...and talking of words... in the 1920s Stanley Holloway developed the monologue characters of Sam Small and the Ramsbottom family originally written by Marriot Edgar.


'Three Ha'pence a Foot'.

I'll tell you an old-fashioned story That Grandfather used to relate,
Of a Joiner and building contractor; 'Is name, it were Sam Oglethwaite.

In a shop on the banks of the Irwell, Old Sam used to follow 'is trade,
In a place you'll have 'eard of, called Bury ; You know, where black puddings is made.

One day, Sam were filling a knot 'ole Wi' putty, when in thro' the door
Came an old feller fair wreathed i ' whiskers; T'ould chap said "Good morning, I'm Noah."

Sam asked Noah what was 'is business, And t'ould chap went on to remark,
That not liking the look of the weather, 'E were thinking of building an Ark.

'E'd gotten the wood for the bulwarks, And all t'other shipbuilding junk,
And wanted some nice Bird's Eye Maple To panel the side of 'is bunk.

Now Maple were Sam's Mon-o-po-ly ; That means it were all 'is to cut,
And nobody else 'adn't got none ; So 'e asked Noah three ha'pence a foot.

" A ha'penny too much," replied Noah. " Penny a foot's more the mark ;
A penny a foot, and when rain comes, I'll give you a ride in me Ark."

But neither would budge in the bargain ; The whole daft thing were kind of a jam,
So Sam put 'is tongue out at Noah, And Noah made " Long Bacon '' at Sam.

In wrath and ill-feeling they parted, Not knowing when they'd meet again,
And Sam had forgot all about it, 'Til one day it started to rain.

It rained and it rained for a fortni't, And flooded the 'ole countryside.
It rained and it kep' on raining, 'Til the Irwell were fifty miles wide.

The 'ouses were soon under water, And folks to the roof 'ad to climb.
They said 'twas the rottenest summer That Bury 'ad 'ad for some time.

The rain showed no sign of abating, And water rose hour by hour,
'Til the only dry land were at Blackpool. And that were on top of the Tower.

So Sam started swimming to Blackpool; It took 'im best part of a week.
'Is clothes were wet through when 'e got there, And 'is boots were beginning to leak.

'E stood to 'is watch-chain in water, On Tower top, just before dark,
When who should come sailing towards 'im But old Noah, steering 'is Ark.

Noah said "Nay ; I'll make thee an offer, The same as I did t'other day.
A penny a foot and a free ride. Now, come on, lad, what does tha say ? "

" Three ha'pence a foot," came the answer. So Noah 'is sail 'ad to hoist,
And sailed off again in a dudgeon, While Sam stood determined, but moist.

Noah cruised around, flying 'is pigeons, 'Til fortieth day of the wet,
And on 'is way back, passing Blackpool, 'E saw old Sam standing there yet.

'Is chin just stuck out of the water ; A comical figure 'e cut.
Noah said : " Now what's the price of yer Maple ? " Sam answered :" Three ha'pence a foot."

Said Noah : " Ye'd best take my offer ; It's last time I'll be hereabout ;
And if water comes half an inch higher, I'll happen get Maple for nought."

They stared at each other in silence, 'Til Ark were alongside, all but,
Then Noah said: " What price yer Maple ? " Sam answered : " Three ha'pence a foot."

" Three ha'pence a foot it'll cost yer, And as fer me," Sam said, " don't fret.
The sky's took a turn since this morning; I think it'll brighten up yet."


'The Lion and Albert'.

There's a famous seaside place called Blackpool, That's noted for fresh air and fun,
And Mr. and Mrs. Ramsbottom , Went there with young Albert, their son.
A grand little lad was young Albert, All dressed in his best;quite a swell,
With a stick with an 'orse's 'ead 'andle, The finest that Woolworth's could sell.

They didn't think much to the Ocean: The waves, they was fiddlin' and small,
There was no wrecks and nobody drownded, Fact, nothing to laugh at at all.
So, seeking for further amusement, They paid and went into the Zoo,
Where they'd Lions and Tigers and Camels, And old ale and sandwiches too.

There were one great big Lion called Wallace; His nose were all covered with scars,
He lay in a somnolent posture, With the side of his face on the bars.
Now Albert had heard about Lions, How they was ferocious and wild,
To see Wallace lying so peaceful, Well, it didn't seem right to the child.

So straightway the brave little feller, Not showing a morsel of fear,
Took his stick with its 'orses 'ead 'andle And pushed it in Wallace's ear.
You could see that the Lion didn't like it, For giving a kind of a roll,
He pulled Albert inside the cage with 'im, And swallowed the little lad 'ole.

Then Pa, who had seen the occurrence, And didn't know what to do next,
Said " Mother! Yon Lion's 'et Albert," And Mother said " Well, I am vexed!"
Then Mr. and Mrs. Rarnsbottom, Quite rightly, when all's said and done,
Complained to the Animal Keeper, That the Lion had eaten their son.

The keeper was quite nice about it; He said " What a nasty mishap.
Are you sure that it's your boy he's eaten ? " Pa said "Am I sure ? There's his cap! "
The manager had to be sent for. He came and he said " What's to do ? "
Pa said " Yon Lion's 'et Albert, And 'im in his Sunday clothes, too."

Then Mother said, " Right's right, young feller; I think it's a shame and a sin,
For a lion to go and eat Albert, And after we've paid to come in."
Then off they went to the Police Station, In front of the Magistrate chap;
They told 'im what happened to Albert, And proved it by showing his cap.

The manager wanted no trouble, He took out his purse right away,
Saying " How much to settle the matter ? " And Pa said " What do you usually pay?"
But Mother had turned a bit awkward, When she thought where her Albert had gone.
She said " No ! someone's got to be summonsed", So that was decided upon.

The Magistrate gave his opinion That no one was really to blame,
And he said that he hoped the Ramsbottoms , Would have further sons to their name.
At that Mother got proper blazing, " And thank you, sir, kindly," said she.
" What, waste all our lives raising children, To feed ruddy Lions? Not me!"


'The Return of Albert'.

You've 'eard 'ow young Albert Ramsbottom, In the Zoo up at Blackpool one year,
With a stick with an 'orse's 'ead 'andle, Gave a lion a poke in the ear.
The name of the lion was Wallace, The poke in the ear made 'im wild ;
And before you could say " Bob's your Uncle," 'E'd up and 'e'd swallered the child.

'E were sorry the moment 'e'd done it, With children 'e'd always been chums,
And besides, 'e'd no teeth in 'is noddle, And 'e couldn't chew Albert on t' gums.
'E could feel the lad moving inside 'im, As 'e lay on 'is bed of dried ferns,
And it might 'ave been little lad's birthday, 'E wished 'im such 'appy returns.

But Albert kept kicking and fighting, Till Wallace arose feeling bad,
And felt it were time that 'e started to stage A come-back for the lad.
So with 'is 'ead down in a corner, On 'is front paws 'e started to walk,
And 'e coughed and 'e sneezed and 'e gargled, Till Albert shot out like a cork.

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Old Wallace felt better direc'ly, And 'is figure once more became lean,
But the only difference with Albert Was 'is face and 'is 'ands were quite clean.
Meanwhile Mister and Missus Ramsbottom 'Ad gone 'ome to tea feeling blue ;
Ma says " I feel down in the mouth like," Pa says " Aye! I bet Albert does too."

Said Ma " It just goes for to show yer That the future is never revealed,
If I thought we was going to lose 'im I'd 'ave not 'ad 'is boots soled and 'eeled."
" Let's look on the bright side," said Father, " What can't be 'elped must be endured,
Every cloud 'as a silvery lining, And we did 'ave young Albert insured."

A knock at the door came that moment As Father these kind words did speak,
'Twas the man from t' Prudential, E'd called for their " tuppence per person per week."
When Father saw who 'ad been knocking, 'E laughed and 'e kept laughing so,
That the young man said " What's there to laugh at ?" Pa said " You'll laugh an' all when you know."

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" Excuse 'im for laughing," said Mother, " But really things 'appen so strange,
Our Albert's been ate by a lion, You've got to pay us for a change."
Said the young feller from the Prudential, " Now, come come, let's understand this,
You don't mean to say that you've lost'im?" Ma says " Oh, no ! we know where 'e is."

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Whentheyoung man 'ad 'eard all the details, A bag from 'is pocket he drew,
And 'e paid them, with int'rest and bonus, The sum of nine pounds four and two.
Pa 'ad scarce got 'is 'and on the money When a face at the window they see,
And Mother says " Eeh ! look, it's Albert," And Father says " Aye, it would be."

Young Albert came in all excited, And started 'is story to give,
And Pa says " I'll never trust lions again, Not as long as I live."
The young feller from the Prudential To pick up the money began,
And Father says " Eeh ! just a moment, Don't be in a hurry, young man."

Then giving young Albert a shilling, He said " Pop off back to the Zoo.
'Ere's yer stick with the 'orse's 'ead 'andle, Go and see what the Tigers can do ! "

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www.monologues.co.uk Has a large number of monologues. Make 'em Laugh.


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