Mr. Ramsbottom went to the races,
A thing as he'd ne'er done before,
And as luck always follers beginners,
Won five pounds, no-less and no-more.
He felt himself suddenly tempted
To indulge in some reckless orgee,
So he went to a caffy-a-teerer
And had a dressed crab with his tea.
He were crunching the claws at the finish
And wondering what next he would do,
Then his thoughts turned to home and to Mother,
And what she would say when she knew.
For Mother were dead against racing
And said as she thought 'twere a sin
For people to gamble their money
Unless they were certain to win.
These homely domestic reflections
Seemed to cast quite a gloom on Pa's day
He thought he'd best take home a present
And square up the matter that way.
' Twere a bit ofa job to decide on
What best to select for this 'ere,
So he started to look in shop winders
In hopes as he'd get some idea.
He saw some strange stuff in a fruit shop
Like leeks with their nobby ends gone,
It were done up in bundles like firewood-
Said Pa to the Shopman, "What's yon?"
"That's Ass-paragus-what the Toffs eat"
Were the answer; said Pa "That 'll suit,
I'd best take a couple of bundles,
For Mother's a bobby for fruit."
He started off home with his purchase
And pictured Ma all the next week
Eating sparagus fried with her bacon
Or mashed up in bubble-and-squeak.
He knew when she heard he'd been racing
She'd very nigh talk him to death,
So he thought as he'd call in the ' Local'
To strengthen his nerve and his breath.
He had hardly got up to the counter
When a friend of his walked in the bar,
He said "What ye got in the bundle?"
"A present for Mother," said Pa.
It's 'sparagus stuff what the Toffs eat "
His friend said "It's a rum-looking plant,
Can I have the green ends for my rabbits?"
said Pa "Aye, cut off what you want.
He cut all the tips off one bundle,
Then some more friends arrived one by one,
And all of them seemed to keep rabbits
Pa had no green ends left when they'd done.
When he got home the 'ouse were in dark ness,
So he slipped in as sly as a fox,
Laid the 'sparagus on kitchen table
And crept up to bed in his socks.
He got in without waking Mother,
A truly remarkable feat,
And pictured her telling the neighbours
As 'twere 'sparagus-what the toffs eat.
But when he woke up in the morning
It were nigh on a quarter to ten,
There were no signs of Mother, or breakfast
Said Pa, "What's she done with her-sen?"
He shouted "What's up theer in t' kitchen?"
She replied, "You do well to enquire,
Them bundles of chips as you brought home
Is so damp... I can't light the fire."
Marriott Edgar's Other Poems
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