The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 2
Lambton Kay, Wellin'ton, September 1st, 1880
September 1st, 1880.
From a puroosal o' me Southern files I notice that some o' the papers are makin' a mighty grate noise about the small conthratongs (Frinch) that tuk place in the House a few nights ago. Now, out av frindship for me ould crony V. P., I want to ixplain the whole circumstances o' the case, so I do. The evenin' before the row I invited a few o' the boys to a small tay party an' swarry on the Kay, an' V. P., av coorse, was one o' the number. It was merely a pot-luck affair, although Molly wint to the throuble o' preparin' a few blue monges, an' yallow monges, an' thrifles, an' polonies for the occasion. Sir George an' Mac couldn't come, an' so there was only Dicky Oliver, Tommy Dick, V. P., George Jones, Shrimmy, an' a few more o' the boys prisint. Afther tay the whisky bottle was projooced as usual, an' harmony soon rained taiumphant. The first item on the program was a recitashun be Misther Oliver. Afther a few preliminery hums an' haws he gave the following varses wid grate sperrit an' effect. I pinned them down in plain vulgar English, jist the way they wor recited:—
The hour of parting's getting near, the Session's closing fast,
And from the railway employés comes forth an angry blast;
I hear their voices as they growl and grumble loud and high,
But put your trust in me, my boys, and keep your powder dry.
There was a day when honest men were paid their rightful due,
When Government protection gave to all the good and true;
When officers and employés were linked in honour's tie—
They did not put their trust in me, but kept their powder dry.
When Kawau's Knight, to do us harm, went stumping round the land,
He thought he'd win a trick from us—we held a better hand.
Our gathering spell was Johnnie's name, we piled up lie on lie,
We put our trust in him, my boys, and kept our powder dry.
Then cheer, ye hearts of Torydom, nor sink in dark despair,page 89
Although its plain that we shall not next Session be all there;
Though Mac and Grey have had their say, for them we've been too fly,
My colleagues put their trust in me and kept their powder dry.
Oh, loyal gents, for ten per cent, reduction we have roared,
Though some are scarcely paid enough to give them bed and board;
Retrenchment is our watchword, and misgovernment our cry—
Then put your trust in me, my boys, and keep your powder dry.
When Dicky finished, V. P. tould us a few racy yarns o' the diggin' days, an' wound up by callin' on Tom Dick for a stave. Misther Dick, av coorse, thried to excuse himself, but wid a little pressin' he gave way, an' warbled the followin' ballad in the silvery Dooric o' the north to a well-known chune:—
Hall Robbin Grey.
Noo, Johnny loo'ed me weel, and he socht me tae his side,
He said tae me, "Ah Tammy, lad, we'll quell Sir George's pride;
Tae mak our scats secure, we lack sic men as ye,
Sae Tammy, dear, tak' office, lad, an' join oor Ministree."
I hadna been joined a week but only twa,
When frae his Christchurch seat Sir George was turned awa;
And Johnny said, "Ah, Tammy, lad, that dodge is due tae me,"
And Hall robbin Grey was a guid sicht tae see.
Then Dicky urged me sair, though Roily didna speak;
I said, "Ma feens, ye ken fu' weel, I'm unco short o' cheek,
But here's my han', although I'm sure I'll be at sea,
I dinna ken the duties ye're expecting o' me."
I hadna been in office a week but only four,
When Atkinson, behin' me back, ca'ed me "an awfu' bore;"
But Johnny said, "Ah, Tammy, ye mauna notice he"—
And Hall robbin Grey was a guid sicht tae see.
Oh, sair did we greet, and muckle did we say,
We pocketed oor screws, and wasted day by day;
And mony a time I thocht the Ministree wad dee,
But in our hatred o' Sir George we managed tae agree;
I gang'd like a ghaist, and ilk day was growing thin,
The Country might gang tae the deil so lang as we kept in;
Tae keep the Greyites oot we heaped up lee on lee,
For Hall robbin Grey was a guid sicht tae see.
'Pon me conshinse I niver before knew that Misther Dick had sich a beautiful voice, an' the manner in which he gave the foregoin' milody ivoked tundhers av applause. George Jones thin tuk his fiddle out o' the green bag, an' played the "Rambles o' Kitty" in a manner that warmed the cockles av our hearts. In risponse to a noncore, he gave "Tatther Jack Walsh" an' "Paddies Evermore" in a style that Peg O'Ninny herself couldn't baite, so she couldn't. George had the the privilege av a call, an' faix he spotted me for a song, Not likin' to appear disagreeable, I sthruck of the followin' varses ixtomporey, on the spur o' the momint:—
Och, faix we're tould av Athens ould,page 90
Where Soak-red-tays the anshint flourished;
An' sure wid Rome we're all at home,
Where gods an' goddesses wor nourished;
Amerikay lies far away,
Twas there they grew the first tobakey,
It's lovely clime don't claim me rhyme,
Me thaime to-night is Taranakey.
Faix that's the place me muse can thrace
The ilimints av grate progresshun;
It's quite as nice as Paradise—
So Thomson tould me in the Session,—
Its fertile lands an' iron sands
For profits baite grate Paryhakey;
The divil a spot, begog there's not
On airth to aiquil Taranakey.
Let Auckland blow, bedad we know
It's jist like Christchurch an' Dunaidin;
An' Wellin'ton, its day is done;
Sure Taranakey now is laidin'.
First in the race, ther's not a place,
From Bay av Plinty to Moerakey,
Can take such rank; 'twould rob a bank
To furnish tin for Taranakey,
Be the time me ditty was inded, the kittle was bilin' agin', and the glasses wor impty, so they wor. Round afther round followed one another in quick succession, an' the long an' the short av it was that Molly had to make up a shake down for V. P. on the sofey, while I had to sind for a spicial ixpriss to take the rest o' the boys to the Oxidental, where they got beds for the night. Av coorse this little ippysode ixplains the small scene in the House on the following evenin'. People who forsake "John Collins" in the mornin' afther a swarry an' tuke to Absint (this is a Frinch biverage) are likely to get Absint-minded an' forget thimselves, so they are. Ye'll see be the tiligrams that the Session closes to-day, and ye'll also larn that me collaiges hadn't spunk enough to resign afther bein' baiten on the Beer Bill. 'Pon me sowl, av it wasn't that I don't want to see the counthry go to rack an' ruin, I'd lave the Kabinet at onced, so I would. Sir Hercules wants me to go along wid him to the Cape, an begorra I'm betwixt two minds whether I will or not. In the manetime I'm goin on a visit to Kawau wid Sir George, and it's likely to be a month or so before ye hear agin from yer obaijint sarvint,