The Czech composer Antonin Dvorak (right) in 1894 wrote his eight light-hearted humoresques, the best known of which is Humoresque G flat No. 7. You’ll recognize it the minute you hear it. The short composition, in turn, led to some unlikely associations six decades later.


As it happens, toilets on most trains traditionally emptied onto the tracks below or onto their shoulder.  Some trains in the British Isles, in fact, still do. In the US, however, this unesthetic arrangement has been largely eliminated, so to speak.

Amtrak phased out its use of such toilets in the 1980s after waste from a Silver Meteor train on a bridge crossing the St. Johns River in Florida landed on a fisherman who filed a lawsuit.


 Before then, railroad companies were more concerned with toilet waste landing in train stations during stops. In the 1950s, all this inspired a Canadian-American folksinger/songwriter, Oscar Brand (1920-2016), to write a comic song (click to hear) that relates romantic love with the need to use a toilet while on a train, as well as with the Union army’s Gen. William Techumseh Sherman. Brand (left) took the tune from Dvorak’s Humoresque No. 7.


Passengers will please refrain

From flushing toilets while the train

Is in the station. Darling, I love you!

We encourage constipation

While the train is in the station

Moonlight always makes me think of you.


If you wish to pass some water,

kindly call the pullman porter,

He’ll place a vessel in the vestibule.

If the porter isn’t here,

Try the platform in the rear —

The one in front is likely to be full.


If the woman’s room be taken,

Never feel the least forsaken,

Never show a sign of sad defeat.

Try the men’s room in the hall,

And if some man has had the call,

He’ll courteously relinquish you his seat.


If these efforts all are vain,

Then simply break a window pane —

This novel method used by very few.

We go strolling through the park

Goosing statues in the dark,

If Sherman’s horse can take it, why can’t you?


Amen, but can you safely goose a horse, let alone a statue of one?