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The Contributor, Southern Cross, Volume 15, Issue 13, 13 July 1907
DENTS DISCOURSES. Dear Mr Editor, —’Tis the grate lot av letthers I’ve had this wake, an’ by the time Sir .1, G. Ward gets his 21 clays’ service goin’ wid the Ould Counthrv ITI be needin’ a mail bag all to niesilf. I can't a-t ye to publish iviry thing, but I’d like ye to find room firs'bt av all for the followin’ epistle from the Bluff— Dear Denis, —You should have been hero last Friday to see the bicycle race. The whole population, including the new policeman, turned out. It was principally between Davvy and Dickie, but Don and Long Tom also had a loot: in. The course was several times round the principal block, and the real object appeared to be how often the contestants could fall off their bikes —in fact, there was such a lot of falling off that one man said it reminded him of the New Zealand birth-rate. The small boys enjoyed themselves immensely, and so did the old Buck, Snowy, Martin, Lovey, Bundy, and a host of other sports. -4- ■<&■
“It wudn't have been safe to bet on anny av the riders,'’ ses Corney. ‘■No,” ses I, “If I’d been there I’d have acted on the advice av the good father that was howldin’ a mission ,n Wanganui the other day. Referrin’ to the apj)roachin’ races, he said no doubt they were all wonderin’ what horses would win, an’ he offered to give them one of the best tips they ever had. ‘The horse to back,’ ses he, ‘is Savings Bank. He never loses, and if you stick to him he will pay good divvys.’ ”• -4- *s■ The n ixt letther I opened was from a chap who signed himself “Nemo,” an’ this is how he expressed himsill' : Dear Denis, —After seeing an advertisement in one of the local papers concerning sections in the CJrccnhills township. I took a run down last I'Tiday to have a look round. a nd it is the fine town that will be there in the near future. Now, Denis, the people, living there intend to push matters, for I heard the name of the first mayor mentioned, and a linelooking fellow he is. I'm sure he could do justice to the robes of the Lord Mayor of the biggest city there is. Anyhow, Denis, when 1 got oil the train I saw a fine lump of a man bedecked in buttons, and he was most obliging in helping the missus with the go-carl. “Holloa,'' thinks I, “Greenhills is cunning up, and the Government are alive to it when they have placed a gentleman down here to see that no collisions take place.’’ Then there is a gigantic timber-yard, occupying both sides of the main road, to add to the; busy fook of the place. 4- 4- 4- 4-
I went for a bit of a stroll along the road, and never in my Hie did I meet so many people on a country road before. The first was a young lady gazing anxiously at a web, and said 1. “Excuse me. miss, but are you a naturalist,” thinking perhaps that she was looking for the spider, and 1 might help her find it. ‘‘Oh, no,” said she, “but I have taken a great interest in this web,” and my word. Denis ! she had a very angry look in her eye. -4-
Along a little further I met with an elderly lady, and seeing I was a stranger she wanted to inform mo of something she had discovered. You see. it was this way, Denis ; —A certain gentleman living - down here wanted to get a crossing over the railtv ay. and the officials were not satisfying him with the way they worked the railways, so he wrote to Mr Hall 'Jones, and this old lady declares Mr Hall-Jones's ill-health is due to nothing else than the worry over the letters he got from this man, 4* 4- 4- 4-
Then I mot a young fellow lookingthrough the scrub on the road. “Holloa,” said I, ‘'what have you lost.” “My temper,” said he, “and mother said I lost it in the hush.” Then I saw a man standing- at a gateway, and feeling- a little dry I asked him for a drink of water, and seeing- he was a married man by the window curtain and other little nicknacks about the place T asked him how the wife and family was, and Herds, he started to sing" “They are just across the bridge of gold.”
Then I fell in with a young fellow 7 w ilh a sheaf of oats, and it was the neatest one I have seen tied for many a. day. I tell you, Denis, that although Hreonhills is not a farmingdistrict, there is not a district in Southland could grow better headed
oats than this young chap had- .Just then up comes a man on a young horse, and the horse started to buck, and landed the young chap on the ground. “Well,” ses he, “that is the first horse ever I knew to throw oats away.’’ “Yes,’’ said !, “I just Passed a horse that wouldn’t, for the poor animal hasn’t strength to cart its own bit of chaff home. I saw the man having to carry it part of the way on his back.” “Oh,” said the young man, “do you mean that fellow that is living in the bend back there ?” “I do,” ses 1. “Well,” he said* “that horse is too thin for Darling to buy, so Billy is going to fatten him up a little.” 4- 4-
Hut, Denis, there's something - continental about (Ireenhills. it puts mein mind of Venice, for at this time of the year the roads are covered with water, and 1 defy the- councillor for the riding to walk about down there and keep his feet dry, unless he hired a gondola. Hut before I close I must tell you of a simple cure for a sore linger. It was given by a man down there while I was waiting for the train. He said —“If ever you have a festered linger, get a younglady to put a fig on it. and wrap it up for you.” “What do ye think av that lor a letther?'' ses I. “Well." ses Katie,
“I think if ho goes on pokin fun at the paple like, that he’ll be in need av the advice that a man got'wance. He was up for theft, an' as he had no wan to defin'd him. the judge inshtrucled a shmart young lawyer in court to take the culprit into a side room an’ give him the besht advice he could. Later on the lawyer returned, but his client was nowhere to be seen. ‘Where is your client ?” axed the magistrate. ‘You tokl me to give him the best advice I coidd.' ‘Yes, quite so ! Wei 1 ?’ ‘ Well, 1 did so, and he went away out of the back window ten minutes ago-’ 4- 4- 4- 4-
Av course. Mr Editor, ye have received an invitation to the Caledonian Society’s great social. ’Twill be the gatherin’ av the year, an' I’m towld that: Mr Thus. Howard, av Castle Howard, an' formerly av the Xew Zealand service, is to be among the performers. If ye’ve nivir heard him, Mr Hditor. be sure an’ go. for to miss him will be the regret av a lifetime. “Is he good,” ses Hedalia. “Hood !“ ses T. “he's great. Wanco he shtarts to fiddle, the paple won't lot him shtop. an' as for singin’ he’s a marvel a nightingale and a Sims Reeves fowled into wan. Deg. na, I’ll nivir forget the fine song he give us the la&'ht time I wiat out to the place —I mane palace—beyant Oropuki. It win! like this, an' ye shud have seen Mr Howard’s face whin he was in full blast : WE Till HUSH YET. What: means this gathering to-night,
What spirit moves along The crowded hall, and touching light Hach heart among the throng - . Awakes as though a trumpet blast Had sounded in their oars The recollections of the past, The memories of the years ? O ! 'tis the spirit of the west. The spirit of the Celt, The breast, that spurned the alien breast,
And every wrong has felt — And still, though far from fatherland. We never can forget To tell ourselves with heart and hand, We're Irish yet ! We’re Irish yet !
And they, outside the clan of Conn, Would understand, but fail, The mystic music played upon The heart-strings of the Gad — His ear, and his alone, Can tell The soul that lies within, The music which he knows so well, The voice of Kith and Kin.
He hears the tale of old, old days, Of battle tierce by ford or hill, Of ancient Senachie's m'artial lays, And race unconcfuered still — It challenges with mother’s pride, And daivs them to forget That though he cross the ocean wide, He's Irish vet ! He's Irish yet !
His eye may never see the blue Of Ireland’s April sky. His ear may' never listen to The song of lark on high ; lint deep within the Irish heart Are cloisters, dark and dim. No human dand can wrench apart. And the lark still sings for him
We've bowed beneath the chastening rod, ' We've had our griefs and pains, But with them all we still thank God The Blood is in our veins ; ( The ancient blood that knows no tear. The Stamp is on us set. And so however foes may jeer, We're Irish vet ! We're Irish vet ! V 4- 4“How is that ?" ses I. “It’s very 'good,’’ ses Katie, “but what I’d like to see in New Zealand, Denis, is a national spirit. The Englishman lias his good points, so has the Scotchman, the Irishman, and the Welshman. Well, let them all work together, an’ make the besht a v ache other an’ av their adopted counthry, like the school childer in America, Denis. They tell me that, if ye wint into a school where there was Jews an’ Turks, an’ Scotch, an’ Irish, an’ English, an’ German!’ an’ Italian hhoys an’ g.vruls an’ axed the Germans or Italians, or Scotch or Irish hhoys an’ gyruis to shtand up, there’d not lie a move, but if ye axed the American hhoys an’ gyruis to be on their feet the whole school ’ud spring up like wan body—’they’re all Americans, Denis. Do ye see the point ?’’ “I do.” ses I, “ye mane that we shud all shtand showlder to shoulder no matther where wo come from, an’ not be like the min the Irishman was drillin’. ‘Close up ! Close up !; yells the sergeant to his awkward squad av recruits. ‘ How do ye expect the enemy to hit ye if ye go stragglin' along like that ?’ Katie ses she can’t rightly make out what all the row's about at the watherworks, an’ she won’t belave that that the Times is correct whin it ses that Mr Harper’s crime consists in havin’ a son-in’law an’ a nephew workin’ under him. “Why, ’ ses she, “,f that was the case nearly half the civil service 'ud have to go, for ivir so raanny have relations that may or may not have hilped thim to get billets.” “Well,” ses I,
“I 'don’t suppose Mr Harper ’ud be afther makin’ use av his relations like the young chap did in Scotland. This is how the story goes :At some shports held in a Scottish village an open 100 yards handicap was wan av the items. Several Edinburgh peds entered, an’ duly pub in an appearance. Whilst dressin’ for the shports, a local competitor, who lukt rather green, vouchsafed the information that the shtarter invarh ably fired the pistol the moment he axed the question : ‘Are you ready?’ The men from Edinburgh made use of their knowledge. ‘Are you ready ?’ axed the shtarter, an’ all' wint all the runners except the local man, who stud in position. 'Come back !’ shouted the shtarter. T havena th’ed the pistol yet, and all but the man in the blue jersey will hae to forfeit a yaird for startin’ too soon-’ Again the Edinburgh men tried to poach a bit, an’ again they were detected, an’ suffered another yard penalty. But the local man was heard to remark to the starter ;—‘Ye can let her bangi this time, father —I can win that clock, noo !’ An’ he did.” 4- 4- 4-
An’ what’s the position now, Denis,” ses Katie. “Well, the fate av, the engineer an’ his shtaff’s to be recons i-dered by the Gas an’ Water Committee, an' I suppose we’ll hear more about it nixt week.’’ Well,”ses Corney, “I suppose Mr Harper an’ the min’ll want it settled as soon as possible—they won’t be like the criminal whose day av execution had arrived, an’ who was axed by a gaoler if he had army lasht favour to request. ‘I have, sir,’ ses th? condemned man, ‘and it is a very slight favour indeed.’ ‘Well, if it is really a very slight favour I can grant it. What is it ?’ ‘I want a few peaches to eat.’ ‘Peaches,’ exclaimed the gaoler. ‘Why, they will not be ripe for several months yet.’ ‘Well,; said the condemned mfen. ‘that doesn’t matter —I’ll wait.’ DENIS.
The Contributor, Southern Cross, Volume 15, Issue 13, 13 July 1907
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