The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 4, Issue 11 (June 1, 1930)
More Madness And Fuddled Philosophy
The Works of Man.
Dear reader, man admits with acclamation that he is the epitome of anthropological acumen and biological brilliance—in fact the biggest and brownest bun produced by cosmic cookery; and certainly, when one considers the multifariousness of his mundane mechanism, he seems compact and complete; apparently nothing has been omitted from his body-work which might have been added with advantage, and nothing has been added which might have been subtracted. He sports no decorative doo-dahs, futile fizz-gigs, or exotic extras, and in fact, is a euphony of utility.
Take, for instance, those whiskery what-nots which act as eaves for his eyes; can even Henry afford to boast that he embellished His Lizzie with eyebrows? By the seven brands of the bounding bedstead, he can Not.
But reluctantly, we must admit that the facial filaments aforesaid have of late been maltreated by certain false females; it is only too true that the beautiful Beatrice has had them peremptorily plucked and supplanted by pseudonymous substitutes which look as near to Nature as whiskers on a whale; but in the main, man shrinks from such vile vandalism. Scotland, for instance, refuses to be brow-beaten; Caledonia condemns this particular brand of “plucking,” with a spirit which is proof (over-proof in fact) that no matter how Scotch a Scotsman may be, he'll never scotch his eyebrows—he realises that Mother MacNature produced these bushy buffers on the Border of his brows to prevent his bonnet from skidding all over his map, and obscuring possible “spots” before the eyes; thus the subtle significance of that Highland harmony, Blue Bonnets over the Border. How, think you, historical reader, could he have won the Battle of Bannockburn with one hand clutching his bonnet and the other holding the cork in his esprit de corps? Well might We absorb the spirit of Scotland in full measure—or at the very least, in ninepenny nips, for not only does Scotland venerate its eyebrows as a hirsute hatrack, but also as a sanctuary for songsters; it is said to be not uncommon to hear the liquid notes of Scotland's national warblers or burblers—the bearded bagpiper and the red-beaked gargler—issuing from the hirsute herbage abaft the binnacles of some kilted clansman, as the sun staggers to rest behind the distilleries.
The Stuff that Screams are Made Of.
The Boys of the Cold Brigade.
On the other hand, it is more than likely that you are just one-of-us, the grated majority, the boys of the cold brigade, the febrile fugitives from forceps; truly, trembling reader, speaking inci-dentally, “the darkest hour is before the door,” as doubtless you know, unless time and a complete top-and-bottom set have mercifully obliterated memory.
Undoubtedly, dentists are men of Probity, but they are usually so Boring; they dig into things so ruthlessly and often drag the very worst out of you.
Vain for you to recollect what Nelson said at Trafalgar, what the Governor of North Carolina remarked to the Governor of South Carolina, or what the Spartan boy didn't say when the wolf under his waistcoat took advantage of his good nature; hopeless to mouth with Sidney Cartonish candor: “'Tis a far far better fling that I have now than ever I have had before,” or words with similar defects; for, from the moment you are parked in the dentist's pull-pit, and he unships his cuffs, jacks you up, lifts your bonnet and dives in among the molars, you are for all practical purposes merely a jawbone under gas, or a faceful of fixings for dental distraction and extraction; you are in the hands of a maddened molarist, a barbarous bicuspidist; infuriated with fungoid fancies, he ropes himself securely and climbs into your face; he lowers himself into that cavity your tongue has told you is as wide as your views on Sunday excursions and as deep as the deeps; you feel him prospecting with a pick, and then he gets down to the root of things with a pneumatic drill; he maltreats your molars with a maul, biffs your biscuspids with abandon, and incites your incisors to insurrection. You feel that he has taken a look into your soul and found you wilting, and you are only thankful that he has not attempted to unship your jaw and reassemble it more to his fancy.
If only that great frictional fictionist, Mr. Headgear Walruss had studied the terrors of tuggism in his youth, what horrors he could have added to his I-scream specials! Think of such toothsome titles as:
The Boy with the Broken False-setto.
The Devil's Acher.
The Dreadful Hour.
The Terror of the Evil Eye-tooth.
Led to the Chair.
It is moments like this,—but enough of these gumbroils, these dental dolors; let us ponder on pleasantries such as hey-days and pay-days, cash-as-cash-can, and other healthful sports and pastimes.
Work Without Whiskers.
A pastime, frisky reader, is an expenditure of energy regardless of expense, perspiration in combination with inspiration, toil with oil, and work without whiskers; recreation is recreation and not wreck-creation, as some melancholy “toilunatics” would have it. It is quite true that “all work and no play makes Jack a killjoy.” “The play's the thing” quoth Shakespeare, and it is well known that He was a bit of a sport.
Life itself is a pastime, serious reader—the fine old game of blind man's bluff; the bluffer the “bluff” the better the blind.”
It is vain to squawk at the Squawkies, air our objections to aeroplanes, or ostracise Oxfords.
The world has always been modern; Jacob was considered slightly futuristic and a bit over the fence when he wore his coat-of-many-colours, and Henry the Eighth was a little before his time. Personally, it is my secret sorrow that I have never worn a beret. Of course you know what a beret is; it is a sort of bedspread for a deadhead, a counterpane to counter brain —a veritable vacuum-screener; but still, envious reader, who is there, here present, who would not amputate his chin-ware, have his face sifted, and throw in his old age pension, to wear a beret? There are few of we moderns who would not be wee moderns.
Make me a child again,
Just for to-night,
Give me a brain again,
Light as a kite,
Singe off my whiskers,
And give me some hair,
Fill up my skull,
With a pint of hot air.
Give me a motor-bike,
Make me a sheik,
Earning a quid and
A quarter a week,
Give me a pillion,
Give me a “Jane,”
Something that's modern,
And not very sane,
Bag me some Oxfords,
An over-size pair,
Give me—oh give me,
A Beret To Wear.
An Interview with an Engine.
Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing the Duchess of Thorndon, who was acting “in loco parentis” to some of the younger branch of the family; the subject touched on was modern modes and manners. The Duchess happened to be in the yard, cooling off at the tank after (as she explained) a hard cross-country run, in which she had led her personal train the whole way; she was smoking and panting freely, and at first I thought she looked faily well oiled, but I discovered that this is just her permanent way of acting. She is really an iron-bound aristocrat, but at times she gets a bit hot and is liable to boil over; however, I waited politely until she had let off steam and got over her pressure. She is a dear old hot-head—one of the tender class. As usual she looked charming in glistening black which shewed off her graceful lines admirably. She hummed quietly to herself for a moment before answering my query.
“I've no objection,” she murmured “To young people, well—putting on a bit of speed; I've done it myself and can still do it when I like.” She chuckled deeply and sighed. “Of course,” she continued, “it's all right as long as it's on the level, but the question is, can these moderns last long enough to make the grade. I must admit that I've been—well, not exactly fast—say swift, in my day; but I've always known where to stop, and have never ignored the signals of common sense; I am not what you would call narrow, by any means, and I believe in running on broad lines, but I Do think it is very foolish for many of the present generation to leave the rails as they do; they expose themselves to all sorts of dangers careering round without restraint, and leaving the path of security. These days you've got to be on your metal. When I think of the thousands and thousands I have drawn to safety, and the fun they have had out of me, and the comfort I've given them—well, it warms me to think of it. But bless their hearts, I am not worrying about a few who have strayed from the straight and narrow gauge; they invariably return; quality always tells, and in their hearts they simply can't help loving me—and they know that they are always sure of a sterling welcome. Oh yes, the Duke's quite fit, thank you— slight palpitation yesterday, but going strong again—pip, pip, young man, give my regards to the guards.”page break
Chichester's Home Coming
(Rly. Publicity photo.)
Mr. F. C. Chichester, of Wellington, New Zealand, whose recent solo flight from London to Sydney was acclaimed as one of the most notable achievements in aviation history, was accorded an enthusiastic welcome by the citizens of Wellington on his arrival from Sydney by the Maunganui on 11th February. The illustrations shew: Top (left), the airman superintending the unloading of his 'plane; (right), ladies wearing the colours of the Wellington. Aero Club showering the airman with confetti as he stepped down the gangway of the Maunganui; (centre), group of representative citizens at the reception.—Front row (left to right): Mr. R. A. Wright, M.P., Councillor T. C. A. Hislop, Mr. F. C. Chichester, Mr. G. A. Troup (Mayor of Wellington), the Hon. W. B. Taverner (Minister of Railways), and Councillor W. H. Bennett. Below (right), Mr. Chichester and the Mayor of Wellington proceeding to the Town Hall for the official reception, and (left) the gathering outside the Town Hall, shewing the airman (centre) after the reception.