‘Ello dearie be ye looking for me? By the hearth I’m found, come over – let Elsie have a looksie. My eyes are old but my tongue is still sharp, so wipe off that smug smile, it be wider than a harp. Lest old Elsie give you a memorable thrashing, by mouth and with wit she’ll give a tongue lashing!

The gaggle round ‘ere call me the Mother Hen. They’re my girls and I’d kill a grown man for any of ’em. That’s Marie, Sara ‘n Lacey make three; don’t give Hannah the pretty boy eyes or she’ll treat you proper roughly. For they are the birds who down all the worms and the patrons? They pay a top fee. For an elegant murderess has flair to impress; even the finest gent you see. With a wink and a smile she’ll slit your throat; and if you’re fortunate she may not even gloat.

My chicks be for hire if the wage is right. They’ll deal with your foes and bundle them tight. Slice out their tongue for an additional cost; before throwing them in the Thames ever be lost. We do not procure corpses, what an insolent request; my ladies are artisans and easily the best. If cadavers you need then seek a grave robber; don’t waste our good time – you surely ain’t sober! They are dregs of the trade, them who’ll pinch a body decayed; for the medicinal men barter with blushing grave maids!

We take great pride in all of our work; my own first at 9 – in the neck with a dirk. Now I’m aging and weary and lean on the ladies; for they are genuine aristocrats filled with God’s graces. Now off you go before Marie and Lacey give chase; they’ll do you for free, they know jus’ the right place…

If you do consider yourself a clever man; then retire good Sir with vigorous haste. Give him ten ticks, a-fore you fly chicks. A head start he can hardly a-waste.



From The Rogues’ Gallery



© DJA 2016 All rights reserved.
 Cover: Still life with hen, onion and pot by Giacomo Ceruti