Policeman's Scrape (Prose)

A poem by John Hartley

Tawkin abaat policemen reminds me ov a mess one on 'em gate into a while sin. Aw shalln't tell awther his name or his number, becoss it's net my wish to get ony body into trouble. It's enuff for me to say he's a gooid-lukkin chap, an' if he isn't wed his wife is. He wor on neet duty, an' at one o' th' haases he had to pass, lived a fine buxom sarvent. Policemen have allus been nooated for havin a fancy for sarvents, an' this wor like th' rest, an' befoor long they grew soa friendly 'at shoo used to invite him in after th' maister an' th' mistress had gooan to bed. One neet he'd crept in, an' they wor whisperin varry lovinly together, when shoo tell'd him ther wor noa cold mait o' ony sooart. "Awm glad on it," he sed, "for awm stoled o' cold stuff. That luks a bit o' nice bacon at's hung up, does ta think tha could do me a bit anent th' fire, aw think ther's as mich heeat as'll cook it?"

"Well, Robert," shoo sed, "if yo'll sit daan an' wait awl try."

Soa he put his lantern onto th' table an' sat daan wol shoo gate a little dutch oven an hooked two nice collops in; but shoo fancied shoo could enjoy one hersen, soa shoo stept up into a cheer to cut off another, an' as shoo'd th' knife i' one hand an' cannel i' th' tother shoo ovverbalanced hersen, and fell onto th' floor, settin up sich a skrike as yo niver heeard. Th' 'cannel went aat when it fell an all wor as dark as pitch, and Robert hearin th' maister skutterin daan th' stairs thowt his best plan wor to hook it; soa he grab'd up his lantern for owt he knew an buckled it on as he wor hurryin up th' steps. He'd hardly left when th' maister runs aat in his shirt, callin aat, "Police! police!" Robert comes fussin on as if he knew nowt abaat it, an' went back wi' th' maister, who wor soa freetened wol he darn't spaik.

When they went in th' sarvent had sam'd hersen up, an lit th' cannel agean; but th' lass forgate her fall an' th' maister his fright, when they lukd at th' policeman an' saw he'd getten th' dutch oven i' th' front on him astead ov his lantern, an' two bacon collops swingin in it.

They settled th' matter amang thersens, but it towt that policeman niver to tak off his lantern until he'd done wi' it.

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