Evening News (London), March 19, 1903

The Romance of Crime.

The police of a Belgian village have adopted a small girl, and have pledged themselves to contribute a franc out of the bonus allowed for the capture of each criminal towards her dowry.—Daily paper.1

Ye gentlemen of lawless mood,
 Who pass your valuable time
In deeds the opposite of good—
 In fact, in crime—
Do not, to gain your selfish ends,
 Strive to evade the men in blue,
A maiden’s happiness depends
 On such as you.

When you are taken in the act,
 And safely lodged in prison cells,
Another franc—I’m stating fact—
 Her dowry swells.
For every member of the force
 Contributes that amount, they say,
And so accelerates, of course,
 Her wedding day.

So, if they catch you, as they may,
 Subdue your longing to resist,
Forego your customary play
 With boot and fist.
Go cheerfully where you are led,
 Nor strive to kick him on the shin,
Or punch his ribs or break his head,
 Who runs you in.

And though, with prison night and day,
 You grow emphatically bored,
Cheer up, perhaps in time you may
 Reap your reward.
Some morn, for wonders never cease,
 You’ll find beside you when you wake
A beautifully bilious piece
 Of wedding cake.




“A poor girl at Laeken, Belgium, has given birth to a child at the police station. The force greatly interested themselves in the affair. One constable became the godfather. A cabaret keeper consented to become godmother, and the whole contingent will be present to give the baptismal ceremony proper éclat. The chief of the police is to supply the christening robe, while the constables have agreed to give a franc out of the bonus allowed on the capture of every criminal in order to form a dowry for the little girl when she reaches marriageable age.” (Manchester Evening News, March 13, 1903)

John Dawson