Henry Alfred Applecrop, of the "Home from Home" bush boarding-house, lolled in the lee of a sunlit haystack, poured out his wisdom to his confidant, the monosyllabic and cherubic Mr Budd.
A few yards away a basket containing three eggs lay on the ground, placed there, evidently at a moment of exhaustion that had overcome its bearer during his daily round of strenuous egg gathering.
Further away still, a slant-eyed, soft-stepping dog loitered with suspicious intent, while in bitter mood, Henry Alfred, held forth on politics.
The general run of politicians, Budd, (he was saying) is a pretty good bit like aig-eatin' dawgs. Once they take to the game it's awful hard to give it up; they gets terrible clever at it; but after a while they ain't ever much good for anythin' else.
(He languidly threw a pebble at the lurking dog, which moved away a yard or two and stood, evidently in deep thought).
What with these here elections comin' on an' ev'rythin' (continued Henry Alfred) a man has got to think pretty serious about his vote an' all that, an' wot I say is you got to think in continents if you want to get things done.
You just mark them words, Budd: "Think in continents." The man wot first said that was a statesman, an' if we'd only started doin' it up this way thirty year ago when them noble words was first said, we might have got that bridge across the creek wot we been battlin' for since Strawberry was a calf . . . Hey! Hit that dawg a kick! He's after them aigs!
(The questing egg-hound, whose eager nose had almost reached the basket, retreated before the gentle "shooing" of Mr Budd, and the political economist continued).
Thinking in continents, Budd, ain't as easy as it might look. It takes practice, an' a man has got to be broad-minded. He has got to forget the village pump an' all tin-pot isshues like that.
Look at the sort of men we've voted for in this districk just because us an' them ain't able to think in continents. Ain't we been promised that bridge across the creek elections now for - Eh?
Yes, Budd, I know right enough these is Fed'ril elections, and Fed'ril members got nothin' to do with bridges. But wot's that got to do with thinkin' in continents? I suppose I'm the only man in this districk with brains enough to - Here! Aim half a brick at that pup! He nearly had 'em that time.
(Frustrated again, the persistent dawg once more retreated.)
I'm the only man with brains enough to see things on a large scale an' act accordin'. When them parliament candidates comes up this way pretty soon they'll all be gassin' about Freetrade an' protection an' bankin' an' marketin' projuice an' all that triflin' rubbish; but wot I mean to ask 'em is - Quick! Budd! Nab him! . . Gosh, it's too late now. He's et 'em.
(The triumphant dog, whose glossy coat gave evidence of a rich and nutritive daily diet, sauntered away licking his chops; and the philosopher resumed).
There you are, Budd. There's a instance, as you might say. When you're dealin' with vote-huntin' politicians you got to be thinkin' in continents. But when you're dealin' with aig-huntin' dawgs a man ought to think in aigs. My mistake. Votes is votes; but aigs is aigs. What's that?
Who am I goin' to vote for this trip? Ain't I been tellin' you. The man wot can think in continents. Australia's a continent ain't it? An' all over this here continent of Australia there's post offices, ain't there? Fed'ril post offices; an' most of 'em could do with a bit of touchin' up. All right.
Now the man I'm goin' to vote for is the man wot gives the solemn promise that he'll have a coat of paint put on our post office which is a disgrace to this districk. No paint, no vote. That's me. Continents.
Take my advice, Budd; an' if you want Australia to go ahead, think in continents -- that is, if it don't happen to a be a time when you ought to be thinkin' in aigs.
|Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2004|