THE CITY WAIF
 
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Alone in the streets of London, my papers I sell each day
And notice each sight around me, though only a waif and stray
I ain't 'ad much eddication - It's wasted on sich as me
Except what the Ragged School gave me, or else 'reformatory'
'Ere you are sir The Star sir? A tanner, ain't got any change - bank's struck
What! Keep it all? Thankee kindly! I'll spit on it just for luck
Eh - what cabby? Mind yer 'orse? Yus! My eye, but this 'ere is all gay
Oh bother the Star and Ekker- 'ere's a tanner, and no outlay.'

Refrain: I'd never no mother nor father to love me, like some I see
And what does this big cold world care for a poor little chap like me?
Out of my bed in a doorway, Bobbies all hunt me down
And no home have I beneath the sky, but the streets of London Town.


When country chaps steal our pitches, it ain't at all what we like
And you bet, us true born cockneys soon give 'em a good 'chi - ike'
Well, Johnson he was a bumpkin - he opened cab doors and sich
And his 'ands were as white as a lady's, or fellers what's grand and rich
Well, the chaps, they all sneered, and chaffed him. Says they 'He's a toff - he is'
Till he cried, 'If you're men, you'll hear me, and learn how I came to this
Then he told how he'd tramped to London, along with his poor sick wife
In search of some work to keep 'em, but it cost him his darling's life.

Refrain: He told how she sank by the wayside - one sigh and her soul was gone
But, up in his arms he took her, and carried her on and on
Then, as he sobbed while he told us how he came down, down, down
All our eyes were dim with tears for him, in the streets of London Town.


Sal Brown she ain't rich or 'andsome, and cresses each day she cries
And Lor, she's an artist - she is- at dotting her old man's eyes
And some say she ain't no better, ain't Sal, than she ought to be
P'raps she ain't, p'raps she is - I don't care though, she's been werry good to me
One night, in the depth of the Winter, my sister she lay jest here
Poor kid, she's a cripple she is, and she was so faint and queer
She lay in the snow, quite 'elpless, and oh how my poor heart bled
For I knew that my little sister was a-dying, for want of bread.

Refrain: Then up comes Sal Brown at that moment and, rough as she is - says she
'Take this money, here. Run for food boy.' Then she took Kitty on her knee
She saved the life of my sister, and though people run her down
She played an angel's part, that night, in the streets of London Town.

One night - it was nigh on midnight I was minding a cabby's 'orse
Outside a big swell 'caffy' in a street off Charing Cross
When a shabbyish sort of feller, he comes up and says to me
Describing a man and a woman, 'Have yer seen sich a pair?' says he
Jest then, a gent comes from the 'caffy', with a lady, all jools and lace
And the shabby cove turns in a moment, and meets the pair face to face
'My father.' 'My child'...'You villain' the shabby chap 'oarsely cries
'I've found you, my child's betrayer.' Then straight at his throat he flies.

Refrain: He snatched up the old cabby's 'orsewhip and the swell he turned white and blue
As the shabby laid the lash on, he howled as a kid might do
He'd ruined a poor man's daughter - trampled her good name down
And we said he deserved all he got, that night, in the streets of London Town

Slum Court ain't what I call pooty, and there ain't any angels there
It's a place a toff ought to go to, if he wants to learn how to swear
The kids play about in the gutters and broker's men orfen come
But, still though it's dirty and wretched, the people there calls it home
Well, Bill Smith, the sweep, he lived down there, till one day he broke his leg
He wouldn't go to the workus, and he was too proud to beg
His wife she was down with the fever, and two of the kids as well
And all that was left to keep 'ouse was a bit of a toddling gell

Refrain: The landlord he put in the brokers, his rent, that was all he sought
So, out of their home he turned them, into the filthy court
Bill gave jest one shudder, fell forward, then, on his face went down
And his soul had gone where they pay no rent, from the streets of London Town.
 
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Written and composed by John P. Harrington & George Le Brunn - 1889
Performed by Jenny Hill (1849-1896)
 
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