With that he struck the board a blow
That shivered half the glasses.
“Why couldn’t you have told me so
Three quarters of an hour ago,
You prince of all the asses?
“To walk four miles through mud and rain,
To spend the night in smoking,
And then to find that it’s in vain –
And I’ve to do it all again –
It’s really TOO provoking!
“Don’t talk!” he cried, as I began
To mutter some excuse.
“Who can have patience with a man
That’s got no more discretion than
An idiotic goose?
“To keep me waiting here, instead
Of telling me at once
That this was not the house!” he said.
“There, that’ll do – be off to bed!
Don’t gape like that, you dunce!”
“It’s very fine to throw the blame
On ME in such a fashion!
Why didn’t you enquire my name
The very minute that you came?”
I answered in a passion.
“Of course it worries you a bit
To come so far on foot –
But how was I to blame for it?”
“Well, well!” said he. “I must admit
That isn’t badly put.
“And certainly you’ve given me
The best of wine and victual –
Excuse my violence,” said he,
“But accidents like this, you see,
They put one out a little.
“‘Twas MY fault after all, I find –
Shake hands, old Turnip-top!”
The name was hardly to my mind,
But, as no doubt he meant it kind,
I let the matter drop.
“Good-night, old Turnip-top, good-night!
When I am gone, perhaps
They’ll send you some inferior Sprite,
Who’ll keep you in a constant fright
And spoil your soundest naps.
“Tell him you’ll stand no sort of trick;
Then, if he leers and chuckles,
You just be handy with a stick
(Mind that it’s pretty hard and thick)
And rap him on the knuckles!
“Then carelessly remark ‘Old coon!
Perhaps you’re not aware
That, if you don’t behave, you’ll soon
Be chuckling to another tune –
And so you’d best take care!’
“That’s the right way to cure a Sprite
Of such like goings-on –
But gracious me! It’s getting light!
Good-night, old Turnip-top, good-night!”
A nod, and he was gone.