Yer—weddid—wife?"… O, strike me! Will I wot?
Take 'er? Doreen? 'E stan's there arstin' me!
As if 'e thort per'aps I'd rather not!
Take 'er? 'E seemed to think 'er kind wus got
Like cigarette-cards, fer the arstin'. Still,
I does me stunt in this 'ere hitchin' rot,
An' speaks me piece: "Righto!" I sez, "I will."
"I will," I sez. An' tho' a joyful shout
Come from me bustin' 'eart—I know it did—
Me voice got sorter mangled comin' out
An' makes me whisper like a frightened kid.
"I will," I squeaks. An' I'd 'a' give a quid
To 'ad it on the quite, wivout this fuss,
An' orl the starin' crowd that Mar 'ad bid
To see this solim hitchin' up uv us.
"Fer—rich-er—er—fer—poor-er." So 'e bleats.
"In—sick-ness—an'—in—'ealth,"… An' there stands,
An' dunno 'arf the chatter I repeats,
Nor wot the 'ell to do wiv my two 'ands.
But 'e don't 'urry puttin' on our brands—
This white-'aired pilot-bloke—but gives it lip,
Dressed in 'is little shirt, wiv frills an' bands.
"In sick-ness—an'—in—" Ar! I got the pip!
An' once I missed me turn; an' Ginger Mick,
'Oo's my best-man, 'e ups an' beefs it out.
"I will!" 'e owls; an' fetches me a kick.
"Your turn to chin!" 'e tips me wiv a shout.
An' there I'm standin' like a gawky lout.
(Aw, spare me! But I seemed to be all 'ands!)
An' wonders wot 'e's goin' crook about,
Wiv 'arf a mind to crack 'im where 'e stands.
O, lumme! But ole Ginger was a trick!
Got up regardless for the solim rite.
('E 'awks the bunnies when 'e toils, does Mick)
An' twice I saw 'im feelin' fer a light
To start a fag; an' trembles lest 'e might,
Thro' force o' habit like. 'E's nervis too;
That's plain, fer orl 'is air o' bluff an' skite;
An' jist as keen as me to see it thro'.
But 'Struth, the wimmin! 'Ow they love this frill!
Fer Auntie Liz, an' Mar, o' course, wus there;
An' Mar's two uncles' wives, an' Cousin Lil,
An' 'arf a dozen more to grin and stare.
I couldn't make me 'ands fit anywhere!
I felt like I wus up afore the Beak!
But my Doreen she never turns a 'air,
Nor misses once when it's 'er turn to speak.
Ar, strike! No more swell marridges fer me!
It seems a blinded year afore 'e's done.
We could 'a' fixed it in the registree
Twice over 'fore this cove 'ad 'arf begun.
I s'pose the wimmin git some sort o' fun
Wiv all this guyver, an' 'is nibs's shirt.
But, seems to me, it takes the bloomin' bun,
This stylish splicin' uv a bloke an' skirt.
"To—be—yer—weddid—wife—" Aw, take a pull!
Wot in the 'ell's 'e think I come there for?
An' so 'e drawls an' drones until I'm full,
An' wants to do a duck clean out the door.
An' yet, fer orl 'is 'igh-falutin' jor,
Ole Snowy wus a reel good-meanin' bloke.
If 'twasn't fer the 'oly look 'e wore
Yeh'd think 'e piled it on jest fer a joke.
An' when at last 'e shuts 'is little book,
I 'eaves a sigh that nearly bust me vest.
But 'Eavens ! Now 'ere's muvver goin' crook!
An' sobbin' awful on me manly chest!
(I wish she'd give them water-works a rest.)
"My little girl!" she 'owls. "O, treat 'er well!
She's young—too young to leave 'er muvver's nest!"
"Orright, ole chook," I nearly sez. O, 'ell!
An' then we 'as a beano up at Mar's—
A slap-up feed, wiv wine an' two big geese.
Doreen sits next ter me, 'er eyes like stars.
O, 'ow I wished their blessed yap would cease!
The Parson-bloke 'e speaks a little piece,
That makes me blush an' 'ang me silly 'ead.
'E sez 'e 'opes our lovin' will increase—
I likes that pilot fer the things 'e said.
Until I feel I'll
'E sez Doreen an' me is in a boat,
An' sailin' on the matrimonial sea.
'E sez as 'ow 'e opes we'll alwus float
In peace an' joy, frum storm an' danger free.
Then muvver gits to weepin' in 'er tea;
An' Auntie Liz sobs like a winded colt;
An' Cousin Lil comes 'round an' kisses me;
'ave to do a bolt.
Then Ginger gits end-up an' makes a speech—
('E'd 'ad a couple, but 'e wasn't shick).
"My cobber "ere," 'e sez, "'as copped a peach!
Uv orl the barrer-load she is the pick!
I 'opes 'e won't fergit 'is pals too quick
As wus 'is frien's in olden days, becors,
I'm trustin', later on," sez Ginger Mick,
"To celebrate the chris'nin'."… 'Oly wars!
At last Doreen an' me we gits away,
An' leaves 'em doin' nothin' to the scran.
(We're honey-moonin' down beside the Bay.)
I gives a 'arf a dollar to the man
Wot drives the cab; an' like two kids we ran
To ketch the train—Ah, strike! I could 'a' flown!
We gets the carridge right agin the van.
She whistles, jolts, an' starts… An' we're alone!
Doreen an' me! My precious bit o' fluff!
Me own true wedded wife!… An' we're alone!
She seems so frail, an' me so big an' rough—
I dunno wot this feelin' is that's grown
Inside me 'ere that makes me feel I own
A thing so tender like I fear to squeeze
Too 'ard fer fear she'll break… Then, wiv a groan
I starts to 'ear a coot call, "Tickets, please!"
You could 'a' outed me right on the spot:
I wus so rattled when that porter spoke.
Fer, 'Struth! them tickets I 'ad fair forgot!
But 'e jist laughs, an' takes it fer a joke.
"We must ixcuse," 'e sez, "new-married folk."
An' I pays up, an' grins, an' blushes red.…
It shows 'ow married life improves a bloke:
If I'd bin single I'd 'a' punched 'is 'ead!