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The Contributor.

DENIS DIS COURSES* Dear Mr Editor, —Somewan ses that if ye dread a thing it’s sure to happen. Well, its a true bill, for. the dread av me life had been the gipsies, an’ sure enough wan av thim walked into the house widout waitin’ to knock or givin’ me a chance to say I wasn’t at home. Begorra, whin I saw the vision in the 'dure it made me fale as confused as the min that .were bein’ drilled, whin the sergeant called out —“When I give the command ‘Halt !’ you will bring - the foot which is on the ground to the side of the one which is in the air, and remain motionless !” Faith, I remained motionless all right, but the woman marched straight up forninst me. She had a complexion av a rich copper colour, an’ a red shawl an’ a yellow turban, a baby in wan arm an’ a boy hanigin’ on to her skirts. She hild out her hand an’ said something about fortune, but I warned her aft, an’ said “Shoo !” thinkin’ she’d know something about poulthry, an’ sure enough she cleared out-. Thinks I to mesilf “I’ll follow her round an’ see what luck she has.’’ The nixt place she landed in was me frind fDavie Roche’s, an’ wid the chivalry av the thrue Irishman ho give her a rale Caed Mille Failtho, an’ crossed her hand wid a bit av white money, an’ twas the grate yarn she pitched. Your paper, Mr Editor, wud n’t howld half av it, but I heard something about loose shtones bein’ taken a ft' the shtreets, an’ national music at the band’s promenade concerts. By this time Davie’s face was beamin’, “An’ now, mo good woman,” ses ho, “perhaps you’ll be after telling ns something about dear Quid Ireland, the home of my ancestors ?” The gipsy lukt at him, an’ ses she, “ ’Tis strange, ’tis passing strange that you should have asked that' question. Know, then, O sir, that great things will happen in Ireland. The Cabinet will bring in a bill to give self-government. I believe it will be found, roughly speaking, while the Union remains untouched, an Irish Council, consisting for the most part of elected members, with a minority of nominated members, will be created to control the administration of Irish internal affairs, and to have the spending of all the moneyjs raised by taxation in Ireland, and not allocated to Imperial purposes ; and that Ireland will thus come to occupy, from the financial and administrative standpoint, very much the same position towards the United Kingdom that the Province of Bengal or Madras occupies towards the Government of India. To this general control over all local affairs there is one exception to be made —the police will remain, as they are now, an Imperial force, and will not be subject to the now Irish Council. At the same time they will probably bo reduced ; and I imagine that they will stand at not more than 7000. Otherwise, Irishmen will be given virtually complete control over their local affairs.

If the Imperial Government were to say to the Irish Council—‘About 10 millions are raised from Ireland by taxation. We keep two of these millions for Imperial purposes, and we hand the remainder over to you. There arc certain fixed charges upon it that will have to be met, but the balance which we to reckon to be about four to four and a half millions a year will be placed unreservedly at your dispose! for a term of five years’ —if the Imperial Council were to say this to the Irish Council, and were to allow Ireland to have the benefit of whatever savings might be effected by Irish administration, it would clearly be giving li eland a far more extensive control over her own affairs than she at present possesses.” “Well,” ses Oavie, that s the best news I’ve heard for many a long day !” an’ she lift him s ngin’ “The Dear Kittle Shamrock.” 4- 4- <s>

I followed the woman hot fut, an round into Don shtreat she wint, an’ bailed up Mr William Todd, where ho sat in his office surrounded wid maps av the West Coast an’ little boxes av samples av gold from that district. “Be seated, madam.” ses Mr Todd, wid the courtesy that nivlr forsakes him, an’ wavin’ the woman an’ her childer over to the nearest chair. Ses she —“You are on the eve of a great change—your prospects were never brighter. They come from the West;. 1 see what you colonials call nuggets and rich quartz. I see a fleet riding on the spacious bosom of Cuttle Cove, and a great town on the shore. The name ? Oh, yes !—'T-o-ci-d— yes, Toddville. But you have a kind heart, sir,” ses the gipsy, “and you will share your good fortune with others.” “Of course I will,” ses Mr Todd. “Why, bless me, I’ve been doing nothing else all my life—isn’t this the headquarters of ‘The Alabaster Box of Svmpathy.’ ” 4- 4- 4-

Whin he lukt round the gipsy had disappeared, but Mr Todd was relieved to sec that nothing else had. Away wint the woman through McKay Bros’ spacious yards an arcade, givin’ a quick luk at the empth povlthry pens as she passed, an’ on through the Royal Arcade. She met our ould acquaintance Mr O'Toole, an towld him as she wint pashc that he mushtn’t be surprised if he found himsilf in a new position before long. Mr O’Toole axed her for more details but she kept hurryin’ on, an’ Mr O’Toole muttered to himsilf that she was as mixed up as the servant that had been sint on an errand. On returning, she said to her mistress 1 "Oh, ma’am, there’s been a young man following me." Mistress —"Oh," indeed!" Servant Girl—" Yes, ma’am, I knew he was a-f olio wing me, because he kept looking round to sod if I was coming." •'s*• Well, the gipsy ran ahead, an’ (got into Mr George Froggattts place in Tay shtrect jusht in front av me. Mr Froggatt was shy at firsht, but at lasht consented to lit her take howlt av his hand. "You have one great’ aim ih life," scs she. You have had great opposition, but you will overcome it. Men have reviled you, and said you have sought pubs lie positions for your cwn purposes, but you held on like the good old

British bull-dog that you are, and now your reward is at hand. I seo a creek (I can almost smell it) and men are building a bridge over it.” George shmiled a shmile av contlnG mint, an' raohod her down wan av he beautiful 'possum skin rugs that adorn his establishmint. 4~ 4- 4- 4-

Jusht outside the door w.e met Mr Hoarding Morgan —not that I’d have ye think tdat he’s miserly wid his money—(whin ho has anny)—but just by way av lettin’ ye know, that he’s a billposhtcr by occupation. He was delighted at the chance av’ havin’ his future revealed. ‘'You have trouble ahead of you/' ses the gipsy, ” and the end is doubtful. You must have courage, and keep your face to the foe. That’s all I can say for the money.” ‘-‘lt’s quite enough,” ses Mr Morgan, “I know who you mean —it's that man Dawson. I must he off and discover his little game. Denis,” ses he. “I think I’ll call on my parson.” “Yes,” ses I, “if ye can be sure he’s not a frind av Dawson’s.” “That shouldn’t make any difference,” ses he. “It might,” ses- I. “Haven’t ye heard av the shtory av the Irishman who had several sons in South, Africa fightin’ against the Boors. He mot the clergy'man av the parish adjoinin’ that in which ho lived, ‘Oh, yer riverence,’ ses he, ‘wud ye mind prayin’ nixt Sunday in a Christian-like way that otild Kruger an’ his men wud get blown to pieces, an’ thin we may have peace?’ ‘But, Pat,’ ses the clergyman, ‘you ought to ask your own parson, not me.' ‘Ah, sure, what's the good av axin' him to pray for peace whin his butcher is fightin’ out there, an’ he owes him six months for mate? ' 4- 4- 4* 4-

Pas-sin down the shtreet, who shud the fortune-teller meet but Mr Kinross. Ye know his weakness, Mr Editor, ho shares it in common wid manny other grate min. “He dearly loves the lassies, O !’’ Well, he yielded at wance to the fascinations av the dark-eyed Sibyl, an’ she rattled away at a grate rate. “Ah,” ses she, “you arc a man after my own heart ; you scorn the humdrum life ; you love freedom, companionship, and the woods and the fields, and the flowers —in a word, you are a poet. “Send boldly forth thy simple lays. Whose accents flow with artless ease, Like Orient pearls at random strung.” 4- 4- 4- <S> Av coorse, Mr Kinross was touched —who wouldn't bo at such a compliment ? An’ ho presuited her in his mosht engagin’ shtyle wid’ a copy av his “Life and Lays,” a book, Mr Editor, that will bo read .whin manny av the novels in the Athenaeum have been forgotten or transhipped to Stewart Island or the Macquarries. But the gipsy wasn’t done wid him yet. “Although,” ses she, ‘‘much av your life has been devoted to the Muse you have political aspirations. Cheer up !, There are calls to be made to the Upper House—and, who knows?” “Who can she mean,” ses Mr Kinross. “Well, if its not you,” ses I, “it might be Mr Mclntyre or Mr Jas. Fleming.” ■4" <£’■ & ■4 >: After this the gipsy shpoke to so manny paple that I mnsht report ivirything in shorthand, so to shpako, so here goes ;

Young Mr Basstian, Engineer av the County Council ; —“Well, what has the future in store for me ?” “Young sir,” ses the gipsy, fixin’ him wid her glitterin’ eye, “the time will come when men without horses shall go.” “Well done,- ses he, ‘‘that means a motor car for the County staff'.’■4- ~4 *4Mr Jas. Fleming—“Ha ?” ses the prophetess, “the future is biig with fate —I see a nose ’’ “Oh, confound it,’-’ ses Mr Fleming, “it must be that nose o’ Fraser’s,’’ and away he wint. 4- -4 4Young Mr George Meek, av Fairfax—“ None but the brave deserve the fair,’’ ses she, “and you’ve made a great haul.’’ “Oh, well,” ses honest George, “I may as well own up, and tell you that I forked a tremendous' eel out of the Jacob’s river the other night, if that’s what you mean. ” 4- -4- 4 4 Mr Henry Hirst—“Your occupation is gone—as chairman of the Wallace County Council you will no longer be able to rise to points of order. All that is left you is to sit on those who do.” + 4 4Mr Morrison, Mr Todd’s right hand man—“ You have a generous heart, but there’s only room fox' one person in it at present.” Mi’ Morrision blushed an’ axed the name. “I see something belonging to a bull —and a running stream.” ses he, an’ added—“ How did you know —beats physical culture all to bits ! ’ ’ Mr George Poole—“ You suffer from two complaints,” ses - she, ‘‘buildingregulationsl and Builders’ Association, and you’ve had to use coux-t plaister.” ‘‘Yes,” ses George, “and I’ll get upsides with both of them if I should live to bo a hundred, 44 4 4 Cr. Johnstone, av Rivex-ton—“You suffer from carters’ licenses—not your own, but other people’s.” ■4- -4- 4 -4* Mr Cui'ran, av West Plains—“ Your heart’s not in the Highlands'—it’s in the foreshore of Bay Road —.you want it reclaimed —the land, not your heart —being a bachelor, if has still to bo claimed.” Mr Cui'ran shmiled whin he heard that, as much as to say—“ She doesn’t know, everything. ■4- 4 4- 4 Afthor this I lift the gipsy to her own devices, an wint home, an’ whin I towld Katie all the wonderful things the gipsy had said, she laffed me to scorn, an’ said her talk was as useless as the moth-balls that the druggist sowld to Mr Rafferty. The nixt day Mr Rafferty returned, an’ howl din’ out the crumbled remains av some av the moth balls, he, said, “Arc yez the young man that sowld thim things to me yesterday'?' ’ I am. What’s the matter with them?” “The idea av a dacent shtoi-e soilin’ thim things to kill moths or annything else ! If yez can show me the man that can hit a moth wid wan av thim I’ll say nothin’ about the pitchers an’ the lookin’ glass me an’ the ould woman broke.” DENIS.

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The Contributor., Southern Cross, Volume 14, Issue 47, 19 January 1907

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The Contributor. Southern Cross, Volume 14, Issue 47, 19 January 1907

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