voices from the past


Dot and the Kangaroo

by Ethel C. Pedley (1860 - 1898)

. . . the story continues . . .

"My duty is a most painful one," said the Pelican; "for" ("whereas," said the Swallow) "the prisoner known" ("named and described," added the Swallow), "as Dot is now before you," ("to be tried, heard, determined and adjudged," gabbled the Swallow) "on a charge of cruelty" ("and feloniously killing and slaying," prompted the Swallow) "to birds and animals," ("the term not applying to horse, mare, gelding, bull, ox, dog, cat, heifer, steer, calf, mule, ass, sheep, lamb, hog, pig, sow, goat, or other domestic animal," interposed in one breath the Swallow, quoting the Cruelty to Animals Act) "she is" ("hereby," put in the Swallow) "brought to trial on" ("divers," whispered the Swallow) "charges" ("hereinafter," said the Swallow) "to be named and described by the" ("aforesaid," interjected the Swallow) "birds and animals," ("hereinbefore mentioned," stated the Swallow) "the said animals being denizens of the Bush" ("and in no wise relating to horse, mare, gelding, bull, ox " began the Swallow again, when the Cockatoo raised his crest, and screamed out "STOP THAT, I TELL YOU!" and the Pelican continued stating the charge.) "Bush law" ("enacts," said the Swallow) "that" ("whereas," prompted the Swallow) "all individual rights" ("whatsoever," put in the Swallow) "shall be according to the statute Victoria "

"Victoria! Twenty to one against the field," shouted the judge.

"Between you two," said the Pelican, looking angrily at the Swallow and the Cockatoo, "I've forgotten everything I was going to say! I shan't go on!"

"Never mind," said the Swallow cheerfully, "You've said quite enough, and no one has understood a word of the charge, so it's all right. Now then for the witnesses."

As the Swallow spoke, there was a great disturbance amongst the creatures. The swan, ducks, cranes, and water fowl, besides honeysuckers, and many other birds, were all fanning the air with their wings, and crying, "Turn him out!" "Disgusting!" "I never heard of such a thing in my life! the smell of it always gives me a headache!" and there was such a noise that the jury all woke up, and Dot covered her ears with her hands. The Cockatoo, seeing Dot's distress at the screams and hubbub, and thinking that she wanted to say something, but could not make herself heard in the general riot, decided to speak for her; so he screamed louder than all the rest, and shouted, "Apples, oranges, pears, lemonade, cigarettes, AND cigars! I say! what's the row?"

When quiet was restored, it was explained that the Opossum had brought into Court a pouch full of gum leaves, which it was eating. It had also given some to the Native Bear, and Wallaby, and in consequence the whole air was laden with the odour of eucalyptus.

"Oh, dear!" said Dot, "it smells just like when I have a cold!"

"Eating eucalyptus leaves in Court is contempt of Court," cried the Swallow and everyone echoed, "Contempt of Court! Contempt of Court! Turn them out!"

"But they are witnesses," objected the Pelican.

"That doesn't matter!" shouted the Waterfowl, "It's a disgusting smell! Turn them out!"

Chapter 11 pages:  one   two   three   four   five   six   seven   eight
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