Treasure Island

Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

The Cow-Juice Cure


The clover was in blossom, an' the year was at the June,
When Flap-jack Billy hit the town, likewise O'Flynn's saloon.
The frost was on the fodder an' the wind was growin' keen,
When Billy got to seein' snakes in Sullivan's shebeen.

Then in meandered Deep-hole Dan, once comrade of the cup:
"Oh Billy, for the love of Mike, why don't ye sober up?
I've got the gorgus recipay, 'tis smooth an' slick as silk --
Jest quit yer strangle-holt on hooch, an' irrigate with milk.
Lackteeal flooid is the lubrication you require;
Yer nervus frame-up's like a bunch of snarled piano wire.
You want to get it coated up with addypose tishoo,
So's it will work elastic-like, an' milk's the dope for you."

Well, Billy was complyable, an' in a month it's strange,
That cow-juice seemed to oppyrate a most amazin' change.
"Call up the water-wagon, Dan, an' book my seat," sez he.
"'Tis mighty queer," sez Deep-hole Dan, "'twas just the same with
me."
They shanghaied little Tim O'Shane, they cached him safe away,
An' though he objurgated some, they "cured" him night an' day;
An' pretty soon there came the change amazin' to explain:
"I'll never take another drink," sez Timothy O'Shane.
They tried it out on Spike Muldoon, that toper of renown;
They put it over Grouch McGraw, the terror of the town.
They roped in "tanks" from far and near, an' every test was sure,
An' like a flame there ran the fame of Deep-hole's Cow-juice Cure.

"It's mighty queer," sez Deep-hole Dan, "I'm puzzled through and through;
It's only milk from Riley's ranch, no other milk will do."
An' it jest happened on that night with no predictive plan,
He left some milk from Riley's ranch a-settin' in a pan;
An' picture his amazement when he poured that milk next day --
There in the bottom of the pan a dozen "colours" lay.

"Well, what d'ye know 'bout that," sez Dan; "Gosh ding my dasted eyes,
We've been an' had the Gold Cure, Bill, an' none of us was wise.
The milk's free-millin' that's a cinch; there's colours everywhere.
Now, let us figger this thing out -- how does the dust git there?
`Gold from the grass-roots down', they say -- why, Bill! we've got it cold --
Them cows what nibbles up the grass, jest nibbles up the gold.
We're blasted, bloomin' millionaires; dissemble an' lie low:
We'll follow them gold-bearin' cows, an' prospect where they go."

An' so it came to pass, fer weeks them miners might be found
A-sneakin' round on Riley's ranch, an' snipin' at the ground;
Till even Riley stops an' stares, an' presently allows:
"Them boys appear to take a mighty interest in cows."
An' night an' day they shadowed each auriferous bovine,
An' panned the grass-roots on their trail, yet nivver gold they seen.

An' all that season, secret-like, they worked an' nothin' found;
An' there was colours in the milk, but none was in the ground.
An' mighty desperate was they, an' down upon their luck,
When sudden, inspirationlike, the source of it they struck.
An' where d'ye think they traced it to? it grieves my heart to tell --
In the black sand at the bottom of that wicked milkman's well.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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