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The Contributor, Southern Cross, Volume 15, Issue 18, 17 August 1907
Dear Mr Editor, —Wan av the papers had an article in this wake headed “Uneasy Ireland.” How on earth they came to know that I’d been dhramin’ I chn’t imagine, but ’tis true all the same, an’ ’twas the quare things that passed through me mind whin I ought to have been asleep. Ye see, I thought I was in Mr Hanson's shop in the Arcade, the place where they shtock a lot av phon Digraphs an’ records av all kinds, an’ I thought that Mr Hanson, who is nothin’ if not obligin’, offered to trate mesilf an’ the family to a song an’ shtory evenin’. “Go ahead,’ ses I, an’ afther bearin' everything I felt like the man that an ould reprobate had cheated out av some money. The ould chap repinted, an’ give out that whativir wrong he had done should oe made right. So the man whom he had wronged wint around at midnight to demand it. ‘But what did you come at this hour for, and wake me up ? Why. not wait till to-morrow ?’ scs the ould sinner crossly. T came now,’ replied the man, ‘to avoid the rush.’ 4" That’s the way at Hanson's, Mr Editor —if ye want to get the pick av the records ye want to go before the rush. But to me shtory. The firsht record came from Wanganui, an’ wint like this ;—“The honour Webb has won is a big one, and he is the first New Zealander to win it. We want him to hold the championship of the world as long as it is physically possible for him to do so —long enough, let us hope, for some other New Zeafander to qualify to
take his place —and there!ore it is but reasonable that we should place him beyond the reach of financial anxiety. The work involved in keeping in form must of necessity interfere with his ordinary means of livelihood, and for that he should at least be reasonably would not require a very big effort to do it, and sufficient capital to provide him with say £-150 a year would easily be forthcoming from the sporting enthusiasts of the whole colony.” “Well,” ses Katie, “if that doesn’t hang Banagher. Interfere wid his ordinary means av livelihood, in da'de ! Sure, he might take a lesson from our modest young triad Frank Fordo, av Rakahouka. Flo works away on the farm all the year round, an’ whiniver holiday time comes round he puts on his hcsht clothes, an’ comes to Invercargill, Oamaru, or Christchurch, an’ wins all that he wants to in the way av championships, an’ goes home again, an’ ye nivir hear av him again until there's more prizes to win.” “That’s the kind av athlete for my money,” ses Corney. “Yes,” ses I, “Frank’s a gentleman —like the conductor on the tram-car. Kady, holdin’ child on her lap. Child Inkin' at conductor : ‘Dadda-’ Mother ; ‘That isn’t your dadda ; that’s a gentleman.’ ” By this time the phonograph was aff again, an’ this time ’twas a song, an’ belavft me or not, Mr Editor, but it was the song that rached me heart. Here it is :—■ WHEN THE BAND IS MARCHING BY. In a whisper, whisper, whisper, comes the murmur of the band. In a driftin’ bit of shadow of a tune I understand. An’ as faint an’ soft an’ soothin’ as the murmur of each part Stirs an echo of the music on the harpstrings of my heart. For its growin’ clearer, clearer, an’ the notes are quick and clean An’ the hand is marchin’ nearer to ‘The Wearin’ of the Green.”
Now' it’s throbhin’, throbbin’, throbbin’, from the middle of the street, An’ it’s sobbin’, sobbin’, Bobbin’, with an’ accent low' an’ sweet, An’ the drum is thrummin’, thrummin’ to the timin’ of the tune, ’An’ the melody' is hiimmin’ in a halfforgotten croon — An’ my. heart leaps up an’ crosses all the seas that lie between While the band is marchin’ onward to “The Wearin’ of the Green.”
Sure, I see the little pathway that a "barefoot lad I trod, 'An' I smell the old-time incense of the old-time blessed sod, An’ the winds that blow from Erin bring the fair old days to me With a thousand fadin’ pictures of the days that used to be, 'An’ I see the banks of Shamrock an’ the brook that played between,
While the baad goes marchin’ past me to “The Wearin’ of the Green. • Now it’s dimxnin’, dimmin’, dimmin’, till the music dies away An’ my eyes are wet an' brimmin with the tears that come this dqy, For I left it all behind me, but this day it always seems That the old songs come an’ find me with their host of heart - felt dreams — So again I live the old day's in each unforgotten scene. Though the band has marched to silence with “The Wearin’ of the Green.” 4- 4- + ' “Well,” ses Bedalia, “a frind av mine at Otautau tills me that that self-same song w-as sung at the lec, lure given by the Rev. Mr McDonald 1 asht wake. Ye musht know that ho has been home for a thrip, an acI cordin’ to his account , the farmers I in Ireland are better aff than settlers in New Zealand. Ses the report her ; ■ Actual cases were cited of the working of small holdings and larger farms, Mr McDonald, after careful consideration, giving it as his opinion th 1 1 the Irish ■ peasant, under existing laws, had, in. the "'aAqilireinent of property", greater priviliges, and facilities than existed in New Zealand under our much-bclauded Lands Settlements Acts. Rents and expenses per acre were no dearer than in many parts of New Zealand, and the Irish’ peasant was one of the happiest and most contented of human beings, except where where he had been incited and disturbed toy' injudicious leaders.* ” <?>■ <s>- 4 1- 4“Well,” ses I, “Tin sorry to see the way things are goin’ in Belfast. I always thought the paple there were that busy buildin’ ships an’ manufacturin’ linen that they' had no time left for rows an’ riots, but wid the city full av policemin an soldiers, it reminds me av what the Irishman said whin he landed in London. As he was walkiu along wan av the busy' thoroughfares he saw a hatch av policemin goin’ on duty. ‘Begorra !’ ho exclaimed, ‘they' to wid me the streets av London were paved wid gold, but I find they’re paved wid coppers.’ ” 4" 4- 4" The nixt record was a part av a debate in Parliamint. “Mr Wilford said it was 23 years before detectives reached their maximum salary of Us fid per day. A detective started after eight years in the police force at 9s fid per day or fid per day' less than the dustmen employed by Wellington Corporation. He added that when a police constable became a detective he could never become an inspector or sub-inspector.” “Well,” ses Corney, “I’d sooner be a dustman than a policeman even if the pay was twice as good, for ye nivir knew the minnit ye may' get half kilt in doin’ yer duty'—’tis a mosht thankless job, to my fancy'.” 4* 4- 4" 4" Thin another voice tulc up the shtrain av the machine. It was Mr Herries axin’ why' the director av the Geological Survey Departmint, afther two years service had been granted fimr months holiday. He also desired to know whether he was engaged to
lecture on behalf av New Zealand. The Hon. Mr McGowan said that the director was not bein’ paid to lecture. He had been granted a four months’ holiday on full pay, an’ giyjen a net increase av salary av £.70 per annum. . ■<s>“Luk at that now,” ses Katie. “The man gets £7OO or £BOO a year an’ a four months’ holiday afther workin’ two years, an’ I know lots av railway min that’s been workin’ for half a lifetime, that onlyy get a fortnight in the year, an’ whin the poor crayhhurs want to visit frinds on the other side they go widout holidays for three ot four years so as to save enough time to make the thrip.” “ 'Tis a quare world, Katie,” ses I. “an’ I’m thinkin’ that some av these big salaried min musht Ire as clivir as the Irishman that | wint to the bar av a Bluff hotel van day, an’ ordered three penny worth av gin, which was brought. Afther eyein’ it critically. he changed his mind, an’ axed for a drop a.v Irish whisky, drank it, an’ made for the door. Shtoppod by a vigilant landlord, an’ axed to pay for the whisky, ho exclaimed, ‘Why, I changed the gin for it." ‘But you didn’t pay for the gin.’ ses the landlord. ‘WeIR T didn’t drink it,’ replied the Irishman.” <s* < v y Another record came from Oamaru, an’ it wint afther this fashion “The Rev. :D, C. Bates, Government Meteorologist, spent Tuesday visiting the various locolitiesi selected for the rain making experiments. Mr Bates expressed the opinion ithat apparently conditions were developing which might result in a state of ‘ unstable equilibrium ’ about Thursday or Friday, when the experiments might be tried. The committee is therefore hurrying on its arrangements. Corporal Meiklo and four men from the Submarine Corps at.Lyttelton arrived to take charge of the explosives, of which there is a considerable quantity now in Oanrnru, though guncotton is being obtained with difficulty by sea from Wellington. There; are many indications that rain is not far away. Springs are higher than for months past. Insects are leaving the creek beds, ~ and the sky presents an appearance that suggests that an unstable equilibrium (vide Mr Bates) is approaching.” *£• “Who might Mr Bates be ?” ses Katie. “Why,” ses I. “don’t ye renumber the little black-coated gintleman that used to deliver spaches from the rotunda whin the contingents were lavin’ for South Africa ? That's the gintlcman, Katie, an’ if annywan can bring rain he’ll do it, for he’s like a rolcano for .energy. He’ll not forget Invercargill in a hurry, neither, for 'twas here he was paid the highest compliment av his lifetime, foe somewan accused him av bein’ Bonis. O'Shea. ‘Were ye flattered W ses I. ‘I was that,’ ses he, wid a twinkle in his eye—‘at annyratc 3 felt better pleased than the old lady in the tram-car. ‘Oh, thank you, she exclaimed to a labourer who surrendered his seat in a crowded car, ‘thank you very much- That s al! right, mum.’ w*as the rejoinder. As * the lady sat down the chivalrous liab-
ourer added : ‘Wot I ses is, a man never ort to let a woman stand.; Some men never get up unless she s pretty ; tout yon see, it don t make no difference to me !’ ”
-4Whin we got home aft her thankin’' Mr Hanson for his fine enter! ainmint, ,we found Angus McGregor an’ his wife there. Av coorse Katie towld thim where we’d been, an’ Mrs McGregor said it musht have heen nearly as good as ‘The Kelly Gang.’‘‘The Kelly Gang,” ses I, ‘‘surely you don’t mane the company that Mr Tanner complained av in Parliainint, savin’ that while we had such exhibitions as the Kelly Gang goin'about the counthry we were tending to make criminals, an’ he thought the time had arrived whin some cemsorship shud be exercised over theatrical representations of criminal doings. Ye see, Mrs McGregor,” ses I, ‘‘he was led to talk like that because three lads, aged about 18, broke into a shtore at Kaihu (Auckland) an’ shtole two rifles an 2000 cartridges ; they also tuk three horses from a paddock, an’ proceeded to Tutamoe, where the followin’ mornin’ they raided Oliver’s shtore, talkin’ a gun an’ various goods. They thin discarded the horses, which returned home. It is rumoured that they stuck up a pedestrian in a fruitless quest for cash. It isi declared that the action av the boys is the outcome av the bushrangin’ biograph recently exhibited at Kaihu, an’ the lads are emulatin’ the Kelly Gang.” <£■ *s>■■<s>• <s> ‘‘Man, Denis,” ses Mrs McGregor, “I wish ye’d no jump tae conclusions sae quickly. The Kelly Gang I’m meanin’ wis the yin that gaed an entertainment in the Victoria Hall last! Friday nicht week. Word had got! roon that it wis tae be a rale Scotch nicht, an’ the hall wis packed tae the doors. Miss Kelly, wha had chairge o’ the whole concern, had the wee lads an’ lassies takin’ pairt
in a birthday gatherin’, . an’ besides there were sangs by the big fowk, an’ bits o’ play-actin’, wi’ characters by the name o’ Bridget, _ an’ Mrs McTavish, an’ Mrs Morrison* 4 an’, when the programme ended I thooht they’d never stop cheerin’ for Miss Kelly—they were like the grand rings in Mr Rein’s shop—there wis nac end tae them. Forbye, Miss Kelly, who wis a host in hersel’, the followin’ gaed her a haun, an’ did rale weel tae ;—Mesdames Michelly an’ Hastie, Misses Madge Kelly, Earsman (3), Ross, Smy the. Mulligan. G-rindlay (2), Gould, Norrie, Brodie, .Oughton, Strang, Anderson, Ferguson, an’ Lumsden, Messrs Sloan, Earsman, Dykes, Mulligan, Gould, , Tulloch, Kelly (2), Wallace, Dobie, Kidd, an’ Waugh.” ! @i -4*- •4“ ■4"It must have been the bcslit band av hope gatherin’ ivir given here.” ses Bedalia. “It was that,” scs Mi'S McGregor, ‘‘ an’ if people had mair o’ that class o’ entertainment ye’d not find boys takin tae bushrangin’, tae sae nothing o’ the fun we had.” “ Well,” ses I, ‘‘paplc that go to Inlays devoted to bushrangers arc aisily plased—they’re like the farmer who, afthor havin’ driven a lot av hogs to the market, sold thim for precisely what had been offered him before he lift home. ‘You don’t seem to have made much by bringin’ your hogs down here.’ remarked a man. 'Well, no,’ replied the agriculturist, dejectedly, ‘I ain’t made no money, but then you know,’ he added. his face brightenin’, ‘1 had the company of the hogs on the way down.’ ” DEKIS.
The Contributor, Southern Cross, Volume 15, Issue 18, 17 August 1907
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