THE CLOSE SHAVE
by
Walter Stanford

The colour of his trousers was an undecided buff
Their substance was a corduroy, hard-wearing, solid stuff
His boots were armour-plated and his shirt of flannel check
And he wore a spotted scarf around his 28-inch neck

But all about his face and chin where whiskers should have been
A barber's scythe had romped around and left him blue and clean.
'Twas his peculiarity - his face was always bare
With not the least suspicion of a bristle anywhere.

And muchly did I marvel, and so, making up my mind
I said to him, "Excuse me, Sir, but would you be so kind,
as to inform me, why at evening , night, or noon or morn,
you always look as though your visage had been freshly shorn?"

  At this, he filled his pipe up with some fearful looking tack
And lit it with a match, struck on his trousers, at the back.
Then answered, "Gov, you bet your shirt, as long as I shall live
No one shall ever see no hair a-growing on my chiv.

It ain't as I'm afraid 'twould give advantage to the wife
It's simply this, a beard I had, once near cost me my life.
By profession, I'm a navvy, and in 1899
I got a job sand-papering the Hull and Barnsley Line.

I was working single-handed and the work to me was new
And the sidings and the junctions took a lot of time to do,
'Twas ticklish work, the junctions, for 'twas late in July
With every other minute 'scursion trains a-coming by.

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