Works in the Bulletin 1912
(That is to say, those of you that are.
For, even in the most altruistic mood, there are some I bar.)
Workers, shirkers, writers, skiters, philosophers and others,
Attend.  I address myself only to those
Of the class that habitually looketh even beyond its nose.
To him I speak who shrewdly seeketh for the milk in the cocoanut, while 
   his fellows are repeating the bald assertion that "The fruit is not yet 
Him I address who knoweth the sheep from the goats, the chaff from the oats, 
   the half-quid from the gilded sixpence, and the common sense from common 
To the "Man in the Street" I speak not, nor to the "Right-thinking Person," 
   nor "Constant Subscriber," nor "Vox Populi," nor "The Bloke on the Train," 
   nor any of their band.
For of the things I write they wot not, neither may they hope to understand.
But ye whom I, even I, presume to address as brother:-
Journalists, politicians, burglars, company promoters, miners, millers, 
   navvies, shearers, confidence-men, piano-tuners, paling-splitters, 
   bookmakers, process-workers, judges, brass-fitters, policemen and 
Attend.  Him who looketh for the hall-mark on every link, and taketh not the
   say-so of the label, nor the sworn affidavit of the pill advertisement - 
   him who hath it in him to discern the fair thing from that which is over 
   the odds, and shaketh the new-laid egg that he may know what is within it -
Him I address.  For lo, my brothers, maybe there is one of us born once a 
   week or thereabouts, but we know it is written that one of the others is 
   born every minute.
Wherefore, attend,
And lend
An ear; for I have planned for you a pleasing diversion.
Come with me, my brothers, and let us make a little excursion
Out over the land, through the cities and the country places, even to the 
   farthest limit of Back-o'-beyond.  Hearken brothers!  What are these sounds 
   we hear?
Say, what is all this babbling and gabbling, this howling and growling, this 
   muttering and spluttering, that smites the ear?
Listen again.  Do you hear them, brothers?  Lo, they are the Echoes calling.
They are the multitudinous echoes that sound up and down the land; crying and 
   sighing, squalling and bawling.
In all places they sound; in the city and in the country; upon the high 
   mountains and along the plains, wherever man hideth; and at all times, for 
   the night is loud with the sound of them even as is the day.
Listen again, brothers!  What is it that they say?
Lo, this one shouteth. "The Time is Not Yet Ripe!" And another bawleth.  
   "Capital is fleeing the Land!"  And yet another howleth, "It is 
   Inimical to Private Enterprise and Thrift!"  And yet another screameth.  
   "It will Bust up the Home and ruin the Marriage Tie!"
Why do they howl these things, my brothers?  I ask ye, why?
For lo, even as they shout, still other Echoes take up the cry till it is 
   increased and multiplied even unto 70,000 times seven;
And a howl, as of 1400 she-elephants simultaneously robbed of their young, 
   assaileth Heaven.
What say ye, brothers?  What is the inner significance of these Echoes, and 
   why do they make these divers sounds?  What say ye, brothers; is it because 
   they think?
Aha!  I apprehend ye!  I say ye - nay, verily, I heard ye wink. 
For the noise of the falling - of the flapping of your collective eyelid was 
   even as the banging of the bar door what time the clock telleth of eleven 
   thirty p.m., and the voice of Hebe murmureth through the night "Good-bye, 
   ducky."....But I digress.
Which is a characteristic failing I must confess!
But, nevertheless,
It hath its compensations, as is plain to any noodle,
When matter is paid for at space rates, for it pileth up the boodle....
However, to resume.  Let us isolate a case, my brothers.  Let us sample an 
   Echo.  Take Brown.
We all are well acquainted with Brown.  Mayhap his name is Smith or Timmins, 
   but no matter.  He is the Man in the Street.  He hath a domicile in the 
   suburbs and an occupation in town.
This Brown riseth in the morning and donneth the garments of civilisation.  In 
   hot socks he garbeth his feet, and upon his back he putteth a coat which hath 
   a little split in the tail for no sane or accountable reason.
Except that it is an echo of the first and original split that set the fashion 
   for the season.
Then he proceedeth to feed.
And simultaneously to read
His solemn, though occasionally hysterical, morning sheet, which he proppeth 
   against the cruet.
Remarking to his spouse, inter alia.  "I wish to goodness, Mirabel, you 
   wouldn't cook these things with so much suet!"
(Which rhyme, though labored, is remarkably ingenious and very rare.  For you 
   will find, if you try to get a rhyme for cruet - But let that pass.  This 
   is more digression.
Time is money; but the space writer must contrive to sneak it with discretion.)
Lo! as Brown peruseth his apper a lugubrious voice speaketh to him from out the 
Saying: "Despite the howls of demagogues and the ranting of pseudo-reformers, 
   it is patent to any close student of political economy - nay, it is obvious 
   even to the Man in the Street that the Time is Not Yet Ripe"
And Brown, with solemn gravity,
Having mainly a cavity
In that part of him where good grey matter should abide,
Pusheth the sheet aside,
And sayeth to the wife of his bosom across the breakfast dish of stewed tripe:
"Verily, this paper speaketh fair.  The time is not yet ripe!"
Now, mark ye, brothers, it is the nature of a cavity to give back that which is 
   spoken into it.  This doth it repeat.
Wherefore Brown, with rising heat,
Sayeth again: "Dammit, woman, this Labor Party will ruin the blanky country.  
   Of COURSE, the time is not yet ripe!
Where's my pipe?
And my umbrella and my goloshes?  I'll miss that train again as sure as eggs!"
Then on nimble legs
he hastest to thetrain,
And here again
he meeteth other Echoes surnamed White or Green or Black,
Each with a coat upon his back
Which hath an absurd and altogether unnecessary little split in its tail.
Brothers, do not let the moral fail.
For it is written:
If the tail of the coat of Brown be absurdly split,
So, also, shall th etails of the coats of White also Green and Black be likewise 
And if the mind of Brown with a shibboleth be smit,
So, also, shall th ealleged minds of White and Green and Black be smitten.
For, lo, they use but as hat-racks those knobs or protuberances which Nature has 
   given unto them to think with; and, even as 10,000 others of their type,
They echo again, as the train speedeth onward, the same weird cry: Lo, the 
   Cost of Living is becoming a Fair Cow!  These Trusts will have to be Outed.  
   But, as the paper says, the Referendum is a dangerous mistake.  THE TIME 
And here and there, and elsewhere, and in divers places, not mentioned in the 
   specifications, the foolish Echo echoeth and re-echoeth and echoeth even yet 
   again, till it soundeth far and near and in the middle distance from Dan to 
   Berrsheba.  Ay, even from Yarra Bend to Kow Plains:
In hundreds of trams and boats and trains;
In motor-cars and junkers and spring-carts and perambulators and hearses and 
   Black Marias; in shops and pubs and offices and cow-yards and gaols and 
   drawing-rooms and paddocks and street corners; and across counters and slip-
   rails and three-wire fences, and streets and lanes and back fences; and 
   through telephones and speaking-tubes and pipestems and weird whiskers of 
   every shade and color: up and down the land, and across it: from the mouths 
   of men of every shape and size and kind and type,
The Echo soundeth and resoundeth: "THE TIME IS NOT YET RIPE - RIPE - ripe - 
And now the Voice - the original anonymous voice that caused these divers Echoes - 
   smileth to Itself and saith: "Verily, that was a good gag.  It should help 
   to bump 'em next elections.  This unprecedented growth of Public Opinion is 
Snaggers, see if you can get a column interview with Sir Ponsonby Stodge on the 
   Obvious Inripeness of Time.
We must follow this up while we're in luck."
And the voice of the Chief Reporter answering, saith "Ribuck."
Brothers, ye have heard the Echoes.  In a multitude of words have I spoken of 
   them to ye. Have I not planned for ye a pleasing diversion?  Lo! then, when 
   the Little Blue Devil sitteth upon the right shoulder and whispereth into the 
   ear that the World is a Dead Nark; when the Spice of Life tasteth in the mouth 
   even as the stale beer of yester's revel; when the Soul wilteth for lack of 
   congenial employment;
Go ye forth and give ear unto the Echoes, and thus shall the Spirit be uplifted 
   and cheered by the fatheadedness of your fellows, and ye shall reap profitable 
   and unending enjoyment.
I say this unto ye, even I, and my word has never neem broken
More often than has been absolutely necessary or expedient considering the
   dreadful Socialistic trend of Legislation in this Country.  Lo!  I have spoken.

The Bulletin, 12 December 1912, p38

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2002-05