a treasure-trove of literature
treasure found hidden with no evidence of ownership
|BROWSE the site for other works by this author
(and our other authors)
SEARCH the entire site with Google Site Search
Title: Here's Another Author: Lennie Lower * A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook * eBook No.: 0100301h.html Language: English Date first posted: May 2015 Most recent update: May 2015 Project Gutenberg of Australia eBooks are created from printed editions which are in the public domain in Australia, unless a copyright notice is included. We do NOT keep any eBooks in compliance with a particular paper edition. Copyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the copyright laws for your country before downloading or redistributing this file. This eBook is made available at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg Australia Licence which may be viewed online.
GO TO Project Gutenberg Australia HOME PAGE
There was a man named Thomas. There generally is. His surname was Thomas, and his Christian name was Thomas, so his full name was Thomas Thomas.
This is very peculiar.
Thomas's family tree had been ringbarked at his father's death, for Thomas was not married, and he was the last descendant of an honorable family. It looked as if the family could not descend any further.
His father died in very romantic circumstances. He sprained his ankle in Macquarie Street, and a young doctor, seeing him fall, ordered him into hospital and operated on him for appendicitis, so successfully, that he died a martyr to science.
On his father's death, Thomas became an orphan, because his mother had died some months before he was born. He graduated as an orphan quite easily.
Thanks to the commonsense laws of this country, all that was necessary for him to become a qualified orphan was that both, or all, of his parents should be dead.
Poor Thomas was cast out into the cruel world to earn his own living. No one can realise the horrors of this unless they have had to earn their own living themselves, so it is no use trying to explain.
It was a bit hot on him, being cast out into the world, though.
With tears in his eyes he watched the landlord kick the door in and seize the furniture his poor old mother had made when she was a girl. Sadly he locked the landlord in, and set fire to the house, and then started out for the cold, hard city.
He had nothing, not even a cat. Not a solitary bell tolled him to come back and be a Lord Mayor.
Going along the road, he struck a kindhearted motorist, who gave him a lift. Or, rather, the motorist struck him. He was lifted about eight feet.
He continued on his way, and at last, after many vicissitudes too numerous to mention, entered the city on his hands and knees.
As he was crawling along in the gutter, a big man in a motor car sliced his ear off with the mudguard, and then, pulling up, greeted him with a hearty laugh.
"I can see by your attitude," he said, "that you are looking for work. You look miserable enough to work for practically nothing.
"I might employ you.
"How long is it since you've had a meal?"
"Three weeks," said Thomas.
That was a lie, as he had only been without food for two weeks. Which just shows you the low cunning of some people.
But the kind gentleman did not suspect that he was being imposed upon, and he smiled and gently patted Thomas with his foot.
"Hang on to the spare tyre of my car," he said. "I will take you with me."
And so Thomas arrived at the ancestral halls of the kind gentleman, luxuriously hanging on to the spare tyre.
The kind gentleman, who was a retired alderman and very wealthy, allowed him to sleep in the garage, and at first he was bewildered by the luxury which surrounded him, but after a while he got used to it and became more refined.
Thomas progressed rapidly in his master's favor, and after a few months he was doing all the jobs about the place, and the master was able to sack all the servants, including the chauffeur, gardener and the confidential secretary.
Thomas was an ambitious young man, and at 3 a.m., after he had finished his work, he spent the two hours of leisure remaining to him, not in sleep, but in study.
He studied so hard that soon he knew the past form of every horse in the State.
Then the devil tempted him. He embezzled 40 pounds of the kind gentleman's money and went to the races.
The same fate overtook him as has overtook many another who has heeded Satan's promptings.
He won 4000 pounds.
Returning to his place of employment, he assaulted the kind gentleman who had befriended him. The kind gentleman never recovered, and, although the police were a bit suspicious, they never did anything to Thomas, as a man with 20,000 pounds (it was a three-day race meeting) would never do such a thing. At least that is what the police thought, but then the police are very dense sometimes.
Sir Thomas (for such he was by this time) soon became known far and wide for his good works, and there were more special inquiries held on his doings than any other gentleman in the land. His name became a household word and many people were arrested for saying the word in public.
But Sir Thomas died. Strange to say, died in an even more romantic way than father. Driving his car one day, he had been chasing a pedestrian, and at last, tiring of the sport, he ran over him.
The pedestrian had a bottle in his pocket.
The tyre burst, and Sir Thomas was flung out of the car with such force that he spread all over the wall of a nearby building.
When the horrified bystanders scraped him off, he was dead.
So ended the last of the Thomases.
Let this story be a lesson to you, gentle and somewhat dull reader. No matter what people may say, no matter how you are tempted—never be an orphan.
What's a bath between friends? Nothing but a hollow porcelain division. Who invented baths? Some dirty cow.
ONLY dirty people bathe, as the Prophet hath said. Those who are not dirty, and yet bathe, do it out of pure flashness.
These thoughts are engendered by the recent law enacted by the Home Minister of Poland, wherein it is enacted (we like "wherein it is enacted"; it has a partly gold watch-chained, bald-headed sound about it) that every Pole must bathe at least once a month.
Those under 10 and over 60 are exempt, also those possessing their own bathrooms, which, it is presumed, are used.
Bathrooms in Poland are sufficient evidence in a case of Rex v. Perspiration.
Some similar action is needed in Australia. Such as:—
Act 79B, sub-section K2, Z1, relating to bathing of bodies: "Be it heretofor whereas'd that inasmuch & so to speak, any person or persons turning on showers between or about the months of May, June, July, & standing near shaving cabinets, well away from showers, & saying, 'Br-r-r-r!' & singing 'Annie Laurie' afterward coming out of bathroom, or rooms, & saying that there is nothing like a cold shower to freshen one up, shall be fined a maximum of 10 pounds or a fortnight. God Save King."
This will be one of the planks of the new Ruination Party, of which we have the honour of being president.
Any man who does more than bathe his eyes in this weather should be in a monastery. And, anyhow, what advantage has the bather?
He comes from his cold shower, blue, numb, speechless. At his office he says, "My word, the shower was cold this morning!"
And the man who wiped his eyes on a wet sponge says, "One of the toughest surfs I've experienced this winter. All the Icebergs agreed."
Let there be signs put up in all bathrooms similar to those on various beaches, "Any person bathing here does so at his own risk."
S.O.S.: Not, Shiver Our Skins—but Save Our Soap.
Men have been known to slip on a cake of soap and break their necks.
About bread. Bread is a large number of small holes entirely surrounded by bread.
A SIMPLE recipe for using it is to lay down a slice and put butter on top of same. This makes a palatable dish if you have the butter.
The price of flour—one of the ingredients of bread—has gone down. The price of bread has not gone down. There is, of course, a reason. We can't see it. But—
Bread-cart horses are eating more now than they did. Yeast has shown a decided tendency to rise, and the Viennese tradesmen engaged in making the swipes on top of Vienna loaves are demanding more money.
Cottage loaves have shown a decided falling off, on account of the operatives moving out of their cottages into flats.
On the whole, the situation is such that everyone should burst into tears and tell their friends that the country is going to the dogs.
Speaking of recipes, a good one for damper is:—Take 1lb. flour, 1/2lb. baking powder, 3 eggs, 1 grated prawn, and sufficient scones for nine people.
Eat scones. Stir remainder well.
Keep stirring. These are stirring times.
The trout season is now open. This reminds us of fish. There is a lot of thrills to be got out of fishing, though not much fish. We once struggled for nearly half an hour with a salmon, which only weighed about a pound. The label was torn to pieces, and the tin was dented in two places before we got him.
There are other ways of getting fish, even more strenuous.
Rock fishing, for instance. We don't recommend it unless you get paid by the hour. A man might waste half a ton of rocks before he hits one fish.
Then there's rod fishing. All right if you've got a good eye, and are a fairly straight shot with the rod.
Line fishing? Well, we know a fair amount about line fishing.
We have a line.
Some of us experts use a float instead of a sinker. We are not in favour of this. With a decent sinker, you at least have a chance of stunning the fish. Even if you don't catch the fish on the forehead with the sinker, there is always the possibility that the fish will swallow the thing, and die of lead poisoning.
Dynamiting is unsportsmanlike and uneconomical.
The procedure is to force the dynamite down the throat of the fish, and light the fuse. Throw the fish away and run like blazes.
The only fault in this method is that it does not do the fish much good. It sort of permanently cures it of being a fish.
At deep-sea fishing we admit we are not much good. We give up. Matter of fact, the giving up part is about all we know of deep-sea fishing. Just throw the line over, if you've got the strength, and throw everything else after it.
For a man getting up in years, fishing for limpets is good, although inclined to be a bit monotonous.
But for those who cannot get close to the sea, said he kindly-for those who are far from the roaring deep (said roaring caused by the bass, the drummers, the wails, and the trumpeters, besides all the other fish with internal organs), a little silver-fishing is advised.
It is best done with two players. A small piece of carpet, loaded with moth balls, is cast into the room or rooms. (Set lines may be used.)
The silverfish emerges from its den, and claws gluttonishly at the moth balls. After some hours, it reclines, sated, on the piece of carpet, and may be drawn gently to a given spot. It is here that the second player comes in. He engages the silverfish's attention with "The Village Blacksmith" or "The Face on the Bar-room Floor."
The silverfish props its head on one paw, and gazes in a dazed manner at the elocutionist.
The head player then sneaks up behind it (the silverfish), grabs it by the throat, and the rest is not suitable for young readers.
We knew an expert who, without bait, caught 105 silverfish in one night, simply by reciting "Gungha Din."
They came and gave themselves up in dozens.
There is very little more to be said about trout.
Like curry and custard, love and politics don't seem to go well together. I've tried the mixture and served it up to the wife, but it makes her sick. If the wife had any sense, which she hasn't, she'd listen to me, and agree with me, and even, perhaps, encourage me. But all she does is to say, "Here, shut up and hold this," and I have to hold it and shut up.
We go shopping every Friday night. She wastes my hard-earned money on groceries and throws the parcels on to me as if I was a Thornycroft lorry. Then I buy a cigar, light it, and we walk about the town so people can see me smoking it. Last Friday night I was walking for three hours, nearly, before I saw anybody I knew. When I did see them the cigar had gone out, and I couldn't puff the thing at them. I had to content myself with waving it.
We look at shop windows: that is to say, she looks at them and I stand around. Sometimes I manage to sneak past a hat shop, but most times I get dragged back. She says, "That's a pretty cloche, dear!" A cloche is a hat.
I say, "Huh!"
"I wish we could afford a fur coat," she says, wistfully. "Even if it were only a coney."
"WE!" I say. "I like that! What the dickens could I do with a fur coat?"
"You never think of anyone but yourself !"
"Anyhow, think of the poor little coneys, stripped of their warm skins to make coats for us."
"Oh! I don't know how men can be so cruel!"
"They tear the little coneys from their mothers' bosoms and skin them alive."
"In those circumstances you wouldn't care to have a coat made from their bleeding skins, would you?"
"Anyhow, if you had voted at the last elections instead of going to bed so I'd have to answer the door when the time-payment man called, you'd have had a fur coat by now."
"Would the Labor Party have issued us all with fur coats?"
"You drag politics into everything. Last night, when you forgot to wind the clock, you blamed the National Party. You threw mother's parrot out because it looked like Bruce. As if a parrot could look like a man like that! Mr. Bruce is a handsome, he—"
"Have I nursed a viper in my bosom!"
"Don't you talk to me like that!"
"But listen, dear—"
"You needn't 'dear' me! I won't be vipered by anyone!"
"But I'm not vipering you, my dear, I'm just trying to point out —"
"Yes! If you did a bit more work and a little less pointing out I'd have a fur coat now instead of standing here like this, shivering in these rags. You and your politics! Here am I, slaving, working my fingers to the bone, trying to keep our bodies and souls together—"
"I can keep my own body together, thanks. And listen to me! If you think that politics have nothing to do with Friday night's shopping, that's where you're wrong for the first time in your life. Do you think you were given a vote so you could stay in bed and neglect the use of it? Don't you ever think? You're my better half, aren't you?"
"Well, what the—is the use of only half of me voting? Can't you see how your neglect and apathy affect me?"
Deep silence. I can see by the furrows in her brow that she is thinking. A good sign.
"If this country is mismanaged by a bad Government, who suffers? Me— Us, I mean. Can't you see the connection between groceries and governments, prices and politics?"
She scratches her nose and looks thoughtful. One thing about my wife she will listen to sense.
We get near home, and I put in a parting shot.
"Now, supposing a Labor Government got into power and reduced the tariff on fur coats—"
I pause for a moment to let it sink in.
"Yes, my love?"
I have evidently impressed her.
"Len, I never thought of it until now!"
"We've forgotten the beans!"
When I got married, I made a great mistake.
A considerable number of Socialistic reformers advocate the cultivation of class-consciousness.
Having recently had two winning days at the ponies, and being now a capitalist, I cannot agree with them.
Noah was the first man to make the lion and the lamb sleep in the same bunk, and he, being the forerunner of Inchcape and the only man to have a menagerie and a monopoly at the same time, is entitled to some respect.
To emphasise the difference between a capitalist and a worker is to emphasise the difference between the former's income and the latter's.
Which is manifestly unfair.
Speaking as a capitalist, I would like it noted that while recognising the enormous gulf which stretches between the ordinary worker and the man of wealth who has had two successful days at the ponies, I still think that the gap should be bridged.
It would not take much bridging, and with the worker viewing life in the same way as the capitalist, it would not be long before he realised his responsibilities as a worker and ceased to be discontented.
Various highly-placed personages have expressed the opinion that at least one span might be extended across the gulf if the working classes would only learn to speak with the same faultless diction as their masters.
A very good idea, and one that could be easily put into operation.
For the purposes of demonstrating the ease of it, we will examine its operation on a member, say, of the building trade.
The member of the building trade is seeking a job. He approaches the foreman.
Removing his hat, he says: "Pardon me, old chap; but I am seeking employment. If I can be of any assistance to you in the furtherance of your designs, I would be delighted to devote my time to your service at the usual rate."
Sounds jolly, doesn't it?
Much better than, "Anything doin', Joe?"
You see the idea?
Then there is the matter of dress. It would entail no hardship for a hod-carrier to come to work decently attired.
The spats and morning coat could be removed when commencing work, and the silk hat stowed away in the tucker box. It would, of course, be necessary to wear gloves while working, but, then, all tools being fitted with ivory handles, the wear and tear would not be so very great.
And the social side must not be neglected. It would be a simple and courteous gesture of hospitality if the mortar-mixers were "At Home" on Saturday afternoons to the brick-layers. The hod-carriers could give a little soiree for the plasterers, and the foreman could be made the guest of honor at the tea-boys' coming out party, and so on.
Everything would be nice and sociable, and the contractor and owner of the building would have no hesitation in inviting a select number of refined workers to meet the architect and ride out on the Ford lorry.
Courtesy need not stop at these little social events. It can and should be practised all the time.
Little thoughtful actions, like bringing flowers to the foreman, and perhaps an occasional cigar for the employer, all help to sweeten life and keep the social amenities well oiled.
Going further, concerts could be held in the lunch interval.
In the presence of good, refined music, classconsciousness is sunk, and the worker is elevated by the Muse to the level of his superiors.
And that is just what we want. Unity of outlook, the worker seeing eye to eye with the capitalist, and restraining from unreasonable requests for higher wages.
Well, then, the concert!
Operatic music is good, but being sung mostly in a foreign language, it lacks the quality of sympathy that binds the classes together.
Songs such as "We're Here Because We're Here" and "Paddy McGinty's Goat" are, of course, impossible. What we want, then, is suitable English words set to operatic music.
I'll try and show you what I mean.
We will suppose it is lunch time. Gentlemen engaged on the job are sitting, chatting idly, discussing personalities and the latest Vice-Regal reception.
The foreman waves his baton, and the concert commences.
Something like this:
Bricklayers: "Oh! The bally old bricks we jolly well lay."
Hod-carriers: "Too true, they jolly well lay them!"
Bricklayers: "We lay them neatly—just this way" (demonstrating).
Employers, Foremen, etc.: "And we have to jolly well pay them!"
Mortar-mixers: "Oh! We mix, mix, mix!"
Bricklayers: "And we lay, lay, lay!"
Hod-carriers: "And we hod, hod, hod!"
Employers, etc.: "And we pay, pay, pay!"
And so it goes on.
Now just think what an enormous difference this would make!
The refinement! The good feeling and fellowship! It would be a common occurrence for two hod-carriers to pause at the foot of a ladder and bow, murmuring at the same time, "After you, sir!"
Isn't this much better than swearing at the foreman, and trying to drop a brick on the boss?
Of course it is.
Well, go to it. Attaboy!
I, myself, having had two good days at the ponies—I think I have mentioned this before—but what I mean to say is that I'd like to see you workers drag yourselves up to my level and drop all this class-conscious stuff.
On the other hand, if you wait till after the next pony meeting, I may be with you. In which case the gap will be bridged by a punt!
Being an Heroic Attempt at an Explanation
A rudimentary knowledge of banking and banks does not necessarily imply the possession of a bank balance. One might as well demand that anti-vivisectionists be partly vivisected so that they may back their antipathy with personal and acute experience.
My actual experience in the matter of banking is such that if all the notes I had banked were placed end to end they would reach...
What's the lineal measure for atom?
While in my callow youth, and spurred on by the fierce pangs of love, I banked ten shillings. Two days later I reluctantly withdrew it, and my account was closed forever. If Sunday had not intervened I might have had it out earlier.
This rambling explanation is intended, not so much as an apology, as a proof that one needn't have money in the bank to have an interest in banks. All right then.
Small metal tokens of some intrinsic value and colored strips of paper—which, in the middle of the Sahara desert, could only be prized in so far as their artistic merit appealed—are money.
Money is a means of facilitating exchange.
That is to say, the possession of a poundnote saves you the trouble of carrying five hundredweight of home-grown potatoes down to Anthony Horderns' when you wish to buy a pair of boots.
Likewise, the institution of the monetary system prevents the boss from paying you in alarm clocks.
The first man to become wealthy accumulated his hoard very slowly. Finding himself with a surplus of pumpkins, he swopped a few of them with neighbors in adjoining caves, for stone clubs bear—skins, and whatnot.
Nature pursued its relentless course and foisted more pumpkins on to him. By degrees he accumulated an enormous stock of bear skins, etcetera, as well as pumpkins.
Came a drought or an earthquake. We forget now which it was. The bears died off in hundreds. For want of a feed of pumpkin the stoneclub maker was too weak to make stone clubs.
(This is where we deviate a little from historical accuracy, for the sake of the analogy.)
The drought or the earthquake eased off, and Nature took up her burden of making bears.
But things were very bad.
One day a man came to the cave of the pumpkin millionaire.
"Look here," he said, in his simple, straightforward way. "I've got an idea for growing woad plants. There'll be a big demand for woad presently, and it's a great proposition."
"Well?" queried the wealthy one languidly. "What about it?"
"I'm broke," answered the other. "Will you finance me?"
"What security have you?"
"Well, I've an extensive cave, fur-lined throughout, in a good defensive position, free from pterodactyls; also four wives, two being practically new and the other two so thoroughly domesticated that they grovel every time I raise my club. I should say the lot was worth about 100 stone clubs or 300 pumpkins at the present rate of exchange."
"H'm! How much do you want?"
"Eighty clubs should be sufficient to put my woad plantation on a working basis."
They went into details. At last the pumpkinaire, after convincing himself that there was a good demand for woad, that the intending borrower was a hard worker, and that he knew all about woad, decided to finance him. He accordingly financed him with fifty clubs, taking the hundred club's worth of cave and wives as a security.
At the end of the year the borrower was to return sixty clubs for the fifty lent.
The woad plantation got under way, and that was that.
Men in adjoining caves heard of the enterprising woad planter's success, and came in droves to the cave of the pumpkinaire. If he fancied their projects and liked their security, he financed them.
Now, this is where the funny part comes in.
Everybody knew that the pumpkinaire was wealthy, and one day a man came to borrow thirty bear skins, as he was converting his cave into flats. And the pumpkinaire didn't have a skin in the place.
This is what he did.
He said: "Take this smooth, stone with the funny mark on it to the fellow over the river. Tell him to give you thirty bear skins, and when he returns that stone to me I'll pay him."
The fellow did as he was told.
Said the man over the river: "It's a bit unusual, but I know the pumpkinaire. He is a man of wealth. He always pays up. This stone is worth thirty bear skins any old day in the week!"
It worked, you see, and the pumpkinaire thought deeply on the matter. He began to see that it was only a matter of a big reputation, a few stones, and faith on the part of the stoneholders.
The stone came back; the pumpkinaire paid up, and lent the stone out again. It circulated. People began to know that it was worth thirty bear skins.
The pumpkinaire got more stones, and marked them with his private mark. The day came when he had 3000 pumpkins' worth of stones in circulation and only 500 pumpkins. It made no difference. People believed in him.
Behold, the first bank.
Now, let us consider. If in his eagerness to grab the banker made 1000 stones when the total value of all the goods in the community was only 500 stones, he inflated the currency. The stone that was supposed to be worth 30 bear skins would only be worth 15 bear skins.
The money wealth of the community would be 1000 stones.
The real wealth would be 500 stones' worth of goods and 500 stones' worth of faith (or belief in the banker's ability to pay).
Possessed of only 500 stones' worth of real wealth, the community has to pay back to the banker 1000 stones, plus interest. (Be patient. It's dreadfully difficult to keep from getting tangled up.)
Now you can see that with its measly 500 stones the community will have to work like mad, twice as hard as they ought, to pay back the banker's thousand.
You can see that people are going to economise in all directions. You can see how the slaves will be put on short rations. You can see the unemployment coming.
You can see why, when we borrow abroad, pledging the horny hands of Australia as security, we must pay back in gold or privileges.
We must pay back in something tangible—not faith-notes.
You can see that 5,000,000 American dollars is—or is supposed to be—5,000,000 dollars' worth of American goods. We may do what we like with the money, buy English goods if we like, but sooner or later, by the simple process of exchange, that money must go back to America. And in America that five million represents five millions' worth of goods.
We don't borrow money; we borrow goods.
Wiping the sweat off our eye-shade we pause for breath, and admit that we have bitten off more than we can chew.
Banking is a big subject, and stretchs as far beyond the scope of this article as a verbatim report of the proceedings at the Tower of Babel.
Like trying to put your pet whale in a glass bowl to fraternise with the gold-fish.
But stop cheering. We haven't finished yet. Sorry.
We would just like to point out the possibilities, the ramifications and the power of banks and bankers.
We would like to point out that the business of banking is something that affects you—even if you haven't got a "crab" to your name.
You can see that the big bankers can promote industry, or put the brakes on it simply by giving or withholding loans.
You can see that they are the Master Minds behind the capitalist.
You can see that they hold us in the hollow of their hands.
Do you see the necessity for Government control of banking?
We have a PLAN. Before we go any further, it would be best, perhaps, to give a rough explanation of our monetary situation, particularly where it touches our fiscal fiduciaries.
No. Maybe we hadn't better...
Our Plan is really the introduction of a practical currency based on the experience of a life-time.
We propose to have printed notes of various denominations and sizes.
The nineteen and elevenpence three farthings note will be about 12 inches square and suitable for use at millinery sales.
The 37/6, or Boarding House, note will be a little larger, so that the boarder, having paid the landlady with it, the landlady may then wrap the boarder's lunch in it.
From there we go to the 5 pound, 10 pound, and 20 pound issues, which will be of correspondingly larger size, enabling one to wrap up larger parcels.
We have another bright idea for keyholeshaped coins. These would be especially useful after hours. The trouble would be to get keyhole-shaped bottles. We'd probably bring in an Enlarged Keyholes (Amendment) Act.
All this is detail.
Broadly, the Lower Plan consists in printing some tens of millions of five pound notes and distributing two to each of the population. Of course, they would be worth only about 5/—each but that would be 10/-, anyhow; and who is in need of ten shillings?
STAND BACK! The Plan hasn't started yet.
But is it any good! Mais, oui!
Lost in the wilds of the Botanic Gardens! Heavens, shall we ever forget it! The last human face we saw was that of Matthew Flinders, the great explorer.
We got in with a few Anzacs last night, and we forget how we got into the Gardens, but, believe us, it's terrible. Instructive, but terrible.
Nothing to drink but goldfish.
Bottle-trees dotted about the place, and we had no opener. Naked men and women standing on square white-washed rocks. All dumb!
We wandered up to a signboard, thinking to read, "Ten miles to..." and saw there, "Please do not walk on the grass borders."
Starving, practically, we climbed a coconut tree for food and found it was a date tree without any dates on it.
We came to a tree marked "Dysoxolum." We thought—we KNEW—how sox were dyed—but what shall it profit a man if he lose himself in the Gardens?
We came to where the tortoise slept, and knocked on his shell. Like all the rest of our friends, he was in, but he didn't answer.
Dawn found us clawing at the front of the Herbarium, shrieking hysterically for just a little thyme.
The keeper who found us said that everything was all right and this was the way out. We don't know what became of the others.
Probably their bodies will be found in the bandstand and identified by their pawn tickets.
The Anzacs certainly were, and still are, a tough crowd.
We will never go into the Gardens again without wearing all our medals and two identification discs.
It's always best to carry a spare on Anzac night.
Music Week commences to-day.
Why is music weak? Because it's always in bars. (Roars of applause.)
HUNDREDS of conductors baton on the music industry. Thousands of unemployed musicians roam the city and suburbs, blowing trumpets. Tens of thousands of collectors roam with them, shaking collection boxes.
The only way these men can get beef is to cornet. (Angry murmurs from gallery.)
The Minister for Education has said that "A country without music is uncivilised."
You are invited to bare your savage breast and have it soothed with a mouth-organ solo. We don't want to harp on this but—let it bassoon. (Sorry.)
There will be a concertina Town Hall one night this week, accordion to programme. (Shrieks of "Want our money Bach!")
The greatest epicures of our times, who have put up all the best epics so far, have been fond of music.
Amy Johnson flute England. Consider Bradman's baton. (Oh, viol!) Kingsford Smith's plane.
These are cymbals of achievement.
The Crematorium of Music, in doing its best to foster a love of music, will enable us all to sing "God Save the King" with passionate fervor at the conclusion of recitals, and gasps of relief on exitting from classical concerts will be emitted in a much more musical manner than here.
We, before leaving you, would suggest that perhaps some little improvement might be effected in our songs.
For instance: "Come to dinner. Come to dinner. Hear the bell! Bacon and potatoes, etc."
Much better would be, "Come to Dinner," and so on, "Porterhouse steak and mushrooms, with a quart of McEwans, black coffee, with lemon, etc."
Let us finish this thing appropriately:
DOH RAY ME FAH SO LAY TEE DOH KAY UM TOO PHUT AM WHOA!
The masonry of the Town Hall is not on the square. The place is now in such a dangerous condition owing to blasting operations that aldermen are gravely concerned. The portico is cracked. The tower is cracked. The aldermen are...going to discuss the matter to-day.
The City Engineer says that "the condition is due to fretting of the stonework." And city ratepayers will feel a certain amount of sympathy with the stonework.
Personally, we have never seen a stonework, although we know a brickworks, but, anyhow, the history of the Town Hall is very interesting.
Mr. Martin Carrick, who has been Lord Mayor's orderly for the past 150 years, was discovered by Governor Bligh, standing on the spot where now stands the Town Hall.
So greatly did the Governor admire Mr. Carrick's uniform that he caused the Town Hall to be built around him.
The lift is worth a visit. Originally built for a green Mexican parrot, it was left on the hands of the civic authorities when the bird suddenly developed cirrhosis of the beak, and passed away unanimously.
The perch was removed, and the old cage converted into a lift, into which it is possible to crowd two passengers and the driver, or the driver and one alderman.
All this, as we said before, is very interesting, and it would, indeed, be a pity to see this historic structure crash to the ground while the council was in session, without first removing Mr. Carrick and the lift, and locking all exits.
Please do not walk an the grass borders.
Butchers shut up their chops yesterday and went to a picnic. It's about time they had a spell.
IT'S time the abattoirs had a spell, too, only they're so hard to spell.
It was yesterday we were sent for a pound of steak, and given 1/8, and we had to get six-pennorth of ham instead—the change was ours.
The butchers had their picnic just for the change. That's the only reason we ever volunteer to go to the butchers'. Just for the change.
You get interested in butchers when they butcher to a lot of trouble.
How many of us know one slab of steak from another? There are the bladebone steaks, porterhouse steaks, Adrian Knox Stakes, Cantala Stakes, and kid-stakes, which you only dish up as a last resource.
Take chops. A chop is merely a steak with a bone in it. If a sausage had a backbone and a bulging forehead, it would be a chop.
Dare say there are any number of sausages taking correspondence courses, hoping to become chops.
A butcher, kidneys wife, may be a high liver, but he lives according to his lights; it's a heart life.
Sheep's Head cannot be found on the atlas, and altogether, the butcher is worthy of his steal.
Any man who takes a holiday now is mad; but a butcher, his job is skewer.
Saying which, he fell on his gherkins and abandoned the butchering business.
Which was only meet.
Recomember! The butcher was the man who put the "laughter" into "slaughter."
Let him get thick on his hollow-day.
Healthy black snakes of 4 feet 6 inches or over will be paid for by the Taronga Park Trustees. This, according to the "Sun," is "a chance for our unemployed."
It seems to us also that there will be fewer unemployed after they have finished with the snakes.
Or, we may yet hear whisperings in the lounge of the Hotel Australia, "Yes, they say he made his money entirely out of snakes."
We consulted Chambers' encyclopaedia and learned that a snake has no legs, but travels by means of its scales. Which is tough on the Tramway Department.
The adder is sum snake. It has no eyelids, but sees out of its snaked eye.
It may interest the unemployed to learn that the female snake is larger than the male, and the male cannot be stretched except in cases where it gets away. Then you can say anything.
The viper is a Jewish snake closely allied to the pen-viper, and the dish-viper. It sheds its skin twice a year, but no one can find the shed.
The black snake is black, and may easily be told, although it is partially deaf. In catching the black snake, grasp it firmly behind the back of the ears, and ahead of the squirm. Should it bite, on no account bite it back, as snakes are poisonous.
It is far better, if bitten, to rub the snake with permanganate of potash, at the same time tying a ligature between the snake and the bitten portion. This method only fails on occasions.
Now a parting word. Measure the snake carefully before catching it. If it is less than 4 feet 6 inches long, don't waste your time.
Small snakes may be charmed with a tin whistle. Black snakes need a jazz band.
Remember your geometry. A straight line is the shortest distance between a snake and some other place.
It was 2.30 a.m.
The burglar paused outside the window, jemmy in hand. A light filtered through the drawn blind, but it was the dull mumbling from within that held him hesitant for some minutes.
THEN he very gently, very expertly, opened the window. A harsh, stilted voice said, "Bradman's score now stands at 301."
Five people were hunched about the loud speaker. Father, mother, two sons, and a daughter. The floor was littered with half-burnt cigarette ends and dead matches. One of the younger men was dotting down Bradman's hits on the back of a player roll which was already half unrolled.
"McCabe cover-drove another for two," carked the loud speaker.
"Who's bowling?" said the burglar excitedly, stepping into the room.
"Larwood," said the whole family, without looking up.
"Goodo!" exclaimed the burglar.
Searching the house, he packed up the most portable valuables and was looking for more when a loud, harmonious groan came from around the loud speaker.
"Wot's up!" he cried, rushing in. "Is 'e out?"
"Clean bowled by that beast Larwood," sobbed the mother, dabbing her eyes with her handkerchief.
"That's the front door," said the father. "Someone answer it."
No one answered it. "Tate bowling," said the announcer.
"I suppose I'll 'ave to go," grumbled the burglar. A scream came from the room as he opened the door.
"What's wrong here?" said the policeman sternly.
"Richardson's out for one!" murmured the burglar in a hoarse voice.
"My God!" exclaimed the policeman, rushing in.
And at 3.45 a.m., the blear-eyed family dragged itself to bed, the policeman, nervously gazing about for the sergeant, went back to his beat, and the burglar went home, having forgotten his loot.
"Any'ow," he muttered, as he climbed wearily into his bed. "I don't care. Five 'undred and sixty-six is goin' to take some catchin'."
With a certain amount of disrespect we have been asked to write something about hoboes, an account of a hoboes' college being discovered in America.
We have been unable to find out whether this means that we have to become autobiographical (autobigraphical, autobigraphical, autobiographical, it wasn't a fluke) about it.
Delving into the remains of our vast experience, we are able to inform you that hoboes are people who fling themselves on to freight trains in a desperate attempt to escape work, and, having arrived at a town, knock on its door and boast that they have not had a feed for nine consecutive years.
"Kind lady," you say, "could you lend me a piece of hard, dry, mouldy, hopeless bread to eat with this roast turkey?"
The lady bursts into tears, and you offer to chop some wood, having some pride left, and sneak off and pawn the axe.
Occasionally a hobo falls on evil times. Last year we were out of work we had the bad luck to have the husband answer the door.
Automatically we said: "We have a wife and five children. Our wife got out of work and was unable to support us. Accordingly, we left home, and am now starving. If we had a trombone, we'd play it at you. All we ask of you is a crust."
His eyes glittered. "Go down to the tool-shed and I'll sneak something out to you. I'm just back from my honeymoon."
We waited expectantly. Presently he came. He had taken us literally. In his hand was the crustiest crust we've ever viewed.
He closed the door, and his hand dips into his pocket. "Eat this," he said, as he thrust a black piece of charcoal at us. We took it, turned it over, smelt it, and our sombre eyes questioned him.
"Fillet steak," he growled. "Annabelle's first attempt."
When I looked up again he was wolfing the crust.
Kind lady, I want a job.
The President of the Housewives' Association says that she does not believe in cocktail drinking, and could, if necessary, produce a drink with a "kick" in it, from fruit.
ANTICIPATING, we have evolved a few recipes to suit all tastes.
BANANA FLUTTER.—Take one banana, slice, and put into glass. Take half a coconut and beat it into a stiff froth. Mix briskly and serve. The "kick" is obtained by standing on one foot on the skin of the banana and leaning forward while pouring the drink down the back of the neck.
Then we have the FLYING MULE.
Take half-dozen raspberries, being careful to remove the seeds, also the sound. Mash lightly with hammer. Mix with little ice-water, and add seeds slowly, one at a time, until you are so thirsty that you'd drink anything. Now take a red-hot nail, and dip it smartly into the mixture, removing it almost immediately. Drink nail.
THE WATERMELON WHOOPEE.—Take one large watermelon, cut in half. Hollow out one half and place contents in wash-basin. Save seeds from other half. Place in wash-basin one small cup of gramophone needles, half-pint of sulphuric acid. Drink before bottom falls out of wash—basin.
A similar mixture is the HANGOVER BLUES. The watermelon is put into the washbasin as before, but covered with crushed ice. The hollowed-out portion is then quarter-filled with crushed ice and placed over the head, taking care to pull it well down over the forehead. The face is then laid gently in the wash-basin.
It will be seen from the above recipes that the uses of fruit as a drink are practically unlimited. Furthermore, most fruit is full of vitamines.
These need not worry the hostess, however, as they can easily be detected by the small holes in the outside of the skin, and this part can be cut out.
And don't forget—all these drinks have a kick.
The careful hostess should warn her guests of this danger.
The perfect job has been found. Keep your seats, all the positions have been filled, and 143,000 citizens were killed in the rush.
The Dortmund Physiological Institute has on its wages list fifty workers, who, in the cause of science, are engaged in drinking beer. That is all they have to do. The scientists of the institution then test, the subjects for fatigue, etcetera.
This must be very jolly for the scientists. We should imagine that the first test would be to take a piece of the patient's, breath and cut it into slices small enough to go into a test tube.
We have a friend who frequently goes home to be examined by a select committee of one.
The first question put to the patient is, "OH, so you're home?"
To this the patient does not reply, thus showing a remarkable degree of intelligence. We have gathered together a fair amount of data on the subject, and perhaps it would be best to catalogue the reactions.
(1) Goes into bathroom and looks at self in mirror.
(2) Locks bathroom door and searches pockets.
(3) Looks at cold shower, shudders, washes face.
(4) Makes bed on couch. Sleeps. The morning symptoms are perhaps best left out, being a bit too technical.
We shall merely remark that a new excuse is now on. You can go home and say that you are a martyr to science.
Interested as we are in scientific investigation, we suggest that this country should co-operate with the Dortmund Institute, thus advancing science and giving employment, if possible, to millions.
Then we might have the spectacle of a gentleman wrenching himself from the grasp of the police, and saying, "Exshuse me, conshtable! I am attached to the shtaff of the Redfern Institute...HIC!"
The constable would then apologise and sneak off, blushing.
Speed the day.
Nobleman, 48 (bonafide), seeks, v.m., Lady, intell., charm, capable holding position in society. HOLTS.
THIS is a chuck in for some lady. Last time we were a nobleman we felt the need of some companion, not only intell. and charm, and capable of holding a position.
Hemmed in by butlers, surrounded by footmen, we had only to press a bell, and in the servants' quarter they would say, "He's pressing the bell. Let us all hide."
We would then lie in our sumptuous bed, on our palatial pillow, and gnaw our moustaches. Leaping out of our four-poster after a suitable interval, we would then yell for the groom. "GROOM! Catch me a horse! I have obesity, therefore the horse must have exercise."
The groom would touch his forelock in a pathetic manner, and get us a horse.
We would then get into our riding boots, go out, and have a look at the horse, and say to one of the faithful retainers, "Ride it."
We would then go back to bed.
We would ring the bell once more, saying to the valet, "Bring me a glass of rum with an emerald in it, and a dish of prawns."
This butterfly existence soon undermined our constitution. So we married the lady from the adjoining manor.
Since then we have fallen from our high estate. She couldn't hold her position, being sacked three times from various laundries.
That is my story, gentlemen. I wasn't always like this. Time was when I rode in me carriage.
But, stay! You were in the 55th Battalion! Spare me ninepence for a bed. Or a shilling, so that I may have soda. God bless you!
Well, if you MUST know, we went to a meeting of the Milk Board. And if you say another ward, we'll go out again.
WE went into the place and woke up one of the reporters at the Press table. "It's about milk," he said, pathetically.
We had a look around—it was the least we could do. We saw rows of people sitting in rows of chairs. There was a row of milk-boarders sitting at a long table.
There was a lot of confused mumbling going on. So we went away.
And in the nearest barber's saloon we thought over this Milk Board and reconstituted it.
There should be on the Milk Board, a distributor, a consumer, and cow.
But let us take a look at this milk. It is a thick white substance with rum in it. Or it may be very shaken with vanilla in it; it depends on the cow who serves you.
There is no udder source of milk than the cow, which is an animal with two horns which it never toots.
Cream is separated from milk. That's why lots of householders should sue for restitution of conjugal rites, with the accent on the jug.
Butter is agitated cream. We can blame Russia for this.
The cow is the king of beasts, and may its chedder never grow less; but milk being jugged, canned, and drunk, we fail to see how it can be respectably recommended.
Getting back to the Milk Board meeting, we heard a dairyman say, "We cannot sell our milk at this price." And his colleagues looked very sympathetic.
Having in mind the poultry farmer who has to lay his eggs on a small margin, he had no sympathy from us.
But this Milk Board—we spell it milk bored. Who the heck (I have been told that I must not say h—l) cares about milk?
Spurred on by the successful debut of the first Jewish opera in Sydney, the Scottish community is working hard to arrange a Scotch opera.
There will be an orchestra of 50 bagpipes and 18 drums. Twelve big drums and six bigger drums.
Admission tickets may be purchased on the lay-by or at the door.
The McGagget clan has expressed its willingness to collect at the box office, and suitable first aid facilities have been arranged for the benefit of those people who try to get in free. Promissory notes will not be accepted.
The story of the opera is woven round a feud between two old clans as to the possession of a bent thruppence which was found on the border of the two estates.
The love motif would bring tears to the eyes of a deaf Chinese pugilist. The chieftan's daughter, who is sent to poison the rival chieftan's son's haggis, falls in love with the man she is sent to destroy, because he has gold fillings in his teeth.
Sung by Maggle Macraggers, "Oh, Smile at Me Again" is touching enough to make an eiderdown mattress quack.
When the, 50 bagpipes and the 18 drums join in the last tender passages, it would be scarcely possible to hear a pin drop, even if any one of the audience was careless enough to drop it.
The climax is reached when the victorious chieftan has to hold the disputed thruppence in his hand and sing, "Bent But Not Broke."
In Glasgow, the stage was mobbed while this scene was taking place. It is not known who got the thruppence.
A braw nicht will be had by all who have the money to appreciate an outstanding performance given—no, not given—staged by that section of the community to whom we owe so much, that is to say—to whom we could not owe less.
The drought is at last broken. We felt this drought keenly. At Woollahra, our carnations were in a fearful state. Our snapdragons were scarcely able to snap.
In the country they were running barely 25 prickly-pear plants to the acre. We used to go out on our farm and look at our wheat, or it might have been sheep—it would depend where we were looking—and moan.
We tried to bring on the rain by going out without an umbrella or overcoat. But it was the country, not the city. We would hold out our hand and look up at the sky, and a bird would pass. That would be all.
Athwart, the blasted, blistered plain, the sheep died in long orderly rows. The little wheat plants popped up, looked around, and popped back. Ruin stared us in the face.
A commercial traveller brought us a bottle of water. The children raved about it. It tasted funny with a dash of whisky.
Then one day—Sunday, we think—the clouds gathered. The lightning flashed. The thunder rolled. And the rain came down.
It was great.
Four of our best cows were struck by lightning, and have been giving curdled milk ever since. Grandfather was drowned in the creek.
All our sheep learned to swim. We had to put dishes under the holes in the roof; the barn blew over, and the reaper and binder got washed on to the pub verandah, five miles away.
In the morning we went out in boats and had a look at the wheat.
Given another drought to dry things up, we'll be on the pig's back.
It's a great country if you don't get depressed.
It's marvellous the number of people who knew Don Bradman when he was a small boy in short trousers. We met approximately 158 of them yesterday.
THEY told us: "I used to say to young Don, 'Don, you keep on the way you're going and some day you'll play for Australia.' I could SEE that the boy was a born batsman..." etc.
Plain bunk, that's all it is. Now when we knew young Don, WE used to say to him, "Don, my boy, you keep on the way you're going..."
As a matter of fact, we told the trainguard about it, sitting in the front seat on the way to Watson's Bay.
The driver nearly ran over four pedestrians, and the conductor forgot to collect our fare, thus allowing us a profit of 5d.
We were in the Court the other day when the murderer was asked if he had anything to say before being sentenced to death.
"Yes, Judge," he replied. "I think that Woodfull and Bradman are two of the greatest cricketers in history."
Whereupon the whole Court cheered madly, and he was let off with a fine, the solicitors waiving costs.
We even heard a rumour that members of the Union Club were kicking each other's hats around the billiard room.
There was a man sacked yesterday from a large Sussex Street warehouse, and, pausing at the door, he said: "Anyhow, I think we'll win this Test."
So the boss said: "Bring that man back. He's got brains. We can't afford to lose men like that."
But it doesn't always work.
We got home pretty late last night, and thinking to get in first, said: "What do you think! Bradman's 215 umpty not out!"
"Who is this Bradman?" she said, and while we were recovering, "Anyhow, I don't wish to hear about your drunken friends. Two hundred and umpty not out! Why, YOU! You're only 30, and you're always out!"
What's a man to do with a woman like that?
Women have no sense of values.
In case we should be misunderstood, we should like to point out the horrible results of inflation, in the walk of life in which we are at present marking time.
Indefinite proposals in reference to the prospects of inflation are rapidly approaching the ludicrous.
Verisimilitude of perspicacity is lent to uncontrolled verbiage propagated by incomprehensibly improvident intellects that are manifestly rudimentarily insignificant.
Metaphorically enunciating, inflation is the hallucination of individuals who seek to extract the oleaginous derivate of the lacteal fluid directly from the bovine quadruped without the intervention of the necessary process requisite initially to obtain the fundamental substance, viz., the lacteal fluid.
If adequate circumvention is not expeditiously promulgated, the machination of these Mephistophelian devastators must inevitably culminate in a cataclysmic cataclysm.
It's the open season for kangaroos, 'possums, and wallabies.
We understand that 'possum skins are the most valuable in the bush (and, speaking of bush, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, but this is not true of emus), the 'possum skins being extensively worn by fashionable women.
They are also very popular with 'possums.
The usual method of hunting is to "moon" them. You get them silhouetted against the moon so that if you miss the 'possum you've got a fair go at the moon.
We have not had much to do with kangaroos, although we once chased a kangaroo for miles. It bounded along for miles, and we ran for miles, and we caught it because it was out of bounds.
So far as our knowledge goes, the species of kangaroo which holds up one side of the shield on a two-bob piece is practically extinct.
This may be accounted for by the fact that the kangaroo is the only animal that carries anything in its pouch these days.
But we're well up in wallabies.
Wallabies were first discovered in Willoughby. It is said of Governor Macquarie that when he first saw a wallaby he shrank back in alarm.
He said to Governor Bligh, who was present at the time: "Willoughby safe!"
And it is recorded that Bligh replied: "Wallaby O.K. with me."
For being a kleptomaniac, a man got three years, with bars, at the Quarter Sessions. The difference between a burglar and a kleptomaniac is that one does it for a living and the other for a hobby.
THERE is no fouler collection of meat (apart from tinned dingo) than a klepto. He will take anything from a dose of castor oil to a day off.
Caught. red-handed in the act of bearing off a wheat silo, he will mumble that "a strange feeling" came over him.
We feel a personal peevishness about this because of a certain packet of cigarettes which we accidentally found in a coat that was hanging on an infrequently frequented nail.
The office klepto had deviously hidden himself in the wainscote, watching with small beady eyes. We were robbed.
The unwritten law of the underworld prevented us from opening our mouth. Case of moral lockjaw.
These people have even been known to take a holiday, no mean feat, mark you, even in these days of doles. Prominent politicians have come to us personally, and said that they would "take steps to have the matter rectified."
We have pointed out the danger of taking steps. Explained that a man living eight feet from the street level can scarcely devise a number of steps on the spur of the moment. Steps taken—liable to break neck. Great social disadvantage. Kleptomania does not pay. What did we get on the boss's overcoat?
Young, which is a town and not a condition, reports that it has not had a real fire for the past twelve months.
THIS is a defect which could be easily rectified by anyone with the proper spirit, preferably methylated.
Having been a fireman for 11 years, we are in a position to state that a fire is the worst thing that can happen to a fireman.
Imagine yourself sitting behind three Aces and a pair of Jacks with 11/9 in the kitty and some mug phones about a fire in Oomble Street.
The engine you have been polishing every day for six months has to be brought out and has its polish ruined.
We remember the time when a fire broke out in our fire station and the blaze was discovered just in time to ruin everything by water.
Which was luck enough, but we couldn't have a sale.
We shall never forget the time when a gentleman said to the brigade, "Vill you spray some vater on them ungetriddable socks. Othervise, ve'll never be able to get rid of 'em as slightly damaged by water."
It is untrue that a fireman takes his hat off with a tin-opener.
Firemen can get dressed in 30 seconds. This sounds a bit hurried, but imagine the long sleep they can have when they are taking their wives to the pictures.
After every fire a fireman hangs his hose up, whether it's Christmas or not. We gave up being a fireman some time ago.
For one thing, the suspense of waiting for no fires to happen ruined our nervous system, and another thing, we got three convictions for selling Police and Firemen's Art Union tickets within a hundred yards of a policeman who wanted to be promoted.
And another thing, nobody's going to tell us to go to blazes.
"I started out to ride around the world on a bicycle in 1908. I left Melbourne with a penny in my pocket, and after working my way across Africa, England, and America, I arrived back in Melbourne in 1914 with 4/6." Thus Mr. H. A. Tipper has just come to town with an assortment of bicycles.
WITH all due respect to Mr. Tipper, we should like to relate how we started out with fourpence on four bicycles, went four times round the world backwards, and came back 18/—in debt.
Then there was the time we had eightpence and started off on eight bicycles—but we will not weary you (Oh, NO!)
What we don't know about bicycles is known only to the bicycle itself. We have ridden bicycles down till the spokes were mere stubs and the handle-bars were dragging on the ground.
We started on a cyclone (from "cycl," meaning cycle, and "one," meaning one—a one-wheeled bicycle). Then we invented the gravity-bike. This could be ridden down-hill only.
However, it was not until we got to the motor-cycle stage that we really prospered. At first they were fairly popular, breaking down in fairly populous places, and thus enabling the rider to display his vocabulary to the admiring populace.
Later we added side-cars, complete with cycles, which broke down in the bush somewhere about Penrith.
Our real triumph was the bicycle wheel which spoke for itself.
Of course we innovated (a good word) the Spring seats. They were not much good in the Winter.
But we are afraid that in our enthusiasm we have wandered a little from the point.
Our suggestion is that, following the lines of Mr. Tipper, the Treasurer start out with 7/6 on 120 bicycles and go 3000 times around the world and come back with sufficient to pay the national debt.
And even if he never came back...?
TUSH! What's a few bicycles?
Great excitement was caused in Port Macquarie on Thursday night, when Mr. R. G. Davidson landed a 56 lb. jewfish from the verandah of his residence, facing the harbour.
Before retiring for the night, Mr. Davidson set his bait, the alarm being his little girl's money-box fastened to the line.
THIS is not the first jewfish to be landed with a money-box bait. Nor is it the first one to be caught from a harbour-side verandah.
We once baited a set line with a money box, and the jewfish, an old depositor weighing 10st. 11lb., fell for it, and the verandah was towed 11 miles out to sea.
We shall never forget it. It was a rough night, and the horizon was entirely obscured by the head of the jewfish and a few clouds.
A few words passed between the haggard crew on the verandah. There was only one of us who knew how to steer a verandah. That was me.
"Haul in on the awnings!" we shouted. "Belay the cane chair abaft!" This was done—and not a moment too soon. The fish turned and came racing towards us.
"Shift the verandah about a mile and a half to the left!" we bellowed. Too late. The fish landed on the verandah, spat out the money-box, and said: "Me—with 35 pounds in the Government Savings Bank and you toss me a money-box with 1/9 in it!..."
We remembered no more until be found ourself on the beach with a voice saying, "Drink this."
Oh, to hear that voice again!
It may sound absurd to you, but we can show you the place where it got away.
We are impressed by the puerility of the efforts of Messrs. Hagen and Kirkwood, professional golfers, who while travelling on the Aorangi, hit 1000 golf balls into the ocean between Honolulu and Suva.
ANYONE who couldn't hit a ball into the ocean would have to be paralysed in both temples. You couldn't possibly miss it.
And yet these men are champion golfers! They must keep in practice, we admit, but why not try something more difficult? In a long sporting career, during which we have rung the bell four times at the shooting gallery, gone down four snakes in the Tasmanian All-comers' Ludo Championship, and then won, won two aluminium saucepans on a chocolate wheel for a measly expenditure of 3 pounds 5 shillings—we have also holed out in one on the golf machine in the nearby hotel.
We know something about golf. The last time we practised on shipboard we put up a record for the cruise. Taking our stymie firmly in both hands, we drove off from the stern, a perfect bunker shot. It took us two to get into the first deck chair. From there we unfortunately sliced into the for'ard lifeboat. But got out of it in five.
It took us 15 to get out of the stokehold after we had driven one into the funnel.
Understand that we are speaking in minutes all the time.
The bridge of the Aorangi is difficult. Only by constant practice can one master it. It was on the fourth trip that we holed out in one.
But why go on with it?
(Echo answers appropriately.) Sufficient to say that slap-stick golf, belting balls into the bosom of the boundless deep, is no game for champions.
We ask Hagen and Kirkwood (or, in case we don't see them, you ask them) to think of the fish.
Ask them (Hagen or Kirkwood, or if you don't see Hagen, tell Kirkwood to ask Hagen) how would they like a dong in the gills with a golf ball?
We are getting a bit nervous about this agitation to revise the lunacy laws. So far, we are still at large, along with a lot of other people, but you never know.
A MAN who makes laws compelling you to vote yourself into misery, or be fined 2 pounds, is capable of anything.
It is so hard to tell when a man has the bats.
The questioning method is not much good.
This sort of thing:
"Is your father sane?"
"I mean, is there any insanity in your family?"
"Our family has always been sanitary."
"Was your great-grandmother a Moron?"
"No. She was a Presbyterian."...that sort of thing gets you nowhere.
Actions count more than words. Only yesterday we met a friend who knew us well, and we asked him for a loan of a tenner.
He said, "Certainly!" and gave it to us. We blanched with fear, and grasping the note, hurried away.
We're going to avoid that man for the future.
The surest way to discover a lunatic is to place before him his income tax assessment, his gas bill, rent bill, electric light bill, etcetera.
If he leaps up and sings, "Happy Days Are Here Again!" and walks to the rathouse under his own power—he's sane.
If he sits down, places his forehead in his hand, and says, "Lor, I dunno what I'm going to do about this," and starts searching his pockets, he's raving mad, and should be given the full rights of a citizen of our glorious Commonwealth.
Almost any minute, now, we expect a big trek to Moree. The Prickly Pear Destruction Commission's headquarters are being removed to Sydney, but poison will be distributed from Moree Lands Office.
Not that we are particularly in need of poison at the moment. The wife is making a crab savory for to-night.
It puzzles us why any farmer should want to poison himself just because he has prickly pear. They must be a pretty weak-kneed lot.
There is nothing really wrong with prickly pear. It is a quiet, home-loving vegetable with knobs on. Different if it went about the country hurling itself on to lonely travellers and prickling them to death.
It could be put to commercial use. The prickles are useful for gramophone needles, and the leaves for fly-swatters, door-stops, or the ends of canoe paddles.
Strange why people immediately fly to poison when they get prickly pear. "Suicide while temporarily paired," is a verdict all too common in our Coroner's Court. One reads on the tombstone:
"Here lies Martha and John Okus; The cactus cowed us, cooked us, and croaked us."
A bit sad, but after all, said he, throwing the gun back into the drawer, perhaps the easier way out.
The time for planting cactus is about now.
The poison may be obtained from the Moree Lands Office.
I have noticed with astonishment the absolute ignorance of bachelors in regard to the care of the young.
To begin at the beginning. It will be noticed in a fresh baby that it is of a pale, prawn-like colour, and is bald and toothless, exhibiting all the evidences of senility. This is the usual thing and the minder is not to be alarmed.
The first thing noticeable about the baby is the yowl. This must be stopped at all costs. There are various methods, but the principle to keep in mind is—at all costs. Watches are very good; a firm hold must be kept on the chain, however, as I have on two occasions lost a petfectly good watch through the child swallowing it.
This mania for swallowing and sucking things may be indulged to an almost unlimited extent. Door-knobs are excellent, though the holding of the baby to the knob is somewhat tiring.
This may be overcome by unscrewing the hinges of the door and placing it in an accessible position.
Babies of an artistic nature, or of practically any nature, may be left with a tin of stove-polish or a bottle of red ink or any other medium for an almost indefinite period.
In cases of persistent howling, a belt passed over the top of the head and buckled securely under the chin is an infallible remedy. This must be used only in extreme cases.
In handling, care must be taken that the baby is held in a more or less vertical position, the head being uppermost. The child at times has a tendency to jerk from the holder, and in the case of a beginner this may lead to disastrous results. Sticking-plaster and other first-aid appliances will be found very useful on these occasions, and a supply should always be kept on hand.
Where a baby has to be held for any length of time, a short loop of stout twine passed around the neck, and fastened to the wrist of the holder, will prevent contact with the floor.
Never allow a dog to lick the face of a baby, as any number of diseases may be communicated, and, in the case of a valuable dog, this is most serious, and may lead to its loss or, at best, a falling-off of condition, and an absence of lustre in the coat.
On two or three occasions I have found the addition of about one-third of a cupful of rum to the feeding milk very effective. Only the best O.P. rum may be used, as babies are very delicately constituted internally. A better way is for the minder to have four or five cupfuls himself, when it will be found that an extraordinary number of ways of amusing the child will suggest themselves.
Should the little one inadvertently eat anything it shouldn't, thoroughly rinse or gargle the mouth with phenol, lysol, or any other good disinfectant.
In undressing the baby for the purposes of putting it to bed, bathing, etcetera, the beginner will find great difficulty in undoing the numerous buttons, tapes, and various other fastenings with which it is lashed.
An efficient and obvious method is to insert a penknife between the skin and the clothing and peel the mass off in one operation.
In bathing the child, never fill the bath right up, as it is only in exceptional cases that it will float. A cold shower and a brisk rub down with a stiff towel will have an invigorating and tonic effect.
In conclusion, a little helpful advice to the unwilling minder will not be amiss. Should you have been lured into minding a baby before, and wish to escape a second demand, a convincing excuse must be made. Lodge meetings and appointments, business or otherwise, are received with suspicion. By far the best is the statement that you feel your diphtheria coming back, and that you seem to be breaking out in funny red spots all over the body. This may be said in a conversational manner just as the request is about to be sprung. I have used this or something similar for some time now, and it has never failed yet.
Interviewed by our Exceptional Correspondent, one of the losers of the State Lottery was somewhat shy.
Asked what he intended to do, the almost frantic loser said that he intended to buy an hotel. It was his intention to buy it one beer at a time.
Mrs. K, of Lakemba, admits that had an 8 been a 5 and the 31 been a 13, she would have been very close to a 10/—prize.
Mr. L., of Maroubra, has decided to buy an orange and settle down.
"I have always had a longing to travel," said the loser of the third prize. "I think I will take a trip around the bathroom." Mr. L. will be accompanied by his son, Master M.
"I am very glad—not for myself alone—that our syndicate failed to draw a prize in the lottery," said Mrs. J. "The losing of the prize delights me, as all the rest of the syndicate are very annoyed."
The general consensus of opinion is that there is a hole in the barrel, and that Mr. Whiddon is in the pay of the Soviet Government.
We are undone!
An agent who has been circularising America and Canada for subscribers to the N.S.W. State Lottery, was asking two dollars a ticket, which is 13/4 in Australian money, at the present rate of exchange. Mr. Whiddon notified the Police Department.
THIS is rather a dirty trick on ourself, as we have sold a ticket in Russia, and the 335,000,000,000,000 roubles are now being unloaded at Darling Harbor.
Not that it matters such a great deal in this case, because we have the roubles, but we don't like to let our customers down. Take our German circular, for instance: "Investen inder Staten-housen Lottery blitzen. Firstun Prizen, 11 billion marks. Enclosen abouterung 2,000,000 marks for tickethoff."
The trusting Teuton goes out into the back yard, and loads the van with the 5/3. The dumping on to the trucks—the merry "Hello, you—scab!" of the wharf-laborers; the strike of the stokers; the quaint old-world chant as they wind up the cutlass, and heave the anchor, and away, away. All this stuff costs money.
We recently sent a ticket to Lisbon, 109 3/4 escudos to the pound. If he wins, how do we stand? This leather-lunged lotterier, as Mr. Theodore might say, does not give us agents a fair go.
There can be 814 winners in the lottery. As for the other 99,186—we are willing to give same-day service.
All we ask is a fair go.
Barbers have been listed in the American census under the heading, "domestic and personal service."
THEY claim that they are professional men, because they have to study bacteriology, anatomy of the upper body, histology of the hair and skin, and scientific manipulation of the muscles of the head and face.
Perhaps we shouldn't have mentioned it, because it might start Australian barbers on the same path. They have to study hard enough as it is, what with dandruff-divining, blackhead-stalking, elocution, racing form, meteorology, and that form of hypnosis by which they convince you that if you don't have a shampoo they will not be responsible for what happens to you.
We picture the time when the patient will be led into the barber's surgery by a nurse and told to strip.
The barber will then put him under the microscope, take his blood pressure, examine his moustache for signs of incipient tobacco-stains, and tell him that he ought to eat more green foods.
He will then gravely announce that he has diagnosed the trouble as progressive hirsute growth on the face, and that its immediate removal is necessary.
The customer will grow pale as death as they wheel him into the barber's saloon to be chloroformed.
The nurse will then hand the barber his towels, soap, brush, etcetera, and the customer will come out of the anaesthetic—shaved.
And the barber will send his account along later on. Eh?
(No. We thought there was a catch in it.)
We knew we'd be found out eventually. Lord Baden-Powell, on his 75th birthday, said that modern boys have less ambition than formerly, and are inclined to self-indulgence and luxury.
When we were a boy, confront us with a bag of bulls' eyes and a good place where they had green apricots and a hole in the fence, and our ambition got nebulous all over.
At school we were good at transitory verbs.
Algebra, on the other hand, we regarded as a sort of mathematician's Esperanto.
Whether A plus 2 equalled Y minus 1 left us still mending our catapult. Our attitude toward A and Y was, "Let 'em."
That at 1066 p.m. William the Conqueror landed in England—well, we were delighted to hear about it, so we bit a piece out of our pear, and put it back under our desk. Our ambition at school was to spit farther than anybody else in the district. So much for ambition.
Luxuries? Well, one of the big boys had a girl's garter. We have since thought that his mother discarded it, and we were robbed. We bought it off him for 100 marbles and a three weeks' mortgage on our Sunday school money.
That was a long time ago. We have had real live pairs of them since, and now that we're getting old we sometimes sit down and suck our pipe and wish that we had our marbles back.
ANYHOW, if we had a son who didn't have an entire lack of ambition at school, and was not possessed of an awful and burning desire for luxury—we'd be looking at him with two eyes full of suspicion.
Montreal, April 30.
A lion cub, which, with several other wild animals, was being used for lecture and exhibition purposes at Whittier School, in Cincinnati, leaped upon Vivian Leichner, seven years, and injured her critically.
THIS reminds us of the time we went to school in Africa. We had a lion which wanted to be very much attached to us. Wherever we went, the lion was sure to go. It followed us to school one day (we were always about three laps in front of it), and we sooled it on to the teacher, who lectured to us about it.
"That, children, is a lion," he said, clinging tightly to the school belfry.
"Yes, sir," we replied, from the adjoining roof.
"You have frequently read of the of the rolling deep and the bounding main, upon which sailors profess great anxiety to live.
"That, children, is the bounding mane...are there any sailors present?
"No? Very well. The animal you see before you is somewhat similar to a second-hand car, in that it cannot travel far without paws. The skin, if of the lion, makes an excellent hearth-rug if the lion is emptied out of it.
"There is not a great deal of trade done in lions; hunters usually shoot them and leave them where they lie. Hence the term 'lion.' Now, children, are there any questions?"
"Yes, sir," we shrieked. "In view of the present situation, may we have the rest of the day off?"
"Yes," he said, "the class may dismiss!"
No...the teacher was saved. The lion got killed in the rush.
To-day Wool Week begins, but just because you're wearing a woollen singlet you needn't look sheepish.
Wool is our greatest product next to mutton. Woolgrowing is the laziest occupation in the world, as the sheep does all the growing part and the owner merely goes out at intervals and tears the wool off the sheep.
The primitive method of hand-plucking has long been out of date, but as yet no one has invented a fleece for sheep on the hook and eye principle. Buttons along the back of the sheep are obviously impracticable. A man can't go chasing sheep about the place every time they lose a button.
For a long time we have been advocating the putting of red stripes on each end of sheep intended for making blankets.
This would save putting them on later. The stripes on blankets are necessary, of course, so people will be able to tell the top and bottom ends of the bed, and will not retire crossways.
Sheep frequently get tick, in which they are far superior to us, we being unable to get it anywhere. They also get burrs (some of the sheep in Scotland are barely understandable). and dirt in the fleece.
This need not worry those intending to buy a woollen singlet, as most of these foreign bodies are taken out of the singlet when it is made, and what few burrs are left occasion very little discomfort unless they happen to be under the armpits.
A wanderer in the wilds of Parramatta has returned with the report that a number of the unemployed residents of the district were observed crowding around five snails, which were crawling towards a cabbage leaf.
The betting was described as "frantic."
If it is to be revived, we should like to see this old sport put on a proper footing. Dirty tactics, like putting lime on the track just near the home turn, and ringing-in periwinkles, should not be tolerated.
A glaring instance of roguery will be remembered by old-timers when the old Central Snailway was in existence.
In a handicap event, Slobber, a very poor performer, who had been brought down from the country, was the medium of some heavy plunges, and romped home in front of a classy field.
The stewards found at the inquiry that Slobber's shell had been shaved down, and the owner, trainer and snall were disqualified for life.
The Carbine of all snails was Greasy, who humped his shell, and half an ounce of chewing gum, over a fifty-yard course and finished in the remarkable time of 2 days 21 hours dead.
He was never any good after this supreme effort.
A badly trained snail is a cow to play up at the barrier, and keeping this in mind, it would be well for owners to have their snails trained from the time they are slugs.
To-morrow night the Violet League will debate in the lecture hall of the School of Arts the question, "Is the use of correct English necessary?"
TO which we reply, too eyes right, it is.
A man who can't spill a sentence without crashing on his aitches ought to be took away from where he is & have it learnt to him at a school.
Now a scholar what stretched his ear when he was a kid & listened—in all he knew, why, that boy will talk the perfectest English and get away with it.
Just the same, there's too much class distinction in English.
One bloke'll say, "I were going down the road," & another puts him to right and says, "You WAS going down the road!"
And probably all the time, the man was telling lies & he never even seen the road. All me eye, that's what it is.
"I am going to eat an apple"; "You are going to eat an apple," and all that. I AINT going to eat a apple. I don't go much on apples.
Now, suppose you got a crack on the bugle from a cove, you wouldn't get up and say, "You have seen fit to assault me, for no apparent reason. I shall immediately proceed to punish you as you deserve."
No. You'd just say, "Right! You cow!" & be into him.
We're in favour of proper English so long as it aint overdone, & having put the kybosh on the argument, we advise the Violet League to call off the dogs.
The debate is settled.
Some councils have allowed rate-payers, by toiling in some civic capacity, to cut out accounts which they have no cash to pay. An extension of this scheme would open up some interesting possibilities. —News Item.
IT would, too. If the scheme catches on, we are going to paint the outside of the Income Tax Office to cut out our income tax. If the idea becomes fashionable, public servants will have to hack their way into their offices through 14 feet of solid paint.
All the wood-blocks in the city could be taken up by ratepayers in arrears with their rates, and laid down by another gang of ratepapers, equally in arrears.
This would not cause unemployment among the road-menders, as the City Council would tear them up again straight away, according to Immemorial custom.
We could even tend parks and gardens, although what a tree would look like after 11,000 taxpayers had had a go at trimming it we do not know.
We know that more than 11,000 are up a tree, but we have not seen the tree.
Ushering in the Bankruptcy Court we are also willing to take on.
As for ourself, we are willing to write front-page articles about suburban aldermen, and what they think about the state of the footpath in Fuchsia Street.
As a matter of fact, we are even prepared to collect our own fares on the trams, direct our own traffic, work off our dog license money by a brief spell In the Dogs' Home, and help to control the queues at the Labor Bureau In order to save our wage tax.
We object, however, helping move our time-payment furniture out of the home to save bailiff's expenses.
There is a limit to everything.
A big mistake has been made by Albert Ross, of Jersey City, U.S.A.
HIS bride drew up 47 rules for their mutual guidance, which rules included everything from attending churth to the division of salary.
Until he signed, his wife refused to kiss him. Albert refused to sign, and the marriage was annulled.
We signed. Anyone puts anything up to us and says, "Sign this!" we always sign it. It's most exciting. We never know whether we are going to have a time-payment gramophone delivered next day or a block of land, or be arrested.
What we signed was something about, "You will not walk on the carpet. You will not splash any water on the bathroom floor when taking a shower. You will refrain from sitting on the edge of the bed after it has been made.
"You will not touch the decanter, which is for the visitors. You will not burn holes in the lounge; you will not dirty my clean ash-trays; you will always wipe your muddy boots before you come in.
"You will not leave any doors open, or go about the place switching lights on and not switching them off.
"No throwing of clothes all over the floor when getting undressed, no taking the matches from the kitchen, no being nasty to my mother: you will not encourage my brother to drink, and you will not be more than three-quarters of a minute late for dinner."
And, believe us, we have had more fun breaking those rules than anything else you could think of. Only trouble is, we are running short of rules.
Verse and Worse.
FRIENDS, typists, plumbers, clerks, Romans, commercial travellers, and countrymen!
Whoever wins the Melbourne Cup sweep today must naturally be suspected.
We have not come here to bury Caesar, but to tell him a good thing.
Now that the autumn wanes and summer fries Across the vast horizon on the beaches The people bake; rushing, now, and ever and anon, To the pub to quench the thirst brought on By asking those who do not know, results Of races which they have no interest in.
And who shall say them neigh? Not US, who, with half-dollars in the pool, Must, for our money's sake, Seek the promoter lest he get away. And thus, five hundred miles away, in summer, As the blow flies, fast speeds the jockey on his guarded steed.
In Melbourne...(Listen. We're getting sick of this. We are working under a strain. We are in a half-crown sweep and have drawn Tregilla.) And shall Tregilla die! (Cornish.) Fifty mounted policemen can't be wrong! (Phar-Laplandish.)
Who knows where all this will end?
What will become of our half-crown and your two bob?
Life's but a chequer-board of whites and bays,
And man's binoculars he glady pawns,
...But Abrahams, who gladly lays fives on the field,
He knows it all-he nose, he nose!
Anyhow, we have a bit each way. We have not yet paid in our half-dollar to the sweep promoter. Thus are the fates thwarted by human ingenuity.
Hoping you are the same...
We are perturbed at a sinister move, moved by the Master Plumbers' and Sanitary Engineers' Association.
The association suggests that the populace should have a bath a day.
With the winter coming on!
Much better to be re-ducoed twice a year. It is a well-known fact that we breathe through the pores of the skin, which open and shut with monotonous regularity. How can a pore breathe under water?
Plumbers may come and sanitary inspectors may go, but the pore we have always with us. (Classical quotation.)
Why should water be poured on the poor pore every day?
Consider soap. Stand back a bit and have a look at it.
We know a man named Albert Fruggle, who got soap in his eye and was only just saved from going blind by a specialist, who recommended a course of front seats at a revue. Even more tragic was the case of Esteban Smith, who stood up to wash under his knees, slipped on the soap, and broke his neck on the tap.
(Poor old Esteban...but this is no time for grief.)
We mentioned something about sinister movements, earlier in the recitation. Get this into your skull:
There's going to be a civil war when the supporters of the Bath a Day movement start wearing badges with the letters "B.A.D." on them.
We foresee political upheavals at the Trades Hall when it is discovered that trusted members have gone over to the B.A.D. section.
We do not wish to cause alarm, but it seems to us that the bath a day suggestion is just the thin end of the wedge, which will lead on to a cold shower every morning.
We advise caution. Wet the eyes with one end of a towel. Ruffle the hair. Come out of the bathroom, panting. In other words, be with the moderates.
If you MUST sing. REMEMBER...sheet music.
You can sing it in bed.
We're sick of golf. We've never, played; but still, that doesn't prevent us from being sick.
Sent to the Moore Park links yesterday morning to watch Jimmy Pike and partner play fellow jockey Cook and friend.
They were a bit late, so we went away. Very lucky escape it was.
Do you know that it's nearly two miles around that course, and mostly uphill? And that is as the crow flies, mark you. And we make bold to assert that even a crow would kick at all that uphill stuff.
There's not a solitary tram on the course. If you want to go from one hole to another, you've got to walk. You can't go wrong in believing us when we tell you that we were astonished.
We saw a few golfers wandering about the place while we were there. They wear their trousers tucked into their socks. We suppose this is on account of the grasshoppers. They carry a bag of tools with them for the purpose of hitting a ball into small holes which are bored in the ground by artificial means.
When two are playing together they have a ball each in order to prevent quarelling.
The method of hitting the ball is simple. One selects, haphazard, one of the bats from the container. The next move is to arrange the legs fairly wide apart, so that there is no possibility of falling over. The blunt instrument is then lifted above the head and the ball is struck. This counts one. Not once did we notice a player count it two. Which shows that these people are at least honest and have some sort of rough code of ethics.
Having struck the ball, the golfer then walks after it. Having caught up to it, he then strikes it again. This goes on indefinitely.
We can see now that polo was invented by a golfer who woke up to himself.
We must reluctantly admit that we cannot recommend the game of golf.
It has but one redeeming feature. We understand that when any player puts his ball into a hole in one swipe, or "holes out in one," as they quaintly put it, everybody immediately gets drunk.
Well, of course, that's something.
To sit on your own lap! It seems an impossible feat. But that is what Ruth Chatterton does in "The Right to Love." She plays the daughter and mother. This achievement is due to the Dunning process, a new and remarkable discovery.
S0 there you are. But do we stop there? No Science must march on.
We are now in the throes of discovering the Lower process, by means of which man will be enabled to take a running jump at himself.
What would his Neanderthal forefathers say to that?
Furthermore, the time is not far distant when Science will grant to man the inestimable boon of being able to bite himself on the back of the neck at any hour of the day or night!
In our laboratories—the very same one in which a young doctor, a martyr to science, gave himself freckles in order to study the effects —in our laboratories we are now gradually getting into shape the culminating triumph.
It is so big that we are almost afraid to give it to the world.
After years of experiment, we have almost perfected a process whereby a man can go through his own pockets while he is asleep!
This will make man practically self-contained and will do away with the necessity for marriage and probably wreck the social structure of our time.
But let there be no dismay. One must have a wife, because the machine will never be invented that can find your back stud.
Saying which, he strode thoughtfully back to his test-tubes.
The statements of Mrs. Annie Besant and Bishop Leadbeater, that they remember every one of their lives and reincarnations right back to the time when they were slimy, lizard-like creatures, encourages us to make a few admissions of our own.
We were once a sponge cake.
We remember as if it was yesterday, lying there in that prehistoric refreshment room for months and months and months; it might have been years.
Then came our first reincarnation. We were taken down, dusted, and put in among the rock cakes. We forget exactly how long after that we were donated to the soup kitchen.
From then on, our reincarnations were rapid. From a rock cake we became an attack of indigestion, after, which we were a jelly-fish, a politician, a vulture, and a rhinocerous.
Improving all the time, you'll notice.
It was just when we had finished being a rhinocerous that complications set in. Fate seemed undecided whether it would make us a hip-bath or a sewing machine.
We finished up as a glugflobber, a rather curious animal which lives solely on bicycle-pumps and the black portions of draught boards. Its only means of propulsion is to make a loud noise behind its own back, thus frightening itself into taking a leap forward.
Need we tell you of the various stages we passed through? Of when we were a freedlupper, wheeling our ego in front of us and spearing complexes with our sharp-pointed inhibitions? No. We needn't.
But there is one thing we should like to explain. It is about the time when we were Lord Nelson. We did NOT put the telescope to our blind eye and say, "I see no signals."
We put the telescope to our good eye and said, "I see no (hic!) shignals." After this we got properly shot, and as we fell to the deck Hardy bent over us and we said, "Hiccups, Hardy."
And Hardy, misunderstanding, kissed us.
We are now on our present plane. It is only a matter of time when we shall reach the pinnacle toward which civilisation has been gradually forging all these countless ages.
We shall become one of the unemployed.
And, on that plane, there is nothing but eternal rest.
"It would be extremely interesting to carry out experiments by covering bananas likely to mature during the winter months with bags."
IT would be interesting, but somewhat tedious, putting the little chaps into their bags. They're bound to grow out of them, and there's nothing looks more slovenly than a banana with an ill-fitting bag.
They look very chic in knitted bootees, but the question of expense must be considered.
It would be even more interesting to put goloshes on potatoes during the rainy season, while it would be positively thrilling to fit the water-melons with double-breasted coats.
We have recently been concentrating on beans.
It will be remembered that we were the first beaniarist to produce the Scarlet Runner. We trained it to run so fast that snails dropped exhausted in its tracks.
Perhaps in our zeal we overdid the thing. Our last crop had to be picked by bean pickers on motor cycles.
We dabbled a little in marrows last season, but the ants were so annoying we had to blow up the one we hollowed out for a garage. As a sideline we have been working on an odorless onion.
We have also planted a tomato which has not yet come up. Everything points to success.
There is nothing more soul-shattering than to discover that you are wearing two left boots.
We are moved to mention this because Miss Dorothy Brunton in yesterday's paper said that "One's clothes shape one's mental outlook." Which is true. Look at the difference in mental outlook when a man wears his collar back to front!
Then again, notice when you're pulling your singlet off. For a moment you've got no outlook at all.
Mind you, it's not only the clothes. There's the manner of putting them on—carelessly or otherwise.
A man who puts his arm through one arm-hole of his vest and his leg through the other, ties the sleeves of his coat around his waist, and wears his hat round his neck for an amulet, shows a certain amount of carelessness in his dress which would be noticeable in very fashionable company.
Then there is the little matter of the socks matching the tie. This problem may easily be overcome. When buying socks, mention that you have a one-legged friend who would like a sock of the same pattern.
You may then wear two of the socks as socks, and the remaining one as a tie. After the feet-socks have been used for some months, they may be used as mittens. A good idea is to wear leggings, when you don't need any socks at all.
It beats us why clothing manufacturers have not made a shirt which has buttons down the back as well as in front. You could then wear it back to front when the exposed portion got a bit mouldy.
Ours not to reason why. We merely remain convinced that, had our mental outlook been properly clothed earlier, had we, instead of being attired in two pieces of soft rag and a safety pin, been clothed in a fireman's helmet at birth, with seaboots, a military overcoat, and motoring gloves, and eaten our porridge with a boat-hook, we should not have had to roll our own cigarettes this day.
MORAL: If you wear your trousers back to front, you have to kneel down to sit up. (Very deep.)
While bowling his hoop along George Street, William Hinkler, aged 105, was knocked down by an armoured 'bus and had his clavicle bashed in. He is now lying in some place. That is to say, some other place. His condition is not serious.
If Bill Voronoff keeps on with his gland treatment, this sort of thing is likely to happen any day. The latest news from Voronoff (by Borronoff and Sir Otto Anaemia) is that by grafting three glands on to the aged frame giant men will live to the age of at least 125 years.
Why in the devil anyone should wish to live in this vale of gas-bills for 125 years surpasses our scientific knowledge.
In plain words which will touch the hearts of the local peasantry, it has us stonkered.
Wanted boy, about 50 or 60, excellent opportunities for advancement. Apply with parents or guardian.
Thus is the excuse of anti-glandists thrown to the ground and trampled on.
Prolonging life will not cause unemployment. Merely a readjustment. Lovely word, readjustment. We are feeling a bit readjusted ourself.
While peddling eggs to his grandmother, Nicholas Moxon, 132, got his beard caught in the spokes of his tricycle and was thrown to the ground. At Sydney Hospital, Moxon said that he did not blame the tricycle.
Constable Smith, who chased accused in a bath chair, having dropped his gland, has the case in hand.
Developments are expected. Persons having fingerprints are requested to call at Detective office and be arrested.
Gland treatment should be approached carefully. Sneak up on it sideways. Those feeling old are recommended to die now. Don't delay. The price of burial is going up every day. By dying now you save enormous sums of income tax, etc. Especially, etc.
Die now and save.
Just a few words on how to use your lip-stick and face powder.
Mr. Ernest Young, a London educationist, has said, "I implore art teachers to teach girls to use powder and lip-stick artistically and correctly."
He shall not implore in vain.
First of all it is necessary to have a face, with a mouth in it. The face should be washed and, if the means are at hand, dried. A piece of well-chalked string is then tied to one ear, stretched across the face to the other ear, and then given a slight flip with the fingers.
This will result in a white chalk-line across the face, which will give the position for the rouge on the cheeks: The rouge may be applied with a small mop or a trowel, care being taken to scoop any surplus out of the ears.
The face is now taken across the dressing room and pushed into the powder. With the face buried, blow vigorously, thus distributing the powder all over the face and neck. Some cream the face before powdering. This gives a nice stucco effect.
Now take the left hand and slide it down the face until you come to an aperture. This is the mouth.
Work the lip-stick into whatever shape the mouth is to be, and press it on while still plastic.
When pencilling the eyebrows always use an indelible pencil. Nothing is more untidy than a girl who, while pushing her hair back, has wiped one of her eyebrows off. Those lucky girls who can yawn naturally should add the weeniest touch of rouge to the tonsils.
That will be all for the present, girls.
Remember—Art, and plenty of it.
Our rabbit has died.
A bit of a blow after what the National Council of Women said.
We had great expectations of him, because he was an Angora rabbit, and we expected to clip wool off him every three months, according to directions, and export it to cardigan jacket manufacturers.
Still, we learned a fair bit about rabbits, while he lived. The Angora rabbit inhabits the mountain fastnesses of Angora, boring holes into the faces of precipices with its back feet.
This, so that if the rabbit should wish to leave the hole, it need not turn round. The hole is known as a burrow. The difference between a burrow and a borrow is that when one wants to burrow one makes a hole.
When you borrow you're, already in a hole.
Obvious, of course, but we thought we'd point it out to you.
We knew a rabbit once, his name was Alphonso, after the King of Spain, who recently aspirated—which is a mos' Spainful subject.
He (the rabbit) used to dog, or rabbit, our footsteps wherever we went. Its fleece was white as snow. It followed us to school one day. We used it to chase ferrets. It was a sad day for us when four actors came along (and wanted a rabbit's foot each, for luck). It was bad luck for the rabbit.
We made a cardigan jacket out of the remains.
From the experience we gained on that occasion, we advise all future rabbit ranchers to take the meat part out of the rabbit before making a jacket of the fur.
And another thing. One rabbit doesn't go fur enough.
Now, warren know about that!
We intend to breed elephants for the market. We shall establish Elephant Clubs and hold laying competitions, awarding blue ribbons for pure-bred Buff Orpington elephants and tartan ribbons for crossbreds.
We are driven to this, partly because of the economic depression and partly because, since the Colonial Exhibition in Paris, "The strange Oriental dishes of the Exhibition restaurants have created a taste for exotic food. Lion's flesh is in demand, and elephant's ears on toast..."
In order to popularise the elephant with the eating public (of which there is still a large number) we publish a few recipes.
Take one elephant. Peel and soak in a lagoon overnight. Remove the ears (it is better to do this while the elephant is asleep). Fry ears to a dull black and throw on top of toast.
A Good Roast.
JOINT.—Remove hind leg of elephant. Elephant will fall over. While in recumbent position, clean and scrape. Take middle portion of elephant and grease well. Start bush fire. Run for life. Come back in fortnight's time. (This is good with vegetable marrows.)
SOUP.—Take two elephants. Remove tusks and beat into a stiff froth. Add four gills of crushed bath-heater. Stir well and skim with long-handled shovel. Simmer for three months. Some add moth-balls (this is purely a matter of taste).
A touch of lemon is always necessary, otherwise the dish repeats. The elephant never forgets, but still one doesn't want to be reminded ALL the time. No.
There is a ferry boat to be sold at auction on Tuesday.
We shall never forget the last ferry boat we bought.
Carried away in a frenzy of bidding, we found it knocked down to us at 9 pounds 10 shillings.
"Take it away," said the auctioneer.
Having had some nautical experience, we knew what to do. A bag of coal cost us 4/6 or something. It was the work of a moment to stoke the fires.
Then, dashing up to the bridge, we rang the bell for "Slow ahead." Dashing down to the engine-room just in time to hear the bell, we put her on to "Slow ahead."
Tearing back to the bridge, we suddenly remembered that we hadn't cast-off, and immediately rushed to the lower deck in our capacity as deck-hand, and discovered that the hawser was under too great a strain to cast off. We hurled ourself up on the bridge and rang down the order, "Stop. Slow astern."
Leaping frenziedly to the engine-room, we then put her astern, dashed out of the engine-room, and cast off the mooring ropes. From there back to the bridge and our position as captain was merely a matter of agility.
By this time the coal had run out. We spun the wheel 14 times, failing, however, to rest on a winning number, and thus losing a box of chocolates.
We finished up adrift in the open sea. The boat sank and we were drowned with all hands—both of them.
This concluded our nautical career, and we are lucky to be able to tell the tale, drowned as we are.
(This venture was a distinct loss to Mr. Lower. Our accountant has analysed the position with the following result:—
Depreciation of boat 9 pounds 10 shillings
Cost of coal 4 shillings and 6 pence
Fare paid at turnstile by Mr. Lower 4 pence
Total 9 pounds 14 shillings and 10 pence
Against this the sum of 4 pence, fare received by Captain Lower, must be offset. Net loss was, therefore, 9 pounds 14 shillings and 6 pence.
Mr. Lower's claim for expenses totalling this amount has been unanimously rejected.)
Great disappointment yesterday. Went to circus, expecting to see elephants toddling about their coops, raging lion-tamers annoying the lions, and dare-devil dervishes hurling knives at each other from a vast height.
But the carpenters are still rigging the place up. However, we saw a solitary Russian Cossack—one of the troupe. A winsome lad, with a moustache which reminded us of our Uncle Alfred. He rides four horses at once; somewhat of a waste, but, still, we suppose he must have comfort.
We said to him, "I suppose you find Sydney a bit warmer than Melbourne?"
He said, "Zxlhwtxhckxvitchkerenkxzlovor?! 5w/z???"
We threw him one of our sparking smiles and replied, "Yes."
We said to a carpenter, "Where are the Polar bears that ride bicycles? Where are the elephants that sit up and beg? The lady who dives 7000 feet into a bucket, and the marvellous, blood-sweating rhinocerous, which balances a grand piano and three billiard balls in one paw?"
The carpenter said, "Search me!"
We did not do this, as it was quite plain to our trained journalistic eye that he did not have a single elephant concealed upon him.
We borrowed his hammer and thoughtfully cracked a peanut, without which no circus is complete.
Circuses are not what they used to be. Once we had only to see the clown fall on his face and we would laugh until we had to be belted on the back and have brandy forced between our teeth. Now, if anyone falls over, we go and smell his breath. Cynical, that's what we are.
This country is not circus-conscious. What we need is more circuses. Big scale stuff. Saw-dust all over the city. Traffic cops balancing on the tram wires. Shop-walkers walking about on their hands. Judges seriously balancing rulers on top of their noses and placing the inkwell on top of that.
Why, in time our Premier might even be able to balance his Budget!
We must get out of this slough of whatsisname in which we are wallowing and learn to hurl Ourself through hoops, wrapped in flames, into a pondful of seals. Nothing is more refreshing.
We were surprised to learn that we have a head, the shape of which is something between a frankfurt and a rockmelon. We had it measured by a hatter's "conformer" which takes an exact measurement of the top of the head. And you needn't snigger!
If you only stood up and looked down on the top of your head you'd be disgusted. In future, we are going to wear a hat with eye-holes in it, which will tie tightly around the neck (the hat, not the eye-holes; and, anyhow, if we had said, "going to wear a hat which will tie tightly around the neck with eye-holes in it"...you can't have eye-holes in your neck).
A phrenologist once told us about the natives of Central Africa. Their heads are flat at the back. This is due to the fact that they can only get tough meat and have no chairs.
Standing up in their huts, dragging at the meat with their teeth, a piece of the meat eventually comes off, their heads jerk back and hit the wall of the hut. This goes on three times a day. Can you wonder that their heads are flat at the back?
Then there are the people whose heads are pushed over to the side. Being constantly thrown out of boarding houses and pubs on to their ear gets them this way eventually.
Or, again, we have the people who live in flats, and whose heads are square or rectangular.
Look at the people who ride in baby cars on country roads with the hood up. Heads all flat on the top.
By continually raising his eye-brows many a man has worked his scalp down the back of his neck until it rested in the middle of his back, and thus gone bald.
We know a bald man who kept on doing this until he eventually worked his moustache up over his forehead and on to his head, where it prospered greatly.
So far as reading the character by the bumps on the head, this can be easily fixed. Any little deficiencies can be put in order by giving the head a sharp blow in the proper spot with a hammer, which can be secured at small cost and to suit any pocket. Not that we advise you to carry the damn thing around in your pocket. Keep it in your desk. If you're one of these hard-headed business men, perhaps it would be well to get an anvil also.
That will be all for the present, as the young man said when he gave his girl a cake of sand-soap for her birthday.
Purity is rapidly becoming fashionable, thanks to Mr. Norman Lindsay.
PEOPLE who previously objected to it are now viewing it tolerantly. In Michigan, they aim to ban anything that tends to make vice more attractive and virtue a back number. Films must have no bedroom scenes, no bathroom scenes, no scanty clothing scenes, no demonstrations of passionate love, and no scenes of blood-shed or violence.
We look forward to the times when there will be no bathrooms, or if there are, when they are hermetically sealed and are referred to, when it is impossible to refrain from mentioning them, as the "B."
Soap, in these happy times, on account of its close association with the naked flesh, will be referred to as "S," and will be sold in packets labelled "Dog Biscuits." When retiring to the "B.R." (bedroom), the pure-minded man will not clothe himself scantily, but rather don an over-coat, and, having locked the door, stand up in the wardrobe and go to sleep.
Demonstrations of passionate love will be confined to hand-shaking, and then only under proper supervision.
Violence and bloodshed will not be permitted except in surgeries and dental parlors.
As for women—women will not be permitted at all.
Or perhaps they might be kept in compounds, wearing long chaff-bag coverings and stove-pipe leggings.
Anything calculated to arouse the baser passions, such as a knife and fork, will be used only of people of repute. Square plates, of course. We can never look on a round plate without blushing at its curves.
If any reader can think of any other improvements, we will be glad to put them into effect, or ban them, or burn and prohibit and disinfect them.
We get a sensual pleasure out of banning things, and pure minds are full of things to ban.
Wanted, supplies Live Tortoise, immed. deliv.
We have been doing a bit of wavering, but we have decided that we cannot part with our 5000 tortoises.
We know each one of them by name. When we call they gallop up and eat out of our hand. In the case of a dead-heat between two tortoises, they eat out of both hands.
This to save bickering.
Then there were our turtles. They got in among the tortoises. We had to make separate pens for the turtises and tortles which were the unfortunate outcome.
We had a go at mating tortoises with hedge hogs, in order to produce tortoise-shell brushes, but this was a failure.
We had a frightful lot of trouble. There were the tortoises that turned turtle on us. As we said before, we knew the titles of our total turtles. There is nothing more affectionate than a turtle.
Their coats are so warm, and if you don't belt them in the face they'll do you no harm, as the old nursery rhyme says.
We strongly advise readers to take up turtles or tortoises as a hobby or profession.
Of course, it is difficult to take up a turtle as a tortoise, but the shearing season is between July and September, and the average torsle should yield about five dressing-table sets to the season.
This is about all we care to divulge about tortisels. Further information will be supplied on receipt of 10d. in stamps.
Any cheering to be done, who does it? We do. "The day of vapid and inane advertising is ending. The modern advertiser who does not appeal to the customer's intellect, is lost." Get that? Lost! Blood-hounds and search parties indicated.
WE get a kick out of every modern advertisement we see. After reading through an American magazine we are black and blue, and after a short period, during which we are kept under observation, are allowed to go home.
"What? A hundred and eighty years old to-day! My dear, you don't look a day over 170. However do you do it?"
"It's that new Creme Clammy, cherie. I just put it on between meals. And just fancy! It comes in 59 different varieties, to suit any size face!"
"Oo, la, la! I must buy a keg of it immediately!"
Now, that's the stuff to give 'em.
Take the case of that chap Wilberforce.
Wealthy, and with plenty of money. Good-looking and of noble birth, he had a luxurious steam yacht and a steam train and railway station. Yet everyone avoided him.
When he walked into the theatre the whole audience made a dive for the fire exits. He couldn't make it out. Even his best friends wouldn't tell him.
Soon as they saw him coming they stepped on it and aimed for the nearest horizon. But at last one of his enemies told him—by telegram. You guessed it—he had halitosis. Ninety per cent. of our divorce cases are due solely to this ravaging disease.
That makes you sit up, doesn't it?
Then there was that other fellow.
He thought: "Holy Mike! Another second of this and I'm asphyxiated!" But, just to be polite, he said: "You stick there. I'm going to throw myself under a tram."
That ought to be enough to make any self-respecting girl go and wash herself all over with Lifer's Soap.
Take our own case. We received a letter saying, "Are you an unemployed labourer? WHY NOT BECOME AN UNEMPLOYED ARCHITECT? We could have been anything; electrical engineer, lift-driver, deep-sea diver; all by signing the dotted line and sending no money."
We became an architect in three weeks. Our wife, who read all the instructions, became an architect, too. If young Wally had been old enough to read he'd have been an architect.
We used to practise on each other. The wife would fall through the front door and say: "I got that there raise, Mabel! That brings me up to four hundred dollars per, an' nex' week they're going to make me managing director!"
And I'd say: "And it's all due to the Inter-changeable Correspondence School! Now we'll be able to get that red and yeller blanket we've always wanted."
When we sit down and strap ourself into a chair and think of how on earth we got on before there were any advertisements, when we didn't have pyorrhoea or halitosis, or unsightly hairs, skin blemishes, no ambition, couldn't play music on a saw, couldn't hold board meetings spell-bound, and were never offered the opportunity to earn 1000.00 dollars a week giving away packets of giant beans...well, it makes us feel sorry for us, when we look back on ourself.
Doddering into the swellest barber's saloon in town, we fell into a chair and said: "Make us look human."
"This is not a surgery," replied the barber kindly.
THEN we said, "Shave us, shampoo, face massage, violent-ray, and de-blackhead us. We are in your hands."
So he started. Right here we want to say that if ever you want the ravages of time and the effects of high living and low morals eradicated from the countenance, or face, do what we did.
It will only cost you about 25/—if you get out alive.
The shave, with eleven hot towels and three varieties of face cream. The hair-cut with the electric tooth-drill; the shampoo—these are mere preliminaries.
The hair is dried with hot air, both electrical and human.
Then starts the face massage. You are oiled, creamed, and bleared.
An electrical exasperator is wheeled up to your side. The operator turns the thing on, and you immediately get heebie-jeebies in the face.
You then disappear from human ken beneath a swathe of hot towels. The operator then goes away, presumably to the races or to have lunch.
After many years, during which your whole life passes before you, the towels are taken away and pink mud is rubbed, slapped, and pounded into your face.
Hydrochloric acid, or something more fierce, is poured on to you. Cream, oil—a final belt in the cheek, and you are massaged.
The violent-ray we took without anaesthetic. It consists of a swarm of starving ants with important appointments in your cerebral crannies.
Twice we nearly escaped, but we were brought back, giggling, with our tonsorial robes bedraggled, but still furled tightly around the neck.
We were given smelling salts, and a towel soaked in Florida water to suck.
Then we were manicured. Let us draw a curtain over this. We were thrown out of the manicure parlor. Nice girl, though.
And so back to the office, walking mincingly into the lift, asking the draivah to draive slowleh so as not to disturb ouah part.
Smelling strongly of Ashes of Chlorafluers, we found we were most unwelcome. Our peaches and cream complexion was lost in our hasty retreat from the sub-editor's room to the lift.
N.B.—The lift driver has since had the elevator insectibaned.
Seeing that a whale blundered into Sydney Harbour to have a look at our crowning bridge work (dentists! please note), we have made a few inquiries about whales, last two whales having died on us on a/c of over-feeding.
WHALES are of various sorts. Sperm whales, hump-backed whales, blue whales, Prince of Wales, New South Wales...and it gathers about like that. Whales have calves, but no feet. They are the only fish who blow their noses. Their young swim in schools, but don't learn anything. Whales are too big.
Ambergris comes from male whales, Verdigris from female whales, Candlegris from candle-grease whales, which have not yet been discovered, but anything is likely to happen.
No whale has been known to travel sideways. Whether this is due to lack of initiative or pure nastiness has not yet been found out.
Whales have no fins. This was a frequent source of annoyance to Jonah, who made whales sick. If Jonah had been in a modern whale he would have had a telephone laid on with hot and cold water service and periscope.
Twin-screw whales with lifeboats and saloon accommodation are extremely rare. Catching of whales is done with harpoons. A harpoon is a small harp. The harpoon is barbed. A barboon is a small barb, or baby baboon. The instrument is thrown at the whale and penetrates the blubber.
The whale lubbers and wails. Hence present depression. Whales make very unsuitable pets, as they are likely to go mad and kick the face of the hand that fed them.
Whales sound frequently, but never shout. Don't like whales.
About this golfer who is going to play golf from Brisbane to Adelaide, via Sydney and Melbourne—he is not allowed to touch the ball with his hands or feet unless with special permission.
We suppose he will be allowed to bowl it along with his forehead occasionally. It wouldn't do the ball any harm and might do the golfer a lot of good.
We often wonder who lays all these wagers. We are going to be one of them. We shall challenge our landlord to push a wheelbarrow across Australia, hopping on one foot. And when he comes back and puts his barrow wearily down outside the vacant house the next-door neighbour will say: "Lower? He left here a week ago."
And we shall go to the Taxation Commissioner and say to him: "Excuse me, but would you mind bowling a hoop around the world for a bet?"
Then we would go along to Parliament House and say: "We bet you aren't game to sit on a two hundred foot pole for about eleven years."
And when we had got them all sitting on poles, and pushing barrows, and walking from Sydney to Bechuanaland, and slipping on banana-skins from Perth to Redfern, we would sit down, fold our hands one within the other, and begin to enjoy life.
GOT something to tell you. In Germany, they've got rubber sign standards and rubber milestones to make travel safer for motorists.
According to the book, "these flexible posts, painted in bright colours, bend to a horizontal position when struck by a car, and spring back into shape without damage."
We have under way a suggestion for rubber pedestrians.
We were once a masseur on a rubber farm. Bearing 1000 tennis balls to the acre, it was one of the most successful farms in the business. The amount of business we did could be seen with the naked eye in bad times. That's how big the thing was.
And what happened?
First of all, we messed up the rubber duck section for surf-bathers. Lost our duck. The only model we had.
We miss its quack. But this is no time for remorse. America killed us in the East by dumping elastic in China at cut rates.
Ruined our garter market.
Who first marketed the rubber summons? We did.
When delivered, it immediately springs back. Who invented that story about the Boss? We stretch it and it flies back. Need you ask?
You needn't. We'll see you in the Dom. Went to see our broker and decided he's no broker. If there's going to be a "Dead Broke" competition, we're on scratch. And about rubber...don't invest. Your money is more settled in the Savings Bank.
You can't bounce a rubber tree and...wait a minute...don't jump off the tram in your goloshes.
You Must Say: "Nothing Less Than Two Thousand a Year Will Do"
IT looked good to me, it stood out from the rest of the "Positions Vacant." It struck your eye like a wart on your girl's lip.
You didn't have to be experienced. You just had to have personality, character, ambition, determination and a desire to earn nothing less than two thousand pounds a year. It implored you to join their sales organisation, and get on the permanent staff and become a general manager in no time. It was absolutely an open slather for the general-managership.
Well, I had all the character, personality, determination, and ambition about the place, and they didn't mention anything about a clean collar, so I went along.
I thought it was funny not seeing any of the boys around. There are about seventy of us generally, all after the same job, and after answering advertisements for a few months you get sort of chummy. I remember one feller did get the job once. It fair broke him up. At the send-off we gave him down at the Labor Bureau, he cried like a child.
Anyhow, I'm standing there, feeling lonely like, and a bloke buttons me, and I'm wafted into the office.
"Take a seat," he says.
I takes it.
Then he eyes me off. Looks at me as if he knew all my past life, and had me stripped to the bone. He keeps it up for a while, thinking I'll break down and confess; but I've been through it before, and I refrains from crackin' him one.
"What name did you say, Mr.—er—?"
"Spivells—James Spivells," I say.
"Oh! yes," he says, as if he knew it all the time, and was just seeing if I could remember it.
"Have you had any experience as a sales-man?"
"Hm. Well, Mr. Squiggles, the proposition is this: We deal in real estate, and we have a few vacancies for men with—"
"Character, personality, determination—" I starts off, just to show him I know the chorus and ain't been wasting my time.
"Yes, yes," he chips in. "Well, we are opening up a new estate practically a stone's-throw from Redfern, just this side of Brewarrina, and we want men of your stamp to handle it."
I throws out the chest.
"Experience is unnecessary—we train you. It's the MAN we want. Men with—"
"Yes, yes!" he says quickly. He strikes me as the sort of bloke that butts in.
"There is no limit, Mr. Struggles, to the advancement possible in this position!" he says, pounding the table, and glaring at me with a deny-it-and-I'll-dong-you sort of expression.
I nods and looks intelligent.
"There's Smith," he says. "Came to us—just the same as you—six months ago. It's a poor week he doesn't draw a hundred pounds!"
"Jones—left us now—sorry to lose him—bought his own yacht, and is now travelling round the world!"
"You don't say!" I says, popping at the eye-balls.
He simmers down a bit.
"You understand, Mr. Spriggles, that we don't pay a weekly salary. Your commission is high. If you sell a block worth thirty pounds, you receive twenty-five pounds commission. AND," he says, wagging a finger that seems to be on a universal joint, "You'll have no trouble in selling it. It sells itself! Any man, woman or child can see the difference the North Shore bridge has made to Brewarrina."
He leans forward.
"The suburbs are rapidly pushing out—out—out—"
I looks round for the dog.
I'm feeling a bit fed up.
"Land values will rise to unheard of heights. A thirty pound block will be worth thousands. Tell me, Mr. Skeggles, why didn't you buy land at Darlinghurst in 1850?"
"Wasn't there," I says, quick with the alibi.
"You didn't have the foresight! You didn't have the foresight!", he yells. "Now, we had two men out selling this estate yesterday. They were doing splendidly—splendidly; and of course they must go and get their feet crushed," he trailed off in a miserable way.
"Feet crushed?" I says.
"Yes. The right foot. Both on the same side of the street, in the same terrace. Practically in the same door!"
"A coincidence, indeed, Mr. Spivells—"
"You've got it!" I yells. "Hold her at that!"
"What?" he says.
"Spivells," I says. "Spivells—try and remember it. Spivells. Spivells, Spivells—"
"Don't dribble on the carpet!" he says, looking anxious.
I shuts up.
"Well, Mr.—er—Spivells, I've put the proposition to you. Do you feel confident that you can sell this land?"
"I do!" I says, shivering slightly. It reminds me of a wedding.
"Right," he says, and forks out a couple of forms.
"Just fill those forms in, Mr.—er—and we'll soon have you fixed up."
I runs an eye over them.
Straight away I sees the cloven hoof:—
"And I agree to purchase land to the value of fifty pounds from the Stars and Stripes Real Estate Coy. as an evidence of good faith and to ensure my active interest..."
I clutches the other page.
Date. Height. Weight. Name at present. Past names. Parents' names. Sentences (if any). Where were you born? When? Why? Was your mother a white woman? Do you wear underwear? (State whether wool or cotton.) When did you leave your last employer. Why? How? (State whether tram or 'bus.) Did he miss you?
There's a whole page of it. I stands up and looks at him.
"I'll think it over," I says.
"The opportunity may be gone," he says.
"Don't stop it on my account," I says.
"Very well," says he, as I hoofed it to the door.
"I'm sorry for you. You'll never succeed, Mr. Squirrels. Good-bye...Next, please!"
I chews over the "Squirrels" for a while, then I gets into the lift and goes.
A man has enough trouble, without being pinched for a salt.
What scenes are called up by the mere mouthing of the word! What scenes! What hellishing rows! A film which involves a fair amount of kissing has recently been banned by the Chief Commonwealth Censor. Not that that matters. He hasn't been properly kissed.
We have been kissed, ourself.
In our adolescent stages we were once so kissed that we ran around in circles for some days, and for weeks after that we walked about in a trance.
There was one...older 'n us, she was—she said, "Kizz muh!"
Got a half-nelson on us, she did, and they had to bring us brandy and undo our collar and use artificial respiration. Never been quite the same since. She was one of these tall, sinuous women who never seem to have any money.
Then there was a brunette. She was one who used to gradually look closer and closer into your eyes, until the back of your head hit the wall. Waggle her eyelashes on your neck and start the real business from the back of your ear and work round to the front of your face, by which time you had swooned away.
One way and another, we missed a lot of fun, swooning away.
Maisie—she was a nice girl. We should have smashed her teeth in about four times a week. She said she could only treat us as a sister would a brother. Used to kiss us on the forehead!
Asked her, in desperation, how long this sister business would be going on. She said, "For ever!" and burst into tears.
So we told her that we had a sister, and strode off into the night.
We have been kissed by distant female relatives. We have even been kissed by our wife.
She says, "Whisky!"
"No! No! Dear!" we say, virtuously.
"Kiss me again"...
"You've had four brandies!"
We give in and confess to the four. What else can you do when you know that you've had twelve brandies?
Love, these days, gives us a pain in the small of the back. If anyone wants to censor kissing, we are on his side.
The Maoris rub noses instead of kissing, and our idea of Paradise is a place full of nose-less Maoris.
We are, of course, open to conversion....
Not that we bear any malice. Simply that we occasionally run short of curses. As Edison once said to the Governor of South Carolina, "Inspiration is one-tenth perspiration and nine-tenths exasperation."
We shall, therefore, talk to you to-day, children, about sardines.
The sardine lives in a tin slum and, due to its environment, there are many feeble-minded sardines in our midst—unaccustomed, mark you, as they are to public speaking.
Environment, said he, throwing his cigarette-butt into the waste paper basket in an earnest attempt to burn the office down, is a strange thing. In a very short time, a cat caught in a rat trap becomes distinctly like a dead rat. Given time, the cat may even become deader than the rat. As the poet described the electric chair, "That burn from which no traveller returns"—that's where it goes.
Speaking of electric chairs, we understand that they are most uncomfortable. A man told us that the accommodation in the electric chair department was shocking. Apart from that, he explained to us that it was one of the few occasions when he didn't have to strap-hang.
They had five goes at him and he blew the fuses out every time.
At the finish, he was so full of electricity that if he pressed his vest button a bell would ring.
Which naturally brings us to the subject of Christmas puddings, of which there are two kinds: the one you put the cheques in and boil it— and ours. For a large family, we recommend our recipe. All you need is a pound of raisins and a bag of cement. This will last a family of eight for about twelve (12) Christmases. This pudding is hard to beat.
Raisins are very good for you. They contain a lot of iron.
Talk of iron! We knew a man who had so much iron that he was full of nuts and bolts. Matter of fact, he lived on nuts and bolted his meals. After he was operated on for appendicitis he had to be riveted.
If he wanted to turn around, he had to use a spanner. Threw himself under a train and wrecked the train. Rusted away after a long and peaceful life, and was pronounced dead by one of the best engineers in the country.
And if you must have something about sardines, they have no heads, but they carry tales.
Mean to say, they repeat on us.
Professor Haydon, of Denver, U.S.A., deplores the "hackneyed phrases of the cheap British novelists."
WE do not agree. Look at the exercise YOU get.
For instance. "At last he caught her eye!" (She had been "casting her eye about the room" a few minutes before this, and she was also doing a bit of "shimmering in her voluptuous evening gown.")
He "paled and trembled visibly" (try it yourself); then, "with an effort he regained his composure, and, turning on his heel, darted from the room". (We have tried darting from the room, but our aim is rotten. We are four door-knobs behind.)
"For a moment she stood rigid (stiffness set in), and then swept out of the room" (what she swept out of the room is never divulged.)
"His face fell." (This is a bit awkward—especially on a tiled floor.) "But he straightened himself up and thrust his chin out."
Upstairs, "Lady Grasmere flung herself on her bed"—"or threw herself on the floor" (optional), and her "body shook with sobs. Her brain whirled. A lump came into her throat...her heart was broken."
That's what you get for throwing yourself at a bed. Always better to aim for the bed, and, even if you hit the floor, it makes no difference to the story.
An' what's Lord Eustonberry doing down-stairs?
"Snarling, he spat a few words at the Colonel" (enough to start a fight anywhere), "and then flung himself through the door of the billiard room, his eyes emitting sparks."
That—even that little bit—is what we call a hard day's work.
Forsooth, who is this professor to play Canute to the sea of words? Let him "shrink into himself, livid with fear." We also have our dislikes.
Sat in the dark yesterday afternoon with a lot of oyster farmers. The lantern-slide lecture was great. All about sperms and bi-valves and things. Highly instructive it was.
For instance, we learnt that an oyster in its early stages swims about. We have never had to swim after an escaping oyster yet, but it must be tiring.
An oyster has one foot. This one-footedness is natural, and the oyster receives no pension so far as we could gather. On its foot it oists itself along. Hence the term "oyster."
We made inquiries, but were unable to ascertain whether the noise on oyster leases was due to the oysters stamping their feet.
After a while, it loses it footing, so to speak, and is on the rocks permanently. This is sad but we've all been through it.
Probably this accounts for the wrinkles on the oyster.
This year the Combined Oyster Farmers' Association will give a cup for best two and three-year-old oysters.
We have never seen a combined oyster. Probably it means married oysters, but we have had one two-year-old in training for the last four months, and with any luck and a firm track, we hope to carry off the weight-for-age event.
We would advise the public to be on our oyster.
The lecturer said that "any man who eats a bad oyster deserves ptomaine poisoning."
He also said that the idea of not eating oysters in months with an R in them was all wrong.
But, after seeing the internal works of an oyster magnified umpteen times, we have decided that the months in which one should not eat oysters are: January, February, March, April, Mray, Jrune, Jruly, Aurgurst, Septeremberr, Octoroberr, Noveroverember, and Drecerember.
This is as much as we care to know about oysters.
A Brisbane frog arrived at Mascot on the tail-plane of the Brisbane mail plane yesterday morning.
This is probably the longest hop ever taken by a frog.
The frog is a strange animal which lives in creeks and croaks.
It also lives on water and hops.
One frog is spawn every minute. The stages of the frog are interesting to be interested in.
First the spawn. Then the rod, tad-pole, or perch. Then the frog on its log in the bog. (Poetry.)
We have the bull-frog. The cow-frog and the calf-frog were last seen at the battle of Blenheim (1345, A.D.)
The tadpole is an apprentice frog. Tadpoles born in May are Maypoles.
The barberspole is a frog which comes out in red, white, and blue stripes when fully matured. It costs 6d. in most places, or 9d. with a hot towel.
In France, people eat frogs—fifty million Frenchmen can't be wrong.
Eat more frogs. Of course, in the case of there being a death in France since time of writing, there is a possibility of forty-nine million nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine Frenchmen being misled.
But let it be here stated that the frog which arrived on the Brisbane mail plane was a bull frog, because it was a mail frog.
And if it wasn't a bull frog that rode on the mail plane, it must have been toad.
One of the brightest spots in our hitherto drab life is the abolition of the gold standard in favour of a note standard.
The British Government is merely following a procedure which we have advocated and put into practice for many months past.
Some of our notes have been classics.
DEAR SIR,—Owing to the present financial depression, we find ourself unable to meet your just demands immediately. However, we are expecting shortly a legacy from a wealthy relative in Fiji, and you may rest assured...
Then there was the other one which always worked. You simply pin the note on your door: "BACK IN TEN MINUTES." You then go away for eleven years, and are never heard of again.
Sirs,—Your insulting message reached me this morning. Need I say that I was disgusted and annoyed? This is the fourth final notice I have had from you. Any more of this, and I shall be compelled to request you to send a man to cut off my gas supply.
This usually fixes things. Of course, there are faults in the system.
Yesterday we were presented with a note, "I.O.U. 5/-. Signed, L. W. Lower." So we went back to the gold standard.
The whole thing is very involved. Mean to say, come home and find on kitchen table a note, "Waited up till 2 o'clock. Where have you been? Your dinner is in the oven."
That sort of note is NOT negotiable.
A man, whose name we will not mention, on account of the vile crime which he did and which we do not wish to be slung up in front of his countless ancestors, yet unborn, and the whole neighbourhood taking a day off to go and point the finger of scorn, the sturdier members getting out their shovels and heaping ignomy on him—he was fined 2 pounds with 8 shillings costs at Court.
He was caught red-handed, digging worms at San Souci, thus annoying the oyster-leasers, and was charged with having "unlawfully taken worms" and with "unlawfully having caught worms on a closed area."
And to think that that man was once an innocent little babe, lounging at his mother's knee!
As for us, we can say with a certain amount of pride that we have never taken worms. We have taken everything else, from pills to mustard baths and aspirins, but so far we haven't shown any serious and determined hankering for worms.
But, of course, we know a good deal about them. There are two kinds of worms. Long worms and short worms.
The long worms can be easily distinguished from the short worms; the head of the short worm being invariably closer to the tail than in the case of the long worm.
It has long puzzled scientists how the worm finds a hole to fit it.
Nature in its awful wisdom has provided holes of various sizes all over our vast and glorious continent. All the worm has to do is to tramp about and find a hole that fits.
We knew of one worm with goitre that walked from Coogee to Parramatta before it found a suitable home. Even then it was only a semi-detached hole, being next to a quarry.
The grub is very close to the worm and could quite easily be taken for a worm by anyone who has never seen a worm. The only difference between the two is that the one has more legs, and more hair on its chest than the other. The grub is also better upholstered.
Aborigines regard grubs as a delicacy and will chase them for miles, hurling boomerangs at them.
Other kinds are found underneath logs—although how the devil those little chaps balance those great logs has got us beat.
We cannot speak with any authority on the subject, but we presume that the grub lies on its back and then pulls the log over itself.
The centipede is really an armor-plated worm, equipped with a knife and fork at one end. It has a lot of legs, an incalculable number, and how it keeps in step?...We won't bother about it. Once you start thinking about things like that, you go mad and run around in circles barking like a dog.
This is a mutiny. We were supposed to go to the Zoo to-day, but we have been there before, and our motto is: Anything once; the second time, it's worse.
FURTHERMORE, a visit to Taronga Park leaves us feebly seething with sad rage. We fail to see how a lion is any worse off than we are.
They have nothing to do but be looked at; they are fed and housed, and the leopard even carries a spot on the hip.
Who knocks on the tortoise's door, demanding the rent?
The pelican has the biggest bill in the place, but does it worry him?
The camel was born with the hump, and the dromodaries have two of them. But dromodaries and camels are born, not made. Therein lies the advantage.
Consider the zebra. Sergeants of the militia with three stripes gaze upon him curiously. The zebra, with 43 stripes, gazes back contemptuously.
The ducks swim about, immune from Christmas. The giraffe looks down upon us.
Given an almost cut-glass salad bowl, we must make a speech about it. Given an unwanted peanut, the orang-outang may throw it back at you and then nonchalantly scratch the back of his neck.
Monkeys, being almost human, delight to make fools of themselves before an audience. But who ever heard of an unemployed monkey?
Fish in the aquarium are as safe from hooks as a monk is safe from matrimony.
A bear that sits up and begs for a bun and is hit on the snout with a peanut is no worse off than the husband who comes home and says, "Hullo, darling!" and is answered with "Humph!"
It has been said that man descended from monkeys, but considering the fun monkeys have, it is apparent to the clothed and taxed onlooker that we have descended too far.
We refuse to be humiliated at the Zoo.
The gold quest is still on. Countless unemployed are now working like mad, though still practically unemployed. We ask you, citizens, what do you know about gold? Echo answers, "Ask me?"
What do you know about quartz?
Quartz is what you get milk in.
What is a quartette? It is a pint and a half.
Gold is found in veins and seams.
How vein it seems?
The unsuccessful prospector spends all his life tapping rocks. The successful prospector spends about three weeks rocking taps. After which he sets off for the desert once more.
Alluvial gold is usually dished from the start. From the cradle to the grave, so to speak. More trips are made from the cradle to the grave than from the cradle to the "Australia."
Which reminds us of minny golf courses. There are too minny golf courses.
Which also reminds us that very few golfing prospectors tell the hole truth.
Mines! Mines! What do we know about mines? Mine's a beer!
My heavens, amigo (Spanish) if you had to fill up a certain amount of space like this, you would also do as we do.
We are stonkered for ideas. There comes a tide in the affairs of men when they rush to cover. When they go into nursing homes. When they discover that they have important business about 300 miles away. When they say, "You know damn well I don't like baked rabbit!" and such harsh words.
One touch of Nature makes the whole world kin. Two touches, and you've got it suspicious.
Let us then away.
A paper, referring to the University carillon: "Although small in comparison with a larger bell, it is itself large compared with some of the small ones."
Now, you quite understand, you news readers? You're sure that you compree the lot? The smaller ones are smaller than those that are larger, And larger than those that are, not.
And you see that the big ones are large ones, And the high ones e'xceedingly tall, Not nearly so large as those that are larger. But bigger than those that are small.
So, really, the large ones are small ones. No! The small ones are small-still big, though Compared to the small ones, but smaller Compared to the big-damned if I know!
Work it out for yourself,
Speaking from the fire escape, in our asbestos underpants. I have just escaped from the prevention of a fire, at imminent risk to the fire.
Goaded on by a magistrate who complained of the number of fires in his diocese, and hinted, by saying out loud, that it was due to incendiarism (you heard me!), we sat up all night thinking of a way to start a preventible fire.
If the wife says to me, "You light the fire"—well, that's a preventible fire. It only has an outside chance of starting, and even then it will go out. It's a habit. I hurl the wood at a certain spot, throw a match in the general direction of the wood. Match goes out. I go out. In order to have any hope of preventing a fire there must be some possibility of a fire starting (Euclid).
Best way to prevent a fire is to fill a central room with shavings, pour methylated spirits all over it, and then inform the police.
A lot of unemployment has been caused in fire brigades by the premature prevention of fires. It is a sad commentary...It is indeed...anyhow, it's a bit tough.
I myself in person once knew a fireman who filled in his spare time (of which he had a number) polishing his helmet. He wore it down to a beret. He was saved being dismissed from the brigade by a fortunate accident. While in a passionate rage, he stamped his foot on the ground. He was wearing rubber boots.
The rest must be imagined to be believed. His knee hit his chin; he fell back to the ground with a dull tinkle; cracked the skull. He was a tall fireman. They buried him with his hose. In case he needed it. He was buried on a ladder with full honors. In between the time he knocked himself out and when he struck the ground, his depositions were taken by an aged reporter. He was a VERY tall fireman.
"It is my opinion," said the fireman, in passing, "that the present heavy blue serge uniform is not the correct thing in which a gentleman should attend a fire. White drill with tropical helmets should—"
It was about this time that he crashed to the ground. Proving that any tall person likely to fall over should always carry a parachute.
But, about fires. Perhaps a little personal experience? A little private pathos?
The dirty cow—HIM—(the Boss) said, "You're fired!"
Rushed about the place seeking to be put out. Nobody game enough. I was too well lit up. Rang fire brigade. Down the stairs and flinging the body into the horse-trough. Dramatic arrival of fire brigade.
Drenched victim pointing to Boss, crying, "He fired me!" Hose on the Boss. Boss drowned.
Good time was had by all.
What is home without a fire. Every considerate married man should have a fireman in his home.
Half a million germs lurk on a pound note.
This has been discovered by a scientist. Probably he borrowed the pound. This means 250,000 germs stroll about a ten-shilling-note, and 125,000 germs are waiting to pounce from five shillings—25,000 germs on a shilling! Heavens, do you realise what peril you live in?
Could any man with a spark of humanity in his soul lend a man two bob, knowing that it carried with it 50,000 germs, mostly unclassified.
Every citizen in this country who is in possession of a pound-note is a menace.
The Government has done its best. It has taxed us 25,000 germs in every half million. It has taxed us countless germs annually. But is it enough?
It has come to our notice that a well-known identity has been walking about our city, defying our Government and laughing in the faces of the police, carrying a pound-note in his left-hand pocket.
This man is a carrier.
Recall the Governor!
Do something. Hooray!
It's not a bit of use looking for gold if you don't know where it is.
People are pegging out claims all over the place when they would be better employed pegging out the washing.
Gold is a metallic auriferous gold metal which is found in large or small single lumps, or linked together as is in gold watch-chains, or invisible, such as sovereigns.
Amateur prospectors must remember, however, that it is illegal to peg out a claim on a man's stomach just because he has a gold watch-chain.
Alluvial gold is found in creek-beds, water-holes, drain-pipes, and various other places. It is found on mountains and in valleys, etcetera.
It is also not found in many of the above places. That is the catch.
The best way to tell gold is to pass the nugget around a crowded bar, and ask them if it's gold.
If it comes back, it's not gold.
"I've been readin' the paper, Bill, and I've got an idea."
"You don't say! Well, them newspapers must be improvin' outer sight. 'Ang out the flag—little Jimmy's got an idear." "Listen to me. Work is as scarce in Sydney as the butter in a hot-dog."
"Too right, James. Too blooming true."
"Don't interrupt me, you igerant cow, or I'll take my singlet off you! As I was sayin' about this idea—you know the 'Lost and Found' column?"
"Well, look at the hundreds of things that are lost every day and found by people who ain't lookin' for 'em. And the rewards! There's money just for the picking up!"
"Yes! I know—'Lost, small leather bag, containing slate and pencil, between Manly and Petersham. Finder keep slate, return bag'—and rolls of notes. Now, I ask you, Jimmie, did you ever 'ear of anyone finding a roll of notes? No! of course you didn't. It's a damn lie!"
"There's jewellery," suggested Jimmy.
"Huh! 'Angin' round waitin' for someone to drop their diamond tiara outer the tram."
"Well, what about lost cats and dogs?"
"Look 'ere! If you think I'm goin' to spend me time crawlin' over roofs collecting cats, in the 'opes that one of 'ems lost—you're mistaken. My ruddy oath, you are!"
"Dogs," remarked Jimmie. "Now here's one: 'Lost, white porneranium, black ears, answers to name of "Oozles." You'd sight that dog out of a million. A white pom. with black ears!"
Bill walked to the window and draped himself over the sill.
"A fine chance," he remarked to the street, "a man's got 'Oozlin' every dog 'e sees with—Hoi! Blime!"
With a rush that knocked his friend off the chair, Bill had left the window, and was now clattering down the stairs to the front door.
Jimmy picked himself up, and gazed out the window.
"Struth!" he yelled, and dived for the door.
Outside, a white pomeranium with black ears sniffed disgustedly at a banana skin in the gutter.
"'Ead 'im orf!" gasped Bill.
Jimmy spat disgustedly over his shoulder: "Nobody mistook me for Nurmi before," he panted. "'Ead 'im orf yourself."
The dog, not having the incentive of an urgent need of cash, gave in, and Bill, first on the scene, gathered him up.
"That your dog?"
"Eh?" said Bill, turning to the constable who had apparently manifested himself from a hole in the road.
"Course he's my dorg! I wouldn't be bustin' meself chasin' someone else's dorg. S'matter of fact, me and my mate (pointing to Jimmy, who had just lumbered up) were trainin' 'im. I tell y'constable (he dropped his voice to a whisper), first time we gives 'im a run at the tin 'are—be on 'im."
He moved off.
"Walk quick, you mug," said Jimmy fearfully. "They don't race pomeraniums after hares! You nearly cruelled it."
It was a long walk back.
"Well," said Bill, in the safety of their lodgings, "there 'e is."
"Yes," said Jimmy, gazing down at the dog.
"Poor liddle Oozles. Here, Oozles, Oozles!"
"Oh, Blime! Oozles!" said Bill, "what a name to give the poor little cow. No wonder 'es got black ears. 'Ere, Stinker!"
The dog wearily wagged his bushy tail.
"There, y'are!" said Bill, triumphantly. "'E knows a proper dorg's name when 'e 'ears it."
Jimmy was studying the paper again.
"He belongs to 'Dilhurst,' Darlinghurst Road. We'll give him that frankfurt you was keeping for your tea, and then I'll take him along."
"Orright," said Bill, "I'll starve."
Man and dog were gone an hour, when Bill, from his eyrie in the window, sighted them coming back.
"Aw, strike me pink!" he muttered, withdrawing himself from the window, "I knew 'e'd muck it up."
He sat on the bed, turning over in his mind a few pithy remarks to be delivered to James.
The doot opened.
"`Ullo, brains! What the 'ell did you bring the dorg back for? No wonder you can't get a job. You got about as much gumption as a politician—"
"Shut up, Sunshine! Gaze on this an' apologise."
Two pound notes were waving before his eyes. His mouth opened.
"Now shut up!" said Jimmy. "I'll do all the talkin', same as I do all the thinkin'."
He seated himself on the bed, and commenced.
"I goes up to the house, a big flash joint it is, knocks at the door, and a tony old tart comes as soon as she hears I've got the dog. 'My little Oozlums,' she says. 'Diddums get losty wosty?' Fair make you vomit.
"She asks me a lot of questions, and I tells her 'ow I threw meself in front of a 'bus just in time to save him, and she comes to light with a quid.
"Well, I'm going out the gate, and there's a bloke waiting for me.
"'Did you bring that damn dog back?' he says, real fierce.
"'Yes,' I says, 'an' I had a hard job to fetch him.'
"'Lord!' he says, 'and I had a hell of a job losing him.'
"He does his block.
"'I don't want the rotten thing in the house,' he yaps. 'How much did my wife give you?'
"I tells him a quid.
"'Well, look here,' he says, 'here's another quid. You hang about, and I'll push him out the door when she's not looking, and you lose him! See! Lose him!'"
"Yes," said Bill. "Go on."
"Well, I waits, and sure enough, out comes Oozles—"
"Stinker," amended Bill.
"And I pounces on him, and here we are."
With a flourish, Jimmy pocketed a pound and handed Bill the other.
"Well, what'll we do with the dorg?" said Bill.
"I got another idea," said James. "I'm goin' out now to buy him a chop and drink your health, William."
"I can't let you do everythink without 'elping you sometimes," said Bill. "I'll go with you."
Next morning, an excited Bill was reading to his mate: "Lorst, a valuable white pomer—what's-its-name, with black ears. Strayed from 'Dilhurst,' Darlinghurst Road. Answers to name of Oozles. Reward 3 pounds. Detainer persecuted."
Jimmy smiled indulgently at his friend.
"That was my other idea," he said calmly. "That's why I brought him back. It's your turn to find him now."
Bill gazed at him.
"Well, I won't say you're brainy; but for low cunning you'd beat a Maltese pawnbroker, Jimmy. I'm erstounded at you. I'll take Stinker up this afternoon."
"And after that we'll have to find another dog," said Jimmy. "This one'll be played out."
"You know, James, we could make a business of this dorg-findin'. 'Lorst dorgs recovered—findings executed with utmost dispatch'—an' all that. Work it up into a big business, an' sell out."
"I'll think it over," said Jimmy loftily. Late that afternoon, Bill stood at the door of "Dilhurht."
"Yairs," Bill was saying, "the young 'ooligans had 'im tied on the tram line, an' I was just in time to stop the tram."
"Did you give them in charge?" asked the lady indignantly.
"Every bloomin' one of 'em, missus. Eleven there was—an' I 'ope for Stink—for Oozle's sake, they get six months each."
"Henry," she said, turning to a man who had appeared in the hallway, "this man has just brought my little Oozles back."
"Oh! Has he?"
He came to the door.
"Just wait a moment, and I'll bring you your reward," said the lady to Bill, and disappeared.
"Where did you find that rotten pampered mongrel?" whispered the man. "You ought to have more sense than to bring the thing back here."
"But you lorst it!" said Bill, agape.
"Take it away! You curse—yes, and I am very pleased indeed to see that there are still men kind enough to take care of a defenceless doggie-woggie."
"Give this to the man, and thank him nicely, Henry," said the lady from behind his back.
Three pounds changed hands, and disapappeared into Bill's pocket.
"Well, I'll be goin'," said Bill.
"Stop!" hissed the man, gazing after his wife's retreating form.
Bill took both.
"Take it to b—!"
"Bankstown?" suggested Bill.
"Bourke!" blurted the man. "Get!"
Contentedly Oozles trotted alongside him back to the lodging house.
Jim was there.
"Mug! Mug! Oh what a large, empty blooming mug! What did you bring him back for?"
"Gaze on this bunch," said Bill, flourishing the notes, "an' go down on yore bended knees an' weep tears of blood!"
"Willie," said James earnestly, "if that dog is seen with us, we'll get years in the cooler."
"Why?" said Bill, in amazement.
"You know that cop what saw us pick him up? Well, I seen him to-day and he buttons me. That old tart must have notified all the police stations about that dog. He's worth pounds and pounds! I didn't know how to get out of it, and I finishes up telling him the truth about us wanting to get the reward, and how we took him back, and it ain't our fault if he's lost again. We're alright now, because he was a decent John; but if we're seen with that dog again—we'll finish up eatin' with a wooden spoon!"
"Gaw!" exclaimed Bill.
"Did the bloke tell you to him away?"
"Yeah. To Bankstown."
"That's the ticket! You take him to Bankstown, and leave him. Go now— better wrap him up in a parcel so no one'll see him."
The wrapping of a live dog in a newspaper is no easy job, nor is it any easier keeping him in the parcel whilst going past policemen. Bill drew a huge sigh of relief as the train bore him back from Bankstown—dogless—and the two men spent a happy evening over several bottles and a bed-full of fish and chips.
It was therefore with feelings of intense horror that Bill viewed the spectacle of a dilapidated pomeranian dog wagging his tail on the mat next morning.
He called Jim, and pointed.
They looked at each other, and a telepathic vision of prison cells communicated itself to their minds.
"Wrap 'im again," said Bill tersely. "It's your turn to lose 'im this time."
In silence they wrapped him. Jim took him away, and some considerable time elapsed before he returned.
"Took him to Manly," he said, throwing his hat on the bed.
"Put yer 'at on again," said Bill.
"Why? What did she say?"
"Nothink. She don't know we're going'."
"Do y'think," said Bill, getting annoyed, "we want to be 'ere when that damn dorg comes back?"
"Strike me! No. Got all my things?"
"I got your singlet an' the shavin' soap."
"That's right, come on. Walk soft."
Many and various are the roads to success, and not all of them are up-hill, though the roads down which one can toboggan are hard to find, and for the most part private.
The methods of the successful differ.
There is the romantic method.
The humble workman marries the boss's daughter, after which the boss falls into the machinery, and the hero is set for life.
Then there is the man who rises to the occasion. This generally happens when the mine is caving in, and all the workmen except one flee for their lives. The one left holds the mine up with his back until assistance comes, and then collapses into the arms of the mine-owner, with the words, "I have done my best." The mine-owner may reply that he has seen it done better, but usually the man is promoted.
By far the best-advertised method, and one highly recommended by numerous moral journals, is the "humble striver."
The idea of this method is that no matter how lowly your job, humbly strive to be a past-master at it.
Which recalls the story of the gutter-sweeper in a far country, who decided to be the best gutter-sweeper in the world. For years he swept as no other man could sweep, until, one day, the Grand Hokum, going through the streets, passed the remark: "My word, that gutter is clean! Who cleaned it?"
And the Deputy-Commissioner for Gutters replied: "Sire, I believe it was the slave, Bill Smith."
And the Grand Hokum said: "Has he a cat?"
And the Chief Broom Stacker answered—
"Yea, sire, a beaut!"
"Then make him Lord Mayor!" said the Grand Hokum, and passed on.
You see how the good and faithful worker is rewarded!
Then again, there was the nut-screwer who worked in an automobile factory, and didn't even have a name, but was called "Number 74."
All he did was to screw a nut on a steel plate when it was thrown at him.
And they were thrown at him at the rate of twenty-five a minute.
You would think with so much spare time on his hands that the nut-screwer would get careless and discontented.
But not Number 74!
He set out to be the best nut-screwer in the factory, and took steel plates home with him after his work was done, and got his wife to throw them at him, and he practised far into the night.
And as time went on, the foreman noticed him, and told the chief foreman about It. And the chief foreman told the sub-manager of the department, and so it went on until at last the Great Managing Director was brought to see the nimble nut-screwer at work.
"How long," he said to Number 74, "have you been screwing nuts?"
"Fifteen years, sir."
"You are a good nut-screwer?"
"I am the best nut-screwer in the world, sir."
And the great man said "H'm!" and walked away.
And number 74 drew a deep breath and shook hands with himself, and wondered if he would be made a director straight away, or if he would have to spend a short time as sub-manager.
And later, the foreman came to him, and said, "I have a message for you."
And Number 74 smiled.
"As you are the best nut-screwer in the world," said the foreman, "I am directed to tell you that you will be kept on the nut-screwing staff indefinitely, provided that you are of good behavior, and don't slacken off, or get sick, or cheeky, or anything like that."
And Number 74 said, "Thank you," very feebly, and fell on his spanner and died.
And they threw his useless body out of the way, and engaged another nut-screwer.
Which shows you that virtue is its own reward.
A good argument is like an avalanche. It starts easily, gathers speed quickly, embraces everything in its downward swoop, bystanders, passers-by and casual loiterers, mows down tempers, courtesy and morals; leaps and richochets from one point to another and finishes with a grand crash which necessitates the calling of the ambulance and the police.
That is a good argument.
But countless puerile discussions take place every day in which the participants all keep their tempers down and their coats on, and generally behave in a manner which is a slur on the very name of argument.
Of what earthly use is an argument if you don't lose your temper?
What is more convincing than a punch on the nose? Nothing. Unless it's a rabbit-killer on the back of the neck.
The right and ability to argue is one of Nature's, greatest gifts to man, and should not be toyed with.
Despite the illustrious example set by some of our public men in high places, there are still people totally unable to expound a difference of opinion in the proper manner.
Can you think of anything more inspiring than a member of the Legislative Assembly calling his honorable opponent a lying, banana-spined pole-cat, and offering to bash his honorable face in when he got the honorable blank outside?
Can you? You can! All right.
It is sickening to hear the despicable tactics of low-grade arguers.
They will offer to bet you a pound that you are wrong. "Money up, or shut up," is their chant.
If a pound can win an argument, why are we not all stricken to dumb, awed, submissive silence, when passing the Commonwealth Bank?
They drag in irrelevant details with the proud air of a tom-cat dropping a dead rat on the breakfast-table.
"The milkman's brother said, and he ought to know—"
What the deuce has the milkman's brother got to do with Kay's dismissal from the Meat Board?
And the backing and filling.
"Didn't you say soandso and soandso a while ago!" you point out, triumphantly.
"Oo! I never said anything of the kind!
Enough of these incompetents. I have a pleasant memory of two, elderly men, retired from the strenuous activities of life, who regularly met in Hyde Park to argue on the advantages and disadvantages of federation. They kept it up for years.
Each day would find them there. Perhaps one, having thought of a particularly telling point in the night watches, would arrive early and wait, fuming with impatience, for the other. And so they wrangled on through the years, until one day, one of them, in the middle of a very heated passage, was stricken with apoplexy and succumbed.
The last words he said were:
"Absolute rot! You're a liar!"
The other old gentleman, after vainly trying to carry on the argument by talking to himself, simply pined away.
The night he died there was a terrific thunderstorm and the lightning and hailstones that flew about have left me convinced that there is an after-life.
But the fact stands out.
It is personality that counts in an argument.
Facts, logic, reason, eloquence, all have their place, but personality is the thing. Be eloquent if you can. Be logical if your side of the argument will stand it. You may even be reasonable to a certain extent. State your facts, drive them home. If you run out of facts, invent some, and drive them home, too.
But, best of all, exert your personality.
Face your man. Look him in the eye. Take off your coat. Roll up your sleeves. Ask him, firmly, if he still thinks he is right.
If he puts his face close up to yours, glares at you, and says he's SURE he's right—let him have his way.
Freedom of speech is a wonderful thing; every man is entitled to his own opinions; some people are not worth arguing with, and, anyhow, the loss of one argument is neither here nor there.
Go to a gymnasium and learn the principles of debate. Then try again.
Six feet two inches long, and weighing 232 pounds, a groper pulled a rowing-boat with three men in it about the Clarence River, below Grafton, for 20 minutes before the fishermen were able to drag it close enough to the boat to secure it with a piece of wire through its gills.
THEN there was the bait. A green prawn, weighing 180lb., including sinker, was cast off the rocks at Bondi and immediately swam off, taking with it the fisherman, his two companions, and the rocks.
Crashing into the Malolo (which sank immediately), the bait continued, until finally it was taken by a groper, which was first thought to be Tasmania.
Passing Africa, the three fishermen, who had been floating without an excuse between them on the rocks for five days, decided to haul in the line. The hook and sinker had gone.
The long swim back to Bond! left them exhausted, and a kindly native revived them with a few rums.
Ultimately they arrived home. And their wives said, "FISHING!"
And a few other things.
(Don't miss our next issue. Every weekend!)
This site is full of FREE ebooks - Project Gutenberg Australia