Monday, December 2, 2013

"Jim, Bobby and Me" by Frances V. Hubbard (1901)

Jim, Bobby and Me.


Speakin' o' Crissmus—well, we never knowed

Wat Crissmus wuz, savin' mebbe a load

O' Crissmus greens we had seed in the street,

An' rich folks a-buyin' a Crissmus treat.

We seen lots o' good things to eat, and sich;

O' course we kids knowed they wuz jest for the rich.

But one day a Sky Pilot they called him—but why?

They can't need no pilots up there in the sky—

Anyway, "Boys," sez he, to Jim, Bobby an' me

"Won't you three fellers come to my Crissmus tree?

We lives in a cellar, an' ain't much on style,

As to three goin' our—it made us all smile;

Fer Jim owns the coat, an' Bob owns the hat,

An' I owns the shoes—they ain't much at that.

When we goes out in style each kid goes alone,

Fer we've got jest about the fixin's fer one.

We didn't much care, fer, watever 't would be,

We thort 't war n't no sight jest ter look at a tree.

But this feller he wanted us jest awful bad,

And we thort we'd accept the first invite we'd had.

We whispered to father; then said loud to him

That we could n't all go, but we'd surely send Jim.

We made up our minds that he'd jest fill the bill,

An' we rigged Jimmy up in a style fit ter kill.

I took my old shoes an' I guv 'em a shine

That 'ud jest advertise that business o' mine.

Bob lent him his trousers, the coat I brushed neat,

An' a collar we'd found made his outfit complete.

'T was a trifle too big an' wuz' covered with dirt,

But it kind o' concealed that he had n't no shirt.

Proud o' Jimmy we wuz when we hed him tricked out

Like a regular dude, without any doubt.

Jest then that there preacher cum in at the door.

I kinder suspect he hed been there before,

An', mebbe, had seen why we could n't three go,

An' had made up his mind we should all see the show.

Bob, he hid, as Jim's trousers fer him wuz too tight

He war n't fit, exactly, fer company's sight.

But land! that Sky Pilot seemed soon one o' us;

And, before we half knowed it, without any fuss

He brung from a package he'd left in the hall

Some coats, pants an' shoes that fer him was too small.

So he told us—an' that it was easy to see,

Fer, by luck, they jest fitted poor Bobby an' me.

Well, we went to the show. Great Scott! what a sight!

That there tree wuz a-growin', all blazin' with light.

It wuz jest loaded down with presents an' sich,

An' fer one night we knowed how it felt to be rich.

'T wuz candies an' noranges, nuts, an', my lor'!

Jim, Bobby an' me never seen such before.

An' singin'! They sung of some angels, an' then

They sang "Glory to God, an' good will to men."

But wat it all meant, Jim, Bobby an' me

We did n't jes' know; but 't wuz lovely to see;

An' we've made up our minds that we'll surely find out,

If we kin, wat this story of Crissmus's 'bout.

Troy Daily Times. December 24, 1901: 5 col 2.

The small boys in the poem seem to have heard the term "Sky Pilot" used without any understanding of what it meant, which I wondered about too:

"Some working men thought religion to be an unpractical affair. By 1893 they used the word sky-pilot as a contemptuous description of a minister.”

Chadwick, Owen. The Victorian Church: 1860-1901. London: Adam & Charles Black, 1972. 267.

I’m guessing they thought a pilot a strange thing to be in the sky due to thinking of a pilot light or possibly a ship’s pilot.

No comments:

Post a Comment