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Improved Methods

Where is Bruce the Burglar now, who, in the dead of night
Approached your bed with stealthy tread,
Applied a sand bag to your head,
Removed your watch and cash and fled,
Before the morning light?
He’s selling ham and sugar in a retail grocery store;
It’s safer far than burgling – and it pays a whole lot more!

Where’s Delancey Doane, the Dip, whose fingers lithe and lean,
Unknown to you, would hasten through
Your coat and vest, and as they flew
Took every solitary sou,
And picked you flat and clean?
Delancey runs a butcher shop, and gathers in the kale.
And never worries any more for fear he’ll go to jail!

Where is Percy Price, the Yegg, whose custom was to smash
A passerby upon the eye,
And, if the latter raised a cry,
A five-pound black-jack to apply,
And then collect his cash?
He owns a big hotel uptown – the profits are the same,
But selling beans at ninety cents is much the safer game!

It’s pleasant now of course to know that one may safely roam
About the street and never meet
A gentleman with padded feet
Who will not hesitate to beat
You smartly on your dome.
But though the methods they employ today are not so raw,
You’re paying far more tribute now that crooks respect the law!

From the South Bend News Times, September 11, 1919. By James J. Montague.

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