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The Contributor., Southern Cross, Volume 14, Issue 51, 23 March 1907
DENIS DISCOURSES* Dear Mr Editor, —Ye mushtn’t be afther expectin’ too much, from me wake, for I’m jusht gettin’ over St. Patrick’s Day. We had a grate crowd at the house on St. Patrick’s evenin’, but ’twas mighty tame all the same, for there were no heads cracked, only jokes. Dedalia, howivir was in grate form, an’ nearly melted us all to tears wid the touchin’ way she sung the followin’ pome : DO I REMEMBER IRELAND ? Do I remember Ireland ? is it that you ask asthore ? Well, maybe you have reason to, for fifty years or more Have left their changes on me, since thro’ tears and ocean spray My swollen eyes beheld her shores grow dim and fade away. •Yes, fifty years and over, that’s a length of time ’tis true. With all its cares and troubles, its scenes and faces new. But neither tears nor ocean, child, will ever wear away The memory of old Ireland, ’tis fresh as yesterday t 'And when I call the vision up. how vivid it appears. So near me, and so real, through the long, long lane of years ; Every scene I used to love, ev’ry haunt I used to know, When youth’s bright days were with mo, in Ireland long ago.
The hills are crowned with heather, where I loved so well to climb For cowslips sweet and daisies In the beautiful springtime, To rob the prickly- furze-bush of its gems of golden pride. Or search beneath the hedges where the primrose used to hide.
The red-breast’s merry chirrup, and the thrush’s joyful Jay, The perfume of the Hawthorn : all the beauties of the May-, The fragrance of the turf-smoke as it curled blue and thin, .With talcs and laughter laden from the happy- hearts within.
I mind me how I wandered thro’ the castle old and grey, A thousand years ’twas standing, and ’tis standing yet they say. How grim it looks and solemn, keeping watch upon the flow Of the river that swept headlong ’neath the mossy bank below.
These pictures of the buried past come trooping up at will ; The coach, the bouse it stopped at, the bridge, the noisy 7 mill. The dear old white-washed .chapel, where my childhood’s prayers were said, The churchyard with, God rest them, its loved and honoured dead.
Yon say, and maybe rightly, that this land has scenes as fair, I know a nd love its beauty 7, yet it’s not the same as there.
Your mountains, lakes, and rivers may be wonderful and grand, But give to me the beauties of my dear old native land. Yes, I remember Ireland, child, and if it were God’s will— A foolish wish you call it, sure, but I must wish It still— When death shall end my days on earth, I’d wish my bed of day With Irish sods were covered, in that churchyard far away. -4- -4- “ ’Tis an illiganl song,” ses I. “An’ weel sung, tao,” sv-s Angus McGregor. ‘‘‘Thank ye kindly for the complimint to Dedal ia,” ses I. ‘‘an’ by the same, token it Inks as if the Quid Sod was goin’ to get Home Rule at lasht.” “Weel,” ses Angus, ‘‘if I wis you, Denis, I’d not be pittin’ tae muckle faith in that same Home Rule, for when ye get it, it may turn oot onything but a blcssin’.” ‘‘Sure,” ses I, ‘‘we’ll risk that, an’ thank Sir Campbell-Ban-nerman.” ‘Mist sae,” ses Angus, ‘‘but it’s possible it may be as bad for Ireland as the cow that the man took for a bad debt. I’m no savin’ it will, but ye canna tell. Onyway, this is hoo the story' rius : —‘lt was a very bad ‘debt,’ said the man that got the cow, and I came to consider it a bad payment. She was a thin cow, but the former owner said she was better than she looked, being a cross between the Jersey and the Durham. I kept the cow three days, and no one could ever appreciate the suffering I endured in that ti c. The first night she broke through the fence, and reduced to a palp all the underclothing belonging to my next door neighbour. Bhe put her hot ns through my bath-tub, ati.i ate up all my geraniums. She was to givethree gallons of milk a clay, but she seemed to be short just then, and never bad that to spare while we had her. The second day she walked into the kitchen, and upset a pan of butter and a tub of .’art. Then she fell down a well, and when I got her out. at a cost of half a, sovereign, she took the colic, whooping -cough, or something, and kept us awake- all night. Not a green thing was left in my garden. The trees in my neighbour’s orchard were bare of fruit, and he did not have a twig of shrubbery left. My- neighbour came over to me and said ; ‘Now, I dont derire any quarrel but I want you to keep your cow out of m.v shrubbery-.’ ‘And I want you. my friend,’ said I, to keep your shrubbery- out of my cow ; it spoils the taste c f the milk.’ Ever afterwards there was a coolnessl -between us, and my neighbour's wife ceased to patronise our house when she wanted to borrow a cupful of yeast powder.’ ” •4" -4" -4‘‘That's all very fine, Angus,” ses I, “but whin Ireland has a I’arliamint av her own. she’ll be free to do as she likes.” ‘‘Yes, dad.” chipped in Corney, ‘‘she’ll be like the Bushman that wint to New York an’ wrote home to his paple that it was a real free oounthry—‘Tvirywan.” ses he, ‘‘does what he likes, an’ if he doerh’t. thin, begorra, wc make him do it ! ” ‘‘Enough av politics,” ses Katie, ’tis -dry work at the besht av
times-.’- “Well,”- ses I, “it’s not dry in New Zealand, for X see Mr McNab, the Minister av Lands, has drawn out Mr Rutherford, the big land-owner av the Hurunui, an this is how he deals wid Mr McNab ; ‘The author of this crude and immature Land -Bill is not a farmer although a land owner. He is a student who had a brilliant university career, and who has spent the latter years of his life in hunting up records of the old whalers who visited the coasts of New Zealand a century ago, on which he writes very interestingly. What the old whalers .knew concerning the land question further than occasionally purchasing a million or two acres for a blanket or a tomahawk I don’t know. Anyway, their knowledge Is not applicable to the present circumstances of the case. There is an amount of boyish verdancy about Air McNab's bills that is quite refreshing in this businesslike age. Tie is. however, a lifchble man, and has not an enemy in the House.- -’ 4; 4. 4. “Why,” ses Corney, “I thought Mr Rutherford was a Liberal av the Liberals, an’ was induced to shtand by the late Mr Seddon.” “That may be/'’ ses I, “but ye can’t blame him for turnin’ round whin his big estate is threatened by these same Liberals.’ “Perhaps not,” ses Corney, “he may have been wantin’ to keep in wid both sides like Pat. He had a cow, but unfortunately had no grazin’. He herded the animal on the roadsides. The minishtor av the parish was a compassionate an’ charitable man, an’ he promised to graze Pat’s cow free av charge if he wml become a number av his church. Pat agreed, an’ the boasht grazed merrily on the minishter’s field. But after a time the minister found that Pat was playin’ the double, for while he attended his (the minishter’s) church every Sunday at two p.m. he nivir wanoe missed attendin’ seven o’clock mass. Visitin’ Pat wan day he axed an explanation for his conduct, an’ Pat replied :—Tt is like this, your riverence, I attind mass in the mornin' for the good av me sowl, an I attind your place at two o’clock for the g - ood av the’cow.’ ” “So I suppose, dad, “Mr Rutherfork has turned, a Conservative for the sake av his land.” '-f & 4 1 I don’t know how ye feel about it, Mr Editor, but ITI be rale glad whin the Exhibition is over —indade, I’m beginnin’ to think that me frind Davie Roche is right, an that it’ll be the ruination av the counthry .before we’re done wid it. Ye see, they tiligraphed that they wore goin’ to howld a beauty show, an’ nothin’ ’aid do Bedalia but she’d enter for it. “Luk,” ses she, “the advertisement it ’ud be for Invercai'gill if I tuk the firsht prize.” But her mother wudn't hear av it at all, at all. Ye see, she’s wan av the ould-fashioned sort, an’ thinks young women shud not push thimsilvcs forward on anny account, an’ goodness knows how the trouble Tid have hided if that good young- man, Mr Ell, av Christchurch, hadn’t tiligraphed to Wellington an’ got the show knocked on the head. Bedalia’s young man was awfully down in the mouth whin he heard
! about it, for he made sure she’d be queen av the crowd. Katie to wi d Be-* dalia she was safer at home than in Christchurch, because paple nivir Iknew what ’ud happen. ‘-‘Why,” ses she, “ye might go to church wan night an’ have the experience av the gyrul in the Quid Counthry. She wint to a strange church wan night, where the parson always shuk hands wid his paple as they wint out, an’* was always very civil wid strangers.Well, he extinded his hand to the young woman, who, in answer to his enquiry, said she lived in a certain village. The minishter thin towld her he wud like to call an’ see her some time, whereupon the girl, wid a blush, stammered out :—‘Please sir, I’ve got a young man already !’ ” Angus McGregor is the grate bhoy for argumint, an’ he’s been thryin’' to draw me into a discussion about the Rev. Mr Campbell, the inyintor. av the new theology. But I refused to be caught, an’ thin he tackled Katie, but he was sorry he did, for she wint for him bald-headed, as the say in’ goes. “Mr McGregor,’’ ses she, (she always calls him Mister whin she’s angry), “ I don’t know much about theology, but I believe the old Bible that Mr Campbell (more shame to him) is thryin’ to deshtroy will be read an’ believed long aft her Mr Campbell an’ his clan av higher crlti-' ics are dead an’ forgotten,’’ “Hear, hear, mother,” ses Corney, “I’m wid ye there, an’ I make bowld to say that the Bible’ll be like the shirtstud at the Battle av Manilla. iYe musht know that on board an Atlantic shteamer the representative av a Gorman house was endeavourin’ to open an account wid t-he head av an English firm. ‘No,’ ses the latter, T cannot give an order. Call it prejudice if you like, but I prefer homemade goods.’ 'C’rect, sonny,’ put in an American who chanced to be prisInt. T‘ll shake on that, though I owe my life to the fellow-countrymen of our friend here.’ ‘Ach !’ ejaculated the German, 'vas dat so ?’ ‘Pact!continued the Yankee. ‘lt was at Manila, I was working on on© of Dewey’s vessels, when a shell from a Spanish ship fell foul of my shirtfront.’ ‘Ami you vos live !’- gasped the Gorman. ‘That’s so, sonny. X lived —thanks to German industry.2 ‘Mein gracious !’ gasped the Teuton.‘You vos ’ ‘Relating a fact, stranger. That .shell was made in Germany. It ran up against a shirt stud made in England, and) —well, it kinder rubsided !” DENIS..
The Contributor., Southern Cross, Volume 14, Issue 51, 23 March 1907
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