Dorkins’ Night

The theatre was full – it was Dorkins’ night;
That is, Dorkins was going to appear
At night in a favorite comedy part,
For he was comedian here.
Funny? Why, he’d make you laugh
Till the tears ran down you cheeks like rain,
And as long as Dorkins was on the stage
You’d try to stop laughing in vain.
A family? Yes, he’d a family,
And he loved them as dear as life,
And you’d scarcely find a happier lot
Than Dorkins’ children and wife,
There came one night, and I was in front,
And Dorkins was going to play
A character new to himself and the stage
That he’d trod for so many a day,
By 8 the theatre was perfectly crammed,
All waiting a pleasant surprise,
For they knew they would laugh
Till there sides would ache,
And they longed for the curtain to rise.
The play soon began;
Each neck was stretched forth,
And eagerly watched each eye
For Dorkins to make his first “entrance,”
And then to give him a cheerful “Hi, hi.”
He soon appeared amid loud applause,
But something was wrong, you cannot see,
“Dorkins is playing quite badly tonight,”
The people said sitting round me,
A hiss? Yes, it was. I saw Dorkins start
As though stung by a serpent’s fang;
Then he’d cast a beseeching glance all around,
And his head on his breast would hang.
He’s drunk, and really I thought so myself,
For to me it was awful at times
To see how he’d struggle along with his part,
And continually stick in his lines,
The footlights at last he approached very slow,
And “Ladies and gentlemen” said,
If I cannot please you tonight,
The fault’s not the heart, but the head,
There’s many a night I’ve made you all laugh
When I could scarcely well stand,
And over effort, was pain to me then,
Yes, if I even raised but my hand,
You hissed me tonight
And think that I am drunk
(From his heart came a sob and a moan);
I’ll tell you the reason –
I know you won’t laugh –
I’ve a little one dying at home.”

Sent in by F. W. M., Milford, NH

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