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  ― 163 ―

Part Second.

1

FAST flew the hours. We may not tell
Of William's weary quest,
How round the outskirts of the town
He roamed like one possessed—
Nor with what guileful arts he plied
The foreign interest.

2

Enough that at the appointed hour,
With backers at his back,
He faced the noble Bossaroo,
(Still hypochondriac)—
And introduced his witnesses,
A yellow and a black;

3

A placid-eyed Mongolian
From sandy Pechelee,
Who'd stimulate an inch of soil
To do the work of three,
Or make a metamorphic rock
Sprout into cabbagee;




  ― 164 ―

4

A big buck nigger next; who once
Bowed down to stocks and stones
(For years digested captives formed
The tissue of his bones),
But now he is an Anglican,
Who a live “Bissop” owns,
Besides a gorgeous suit of slops,
And the proud name of Jones.

5

Slow rose the lordly Bossaroo,
And bade unveil their eyes;
And, when those aliens gazed around
On all that dread assize,
They howled in unison and made
Night hideous with their cries.

6

For Bill had lured them lyingly—
But why should we explain;
The whole thing was exceptional,
And can't occur again.
Besides, to poke at mysteries
Is wanton and profane.

7

With single will they turned on Bill,
And blazed his evil name;
With double tongue their charge they flung,
And swore unto the same;



  ― 165 ―
With treble spite did both unite
To spoil his little game.

8

“Me see him catchee kangaloo,”
Deponed on oath Ah Chee;
“Me see him—hi! hst!—soolem dog,
No mind my cabbagee—
Me lose hap clown, him knockee down
Ten twenty lettucee!”

9

“Massoopy Bill, him wicked boy,”
Deponed the South Sea swell;
“Two moon, come Bissop preach in church,
Him loaf outside an' yell;
Me run—him run—me catch—him say
‘Tree scalp if you no tell.’

10

So, when the learnèd clerk had both
Their depositions read,
The judge drew forth his judgment cap,
And put it on his head,
And sentenced poor Marsupial Bill
To hang till he was dead.

11

“But since”—so spake the Bossaroo—
“From evidence we know
That many a scalped and gory head
This night through him lies low,



  ― 166 ―
We'll scalp him first!”—and all the house,
Nem. con., cried “Be it so?”
And as a sign and seal of doom,
Turned down the right thumb-toe.

12

“With his own knife,” the Boss resumed,
“Ah Chee shall do the deed—
The gods poetic justice love—
And make the assassin bleed
By his own proper instrument.
Mongolian, proceed.”

13

What followed next, who gave the word
For mate to link with mate,
Nor Bill, nor Jones, nor yet Ah Chee
Can very clearly state;
But that 'twas a corroboree
All three corroborate.

14

In vain poor William prayed—in vain
His suppliant knees he bowed,
And by a pile of sacred names
For mercy cried aloud—
The point was at his occiput,
When, lo! from out the crowd

15

Stepped forth a rare and radiant dame,
The Boss's pride and stay,



  ― 167 ―
(The dam of Bossárovitch,
Still young, though somewhat gray,
An elegant marsupial,
Well-mannered, bien née)—
Stepped forth before them, and remarked
Seductively, “Belay!”
Then, kneeling by the judgment seat,
Thus sweetly said her say:—
“Most Noble Grand, have you forgot
That this is Christmas Day?

16

“Beseech you, bid that heathen hand
Withhold the bloody knife!
Recall your fearful words of doom—
Nay, turn not from your wife,
But give me as a Christmas Box
The little captive's life.”

17

Then quickly from his granite throne
Down leaped the Noble Grand,
And, kneeling, kissed right courteously
His royal lady's hand;
Then, as he raised her up, pronounced
The joyful countermand;
Whereat the rest turned up their toes,
That Bill might understand
The Congress willed his days should yet
Be long upon the land.




  ― 168 ―

18

Then raged the revelry anew,
With sound of drum and fife;
The Boss himself forgot his woes,
And danced as if for life;
While the old clerk forgot himself,
And kissed the Boss's wife.

19

And when there fell a weariness
On all the panting throng,
And Bossaroo and ancient clerk
Alike had nigh “gone bong”—
Amid a jaded pause was heard
A call for “Joey's Song!”

20

And presently a little head,
As from a little nest,
Peeped o'er a snug maternal pouch,
And sang its little best,
(The song is very rare, and full
Of antique interest):—
“What does little Joey say
In his pouch at peep-of-day?
‘Let me hop,’ says little Joey;
‘Mother, let me hop away.’
‘Joey, rest a little longer,
Till the little legs are stronger.’
So he rests a little longer,
Then he gaily hops away.”




  ― 169 ―

21

He ceased; the pre-diluvian clerk
Rose on his quivering shanks,
And with a well-turned compliment
Proposed a vote of thanks—
Just then a breathless picket broke
All gory through the ranks!

22

But ere his trembling tongue had time
To tell his tale of woe,
And why thus grimly he disturbed
The happy status quo,—
With giant bound Bill's faithful hound
Leaped madly on the foe!

23

Ah, then and there was sudden scare,
The swiftest took the lead;
Ah, there and then—but oh, the pen
Is impotent indeed!
Oh, would I had an artist man
To show the Great Stampede!

24

What next befell may somewhat strain
The limits of belief;
But where so many marvels are,
Why boggle at the chief?
'Twere shame if lack of faith should cause
Our moral come to grief.




  ― 170 ―

25

From all the flying ruck the dog
Had singled out the Queen;
Another instant and the Boss
A widower had been,
When—(that's a pithy saw that bids
Expect the unforeseen)—

26

BILL CALLED HIM OFF! The dog drew back,
And on a boulder leant.
'Twas months ago, and still that dog
Is pondering the event,
And even to this very hour
Can't fathom what it meant;
It was a thing so utterly
Without a precedent.

27

But Bill, the Chinaman, and Jones,
The Queen, and you, and I,
We know the secret of the change,
We know the reason why;
And—may I be allowed to add?—
The moral hangs thereby.

28

But since nor boy nor man receives
Advice without a pang,
And this narrator's muse has failed
To catch the proper twang,—
The moral hanging plainly there,
Suppose we let it—hang.

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