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The Contributor

DENIS DISCOURSES

7)eaf Mr Editor,—'Tis the entertainin’ letther I’ve had this wake i’roni a young chap on his thravels. This is what he ses ; ••Dear Denis,—Last Monday, on my wav to the Bluff I thought I would o-et oil at Grcenhills to see some old friends of mine, and they persuaded me to stop the night and visit the local debating society. Well, Denis, I went along to the meeting, and the chairman told what we were thete for, which was to decide the great land question of the colony. Presently up jumps Mr Wilson- He began by telling us of a very dilapidated little town up in the Isorth Island, with such tumble-down shanties, Denis, and all because the Government owned the ground the town was built on. The people woukln t build because the Government would not give them the freehold, and from there he jumped right to the back settler that we hear so much about, lie told how this kind of man carved for himself a home out of the solid bush ; but, Denis, apart from that altogether, Mr Wilson made a line speech, and he impressed it s Q much on my mind that 1 thought I was a freeholder and had an enormous block of land. -4* •4“The next gentleman was Mr McKenzie. a splendid-looking lellow. Well, he was not very long in getting a start, and when he got going, talk about Sir -f. G. Ward s 200 words a minute ! Why, he couldn t hol'd a candle to this local Demosthenes. He called the moneylender an awful name. Denis ! —a “human octopus,” and thinks I to myself, Mr McKenzie wouldn't mind being one of those curious craythurs, and then he told us about land sharks. Denis. I think he meant the big farmers. But anyhow, Denis. I began to get quite frightened to think that I was living among sharks and octopuses. Then he told ns about “dear ould Ireland," and if it is all true what he said I'm sure that if it wasn't for the Cork that's in it the country would sink to the bottom of the sea. Anyhow, Mr McKenzie had to leave after he spoke, ami so didn't wait to see what the people thought of him.

-4" *¥ ■4’Then up jumps my old friend Jimmy Gilman, and away he went. and didn't he lay it on to poor Hr Wilson. Now, Denis. Jimmy is a splendid man, and can see through a thing- that another person would walk' round to see the oilier side of, for ho told us the prosperity of Invercargill is l due to the leasehold, and some gentleman wanting to help Jimmy, said : “Prohibition as well, Jimmy.” But the crisis was readied when Mr Wilson got up to reply. Oh ! Denis —if you had seen him standing with his pencil in his hand and looking my old friend Jimmy in the face, and telling us that freehold was far ahead of leasehold, and how his best girl gave him turnips off a freehold farm. Anyhow, when all was done, and the voles were asked nearly all the members were in favour of the. freehold. Xow, Denis, if this Mr Wilson would only stand for Parliament he would very .soon show Mr McXab which was the best . 4* <s> In the morning I was walking along the road, when just near the ,'Groehhills station I saw a pretty little stairway with rustic bannisters and 1 asked a young chap standing near what it was for. “Oh,” ses he, “that’s Captain Raymond’s private track to the railway station.” It being rather early I thought I’d walk to the. Ocean Beach, and on the road I saw a notice at a gateway, and went over to look at it, ami after collecting it (for it had run all over the place with the rain, I made out the following : “Enay perssons fund tresspassing or cutting ~or carting wood will be prosepueted according to 1 aw. ’ ’ “Well, not knowing what “ proscqueted” was, and thinking it might he some kind of Chinese torture, I kept to the road. But as far as I could see the only wood about the place was the piece the notice was nailed to.” •4* -4- -4" -4" “Your •correspondent’s an observant chap,” ses Katie,, “but I hope, Denis, the Groenhills paple won’t have the same opinion av him as the little bhoy’s relatives. ‘Be observant, my son,’ ses Willie's father, •'cultivate the habit of seeing, and you will be a successful man.’ ‘Yes,’ added his uncle, 'Don’t go through the world blindly. Learn to use your

eyes.’ ‘Little boys who are observing know a great deal more than those who are not,’ his aunt ■Willie tuk this advice thwart. Nixt day he towld his mother that he had been observin’ things. Uncle s got a bottle of whisky hidden in his trunk, he said. ‘Aunt Jane’s got an extra set of teeth in her drawer, and lather's got a Pack of cards behind the books in his desk.' ‘ The little sneak !’ exclaimed the members oi the family indicated. 4” 4* 4> -4.1 usiat at this moment. Corney landed in wid a young chap from the Waikiwi, that beautiful shpot boyant the beer depots, “He’s got some news for ye, dad,” ses Oomej . “Thank ye, kindly,” ses t. Have you seen Mars?” ses- hex ‘ \ou mean Marrah.’ ses 1. No, ses he. “1 mean Mars, the great star that s shining over there,” -jerkin' his hand towards the wather tower, “where Mr Harper an’ the boys have been knocked on the head—(officially, av coorso)— by the gas and water committee.” An’ sure enough, there it was, shinin’ right into the tank on top av - the tower, wonderin', no doubt, if it 'ucl be possible to get the shtah to luk afther the canals in the moon if the min lave the Corporation. “Well, Denis,” ses the lad from the Waikiwi, “ye musht know that we have w a u cemetery, wan creek, wan abattoir. wan North Hoad, van blacksmith, wan butcher, wan linker, an’ wan tobacconist, an its on account av the lasht that the throuble shtarted. Av coorso. yc knov M l Toshach, the young man wid the white hat, an’ the natc little shop for the sale av cigarettes an’- stationery. Well, the other wake whin Mr Toshach came out to take his shutters down he cud hardiy delate his eyes whin he saw that an opposition man had shtarted in .Joe Metzger's ould shop across the road. This was more than flesh an blood cud shtancl, so away Mr Toshach _ w-int. to the Bluff an’ bought the buildin from Mr Metzger. The nixt step w a s the turnin’ out av tobacconist number two, as well as the baker an’ givin’ the futbaßers notice that they didn’t have the use av a room aimy more. The paple are afraid he will' be wantin’ to buy up all the lots in the cemetery now, an’ become Andrew Carnegie, wid a Ski bo Castle., an’ pipers to play to him before breakfasht every mormn’.”4i 4- 4> 4* “But lavin’ that, Denis, whin the Waikiwi school played Gladstone at futball we had grate fun. Ye see, Mr Toshach bet young Mr Gardiner, the boss coachbuilder, live shillins that he’d not referee for us boys, an’ he l tuk him up. Gardiner made a good referee, an’ whin the game was over he said both sides won, an’ gave us a half-crown each. So that wasn t so bad. We all streamed down to Andrew’s for soft stuff, an’ be passed it out, an’ whin we were goin’ round behind Bob Smith’s to drink it he came runnin’ down the road afther us, yellin’—‘Bring back the empty bottles —bring back the empty bottles ! ’ We were wild at him. for that. As if wc were goin’ to swallow the empty bottles ! But he explained that he had to do that wid all the

customers, because the bottles cost more than their contents.” , “Well, me bhoy.” ses I, ‘‘ye shud have )x*on a lawyer, to carry all that news in yer little noddle. Ye put me in mind av a proud mother in Dublin who has a bhoy who is so bright th a t she has to luk at him through a shmoked glass, an’ I expect Andrew will bo buyin' some av Tom Maltby’s shmoked hams' to luk at you young gossoons if he catches ye. But, mo bhoy, ye’ll find Mr Toshach is a straight young- man, an’ I admire him, an - wivd advise ye to put yersilf in his hands an’ take a few lessons in elocution, for he s the bhoy to recite. an’ it ye ask him which author wrote the mosht, he ll tell ye—‘Warren wrote ‘Now and Then.’’ Lytton wrote ‘Night and Morning,’ and Dickens wrote ‘All the Year Hound.’ 4- -4* “Well.” ses the lad. “if ye can do anything wi-d these notes ye're wilconie, but ye musht come out to Waikiwi an’ have a luk round, an I musht put ye up to some av the jokes they place First, whin ye get out to the ould pub, the dhriver will say to ye —’‘Why does the car run ah' the line ?i' an' ye musht answer ‘Because it can't shr.op on.’ Thin there is another funny man besides the Mayor av Waikiwi, an’ he will ax ye—‘What is the difference bet wane photography an' the whoopin’ cough ?' an’ ye musht say—‘Wan makes fac-similies an' the other makes sick families,’ an’ the bhoys’il think ye are a real joannie-ass. “ ■4” ■4- ■4‘‘Talkin' av whoopin’ cough, dad,” ses Bedalia. ‘‘makes me think av a yarn 1 read lately. A little girl was very bad wid it. an' whin gettin’ betther towlcl her mother that it was Dr. Smith who brought her through. •No,’ ses her mother, ‘it Was Providence.' ‘Maybe it was,’ ses the girl, ‘but the doctor’ll charge for it.’ Fee- not much space lift, Mr Editor. for public affairs, hut Katie ses she’s glad the young men at the Grcenhills ball ‘ did wklout beer it proves that they want to improve thimsilves, an’ rise in the world like Air Vickery's dog that climbed a ladder at the show, an' refused to come down when the shmall bhoys whistled for him.” ‘‘There’s hope for New Zealand yet," ses T, “although there is some quart things happenin’.” , “What do .ye mane?” ses Katie. “Why," ses T, “there’s ’ Mr Justice Williams has driven a motor car as big as Dr Young’s through the Arbitration Act. an’ the Governmint’s goin' to ax the Appeal Coort if His Honour or the Act is right ; an’ thin by way an another example av quareness a Presbyterian mlnishtcr in Christchurch wired into The Outlook, an’ said it was a mighty poor paper, an’ what do ye think the editor av The Outlook did, Katie ?” “I give it up,” ses she. “Why,” ses T, ‘‘ho copied an article from the Catholic Tablet to show that The Outlook wasn’t half so black as the Presbyterian parson had painted it. Whin these- things are happenin’, Mr Editor, don’t wonder if I’m taki n ’ a wrong view av things, like Tonga! in Glasgow. Two Highlanders, bein’ there for the firsht time, were havin’ a walk through the city. Turnin’ a corner ‘they were very much surprised

to see a wather-cart wet tin’ the shtreet. Not havin’ seen annything av the kind before, Tonga!, under a mistaken idea, ran afther the cart, an’ cried to the driver, “Hey, man—hey, man, yer losin’ a’ yer water His frind, annoyed at Tonga! ’a want av knowledge, ran afther him, caught} him by the arm, an’ said, rather testily, 'Tonga! man, Tonga!, dinna be showin’ yer ignorance. D’ye no see it’s i tae keep the laddies of? the back o’ the cairt ?’ -’ ‘•Well,” ses Katie, “there’s wan thing the Govermnint seem clear about, “an’ that is, they won’t allow anny av the civil servants take part in meetings against the Chinese, I see they towid Mr Lloyd,, av the tourist departmint that he musht resign or cease to take part in antiChinese meetings.” “Well,” ses I, “what did he do ?” “Why,” ses she, “he resigned his billet so as to be able to take part in the meetings.’“He musht have a terrible set on the coloured races,” ses I. “Yes,” ses C’orney, “he musht feel like the bhoy at school. ‘Now lishten to me,’ ses the schoolmashtcr, addressin’ his class durin’ the geography lesson. ‘The population of Chine is so great that two Chinamen die every time we take a breath.’ This information made a deep impression on the scholars, an’ the mashter was particularly shtruck wid the uncomfortable appearance av wan shmall bhoy at the foot av the class. His face was flushed, an’ he was puffin’ furiously. ‘What is the matther ?’ queried the schoohnashter wid alarm. ‘What on earth are you doing. Tommy ?’ ‘Killing Chinamen, please sir,’ was the answer. T don’t like them foreigners what me dada calls aliens, so I am getting rid of just as many as I can.’ DENIS.

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Bibliographic details

The Contributor, Southern Cross, Volume 15, Issue 12, 6 July 1907

Word Count
2,207

The Contributor Southern Cross, Volume 15, Issue 12, 6 July 1907

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