The Larrikin's Rival.
One of the most distinctive outgrowthß of colonial life is the " barracker." Climatio influences and room to yell, in co-operating with the capacious lungs of the early settler and his disposition to howl violently on the slightest provoeation, have led to the evolution of the modern " barraeker," as we see him to-day with his head open and all his reserve forces of expression and expletive called into active operation. This interesting physiological study is of comparatively recent growth. He made his appearance in Australian history contemporaneously with the acceptance of football as a national pastime, and has been screaming on and off ever Bince.
The barracker fascinates me; he exerts an influence over one, and when he sets his face ajar, and arches his back, and throws his whole soul into an undertaking, I stand entranced in silent, eestatie admiration, and wonder how it's done. He is impervious to criticism. His face is never in repose, because he has got a lot of tobacco to chew, and wants to get through it before he dies. He is seen at bis cUlm'eßt during a lull, when
the game goes smoothly. Presently the interest intensifies; the ball is working towards a goal; his eyes begin to hang out, his neck stretcfies, his jaw slows down to six beats a minute. The goal is in danger ; his jaw stops dead—he's wound up and ready. A scrummage right before the posts. Now he feels he's wanted on the job; his country calls him, his face unfolds and his jaws roll back, his eyes alone hang on the brink of that red chasm, he climbs half-way up himself, and hangs in the atmosphere whilst evolving a frenzied howl of mingled rage and pain, spjced with wounded pride and dire apprehension. His view from the front is like a walk into a butcher's shop. He is pregnant with emotion ; for a time he is nothing but one gigantic lung and a great gapiDg aperture, out of which come hoarse bellows, war-whoops, fearful imprecations, and inarticulate threats. Presently he begins to subside; the ravine between his features shows a perceptible diminution, his nose rises over the hill, his observations become spasmodic and less incoherent, his forehead creeps into view, his ears step out of his mouth, there's a snap as the lid shuts down, a pint and a-hulf of tobacco juice is squirted aimlessly info vacancy, and the jaw resumes its " demnition " grind ; the barracker settles back into his boots, his eyes take on their old critical reserve—the roar of the tempest is stilled, the crisis is past—his duty is done, and the nation's saved. I have watched the rise and progress of the barracker with great interest. I have noted the development of his lungs, and seen the corners of his mouth diive his ears back, till they will nearly meet and tie behind. I have kept an eyo on him, and watched the break in his face spread in bis restless endeavor to keep abreast of the exigencies of his position and howl up to modera requirements, and I foresee the time _ when his mouth will run down to his hips, and he'll split apart like a clothes horse when ho deßires to express the warmth of his feelings at a future match. I won't bo there then, but perhaps somebody equally philanthropic will seize the opportunity to drop a package of " Rough on Rats" into the slit.— 1 Melbourne Punch.'
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The Larrikin's Rival., Evening Star, Issue 7960, 16 July 1889
The Larrikin's Rival. Evening Star, Issue 7960, 16 July 1889
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