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The Wise Policeman

Fun, XII - 22nd October 1870



No Don Giovanni, sparrow-brained,
  Policeman ARTHUR KERR:
A steady, subtle, self-contained,
  Experienced officer.

So deep his schemes, to many a muff
  They seemed disgraceful quite;
But if you left him long enough,
  They always turned out right.

Now here's a case in point. One night
  He gallantly addressed
A good plain cook, who met his sight
  In Piccadilly, West.
Illustration by Gilbert

"Oh, good plain cook, I like your heyes,
  They speak of health and truth —
They're bright and they are blue, likewise!"
  (Which was, indeed, the truth.)

"Why roam you forth alone so late?
  It's nearly half-past ten —
Why leave the silver and the plate
  To bad burglarious men?"

"To some theayter," said the maid,
  "The family have flown,
And I began to feel afraid
  At being left alone!"

The wise policeman did not chaff
  The maiden's idle fear,
But dried with his official staff
  An unofficial tear.

"Be mine the task to set that right!
  It were indeed foul scorn
To leave a maid alone at night,
  Defenceless and forlorn!

"Be mine, young EMMA, to instil
  The confidence you lack;
Be mine to comfort you, until
  The family comes back!"

With gratitude the maiden smiled,
  The door she let him through,
An hour or two away they wiled
  With joyous Irish stew.

A family I never knew
  That gadded so about-
To dinner and to playhouse, too,
  They every night went out;

And every night poor EMMA, she
  Shed lonely frightened tears,
And every night wise ARTHUR, he
  Came in to calm her fears.

For many a week and month, I know,
  She let wise ARTHUR through,
And fed him daintily below
  On joyous Irish stew.

At first I own I used to blame
  Policeman ARTHUR KERR,
But then I did not know the game
  Of that wise officer.

Illustration by Gilbert  
One night when, comfortably hived,
  He sat alone with EM,
Her mistress unannounced arrived,
  And there confronted them.

"Now, ma'am," said ARTHUR KERR, "to you
  This gal I do denounce,
On maids who steal the Irish stew
  The law at last will pounce!

"I long have thought she gave away
  Her kind employers' food,
And to detect her wicked play,
  This servant maid I woo'd.

"For many a week and month likewise
  I come down here to eat,
And only wanted witness eyes
  To make my case complete!

"The p'liceman's unsupported word
  The beaks begin to doubt;
But wot you've seen and wot you've heard
  Will bear my statement out."

They took young EMMA off to jail,
  To MR. KNOX, amain,
And nothing in the shape of bail
  That beak would entertain.

Illustration by Gilbert
That beak he fully did commit
  The maid for stealing food
(What "fully" means in legal writ
  I never understood).

She got twelve months, the wretched drudge,
  While wise Policeman KERR
Was complimented by the judge:
  Experienced officer!

He was promoted in the force
  For spotting that young gal
(The picture showing this, of course,
  Is allegorical).

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