I've sung of Violet de Vere, that slinky, minky dame,
Of Gertie of the Diamond Tooth, and Touch-the-Button Nell,
And Maye Lamore,--at eighty-four I oughta blush wi' shame
That in my wild and wooly youth I knew them ladies well.
And Klondike Kit, and Gumboot Sue, and many I've forgot;
They had their faults, as I recall, the same as you and me;
But come to take them all in all, the daisy of the lot,
The glamour queen of dance-hall dames was Montreal Maree.
And yet her heart was bigger than a barn, the boys would say;
Always the first to help the weak, and so with words of woe,
She put me wise that Lipstick Lou was in the family way:
"An' who ze baby's fazzaire ees, only ze bon Dieu know.
Then on a black and bitter night passed on poor Lipstick Lou;
And by her bedside, midwife wise, wi' tears aflowin' free,
A holdin' out the newly born,--an' by gosh! there was two:
"Helas! I am zere mossaire now," said Montreal Maree.
Said One-eyed Mike: "In Lucky Strike we've never yet had twins,"
As darin' inundation he held one upon each knee.
"Say, boys, ain't they a purty sight, as like's a pair o' pins--
We gotta hold a christinin' wi' Father Tim McGee.
"I aim to be their Godpa," bellowed Black Moran from Nome.
"The guy wot don't love childer is a blasted S.
So long as I can tot a gun them kids won't lack a home.
"I sink zey creep into my heart," said Montreal Maree.
'Twas hectic in the Nugget Bar, the hooch was flowin' free,
An' Lousetown Liz was singin' of how someone done her wrong,
Wi' sixty seeded sourdoughs all ahollerin' their glee,
When One-eyed Mike uprose an' called suspension of the song.
Says he: "Aloodin' to them twins, their age in months is two,
An' I propose wi' Christmas close, we offer them a tree.
'Twill sure be mighty pleasin' to the ghost o' Lipstick Lou .
"Zen you will be ze Père Noël," said Montreal Maree.
The dance hall of the Nugget Bar erupted joy an' light,
An' set upon the stage them twins was elegant to see,
Like angel cherubs in their robes of pure baptismal white,
Abaskin' in the sunny smile o' Father tim McGee.
Then on the bar stood Santa Claus, says he: "We'll form a Trust;
So all you sourdoughs heft your pokes an' hang 'em on the Tree.
To give them kids a chance in life we'll raise enough or bust!"
"For zem I pray ze Lord to bless," said Montreal Maree.
You never saw a Christmas Tree so swell as that, I vow,
Wi' sixty sweaty sourdoughs ringin' round them infants two;
Their solid pokes o' virgin gold aweighin' down each bough,
All singin' Christ Is Risen, for the soul o' Lipstick Lou,
"Lo! Death is a deliverer, the purger of our sins,
And Motherhood leads up to God," said Father Tim McGee.
Then all the Ladies of the Line bent down to kiss them twins,
Clasped to the breast, Madonna-like, of Montreal Maree.
Sure 'tis the love of childer makes for savin' of the soul,
And in Maternity the hope of humankind we see;
So though she wears no halo, headin' out for Heaven's goal,
Awheelin' of a double pram,--bless Montreal Maree!
Top Robert William Service Poems