DENIS DISCOURSES,: Dear Mr Editor,—'Tis a fine time I’ve been havin’ this wake. Ye see me ould frind Captain Fahey, av Otautau, dhropped me a note, an’ said he was sindin’ in a couple av cabbages by a monkey dodger. For the life av me I cudn’t make out how they were cornin’, an’ not a sowl cud till me what a monkey dodger meant. In fact, wan man towld me there was no such thing, but I knew me owld frind too well, an’ his word is his bond. <£■ 4- 4-’
I heard Toni Carson had got stuck up in the corporation rat-trap, or rather traction engine trap at Northend, an’ I concluded it was the weight, av the cabbage put him in the ditch, an’ wint out to see. "No,” ses Tom, "I’ve got no cabbage for you this trip. Who was to bring them in ?” "A" monkey dodger,” ses I.- “Oh,” ses Tom, “a monkey dodger is a man employed in mustering sheep. Our engine is a ditch-dodger, and is in a nice hole this time.” ■“How did ye get in ?” ses I. ‘Must the same as the other got in a month ago,” ses he, “shied at the tram car, caught sight of the troopers’ memorial, tried to dodge the smell from the Park drain, and the rest was easy.” “Is it Avenal or Gladstone ye’re shtuck in ?” ses I. “It’s Dee street, Invercargill,” ses he, “and the Corporation ought to pay me expenses for keeping such a trap along a road, instead of trying to seize poor Mr Raymond’s new bridge over to Otatara, but now we must get on with the work,” an’ I iift him, an’ came back to town. ■<s>• 4"
Cornin’ down by the hospital I met a young man carryin’ cabbages, an’ I axed him where he got thim from. “Captain Fahey s.ent them with his compliments, and said you are to be sure and come up to the plucking competitions at Otautau, for there is to be great fun, and that he’s going to show his cabbage at Dunedin and Invercargill next season, and beat all creation.’’
Whin I axed the lad what he was by profession, he towld me he was a Jackaroo. "The divil,” ses I, "I .was towld ye were a monkey dodger.” '“No,” ses he, “I used to be a monkey dodger, but the monkeys got so scarce since they started to freeze them for Home that I gave it up. Now, to speak plain English, I'm a young man gainin’ pastoral experience.” *s• -4* “They tell me, Denis,” ses the young man, "that the measles are very prevalent in town.” "They are that,” ses I. "The Health Departmint has sint notices to ache school, an’ taohers are distributin’ thim wid very good results. They have iuk on well at North Invercargill, an’ are spreadin’ over the land, includin’ the four corners av the town. It is a fine time mothers are havin’ entirely. They are more plintiful than mushrooms (measles, I mean, not mothers) r V & '•¥ '-e
I was wonderin’ how the Corporaion was goin’ to make the traction ngine chap pay, but I find they colect extra rates from the implement companies who supply the gear to pull the__ others out, so ye see, we’ll make Norlhend as self-supportin’ as the new theatre. 4- 4; 4;
Ivir since the slaughterman's strike things have been unsettled in N.Z., an’ now the epidemic has infected the railway engines. Firsht av all wan av thim attimpted to run over the ind av the Lyttelton wharf an’ shtrike the wather. Thin two engines shtruck ache other near Rakaia, an’ thin the disease shpread down south, an’ two locomotives shtruck against ache other at Waipahi, av all places in the world. “Why shudn’t they shtrike there as well as anny other place ?” ses Katie. ‘’‘Because,” ses' I, “ 'tis the lasht plage in the world where ye’d expect annything in the way av excitemint. Nobody ivir shtops there if they can help it, an’ as for fun, ye needn’t Ink for it there —ye might as well thry to drown a fish or make a lawyer blush at his charges.” ‘■‘Well,” ses Corney, ‘T hope we won’t have anny more shtrikes on the lines ; I’d not like to see New Zealand like America,’.’ ses he. '‘‘l'm towld,” ses he, “that this is the sort av thing that’s goin’ on in the States ; “I can’t keep thradk av these shtrikes. Somebody is shtrikin’ all the time. Wan day the horseshoers are out, an’ another day the teamsters. The Brotherhood av Molasses Candy Pullers shtrikes an’ the Amalgamated Union av Pickle Sorters quits in sympathy. The carpenter that has been puttin’ up a chickencoop for Hogan knocked aff work whin he found that Hogan was ©havin’ himsilf widout a card from the Barbers’ Union. Hogan fixed it wid the delegate av the barbers’ union an’ the carpenter quit work because he found that Hogan was wearin’ a pair av non-union pants. Hogan wint down town an’ had the pants unionised, an’ come home to find the carpenter had shtruck because Hogan’s hens were layin’ widout the union label. Hogan induced the hens to join the union. But wan av thim laid an egg two days in succession, an’ the others shtruck, the rule av the union bein’ that no hen shall lay more eggs than the most reluctant hen in the bunch.” 4- 4. 4;
"Well,” ses Bedalia, "talkin’ av shtrikes, "the strangest case av the kind I’ve heard is the wan at Christchurch, where a newspaper has shtruck against tollin’ the truth.” "How do y© make that out ?” ses I. "Why,” ses she, "this is what the Southland Times copied from the Christchurch Truth the other day ; A year of 'prohibition’ at Invercargill has produced some .striking reults. The Customs returns show that the dispensation of tanglefoot is going on just as freely as ever, and that there was actually an increase of '£27o in the beer duty for the 'prohibition’ year as compared with the previous twelve months under license. The duty collected on spirits shows a slight decrease—something like 5 per cent., which all goes to show how
hopeless it is to expect prohibition to prohibit in a place where the community wants its tanglefoot in large or small quantities, and is determined to have it.’ ” 4>- 4- 4- 4-
'’‘Well, child,” ses I, ‘‘what’s wrong wid that ?”■ ‘‘Why,” ses she, ‘‘Truth talks about * a year av prohibition, whin we’ve only had for a matther av a little over nine months.” ‘‘The colleen is quite right,” ses Katie, “an’ I’m wonderin’ what we shud do wid paple that make such a blunder whin they set out to till the truth ! ” “Sure,” .ses I, “it reminds me av the ould riddle—‘‘What do liars do after death ? Answer : They lie still.' ’- 4- 4* 4-
So the grate Meikle Commission has sint in its report, Mr Editor, an’ me ould frind knows what they think av him an' his case. He’s got some satisfaction for his manny years av throublo, an' ’twill be interestin’ to see if he has anny more fight lift in him by way av an appeal to Parliament. “He had a good lawyer, too,” ses Katie. “ He had that,” ses I, “an’ 'tis wonderful how much they can do to make out a good cajse for a man, even whin he hasn't a leg to shtand on. Luk at the young chap Thaw in America, that shot another man in cowld blood. Begorra, if he’d been a poor man he’d have been executed long ago, but because his frinds have a lot av money the chances are that he’ll lave the coort widout a shtain on his character.’- ‘‘Yes,’- ses Corncy, “it Inks as if he’ll be as lucky as the chap that was thried for shtealin’ wance. Ses his lawyer ; ‘Your honour, I submit that my client did not break into the house at all. He found the parlour window open and merely inserted his right arm and removed a few trifling articles. Now, my client’s arm is not himself and I fail to see how you can punish the whole individual for an offence committed by only one of his limbs.’ ‘That argument,’ ses the judge, ‘is very well put. Following it logically, I sentence the defendant's arm to one year’s imprisonment. He can accompany it or not, as ho chooses.’ ‘The defendant smiled, and with his lawyer’s assistance unscrewed his cork arm and, leaving it in the dock, walked out.’ ’- 4- 4- 4- 4“There’s wan thing I like the Southland Times for,” ses Katie.” “An’ what may that be ?” ses I. “Well," ses she, “not contint wid givin’ ye the news av the day before they publish, they lak ahead an’ till ye what’s goin’ to happen. For wan thing, I nivir knew there was to be a procession av motor cars to Riverton in a few days until the Times towld us about it, an’ said that Dr. Young, as the pioneer automobilist av the dishtrict, ’ud probably lead aff in his big car.”- ‘‘Well,’’ ses I, “I hope they'll be afther takin me ould frind Jim Galt wid thlm in case av accident, for he’s got no ind av prisince av mind, an' there’s Bure to be an accident or two, an’ he’d come in handy.” W w “Well,” ses Corney, “I hope the Invercargill Council's new shteam roller’ll be hero in time. - 'Twill make a brave show in the procession, along wid the wather-cart, an’ it ’ud hilp
Ito regulate the pace.’- "I wonder if Dr. Young will have to carry a red flag,”- ses Bedalia. ‘‘What makes ya talk like that,” ses I. ‘-'Why,”- sea she, “the paper ses he’s a pioneer,; an’ this is what I read the other day about a pioneer It is to the pioneers of big movements that the credit and honour belong, not to the followers,’ said a lecturer on vegetarianism, in a Highland village, and he exhorted his hearers to become pioneers of vegetarianism in that neighbourhood. At the conclusion of his lecture, he was warmly shaken by “the hand by an old lady, who thanked him for speaking so kindly of her son Donald. ‘But I think you have made a mistake,’ ses the lecturer. ‘I don’t know your son, and I’m 1 not aware that I mentioned him tonight.’ ‘Yes, yes !’ ses the old lady 'Donald is one of those pioneers of big movements.’ ‘Oh, I see !’ replied the lecturer. 'What is your son, madam ?’ ‘What is Donald ?’ ses the proud mother, in a surprised tone. • ‘Why, Donald walks in front of a steam roller with a red flag.’ ” Katie ses that she used to think that the workers were unraysonable in their demands, but she altered her mind afther radin’ about the sinkin’ av a little shtamer near Auckland. The crew got safely ashore, an’ now, there’s an inquiry about the seaworthiness av the vessel—a point ye’d think shud have been settled before she was allowed to lave port. The captain ses she wasn’t seaworthy, because certain repairs hadn’t been made, an’ wan av the late owners towld the coort that she’d been sold for £l5O, an’ that she was seaworthy, but needed “nursing.” A' surveyor also gave evidence to the same effect, an’ said she shudn’t have been allowed to lave in rough weather. 4- <s> > ‘‘Well,” ses I, “some paple musht think little av human lives whin they’d let min go to sea in a vessel like that. She musht have been first cousin to the wan that came to grief in Scotland wance. Wan av the wit* nesses was Captain Fletcher, a former mashter av the craft, an’’ the sheriff axed him if in his opinion the vessel was seaworthy : ‘Weel,’ ses the witness, leanin’ his arm on the rail av the witness-box, ‘the engines behaved no sae bad, an’ warked middlin’ weel.’ His lordship : ‘You are a very cautious man. ‘No sae bacV-* and ‘middlin’ weel’ may be very good Scotch, but they do not convey much information. Was she .seaworthy**’' witness' : ‘Well, yes, in a way ? The sheriff : ‘What kind of way ) The proper way ?’ Witness : ‘Oh, just in a middlin’ ordinary way.’ The sheriff : But that is as vague as the other. Had you any fault to find with her?’ Witness (cautiously) : ‘Well, she was maybe gettin’ old.The sheriff : ‘Did you think she was seaworthy when yoii saw her in the Crinan Canal in November last ?’ Witness : ‘lt would be accordin’- to the weather.’ The sheriff': ‘But a vessel to be seaworthy must be seaworthy in all reasanable weather, must she not ?’• Witness : ‘Well, it would depend upon the dav.’ ’’ “Well,” ses Corney, “what kind av a shtamer cud ye expect to get for £l5O. “Sure it reminds me av the bhoy who’d been helpin his father, a fishmonger, an’ applied for a situation as office bhoy to a wine merchant, an’ on bein’ axed if he was a good writer, answered in the affirmative. ‘And can you do mental arithmetic ?’ T think so, sir.’ ‘Well, what would twenty pounds of salmon at threepence a pound be ?’ ‘Bad, sir !’ was the quick reply.’ ” DENIS.-
Permanent link to this item
The Contributor., Southern Cross, Volume 15, Issue 2, 13 April 1907
The Contributor. Southern Cross, Volume 15, Issue 2, 13 April 1907
Using This Item
See our copyright guide for information on how you may use this title.