Pearson’s (UK), September 1907
DID I go to the wedding? No, sir! Did I give ’em a pres—? Well, there,
Sit down and I’ll tell you the story, if you’ve got a few minutes to spare.
It’ll be a relief to tell it, for I give you my word I biles!
Yes, biles, sir, with indignation at the thought of young Henry Giles.
We men of Pigbury-super-Splosh, as you may have heard before,
Was a sporting, cricketing set of chaps as you ever met; and lor,
There wasn’t many villages round could teach us what was what:
Batting, and bowling, and fielding, we was always pretty hot.
Bowling! Bah! Excuse me, sir. Our bowling, perhaps, was weak:
We’d only one man who could send them down like a good ’un, so to speak.
Higgs could bowl lobs, and Johnson, too, and get ’em in straight ’tween whiles;
But the only feller who made ’em buzz was this ’ere young ’Enery Giles.
Regular nailer he was, sir: banged ’em down fit to burst;
Often he’d hit a man on the head, and we’d think he was dead at first.
Many a feller’s come out to bat with a kind of a cheery grin,
And gone back “retired hurt” for a duck when ’Enery hit his shin.
Well, the chaps from Chickenham-infra-Mud had come to our field to play,
And when we took lunch it seemed to us our prospects was pretty gay.
For we’d gone in first, and we’d hit about till our total was thirty-four,
And naturally we was happy then, ’cos, you see, that’s a winning score.
And, besides, young Giles was in form, we knew, for only two evenings back
We’d seen him bowling away at the nets like a regular first-class crack.
Why, the ball he took Gubbins’ wind with, and the one that blacked Simpson’s eye,
Were regular out-and-outers. They’d have settled a C. B. Fry.
And, what’s more, the wicket was crumbling, for while we’d been having lunch
Some cows had wandered across it and given the turf a scrunch:
And when we saw the holes they’d made, with joy we were fit to jump;
“Put ’Enery on this end,” we said, “and then let’s see ’em bump.”
And all went well for a time, sir, for their captain was out for one:
He got one fair in the stummick, sir, and his day’s work was done.
This sort of encouraged ’Enery. He hit the next man on the knee,
And the next after him on the side of the head. So that was 1 for 3.
Then two of their fellows made a stand, and, what with byes and such,
And some hits off Higgs and Johnson, who couldn’t bowl up to much,
They’d brought the total to seventeen, just ’alf of our final score,
When Giles got one of ’em in the ribs, and he didn’t want no more.
Well, the others all had a bit of luck, so they all of them made a few,
And about two hours after play had begun they was 8 for 22.
The next man took a hasty swipe, and made one of them lucky snicks
What went for four; and then he was out; making 9 for 26.
Well, we all of us thought we’d done it, then; for they wanted nine to win,
And, to judge from his looks, it didn’t seem they’d be made by the last man in.
A short, stout, elderly chap he was. And I thought, “I’ll eat my hat
If good old ’Enery Giles can’t up and settle a thing like that!”
Ah, this is the part of the story, sir, where I always regular biles
When I think of the awful conduct of that ’ere young ’Enery Giles.
Did he bowl fast and get him out. No! He bowled a slow. And, what’s more,
That elderly buffer he made a swipe, and he lifted the ball for four.
I says to him, “ ’Enery! ’Enery!” With tears in my eyes I spoke.
“For ’Eaven’s sake don’t be foolish, don’t show mercy to the bloke.”
But he laughed a laugh which turned me cold, and he answered wildly, “Jim,
That’s my Mary Susan’s father, that’s what’s the matter with him.”
And then—but I can’t go on, sir. You’ll guess the rest without:
Another couple of balls, sir, put the issue out of doubt.
And, after the match was over, I wandered inside the tent,
And there was that traitor ’Enery, a-getting of pa’s consent.
Did I go to the wedding? No, sir. Did I give ’em a present? No.
Did I linger about the churchyard with a bag of rice to throw?
It wouldn’t be rice I’d have thrown, sir, not me, but a ’arf a brick;
For the thought of young ’Enery’s baseness—well, there, sir, it makes me sick.