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The Return of Albert

by Marriott Edgar (1934)
Illustrations by John Hassall

See what the tigers can do
See what the tigers can do

The Return of Albert is Marriot Edgar's sequel to his most famous monologue, The Lion and Albert.

It introduces 'The Man from the Pru', a colloquial term for Prudential agents, who went door-to-door collecting insurance premiums from working class customers; in the case of the Ramsbottoms, it was 2d per person, per week.

With their relatively smart suits, these agents were considered part of 'The Establishment' (a term from which schoolchildren delighted in learning the longest word in the English language: 'antidisestablishmentarianismologists').

But I digress. Look out for the witty punchline "down in the mouth".


You've 'eard 'ow young Albert Ramsbottom
At the zoo up at Blackpool one year
With a stick with an 'orse's 'ead 'andle
Gave a lion a poke in the ear?

The name of the lion was Wallace,
The poke in the ear made 'im wild
And before you could say "Bob's yer uncle"
E'd upped and 'e'd swallowed the child.

'E were sorry the moment 'e done it;
With children 'e'd always been chums,
And besides, 'e'd no teeth in his muzzle,
And 'e couldn't chew Albert on't gums.

'E could feel the lad movin' inside 'im
As 'e lay on 'is bed of dried ferns;
And it might 'ave been little lad's birthday,
E wished 'im such 'appy returns.

But Albert kept kickin' and fightin',
And Wallace got up, feelin' bad.
Decided 'twere time that 'e started
To stage a comeback for the lad.

Then puttin' 'ead down in one corner,
On 'is front paws 'e started to walk;
And 'e coughed, and 'e sneezed, and 'e gargled
'Till Albert shot out - like a cork!

Now Wallace felt better directly
And 'is figure once more became lean.
But the only difference with Albert Was,
'is face and 'is 'ands were quite clean.

Meanwhile Mr and Mrs Ramsbottom
'Ad gone back to their tea, feelin' blue.
Ma said, "I feel down in the mouth, like.
" Pa said, "Aye, I bet Albert does, too."

Said Mother, "It just goes to show yer
That the future is never revealed;
If I'd thowt we was goin' to lose 'im,
I'd 'ave not 'ad 'is boots soled and 'eeled."

Albert's face and hands were quite clean
Albert's face and hands were quite clean

"Let's look on the bright side," said Father,
"Wot can't be 'elped must be endured;
Each cloud 'as a silvery lining,
And we did 'ave young Albert insured."

A knock on the door came that moment
As Father these kind words did speak.
'Twas the man from Prudential - 'e'd come for
Their tuppence per person per week.

When Father saw 'oo 'ad been knockin',
'E laughed, and 'e kept laughin' so ,
The man said "'Ere, wot's there to laugh at?"
Pa said "You'll laugh and all when you know!"

"Excuse 'im for laughing," said Mother,
"But really, things 'appen so strange ,
Our Albert's been et by a lion;
You've got to pay us for a change!"

Said the young man from the Prudential:
"Now, come, come, let's understand this,
You don't mean to say that you've lost 'im?"
Pa said "Oh, no, we know where 'e is!"

When the young man 'ad 'eard all the details,
A purse from 'is pocket he drew
And 'e paid them with interest and bonus
The sum of nine pounds, four and two.

Now what's there to laugh at?
Now what's there to laugh at?
Come, let's understand this
Come, let's understand this

Pa 'ad scarce got 'is 'and on the money
When a face at the window they see,
And Mother cried "Eee, look, it's Albert!"
And Father said "Aye, it would be."

Albert came in all excited,
And started 'is story to give;
And Pa said "I'll never trust lions
Again, not as long as I live."

The young man from the Prudential
To pick up the money began
But Father said "'ere, wait a moment,
Don't be in a 'urry, young man."

Then giving young Albert a shilling,
'E said "'Ere, pop off back to the zoo;
Get your stick with the 'orse's 'ead 'andle,
Go and see wot the tigers can do!"

External link to Prudential Insurance Co.
Man from the Pru

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