THE BLACKMAILER
by
Leonard Pounds
Yes, it ain't 'arf bloomin' rummy, sir, the fortunes some blokes make -
I'm sorry, sir! I'd finished mine! I've drunk yourn in mistake!
I'd buy another for yer, but I've only tuppence more.
Wot say? 'Ave one wi' you, sir? Well, a rum. You're kind, I'm shore -
We was talkin', sir, o' fortunes. My ole pardner in the stall
'As made a tidy pile, an' I've found 'ow 'e got it all.
'E never seemed t' do no work, an' yet 'ad 'eaps o' 'dough',
An' allus togged up smart-like, with a collar an' a bow.
Why, 'e'd wear kid-gloves a-Sundays, an' I've seed 'im buy cigars!
'E'd a big stud in 'is dickey-front wot might 'a been the Shah's!
I axed 'im sev'ral times t' tell me 'ow 'e got 'is 'shine',
But 'e only winked, and sez, "Oh, in th' humberella line".
At last I puts it straight to 'im, when we was both alone,-
"Now, wherejer git th' capital t' start orf on yer own?
You 'adn't got no money when we worked tergether, Bill?"
"Capital?", 'e sez, an' laughs, "my capital was nil!"
"Well, owjer make humbrellas, then, or sell th' things, or what?"
'E sez, "I never makes, or buys, or sells 'em". I sez "rot!
You sez you're in th' humberella line?" 'E sez "that's so
An' as you're an ole pal o' mine, I'll tell yer 'ow things go.
Exploitin' 'uman weaknesses is 'ow I've climbed th' tree.
I've found the one great weakness as most folks 'as got, yer see?
This weakness is humbrellas, an' it may seem past belief,
But concernin' gamps a honest man becomes a bloomin' thief!
O' course there must be honest folks, as buys the gamps they get,
But all that I can say is as I 'aven't met one yet!
It come ter me like this:- one ev'nin' I was in th' train.
An' a big swell with a gamp got in - 'twas pourin' 'ard with rain -
I'd 'ad a glass or two, an' so I jokes an' sez, 'that's mine!'
An' blowed if 'e don't 'and me it, an' jumps out on th' line!
I was dumbstruck for a minute, then I gives a gentle grin,
An' puts the brolly on th' rack. Another toff gits in.
I sez, 'you've got my gamp, ole cock!' 'E gives it to me, kind,
An' 'ops out on th' platform, knockin' down a man be'ind!
Afore I reached Southend I'd got eleven gamps like that! -
One feller went orf so darned quick, 'e left be'ind 'is 'at! -
These things all set me thinkin', an' I soon made up me mind
That if I jest went quiet ter work my fortune I sh'd find.
I struck a brainy notion, Joe; a top-'ole plan, no kid!
An' as you're interested, well, I'll tell yer wot I did:-
I kep' me peepers open, an' when any toff come near,
If 'e'd got a humberella I jest whispered in 'is ear;
I sez, 'that there humbrella don't belong to you, ole sport,
An' go straight an' tell the owner on the spot I really ought,
But still I'm jest a poor bloke, an' I 'aven't got a job,
So I'll keep as mum as death, ole lad, if you'll fork out ten bob!'
I made nine quid the fust day, an' eleven-ten th' next!
Then I went t' church on Sunday, but 'twas not to 'ear th' text.
I slipped out past the others, an' I stood an' kep' me lamps
Fixed 'ard on likely-lookin' men an' wimmen with the gamps.
I 'ad a blooming Field Day, then! The cash come pourin' in!
You'd never think humbrellas was the cause o' so much sin!
The curate weighed out twelve-an'-six; the vicar's wife a bit;
A Scotchman gimme four-p'nce - an' then fell down in a fit!" ---
Ter cut things short, sir, Bill 'as made sech 'eaps of L.S.D.
That now 'e talks o' 'andin' all the bizziness ter me!
An' when 'e does - 'Ere wot's the rush, sir? Mind them glasses! Mind!
Lor' lumme, 'e's gorn quick! An' - why 'e's left 'is gamp be'ind!
The end