Skimbleshanks the Railway Cat lyrics

T.S. Eliot

Skimbleshanks, the Railway Cat
The Cat of the Railway Train

There's a whisper down the line
At eleven thirty-nine
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
Would be searching high and low
Saying "Skimble, where is Skimble?
For unless he's very nimble
Then the Night Mail just won't go."
At eleven forty-two
With the signal overdue
And the passengers all frantic to a man
That's when I would appear
And I'd saunter to the rear
I'd been busy in the luggage van!
Then he gave one flash
Of his glass-green eyes
And the signal went "All Clear!"

They'd be off at last
To the northern part
Of the Northern Hemisphere!

Skimbleshanks, the Railway Cat
The Cat of the Railway Train

You could say that by and large
It was me who was in charge
Of the Sleeping Car Express
From the driver and the guards
To the bagmen playing cards
I would supervise them all, more or less

Down the corridor he paces
And examines all the faces
Of the travellers in the First and the Third
He established his control
By a regular patrol
And he'd know at once if anything occurred
He would watch without winking
And he knows what you were thinking
And it's certain that he didn't approve
Of hilarity and riot
So the folk were very quiet
When Skimble was about and on the move
You could play no pranks with Skimbleshanks
He's a Cat that cannot be ignored!
So nothing went wrong
On the Northern Mail
When Skimbleshanks was aboard

It was very pleasant
When they'd 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
And a button you could turn to make a breeze
And 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 looked in politely
And would ask you very brightly:
"Do you like your morning tea...
...weak or strong?"

But I was just behind him
And was ready to remind him
For Skimble won't let anything go wrong

When they crept into their cozy berths and pulled up the counterpane
They all could reflect it was very nice
To know that they wouldn't be bothered by mice
They can leave all that to the Railway Cat
The Cat of the Railway Train

Skimbleshanks, the Railway Cat
The Cat of the Railway Train

In the watches of the night
I was always fresh and bright
Every now and then I'd have a cup of tea
With perhaps a drop of scotch
While I was busy keeping up the watch
Only stopping here and there to catch a flea

They were fast asleep at Crewe
And so they never knew
That I was walking up and down the station
They were sleeping all the while I was busy at Carlisle
Where I met the stationmaster with elation!

They might see me at Dumfries
If I summoned the police
If there was anything they ought to know about

When they got to Gallowgate
There they did not have to wait
For Skimbleshanks will help them to get out
And 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!

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