William Topaz McGonagall
Jenny Carrister, The Heroine Of Lucknow-Mine - Poem by William Topaz McGonagall
A heroic story I will unfold,
Concerning Jenny Carrister, a heroine bold,
Who lived in Australia, at a gold mine called Lucknow,
And Jenny was beloved by the the miners, somehow.
Jenny was the only daughter of the old lady who owned the mine-
And Jenny would come of an evening, like a gleam of sunshine,
And by the presence of her bright face and cheery voice,
She made the hearts of the unlucky diggers rejoice.
There was no pride about her, and day after day,
She walked with her young brother, who was always gay,
A beautiful boy he was, about thirteen years old,
And Jenny and her brother by the miners were greatly extolled.
Old Mrs Carrister was every inch a lady in her way,
Because she never pressed any of the miners that weren't able to pay
For the liberty of working the gold-field,
Which was thirty pounds per week for whatever it might yield.
It was in the early part of the year 1871,
That Jack Allingford, a miner, hit on a plan,
That in the mine, with powder, he'd loosen the granite-bound face,
So he selected, as he thought, a most suitable place.
And when all his arrangements had been made,
He was lowered down by a miner that felt a little afraid,
But most fortunately Jenny Carrister came up at the time,
Just as Jack Allingford was lowered into the mine.
Then she asked the man at the windlass if he'd had any luck,
But he picked up a piece of candle and then a match he struck;
Then Jenny asked the miner, What is that for?
And he replied to blast the mine, which I fear and abhor.
Then with a piece of rope he lowered the candle and matches into the mine,
While brave Jenny watched the action all the time;
And as the man continued to turn round the windlass handle,
Jenny asked him, Isn't it dangerous to lower the matches and candle?
Then the man replied, I hope there's no danger, Jenny, my lass,
But whatsoever God has ordained will come to pass;
And just as he said so the windlass handle swung round,
And struck him on the forehead, and he fell to the ground.
And when Jenny saw the blood streaming from the fallen man's head,
She rushed to the mouth of the shaft without any dread,
And Jenny called loudly, but received no reply,
So to her brother standing near by she heaved a deep sigh.
Telling him to run for assistance, while she swung herself on to the hand-rope,
Resolved to save Jack Allingford's life as she earnestly did hope;
And as she proceeded down the shaft at a quick pace,
The brave heroine knew that death was staring her in the face.
And the rope was burning her hands as she descended,
But she thought if she saved Jack her task would be ended;
And when she reached the bottom of the mine she did not hesitate,
But bounding towards Jack Allingford, who was lying seemingly inanimate.
And as she approached his body the hissing fuse burst upon her ears,
But still the noble girl no danger fears;
While the hissing of the fuse was like an engine grinding upon her brain,
Still she resolved to save Jack while life in her body did remain.
She noticed a small jet of smoke issuing from a hole near his head,
And if he'd lain a few seconds longer there he'd been killed dead,
But God had sent an angel to his rescue,
For seizing him by the arms his body to the air shaft she drew.
It was a supernatural effort, but she succeeded at last,
And Jenny thanked God when the danger was past,
But at the same instant the silence was broke
By a loud explosion, which soon filled the mine with smoke.
But, oh, God be thanked! the greatest danger was past,
But when Jenny saw Jack Allingford, she stood aghast,
Because the blood was issuing from his nest and ears,
And as Jenny viewed his wounds she shed many tears.
But heroic Jenny was not one of the fainting sort,
For immediately to the mouth of the mine she did resort,
And she called loudly for help, the noble lass,
And her cry was answered by voices above at the windlass.
So there were plenty to volunteer their services below,
And the rope was attached to the windlass, and down they did go,
And Jack Allingford and Jenny were raised to the top,
While Jenny, noble soul, with exhaustion was like to drop.
And when the miners saw her safe above there was a burst of applause,
Because she had rescued Jack Allingford from death's jaws;
So all ye that read or hear this story, I have but to say,
That Jenny Carrister was the noblest heroine I've ever heard of in my day.
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