Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 9, No. 8 July, 3, 1946
Slaves to the Tramp — A Study in Psych. One
Slaves to the Tramp
A Study in Psych. One
We were seated in the warm flat of the Grand Panjandrum himself, a week after the Winchcome Crossing and the ascent of Hector bad taken place; and since the blister scars and the body aches had healed, we were able to sip each of us a jorum of ale, and contemplate the penitence immediately past with placid equanimity.
"It was a good trip," said My Old with the impudent rogue smile which is practically his only asset. "Better in retrospect, though, than it was at the time."
"Member that meat extract?" broke in the Leader: "I can still smell, it, even after washing my mug five times."
"Let's go back to the beginning," said the Lawyer, showing again his passion for orderly data, "If we're going to reminisce, if might as well be done properly."
The party assented: "You tell the story, Jimmy the One." said the Leader (they had been in the Senior Service together). "The Grand Panjandrum, here, has heard a different version from each of us, and he might as well hear the correct one."
"Right Ho." said Jimmy the One. "Slop me you fellows, if I go off the rails."
"The six of us," he said, addressing the C.P.'s and his wife, who was darning the G.P.'s socks, "left Wellington by the 10.13 to Upper Hutt, with the intention—If you had believed our random conversation—of passing the entire week-end comfortably in the local inn: however, in actual fact, we spent only an hour there, since this—" he indicated the Leader, "and this—" the Lawyer) "succeeded in jacking up transport to the head of the valley along with a whole host of Boy Sprouts. . . ."
"Where this." My Old pointed to me. "disgraced itself by an altercation with a Boy Sprout, rising ten years, at least." "Sh!" I said, "Let him go on with the story."
"Once we had left temptation behind." Jimmy the One continued, "the trip was uneventful as far as Tauhere [unclear: nikau] Chateau, but there the Demon loomed up in a big way."
"How?" demanded the Panjandrum, a knowing look In his eye.
"There were women there, in a ratio of approximately six to one, and .... we happened to have six men."
"Oh." said the G.P.. "I quite understand
"But what you won't understand." said Jimmy the One. "is that none of us succumbed, but we continued, regrets notwithstanding, to Cone Saddle Hut, where there were no women—and very hard beds."
"And it was there," I interrupted, "that we first smelled the meat extract."
"Quiet." shouted the Lawyer, who had been responsible for this peculiarly unsavoury condiment.
"And there we had soup, and a great big stew—so much of it that none could move for an hour after it."
"And it was there." said My Old. "that we first beheld Archie John's cookery knife, a magnificent [unclear: weupou.] but my Pathans on Crete had better"
"The Pathans were absolutely useless." said Archie John vigorously, continuing an old argument. "I remember on patrol in Burma...."
"Yes yes." Jimmie the One wen: on hurriedly "And there we slept an [unclear: un] easy sleep with some shooter types sandwiched on either side, just as, I slept once in Brussels..... "Yes yes." said I. echoing. "We know what you did in Brussels."
"Well." he said, "in the morning we had difficulty with the clocks, and made seven o'clock start at ten which by all accounts is a little late for a tough undertaking like the Winchcombe However, we were intrepid...." "Until we came to the top of Cone." said the leader, "and then..."
"And then we struck trouble."
"Trouble?" from the G.P.. in surprised tones.
"Yes. The weather had broken black and the memory of Tauherenikau was as a dream of Paradise before our eyes."
"With the Houris in close-up. I presume," commented the G.P. with his well-known dry sarcasm.
"That was the idea. We all felt our age rather."
"And I felt the pains in me legs a-comin' on," said the Lawyer.
"But none of us," said Jimmy the One, "really liked the idea of revealing a positively decadent spirit before the others, so, as a compromise, a secret ballot was suggested. But this was rejected and inspired by a fragmentary break in the clouds, we pressed on to Neill, regardless."
"In spite of my prognostication that we might be acting very unwisely," added My Old.
"Yes. We made good going till dark, which arrived with tropic suddenness at five-thirty."
"Not a second later." corroborated My Old, facetiously.
"And then the real unpleasantness tegan. We weren't quite sure how far along this confounded ridge we'd got. There was a bump ahead, and we autistically imagined that this was Hector."
"Autistically means wishful thinking." explained My Old: "I've done Psych.. too."
"Oh shut up." said the G.P.. disparagingly: we've all done it in our time."
"Any way." said Jimmy the One, [unclear: what] with the fog and the lack of [unclear: grog and one] thing and another, each [unclear: bump turned out to be] a bump and not [unclear: Hector. And this went] on monotonously [unclear: for three] hours, with our torches [unclear: getting weaker and] weaker, our hands [unclear: frigider and frigider.] and our hunger [unclear: more] cavernous."
Thank you." I said.
"But in the end we did reach Hector." said the Lawyer, speeding things up: "and had a marvellous view over all the cities of the Wairarapa and as far as Wellington."
"It was hardly worth it though," commented My Old. "You can see electric lights practically anywhere. We've got one at home."
"And from there to Kime was only a stone's throw."
"But the hut wasn't too easy to find." said the leader. "Remember calling about in that beastly fog, Beetle?"
"Yes." I said. "And then we got into our sacks, and Archie John performed miracles with a kerosene bottle and an oh! pineapple can, so that we had hot cocoa."
"Followed by bread and butter and dreamy." said the Lawyer.
"Dreamy?" asked the G.P. in cross examination.
"Golden svrup." I interpreted.
"And the next day we and our blisters came out." finished Jimmie, laconically.
"And that's what you call an enjoy able week-end?" hypothesised the Panjandrum. "You must be mad."
"But that's what keeps the British Empire together." I said.
"Yes." he said. "And look at the British Empire!"