Rose of Spadgers

The Also-ran

C.J. Dennis

I know I’m dull. I know I got a brain
      That’s only fit fer fertilizin’ ’air.
I don’t arst for bokays: I ain’t that vain;
      But fair is fair.
An’ when yeh think yer somethin’ uv a man,
It ’urts to find yerself a also-ran.

’Urts like one thing. To git sent to the pack
      When you ’ave ’ad idears you’re ace an’ king
An’ all the pitcher cards down to the jack
      Is like to sting
Yer vanity. I thort I was some use,
An’ now I’m valyid as a ’umble dooce.

Don’t mind my sulks. I s’pose I ’as swelled ’ead;
      But gittin’ snouted ain’t wot I expeck.
Aw, they can ’ave it on their own! I’m full
      Up to the neck!
Never no more! I chuck good works right ’ere . . . 
But lets start frum the start an’ git it clear.

I own I used me nut. Fer marriage brings
      Experience to stop yeh actin’ rash.
I’ve missed the step before through rushin’ things,
      An’ come a crash.
I planned it out all careful frum the start;
Me taticks was a reel fine work uv art.

Me problem’s this: The noos ’as to be broke
      Concernin’ Rose. Doreen ’as to he told.
The ’ow an’ when that bit uv noos is spoke
      I’ve learnt uv old.
I’m shrood. I wait. I watch me chance to act.
The trick’s to know the time an’ place exact.

You blokes unmarrid ain’t got no idear
      Uv ’ow successful ’usbands works their ’eads.
It’s like a feller strugglin’ to keep clear
      A thousand threads.
Once let ’em tangle, an’ you take the blame.
You’re up to putty; an’ yeh’ve lost the game.

“Funny,” I sez, “that we should mention Mick.
      “In town I met that girl—(Wot’s ’er name? Rose)
“By accident. Poor thing looks orful sick . . . . 
      “Well, I suppose
“She ’as ’er worries . . . . Lost ’er job, yeh know.”
Doreen don’t take much int’rest. She sez, “Oh?”

“She’s wot?” . . . I can’t say more. “Well,” sez me wife,
      “Seein’ you arst ’er, why all this su’prise?”
“Seein’ you ’ad a fight, an’ risked yer life,
      “An’ got black eyes,
“An’ played the ’ero, as the parson says,
“You ort to know. I’ve knowed,” she sez, “fer days.”

Snowy! To think that parson cove would go
      An’ let me down to flounder in the mud,
An’ scheme, an’ lie, an’ work the game reel low,
      To come a thud!
“Yeh mean to say,” I arsts, mad as can be,
“Yeh’ve fixed all this without consultin’ me?

“Yeh mean to say I ’ave n’t got the right
      “To know wot’s goin’ on in my own ’ouse?
“Yeh mean to sa” —“There, Bill,” she sez, “keep quite.
      “Why should you rouse?
“You told me nothin’. Parson wrote to me;
“An’ we fixed things without yer ’elp,” sez she.

Women! She sits an’ tells me this dead cold!
      To think I’ve worked an’ worried till I’m tired,
An’ squeezed me brain a treat, jist to be told
       I ain’t required!
“You was too modest, Bill, to let me ’ear
“About that fight,” she sez. “Now, were n’t you, dear?”

Modest? Aw, well. I s’pose I am—a bit.
      A feller can’t go skitin’ all ’is days.
But, spite uv ’er nice way uv takin’ it,
      An’ all ’er praise
An’ that, I got to own I’m feelin’ ’urt
Fer to git treated like a bit uv dirt.

Nex’ mornin’ I ain’t feelin’ none too good:
      That snub still ’urt. I potter round about;
Then go across to where ’e’s choppin’ wood
      To ’ave it out
With Wally Free about ’is thievin’ cow.
But that pie-faced galoot won’t ’ave a row.

I’ll ’ave the lor on ’im, i tells ’ im straight.
      Me fence ’er out? ’E’s got to fence ’er in!
The lor sez that. But all the lors I state
      Jist gits a grin.
That’s all. ’E grins a sight too much, that bloke.
Clean through the piece, I seem to be the joke.

I know I’m dull. I know me brain’s jist meant
      To nourish ’air-roots. But I ’ave me pride.
An’ when I toils an’ frets, an’ then gits sent
      To stand aside,
I know me place: I don’t need to be shown.
I’m done! An’ they can ’ave it on their own.

Rose of Spadgers - Contents    |     A Woman’s Way

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