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Sketcher., Southern Cross, Volume 15, Issue 22, 21 September 1907
(A. .WEEK’S PLEASANT PASTIME. (By Andrew Kinross).
iEnjoy your life at every chance. With music, conversation, dance, And use the gifts our Maker sent, iWith moderation still content.
I have a sociable disposition, and can enjoy life with a few congenial friends net ter than in public entertainments of strangers. When I had my farm I spent some pleasant nights with neighbours, and sometimes departed as the young people left to milk. When I was chairman of Myross Bush school committee ,we had some enjoyable gatherings in the schoolhouse. Sometimes friends met at my residence, and for a time .we forgot the troubles of life., A clever young lady sent you reports of these gatherings, who passed away some years ago. At the end of her last report she quoted the following appropriate lines : Oh, Time, glide ever swiftly by. Destroying all that’s dear. On earth there’s little worth a sigh, And nothing worth a tear. After I came to Invercargill about a score of friends sometimes met in our kitchen, and we had a few hours of a “good time.” On two occasions Mr Archie MeKellar acted as M.C., but he, my wife, and daughter have since departed, and others are scattered. When I used to walk up town I met many old acquaintances from the country, and we had sociable cracks. I sometimes conversed with barmaids and recited to them. Alas ! three young ladies for whom I composed little poems have since died. ■“ Eolicense” has taken away all these simple innocent pleasures, and I find life in Invercargill is dismally (dull. I think that walking is beneficial, and I sometimes take long walks to test my power of t endurance. Although rather early in the season I decided to visit some friends in the country in the hope to meet with something to enliven me. On Sunday, Ist September, I visited old acquaintances who reside beyond Kennington, and on my way out I inspected my allotment in the cemetery. I returned by the old tramway and Oteramika roads. As I was not fatigued by my twelve miles walk, I was pleased to find I wae in good form. On Monday I did business, read, and wrote. I never met with anyone who requires so little sleep or food as I do, so on Tuesday I rose early. After I had toddy and biscuits I started about 5 a.m.. I went ■through Makarewa Bush, and had a good road till I crossed the upper bridge over the river. I found that a paddock which I used to cross had been ploughed, and to avoid ploughed land and swamps I had to make a considerable detour. When I reached a road running nearly parallel with the railway, I found the ■walking rougher than I expected, and it would have been better if I had taken the main road to Wallacetown. I did not tire, but my feet got tender, and it was near noon when I reached the residence of Mr William Thomson, beyond Forest Hill crossing. I found Mr and Mrs Thomson twell, and had dinner with them. He sold an outlying section, so now he has an improved farm of a convenient size, and well situated. Recently he built an addition to his house, so he can live in comfort, and with- 1 ' out anxiety. He is the youngest of the fanjily, and has musical talent. I walked on to the residence of Mr David Thomson, and found that he and Mrs Thomson were well. Hia farm is near Thomson’s Crossing station, and recently he built a large well-finished house. He had a heavy crop of swede turnips, and sold 200 tons for the north. Even though he is making money, there is a drawback, as he expressed regret that he has to carry five stones more flesh than I have. After we had a cup of tea, I walked on to the residence of my son-in-law, Mr Thomas Thomson, and found them all well. Like other farmers, with good seasons and high prices, he is making money. My daughter managed well, as she has three daughters, bigger than herself, so can take the world easy now. As the olders son can now work the horses and do other farm work, his father can rest. The youngest son still goes to school, and is learning to play the violin. After tea we i played six-handed euchre ; then Jes- ! sie went to the piano, and she and I sang together. As I seldom get a ) chance of a dance in Invercargill I j like to start with a polka, as it is i such an easy dance. Jessie played p, ’ polka and a .waltz, and jl danced i
with Reina. Reina then played a waltz and I had a long dance with Jessie. I use a gliding style, and slow time, as a waltz shopld display grace, rather than agility, and I never got partners who suited me better than my granddaughters did. I asked Chrissy to dance, but she is more interested in wood-carving, ahd I think some of her work good enough for a professional carver. After I had toddy and biscuits I turned in, as I had been awake since three a.m. This is the fourth occasion on which I have walked from the S.E. end of Invercargill to Mr Thomson’s, but a t other times roads were better, and I finished in less time. However, twenty miles without preparation is not bad. Wednesday was an ideal day. I strolled round, and looked at the sheep. After dinner I accompanied Mr Thomson to the funeral of Mr Isaac Shaw. Before I was five years old I followed my father to the necropolis, in Glasgow, and I have attended many funerals since that.
When we reached- 4 the Channel, on my why to Mr King’s, the bridge was gone, so I left the buggy and walked. Mrs King is always hospitable, and soon gave me toddy and biscuits. I was pleased to learn that all were well, and that three lady relatives of Mi' King were staying with them. As some extra hands are employed at present, it was late before the ladies joined us. I have met far more ladies than men who are possessed of poetic taste. From mutual inclination, and a desire to please my lady friends, I have composed as loving poems as I ever saw published. Three ladies favoured us with songs, but as usual I had to take the leading part in entertaining the company. I danced with four ladies —with some of them several dances—and also sang and recited. I composed a poem entitled “A Poet to His Love,” which I have recited more frequently than any poem I have composed, and it always takes -well with the audience. I recite this poem only when a lady consents to stand beside me as my love, and thus have recited to more than fifty ladies. As a charming accomplished young lady present agreed to represent my love, I recited the poem with unusual fervour. I hate been surprised and amused bow young ladies ignore the difference in our ages. But if ago is to be judged by actions, I never met any man so young as myself. Old acquaintances frequently tell me that I do not get older in appearance. On Thursday we bad slight showers that benefited pastures and new-ly-sown oats. I walked across and saw Mr Baldey pulling up stumps with his traction engine on very rich land. “The Bend” is a hue farm, and is sheltered. The surface soil is fertile, and the subsoil a warm limestone. However, there was a large expenditure on draining and extracting timber before it reached its present state. Recently large additions were made to the residence, and I hope to dance in one of the large rooms. There is a gravelled road to Winton, and a railway station close to the homstead.
In the evening- we had our jolliest night, as a lady and two gentlemen joined us. Three ladies were good singers, and sang nicely. I like old songs with a chorus, and I sang ‘When You and I Were Young, Maggie,” “The Banks of Loch Lomond,” and “When the Kye Come Marne.” Besides love poems I recited “ Poridge for Ever.” I danced about a
ozen dances —all round ones—and I sat down only when the music was stopped or my partner tired. With a suitable tune and partner the Highland schottische is my favourite. Mr King said he had not danced for about ten years, but as three ladies were good dancers he and a visitor got up as partners. Mrs King said she had not danced for a great many years before she became my partner, but she seemed to enjoy dancing. On Friday afternoon I returned to Mr Thomas Thomson’s, and learned that Mrs Thomson and Chrissy had gone to Invercargill the day before. Theyr returned by train, having spent Thursday night with Annie at our residence. Mrs Thomson had spent all her money at the drapers’, and she said that they raised prices greatly through the new tariff. After tea I accompanied Mrs Thomson, Chrisy and Jennie in the buggy to the residence of another family of Thomsons. I was introduced to an elderly lady, two young ladies, and three young men. After some conversation we played two games of six-handed euchre* which our side [won. Afterwards Mr John sang “Killarney” and “Erin Mavourncen,” and I recited to the two young ladies. Mr Wm. Thomson brought his violin, and with a well-toned piazio
we had good music. Willie played Jacky Tar,” which is my favourite tune, and I danced a hornpipe. I also danced with Mrs Wm. Thomson and my grand-daughter Jessie, and I danced" lively. My daughter had given up dancing, hut Willie played a polka, I pulled her up, and she danced all right. After supper we sang ‘‘Auld Tang Syne,” and at midnight we left for Rome..
Saturday morning was cold and showery, so I took the train to Invercargill, found all right at home, and spent the day chiefly in reading. I greatly enjoyed my trip into the country,, for I found everyone kind and appreciative. It is nearly 65 years since I left the dancing school, and for forty years afterwards I danced very little. Since I resumed dancing it has been my most pleasant amusement, but I never got an opportunity before of dancing on four consecutive evenings. I never made poetry for ladies or recited to them till I was about 60 years of age, but they enjoyed it, and I enjoyed it. However, this is the first occasion on which I recited "A Poet to His Love” on three consecutive nights. Though I went to bed late and rose early, I never felt sleepy or fatigued, and I was pleased and surprised at my wonderful condition and endurance.
Most young’ men are interested chiefly in bodily feats ; but I value the Intellectual far above the physical. I assure to be the best allround man of my age in New Zealand, and I am pleased when opportunities of proving the correctness of my opinion occur. ' ■ I know that many a man as good as ever sat on throne, Has gone down to the silent grave uncared for and unknown. And men with the most noble gifts by Nature given to few Have passed through life without a chance to show what they could do.
Sketcher., Southern Cross, Volume 15, Issue 22, 21 September 1907
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