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The chamois incident turns out to have been even more wildly comic than was generally supposed at the time. It is now declared that Mr Kerr was entirely unconscious that Mark Twain was not a very reliable authority upon "Shammies." Mr Kerr is said to be as sensible a man as any in the House, but literature is not his strong point, and this probably accounts for his mistake. It wa3 Mr Tumbull that took advantage of his innocence. It happened in this way: When the vote of 11150 for the introduction of the chamois came under consideration, Mr Kerr protested against the introduction of more pests into the colony. " What are these shammies?" he asked. "A species of goat," someone answered. " Well, if it was a goat, he would remind the Government that they had already plenty of wild goats here. He was reliably informed that this animal was a cross between a sheep and a pig, and that it bred scab." A member here interposed that the shammy was a species of "small deer." "If the hon. gentleman will wait a minute," Mr Tumbull said, "I'll Bend to the library for a book by a well-known author called ' Samuel Clement,' who gives a very interesting description of the animal and its habits." The book was brought, and a certain passage pointed out to Mr Kerr, who proceeded quite unsuspectingly to read it to the House. " Don't read it, don't read it I" excitedly whispered Mr Turnbull, who now thought the joke was going too far. " But I will read it; I'm going to see what these things are," was the reply ; and he did. The House was now in roars of laughter; and as the hon. member proceeded to read that the "shammy" was not shy, and so forth, members went into the wildest fits of merriment, and convulsive shrieks and yells of laughter came from all parts of the House. When he came to the assertion that the "shammy" was a microscopic object, smaller than a grain of mustard seed, he began to see that something was wrong; but it was not till he read that "shammies" ran about people's clothes that the truth dawned on him. He looked round the House in a dazed way, aud then, collecting his wits, he determined to brazen it out. "No bigger than a mustard seed," he said; " what do we want with animals like that? Besides, they might be worse than rabbits. I propose that the vote for the introduction of * shammies' be struck ont." Cries of "Order, order," were now heard, and the House began to resume its gravity. "What's the book?" someone asked. "It's by Clement," he replied, looking at the back. "But what's its title?" screamed several members. "It's •The Tramp Abroad,' sir," and, with a final shriek of laughter at this announcement the incident ended.—' Press.'

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Bibliographic details

AN AMUSING SCENE IN THE HOUSE., Evening Star, Issue 7948, 2 July 1889

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AN AMUSING SCENE IN THE HOUSE. Evening Star, Issue 7948, 2 July 1889