That humbug is the spirit of the age you will admit.
It masquerades for honesty and passes off for wit.
At every turn in life you're bound to feel its potent sway;
It almost seems as if no other policy would pay.
To prove I'm not romancing read the letters you receive –
Nine-tenths of all the sentiment expressed is make-believe.
A fellow spins some awful yarn that harrows up your blood
Till someone nips your charitable instinct in the bud.
A really awful tale
Which makes your cheek turn pale,
‘A wife and sixteen children' underlines it.
You find to your surprise
It's all a pack of lies
Still ‘Truly Yours' is how the fellow signs it!

Now say that you determine you will settle down in life,
You look about and meet the girl you'd like to make your wife,
You tell her that you love her, she appears to worship you,
And for perhaps a twelvemonth you will fondly bill and coo.
But o'er the scene at last there comes a disagreeable change,
You say ‘my darling' tell me why your manner is so strange,
She gives no explanation, but refuses you a kiss,
And shortly you receive a note which runs somehow like this:-
Though promised love to you,
Alas! I've proved untrue,
This sentiment observe she underlines it,
I shortly mean to wed
Another man instead;
And ‘very faithfully' is how she signs it!

Then take the boy who through a fortune soon contrives to run,
Who cannot walk abroad without encountering a dun,
He doesn't know the value of the money that he spends,
At losing it he's cleverly assisted by his friends.
He argues ‘if I'm stony broke to dad it's all the same,
He wouldn't like to think that I'd disgraced his honoured name.
I know he's in the dark about my capers up to now,
I'll write a filial letter and he'll spring another thou.'
He spends his father's cash,
Delights to cut a dash,
No common drink for him, he always ‘wines' it,
Then drops his dad a note,
One sentence I will quote,
‘Obediently yours' is how he signs it!

Now say that a friend misunderstandings you have had,
At your supposed iniquity the fellow's almost mad,
You try to calm him down but find it's not the slightest use,
He answers all your arguments with violent abuse;
You meet him with a smile and he salutes you with a frown,
You wait until you think perhaps his temper's cooling down,
Then write to say ‘shake hands old chap, to make it up I year,'
And this the civil letter you get from him per return:
To break with you he's glad,
Infers that you're a cad!
(To emphasise the insult underlines it)
Suggests that you may go,
To, well, say Jericho,
And ‘yours respectfully' is how he signs it!
Written and composed by Albert Chevalier & John Crook - 1891
Performed by Albert Chevalier (1861-1923)
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