SKIMBLESHANKS: THE RAILWAY CAT
There's a whisper down the line at 11.39
When the night mail's ready to depart,
Saying 'Skimble where is Skimble has he gone to hunt the thimble
We must find him or the train can't start.'
All the guards and all the porters and the stationmaster's daughters
They are searching high and low,
Saying 'Skimble where is Skimble for unless he's very nimble
Then the night mail just can't go.'
At 11.42 then the signal's nearly due
And the passengers all frantic to a man -
Then Skimble will appear and he'll saunter to the rear:
He's been busy in the luggage van!
He gave one flash of his glass-green eyes
And the signal went 'All clear!'
They'd be off at last for the northern part
Of the northern hemisphere!
You might say that by and large it is Skimble who's in charge
Of the Sleeping Car Express.
From the driver and the guards to the bagmen playing cards
He will supervise them all, more or less.
Down the corridor he paces and examines all the faces
Of the travelers in the First and in the Third;
He established control by a regular patrol
And he'd know at once if anything occurred.
He will watch you without winking and he saw what you were thinking
And it's certain that he didn't approve
Of hilarity and riot, so that folk were very quiet
When Skimble was about and on the move.
You could play no pranks with Skimbleshanks!
He's a cat that couldn't be ignored;
So nothing went wrong on the Northern Mail
When Skimbleshanks was aboard.
Oh it's was very pleasant when you have found their little den
With their name written up on the door.
And the berth was very neat with a newly folded sheet
And not a speck of dust on the floor.
There was every sort of light - you could make it dark or bright;
There's a button that you could turn to make a breeze.
There's a funny little basin you're supposed to wash your face in
And a crank to shut the window should you sneeze.
Then the guard looks in politely and would ask you very brightly
'Do you like your morning tea weak or strong?'
But Skimble's just behind him and was ready to remind him,
For Skimble won't let anything go wrong.
And when you creep into your cozy berth
And pull up the counterpane,
You are bound to admit that it's very nice
To know that you won't be bothered by mice -
You can leave all that to the Railway Cat,
The cat of the railway train!
In the middle of the night he is always fresh and bright;
Every now and then he has a cup of tea
With perhaps a drop of scotch while he's keeping on the watch,
Only stopping here and there to catch a flea.
You were fast asleep at Crewe and so you never knew
That he was walking up and down the station;
You were sleeping all the while he was busy at Carlisle,
Where he greets the stationmaster with elation.
But you saw him at Dumfries, where he summons the police
If there's anything they ought to know about:
When you get to Gallowgate there you did not have to wait -
For Skimbleshanks will help you to get out!
He gives you a wave of his long brown tail
Which says: 'I'll see you again
You'll meet without fail on the Midnight Mail
The cat of the Railway Train.'