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Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

Bed Sitter


He stared at me with sad, hurt eyes,
That drab, untidy man;
And though my clients I despise
I do the best I can
To comfort them with cheerful chat;
(Quite comme il faut, of course)
And furnish evidence so that
Their wives may claim divorce.

But as this chap sobbed out his woes
I thought: How it's a shame!
His wife's a bitch and so he goes
And takes himself the blame.
And me behaving like a heel
To earn a filthy fee . . .
Said I: "You've had a dirty deal."
"What of yourself? said he.

And so I told him how I was
A widow of the war,
And doing what I did because
Two sons I struggled for.
As I sat knitting through the night
He eyed me from the bed,
And in the rosy morning light
Impulsively he said:

"Through in this sordid game we play,
To cheat the law we plan,
i do believe you when you say
You hold aloof from man;
Unto the dead you have been true,
And on the day I'm free,
To prove how I have faith in you -
Please, will you marry me?"

That's how it was. Now we are wed,
And life's a list of joys.
The old unhappy past is dead;
He's father to my boys.
And I have told him just to-day,
(Though forty, I confess,)
A little sister's on the way
To crown our happiness.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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