They burgled from half-past ten p.m.,
Till the village bell struck four o’clock;
They hunted and searched and guessed and tried—
But the little tin bank would not unlock!
They couldn’t discover the secret spring!
So, when the barn-yard rooster crowed,
They up with their tools and stole away
With the bitter remark that they’d be blowed!
Next morning came a sweet-faced child
And reached her dimpled hand to take
A nickel to send to the heathen poor
And a nickel to spend for her stomach’s sake.
She pressed the hidden secret spring,
And lo! the bank flew open then
With a cheery creak that seemed to say:
“I’m glad to see you; come again!”
If you were I, and if I were you,
What would we keep our money in?
In a downtown bank of British steel,
Or an at-home bank of McKinley tin?
Some want silver and some want gold,
But the little tin bank that wants the two
And is run on the double standard plan—
Why, that is the bank for me and you!
’Twas in the Crescent city not long
The tear-compelling incident I now propose to tell;
So come, my sweet collector friends, and listen while I sing
Unto your delectation this brief, pathetic thing—
No lyric pitched in vaunting key, but just a requiem
Of blowing twenty dollars in by 9 o’clock a.m.
Let critic folk the poet’s use of
vulgar slang upbraid,
But, when I’m speaking by the card, I call a spade a spade;
And I, who have been touched of that same mania, myself,
Am well aware that, when it comes to parting with his pelf,
The curio collector is so blindly lost in sin
That he doesn’t spend his money—he simply blows it in!
In Royal Street (near Conti) there’s
a lovely curio-shop,
And there, one balmy, fateful morn, it was my chance to stop:
To stop was hesitation—in a moment I was lost—
That kind of hesitation does not hesitate at cost:
I spied a pewter tankard there, and, my! it was a gem—
And the clock in old St. Louis told the hour of 8 a.m.!
Three quaint Bohemian bottles, too, of
yellow and of green,
Cut in archaic fashion that I ne’er before had seen;
A lovely, hideous platter wreathed about with pink and rose,
With its curious depression into which the gravy flows;
Two dainty silver salters—oh, there was no resisting them.—
And I’d blown in twenty dollars by 9 o’clock a.m.
With twenty dollars, one who is a prudent
Can buy the wealth of useful things his wife and children need;
Shoes, stockings, knickerbockers, gloves, bibs, nursing-bottles, caps,
A gown—the gown for which his spouse too long has pined, perhaps!
These and ten thousand other specters harrow and condemn
The man who’s blowing in twenty by 9 o’clock a.m.