Marriott Edgar ( )

The Runcorn Ferry

On the banks of the Mersey, oer on Cheshire side, 
Lies Runcorn thats best known to fame 
By Transporter Bridge as takes folks over tstream, 
Or else brings them back across same. 

In days afore Transporter Bridge were put up, 
A ferryboat lay in the slip, 
And old Ted the boatman would row folks across 
At per tuppence per person per trip. 

Now Runcorn lay over on one side of stream, 
And Widnes on tother side stood, 
And, as nobody wanted to go either place, 
Well, the trade wasnt any too good. 

One evening, to Teds superlative surprise, 
Three customers came into view: 
A Mr and Mrs Ramsbottom it were,
And Albert, their little son, too. 

How much for the three? Mr Ramsbottom asked,
As his hand to his pocket did dip.
Ted said: Same for three as it would be for one, 
Per tuppence per person per trip. 

Youre not charging tuppence for that little lad? 
Said Mother, her eyes flashing wild. 
Per tuppence per person per trip, answered Ted, 
Per woman, per man, or per child.

Fivepence for three, thats the most that Ill pay, 
Said Father, Dont waste time in talk. 
Per tuppence per person per trip, answered Ted, 
And them, as cant pay, as to walk! 

We can walk, an all, said Father. Come Mother,
Its none so deep, weathers quite mild. 
So into the water the three of them stepped: 
The father, the mother, the child. 

The further they paddled, the deeper it got, 
But they wouldnt give in, once begun.
In the spirit thats made Lancashire what she is,
Theyd sooner be drownded than done. 

Very soon, the old people were up to their necks,
And the little lad clean out of sight. 
Said Father: Wheres Albert? And Mother replied:
Ive got hold of his hand, hes all right! 

Well, just at that moment, Pa got an idea 
And, floundering back to old Ted, He said:
Weve walked half-way. Come, tak us the rest 
For half-price -- thats a penny a head. 

But Ted wasnt standing for none of that there,
And, making an obstinate lip, 
Per tuppence per person per trip, Ted replied, 
Per trip, or per part of per trip. 

All right, then, said Father, let me tak the boat, 
And Ill pick up the others half-way. 
Ill row them across, and Ill bring the boat back, 
And thruppence in tbargain Ill pay. 

Twere money for nothing. Ted answered: Right-ho, 
And Father got hold of the sculls. 
With the sharp end of boat towards middle of stream,
He were there in a couple of pulls. 

He got Mother out -- it were rather a job, 
With the water, she weighed half a ton -- 
Then, pushing the oar down the side of the boat, 
Started fishing around for his son. 

When poor little Albert came up to the top, 
His collars were soggy and limp. 
And, with holding his breath at the bottom so long, 
His face were as red as a shrimp. 

Pa took them across, and he brought the boat back, 
And he said to old Ted on the slip:
Wilt row me across by mesen? Ted said:
Aye, at per tuppence per person per trip. 

When they got tother side, Father laughed fit to bust.
Hed got best of bargain, you see. 
Hed worked it all out, and hed got his own way,
And hed paid nobbut fivepence for three!

Marriott Edgar's other poems:
  1. Alberts Return
  2. Henry the Seventh
  3. Albert and the Eadsman
  4. Queen Matilda
  5. Richard Coeur-de-Lion

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