Old Town Types No.2 – Red Matt

Clarence Michael James Dennis

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He gleaned all the gossip and he gathered all the news,
Mad Matt, the carrier, delivering the grub;
He knew the trooper's tattle and he knew the parson's views,
The gossip at the station-yard, the gossip at the pub.
That high-pitched voice of his, the loudest voice in town,
That shrewd blue eye of his, with humor all a-gleam -
Old Red Matt, with his cabbage-tree hat,
His trolley, and his two-horse team.

Driving down the main street a-clatter with his load,
The great red beard of him blowing out behind:
"Hear about that accident's mornin' up the road?
Hear about the gold rush at Joe Scott's find?
Warmish sort o' day we got; thirsty weather this.
Got a bag o' spuds for you - Dang! Fergot the cream!"
Says old Red Matt with his cabbage-tree hat,
And his trolley, and his two-horse team.

Mad Matt, the carrier, standing at the bar:
"Well here's a go, boys. Got to get along
Seven pints I've had today and still to travel far.
Drink fast and drive fast, yeh can't go wrong.
Fill 'em up again, boss, ans hove it on the slate.
Half-a-ton aboard today - just tipped the beam,"
Says old red Matt with the cabbage-tree hat,
And his trolley, and his two-horse team.

Sudden were his wild ways, sudden, too, his end.
Jumped to grab a bolting team with kiddie sin the trap;
And they picked up Mad Matt, everybody's friend,
Silent now and broken; and they said, "Brave chap.
Wild an' all," they said of him, "always was a white man."
And they laid him, with a blessing, where his old mates dream,
Saying, "So long, Matt, with your cabbage-tree hat,
And your trolley, and your two-horse team."

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