“I say, you fellows, it will be horse work,” said Sharpe, disconsolately. “There isn’t a rhyme to Biffen’s.”
“Oh! isn’t there? What about ’spiffing’?”
Lamb squeaked out “stiff ’un,” and some one gently led him out—even Biffen’s fags caved in at that.
“Sharpe, you’re booked for number two, old man. Gentlemen, I direct your attention to number three—Corker’s did Indian clubs and the gold-fish dodge.”
“Oh, well,” said Wilson, “we’re not going to copy Corker’s, anyhow. Let’s do dumb-bells and something else.”
“I propose that Wilson does the something else,” said Cherry, good-naturedly.
Wilson said he was ready to do something to Cherry any time that was convenient. Rogers suggested that they ask the niggers to do something on the bars, and Sharpe seconded it, so the dervishes were written to and promised a scragging if they didn’t turn themselves inside out for the glory of Biffen’s concert.
“I say, you fellows,” said Grim, “it’s to be a concert, you know, and except for Fruity’s epilogue there isn’t any music down yet.” Cherry groaned to think he’d been let in for a song.
“What about Thurston?” asked half a dozen of the fags.
“Right, oh! Now, ‘Dicky Bird,’ hop up to the front, and trot out your list.”
Thurston wasn’t shy, and rather fancied his bleat, so he said, “Oh! I don’t mind at all.”
“We thought you wouldn’t,” said the chairman, winking.
“What do you say to ’Alice, where art thou’?”
“We don’t fancy your shouting five minutes for her at all. Next, please.”
“‘Only to see her face again,’ then?”
“Whose?” said Sharpe, irreverently.
“Why, the girl’s the fellow is singing about,” said Thurston, hotly.
“Oh! you’ll see her the day after to-morrow, Dicky Bird, so don’t you fret about that now. Do you know ’My first cigar’?”
“Do you mean the one that sent you to hospital, Grimmy?”
“No I don’t. None of your cheek. I’m chairman. I mean the one Corney Grain used to sing.”
“Well, you sing that and you’ll make the fellows die with laughing. And mind you illustrate it with plenty of life-like pantomime, do you hear?”
“Carried, nem. con.,” shouted all the fags with enthusiasm.
“Hear, hear, Grimmy!”
“So that’s settled for you, and if you get an encore, Dicky Bird, you can trot ‘Alice’ out if you like.”
“Which of the fellows have we to invite out of the eleven to help us?”
“Acton,” was the universal yell.
“We’ll see him, then, to-night.”
“Three cheers for Acton,” said someone, and the roof echoed.
“Well, we’re getting on, and I say, you chaps, I have an idea.”
“Hear, hear!” said Cherry, acidly; “Grimmy has an idea.”