Digital Tradition Mirror


(Hillaire Belloc)

Matilda told such Dreadful Lies,
  It made one Gasp and Stretch one's Eyes;
Her Aunt, who, from her Earliest Youth,
  Had kept a Strict Regard for Truth,
Attempted to Believe Matilda:
  The effort very nearly killed her,
And would have done so, had not She
  Discovered this Infirmity.
For once , towards the Close of Day,
  Matilda, growing tired of play
And finding she was left alone,
  Went tiptoe to the Telephone,
And summoned the Immediate Aid
  Of London's Noble Fire-Brigade.
Within an hour the Gallant Band
  Were pouring in on every hand,
From Putney,Hackney Downs, and Bow
  With Courage high and Hearts a-glow
They galloped, roaring through the Town,
  `Matilda's House is Burning Down!'
Inspired by British Cheers and Loud
  Proceeding from the Frenzied Crowd,
They ran their ladders through a score
  Of windows on the Ball Room Floor;
And took Peculiar Pains to Souse
  The Pictures up and down the House,
Until Matilda's Aunt succeeded
  In showing them they were not needed;
And even then she had to pay
  To get the Men to go away!
It happened that a few Weeks later
  Her Aunt was off to the Theatre
To see that Interesting Play
  The Second Mrs Tanqueray.
She had refused to take her Niece
  To hear this Entertaining Piece:
A Deprivation Just and Wise
  To Punish her for Telling Lies.
That Night a Fire did break out -
  You should have heard Matilda Shout!
You should have heard her Scream and Bawl,
  And throw the window up and call
To People passing in the Street -
  (The rapidly increasing Heat
Encouraging her to obtain
  Their confidence) - but all in vain!
For every time She shouted `Fire!'
  They only answered `Little Liar'!
And therefore when her Aunt returned,
  Matilda, and the House, were Burned.

From Cautionary Tales, Hilaire Belloc

Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!

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