Railway Tales
Generals are chosen, I am told
For being very, very old
And no exception to the rule
Was General Augustus Moore O'Toole
Who'd lived retired from Public Scrutiny
Since just before the Indian Mutiny.

In ancient days, as I have heard
He'd led the gallant umpty-third
To somewhere in Afghanistan
Where they'd been butchered to a man.

Since then he had not been employed
Whene'er the General was annoyed
Throughout the club they heard the tale
The very waiters hearts would quail
To hear his voice explaining more of his
Grievances against the War Office.

Though loud the other members snore
Augustus hears the Trump of War
Straightway he sallies out to find
Employment of a martial kind

For months in vain he haunts Whitehall
They did not want him there at all
The man who sees the visitors
Would take and put him out of doors
Girl messengers, both pert and prim
Would turn their noses up at him
Forgetting, as it seems to me
The simplest rules of Courtesy.

No matter how the vulgar sneer
Success is theirs who persevere
Thus after many months rebuff
Someone at last digs deep enough
To unearth Augustus - and so he
Once more becomes a B.G.C.*
Although approaching ninety-two
He buckles on his sword anew
To teach the temerarious Hun
The things he learnt in '41**
(Notice the picture we have here
A portrait of the Brigadier
Softening the hardships of campaign
With magnums of the best champagne
While he is aided in supportin' 'em
By boxes sent from Mr Fortnum.)

The aim for which each general strives
Is losing other peoples lives
And, no exception to the rule
Was General Augustus Moore O'Toole
When they had no more men to spare
They sent him back to St Omer
Where he counts Mules all afternoon
Though they have promised very soon
To let him, as a mild relief
Count countless tins of bully-beef.

Hardly a job - as you'll agree
Consonant with his Dignity
And also just a trifle dear
At some three thousand pound a year.***

* Brigadier General Commanding.

** This would be 1841

*** £3000 in 1916 would be about £150,000 in today's money
The end