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The Curate’s Kindness
by [?]


A WORKHOUSE IRONY

I

I thought they’d be strangers aroun’ me,
But she’s to be there!
Let me jump out o’ waggon and go back and drown me
At Pummery or Ten-Hatches Weir.

II

I thought: “Well, I’ve come to the Union –
The workhouse at last –
After honest hard work all the week, and Communion
O’ Zundays, these fifty years past.

III

“‘Tis hard; but,” I thought, “never mind it:
There’s gain in the end:
And when I get used to the place I shall find it
A home, and may find there a friend.

IV

“Life there will be better than t’other.
For peace is assured.
THE MEN IN ONE WING AND THEIR WIVES IN ANOTHER
Is strictly the rule of the Board.”

V

Just then one young Pa’son arriving
Steps up out of breath
To the side o’ the waggon wherein we were driving
To Union; and calls out and saith:

VI

“Old folks, that harsh order is altered,
Be not sick of heart!
The Guardians they poohed and they pished and they paltered
When urged not to keep you apart.

VII

“‘It is wrong,’ I maintained, ‘to divide them,
Near forty years wed.’
‘Very well, sir. We promise, then, they shall abide them
In one wing together,’ they said.”

VIII

Then I sank–knew ’twas quite a foredone thing
That misery should be
To the end! . . . To get freed of her there was the one thing
Had made the change welcome to me.

IX

To go there was ending but badly;
‘Twas shame and ’twas pain;
“But anyhow,” thought I, “thereby I shall gladly
Get free of this forty years’ chain.”

X

I thought they’d be strangers aroun’ me,
But she’s to be there!
Let me jump out o’ waggon and go back and drown me
At Pummery or Ten-Hatches Weir.