The Price of Motoring

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52

The Judge looked down on the pleader,
And said with a long-drawn sigh,
“The police caught you using red petrol,
You must know that ’tis better to die.

Your licence you lose for a twelvemonth,
Your car must go rusty on blocks,
And if you start trying to sell it
I’ll be clapping you straight in the stocks.”

“But, your Honour,” the prisoner cried feebly,
“The crime I committed was small,
In fact, if you’ll let me explain it,
You’ll see it was no crime at all.”

The wig of the Judge seemed to quiver,
He appeared to be struck to the core.
“No crime to be using red petrol,
Well, I’ve never heard that one before.”

Said defendant, “I walked to the car park,
A Daimler was standing alone,
I burst open the lock and I pinched it,
I swear it was never my own.”

Then the Judge’s face broke into wrinkles,
He smiled to his right and his left.
“Then this isn’t a case of red petrol,
But just a three thousand pound theft.

The deed that you did was unsporting,
But hundreds have done it before,
And so I shall charge you three shillings,
To be paid to that man at the door.”

Some weeks after this case was over,
Another man stood in the dock,
He admitted to owning the Daimler,
But the red petrol came as a shock.

But the Judge took command of his licence,
And the car could not run for a year,
Made a fine just to show other motorists
That the price of red petrol is dear.

Well, maybe this tale has a moral,
Is it true that to motor’s a sin?
If we feel that the fines are too heavy
Is it not time we kicked up a din?

And it’s fact there’s a new phrase in England,
A simile some people call it,
Heard mostly in pickpocket circles,
“As thin as a motorist’s wallet.”

G. G. B.

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