It was an August evening and, in snowy garments clad,
I paid a round of visits in the lines of Hezabad;
When, presently, my Waler saw, and did not like at all,
A Commissariat elephant careering down the Mall.
I couldn’t see he driver, and across my mind it rushed
That that Commissariat elephant had suddenly gone musth.
I didn’t care to meet him, and I couldn’t well get down,
So I let the Waler have it, and we headed for the town.
The buggy was a new one and, praise Dykes, it stood the strain,
Till he Waler jumped a bullock just above the City Drain;
And the next that I remember was a hurricane of squeals,
And the creature making toothpicks of my five—foot patent wheels.
He seemed to want the owner, so I fled, distraught with fear,
To the Main Drain sewage—outfall while he snorted in my ear —
Reached the four—foot drain—head safely and, in darkness and despair,
Felt the brute’s proboscis fingering my terror—stiffened hair.
Heard it trumpet on my shoulder —tried to crawl a little higher —
Found the Main Drain sewage outfall blocked, some eight feet up, with mire;
And, for twenty reeking minutes, Sir, my very marrow froze,
While the trunk was feeling blindly for a purchase on my toes!
It missed me by a fraction, but my hair was turning grey
Before they called the drivers up and dragged the brute away.
Then I sought the City Elders, and my words were very plain.
They flushed that four—foot drain—head and —it never choked again!
You may hold with surface—drainage, and the sun—for—garbage cure,
Till you’ve been a periwinkle shrinking coyly up a sewer.
I believe in well—flushed culverts. . . . This is why the death—rate’s small;
And, if you don’t believe me, get shikarred yourself. That’s all.