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A. and B.


Fun, VI - 2nd November 1867

Once, under Spain's enfeebling sun,
  Twin brothers lived with me,
And, personality to shun,
  I call then A. and B.

They loved each other — that they did,
  'Twas rumoured near and far,
But from the time each was a kid
  Were most dissimilar.

A. had a pair of monstrous eyes,
  B.'s eyes were awful small;
B.'s nose attained a fearful size,
  A. had no nose at all.

A.'s hair reached, when he shook it out,
  The middle of his leg;
B.'s little head was just about
  As bald as any egg.

B. had a thin and taper waist,
  A. had no waist at all;
A. was too short for proper taste,
  B. just as much too tall.

And for his benefit, I say,
  Who further knowledge seeks,
The one had Civil Service pay,
  The other wrote critiques.

They meekly bore their painful lots —
  Men shunned them as a cuss,
And little tiny todding tots
  Would babble at them thus:

"We don't believe you're human kind —
  We would not on your oath —
So unconceivably designed,
  Exaggerations both!"

And A.'d reply, "It's very true
  That I am much too short;
And B., I must admit that you
  Too tall by half are thought.

"But why this taunt from every curb,
  In bold defiance hurled?
The average we don't disturb
  We wouldn't for the world!

"If you complain we're badly planned,
  Why all you've got to do,
Is add us both together and
  Divide the sum by two!"

The notion pleased the simple lad,
  He thought it quaintly rare;
It soon became his favourite fad
  To sing it everywhere.

"Divide us, please!" they would exclaim,
  With unabated noise,
A mania it at length became
  With these afflicted boys.

A Turk there was — BEN OUSEFF named,
  An armourer by trade.
(He was the maker of the famed
  "One shilling Damask blade").

These lads their little joke would shout
  At peaceful OUSEFF'S side,
And took delight in screaming out,
  "Divide us-pray, divide!"

The quaint conceit amused him much,
  He'd laugh, and would declare
With all his honest heart, that such
  A jest was passing rare!
Illustration by Gilbert

Encouraged in their mirthful play
  They'd scream and yell and shout,
"Divide us, please!" till he would say,
  "Enough, my friends — get out."

But still they screamed and would not list,
  "Divide us, monstrous men!"
"Well, since upon it you insist,
  I will," said honest BEN.

Illustration by Gilbert
"Your joke is getting stale and trite,
  You shan't offend again."
And then he smote a mighty smite,
  And cleft them into twain!

They shammed no meretricious glee
  At OUSEFF'S handiwork;
A. felt it very much, and he
  Said sternly to the Turk:

"This is a quibble, sir, and what
  Sharp practice people call —"
"It's what you asked for!" "No, it's not —
  By no means — not at all!"

*      *      *      *      *

I often wish I knew how they
  Drain their unpleasant cup:
I only know that B. and A.
  Were terribly cut up.

Perhaps they lived in severed bliss —
  Perhaps they groaned and died —
Perhaps they joined themselves like this,
  And gave their legs a ride.
Illustration by Gilbert

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