Treasure Island

Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

Segregation


I stood beside the silken rope,
Five dollars in my hand,
And waited in my patient hope
To sit anear the Band,
And hear the famous Louie play
The best hot trumpet of today.

And then a waiter loafing near
Says in a nasty tone:
"Old coon, we don't want darkies here,
Beat it before you're thrown."
So knowin' nothin' I could do
I turned to go and--there was Lou.

I think he slapped that Dago's face;
His voice was big an' loud;
An' then he leads me from my place
Through all that tony crowd.
World-famous Louie by the hand
Took me to meet his famous Band.

"Listen, you folks," I heard him say.
"Here's Grand-papa what's come.
Savin' he teached me how to play,
I mighta been a bum.
Come on, Grand-pop, git up an' show
How you kin trumpet Ol' Black Joe."

Tremblin' I played before his Band:
You should have heard the cheers.
Them swell folks gave me such a hand
My cheeks was wet wi' tears . . .
An' now I'm off to tell the wife
The proudest night o' all ma life.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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