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READING BETWEEN THE LINES
by
Edward Kent

Shall I tell you the tale of a fright, sir,
No, it isn't about my wife!
I refer to a different fright, sir,
The worst that I've had in my life!
'Twas a terrible night on the coast, sir,
The roughest we've had, I suppose,
We'd no moon—and the night was as black, sir,
As that smut that I see on your nose!
When a wreck, it dashed into the light-house
And put out the bloomin' light!
And I heard the shrieks for help, sir,
Ring through the inky night!
And no one was there to save them!
Not a soul, but me, I think...
For the coast-guard had gone to the 'Pictures'
And his missis had gone to the Rink!
I can tell you I felt upset, sir,
At the thought now my face, it pales
For I... I couldn't assist them!
Because I was strapped to the rails!...
I'd a letter from mother that morning,
"Yours conspicuously" she always signs...
And she'd asked me to read it with care, sir,
Yes, to read it between the lines!
So I trudged off with that there note, sir,
To the railway track, through the rain...
And I read it between the lines, sir,
Yes, the lines of the 'up main train!'
When some train-wreckers came up and caught me, sir.
Of whom I'd heard terrible tales!
They were great big strapping fellows, sir,
And they strapped me down on the rails.
Soon I felt them metals throb, sir.
And quiver and quiver again!
And I knew 'twas the engine a-coming, sir,
And I lay in the way of the train!
Nearer and nearer it came, sir,
Then I thought of my wife, d'yer see
Though I knew she'd be sorry... still she wouldn't be
Well... well, quite so cut up as me.
Still I heard that engine puffing!
And I heard its whistle blow!
And I waited and waited and waited...
Oh, the time seemed terribly slow!
Still I heard that engine snorting...
While I lay there in dismay!
When the passengers slowly got down from the train
And quietly strolled my way...
And my life! yes, my life was saved, sir,
Not by some heroic soul... but the old train had come to a standstill,
As the engine had run short of coal!

 
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