The Newsboy by E. T. Corbett

Want any papers, Mister?
Wish you'd buy 'em of me—
Ten year old, an' a fam'ly,
An' bizness dull, you see.
Fact, Boss! There's Tom, an' Tibby,
An' Dad, an' Mam, an' Mam's cat,
None on 'em earning money—
What do you think of that?
 
Couldn't Dad work? Why yes, Boss,
He's workin' for Gov'ment now—
They give him his board for nothin',
All along of a drunken row,
An' Mam? well, she's in the poor-house,
Been there a year or so,
So I'm taking care of the others,
Doing as well as I know.
 
Tibby my sister? Not much, Boss,
She's a kitten, a real Maltee;
I picked her up last summer—
Some boys was a drownin' of she;
Throw'd her inter a hogshead;
But a p'liceman came along,
So I jest grabbed up the kitten
And put for home, right strong.
 
And Tom's my dog; he an' Tibby
Hain't never quarreled yet—
They sleep in my bed in winter
An' keeps me warm—you bet!
Mam's cat sleeps in the corner,
With a piller made of her paw—
Can't she growl like a tiger
If anyone comes to our straw!
 
Oughtn't to live so? Why, Mister,
What's a feller to do?
Some nights, when I'm tired an' hungry,
Seems as if each on 'em knew—
They'll all three cuddle around me,
Till I get cheery, and say:
Well, p'raps I'll have sisters an' brothers,
An' money an' clothes, too, some day.
 
But if I do git rich, Boss,
(An' a lecturin' chap one night
Said newsboys could be Presidents
If only they acted right);
So, if I was President, Mister,
The very first thing I'd do,
I'd buy poor Tom an' Tibby
A dinner—an' Mam's cat, too!
 
None o' your scraps an' leavin's,
But a good square meal for all three;
If you think I'd skimp my friends, Boss,
That shows you don't know me.
So 'ere's your papers—come take one,
Gimme a lift if you can—
For now you've heard my story,
You see I'm a fam'ly man!