Robert William Service (16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)
A Frenchman and an Englishman
Resolved to fight a duel,
And hit upon a savage plan,
Because their hate was cruel.
They each would fire a single shot
In room of darkness pitchy,
And who was killed and who was not
Would hang on fingers twitchy.
The room was bare and dark as death,
And each ferocious fighter
Could hear his fierce opponent's breath
And clutched his pistol tighter.
The Gaston fired - the bullet hissed
On its destructive mission . . .
"Thank God!" said John Bull. "He has missed."
The Frenchman cried: "Perdition!"
Then silence followed like a spell,
And as the Briton sought to
Reply he wondered where the hell
His Gallic foe had got to.
And then he thought: "I'll mercy show,
Since Hades is a dire place
To send a fellow to - and so
I'll blase up through the fireplace."
So up the chimney he let fly,
Of grace a gallant henchman;
When lo! a sudden cry,
And down there crashed the Frenchman . . .
But if this yard in France you tell,
Although its vein be skittish,
I think it might be just as well
To make your Frenchman - British.
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