Second Table by Nixon Waterman

Some boys are mad when comp’ny comes to stay for meals. They hate
To have the other people eat while boys must wait and wait,
But I’ve about made up my mind I’m different from the rest,
For as for me, I b’lieve I like the second table best.
To eat along with comp’ny is so trying, for it’s tough
To sit and watch the victuals when you dassent touch the stuff.
You see your father serving out the dark meat and the light
Until a boy is sure he’ll starve before he gets a bite.

And when, he asks you what you’ll have,—you’ve heard it all before,—
You know you’ll get just what you get and won’t get nothing more;
For, when you want another piece, your mother winks her eye,
And so you say, “I’ve plenty, thanks!” and tell a whopping lie.

When comp’ny is a-watching you, you’ve got to be polite,
And eat your victuals with a fork and take a little bite.
You can’t have nothing till you’re asked and, ’cause a boy is small,
Folks think he isn’t hungry, and he’s never asked at all.

Since I can first remember I’ve been told that when the cake
Is passed around, the proper thing is for a boy to take
The piece that’s nearest to him, and so all I ever got,
When comp’ny’s been to our house, was the smallest in the lot.

It worries boys like everything to have the comp’ny stay
A-setting round the table, like they couldn’t get away.
But when they’ve gone, and left the whole big shooting match to me,
Say! ain’t it fun to just wade in and help myself? Oh, gee!

With no one round to notice what you’re doing—bet your life!—
Boys don’t use forks to eat with when they’d rather use a knife,
Nor take such little bites as when they’re eating with the rest
And so, for lots of things, I like the second table best.