Hood, Robert Allison

Scotland/Canada, (1880-1958)

The Rape of the Boot

  1. INTREPID Walter Moberly had many a vicissitude
  2. exploring in the Rockies and through the Cariboo.
  3. Right well he knew the dangers and he exercised solicitude
  4. as far as it was possible to obviate them too.
  5.  
  6. He met with weird adventures, remarkable and numerous,
  7. far more than are vouchsafed to the ordinary chap;
  8. and some were spiced with danger, some gay and others humorous
  9. but his spirit never faltered whatever the mishap.
  10.  
  11. He encountered savage grizzlies and the deadly rattlesnake
  12. and he backed bucking bronchos and rode them on the trail.
  13. Wild Indians could not scare him nor “bad whites” his courage shake,
  14. the Sherrif served a writ on him and then he did not quail.
  15.  
  16. He had taken the first contract for the road to Cariboo.
  17. His men went off and left the work to join the search for gold.
  18. The Government would not pay him the monies that were due
  19. and cancelled his road contract with loss to him untold.
  20.  
  21. He could have fled the country and left every obligation,
  22. but that was not his nature, although these were large and many;
  23. and it took him eight long, scrimping years to win emancipation.
  24. He was able then to liquidate and paid them every penny.
  25.  
  26. To go into that deeply here is not in my indenture.
  27. It were a striking subject, a theme inspiring, big;
  28. but the aim of this slight ditty is to set out an adventure
  29. that befell this hardy pioneer pertaining to a pig.
  30.  
  31. Once when travelling down the Fraser in his work of exploration
  32. one evening tired and footsore he arrived at Chapman’s Bar.
  33. There was none to bid him welcome but he asked no invitation
  34. to make himself at once at home for he had travelled far.
  35.  
  36. It was hot and he was thirsty but he found some handy food there
  37. and with flapjacks and with bacon he soon cooked himself a dinner;
  38. and, washed down with fragrant coffee, he adjudged it very good fare
  39. for any old campaigner whether he were saint or sinner.
  40.  
  41. There was a new log building with no doors or windows in it
  42. where a stretcher made of gunny sacks invited him to sleep.
  43. So he threw himself upon it and was “fast” in half a minute
  44. and knew no more till morning when the dawn began to peep
  45.  
  46. Then to his waking consciousness there came a curious snorting
  47. and a grunting loud and dissonant just close beside his head.
  48. So he opened wide his eyes in time to see a pig cavorting
  49. naively round the premises and nuzzling at his bed.
  50.  
  51. In an instant he had raised himself annoyed by such intrusion
  52. and looked around for something to rap the porker’s snout.
  53. Then he picked up his boot in the heat of his confusion
  54. and threw it at the grunting beast with hope to drive it out.
  55.  
  56. In this he was successful but, much to his astonishment,
  57. the pig “pinched” the missile and quickly made escape;
  58. nor waited to listen to the traveller’s admonishment,
  59. who followed in his stockinged feet indignant at the rape.
  60.  
  61. “His pigship” proved the swifter and vanished in the thicket
  62. before poor Walter Moberly could catch him by the tail;
  63. and sadly he soliloquized, “Now that just wasn’t ‘cricket,’
  64. to steal my boot away from me when I must walk to Yale!”
  65.  
  66. ‘T was a twenty-five mile journey without any road to follow
  67. and it proved a painful penance for his bruised and bleeding foot;
  68. but by nightfall he espied with joy the town’s lights in the hollow
  69. where he sojourned to recuperate and bought another boot.

Robert Allison Hood. Ballads of the Pacific Northwest: Its Discovery and Settlement. Toronto: Ryerson Press (1946).

About the Poet:

Robert Allison Hood (1880-1958), was a Scottish/Canadian poet and fiction author. Hood was born at Cupar, Fife in Scotland and came to California with his mother and brother in 1893. After graduating from the University of California at Berkeley in 1906, he moved to Vancouver, BC in 1906 to work in a real estate and insurance.

In addition to writing poems, articles, and plays, Hood published several books – most set in BC – including The Chivalry of Keith Leicester: A romance of British Columbia (1918), The Quest of Alistair (1921), The Case of Kinnear (1942), and Ballads of the Pacific Northwest (1946). [DES-06/14]

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