Al Read
Billy Bennett
(Almost a Gentleman)

She was only a farmer’s daughter,
Dressed in a cotton gown,
One day she got tired of cowslips
And ran up to London town.

She packed her little belongings,
She might have had one or two more,
If she hadn’t gone pillion riding
And lost ‘em the night before.

All the village turned out to find her,
The farmer made terrible vows,
And carried on almost as much,
As if he’d lost one of his cows.

And lured by the lights of London
She wandered up the West
With no one to guide her footsteps
Tho’ a p’liceman did his best.

Big Ben was striking 'closing time',
The lights of London glowing,
As she trudged along the Embankment
It was summer time... and snowing.

And there she met the 'Stranger'
That so many young girls meet;
She was sleeping on the Embankment
And he was under the seat.

“Men were deceivers – ever”
And he made up his mind to “click”,
She thought he was Dick Whittington
Whereas he was “Dirty Dick”.

And he showed her the way to the night clubs,
Introduced her to bald headed swells!
Who drank – at the fountains in Trafalgar Square,
And dined at the gutter hotels.

She could hear the corks a’popping
And had a peculiar feeling,
She’d only to close her eyes, and she
Was walking on the ceiling!

And he showered diamonds on her
And not one was a dud
And all he’d say, “If you don’t like this –
Don’t drop it in the mud.”

One round of pleasure and squandering
For tomorrow he had no fears.
He was wallowing in money –
He’d been “on the dole” for years!

And he mixed with men of rank – and smell,
Hobnobbed with the great and the small of ‘em;
They had the rank, but what did he care,
He owed more money than all of ‘em.

He gambled in stock shares - and peanuts,
For he was a hell of a sport
Never away from the dirt track
Except to appear at court!

They lived in the lap of luxury
They did nothing else but lap
And when the last bottle was lapped up
She tried to come at the tap.

But he’d got no more coupons to give her
And that night he “showed her the door”,
But he needn’t have troubled to do that
He’d shown her so often – before.

Then she drifted down to china town -
And you all know where that is-
Where slitty eyed chinks take 40 winks
And she’s known as Limehouse Liz

And she lives on dope and tarry rope,
She’d never have started the racket
But one day she went on a charabanc ride
And 'One Lung' gave her a packet!

And One Lung Chew, makes eyes at her too,
Her pain - he longs to ease it,
Tho’ he’s One Lung Chew and got one eye too
He knows a good thing when he sees it.

The girl who once had cow-men
And clod hoppers at her feet!
Even the squire had got off his horse
To show her his country seat!

And she thought of the country garden
She could smell the new mown hay
She could smell the dear old cow-shed
All those miles away.

That night she went back to her old haunts
And there – at the cocktail bar –
Some gentlemen recognised her
And took her away in a car.

And they listened to her story,
All she had to tell.
And she’s had her photo taken,
Her finger prints as well.

And though for a time they’re far apart
This comfort she can borrow,
She’ll soon see some of her friends again
For it’s 'visiting day' tomorrow.

But how she does miss her eldest son.
For he had a heart of gold,
But he would sleep with his mother –
He was only six months old.

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