Yesterday, the Parrot, sadly,
As if feeling pretty badly,
Perched himself with ruffled feathers
Up above the office door.
And his squawk, which once astounded,
In so low a whisper sounded
That he merely seemed to mutter, 1
That “Y––r  f––d  w–ll  c––t  y–u  m––e.”

Said I, in commiseration,
“Have you lost a near relation?
Has a pal turned back upon you?
Tell me, tell me, I implore!”
But the bird, without replying,
Just confined himself to sighing,
Though his beak appeared to falter,
That “Y––r  f––d  w–ll  c––t  y–u  m––e.”

“Oh, poor bird,” I said, “why ever
Do you look so sad? Whatever
Can have happened to induce you
To give up your solemn caw?
Even if your friends are shirking
Why should that prevent your working?”
But the bird could only whisper
That “Y––r  f––d  w–ll  c––t  y–u  m––e.”


The reason for the Parrot’s subdued muttering is to be found in an editorial published in the Daily Mail on 2 October, and reprinted in full, with accompanying commentary, in the Daily Express a day later.

There is a rumour, the Mail’s editorial began, that Mr Chamberlain’s ultimate proposal may take a shape very different from what has been anticipated.

And it concluded that

if this should prove to be the case, Mr Chamberlain’s scheme will so far fall within the lines of policy we have advocated that we may be able to withdraw the opposition we have consistently offered to any attempt to add to the existing burdens of the poor.

In essence, the Mail claimed that Chamberlain had begun to back down from his original proposals. The Express commented:

The only rumour of this kind that has been afloat is the one that originated on Thursday night [1 October] in the “Daily Mail” office. Any straw, even a rumour, serves at times.

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