Pearson’s Magazine (UK), April 1910


Out in the silent Rockies,
 Tracking the Teddy-bears,
There’s a man whose brow is furrowed,
 Whose hairs are silvered hairs.
Folks in that far-off region
 Know him as “Jaundiced Jim”;
And now I’ll tell you his story.
 How do I know it? I’m him!

  *     *     *    *

Once I was gay and mirthful,
 Ready with quip and jest,
Strong men shook at the stories
 That I would get off my chest.
I knew no doubts nor sorrows;
 I was filled with the joy of youth.
But I dished my life in one second
 Through a morbid passion for truth.

Angela Grace Maguffin
 Was the belle of the county then.
Suitors? Including me—well,
 There must have been nine or ten.
But I put in some tricky work, and
 Cut out the entire batch
Till the fatal day that undid me—
 The day of the Ladies’ Match.

Cricket was not my forte.
 I never won a match
With a fifty made against time, or
 A wonderful one-hand catch.
Rude men called me a rabbit;
 So I thought it were best that day,
Lest Grace should have cause to despise me,
 To umpire and not to play.

(Why did no guardian angel
 Down to my rescue swoop,
And hiss in my ear: “You juggins!
 Desist, or you’re in the soup!”
Why did the Fates permit me
 To tackle that evil job?
Why did I offer to umpire?
 Why did—excuse this sob.)

Everything went like clockwork,
 The sky was a gentle blue;
The sun was shining above us,
 As the sun is so apt to do.
Everything went, as stated,
 Like the wheels of some well-made clock:
There wasn’t a sign of disaster
 Till Grace came in for her knock.

Nature seemed tense, expectant,
 All round was a solemn hush.
She murmured: “What’s this, please, umpire?”
 I said: “Two leg,” with a blush.
Down to the crease moved the bowler . . .
 Ah! Fate, ’twas a scurvy trick.
My Grace swiped out—and I heard it . . .
 Yes, an unmistakable click.

“ ’S that?” cried the cad of a bowler.
 “How was it?” yelled slip, the brute,
For a moment I stood there breathless—
 Breathless, and dazed, and mute.
How was it?” All creation
 Seemed filled with a hideous shout,
I wavered an instant, gulping . . .
 Then hoarsely I muttered: “Out!”

  *     *     *    *

Down where the grizzly grizzles;
 Out where the possums poss;
Where the boulders fall from the hill-side,
 And, rolling, gather no moss;
Where the wild cat sits in the sunshine,
 Chewing a human limb,
There’s a thin, sad, pale, grey hermit:
 Folks know him as “Jaundiced Jim.”