The Widow's Plot
or, She got what was coming to her,

by William Plomer

Troubled was a house in Ealing
Where a widow’s only son
Found her fond maternal feeling

She was fussy and possessive;
Lennie, in his teens,
Found the atmosphere oppressive;
	There were scenes.

Tiring one day of her strictures
Len went down the street,
Took a ticket at the pictures,
	Took his seat.

The picture was designed to thrill
But oh, the girl he sat beside!
If proximity could kill
	He’d have died.

Simple, sweet, sixteen and blonde,
Unattached, her name was Bess.
Well, boys, how would you respond?
	I can guess.

Len and Bessie found each other
All that either could desire,
But the fat, when he told Mother,
	Was in the fire.

The widow, who had always dreaded
This might happen, hatched a scheme
To smash, when they were duly wedded,
	Love’s young dream.

One fine day she murmured, “Sonny,
It’s not for me to interfere,
You may think it rather funny
	But I hear

“Bess goes out with other men.”
“I don’t believe it! It’s a lie!
Tell me who with, where, and when?
	Tell me why?”

“Keep cool, Lennie. I suspected
That the girl was far from nice.
What a pity you rejected
	My advice.”

Suspicion from this fatal seed
Sprang up overnight
And strangled like a poison weed,
	The lilies of delight.

Still unbelieving, Len believed
That Bess was being unchaste,
And a man that feels himself deceived
	May act in haste.

Now Bess was innocence incarnate
And never thought of other men;
She visited an aunt at Barnet
	Now and then,

But mostly stayed at home and dusted,
Crooning early, crooning late,
Unaware of being distrusted
	By her mate.

Then one day a wire was sent:
URGENT AUNTIE. Bessie went
	To keep the date.

Slightly anxious, Bessie came
To the usual rendezvous.
Desperate, Lennie did the same,
	He waited too,

Seeing but unseen by Bessie,
And in a minute seeing red –
For a stranger, fat and dressy,
	A trilby on his head,

In his tie a tasteful pearl,
On his face a nasty leer,
Sidled up towards the girl
	And called her “Dear.”

At this juncture Len stepped in,
Made a bee-line for the lout,
With a straight left to the chin
	Knocked him out.

He might have done the same for Bess
Thinking still that she had tricked him,
But she was gazing in distress
	At the victim.

“It’s a her!” she cried (but grammar 
Never was her strongest suit):
“She’s passed out!” he heard her stammer,
	“Lennie, scoot!”

“It’s what? A her? Good God, it’s Mum!
Ah, now I see! A wicked plan
To make me think my Bess had come
	To meet a man – “

“Now what’s all this?” a copper said,
Shoving the crowd aside. “I heard a
Rumour somebody was dead.
	Is it murder?”

Len quite candidly replied,
“No, officer, it’s something less.
It’s justifiable matricide,
	Isn’t it, Bess?”
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This page last updated 08/10/2007