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Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

The Front Tooth


A-sittin' in the Bull and Pump
With double gins to keep us cheery
Says she to me, says Polly Crump"
"What makes ye look so sweet. me dearie?
As if ye'd gotten back yer youth . . . ."
Says I: "It's just me new front tooth."

Says Polly Crump: "A gummy grin
Don't help to make one's business active;
We gels wot gains our bread by sin
Have got to make ourselves attractive.
I hope yer dentist was no rook?"
Says I: "A quid is what he took."

Says Polly Crump: "The shoes you wear
Are down at heel and need new soleing;
Why doncher buy a better pair?
The rain goes in and out the holeing.
They're squelchin' as ye walk yer beat. . . ."
Says I: "blokes don't look at me feet."

Says Polly Crump: "You cough all day;
It just don't do in our profession;
A girl's got to be pert and gay
To give a guy a good impression;
For if ye cough he's shy of you. . . ."
Says I: "An' wots a gel to do?"

Says Polly Crump: "I'm pink an' fat,
But you are bones an' pale as plaster;
At this dam' rate you're goin' at
You'll never live to be a laster.
You'll have the daisy roots for door. . . ."
Says I: "It's 'ell to be a 'ore.

"But I don't care now I can smile,
Smile, smile and not that gap-toothed grinning;
I'm wet and cold, but it's worth while
To once again look fairly winning.
And send ten bob or so to Mother. . . ."
Said Polly Crump: "Gwad! Have another?"

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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