THE BAKED POTATO MAN'S
NARRATIVE
by
Walter Stanford (1920)
The potato man looked down at his stock 
As they steamed and hissed 
He was a man of a garrulous turn 
And he thoughtfully reminisced

To the stranger, who stood with his mouthful of spuds 
And a far away look in his eye 
While the snow filled the space at the back of his neck 
As it fell from the storm-ridden sky

"Yes" the 'Murphy' man said, "It was just such a night, 
Some ninety two long years ago 
As it 'appened, I'll tell you the tale if you like." 
And the stranger said, "Certainly, do." 

That night, I was standing alongside my can, 
When up drives a carriage and pair 
Containing a toff and a lady in silks 
With diamonds and things in her 'air. 

And they steps from the carriage, the coachman drives off 
And the toff from his pocket 'e drew 
Two pennies, a-saying, "Buck up, we're 'ungry 
Supply me with 'taters for two." 

And 'im and the lady, they stands in the snow there 
A munching away there, all gay 
When the bloke starts talking in foreign to 'er 
In a insolvent sort of a way.

And, all of a sudden, the woman flares up 
And she goes for the toff a fair treat 
With 'er 'tater she stabs 'im three times in the chest 
And 'e falls down a corpse at 'er feet.

When she sees 'im a-sweltering there in 'is gore 
She says, "Evings, what 'ave I done?" 
And the bloodstained pertater she drops from 'er 'and 
As the clock booms out twenty to one

"You heard 'im consult me" she says, with a groan 
And my nerves they were fairly unnerved 
"I've killed 'im, I've killed 'im, but you are me witness 
'Twas only the fate 'e deserved."

Just then, in the distance, we heard the bright gleam 
Of a bull's eye approach, and she cried 
"Oh look! 'ere's the slop coming round on 'is beat 
Oh save me! where can I hide?" 

Like lightning, I raises the lid off my can, 
And the lady 'ops into it quick 
And I 'ears 'er inside crying, "Saved, I am saved" 
As I fastens it down with a click.

And I leaves that dead corpse, on its back, in the mud 
And I pushes like mad from the spot 
And when the passing policeman 'e says, "Ow is trade?" 
And I answers 'im, "All 'ot, all 'ot"

When at last I arrives down our yard with the can 
I lifts up the cover with care 
And I says in a soft, sotto-vocical way 
To the lady inside, "Are you there?"

No voice didst reply, so I lights up a match 
And my 'air perpendikiler stands 
For the woman lay dead, with a smile on 'er face 
And a 'tater in each of 'er 'ands!

And the shock, what it gave me to think what I'd done 
Made the blood in my arteries chill 
My teeth starts a-chattering, my knees knocks together 
My 'eart gives a bound and stands still. 

The chill what I got then, I never shook off 
And whatever the weather may be 
My temperature's always below 32 
And my 'air keeps on end, as you see.

I've tried every medicine what's ever come out 
And consulted physicians in vain 
Since that 'orrible night, on my sivvy, it's true 
Sir, my 'eart's never beated again."

The stranger looked up at the murphy's face 
"Why, your fortune is made, man." said he 
"I want you... I edit the 'Daily Disgrace' 
Our reporter in chief you shall be.

Ananias I know of, Munchausen and such 
And De Rougemont himself I have met, 
But it strikes me that you are the ablest of liars 
That I have encountered as yet." 
The end