Even in India, General Brett
Was famous as a martinet
The real old school, pop-eyes and liver
Whose very glance would make you shiver
While at his voice, now tiger's growl
Now the bereaved hyena's howl
Full Colonels, yes, and Brigadiers
Would blench and then collapse in tears.
At home when ‘Storm' gave place to “Gale
The very bearer's face grew pale
The syces* hid behind the stables
The khidmatgars** beneath the tables
As came a startled cry from dhobi
“Memsahib, think Sahib got hydrophobi.”
Poor Memsahib - or, in English, wife
The General led her such a life
It was no wonder she was dim
And went in awful dread of him
Or that their daughter, Ethel, seemed
As one who slept and, sleeping, dreamed
Of murder foul being done at night
Poor little girl, she looked a sight.
‘Twas thus with qualified regret
That India heard that General Brett
Was posted to the Middle East
Which did not like him in the least
From Port Sudan to Abbassia
They looked on him with hate and fear
Until one day he broke the rule
You learn at any public school
Viz: ‘Kick the boy below, but love
And reverence the boy above.'
And at a hush-hush conference, graced
By someone Very Highly Placed,
Spoke out of turn. Well, that was that
They handed him a bowler hat
All right in London, I daresay
But not the headgear for Bombay.
Moral: When being offensive always try
To pick on those who daren't reply.
* syces - grooms
** khidmatgars - An Indian male servant who waits at table.