The TWINS of Lucky Stricke

From Klondike memories half a century old comes a new Christmas ballad which could have been written only by the creator of Dangerous Dan McGrew

ROBERT W. SERVICE,Robert W. Service December 15 1953

The TWINS of Lucky Stricke

From Klondike memories half a century old comes a new Christmas ballad which could have been written only by the creator of Dangerous Dan McGrew

ROBERT W. SERVICE,Robert W. Service December 15 1953

The TWINS of Lucky Stricke

ROBERT W. SERVICE

From Klondike memories half a century old comes a new Christmas ballad which could have been written only by the creator of Dangerous Dan McGrew

I’ve sung of Violet de Vere, that slinky, minky dame; Of Maye Lamore—at eighty-four I ought to blush with shame To think that in my ruddy youth I knew them ladies well— Knew Gertie of the Diamond Tooth and Touch-the-Button Nell; And Klondike Kit and Gumboot Sue and many I’ve forgot— (They had their faults as I recall, the same as you and me) But come to take them all in all, the honey of the lot The Queen of Yukon dance-hall dames was Montreal Maree.

And yet her heart was bigger than a barn, the boys would say. Always the first to help the sick, and so with words of woe, She put me wise that Lipstick Lou was in the family way: "And who ze babee’s fazzaire is, only ze bon Dieu know!” Then on a black and bitter night passed on poor Lipstick Lou, And holding out the newly born—and by gosh! there was two— Beside the bedside, midwife-wise, with tears allowing free, "Voila! I am zere mossaire now,” said Montreal Maree.

Said One-Fyed Mike: "In Lucky Strike we’ve never yet had twins.” (As like a doting father he held one on each knee.) "Say, boys, ain’t they a purty sight, as like’s a pair o’ pins? "We gotta hold a christenin’ with Father Tim McGee.” "Include me in as godpa,” bellows Black Moran from Nome, "So long as I can tote a gun them kids won’t lack a home, "A man who don’t love children is a blasted S.O.B.” "I sink zey creep into my heart,” said Montreal Maree.

’Twas hectic in the Nugget Bar; the hooch was flowing free, And Lousetotvn Liz was caroling how someone done her wrong, With sixty seeded sourdoughs all a-hollerin’ their glee, When One-Eyed Mike uprose and called suspension of the song. Says he: "Aloodin’ to them twins, their age in months is two, " ’Twould sure be mighty pleasin’ to the ghost of Lipstick Lou "If I propose, with Christmas close, we offer them a Tree.” "Zen you will be ze Père Noel,” said Montreal Maree.

The dance hall of the Nugget Bar erupted joy and light, And there, like cherubs in their robes of pure baptismal white, And set upon the stage, them twins was elegant to see, Abaskin’ in the sunny smile of Father Tim McGee. Then on the bar climbs Santa Claus, says he: "We ll frame a Trust, "To give them kids a break in life we’ll raise enough or bust; "So all you sourdoughs heft your pokes and hang them on the Tree . . "For zem I pray ze Lord to bless,’’ said Montreal Maree.

You never saw a Christmas Tree the likes o’ that, I vow,

(Wi’ solid pokes o’ virgin gold a-weighin’ down each bough), As sixty solemn sourdoughs ringed round them infants two A-singin’ Christ Is Risen for the soul o’ Lipstick Lou.

("Lo! Death is the deliverer and purger of our sins,

"And Motherhood leads up to God,” said Father Tim McGee.) Then all the Ladies of the Line bent down to kiss them twins, Clasped to the breast, Madonna-like, of Montreal Maree.

Sure ’tis the love for children makes for saving of the soul,

And in maternity the hope of humankind we see;

So though she wears no halo. heading out for Heaven's goal, A-ivheelin’ of a double pram—Bless Montreal Maree.

Robert W. Service

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Robert Service, who wrote this poem especially for Maclean’s, is not dead—as many believe—but very much alive. Best known for his Songs of a Sourdough, ballads of Klondike which have sold a million copies, he has written one thousand poems and is now working on his thirteenth book of verse. Now in his eighties, he lives in Monte Carlo.