served in the French Foreign Legion 
It's Hell! The life couldn't be harder, 
For it's war to the knife as you run for your life 
On the plains of Cascara Sagrada.

Mixed with the sewer rats of Europe, 
Hobos and tramps of all kinds;
Several outcasts trying to wipe out their pasts 
And some Bums with no future behind.

Scum of the earth they all called us! 
That made my blood boil in a trice.
I said: 'There's no doubt that we're all down and out.
But scum, oh s'come, s'come, that's not nice!'

But at best we were just human wreckage 
Cast up on Life's shore, like a toy.
Ships of misfortune, just Flotsam and Jetsam 
And Flanagan and Allen... Oy! Oy! 

Persians and Medes, Parsnips and Swedes, 
But I'm British, I'm not like the rest,
My birthplace was Bow, I'm bowlegged also, 
And that's why they call me Beau-geste.

Think of the life of the poor Legionnaire, 
Risking his life, limb and blood,
'Mid the shot and the shells and the sand and the smells
That remind you of Southend-on-Mud.

I've had the rheumatics from basement to attics, 
Had a sneeze and a wheeze and a whinny,
Neuritis, gastritis and Eddystone lighthouse, 
And a pain in the crease of my pinny.

The pet of the ranks was Sergeant Vin Blancs, 
With nice teeth, and hair curled so fancy.
He said: 'Quest'ce que vous dit' (KESS-KER-VOO-DEE).
I said: 'Kiss you?... not me, my name is Willie, not Nancy!'

Out there on the sands of Morocco 
One day with a foreign Field Marshal
An entrenchment I'd made, with my bucket and spade,
When two Riffs came and kicked down my castle.

I went for those Riffs in their little short shifts, 
And I gave them two biffs with my boot.
If you bift a Riff he'll run back to his wiff 
In a jiff with a rift in his lute.

I speak fluid French when I've had a few drinks-
You can ask the French girls if you doubt it- 
I say 'Hors de combat' and 'Pate' de Joie gras' 
That's French for 'Now then, what about it?'

On the slopes of Girvana I met Wheezy Anna, 
Half Hindoo and half Hottentot.
She was half-cast, it's true, but which half no one knew,
Till one night she cast off all the lot.

She was blistered with heat from her head to her feet 
And her skin was beginning to crack,
So the poor little thing jumped out of her skin 
And it took half-an-hour to get back. 

Alas and alack, when we got the skin back
She looked big round the Avoirdupois-so,
We looked and we found she'd the skin wrong way round,
Now she has to sit down on her torso! 

Oh, it's not very grand when you sleep on the sand 
With a bunch of stiffs lying together.
As you grunt and you snore on your back there's a corps
Of mosquitos who sing 'Stormy Weather'! 

And the hot summer days with the sun's burning rays,
When you feel like a well-toasted muffin.
One day the heat scorched all the clothes off my back 
And I sat on the sands in my 'nuffin.'

As I sat there sizzling, frying and frizzling, 
An ice-cream cart came my direction,
So like a soft geezer I jumped in the freezer 
And sat there to cool my affection!

Then old Sergeant Stringer said, 'Come on, lead swinger,
Get out of that, do as you're told.'
I shouted, 'No fear, I'm not shifting from here 
'Till the sands of the desert grow cold!' 
The end