A Celebration of Women Writers

"James and the Shoulder of Mutton." by Adelaide O'Keeffe (1776-1855)
Publication: Taylor, Jane & Taylor, Ann. Little Ann and Other Poems. London, New York: George Routledge & Sons, 1883. pp. 19-21.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

JAMES AND THE SHOULDER OF MUTTON.

YOUNG Jem at noon return'd from school,
  As hungry as could be,
He cried to Sue, the servant-maid,
  "My dinner give to me. "

Said Sue, "It is not yet come home;
  Besides, it is not late. "
"No matter that, " cries little Jem,
  "I do not like to wait. "

Quick to the baker's Jemmy went
  And ask'd, "Is dinner done?"
"It is," replied the baker's man.
  "Then home with it I'll run."

"Nay, Sir, " replied he prudently,
  "I tell you 'tis too hot,
And much too heavy 'tis for you. "
  "I tell you it is not."

[Page 20]

"Papa, mamma, are both gone out,
  And I for dinner long;
So give it me, it is all mine,
  And baker, hold your tongue.

"A shoulder 'tis of mutton nice!
  And batter-pudding too;
I'm glad of that, it is so good;
  How clever is our Sue! "

Now near the door young Jem was come,
  He round the corner turn'd,
But oh, sad fate! unlucky chance!
  The dish his fingers burn'd.

Now in the kennel down fell dish,
  And down fell all the meat:
Swift went the pudding in the stream,
  And sail'd along the street.

[Page 21]

The people laugh'd, and rude boys grinn'd
  At mutton's hapless fall;
But though ashamed, young Jemmy cried,
  "Better lose part than all."

The shoulder by the knuckle seized,
  His hands both grasp'd it fast,
And deaf to all their gibes and cries,
  He gain'd his home at last.

"Impatience is a fault," cries Jem,
  "The baker told me true;
In future I will patient be,
  And mind what says our Sue. "

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Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom