THE SAWDUST CHEST
 
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Oh, Thomas when a lad, as possibly you know, sir
A kind employer had, some philanthropic grocer
But Thomas withn his lot was sulky as can be, sir
He felt his heart was not in treacle or in tea, sir

Chorus: But the rattle of the battle and the rolling of the drum
And the tootle of the trumpet when the regiment has come
Filled the heart of little Thomas with a longing and unrest
For the military swagger and the sawdust chest.

He left his native ground - enlisted like a varlet
They measured him all round for clothing him in scarlet
The tailor did his best, but feather me, and tar me
He made Tom's little chest the biggest in the army.

Chorus: Oh, the rattle of the battle, and the rolling of the drum
And the tootle of the trumpet when the regiment has come
Yes, be sure that they provided little Thomas, like the rest
With a military swagger and the sawdust chest.

When Tom was finished quite, and stitched up nice and neatly
To his intense delight the girls went mad completely
They scorned all men in trade, in medicine, and law dust
Their heads they fondly laid upon that chest of sawdust.

Chorus: Oh, the rattle of the battle, and the rolling of the drum
And the tootle of the trumpet when the regiment has come
Sent the girls into hysterics, for he looked his very best
With his military swagger and the sawdust chest.

Now when at last to war they were compelled to go, sir
In front they put him, for to terrify the foe, sir
A bullet hit the mark - Tom on his back was lying
While all the air was thick with sawdust thickly flying.

Chorus: But the rattle of the battle and the rolling of the drum
And the tootle of the trumpet when the regiment has come
When you've heard my little story you'll agree that it is best
To provide each British soldier with a sawdust chest.

The enemy, in fear, made off, by terror goaded
They told it far and near a soldier had exploded
But Tom's a hero quite - his comrades promptly cheered him
And late that very night they thoroughly repaired him.

Chorus: Oh, the rattle of the battle, and the rolling of the drum
And the tootle of the trumpet when the regiment has come
He's a soldier and a hero with the bravest and the best
With his military swagger and his bran' new chest.

 
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Performed by Charles Godfrey (1851-1900)
From monologues.co.uk Music Hall Lyrics Collection
 
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