From the “Southall News” January 26th 1886.
‘The chief difficulty in the way of obtaining the dinners appears to lie in the fact that the poor have not the pennies wherewith to purchase them.’
‘On’y a copper, Guv’nor,
What do I want it for?
P’raps you’d like ‘t hear my story, Sir,
Yer would? Well come in and shet the door.
‘Yer see, Sir, it’s been a’ ard winter,
And father’s been dead nigh two year,
And mother, she ain’t over strong, Sir,
In fac’ she won’t last long I fear.
There are three on us ‘ome with her now, Sir,
And I am the oldest – just ten,
The others is all on ’em young ‘uns,
Tho’ some day they may grow to men.
And mother’s down there with r’u’matics,
Poor cretur! She ain’t ‘ad a bit,
O’ bread or a drop o’ cold tea, Sir,
And Joey ‘as had a bad fit.
The fac’ is, we’re all on us starving,
Tho ‘to rub along smoothly we try,
They talks on a Christian country,
Yet the poor of starvation oft’ die.
But what do I want with the copper?
D’ye know, Sir, that is jest the rub,
‘Taint that I wants it for pleasure,
But to buy poor old mother some grub.
Can’t get much for a penny?
That shows yer don’t know this part!
We ‘ave one among us, God bless her,
As is got a good kind ‘art.
Yer see that there barn yonder,
Where them young ‘uns is pourin’ out,
That’s where I’d get a good dinner,
As ‘ad make any urchin stout.
Yer can have just as much as yer wants, Sir,
But there’s one obstacle now, d’ye see,
I ain’t got a farthing about me,
And the charge for the soup is one D.
And that’s why I wants the copper,
Hark! Poor mother’s agoin’ to cry,
Now, will yer ‘ave pity and ‘elp us?
If not someone else I must try.
A shillin’, well, Sir, you’re a Briton,
May you never know want at all.
Thankee, good mornin’ God bless yer,
You’ll think of the barn at Southall.
Printed and published by Charles Nash Abbott at his Printing Office, No. 6 Sunnyside, High Street, Southall, in the Parish of Norwood.