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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 7, Issue 6 (October 1, 1932.)

The Flying of Spring

page 12

The Flying of Spring

Microbes and Hike-robes.

The microbe of mystery continues to combine with the hike-robe of history, in amalgamating highway, railway, sun-ray, and hooray, into one great leg of notions and exploration of exaltation. Week by week the plot grows thicker than a welter-weight's ear. Mystery trains have begotten mystery brains, and the serum of secret service seeps steadily into the sapience of the sedulous servants of steam. The fever of fancy fructifies in the fun-foundry of the triple-expansionists, and mystery follows mystery like a band of stringed sausages. In fact so secretive and maddened by mystery have some of the servants of stipulated steam become, that when they leave hearth and home o' mornings their wives never know whether they are bound for toil or Turkestan.

Miscellaneous Mystery.

What we want is more miscellaneous mystery, such as mystery meals, mystery clothes, mystery jobs, mystery marriages and mystery divorces. Of course mystery meals have always been with us from the moment the Crusaders invented the hot-cross bun for putting it across their victims, and the Scots terrorised the Picts with oat cakes delivered by hand. Even in modern times the mystery meal is not uncommon among newly-weds and and nearly-deads. In fact it has been acclaimed in a well-known Landlady's Lullaby called “Hash-a-buy-baby.” But if every meal were wrapped in mystery like eggs and income tax, gastronomy would be as interesting as astronomy insofar as determining the identity of strange bodies in the great wide outer spaces. We would have porridge dried and shaped like straw hats, stew tied in bundles like kindling wood, pig's feet with spats on, blanc-mange with the shivers extracted, pickled gherkins with the jerks jerked out, whitebait boiled in blacking, black-pudding boiled in whiting, and Irish stew with a Scots accent. Every meal would be preceded by a guessing competition known as a “menumystic”—something such as “what is it that looks like a blushing banana, sounds like a cold day, tastes like a hot time, and is often ‘pickled’ but never ‘stewed,’” the answer being, of course, “a chilli.”

Mystery clothes are not unknown, but mystery at present is confined to feminine fashions, the main mystery being why some of them were ever fashioned at all. But there is scope for the Tailor and Cutter to cut a dash with men's mystery suits; say, something in the shape of a sausage-skin suit of cross-word puzzle pattern, with the seat in front, the hip pocket over the heart, and a spare leg for hikers. There would be two main mysteries attached to every suit—the first being how to get into it, and the second how to get out of it.

Mystery jobs would be better than none at all. They would be advertised something as follows: “Applications are invited for position of irresponsibility with unestablished firm of hot-air merchants. Applicants must have no knowledge of anything, and must be prepared to travel in all directions without knowing where they are going. Duties and salary a complete mystery.”

page 13
“Sea boots for hiking on the high seas.”

“Sea boots for hiking on the high seas.”

Mystery marriages might prove popular. It is a mystery why some marriages are made even to-day, but the real mystery marriage would be rather a mirage than a marriage. The bride, the groom, and the time and the place would be kept a dark secret until they were all simultaneously arraigned before the halter. The accident of birth would have nothing on the accident of marriage, and there would be no time to be sorry until it was all over, which is a great advantage.

A Trill to “Thrill.”

Taking it all in all, the element of surprise would predominate, and no man would know where he stood, any more than he does now. Let us trill a thrill to mystery, tortuous and twisty:

Give us mystery, give us thrill,
Let us take the patent pill
Of uncertainty—suspense,
With exciting consequence.
Let us live excitingly,
Never knowing where we'll be,
Why we're going, when or how,
What in fact the Fates allow.
Make the morrow fraught with chance,
And with secret circumstance.
At the present time we borrow
Just a little of to-morrow
From to-day, and guess a portion
Of the usurer's extortion.
But let's make our lives exciting,
By deliberately inciting
All the imps of imperception,
For our personal deception.
Let us mysticate our morrows,
Let us segregate our sorrows,
Let us wrap our future doings in a pall—
Trains and trousers, meals and houses,
Marriage vows and benzine bowsers,
Let us put a mist of mystery on them all.
Let us put a cloak of mystery,
Dark, oblique, obtuse and twistery,
On our little daily doings while we will,
Such as sweethearts wives and wages,
And so make successive pages
Of our Book o' Life provide a perfect thrill.

The History of Hikery.

Speaking of thrills, apparently to-day is the heyday of hikery. The world has lost its finance but found its feet. But man has always hiked, tramped, walked, wandered, padded the hoof, and added the proof to the ancient adages that “man cannot live by speed alone,” and “a ramble a day keeps the doctor away.” In our youth we never hiked, but we walked a lot. Later, when we found that we could bound along the bitumen on “baloons” we walked a lot less. Now we walk because we don't have to. Hiking is as historic as paregoric. The Wandering Jew lived to a ripe old age through wandering, although he often wondered why he wandered. Lot walked a lot. Alexander wandered a good deal, and one of his descendants still “wanders” at times.

The world must have been a great hikery before the hollows got filled up with water. Now hiking is restricted to one piece of hikescape at a time. With mystery trains rushing hikers from one hike-spot to another
“In the spring the old grow young.”

“In the spring the old grow young.”

page 14 the time is approaching when someone will invent sea boots, so that hikers can get their sea legs and tread water, thus fostering hiking on the high seas. Hiking puts spring into the system, and—

What is better in the spring,
Than the free hike-atic swing
From the hips, as light and airy,
Mum and dad and little Mary,
Wilberforce and uncle Herbert,
Breathe Ma Nature's soothing sherbet,
On the hills and in the hollows, Where the caterpillar wallows—
And the ring worms gently ring,
In the spring.

Spring Unions.

For this is Spring, with a capital “ring.” It is the union of the bursting bud and the budding “burst,” fresh greens and fresh scenes, and all the little things that dis-count Dismay. For:—

In the spring the old grow young,
And the young grow younger,
And there creeps across each one
A kind of hunger,
For such psychologic solstice
As only Spring can foal—
A sort of poignant poultice
On the soul.
In the spring the turnip turns,
And the fungoids fumble
With their nighties, one by one,
While they take a tumble
To an early Scarlet Runner,
As it softly slips in gear.
And they whisper “ain't it stunner—
Spring is here.”
In the spring the baby onion,
And the wurzel, young and juicy,
Feel a beating in the brisket,

a weakend special on the railway.

a weakend special on the railway.

And come over kind of “goosey,”
And the slug, though kind of sluggish,
And the worm wrapped up in mud,
Feel the corpuscles bestirring
In their blood.
In the spring new hope takes root
In the soil of fancy,
And the magic of the sun
Works necromancy
In the hearts of Man and mangel,
Then the sluggish Slump takes wing,
With its whiskers in a tangle,
In the spring.
What is Spring but birth of hope,
Or an antiseptic soap,
With an effervescent sud,
For removing all the mud,
From the blood;
Or a tonic with a kick,
Guaranteed at once to lick
Sagging souls back into shape;
Or a method of escape
From the Jim-jams, or the ring
Of the dumbell on the wing,
That is Spring.

And so, rejuvenated reader, knowing your onions as you do, spring to it.

International Friendship

“Hands across the Sea and International Brotherhood are being highly promoted by an exchange of national flags between ourselves and the New Zealand Club of Wellington, N.Z., of which President Harry Holmes was the founder and first secretary” (says the Kiwanis News, New York). “Our flag has commenced its 15,000 mile journey and will be presented by the American Consul-General. The arrival of the Antipodean Ensign will be awaited with interest and celebrated fittingly.” (Since the above was written, the American flag has been presented, with due honours, to the New Zealand Club.)