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The Contributor., Southern Cross, Volume 14, Issue 50, 23 February 1907
DENIS DISCOURSES, Dear Mr Editor, —Av coarse ye Imow the th rouble we’re havin’ over linddn’ a suitable site for the throopers’ monumint. Katie sint me down to Noble's the other night to buy a few jam labels, an’ the paple were talkin’ all the time about where the statue - ud be erected. Wan partly said wan thing, an’ the other said something else, an’ at wan time I thought there’d be a free fight, an’ that we’d have to call Charley Reading in to help to keep the peace. The majority favoured the intersection av Dee an’ Tay shtreets, the place fixed by the public mectin’ hild a year or two back, so that the throoper Aid have his back to the south an’ his face to the norVlh, hikin’ out for the bhoys cornin’ in from the beer depots, wid a splindid flow av wather from the tower runnin’ out at the heel av his boot to reduce the liquid fire to underproof. *s■ Whin I got home an ah' to slape I had a vision, an’ thought I was on the noad to the Bluff to have a luk at the statue an’ git his opinion on the grate site question. I fancied I was dhrivin’ a fine motor car lint me by Mr Jones, the genial manager for Mr Marie, the interprisin’ cycle man, Passin’ Woodend like a streak av lig-htnin’ I saw me ould frind Tom Hall sittin’ at his door. "Excelsior !’’ ses I, as I dashed bj*. “No ; John Gilpin !” cried he, as I disappeared from view. I wanted to puli up to see the town coutocil’s endowmint, but iviry lever I touched sint me on the fashter, an’ the Bluff was reached before me or the car was ready, an’ if it hadn’t been for Mr Hinchey’s verandah at the ould Eagle I might have collided wid Dog Island lighthouse. I losht mo time in lukin’ up the statue in the railway goods shed, an’ there sure enough I found him marchin’ up an’ down an’ enjoyin’ a smoke while the ould horse was feedin’ on some Bluff oats. Well, Mr Editor, if lie wasn't plased to see me ! At flrsht I didn’t get a wprd in edgewise. “My word, Denis,’’ ses he, “I’m pleased I came all the way from Glasgow- if only to sec you. Where are all your public men that none of them have come down to see me, an’ iet me know what part of your lovely town I’m to adorn?’’ "Whisht !’’ ses J, "sure that’s what all the trouble’s about. They don’t rightly know' where to put you.’’ "Well,” ses he, "the least they could have done was to fcave come dowm to see me. I understand you gave a public welcome to the Irish delegates and to the Chinese envoy, and a band that was touring the colony to make money, aired yet nobody thought it worth their while to look me up till you came along. I feel hurt, Denis, to say the least.” “Nivir mind,” ses I, "sure, if there’s anny feelin’ lift in ye afther Monday night’s meetin’ ye’ll have rayson 1 to be thankful. But how' are the Bluff paple tratin’ ye ?” ses I. "Like gentlemen,” ses he. “The first man I mot was Mr Vickery, and he took
me round the point and up the hill to show' me where Invercargill was. I asked Mr Vickery what kind of people lived there, and he said they w'ere sharp although the place Was flat, and that if I lived there long enough I’d be a natural.” Mr Vickery will have his joke,” ses I. "I took to him,” ses the statue, “ because I knew his son Jack ija South Africa, and he was a plucky lad too.’’ “He’s plucky still,” ses I, "for he’s a mashter butcher now,” 4- 4- 4-
"Did you hear about Charlie Sutherland ?” ses the statue. "No,” ses I. "Well, he’s going - Home with the 'Wee Macgregor,’ and I have given him an introduction to the Lord Provost, and Charlie said he hoped the Bluff would be free from the terrible epidemic it’s suffering from before he got back.” "What do they call it ?” ses I. "Bowls.” ses the statue. They actually delayed a train two hours the other night till a game was finished. They must be great sports, Denis, and I’m glad to be in the colony.” 4* 4* 4" Thin I hinted to me granite frind that I’d like to know his view's on the gr a te site question. "Well,” ses the statue, “when the Provost put me in the box at Glasgow he told me that the people didn’t know whore to put me, and I told him I’d have a big say in the business when I got there, or, as Sir J. G. Ward says, there’s bound to be a now, I understand, Denis, that one man wants me down near the jetty, so that I supervise Raymond's bridge over the Estuary, while another wafeits me to go down into the gardens alongside the pungent Puni creek, with my back to a church ; but I never turned my back on the church yet, and I’m njot going to start now'. Then somebody else wants to plant me in the hospital grounds, but I 'don't want the nurses to be setting their caps at mo and neglecting their work. Some say that I’m not good enough for the main street of the city, and that is what makes my blood boil. I’ve been practising Sandow and Vanda White all the way out (feel my muscles, Denis), and JTI back myself against any other monument in the colony, not excepting Miss Minerva on the Athenaeum, even though she is of bronze. I think the people will be satisfied when they' see me, Denis, although they seem to know as little about me as the policeman did of his child.” "I’d like to hoar the shtory,” ses I. "Well,” ses the statue, “I’ll toll it to you while you’re smoking one of these fine cigars that the Mayor, Mr Whealler, treated me to the other night. He saw a little boy on the Strand crying bitterly. He loomed up over the infant, who gazed up, and, amid sobs, said—‘l'm lost !’ ‘Where do you live, little man ?’ asked the constable, kindly, for ho had children of his o wn. ‘Boohoo !’ wailed the child. ‘I don’t know. Boohoo !' ‘Come with me,' said the officer, ‘What can your mother be . thinking of to let a little one of your size stray away ?' And aw ay went the bobby, resolved to find the parents of the little one, and administer a fitting rebuke when ho found them. As he was going up Bow street (he met a serg - eant. ‘What is the matter with the kid ?’ asked
the sergeant. ‘He’s lost, and I’m trying- to find his mother or father. If 1 can’t drop across them I’ll land him in the station.’ ‘Eats !’ responded the sergeant. ‘Don’t you know your own boy ?’ ” 4- 4- 4-
“By tthe way/’ sos the statue, whin ho finished his cig'ar, “how are Jim Fahey and Paddy Crowe doing.’’ “Br a vely,’’ sos I. ‘‘The young- crows can fly, an’ the Fahey s are as full av fight as ivir if the call comes.’’ “That’s good.’’ sos tlhe statue, “for I have often thought about them since we used to spin yarns at the Camp, fires in the Transvaal. But to come to business, Denis. I was .warned when I left Glasgow not to ct them put me in the gardens, near he hospital, or close to the railway ration. Indeed, the Provost tpld me o place myself in the hands' of Mr Scandrett, the mayor, and said once he made up his mind where I was to go nothing would make him change it, and that his choice would be ratified by the people. Above all, Denis, I was warned not to let Mr Froggalt persuade the council to put me close to his bridge over the creek at Elies Road. Now, Denis, I want you to rally round the Mayor on Monday night, and see that I get fair play. Get ox-Mayor Goldie to speak, and be guided by his sound advice ; listen attentively to Mr CouUag, who knows all about Trafalgar Square, and pay heed to his views. Then bo sure and call on Captain Petrie, who is one of the few men not at sea on this question; and also hearken to Mr Healey, with bis policy of New Zealand for the New Zealanders. As for Mr Hatch, remind him that he’s not at the Macquarries, and can’t -dispose of me as easily as he does of the penguins.” “And lastly.” ses the statue, “call it Transvaal Square, and when you get back to town tell Mr Towler Gambling to be in the crow’s nest when I come, and have a good dinner ready for mo at Pasco’s, and to fight the battle of the site for all he’s wort'll. Toll him if he’s getting the worst of it to call in Joe Holloway, the auctioneer, to knock them down, and if he’s beaten get Stephen Hun-s-or to _buy a section in the suburbs and see that I’m buried decently, with the U(iiion Jack floating over me, to the music of the Garrison band—that is if they have survived their trip to the Exhibition. If Mr Gambling fails mo, tell him there’ll be no end of a row.” “Aisy,” ses I. “Pd have ye to 'know that he’s not a man to be bounced. Begorra, ye can’t have heard how he captured a burgler. knife in hand, at Timarn, or ye’d not talk like that, an’ if yc cross him ye might be like the Irishman that vfint to a weddin’. Pat arrived at 4he house faultlessly attired in full evenin' dress, wid a huge white chrysanthemum adornin’ his button-hole. He was shown upstairs to the g'inllemon’s dressin’ room, 4- -4- -4- -4* “The guests assimblcd below, were suddenly startled by bearin’ a grate commotion above. Rushin’ into the hall to ascertain tihe cause, they were somewhat startled to behowld Pat come tumblin’ head firsht down the stairs completely dishevelled. Up-
jon the amazed host’s cxclaimin 'Why, Pat, what is the matter,’ Pat 1 answered ; ‘Sure, an’ I wint upstairs ah’ whin I wint into the room I saw a swell young dandy wid a white carnationarymum in his buttonhole an’ kid gloves on his hands, an’ I ses to him, ‘Who’re you ?’ ‘l’m the best man,’ ses he, an’ begorra, so he was. ’ ” “Very good,’- laughed the statue.; “I’ll keep on the right side of Mr Gambling, and if you want to inter-; view me again you must communis cate with the Invercargill gasworks, where I’m acting-manager till the new man arrives.” Wid that I lift him, an’ was soon on Hhe road to town, but whin I got near the Ap--pleby Hotel all at wance the moton shtruck wan av Jimmy Lloyd's illL gant cottages, an’ the shock woke me up, an’ ’twas the glad man I was to find it was a dftirame afther aIL -s>‘■‘Your experiences remind me av what the witness said to the lawyer,” ses Katie. ‘You say you left home on the tenth ?’ axed the lawyer. ‘Yes, sir,’ ses the witness. ‘And came back on the twenty-fifth ‘Yes, sir.’ ‘What were you doing in the interim ?’ ‘Never was in such a place,’ ses the witness. 4Ivirybody's laifin’ at ouid Charlie Reading, the owner av Southland’s prize buckin’ horse, an’ the patentee av the double-headed matches, hauled up in order to be bound over to keep the peace. Why, a more harmless man nivir walked Mr Mitchell’s saleyards, an’ if a fly lit on his nose he’d brush it aff sooner than kill it. Begorra, he’s that peaceful that some paple are thinkin’ av sindin’ him to the Peace Conference.Why, he’s that much -afraid av hurtin’ people’s falins that he rides round on horseback to collect his debts-, an’ makes believe that he’s out exercisin the horse., “Well,” ses Corney, “he’s mot like the man that was charged before the magistrate wid breakin’ a chair over his wife’s- head. Prisoner : I am very sorry, your honour, but it was an accident.‘You didn’t mean to -hit her, then?’; ‘Yes, I did, but I didn’t intend to break the chair.’- + + +■ We’re all plased that Detective McIlveney’s got a lift up, but Corney ses- he can't make out how Mr Howard was overlukt whin his successor was appointed, an’ Bedalia ses tAatl afther the way he captured the opium tins at Orepuki, am’ was nearly killed in doin’ it, he shu-d have been the firsht to have the vacancy. “It’s not worryin’ Mr Howard very much,’ ses Katie, “for I mot him in the Dresden on Tuesday buy i'n’ new fiddle strings, an’ I’ve had a let-then from wan av the Barrys at Orepuki, an’ they till me that Mr Howard] was playin’ on the thrain all the way there, an’ that whin the down thrain passed at Oporo all the passengers thried to jump aff an’ go back wid him to Invercargill. They say he’s equal to the Besses o’ the Barn anny day av the week, an’ doesn’t charge charge 5s a head neither.”“Long may he fiddle an’ sing his way through life,’’ ses I. DENIS.
The Contributor., Southern Cross, Volume 14, Issue 50, 23 February 1907
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