Ballad of Willie Higgins, The
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It was early one morning in the month of October
The leaves they were falling and the weather was cold
And the wind from the north did blow loudly and freely
Over all of the country as my tale doth unfold
With the fumes rising grimy o’er Surbiton gasworks
The fence round the brewery did rattle and groan
At the door of her semi in Waverley Gardens
In a pink frilly nightie stood fair Mrs. Jones

Then bold Willie Higgins the earnest young milkman
With his shiny peaked cap and his apron so clean
Appeared round the corner in his battered old milk float
And stopped in the road outside number fourteen
"Come inside, Willie Higgins, and sit at my table
And many’s the tale that to you I’ll confide
And when we have done we’ll go up for some crumpets
And them we’ll have toasted and buttered both sides"

"Oh no Mrs. Jones for I fear that your husband
Will shortly return and wreak vengeance on me
For I know he’s a chartered accountant in Wilmslow
And travels from there on the five thirty three"

"Fear not" quoth the lady, "For I know my husband
His ways are in no wise a secret to me
For tonight do be Thursday and he’ll be a-drinking
With Henry Carruthers in the Old Willow Tree"

Willie Higgins the milkman did tarry no longer
He was in through the door and upstairs like a hare
He hung his peaked cap on the top of the bedpost
And laid his blue apron aside on the chair
And all through the day and all evening they sported
While Surbiton Gasworks did rumble and heave
Till around ten o’clock Willie Higgins did finish
And arose from the bed to be taking his leave

"Stay yet awhile Oh, I pray you, dear lover!"
Said fair Mrs. Jones with a gleam in her eye
"My husband will yet be an hour or more
And it seems that your gold tops will never run dry"
But bold Willie Higgins grew tired and drowsy
And laid himself down for to take of some sleep
And when he awoke Mr. Jones had returned
And glared at them both as he stood by their feet

"Rise up Willie Higgins and gird on your apron
And we’ll go to the garden around at the back
It’ll never be said in fair Surbiton’s kingdom
That I slew a man as he lay in the sack
With tight-furled umbrellas at twenty five paces
We’ll settle this matter and trouble no more
And you shall strike first and I’ll cry for no quarter
And I shall strike second and I’ll kill you for sure"

So Willie struck first and his blow was well aimed
Mr. Jones’ false teeth they did fall to the grass
Mr. Jones did strike second and his deadly umbrella
Went in at the front and came out through the back
Willie Higgins lay dying in a bed of geraniums
Down by the shed where the lawnmower lay
And then Mr. Jones seized his wife by the shoulder
Demanded of her whom preferred she of they

"Oh you are a man and a chartered accountant
But your semi-detached is so lonely and grim
And you won’t let me go to the bingo on Tuesdays
But here’s Willie Higgins - I’d rather have him!"

As fair Mrs. Jones did speak thus to her husband
His fury arose and his rage knew no bounds
He struck at his wife and his weapon drove deeply
And mortally wounded she fell to the ground

So take care all ye milkmen that fancy your chances
And make sure you’re gone ‘ere the evening draws nigh
Or you may find a chartered accountant from Wilmslow
With tight-furled umbrella resolved that you die
Oh learn from the story of bold Willie Higgins
Who tarried too long with his lady so fair
And met with his downfall in Waverley Gardens
And lies ‘neath the rhubarb in Surbiton Square