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The Mystery Of Mister Smith Analysis

Author: poem of Robert Service Type: poem Views: 4

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For supper we had curried tripe.

I washed the dishes, wound the clock;

Then for awhile I smoked my pipe -

Puff! Puff! We had no word of talk.

The Misses sewed - a sober pair;

Says I at last: "I need some air."

A don't know why I acted so;

I had no thought, no plot, no plan.

I did not really mean to go -

I'm such a docile little man;

But suddenly I felt that I

Must change my life or I would die.

A sign I saw: A ROOM TO LET.

It had a musty, dusty smell;

It gloated gloom, it growled and yet

Somehow I felt I liked it well.

I paid the rent a month ahead:

That night I smoked my pipe in bed.

From out my world I disappeared;

My walk and talk changed over-night.

I bought black glasses, grew a beard -

Abysmally I dropped from sight;

Old Tax Collector, Mister Smith

Became a memory, a myth.

I see my wife in widow's weeds;

She's gained in weight since I have gone.

My pension serves her modest needs,

She keeps the old apartment on;

And living just a block away

I meet her nearly every day.

I hope she doesn't mourn too much;

She has a sad and worried look.

One day we passed and chanced to touch,

But as with sudden fear I shook,

So blankly in my face she peered,

I had to chuckle in my beard.

Oh, comfort is a blessed thing,

But forty years of it I had.

I never drank the wine of Spring,

No moon has ever made me mad.

I never clutched the skirts of Chance

Nor daftly dallied with Romance.

And that is why I seek to save

My soul before it is too late,

To put between me and the grave

A few years of fantastic fate:

I've won to happiness because

I've killed the man that once I was.

I've murdered Income Taxer Smith,

And now I'm Johnny Jones to you.

I have no home, no kin, no kith,

I do the things I want to do.

No matter though I've not a friend,

I've won to freedom in the end.

Bohemian born, I guess, was I;

And should my wife her widowhood

By wedlock end I will not sigh,

But pack my grip and go for good,

To live in lands where laws are lax,

And innocent of Income Tax.


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