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The House that Jack Built

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The House that Jack Built

 

 

1. This is the house that Jack built.

 

2. This is the malt

That lay in the house that Jack built.

 

3. This is the rat,

That ate the malt,

That lay in the house that Jack built.

 

4. This is the cat,

That kill'd the rat,

That ate the malt,

That lay in the house that Jack built.

 

5. This is the dog,

That worried the cat,

That kill'd the rat,

That ate the malt,

That lay in the house that Jack built.

 

6. This is the cow with the crumpled horn,

That toss'd the dog,

That worried the cat,

That kill'd the rat,

That ate the malt,

That lay in the house that Jack built.

 

7. This is the maiden all forlorn,

That milk'd the cow with the crumpled horn,

That tossed the dog,

That worried the cat,

That kill'd the rat,

That ate the malt,

That lay in the house that Jack built.

 

8. This is the man all tatter'd and torn,

That kissed the maiden all forlorn,

That milk'd the cow with the crumpled horn,

That tossed the dog,

That worried the cat,

That kill'd the rat,

That ate the malt,

That lay in the house that Jack built.

 

9. This is the priest all shaven and shorn,

That married the man all tatter'd and torn,

That kiss'd the maiden all forlorn,

That milk'd the cow with the crumpled horn,

That tossed the dog,

That worried the cat,

That kill'd the rat,

That ate the malt,

That lay in the house that Jack built.

 

10. This is the cock that crow'd in the morn,

That waked the priest all shaven and shorn,

That married the man all tatter'd and torn,

That kiss'd the maiden all forlorn,

That milk'd the cow with the crumpled horn,

That tossed the dog,

That worried the cat,

That kill'd the rat,

That ate the malt,

That lay in the house that Jack built.

 

11. This is the farmer sowing his corn,

That kept the cock that crow'd in the morn,

That waked the priest all shaven and shorn,

That married the man all tatter'd and torn,

That kissed the maiden all forlorn,

That milk'd the cow with the crumpled horn,

That tossed the dog,

That worried the cat,

That kill'd the rat,

That ate the malt,

That lay in the house that Jack built.





Chapter 1

This is the house that Jack built

 

The steward at the Carpenters and Joiners Union stood on a desk in the office, calling off names of men he could put to work. ‘Czacka? Janos Czacka? Last call for Janos Czacka.’ From his perch above the sea men, he saw a brown cap moving against the tide to reach the center of the room.

‘I’m Czacka. What have you got?’

‘Plastering job at the Brehm house, Erdman Avenue in Hamilton. Grab your tools. See Grumann for your ticket and car fare.’

Baltimore was still rebuilding four years after their Great Fire. The City found a shortage of skilled workmen, just as emigres had begun streaming in from Europe, hoping for their own chance at the streets paved with gold. They hadn’t found much gold, but they did find marble steps, cobbled streets, and a City hungry for their labor.

Janos Czacka joined the queue of men waiting for their work tickets and car fare. Skilled craftsmen were in enough demand that the contractors paid for their transportation the first day on the job. He finally reached the short bald German seated by the door.

‘Jack, you old so and so! How you keeping?’ Grumann was genuinely pleased to see him. They had met last year on a job where Grumann was foreman. Since then, Grumann had suffered a fall from a scaffold, and could no longer work on a crew, but he could handle duties in the union hall, and at least make enough to keep his wife from taking a job at the sewing factory on Howard Street.

Czacka’s blue eyes twinkled under his woolen work cap. He was one of the few men here who was clean-shaven, claiming he preferred not to have to clean plaster out of his mustache every night. The truth was he found the girls liked him better without. He almost had to yell to be heard over the crowd of men in the room. ‘Herman! Good to see you. What can you tell me about this Hamilton house?’

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