East End 1888

“He had a Gladstone bag, he did, of leather”

“A doctor?”

“Don’t think so, not much of a talker.”

“Charming?”

“No, but clever”

The lot of them, women, down and out.
desperate for a draught of gin or stout.
favors for pence, shillings,
from the quite generous,
perhaps a crown.

The younger ones said “I won’t be doing this for long.”
The older women, the worse for drink
said they’d do it ’till it “gave out”
A bit of bread, doss money, another drunken lout.

“Have you seen the Devil?” the new sign read.
( they erased the writing on the wall)

For when she’s scared the royalty away,
Saucy Jack comes out to play.
But it wasn’t her in that bed.
A compliment to call that girl dead.
She took Mary’s place,
so he had to take her face,
He knew it wasn’t her at all.

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