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PASSING NOTES.

(From Otago Witaeos.) A just suspicion attaches to foreigr words which have no English equiva louts. Tho presumption is that the ideas they represent are un-English. Thus, nays a writer ou the Constitution, "it it one of the proud defioienoes of our language that the term ' roturior' is untranslatsablo into English." A3 the word h untranslatable 1 won't venture to translate it, but I boliovo It implios a caste distinction bofcween gentle and simple not known to the English law. Not having the thing, you see, we are also without a term wherewith to doscribe it. Now it is significant that there is no respectable English word that will translate the French Parliamentary term cl6twe. Id the French Chambers when Opposition speeches wax inconveniently long a Minister gets up and proposes "la cloture." A vote is immediately taken, and if "la cloture" is carried, debate on the original question there and then ends. "When this rule is imported into English Parliamentary praotice, as Mr Hall proposes shall be done here, wo have to import the name as well. The idea of burking free speech in Parliament is so utterly un-English that we have no native word which will describe it without at the same time damning it. Thus the duture is sometime* called " the iron hand." This is not a translation but a paraphrase, and an ugly one at that. What could be more suggestive of tyranny than an "iron hand"! The true and proper equivalent for "cldture" is the gag, and, if the thing is to be introduced, by that name let it be called. We shall then have the Premier getting up to Bay —"Mr Speaker, the debate on this question having, in the opinion of the Government, proceeded far enough, I beg to propose that hon. members opposite It now gagged I" How would that sound to English ears? As to the1 morality of stonewalling I hardly ven-| ture to give an opinion. Not being obliged to listen to the speeches of tho stonewallers, I have a kind of Bohemian enjoyment in the fun of the thing. And I am not clear that, under certain conceivable circumstances, stonewalling ought not to be considered a lawful parliamentary weapon, the use of which should bo controlled by public opinion rather than by the iron hand or the gag. Very probably the Representation Bill, which tho Nelson members have stonewalled for a week past, is a fair and just Bill which ought to pass. But we had better lose the Representation Bill than lose that sacred right of talking unlimited nonsense which Is the essence of Parliamentary institutions.

Mr Sheehan is an Irishman who, if Providence had called him to that state of life, would have made an excellent figure with a shillelagh at DonDybrook Fair. Not that he proceeds on the primitive Irish principle of " wherever you see a head hit it." Mr Sheehan smites with discrimination, and distinguishe* the " cut" of a friend from that of a foe. In a lively interlude which followed the Premier's speech on introducing the Representation Bill, Mr Sheehan's " bit of a shtick" came into collision with the patriarchal head of Sir Win. Pox—a head which in the course of many years' experience of the Parliamentary Donnybrook must have become, let m hope, pretty nearly shillelagh-proof. Sir William was remarking that vox popuh, vox dci should sometimes bo read vox didboli, when Mr Sheeban interjected, Fox populi, Fox del The member for Rangitikei, he subsequently explained, was, fifteen years ago, the head and front of the Provincial party, and at that time might truly be described as Fox populi, Fox dei —the people's Fox, and the Fox approved by the Upper Powers. Since then his weathercock politics and desertion of old friends and old principles had made him Fox didboli, the devil's Fox. " This illustrious patriot," this man who in the course of his political life " had managed to change sides about fifty times," dared to asperse the sincerity of one who, "with all his faults," said Mr Sheehan, " is the biggest figure in this House at •Hie present time on all public questions " —namely, Sir George Grey. He, Mr S., would apply to the member for Rangitikei the words of Laertes to the priest at Ophelia's grave:— A ministering angil ihall my tliter bo When thou lleat howling 1 One for hia nob ! or, more classically, and to quote from the same play—"a hit, a very palpable hit! " Sir George Grey as Mr Sheehan's "sister" (they are colleagues, it should be remembered, in the representation of the Thames) is a pleasing fancy; so is Sir George's future development Into "a ministering angel," whilst Fox, finally claimed as Fox diaboli, "lies howling." Mr Sheehan has talent, and though one can seldom approve of his politics, It must be allowed that he can make a gritty speech. His attack on Fox is the freshest bit of " Hansard " I have read this Session.

Is there no way of enlivening the debates of the House of Representatives, r •especially the stonewalling debates, ti which I am given to understand are weariness itself 1 Except when Sir George Grey treats the House to one of hi 3 eloquent diatribes on the wickednesß of the people in Great Britain, the suffer- j ings of the down-trodden working classes, n and tho tyranny of the New Zealand B landowners, and sits down overcome by p his emotions, there is nothing to relieve C the dead level of vapidity which usually f characterises talking against time. It a was no doubt with a benevolent purpose t of this kind that Sir George recently t stepped in to tho aid of the stonewallerß ' with one of his remarkable addresses, r Mr Hall hit very hard in his reply, and a hinted that if Sir George wasn't a large c landowner he was a hard money- j lender, who screwed the last farthing d out of the poor man, which I dare- g say ia true ; but then that isn't r eloquent pathoa, and sounds harsh after r. Sir George's mellifluous periods. With t the exception of an episode like this now i and then the hours flow on to the hum - of ceaseless balderdash. I observe that ' one or two musical members lately got a into an anteroom and relieved the monotony by the strains of the fiddle, t This suggests the idea of setting the ° ■whole proceedings to lively music, and £ turning it into an operetta of the Gilbert 0 and Sullivan type. Nonsense is much v more endurable in a musical drea&— e.g., o " Pinafore " and the " Piratea ;" and if b we must have stonewalling it might as '' well be amnslng. The question is whether {: if a member with a fine round voice—like c Mr Keeves, for instance— intoned his a speech, and broke out occasionally into h flashes of song, he could be called to * order by Mr Speaker. I believe gestures t are permitted, and those of Mr Swanson ;, are at times extremely ludicrous. I don'tU ccc why Mr Speaker shouldn't permit alj. man to sing his speeches as readily aa to jj snuffle them, or to jerk them out like t utones from a sling, the arms going all t the while like a windmill. Such a song E as " I remember " could be easily adapted, v and with profit, aa thus :j. I remember, I remember, C But two short yeara ago, i I think 'tvras in Norombor, L .Sir Ooorge e&id—Bo-and-so g And a gentlo reminder of what he did say, £ sung sweetly to him, immediately following°what ho says now would bring out r some striking results. The idea is crude, ° but might be worked out; perhaps a v committee may be found to set tho pro- * ceedings generally to music, leaving l details to be filled in by the genius of ' individual lion, members as occasion r arises. They are confoundedly " flat, stale, and unprofitable " at present. 2 By-the-bys Mr Reeves has distinguished himself in another way. He is a picker up of unconsidered trifles, and turned an honest penny last session by buying up the honorariums of two , Won. Legislative Councillors, when honor- ! ariums were at a discount. The result ( is described in Mr Beeves' evidence i before a committee of the Upper House, J a3 follows : _ i "It T7HB about the time Mr Seddon's Bill wav nuder consideration aa to the abolition of j the honorarium altogether, and hon. members j talked about it, and o»id they thought they ] would get about a hundred guineas. I Baid: ] 'Oh no ; I will guarantee £160.' Aa hon. mem 1 her of the Council Baid: ' I will tako it.' I said I -would give a cheque there and then for the iSlaO. but ha said : ' Ob, tbafc ia no matter.' The ! understanding was that if over £150 was votod, i I was to get the difference, and if not so muob, I was to mako it np. Mr Wood was one of the gentlemen. I don't feol juibfled m mentioning the other geaflenwn'o n»me unless it v requested

by tho Committee.' Ou beiug pressed Mi Reevoa sai i it was tho Hon. Robert Campbell, and that at the end of the session he received from Mr Campbell tbo amount in exces3 of the £150, namely, £39. Tho Hon. J. N. Wilson: ' Was the arrangement ca'.riod out with Mi Wood ?' Mr Keovoo: ' No. I intended writing a note to Mr Wood before tho end of the pension, I thought no doubt he bad forgotten it." It is, I believe, tlia sad fact that Mi Wood repudiates the alleged bargain, though Mr Campbell haa stumped up. Mi Reeves does not seem at all ashamed of the transaction, and thus characterises it:— The Eon. W. Mantoll: " Prom tho manner in which you say you treated this, you lwd the Committed to imagine yon oousidsrod it in the light of a bet V Mr Beeves: " That was actually it. It was a guarantee almost in tho light of a bet." Sir W. Fitxhorbert: "At tho tuno this arrangement was made, was a conclusion arrived at with regard to tho nmonnt of the honorarium?" Mr Beevea: "No." Sir W. Fitzherbert: "In what shape was that vote passed ? By bill or vote ?" Mr Reeves :" By vote of tho House, I think." Sir W. Fitz; herbort: " Were yon present at that vote ?" Mr Reeves: "Yes." Sir W. Fitzherbert: " May I aok what amount you voted for ?" Mr Beeves: " I voted for the reduction." Now i don't know whether to admire most the enterprise of this hon. member or his self-denial in voting for the reduction when he had so strong a persona' interest in the result. If it had come sc cloae that his vote would have decided it, could he have resisted temptation 1 I see on referring to the pages of Hansard thai there were several divisions last session on the question of the honorarium, on proposals to reduce the vote by £10,000, by £4315, by £3236, and by £2157, and that Mr Keeves voted against all of them except the last and least, and that was carried by a large majority; so I cannot quite give Mr Eeeves the credit for disinterestedness that I should like to give him. He took care to get as much as he could; that is quite evident. As to the morality of the whole affair and its bearing on the Gambling Bill, I refrain from comment. The peculiarity of the case is that of a member voting on a question in which he had a direct personal interest, but then all members have a direct personal interest in the Honorarium. Theonlj difference of Mr Keeves' position from ,hat of other members was that he had an interest in the honorarium of both Houses. He has made money, and will beapplauded. —"All men praise then when thou doest well for thyself." No one ever supposed that Mr Keeves was a patriot. Might it not be possiblo to carry such arrangements a little further ? Let tho members of tho Crovernnent bet liberally, forexamplo, with half a dozen impecunious Oppositionists, that a vote of JSfo-confidenco would be carried, and the chances are that it wouldn't. Agaiu I make a present of tho suggestion.

One doesn't ordinarily go to a roligioui newspaper for amusement, yet you some1 times stumble upon a good thing there,— an unintended good thing/of course. Th( Sydney Presbyterian begins an oditoria by remarking, "There is a saying to tin effect that no one was ever converted wht had cold feet." One would suppose thai so irreverent a "saying" must have emanated from the seat of the soorner, but it is not so. The Presbyterian continues : "Whether the saying be Spurgeon's or sonio one else's, it matters not; it contains a great truth that is too often forgotten." The editor does not intend a joke, for he proceeds to insist on the necessity of having ohurches " artificially heated" in order to promote conversion. Now this dependence of conversion upon the warmth of the lower extremities strikes mo as one of the moat surprising physiological facts that I have ever encountered. "No one was ever converted who had cold feet 1" Why not 1 Is there some peculiar depravity or hardness of heart associated with cold feet ? If so, the fact throws light on the mysterious saying attributed to the cook at the Eluctroblology lecture. When the professor had put her under " the influence " she was heard to murmur gently, "coachman take your cold feet away !" It will be seen that on the theory of the Presbyterian the condition of the coachman's feet was quite in agreement with the apparent loosoness of his morals. If this view of the wickedness of cold feet gains acceptance, it will become a religious duty in this climate to wear strong boots and cork soles. Hot bottles at the foot of the bed ought to be reckoned a wise winter precaution against temptation, and such questions as, Are your toes cold 1 and, How's your poor feet ? will be equivalent to inquiring after the state of your soul. If these remarks of mine are regarded as irroverent they will be taken in a wrong .Ight. The incompatibility of cold feet and conversion, says the Sydney Presbyterian, is " a great truth," a truth, moreover, which is "too often forgotten." Under these circumstances I think I ought to be tLanked for calling attention to it, especially at this time of the year, when cold feet are far from uncommon.

Those religloua people who hold it a ala to cultivate the faculty of humour havo a great deal to answer for in making religion ridiculous. The Sydney Presbyterian, a taste of whoao quality has been given above, haa the following amongst its notices to correspondents :— Will some of onr musical readers answer the question put by a correspondent in the issue of the 25th Juno ? He montioned that ho could not sing well, and wanted to know what he should do in such a case, when taking tart in public worship. Could the force of solemn dulness go further than thia 1 A man who can't sing asks the editor to advise him what to dv when taking part in public worship, and the editor, instead of advising him to " Shut up, then," or to imitate the fundamental drone of the national bagpipes, appeals to his " musical readers" for counsel on the point! But, to speak impartially, a fatal want of humour is a defect not by any means peculiar io Evangelicals. An American Rationalist commentator, Mr J, F. Olarke, has just propounded an explanation of the miracle of the loaves and fishes which is as good in its way as the Presbyterian's theory that —ea the policemen say in the "Pirates " — " our hearts aro in our boots." Hore is a short account of it: — Mr (Jlarko assumes that nearly every one of tho wilderness multitude had more or leas food concealed about his person. But Housing that bis neighbour might be unprovided for, each hei'italod to bring /orih his stores. Christ por ceived their selfishness, and knew how to deal with it. Ho poured into their hoartß his gospel of love and self sacriGoo. Then he oommandoii his disciples to divide and distribute the five loaveii and two fishes; each person to whom a piece w»3 passed was ie tante a morsel and pass the piece to his neighbour. The example was eleotrio; the demon of selfishness was oast ont and latont generosity quickened into life. The hidden food was brought forth, the hunger of all wao satisfied, and twelve baskets of fragmfints were taken up. Thoro was no miracle to the food, but a spiritual miraola was wrought in the hearts of the people. I believe that the story of the Jewish larrikina who mocked the prophet Elisha haa been rationalised by supposing that the "two she-bears out of the wood " who tare forty and two of thorn represent the mothers or stepmothers of the urchins, who duly spanked thorn and sent thorn to bed. But compared with Mr Clarke's troatment of the miracle of the loaves thia is commonplace. The suggestion that every man in the multitude had food "concealed'about hia person" but wa3 afraid to produce it lest the rest should claim a Bhare, is a triumph of ingenuity. Nevertheless I question whether any man with a due sense of the ridiculous would care to have his name associated with such a theory. Tho faculty of humour —in other words, keonnesa of vision in detecting the incongruous and absurd—is as essential to a divine as to a novelist. But the divines—more'a the pity ! —won't believe it. Cm«.

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PASSING NOTES. Otago Daily Times, Issue 6105, 3 September 1881, Supplement

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