"'Towrists,'" said George Alfred Applecrop, as he reclined on a luxuriant heap of freshly-cut bracken. "Chris'mas an' Easter towrists - Wot? No; I never cut this bracken. How could I? Young Dick done that; an' he was all for leavin' it spread all over the paddick. I had an awful argument to git him this bit of a heap into this shed, so I could git a chance, on an' off, to rest me bad back out of sight of the kitchen winder.
"You see, my wife, Em'ly, ain't got wot you might call a sympathetic nacher. She's all for sayin' that wot made me back a bit worse was jist a little game of pitch-an'-toss, when that bit of mild exercise is jist the thing to do a man's back good.
"It was sittin' up makin' out them towrist bills wot reely done me back in. But Em'ly's got idears - Aw never mind that now. Wot was it you was gassin' about? Oh, yes; towrists.
"Well, take it from me, as the owner an' pre-prietor of a high-class country boardin' house, that towrists is about the most contrairy lot of coots that ever comes out of the city to wake the eckers of the virgin forest with their huntin' call of 'Cooee'!
"Now, I've arsked about a hundred bushmen the reel meanin' of this 'ere word 'cooee' wot ev'ry towrist gits yellin' as soon as he smells a gum-tree; but not one of them bushmen knew. The best anser I could git was that it was a sorta yelp or yell caused by the bite of the jumper ant; w'ich is pretty thick in this districk; or else a kinda cry of joy caused by sniffin eukerlyptis in quantities sufficient to predoose intoxication. Anny'ow, I dunno.
"But wot riles me the most is the way these here towrists never can git the right sorts weather to soot 'em. Here we had wot you might call ideal towrist weather both Chris'mas an' Easter this year. But Chris'mas was too hot for the ice-cream makers, an' Easter was too fine for the shopkeepers.
"Wot I want to know is why do these people want to be towrists if ideal towrist weather don't suit 'em.
"Now, take the Easter just gone by. Most of the people we had here was shopkeepers; an' first thing ev'ry mornin' they'd stick their heads out the door an' say, 'Wot a perfickly gorgis day.' Then they'd shake their heads an' say, 'But the country does want rain bad; it's awful crook for trade.'
"Then, after breakfast, 'stid of gettin' outdoors to injoy the ideal towrist weather, they stopped bein' towrists an' become city shopkeepers, an' sat around gittin' under Em'ly's feet till she lorst 'er temper an' worked it orf on me.
"Aw, they give me the joes! All excep' one little fat chap with a big nose wot was all crinkled up with a grin all the time he was here.
"'Ah that beautiful sun!' he'd yell ev'ry mornin'. 'See how hot he shines; and I hope ev'ry day he shines hotter and hotter.'
"I found out afterwards he was the boss of the 'Bonzer Soots for Bathin' Beauties', an' the way that man loved the sun was reely touchin'.
"Him an' me got to playin' pitch an' toss in the shed here afterwards, so as to keep outer the heat of the sun an' the eye of Em'ly. An', of course, Em'ly has got to go orf pop again jist becos I dipped into the copper money in the pink vase on the mantelpiece.
"I never lost moren three an' sevenpence any'ow. But the way Em'ly done a song an' dance about it you'd think a man had done in a forchin.
"He was a reel nice man that little fat chap - the only towrist I ever come to like even if he did know a bit too much about pitch an' toss.
"Hey! Is that Em'ly's footstep? Gimme a hand up, will you? An' pertend to be helpin' me look for that penny the little fat man lost ... Hello, Em'ly. We was just lookin' for that copper - Oh, you found it yerself, did yeh? Well, you keep it, ole girl, just to show there's no bad feelin's. Gosh! My back's feelin' awful today!"
|Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2003|