The Squad Of One Poem by Robert James Campbell Stead

The Squad Of One

SERGEANT BLUE of the Mounted Police was a so-so kind of a guy ;
He swore a bit, and he lied a bit, and he boozed a bit on the sly;
But he held the post at Snake Creek Bend for country and home and God,
And he cursed the first and forgot the rest — which wasn't the least bit odd.

Now the life of the North-West Mounted Police breeds an all-round kind of man;
A man who can jug a down-South thug when he rushes the red-eye can;
A man who can pray with a dying bum or break up a range stampede—
Such are the men of the Mounted Police and such are the men they breed.

The snow lay deep at the Snake Creek post and deep to east and west,
And the Sergeant had made his ten-league beat and settled down to rest
In his two-by-four that they called a 'post,' where the flag flew overhead,
And he took a look at his monthly mail, and this is the note he read:

'To Sergeant Blue of the Mounted Police at the post of Snake Creek Bend,
From U.S. Marshal of County Blank, greetings to you, my friend,
They's a team of toughs give us the slip, though they shot up a couple of blokes,
And we reckon they's hid in Snake Creek Gulch and posin' as farmer folks.

' They 's as full of sin as a barrel of booze and as quick as a cat with a gun,
So if you happen to hit their trail be first to start the fun;
And send out your strongest squad of men and round them up if you can,
For dead or alive we want them here. Yours truly, Jack M'Mann.'

And Sergeant Blue sat back and smiled, ' Ho, here is a chance of game!
Folks 'round here have been so good that life is getting tame,
I know the lie of Snake Creek Gulch—where I used to set my traps —
I'll blow out there to-morrow and I'll bring them in — perhaps.'

Next morning Sergeant Blue, arrayed in farmer smock and jeans,
In a jumper sleigh he had made himself set out for the evergreens
That grow on the bank of Snake Creek Gulch by a homestead shack he knew,
And a smoke curled up from the chimney-pipe to welcome Sergeant Blue.

' Aha, and that looks good to me,' said the Sergeant to the smoke,
' For the lad that owns this homestead shack is East in his wedding-yoke;
There are strangers here, and I'll bet a farm against a horn of booze
That they are the bums that are predestined to dangle in a noose.'

So he drove his horse to the shanty door and hollered a loud ' Good-day,'
And a couple of men with fighting-irons came out beside the sleigh,
And the Sergeant said, ' I 'm a stranger here, and I've driven a weary mile;
If you don't object I'll just sit down by the stove in the shack awhile.'

So the Sergeant sat and smoked and talked of the home he had left down East,
And the cold, and the snow, and the price of land, and the life of man and beast,
But all of a sudden he broke it off with,' Neighbours, take a nip ?
There's a horn of the best you'll find out there in my jumper, in the grip.'

So one of the two went out for it, and as soon as he closed the door
The other one staggered back as he gazed up the nose of a forty-four,
But the Sergeant wasted no words with him, ' Now, fellow, you 're on the rocks,
And a noise as loud as a mouse from you and they'll take you out in a box.'

So he fastened the bracelets to his wrists and his legs with some binder-thread,
And he took his knife and he took his gun and he rolled him on to the bed;
And then as number two came in he said, ' If you want to live,
Put up your dukes and behave yourself or I'll make you into a sieve.'

And when he had coupled them each to each, and laid them out on the bed,
"It's cold, and I guess we 'd better eat before we go," he said.
So he fried some pork and he warmed some beans, and he set out the best he saw,
And they ate thereof, and he paid for it, according to British law.

That night in the post sat Sergeant Blue with paper and pen in hand,
And this is the word he wrote and signed and mailed to a foreign land :
'To U.S. Marshal of County Blank, greetings I give to you,
My squad has just brought in your men, and the squad was Sergeant Blue.'

There are things unguessed, there are tales untold, in the life of the great lone land,
But here is a fact that the prairie-bred alone may understand,
That a thousand miles in the fastnesses the fear of the law obtains,
And the pioneers of justice were the 'Riders of the Plains.'

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