Clarence Michael James Dennis

Old Town Types No 20 – Mr Blades the Butcher

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Mr Blades, the butcher, was a large and beefy man,
"Best him at a cattle deal," 'twas said, "no other can.'
He ate a lot and drank a lot and had a lot to say,
And he jollied all the ladies in his large and airy way.
His family was numerous, and helped him in "the trade,"
And townsfolk had a deal to say of money what they made.
But Mr Blades just went his way, and had his bit of fun;
And joked about his appetite, his girth, or else his "run."

His "run" - a stretch of scrubland at the back of Connor's place -
Was a joke about the district; for it did not bear a trace
Of building or improvement. Yet some said Mr Blades
Had ambitions as a squatter, and a secret scorn for "trades" . . .
Then the cattle duffers started in the district. Connors raved,
But folk said it was wonderful how Mr Blades behaved.
Tho' he lost a hundred stores one night. But soon began the rows
When people in the town began to lose domestic cows.

Police surprised the gang one night out in the mulga shades,
And took the lot, red-handed, with their leader - Mr Blades.
Of course, the trial stirred our town, as nothing's stirred it since;
But when bad Blades got "three years hard," he did not even wince.
His family still strove to carry on the butcher's shop,
For folk refused to pay them, and demanded with some heat:
"Think you can charge for selling us our milkers back as meat?"

When Mr Blades came out of goal, he did not seem ashamed;
A little thinner now, perhaps, but not the least bit tamed.
He told the folk he'd paid his debts, and so, by gum, should they.
So he summoned all his debtors, and his debtors had to pay.
"For our own thieved and slaughtered cows!" wailed these bewildered folk.
But Mr Blades, the butcher, had his last and richest joke,
And, on the day he left the town, people who saw him said
He looked the picture of content - so beefy, large, and red.

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