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The Contributor, Southern Cross, Volume 15, Issue 10, 22 June 1907
DENIS DISCOURSES, Dear Mr Editor,—Sure, Katie give me a shtart like an earthquake the other night whin she read out av the paper about Sergt. Mat hies on an ’ Detective Cameron raidin' two houses out on the North Road, ait’ seizin’ a quantity a v liquor. ‘ Afther all; Katie,” ses I, ‘‘they’re quite right, an’ up to all the thricks av the thrade', but why do they wink at that private still that they know av in town ?” “Know a v it,” ses Katie, “sure, ’tis takin’ a rise out av me ye a re to ax me to belave that they’d know av a private still an’ not seize it,” ‘‘lt’s thrue, I tell ye,” ses I, ‘‘an’ the Customs know about it too.” ‘‘ln the name ay all that’s thrue an’ holy,” ses Katie, ‘‘where is it ?” “Well,” ses I, “ I’ll tell ve, but ye mushn’t let on to Angus McGregor, or he might get howld a v the worm. Ye see, me ould frind Towler Gambling tuk me down ,to see it. It’s a t the intersection av Dee an’ Tay shtreets. ‘Do ye see that hoarding ?’ ses he, ‘with the words C’oalbrookdale Coal on it in large letters ?’ ‘Quite plain,’ ses I. ‘Well,’ ses he, ‘that building, inside isa still —look a the pipes and the chimney top in the centre.’ ,
“ ‘Well, you’re quite right, Toiler,’ see I, ‘ for its been a standstill this long time, but I suppose they want the winter over before they put tip the black man on top av it. He’ll be that high that he’ll be able to shake hands wid Minerv a . But its been a slow job front the first,' ” ‘‘Do ye think, dad ?” ses Cornci,', “that they were waitin' for the shteam roller to level a site for the inonumint ?” “No,’’ ses I, “for they won’t get it for a year or two yet —it’ll be wanted to .roll the watte ah the new show grounds bcyant the railway.’’ “I thought it was windmills they were goin' to turn the Waihopai wid,” ses Corney. “Well,” ses I, “I don’t know what they are go'in’ to do wid it. They might as well try to kape the wather back wid a roll av sheep nettin as to pump it dry wid windmills. A traction engine ’ud nivir get into the ground.” “But don’t you think it ’ud be nice an ’ soft,” ses Corney, ‘to drive pins into the ground for the tents, whin wan av thim busters from the West arc on? Tin sure Mr Rankin ’ud lose wan av his Ayrshire cows if they wint on the ground.”
’Twas little wonder Mr Mitchell threw up the sponge, for he was afraid av hein’ drowned in a swamp. I think he was lukin’ ahead for breakers, like the boy a kind onld gintlenian saw fishin’ on Sunday. “Don't yon think, my lad,’ 1 ,ses he, “that it would be better for you to be at home reading a book with nice figures in it, than wasting your time in this fashion ?” Boy : "•'Can’t say I do, governor.’’ Old gentleman : “But why so, my lad ?” Boy : “Well boss, we’ve only got one book at our sh a nty, an’ that’s the rent book, an' there’s quite enough shine, about th a t on Monday morning without me bringing it out on Sunday.’’
What is up with our councillors that the workmen an’ wather engineer anj shtaff are to get notice av three months av the termination av their engagemints ‘? Has the new gas manager been havin’- too much pressure on the mains, or is it his report for new gas works has frightened the committee ? Katie ses that they remind her a v a judge that had his patience sorely thried by lawyers who wished to talk an’ by min w r ho thried to evade jury service, a n’ whin a puzzled little German who had been accepted by 'both sides jumped up the judge was angry. “Shuge,” cried the German. “What is it ?” demanded the judge. “ I think I’d like to go home to my .wife,’’ ses the G-crman. “You gibeer an’ shtafT are to get notice down.’’ “But Shuge,” persisted the Herman, “I don’t think I make a good juror.” “You’re the best in the box,” ses the judge, “sit down.” “But Shuge,” he still persisted, pointin’ to the lawyer to make his last desperate plea, “Shuge,” he ses, “I can’t make noddings of what these fellows s a y-” It was the judge’s chance to 'get even for m a nny annoyances. “Neither can anyone else,” ses ho, “sit down, man,” an’ wid a sigh the little German sat down. ■4* -s>• I think the committee shud be like the little German—“sit down,” or recommind that the council shud be re-constructed. “That’s all right,” ses Katie, “but some a v the councillors' think otherwise. They are like the Irishman that had been put in gaol for shtealin’, but was not long
out av it whin he was put in again. Whin the warder saw him, ses he—‘Well, Pat, this is surely not you back again.’ Pat looked at him a moment, an’ thin ses he —‘Did I ivir do annything here so that I cudn t come back again ?’ ” “Well,” ses I, “they’re not So thin-skinned as the minister in a small village in the Highlands, where there was only wan barber’s shop, an’ that was run by Sandy McAllister. Wan day the minister wint in to have a shave, an’ before the. operation was half over he wished he had postponed the visit, for Sandy's hand was more than usually shakey, an’ manny times the minister flinched, an’ said a silent prayer. At length, while Sandy paused to wipe the razor, his customer essayed the remark —‘Eh, Sandy, mon ! its an awfu’ thing. the drink.’ ‘lts a ’ that,’ replied Sandy, returnin’ to his task, ‘it maks the skin wunnerfu’ tender.’ 4~ 4- 4- 4-
Katie was terribly vexed that Captain Fahey's cabbage didn't get the fir slit prize at the Show. “Sure," ses she, “if he doesn’t win nixl year they’ll think he’s not shtrong enough to gain the position av the champion grower in Southland, an’ they’ll be makin’ the same mishtake about him that the farmer did about the shteam roller in Dunedin. He thought it was a traction engine, an' afther secin’ it goin’ half w a y up the hill in Princes shtrect near the Octagon he wint over to the dhriver, an’ ses he —‘Ma freon, ye want tae pit mair coal in the furnace." “All right," ses the man. an’ ah he .wint again, only' to turn in his thracks an’ come down again. “Odds, man." ses the farmer, “the coat’s no begun tae dell yet, or ye’d soon get tae the tap.” “Kook here, mister.” ses the man, gettin’ angry, “this is a steam roller, and I don't want to get to the top."
"I think the farmer musht have been the worse av drink/'' ses,Katie. “Well,” ses I, “I know wan man in town that can do things whin he's 'drunk that some can’t do whin they are sober.” “What can he do ?” ses Corney. “Drank fourteen long sleevers av beer an’ thin walked along - a straight lino chalked on the floor,” ses I. “That's nothin’,” ses Corney, “to the man that met four youngfellows out at the depots wid a five gallon keg av beer. They'd had all they cud drink, an’ they axed the man if he’d finish the keg, an’ he did, ■ although there were twinty-two glasses in it.” “He musht have two or three stomachs,” ses I, like the man an’ his feet. He was a very absentminded man— a famous Scotch professor. Wan day he had returned from a long walk, an’ his feet were very sore an’ tired. He was towld the best thing he cud was to bathe thim; in hot wather. This he promptly did. Thin, in the ordinary course av evints he proceeded to dry his feet. He dried wan foot. Thin widout the slightest regard as to what he was doin’ he put it back in the basin. He thin proceeded to dry the other foot, which he also re-dipped into the basin. This wint on for some time. Thin he began to get puzzled. ‘Hood gracious,’ he muttered at lasht, T never knew I had so many feet ! ’ ” 4“" “On Tuesday night, jusht before
the earthquake, ses Bodalia —“Dad, what's the meanin’ av ‘shiker’ ?” “Shiker,” ses I, “means a man who has 1 swallowed two gallons av O,T. punch, three av Cleave’s apple cider, an’ half a gallon av Roope’s dandelion beer. Why do ye ax ?” “Well, ye see, ‘‘some a v the gyruls in Price an’ Bulleid’s were talkin’ in the dinner hour, an wan gyrul axed why they were puttin’ up so mamiy posts along the shtreets. There was only wan cud tell us, an’ she said it was for the ‘strikers’ to hang on to.” “Upon me word, Bedalia, she was right,” ses Corney,. “Ye musht have noticed in the papers a while back that a policeman had arrested a m a n that he found talkin’ to a fence, an’ the Governmint at wance s a w the need for more accommodation in th a t regard.”
“You’re a silly gossoon.” ses I. “That’s not the rayson at all. I was talk in to the linesman whin he c a me to the foundry to get a pick sharpened, an’ he towld me the racoon ■ Ye see, whin the police arrested a man for drunkenness they used to take him to the lock-up, an’ make him walk a chalk mark, an’ they got such experts at the game that they cud all walk it alsy. Now, whin a policeman arrists a man he takes him to the shmall tiligraph pole an’ makes him climb it. If he does that well, thin he thides him on the big wan, an' if he fails at that ho gets 'jug. Whin some men are drunk they climb to the left, an’ others to the right, an’ you’ll notice that some poles incline to the right, while others have a decided lean to the left, an’ besides when a man’s goin’ home a bit fuddled he can have some company and address his remarks to the poles. It puts me in mind av the drunk that evas makin’ for home, an’ afther passin’ two or three av the poles , he lukt at wan an’ thin sat down on the kerb, an’ ses he—- “ I’ll be hanged if I take another step till this procession goes past.” 4- -4* 4-
“I’m glad ye towid me,” ses Bedalia. “I can tell the gyruls tomorrow. Lucy Smith said they were for an overhead line to the depots to bring the kegs in on- We were wonderin’ if the town council ’ud allow such a thing.” “Well,” ses Corney, “I was in Todd’s to-day, an’ Jack Mitchell the carter towid me the poshts were bein’ put up to hang' kerosene lamps on in case the gas failed again, but I must see him in the mornin’ an’ put him right.” “Ye are all wrong,” ses Katief for Mrs O’Brien ses she had it on good authority that they’re to be used for wireless tiligraphy.” 4- 4- 4* Jusht thin came the earthquake, an’ by way av ma,kin’ the family forget it I axed the followin’ quessions “Why is ' the washerwoman the silliest av women ?” “Because she puts out her tubs to catch soft wather whin it rains hard.” “On what day av the year do women talk the least ?” “On the shortest dav.” “Whv did Adam bite the apple Eve gave him ?” “Because he had no knife.” 4* 4- 4- 4Talkin’ av the earthquake, Mr Editor, ye’ll be glad to know that it did no harm except at Riverton. “What did it do there ?”■ ses Katie.
‘'The correspondent av the Southland Times reports that it broke a pane av glass,” ses T ‘Tt hates all,” ses Katie, “how Riverton advertises itsilf since Mr Carroll wint there.'. “Sure,” ses I, “he cudn’t raise an earthquake !” “I'd not put it pasht him,”- ses Katie.
“Well,” ses , Corney, “I used to think ’twas the climate made papla so cantankerous in Southland, hut, begorra ! they’re jusht as bad in sunny Auckland, for this is how, wan paper, fires ah its views about the Secretary for Labour’s Socialistic utterances :—‘Why not allow all Government employees to come under the operation of the Arbitration Act ? Then we would no longer have a continuance of the present system, of Government servants being sweated both in their wages and hours of labour, while employees in private business concerns are being welltreated. Also, on the Socialistic principle of share and share alike, why should Mr Tregear, in his comfortable billet, be paid £525 a year to talk Socialism, while better men working excessively long hours, are only getting £IOO and £125 a year for strenuous labour in the post and telegraph, railway, and other den partments of the public service ? The private employers have had their turn.’ ”
‘‘lt’s no use abusin’ Mr Tregear,” ses Katie, “ for I suppose there’s none av us ’ud refuse a good billet if we had the chance av it." ‘‘No,” ses I, ‘‘l’d like wan at £SOO a year mesilf, an’ if I got it I’d be as civil as ivir wid all me ould chums. I’d be like the ould Scotchman. He an’ his wife had a rare shtroke av luck. 'A' relative died an’ lift thim a fortune av £2O. The night av the arrival av the lawyer’s letther fellin’ thim that their good fortune, they sat up late, discussin’ the future an’ what they were to do wid the grate sum they, had inherited.. Whin they had done, an’ were risin’ to go to bed, the old man ses, wid a grand air av magnanimity, ‘Weel, Janet, I suppose this’ll mat’ nae difference. We’ll just speak tae the neebours as before.’- ’’ DENIS.
The Contributor, Southern Cross, Volume 15, Issue 10, 22 June 1907
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