Yer—wedded—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 was 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 of us.
'Fer—rich-er—er—fer—poorer.' So 'e bleats.
'In—sick-ness—an'—in—'ealth,' . . . An' there I 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 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 fer 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 wimmnin! '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 sorter 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 jist 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. Oh, '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.
'E sez Doreen an' me is in a boat,
An' sailin' on the matrimonial sea.
'E sez as 'ow 'e hopes we'll allus float
In peace an' joy, from 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;
Until I feel I'll '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!
Of 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 trusting 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 scram
(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 agen the van.
She whistles, jolts, an' starts . . . An' we're alone!
Doreen an' me! My precious bit o' fluff!
Me own true weddid 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 fist 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 head!