Digital Tradition Mirror

The Ladies

The Ladies
(Rudyard Kipling)

I've taken my fun where I've found it;
     I've rogued an' I've ranged in my time,
I've 'ad my pickin' o' sweethwarts,
     An' four o' the lot was prime,
One was an 'arf-caste widow
     One was a woman at Prome
One was the wife of a jemadar-sais [1]
     An' one is a girl at home.

Now I aren't no 'and with the ladies
     For, takin' them all along
You never can say till you've tried 'em
     And then you are like to be wrong;
There's times that you think that you mightn't
     There's times that you know that you might,
But the things you will learn from the Yellow and Brown
     They'll 'elp you a lot with the white!

I was a young un at 'Oogli,
     Shy as a girl to begin;
Aggie de Castrer she made me,
     An' Aggie was clever as sin;
Older than me, but my first un,
     More like a mother she were--
Showed me the way to promotion an' pay,
     An' I learned about women from 'er!

Then I was ordered to Burma,
     Actin' in charge o' Bazar,
An' I got me a tiddy live 'eathen
     Through buyin' supplies off 'er pa.
Funny an' yellow an' faithful-
     Doll in a teacup she were-
But we lived on the square, like a true-married pair,
     An' I learned about women from 'er!

Then we was shifted to Neemuch
     (Or I might ha' been keepin' 'er now),
An' I took with a shiny she-devil,
     The wife of a nigger at Mhow;
'Taught me the gipsy-folks' bolee, [2]
     Kind o' volcano she were,
For she knifed me one night 'cause I wished she was white,
     And I learned about women from 'er!

Then I come 'ome in a trooper,
     'Long of a kid o' sixteen-
'Girl from a convent at Meerut
     The straightest I ever 'ave seen.
Love at first sight was 'er trouble,
     S@e didn't know what it were;
An' I wouldn't do such, 'cause I liked 'er too much,
     But I learned about women from 'er!

I've taken my fun where I've found it,
     An' now I must pay for my fun,
For the more you 'ave known o' the others
     The less will you settle to one;
An' the end of it's sittin' and thinkin',
     An' dreamin' Hell-fires to see;
So be warned by my lot (which I know you will not),
     And learn about women from me!

What did the Colonel's Lady think?
     Nobody ever knew.
Somebody asked the Sergeant's Wife
     An' she told 'em true;
When you get to a man in the case
     They're as like as a row of pins
For the Colonel's Lady an' Judy O'Grady
     Are sisters under their skins!

[1] Head-groom.
[2] Slang

Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!

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