THE LIGHTNING EXPRESS
(PLEASE, MR. CONDUCTOR)
Sung by: Mr. W.P. Burke
Recorded in Heber Springs, AR, 7/16/53
Click here to listen to the original recording
Had just started out on its way.
All of the passengers who were on board
Seemed to be happy and gay.
A little lad sitting on a seat by himself
Was reading a letter he had.
'Twas plain to be seen from the tears in his eyes
Something had made him sad.
The stern old conductor, he started to take
A ticket from everyone there;
Soon he reached the side of the boy
And roughly demanded his fare.
"I haven't no money or ticket,
But I will pay you some day."
"I'll put you off at the next station, then,"
But stopped when he heard the boy say:
Chorus: "Please, Mr. Conductor,
don't put me off of your train,
For the best friend that I have in this world
Is waiting for me in pain,
Expected to die any moment,
And may not live through the day.
I want to kiss Mother goodbye, sir,
Before God takes her away."
A little girl sitting on a seat nearby
Exclaimed, "If you put that boy off, it's a shame."
Taking his cap, collection she made
And soon paid his fare on the train.
"I'm obliged to you, Miss, for your kindness toward me."
"You're welcome," said she, "never fear."
But each time the conductor would pass through that coach,
These sad words would ring on his ear:
"Mother was ailing before I left home,
And needed a doctor's care.
I come to your city employment to seek,
But couldn't find any work there.
This morning a letter from sister arrived,
'Come home, Mother's dying,' it did say.
And that is the reason I'm anxious to ride
But I haven't no money to pay."
Also found in Randolph, Vol. IV, #720, "Please, Mr. Conductor."