DENIS DIS COURSES,* Dear Mr Editor, —His Excellency the Governor wint through to the Bluff in a special thrain an’ a mighty hurry on Widnesday. He .was bound for the Chatham Islands, an’ towld me he’d no time for an’ interview, but whinivir I mentioned the “Southern Cross’’ he faffed, an’ axed the pleasure av me company to the Bluff, an’ ’twas the grate talk we had on the run down. Lord Plunket was quite delighted whin ho heard how well the new theatre was doin’, an’ I towld him how surprised I was that the new Legislative Councillors didn’t include our worthy Mayor, Mr Scandrett—a man that 'ud have done honour to the position. “That’s the great trouble in New Zealand,” ses the Governor—--‘you have so many able men that the difficulty is to know how to find positions fot all of them equal eo their several abilities.” I thanked him for the complimint, an’ thin he axed me to till him how the town an’ district was progressing -s>• ■<s> -<s> “Well,” ses I, “they’re doin’ as well as cud be expected. Ye know,” ses I, “that whin a man has a bad accident the papers always say that he’s doin’ as well as can be expected. Well. Invercargill has suffered from no-license since July lasht, an’ she’s even doin’ betther than some paple expected. Buildin’s are goin up in all directions, an’ we’re to have a woollen mill in full swung in a few week's.’’ “Well done,” ses the Governor. “Yes,” ses I, “some paple thought tbo town cudn’t get on wudout the open bars, but they’re not indispensable—they can be done widout jusht the same as the clerk that applied to his mashtcr, a German, for an increase in his salary. He laid the matther before his employer, placin’ particular stress on what a difficult thing it ’ud be to operate widout him. This claim was admitted by the employer, who inquired further. ‘But, Chon, vat if you should die ?’ ‘Oh, then you w T ould have to get along wuthout me,’ ses John. .. After a few minutes’ deep thought the employer looked up at John an’ ses :i ‘Veil, Chon, ehust gonsider yer&clf dent.’ ” ■4* “And how is my countryman, Davie Roche, doing ?” ses the Governor. “He’s in grate form,” ses I. “Why, if it hadn’t beem for him at the Athenaeum meetin’ the other night it ’ud have been as dull as ditch wather. He thriod his level besht to get the place made free to ivirybody, but the other side bate him whin it came to the vote, but Davis ses ke’ll have another go at thim nixt year, for he ; s determined that the young paple shall have iviry chance to become intiHigint.” “A very laudable object,” ses the Governor, “but from what I can see, Denis, sonic - young people are sharp enough as it is. For example, I was reading on the way dowm from Dunedin about a teacher who set the class the follow'ing sum in mental arithmetic. ‘Suppose that a man owed the butcher £-11 10s, the tailor £l6 ss, the milkman 15s
6d, the landlord £5, what would it all amount to ?' ‘A midnight flit,' answered an experienced pupil.” “Well towld, your Excellency,” ses I, “an' by the same token, that reminds- me that me son Corney, afther goin’ to hear Mr White lecture on physical culture the other night, has been workin, night an’ day to develop his muscles. He’s copyin' the man that died, an’ this is what his landlady ses about him :—‘There was a gent in Middle Temple-lane,' ses Mrs Wilkins, ‘as I used to do for. It’s my belief ’e killed ’imsclf worryin’ twenty-four hours a day over what 'e called ’ygeno. Leastways, ’e’s dead an’ buried now, which must be a comfort to ’imself, feelin’ as at last ’e’s out of danger. All 'is time ’e spent takin’ care of “'imself —didn’t seem to ’avo a leisure moment in which to live. For ’alf an hour every mornin’ ’e’d lie on 'is back on the floor, which is a draughty place, I always ’old, at the best of times, with nothin;! on but ’is pyjamas, wakj in’ ’is arms an’ legs about, an’ atwdstin’ 'imself into shapes unnatural to a Christian.
“ ‘Then 'e found out that everything ’e'd been doin’ on 'is back was just all wrong, so 'e turned over an’ did tricks on his stomach—beggdn’ your pardon for usin’ the word, —that you’d have thought more fit an’ proper to a worm than to a man. Then all that 'e discovered to be a mistake. There don’t seem nothin’ certain in these matters. That’s the awkward part of it, so it seems to me. “' ’E got ’imself a machine by which 'e’d ’ang ’imself up to the wall, an’ behave for all the world like a beetle with a pin stuck right through ’im, poor thing. It used to give me the shudders to catch sight of ’im through the 'alf-open door. For that was part of the game ; you ’ad to ’ave a current of air through the room, the result of which was that for six months out of the year ’e’d be coughin’ an’ blowin’ ’is nose from mornin’ to night. It was the new treatment, so ’e’d explain to me. You got yourself accustomed to draughts so that they didn’t ’urt 3'ou, an’ if you died in the process that only proved that you naver ought to ’ave been born.’ ” ■4- 4- 4- 4-
“And your good friend Angus MacGregor/-' ses the Governor, “haw is he getting on ?’’ “Well/’ ses I, “he is net what he used to be at all, at all. Whin he came in the other night I thought he’d bo in the besht av spitits at the way the Pipe Band carried ivirything before thim at Christchurch, bat inshtead av that ho lukt quite down in the mouth, an' prisintly h« let the cat out ar the hag. Ye na sushi know, your Excellency, that Angus has been patronisin' the beer depots a good deal —■ there’s three now inshtead av two—an’ somewan sint him a copy av the Vanguard wid an article about how beer kills paple, an' he’s not been the same man since. Ses ho —'Denis, the paper says that if ye drink beer the first organ tae be attacked is the kidneys ; the liver soon sympathises an’ then comes, maist frequently, dropsy ©r Bright’s disease both certain tac end fatally. Ony physician
yho cares tae tak’ the time will tell T e that among - the dreadful results o’ beer-dr inkin' are lockjaw an’ erysipelas, an’ that 1 the beer-drinker seems incapable o’ recoverin’ frae mild disorders an' injuries not usual.ly regarded as o’ a grave character. I Pneumonia, pleurisy, fevers, etc., ! seem tae hae a first mortgage on him, which they foreclose remorselessly at an early opportunity. Noo,’ ses Angus, ‘l’ll hae tae turn teetotal.’ " *s■ ■4 > “Why," ses his Excellency, ‘‘if that is the case, your friend will soon be like the gravedigger of a little town in Scotland. Pie was induced to give up his habit of hard-drinking, and sign the pledge. At a public meeting he gave his experience. ' I never thocht tae tell ye,’ he said, 'that for a whole month I havena’ touchit a drop o’ onything. I’ve saved enough tae buy me a braw oak coffin wi' brass nails an handles—an’ if I'm a toetotlcr another month 1 shall bo wantin’ it !’ 4“ <S> 4-
By this time the thrain had rached the Bluff, an’ afthcr seein’ the Governor on board his shfcamer I wint ah' for a chat wid some av me ould cronies, an’ found thim preparin’ for the openin’ av the oyster sayson on Ist February. Somowan got up a discussions about oysters, an’ it was as good as a piay to hear the talk that wint on. I don’t know how it is, Mr Editor, but horse-racin’ an’ lishin’ are two things that mosht paple can talk about wid grate freedom an’ a power av imagination that bates all. “Talk about openin’ oysters,’ ’ ses Mr Georgeson, “why, nothin’s easier, if you know how.’’ “And how’s how ?” ses M>r McNish. “Scotah snuff,” ses Mr Georgeson. “Scotch snuff. Bring a little of it ever so near their noses, and they.Tl sneeze their lids off.” “I know a genius,” ses Mr Parry, “who’s a better plan. He spreads the bivalves in a circle, seats himself in the centre, and begins spinning a yarn. Sometimes its an adventure in Mexico, sometimes a legend of his loves, an’ sometimes a marvellous Stock Exchange operation. As he proceeds the ‘natives’ get interested ; one by one they gape at the tremendous and direful whoppers which are poured forth, and as they gape my friend whips them out, peppers them, and swallows Wiem.” “That’ll do,” ses Mr McNish. wid a long sigh. “ I wish I had a bushel of the bivalves here now ; they'd open easy.’’ “Denis,” ses fflatie, whin I towld her, “ye have been cribbm' again, for I've heard that shtory before.”" Ye sec, she won't give me credit for annything, Mr Editor. DENIS.
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The Contributor., Southern Cross, Volume 14, Issue 49, 2 February 1907
The Contributor. Southern Cross, Volume 14, Issue 49, 2 February 1907
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