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The Contributor., Southern Cross, Volume 14, Issue 45, 5 January 1907
DENIS DISCOURSES, Dear Mr Editor, —I lukt in vain for ye at the Caledonian games on Tuesday, an’ Katie ses she hopes ye did not run away to the Scottish games at the Exhibition that thried to take the wind out av the sails av the good ould society that was providin’ shport for the paple whin the Exhibition paple were takin’ a grate interest in feedin' bottles. Whin we came to wan av the gates the man on duty ses—“Whit part o’ Scotland dae ye cam’ frae ?” “The North av Ireland,’’ ses I, wid a wink. “That’s a’- richt,’’ ses he, “go richt in ; there’s mony a guid Scotchman cam’ frae thae pairts since the time St. Patrick went owro frae Scotland tae preach tae the Irish.’’ “Sure,’’ ses I, “ye needn’t be afther. throwin’ that" in me teeth, an’ moreover,,’’ ses I, “if it comes to that Quid Ireland returned the complimint by sandin’ St. Columba over to convert the Highlanders.’’ “Well,” ses the man, “ye’d better gang ben, for ye ken too much Church history for me,” an' so in we wint, Katie an’ me in front an’ Corney an’ Bedalia formin’ the rearguard. * * * * Well, whin I got inside I thought we’d shtruck the Irish Athletic Society’s games, for the firsht man I met was me young frind Frank Forde, lukin’ the picture av health. His brother William was there too, an’ his cousin as well, an’ ye can imagine how plased we all were to meet. Katie an’ Bedalia shtrollcd wid some purty colleens that were wid the party, an’ thin Mr Morgan came round wid a bell, tollin’ the competitors to rowl up, an thin Frank got to work an’ wrestled an’ jumped, an’ tossed the caber, an’- I don’t know what all besides. ’-'Why, Frank,” ses I, “if it wasn’t for the Irishmen where’d the games be this day ?” an’ he shmiled swately, an’ .wint'out agin to win some more prizes. It musht be gettin’ tiresome for the poor chap, gettin’ so many trophies —they do be sayin’ that he’ll have to enlarge his house to howld thim all —an’ the besht av it all is he’s shtill goin’ shtrong—begorr a , he rejninds me av the tailor’s bill that the man shopke about. Ses he—“Whin I was fishing in the West Indies some years ago, a whirlwind carried off my vest that was hanging oc a branch just over my head. The garment had a watch in it and a tailor’s account. Well, the whole lot sailed out ©f sight in less than a minute. Seven years after a party of us were encamped on the same river, only a hundred yards further up. It was my turn to do the cooking ; so I started out for some dry wood, stepped on a I°B’ which caved in, and there lay my watch with that same old tailor’s account twisted through the ring. It was still running.” * * * * “Oh, dry up !” ses wan av she listeners, “you want us to ask how such a thing could be, and then you will explain that the whirlwind wound up your ,watch so tight that it ran for seven years.” “I didn’t say the watch was- still running,”
ses the shtory-teller. “It had reference to the tailor’s bill. It is running yet.” * • « • Afther admirin’ the Pipe Band, fine upshtandin’ min iviry wan av thim, an’ seein’ that me frind Mr J. A. Mitchell was keepin’ the wrestlers in their places, an’ thryin’ to get some av thim to come to grips, I met Angus McGregor. At firsht I thought he intended to ax me to have a dhrop, “but he shuk his head, an’ ses he —“I hae the will, but no the means, Denis —this place is like the railway station in Mayo, where a tourist before setting out for a drive axed a porter this question — ‘Do you think it will rain, porter, to-night ?’- An’ he replied—‘No, ma’am, indeed. It rains just water here —like everywhere else.’ ’•’■ * * * * Thin we shtrolled over to the platform, an’ begorra, I soon found that we had brains as well as brawn on the grounds, for there was the Prime Minister av the country, our own Sir Joseph, saunterin’ along an’ ahmokin’ an iligant cig’ar, an’ Inkin’ as happy an’ Jolly as if he hadn’t a care in the world an’ hadn’t been thravellin’ all night. “Wha’s that clean-shaven chappie along wi’ him, Denis ?” ses Angus. “Why, Angus,”- ses I, “don’t ye know your own number, Mr Hanan, —him that's been enlightenin’ the paple av the colony about the yellow agony, an’ the necessity av medical inspection av the school children, an’ so nianny other things that it makes ye wonder how wan shmall head can carry all he knows.” * * * * “Then, wha’s that tall man tae the right o’ Sir Joseph ?” ses Angus. “That.” ses I, “is Mr Feklwick, in the Upper House.’; “Ay, ay !’-’ ses Angus, “I mind him noo — ho wis the graun’ hand at leadin’ aff wi’ Rule Britannia when oor lads gaed tae Sooth Africa.” “An’ av coorse,” ses I, “ye know Mr Scandrett, the Mayor av the town, an’ the man that had the town hall ’ an’ theatre carried to a successful issue.” “Well, dae I ken him,” ses Angus. “He’s the chap that found Invercargill bush, an' means tae feavc it brick.” “Yes,” ses I, “an’ sand bricks at that.” “Week” ses Angus, “A’ dinna envy them, Denis, for public life is no a bed o’ roses.” “It's annything but th a t,” ses I—“it makes me think av the ould man’s definition av matrimony. Ses he—‘l’ve always looked at it this way : —Marriage is addition ; when the little ones come it’s multiplication ; when dissension looms up to cloud the horizon of their happiness it’s division ; and when the final parting comes it’s subtraction V ‘And how about divorce ?’ axed a lishtener. ‘Oh, that would come under the denomination of fractions !’ ses the ould chap.” * * * * At night I tuk the family to see the Relief av Lucknow in the theatre by the Sayieri Coihpany. It was a grate night entirely, an’ the fine treat the players give us ; an’ whin the pipers marched on to the stage headed by me ould frind McGregor”, it tuk mo all me time ta hould Angus down in his seat —he wanted to ihake hands wid him for arrivin’ on
the scene so shmartiy. Corney ses the Savieri Company plased thim that much that he hopes they’ll not need coffins for manny a long day. Bedalia lalTod. “Why,” ses she, “yo musht have read it, too.” “Read what, child ?” ses I. “Why,” ses she, “the shtory about an English soldier in India. Ye see, he was supposed to be dead, an’ was taken to the native mortuary, over which was a native sentinel. The soldier, however, had been in a trance, an’ wakin - up about midnight, he came to the door, an’ knockin’ loudly, demanded to be set free. But the sentry refused to open the door, an’ in answer to the other, replied : —‘Keep quiet, sahib. The coffin not come yet !' ” iDid I go to the Bluff regatta? Did I eat me breakfasht, dinner, an’tea ? Av course we did, an’ about tin thousand others, an" sure whin we got there the Bluff paplo had hardly a ship left to let us shtancl on, except the flagship in the shape av the Loyalty, an’ even she hailed Eom Invercargill, lavin’ out the Rimu an’ tho tug, that ye had to pay before ye cud shtep on board. Whin the visitors found how scarce the shippin’ was they tuk to the hills an’ the beaches, an’ the hotels, an’ the refrishmint rooms, an’ very soon nearly the whole av us were like the place that had a ticket in the window which read —“Refreshments inside.” “Sure,” ses Corney, -‘where else ’ucl rofrishmints do anny good but inside ?” * * * * I can’t till ye annything about the regatta, for there wasn’t enough entries in two cases, an’ not enough wind in others, but annyhow the Bluff paplc raised the wind an’ no mishtake, an’ the side shows did good business. The Salvation Army nivir misses a chance av doin’ good, an’ they were howldin’ forth in wan place an’ in another a man was tillin’ mothers to put their babies to shlape by means av a vcntriloquial entertainmim. Jack Topi, from Ruapnke, was in grate form, an’ me ould frind Mr Hinchey, av the Eagle, was fairly besieged wid customers for fiqtiid an’ solid refrishniints ; the other hotels did a good trade ; Mrs Mclntyre was nearly eaten out av house an' home, an’ Tom Parry seemed to be here, there, an’ everywhere. • • • « But the sight av sights was whin me venerable frind Mr Thomas Middleton, Postmastler-Gineral av Tisbury, met Sir Joseph Ward, an’ shuk , hanps wid him. Tom is a grate admirer av Sir Joseph, an’ ses he prophesied manny years ago that he’d get to the top av tho tree, an’ there the two av thim shtud—Sir J. G. in the prime av life an’ Mr Middleton wid in a few days av ninetywan. "Whin the ould gintleman was goin' away two young folks that were lukin’ on made some remark about his hat, an’ ses wan to the other —“I’ll get a new one at Invercargill.” Quick as a flash ould Tom turned round an’ ses—-“.You have hats enough, my lads it’s something to put them on that you want.” « * * »
.We met 'Angus an’ his wife at the port, but I cudn’t get him to take anny interest in the boats —-he didn’t seem to know much about thim, an’' whin I axed him to go on board wan av the motor launches he lukt as dishtressed as the young couple that got a go-cart on the thrain for the Bluff an’ were left 'behind wid the baby. ‘‘Tae tell ye the truth, Denis,” ses Angus, ‘‘l’m like a countryman av mine as regairds shippin’. Ye’ll ken he wis on board ship for the first time. So long as the vessel wis in smooth water he enjoyed the sail greatly, but a squall cam’' on which caused the ship tae pitch! an’ roll. This alarmed Donald greatfy. Irritated by the ship’s behaviour an’ frae certain disagreeable internal sensations, he went on deck to learn the cause o’ the disturbance. ’ Arrived there he found the steersman guidin’* the ship by means o’ a long-handled rudder, an’ aifter eyein’ the proceeding for a minute the cloud o’ wrath on the Highlander’s brow grew black as night. He advanced towards the steersman in a stealthy waj, an’ the instant he wis wi’in reach knocked him doon by a blow wi’ his fist, exclaimin’ as he did so, ‘Tak’that, ye villain, for kittlin’ her tail wi’ that stick an’ makin’ her jump !’ ” DENIS.
The Contributor., Southern Cross, Volume 14, Issue 45, 5 January 1907
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