America's Oldest "Tea Drinking and Whisky" Speaking Society

Great Moments in Merton Society History
Sir Robert the Loose Recites "Eskimo Nell"
On May 16, 2002, Sir Robert the Loose, Earl of Sheeplove and Master of the Ewe presented the fourth and final Merton Society lecture of the Sir Martin of Bufftucks Memorial Lecture Series held at the University Club of New York.

The topic of his speech was "T.S. or not T.S., That is the Question: Poet or Cunning Linguist?" The Master of the Ewe commenced his presentation with a scintillating discourse on the poet T.S. Eliot, but he quickly moved into uncharted--but more stimulating--territory: the recitation of a certain poem known as "Eskimo Nell"*** that has been attributed to Eliot.

The ballad is the story of two itinerant social workers named Dead-eye Dick and Mexican Pete who travel down to the Rio Grande Valley in Texas on behalf of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to inspect a women's clinic. As part of their project, they are obligated to seek Federal Housing Authority approval from a certain inspector named Eskimo Nell, a remarkable woman who had gained a reputation as a tough plumbing inspector in the oil fields on the North Slope of Alaska. One thing leads to another, and Dead-eye Dick and Mexican Pete end up in sensitivity training with Eskimo Nell. The two newcomers are no match for Nell, and she eventually decides to go

"Back once more to the sins of men,

To the Land of the Midnight Sun,

I go to spend a worthy end

For the North is calling, 'Come!' "

Sir Robert gave a rousing presentation of this epic poem, and the audience regaled him with a standing ovation at the end. The following does not do justice to his remarkable performance, but it at least gives a glimpse of just a few parts of this most entertaining event....
Gather 'round, all you whorey

Gather 'round and hear this story....

"So pull up a chair, and stand me a drink

And a tale to you I'll tell....

"Of Dead-eye Dick and Mexican Pete,

And a harlot named Eskimo Nell."

"They'll tell this tale on the Arctic trail

where the nights are sixty below...

Where it's so damn cold, French letters are sold

wrapped up in a ball of snow."

***Those wishing to learn more about the poem "Eskimo Nell" are advised to perform an internet search for this extensive but entertaining work. Be forewarned, however, that it has few peers in the realm of ribald humour.