Neville Lynn
[ A Harrowing High-Class Tale from The High-Seas ]
[ With or without slow music ]
[ Declaimer hints for 'business' given in Italics in brackets. ]

'A wreck, sir? - Well, thank ye kindly,
now I don't mind if I do ( suitable action ).'
(And the old salt collared gaily, tobacco enough for two).
'A wreck, sir! Bless yer 'onor, it's the wust place on the coast,
And all my mates 'ull tell yer as I ain't the one to boast.
Yer see them rocks out yonder, with their teeth so sharp and white?
Well ( with sorrow ), many a poor old wessel has felt them devil's bite.
And about five years ago, sir, as near as I can tell,
What I'm agoin' to tell yer on them there rocks befell.
The 'Emily Tite' from Melbourne was a-sailin' on 'er way,
Wen a 'orribly wiolent storm fair druv 'er into the bay.
'Be safe there'? Well! ( with utmost contempt )
you knows little o' the perils o' the sea,
( With energy ) Why, man alive, it's far away as she'd the safest be.

'Well ( confused ), any'ow, I was a-saying, or rather goin' to say,
As the 'Emily Tite' 'ad been driven inside o' this 'orful bay.
With 'er cargo of specie and kangaroos, and fleeces and 'ooman lives.
Incloodin', o' course, some dozen or more of babies
( tenderly ) and children and wives.
And ( with emotion ) on the lot came to them fearful rocks -
I'm blessed if I ain't moved now,
(Excoos me a moment the whiles I wipe the hagony from my brow).
I can see it all now afore me ( see it ). I can feel the wind and rain,
O lor ( drop the voice and pass hand wearily over your forehead ),
'Ow all the 'orror of that night comes back again.
Well, ( recovering yourself ) we run right quick for the rockets
and then 'urriedly pitched the stand,
As near to the rails of the Esplanade as we could for the blinding sand.
And sea which dashed in our faces ( here throw your arms energetically
about; this ought to be very effective )
and sometimes over the road,
And rose so 'igh that it now and again big stones through the winders throwed.
Of those 'ouses, just at the back, sir,
and ( confidentially ) I've 'eard the glaziers say,
They wos ne'er so busy as they wos the followin' day.

'But ( recollecting ) I was a-tellin' as 'ow the rocket was goin' to be fired,
While a 'ole mob of wimmin and kids stood around
( indignantly ) 'cos they warn't required.
And 'indered our preparations - but ( with animation ) hear the rockets whizz,
It's off on its ERRAND OF MERCY! but ( despondently ) goodness knows where it is.
For it's MISSED the fated wessel, ( gloomily ) just hear that deafening roar,
But ( indignantly ) I'm blowed if I'll launch the lifeboat for that's been done before,
By Clement Scott* and George R. Sims,** ( briskly ) so we'll fire another line.
Good Evans! ( with desperation ) we cannot do it, for there ain't a blessed sign,
Of rocket left in our outfit - and we wos wonderin' quick,
When the bosun screamed, 'That's true lads; for they only sends one on tick!'
So we knowed it wos the sample; yet ( with pride ) in spite o' that terrible shock,
Had presence of mind to fire cath'rine wheels; they wos all we 'ad in stock.
And as we wos a-blazin' away, our brave old ship-met cried,
'Awast and belay, ye lubbers, for the ship's a-comin' inside.'
( The declaimer addresses the audience directly )
'You may well look pale and tremble.
You don't! ( indignantly ) More shame on you.
I tell you I shook like a jelly, wen I thought o' the poor lost crew,
All bein' flung out o' their 'ammocks and 'ast'ning to the deck,
To find their well-loved wessel a 'orful, 'opeless wreck.

'And now, ( energetically ) Great Scott!
the bosun wos right and we wos the more dismayed,
The restless wessel wos off the rocks,
and ( with horror ) making for the parade.
And wen quite close, its captain yelled, with a woice to be 'eard afar,
'I should PRECIOUS WELL LIKE to know
what good you think your FIREWORKS are.'
And just as he spoke, a rocket came from off his schooner doomed,
And made straight for the crowd of us and into our middle boomed.
And his further instructions came with it, and were most plainly said,
'You'd better just hitch that line to the rails and then go home to bed.
For I'm blanked if ever in my born days see such burlesque Jack-tars,
So kindly just tie us a granny's knot and then run back to your ma's.'
And ( defiantly ) so we did, and they came ashore,
and we precious well wished they'd sank,
For as soon as they landed they wanted some lush and all our brandy drank.
While the ship went to pieces, so after all, we never got no reward,
And the passengers were so blessed poor, they couldn't no tips afford.
You may say what you like, but it's Gospel Truth,
that we none of us even got praise,
So, taken all round, 'twas the werry wust wreck as ever I've seen in my days.'

* This is a cheeky reference to 'The Women Of Mumbles Head'.
** This is an equally cheeky reference to 'The Lifeboat'.
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