DENIS DISCOURSES, Dear Mr Editor, Angus McGregor is gettin’ ould an’ foolish. I know he’s agein’ because he’s complainin’ av rheumatics, an’ I think he’s foolish because he’s been investin’ in some kind av an electric suspender or belt or some appliance av that kind.- He came in quite plazed wid himsilf, an’ ses he—“ Denis, I hae gotten a igraun cure for thao rheumatic pains o’ mine.” “What is l if?” ses I, thinldn’ he’d a bottle av the rale shtuff in his pocket. “Weel,” ses he, “I’ve bocht ane o’ thae electric belt affairs, an’ ye wudna believe the rash that its brought oot on ma skin, an’ eased the pains forbye.” * * * * “Well, Angus,” ses I, “I always thought ye were a hard-headed, common sense Scotchman, but ye’ve shaken me faith in ye—to think av the likes av you shpindin’ yer money like that. Why, a bottle or two av Davie Roche’s O.T. punch, an’ a chat wid him about ould times, ’ud have done ye far more (good. Now, Angus,” ses I, “jusht to show ye how silly ye were let me read to ye what Dr. Mason, the Chief Health Officer av the colony, ses in this regard * * * * “Let me (ses Dr. Mason) describe briefly what these belts are really made of. A series of small pieces of zinc and copper are covered over by stout jean, the total cost being probably something under five shillings. The man who has been foolish enough to invest his £8 —that is the price of the cheapest quality—is advised to soak the belt in vinegar and wear it next his skin. The result of locking in the fumes of the vinegar, combined with the acid in the wearer’s perspiration, is to produce an irritation and redness. The irritation naturally occupies a considerable amount of the patient s attention, and for the time he forgets his ‘fulness after meals,’ and has little time to devote to the study of the specks - which float before his eves when he stoops.” " * * * * “Well, Mr Editor, ye shud have seen Angus whin I finished. He lukt quite crestfallen, an’ turned such a bad colour that he reminded me av what was said at Maloney’s wake. Ses Mrs Finnegan—” What did he die av Mrs Maloney ?” “Gangrene,’ ses the widow. “Well, thank Hivin for the colour, Mrs Maloney.” At lasht Angus tuk up his hat, an’ lift —tillin’ me that I was lackin’ m faith, or I’d know that there was virtue in the belts. “Well, Angus, - ses I, “I’d need to be mighty fond av thim to give £8 for wan av thirn—jusht as fond av thim as Mick Murphy was av the whisky. Ye see, Angus, -it was in the days before cud put man to shleop before cuttin aff his leg or arm, an’ Mick, afther bein’ out in the wdlds fightin’ an nivir a dhrop av drink for months, got wounded by the Indians. The doctor said his leg ’ud have to be cut aff, an’ by way av bracin’ Mick up to bear the pain, give him a shtiff glass av whisky. After the operation, ses Mick—‘Doohtor, daxlint, will ye be afther cuttin’ aff the other
leg for another glass av whisky ?’ By the time I finished the shtory Angus was out av sight- * * * * Katie’s in the dumps, Mr Editor, an’ thinks that something's goin’ to happen. Ye see, she got Bedalia to make a list av frinds we intind to have for Xmas dinner, an’ it turned out there was thirteen, an’ Katie ses that’s a bad sign. “Don’t be silly, woman,” ses I, “ skre, ye ought to treat it all as a joke.” “That s what Mr Petrie complains av, dad,” ses Corney, “he ses he cant get paple to take him seriously —he ses that even you treat him as a joke.” “It’s all very well to talk, Dents,” ses Katie, “but there’s trouble ahead ; come here, Bedalia, an wid that they wint over the list ag'in, an’ discovered that there were only three childer in O’Brien’s family, inshtead av four, so the total number came out t-wilve afther all the row. * * * * “What did I till ye,” ses I, ”begorra yer as superstitious as the Irishman was about the cat. This is how he tills the shtoiy Faix, an’ I built me a house, An' I fashioned it jist to me mind, W’id a pig-pen built on in front. An’ a pratie-patch built on behind. ’T was a swate little, rate little, sw a te little spot. (But whin I was afther movin’ from the old place to me swate little, nate little spot, what did that boy Barney—who wid the sarchin’ av a thousand years wudn’t have a smithereen av a brain —do ? Why, ho put the cat in a bag, an’ for all the cat scratched an’ howled, an’ did all a mortal cat cud to get away—fur she was cunnin’ as a lawyer, an' suspicioned how as she was brought to the house bad luck wild come along wid her, yit into me swate little, natolittle spot came that Barney a-lug-gin’ the cat). Faix, an’ I built me a house, An’ I fashioned it jist to me mind. But there’s nivir a pig-pen in front, Nor a pratie a-planted behind ! Sich a swate little, nate little, swate little spot ! (For sure, if I planted .praties they would grow wrong side up, an’ if.. I got me a pig, nivir a soul cud toll what mortal beast ho might turn into. Bogorra, an' I’m afeard to g’it up lest bad luck be overtakin' me, an’ I’m more afeard to (go to bed lest bad luck be atwoen the two sheets ! an’ all because o’ that cat cornin’ to me swate little, nate little, swate little house !) * * * * Corney is awfully wild wid wan av the conn Wiry papers for say in’ that Invercargill has an air av prosperity about it, but that it is only the same air that it had prior to the closin’ av the hotels. He ses that Dr. Ogiston is sure to ax Mr Cameron av the Health Department for samples av the air to be analysed, for its not to be thought that the town c a n go on widout a change av air. Thin Katie had a fling at the same paper for sayin’ that fewer farmers came to town since no-license came in, as much as to sav that farmers shtop away because they can't get a dhrop av liquor. She ses it's little short av an insult to a respectable hardworkin’ lot av paple, “Ah more-,
over,” ses she, "its not true, for more farmers came to the show than ivir before, even whin we had open bars.” * * * * “You’re all takin’ the thing too seriously,” ses Bedalia. “Why, lishton to this deliverance from that same paper ; —' On market days there are not so many farmers about, and the opinion amongst tradesmen as to the business done and the amount of cash taken, is divided just as their own individual opinions on this great question go.’ Now,” ses Bedalia, “if that manes annything, it manes that a no-license business 1 man ’ll say he’s doin’ well whether he is or not jusht in order to make out a good case for no-license, an’ if he’s against it he’ll complain if he’s doin’ well. The writer musht have a very poor opinion av Invercargill business men.” “ ’Tis the grate logician ye are, Beolalia,” ses I, “begorra you’re a-s ’cute as the bookkeeper in the tailor’s shop, so ye are. Ses he—Mf you are out when Mr Tremayue conies in to-morrow to order a suit of clothes, what shall I tell him ?’ Tailor —‘How do you know he i s coming in ?’ Bookkeeper—‘ He sent three pounds tonday as an instalment on his old account.’ ” * * * * ’Tis the ungrateful lad Corney is threatenin’ to be. Sure, nothing’ll do him but a thrip to Mr Todd's new Eldorado, at Preservation Inlet, an’ although I’ve towld him the duty he owes to his parents, he’s bint 6on seoin’ the world for himsilf. “Sure,” ses I, “oven the Chinese —that Mr Hanan, our mimber, ses mushtn’t be let into New Zealand on anny account —respict their ancestors that much that they won’t allow tiligraph poles to bo put up in case a shadow u’d be casht on the graves av their ould paple, an’ here ye are, Corney, a high-grade, civilised New Zealander, eager to lave the ould folks jusht whin ye are beginnin to be a hilp to thim. But ye might as well talk to the wind, Mr Editor, for ye see, Corney isn’t so good-hearted as the little bhoy that the farmer saw on the road beside a waggon av hay that had capsized. “Hullo ! hullo!” ses the farmer, “here’s a pretty mess “Yes, sir !” ses the bhoy through his tears. “Oh, do 'ee help I up with this here weggon of hay,” “All right,” ses the genial farmer, “but I must have my dinner first-. You come along with mo and have somedinner. and then we’ll put the hay right !” “Oh, I can’t do that, sir,” ses the bhoy, earnestly, “father wudn’t like it !” “Oh, nonsense,” ses the farmer, “come along and have Some dinner, and then we’ll put the ten up the hay.” And, willy-nilly, he straightway dragged the bhoy aff to dinner. Whin the repasht was inded the farmer said cheerily, “Now, my lad, come on, an’ we’ll tackle the hay- But, by the way,” ses l farmer, as if in aftherthought, “what made you say father wouldn’t like it when I asked you to come home and have some dinner ?” “Oh, please, sir,” blubbered the bhoy, “father’s under the hay ! ” * * * * An! now, Mr Editor, I’ll not see ye agin till aft her Xmas, so let me an the resht av the O'Shea family wance more wish ye an’ your raders the complimints av the says on. Katie
wanted me to say that we hoped ye’d live for ivir, but I towld her that was too much like the igyrul that axed her j-oung man if he’d love her, for ivir an ivir. “Sure,” se® he, “I’d like to do that same, but I’m hardly av the opinion that I’ll lasht as long as that.” DENIS.
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The Contributor., Southern Cross, Volume 14, Issue 43, 22 December 1906
The Contributor. Southern Cross, Volume 14, Issue 43, 22 December 1906
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