Albert and His Savings
by Marriott Edgar
The monologue Albert and His Savings was written by Marriott Edgar as Britain was preparing for another war.
It is a patriotic poem where Albert is encouraged, not only to save money, but also to invest in the security of England. Fifteen shillings (15/-) would grow to one pound and sixpence (£1 0s 6d) in ten years, representing an annual interest rate of 3.175%.
The monologue finishes with a "moral ... To defend the right to be free." Freedom, however, comes at a price. It would cost Albert all his savings, plus whatever he could raise by selling his prized possessions - mum's and dad's too.
In Great Depression of the 1930s, interest rates were 2% for more than a decade. A guaranteed annual interest rate of 3.175% was, therefore, quite respectable.
One day, little Albert Ramsbottom
To see 'ow much money 'e'd got
Stuck a knife in 'is money-box slot 'ole
And fiddled and fished out the lot.
It amounted to fifteen and fourpence
Which 'e found by a few simple sums
Were ninety two tuppenny ices
Or twice that in penn'orths of gums.
The sound of the chinkin' of money
Soon brought father's 'ead round the door
He said, "Whats that there, on the table?"
Albert said it were, "Fifteen and four."
"You're not going to spend all that money..."
Said Pa, in an admonitory tone
"On toffee an' things for your stomach."
Said Mother, "Why not?... it's his own."
Said Pa, "Nay, with that fifteen shillings,
We'll buy National Savings and then...
In five years we'll have seventeen and six
And one pound and sixpence, in ten!"
Young Albert weren't what you'd call eager
He saw his sweet dreams fade away,
Ma said, "Let 'im 'ave the odd fourpence."
Pa lovingly answered, "Nay... nay!"
"It's our duty in crisis... what's 'appened
For every child, woman and man
To strain every muscle and sinew
To raise every penny we can!"
He said, "Even this little fourpence...
Might help us, the Germans to drub!"
Then 'e dropped the four coins in 'is pocket
And made for the neighbouring pub.
These words stirred the 'eart of young Albert
He made up 'is mind then and there
To take up 'is part in the straining
And sell everything 'e could spare.
It's wonderful you were able to take it with you.
But now what are you going to do with it!
So off 'e went down to the junk shop
With some toys and a flashlamp, he'd got.
And the stick with the 'orses 'ead 'andle
He received half a crown for the lot.
He went off to the Post Office counter
Where National Savings was bought
But found that they cost fifteen shillings
Which meant he were twelve and six short.
The little lad wasn't down 'earted
He went off without wastin' words
And sold 'is dad's smoking companion
And 'is Mother's glass case of stuffed birds.
At the Post Office counter they gave 'im
A certificate all crisp and clean
Then back 'e went 'ome, to his parents
To say what a good boy he'd been.
They didn't 'alf shout, when he told 'em
By Gumm... but 'e were in the wars
But at finish, they 'ad to forgive 'im
It were all done in such a grand cause.
There's a moral, of course. to this story
That's pointing to you and to me...
Let's all be young Alberts and tend
To defend the right to be free.