Do I know
Polly Brown? Do I know her? Why, damme, You might as well ask if I know
my own name?
It's a wonder you never heard tell of old Sammy, Her father, my mate in the
if I know little Poll! Why, I
nursed her As often, I reckon as old Mother
When they lived at the “Flats,” and old Sam went
a burster In Chinaman's Gully, and dropped
golden-haired mate, ever brimful of folly And childish conceit, and yet
ready to rest
Contented beside me, 'twas I who taught Polly
To handle four horses along with the best.
funny to hear the small fairy discoursing Of horses and drivers! I'll swear
that she knew
Every one of the nags that I drove to the “Crossing,” Their vices, and paces, and
She got a
strange whim in her golden-haired noodle That a driver's high seat was a
kind of a throne,
I've taken her up there before she could toddle, And she'd talk to the nags in a
tongue of her own.
Mother Brown got the horrors around her: (I think it was pineapple-rum
drove her daft)
She cleared out one night, and the next morning they found
her, A mummified mass, in a forty foot
Sammy?Well, Sammy was wailing and
weeping, And raving, and raising the
devil's own row;
He was only too glad to give into our keeping His motherless babe - we'd have
kept her till now
Maloney thought proper to court her, Among all the lasses he loved but
She's no longer Polly, our golden-haired daughter, She's Mrs Maloney, of Paddlesack
little girl Polly's no end of a swell (you Must know Jimmy shears fifty
thousand odd sheep) -
But I'm clean off the track, I was going to tell you The way in which Polly paid us
for her keep.
this way: My wife's living in Tumbarumba, And I'm down at Germanton yards,
for a sale,
Inspecting coach-horses (I wanted a number), When they flashed down a message
that made me turn
from Polly, to say the old wife had fallen Down-stairs, and in falling had
fractured a bone -
There was no doctor nearer than Tumut to call on, So she and the blacksmith had set
have to come down by the coach in the morning, As one of the two buggy ponies
Would I see the old doctor, and give him fair warning To keep himself decently straight
till they came?
making good money those times, and a fiver Per week was the wages my deputy
A good, honest worker, and out-and-out driver, But, like all the rest, a most
on this morning - which made it more sinful, With my women on board, the
Hung round all the bars till he loaded a skinful Of grog, and then started his
journey, dead drunk.
with my loved ones on board, drunk as Chloe, He might have got right by the
end of the trip
Had he rested contented and quiet, but no, he Must pull up at Rosewood, for one
finished him off, quick, and there he sat, dozing Like an owl on his perch,
Till a lurch of the coach came, when, suddenly losing His balance, he fell to the earth
all of a heap,
coach, with its four frightened horses, went
sailing Downhill to perdition and
Four galloping devils, with reins loosely trailing, And passengers falling all roads
in their wake.
bagmen, who sat on the box, jumped together And found a soft bed in the mud
of the drain;
The barmaid from Murphy's fell light as a feather - I think she got off with a bit of
jock, with his nerves most decidedly shaken, Made straight for the door, never
wasting his breath
In farewell apologies; basely forsaken, My wife and Poll Brown sat alone
with grim Death.
coach thundered downward, my wife fell a-praying; But Poll in a fix, now, is dashed
hard to beat:
She picked up her skirts, scrambled over the swaying High roof of the coach, till she
lit on the seat,
looked around.In her hand was a
pretty, Frail thing made of laces, with
which a girl strives
To save her complexion when down in the city - A lace parasol! yet it saved both
was game, you may bet your last dollar - She leans on the splashboard, and
stretches and strains
With her parasol, down by the off-sider's collar, Until she contrives to catch hold
of the reins.
quite secure in the crook of the handle, She clutched them - the parasol
I tell you no girl ever could hold a candle To Poll, as she hung back and clenched her white teeth.
bolters sped downward, with nostrils distended, She must get a pull on them ere they
The fence on the hill, where the road had been mended; The blocks bit the wheels with a
“sroope” and a screech;
little blue veins in her arms swelled and blackened; The reins were like
fiddle-strings stretched in her grip;
When the “break” hove in sight, the mad gallop had
slackened, She had done it, my word, they
were under the whip.
still had the pace on, but Polly was able To steer 'twixt the fences with
never a graze,
They flashed past the “Change” where the groom at the
stable Just stood with his mouth open,
dumb with amaze.
level she turned them, the best bit of driving That was ever done on this side
of the range,
And trotted them back up the hill-side, arriving With not a strap broken in front
of the “Change.”
wife? - well she prayed to the Lord till she
fainted; I reckon He answered her prayers
all the same -
He must have
helped Polly,it's curious now,
ain't it, To see a thin slip of a girl be
summons the driver?I had no
occasion - The coroner came with his jury
Who found that he died from a serious abrasion - Both wheels of the coach had gone
over his head.