Good News by Garnet Walch

Moostarchers and hair black as jet,
Tall and thin, with a sad kind of smile;
Soft-handed, soft-voiced, but well set—
A New Chum in manners and style.
That's him, sir—that's him; he's been here
A matter of nigh fourteen weeks,
Which I know by the rent in arrear,
Though a gent—you can tell when he speaks—
Came one night about eight, hired the room
Without board—it's four shillings, and cheap,
Though I say it, and me and the broom,
And good yaller soap for its keep;
And a widow with nine, which the twins—
Bless their 'arts—are that sturdy and bold
At their tricks soon as daylight begins,
Even now when it's perishing cold
O' mornings; and Betsy, my girl,
As answered the door, sir, for you,
She's so slow for her age, though a pearl
When there's any long job to get through;
And Bobby—but there, I forgot;
You'll pardon a mother, I know.
Well, for six weeks he paid up his shot,
And then I could see funds was low.
He dressed just as neat, but his coat
Got buttoned up nigher his chin,
And the scarf twisted round his poor throat
Missed a friend in the shape of a pin.
So the rent it run on, for, says I,
He's out of his luck, I can see,
And wants all his money to buy
His wittles (you brat, let that be).
Where he works I can't tell, but he's out
Every morning at nine from the house,
And he comes back at six or about,
And ups to his room like a mouse.
On Sundays the same, so I s'pose
He visits his friends on that day,
But where it may be that he goes
It's not in my knowledge to say.
He ain't well. I can tell by his walk;
He's as thin as a lath, and that pale;
But I never could get him to talk,
So I can't rightly guess what may ail.
He never sends out for no beer,
He don't smoke, and as far as I see,
Beyond the few clothes he brought here,
And a desk, he's as hard up as me.
What! you bring him good news; I am glad!
A fortune! ten thousand! Oh, la!
That's the physic for you, my poor lad.
This way, sir; it's not very far.
Mind that stair, please—the banister's broke.
Here's his door; hush, I'll knock. Ah! asleep.
Can't help it—you'd better be woke;
The news is too pretty to keep.
Ain't he sound, eh? Poor fellow, he's rocked
To rest in the Kingdom of Nod.
We'd better go in. It's not locked.
Follow me, sir. All dark. Oh! my God!