“Drown had a studio, Chelsea-way,
And painted there throughout the day,
And lived on bacon and beef and bread,
And looked on the wine when it was red,
And smoked large pipes in a velvet coat,
Being indeed an artist ;
One Jones lived with him a man who wrote
(An artist, he’d say, in black-and-white)
Who wrote in the watches of the night,
Taking his chance of getting a bite
As soon as his paper was ‘ put to bed ‘
And dawn turned Bouverie Street dull red
The only time he should not have fed.
These lived together, and each liked each.
But men, in their ungrammatical speech,
Said ‘ Jones, you know, is the smartest.’
Drayton-on-Wold is a quaint old place,
Quiet and slow as the old mill-race
Under the willows beyond Monks’ Mill,
Whose waters have aged since they left the hill.
In Domesday Book its name is writ
Nunquam geldam reddidit.
And the old millstones have lost their grit ;
Upper and Nether are both so old
That in Waterloo year the two were rolled
To lie in the nettles with broken chunks
Of the ancient home of forgotten monks,
From whose old dormitory
(Partly destroyed by bluff King Hal,
And come to dust, as all things shall)
A yeoman, who bore a pike at Edgehill,
Built so county historians say
The present Jacobean mill.
But life goes round in the mill to-day,
And Miss Gertrude is a live young gal,
And this is a modern story.
The miller, suffering from debt
And agricultural depression,
Stopped his wheels without regret,
And looked about for a new profession.
And while he looked, his goodwife set
A card in her window ‘ Rooms to let.’
So he bred pigs, and she let rooms,
And Gertrude bloomed as the hawthorn blooms.
Hither, in flight from an August town,
In search of fishing, came Jones and Brown.
Jones wrote typical topical notes
On How the Country Cousin Lives,
Splitting a hundred infinitives,
And Brown sketched ‘ bits,’ as they watched their floats
From noon to seven-thirty ;
And when they had supped (they scorned to dine)
Jones talked pigs to his host till nine
And then wrote ‘ pars ‘ at twopence a line ;
While Brown, to soothe his artistic soul,
Escorted on many an evening stroll
(And probably kissed) Miss Gertie.
Now, this is a somewhat curious thing ;
When Love was bound in a little gold ring,
And he kissed her, and she kissed him,
Brown’s artistic eye grew dim
With a teardrop winking at the brim. . . .
But they blest the couple, the old folks did ;
And Jones, smart Jones, was a quintum quid,
Alas, how easily things go wrong !
While all the world was love and a song,
And he wanted her for a sitter,
Brown, at the wish of the fair Gertrude,
Painted a sow and her pink pig brood,
Taking particular pains to get
A portrait of Gertie’s particular pet,
The fattest of the litter.
Brown was pleased with the whole effect.
But Gertie, when she stood to inspect,
Arm-in-arm with her lover,
Suddenly sniffed, began to cry,
Wouldn’t be kissed or comforted,
Hated him, and wished she was dead ;
Ran to her mother, went to bed,
Tossed and turned till the sun was high,
Rose with eyes dark-ringed and dry,
Gave him his ring, and said good-bye,
Kissing him once but the reason why
Brown could never discover.
Some day when you go to see
At a well-known public gallery
Sir Percival Brown’s ‘ A Study in Pink,’
Look at the fattest pig. I think,
Granted the gift of the seeing eye,
You’ll see Miss Gertie’s reason why.
A plump pink porker, smiling wide,
Flown with mangel-wurzel and pride,
Wallowing, gruntful, sated ;
Innocent, too, on life’s wide brink,
‘ Die to-morrow? let’s eat and drink ‘
Seems to sound from his chaps so pink ;
No self-knowledge or self-control,
No ambition, no hope, no Soul ;
Only a Body, in pink, pink skin. . . .
The poor girl saw Her Self therein.
And that’s what Gertie hated.
The usual rule with man and girl
Is just the opposite ; she’s the pearl,
And he the hog. . . .
But Time atones.
Next year Gertrude married Jones.
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Based on Keywords: sketched, supped, historians, atones, chunks, pars, artistic, teardrop, gertrude, goodwife, typical