Dau Leno and the Waiter.
Otago Witness , Putanga 2802, 27 Whiringa-ā-rangi 1907, Page 88
Dau Leno and the Waiter.
' Dan I*eno, the kindest-hearted comic singer ■who ever lived, once made a wager that he would upset, the dignity of. & certain head waiter at the principal- hotel in Brighton, who had/ the name of boing the most dignified man In lhc- town. His experiment and its success are noted below. Dan went to the hotel with three friends— an engineei who had lost an eye, a cavalry officer who had lost an arm, and an old* sea captain who had lost a leg. The quartet ensconced themselves in the four corners of the room and bawled for the waiter, who came in with a more than ordinary assumption ot dignity as a tacit protest against their unceremonious treatment of him. "Waiter!" cried the one-eyed engineer, "come and take off mv eye-glais," adding, as the waiter swelled with indignation, "and while you're about it, just take out "Your eye. sir?", echoed the startled dignitary. , , , "Yee. my eye: don't you understand English? Look sharp!" Eye-glass and glass eye came away together, and the waiter reconnoitred them
doubtfully as they lay- in the palm of his hand, like a man eyeing a watch that had suddenly stopped. Just then the one-armed dragoon shouted in his turn: "Waiter, take off my glove ; and, ; now that I think of it, take off my arm." Glove and arm gave way at the first effort, and the waiter, appalled to see his customers all tumbling ip pieces like a Chinese puzzle, was turning hastily away when the one-legged sailor roared: "Waiter, pull off my starboard boot, and you may as well pull off my leg too!" The poor waiter shudderingly complied, mentally repeating every prayer he could think of. Instantly the previously-loosened straps of the cork leg gave way, and down went the man of dignity on his august back, with the artificial limb quivering in his clutches. It was enough. Forgetting everything in his agonised haste to escape from this chamber of horrors, the ill-starred waiter, casting a terrified' glance at the fragments which strewed the carpet, sprang towards the door. But before he could reach it ~Dan Leno himself — the length and flexibility of whose neck might have aroused the envy of an ostrich — called out: "Waiter, come and take off my hat. and while you're at it take off my head!" Human nature could bear no more. The martyred waiter gave one yell, and made but a single bound from the top of the stairs to the bottom, upsetting not only his dignity. but himself, so thoroughly that to the day of his death he was never quite himself again.