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The Contributor

DENIS DISCOURSES* D6£ir Mr Editor, —I was* fdhi&xo-in. lasht wake, Taut ’twas the stern reality we had on Saturday night, whin the gas supply give out. I was sittin' radiii/ wan av the leaders in the Southland News— I ’tis the besht preparation for inducin’ shlape that I kno'v —whin all av a sudden the lines ran together, an’ I cud see no print, let alone manin’ in the columns forniust me. At flrsht I thought the article \tas too shtrong for me, for it got me down an’ walked right over me from the tail av me coat to the top av Tay shtreet, but I knew .what was the matt her whin Katie ran in from the kitchen an’ made a dive at the meter wid a shillin’ to thaw an’ get a fresh supply av gas, but it swallowed the colonial robert widout throwin’ anny fresh light on the situation. Seein’ we cud do nothin’ at home, we all wint into the town, an’ such a commotion ye nivlr saw since Adam ate the apple in the Garden av Eden, if Mr Peter Larsen ’ll allow me to mention our common ancestor. Barbers were shavin’ an’ .shampooin’ their customers wid bicycle lamps inshtead av gas ; grocers were givin’ paple rolls av bacon inshtead av slices an’ tollin’ thim to take what they wanted, an’ bring - the resht back on Monday, because they cud not see to cut it. Talkin’ av the barbers Ted Wright got the hair , half all wan man, an’ whin the light failed he tuk him over to the other side av the shtreet-to take the resht aff. Another chap thought that a hairdresser had designs on his life whin he picked up a broken bottle wid a candle in is—“bush lanterns” we used to call thim —an’ bolted out av the place wid wan cheek shaved an’ the other not. ’Twas that dark I, soon made for home again whin the tiliphone rang. ; “Who’s there?” ses I. ‘‘The gas manager,” ses a voice. “He’s heard about your skill in the foundry, an’ he wants you to give him a hand.” “I’ll be there in a jilTy,” ses I. an’ borrowin’ Sandy Harkness’ bike I dashed away to the gasworks. •4" ■s” •4' On the way I met a lady wid a child cryin’. ‘‘What’s the matther ?” ses I. “Oh,” ses she, “he’s cryin because there’s not a light lift to see .whether his eyes are open or shut. Passin’ Mr Barlow’s Jubilee shtore, he towld me he hadn’t he able to serve all his customers. “Well,” ses I, “ ’tis a serious thing whin business min have to suffer in that fashion. If there’s not a change for the betther we’ll not have anny faith in gas—we’ll be like the ouM Irish lady that was axed if she’d have gas for takin’ out a tooth.” “No,” ses she, '“l’m for none of these new-fangled things—jusht give me paraffin oil.” -4- -4- -4- -4Afther lavin’ Mr Barlow I met a young chap from the same dentist’s shop, an’ he towld me that the boss was fittin’ in a lady’s artificial teeth; ,nshtead av her own, he gave her a half-caste upper an’ a youth’s lower, ■an’ didn’t notice the mishtake in the dim light until she was gone. They,

were in a dreadful state until they found her on the shtreet wid her eyes crossed in such a way that "’bin she cried on the right side the tears dropped over on to the left cheek. •4- -4- -4- "4At lasht I got to the gasworks, an’ it was the terrible lime we had. They put me on to answer all tiliphone inquiries, as to why the gas would not go right, while me ould frind Towler Gambling got up on to the crow’s nest on lop av the chimney stack to see how the lights were gettin on. I axed Mr Rabbidge why he didn’t clean the scrubber ?” “Clean it ? ses he, “why - , nobody can be induced to go into it at all, since thcy r cremated bubonic rats at the time of the plague scare,” an’ jusht thin ‘tin-g-g’ wint the ’phone. Up I jumped, an’ in answer to the question, “What’s up with the gas?” ses I—‘’‘Oh, Mr Bowls, we’re tryin’ a new process don’t ye like it ?” ‘Take it,” ses ho, “let me recite you the lines a lady - who called at our shop put me in mind of. and then you'll know whether I like it or not : She walked into the store With stately step and pr G ud ; She turned the frills and laces o'er, And pushed aside the crowd. She asked to see some rich brocade, • Mohairs and grenades ; And looked at silks of every shade, And then at velveteens. ... She sampled jackets blue and red— She tried on nine or ten — And then she tossed her head and said : “I guess the gas is bad.” + -4- * -41 ’Twas the grate time I had answerin’ the tiliphone. Wan man wanted to know if the stoppage av the gas was a deepdaid plot av Mr Raymond’s to put paple against, shoppin’ on Saturdays; an’ another joker —a little fellow in Tay shtreet —axed me where I was whin the light wint out, an’ I shut him up by sayin’ that I was under the bed Inkin' for shirt buttons. "4* "4" ■4” Just" whin things were Inkin' more serious than ivir I sint out min to put out all the lamps at the shtreet corners, an’ wan man reported whin he got back that Mr J. A... Mitchell av East Invercargill had risen to the occasion, an’ was showin’ ladies home wid a buggy lamp. Another chap was wish in’ that they had some av the red nose guides in the dark that used to be so common before we got prohibition. -4- -4- 4* Whin Mr Gambling came down from the luk-out he warned us that Jimmy Bio.yd was cornin’ down on horseback to see what was up, but before he got over the railway line we got a good pressure on an’ th© counthry was saved. Mr Bloyd had something to say, but av coorse was too late, like the chicken an’ the Irishman. He was shwallowin’ raw eggs, an’ whin wan was half way down his throat he heard a chirp. “By the powers, me young frind,” ses he, “ye shpoke too late.” ■4" -4- "4* -4Whin Katie inshpected our groceries an’ mate she found we had rolls av bacon, half-oheeses, yards av tripe, an’ about two miles av sausages, for ye see nobody cud see what they

were servin’. “We’re betther ad' than we thought we were,” ses I. '“Yes,” ses Katie,, “we’re like the Highlander that engaged a man to kape his books. At the ind av the year he found ho was much betther ad than ho expected to be, but on lukin’ over the books, ses he—‘Eh, laddie, ye faae ' counted the year o’ oor Lord amang ’the pounds !’ ” 4* 4*- 4" 4* ' “Say, dad,” ses Comey, whin he j got home, “what a lucky man the i new gas manager is.” “Lucky* man!” ll shouted, “after Saturday night’s ’exhibition —although he’s not to blame for it —are ye mad, Corney ?” ses I. “No,” ses Corney, “an’ I will tell yo why. Don't ye know Councillors Bain an’ Martin don’t live in the borough at all, but out in a place called St. George’s Town where the boys from Killarney used to congregate ? Well, if Crs. B a in an’ Martin had been livin’ ia the Borough, wudn’t they have seized the nearest shillelaghs an’ gone an’ slaughtered the poor gas manager ! Blue fire an’ blazes ! —I say the manager is a very lucky man that he didn’t have to forfeit his life insurance policy, inshtead av which the two councillors were aslape in their little beds, dramin’ that Dee slit root was wan big underground sewer, an’ that the town was all lit by electric lights all over the heavens, an’ aerial tramways were doin’ all the business av the main thoroughfares.” 4- 4" 4* 4They do say that whin the gas wint out two councillors arrived post haste at the gasworks an’ found the manager in his affice wld his coat aff an' sweat runnin' down over his manly face. Poor man, he had been shtokin' for all ve was worth for over two hours. “Wha —wha—what’s the matter,” gasped the City Fathers. “Matter !” yelled the manager, ‘‘don’t you see what’s the matter? — your gasworks won’t make gas. I want some new engines, a concrete fence with big iron gates to keep the gas in when it’s made, ami a new coat of paint, or else I can’t sleep at nights, and if I don’t sleep, how are you to have gas ?” 4- 4- 4" 4“Well,” ses Katie, “there’s no need to poke fun at Martin an' Bain, but if it wasn’t for thim an’ Or Roche the town ’ud go to shlape. But talkin’ i av the gasworks, ’tis a fine report , the manager has made out av the things wanted to put the works on a proper footin’.” “It is,” ses I, “it, reminds me av the Highlander that said his musket ’ud be a good wan if it had a new lock, stock, an’ barrel.” “it bates all,” ses Bedalia, “how we came to build such illigant municipal affices an’ a theatre that’s the admiration av the world, an’ at the same time have gasworks that break down whin they’re mosht wanted, an’ a wather supply that’ll need to be improved before manny weeks go by.” 4 4 “Well,” ses Corney, “I'm not sorry it’s happened, for it’ll kape us from gettin too proud av oursilves, an’ save ns from bein’ treated as Toole tire actor wance dealt wid an ould frind, who, havin’ attained to a position av considerable worldly prosperity, had built himsilf a lordly pleasure house, engaged two or three futmen, an’ was livin’ in grate style. Toole an’ a frind resolved to ‘ take

the starch out’ a v the inflated gintleman. Dreased very humbly they repaired to his residence at an hour they knew he was certain to be out„ rang the visitors’ bell an’ were answered by a gorgeous flunkey wid powdered hair. 'Master in ?’ axed Toole. 'Not at 'ome/ replied the futman, amazed that two persons av such lowly degree shud have the audacity to presint thimsilves at tfle main entrance. ‘All right !’ responded Toole, ‘when he comes in to have his hit of dinner just tell him that his brother and cousin from the work house have called.’ ” 4-

“I see,” ses Beda! ia, that Mr Handyside is angry at the Athenaeum committee for takin’ all the sofas out av the radio’ room because some paple used thim to snore on, an’ he’s offered to supply two if the committee will put in two others.” ‘‘ ’Tis kind av him,” ses Katie, “ but if I was in his shoes I’d be afther doin’ 1 something else. Ye know, Denis,”ses she, “that we lately had a concert to erect what the Scotch call a cairn in mimory av the late Mr McKinnon, av Lake Te Ana*u. Well, that was all right, but he’d nivir had known anny difference if it had not been done, an’ afther all, I think it’s betther to hiip the livin’—as* Mr Todd ses, don’t keep your sympathy, till your frinds are dead. Now, here’s what the Sixpenny Clothing, Club say in their lasht report ;—‘The public subscribe willingly the sum asked, 6d per month, being so small, taut with so few collectors it is hard to make ends meet. We feel sure that this only requires to be made known to kind persons having a few hours to spare and they will offer their services. Any such will have a hearty welcome, and they will have the pleasure of feeling that a few hours spent in so good a cause will bring relief and pleasure to many miserable homes and deserving cases,’ ” ‘‘Now, Denis, we know Mr Handyside is a good organiser by the way he’s managed the Nightcaps Coal Co.’s business an’ advised the Frozen Meat Co., an’ I’d like to see him lavin’ the sofas alone an’ gettin’ up an entertainmint to hilp the Sixpenny Clothing Club, He might enlist the services av The Idlers, who are always at the call av deservin’ causes, an’ the local bands, an’ get up a programme that ’ud crowd the theatre, an’ put a hundred pounds or s Q into the bank for the Clothing Club.” “ ’Tis a grand idea,” ses I, ‘‘an’ I’d forgive Mr Handyside for failin’ out wid the prohibitionists if he tide it up.”

Av course we all wint to the show On Widnesday, but I was late in gettin’ there, for I happened to meet me ould frind Mr O’Brien av Minton, an’cud hardly get him pasht the shamrocks hangin’ outside the Irish linen shop on the way to the hall. Whin I got there I walked pasht the apples, an’ hams, an’ bacon, an’ cakes, an’ turnips, an’ potatoes to the corner where the big cabbages w T ere, for I’d been towld that Captain Fahey, av Otautau, had sint down monshters that wore bound to carry all before thim, an’ by the same token ye may know what they were like wh in I say that the case bursht whin they were bein’ put on the thrain, an’ wan rolled out an’ knocked down four niin—’twill be a case for the ArbitraCoort, I’m towld. But och, ye cud have knocked me down too, whin I saw that Captain Fahey had to play second fiddle to Mr Boyle, an’ the only consolation I’ve got is that he musht be an Irishman.


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The Contributor, Southern Cross, Volume 15, Issue 9, 15 June 1907

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The Contributor Southern Cross, Volume 15, Issue 9, 15 June 1907

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