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A Wild Irishman
by [?]

‘”Take your hats off and come in quietly, lads,” said the Flour. “Here’s the lovely man lying dead in his bunk.”

‘There were no sports at Orewell that New Year. Some one said that the crowd from Nelson Creek might object to the sports being postponed on old Duncan’s account, but the Flour said he’d see to that.

‘One or two did object, but the Flour reasoned with them and there were no sports.

‘And the Flour used to say, afterwards, “Ah, but it was a grand time we had at the funeral when Duncan died at Duffers.”

. . . . .

‘The Flour of Wheat carried his mate, Dinny Murphy, all the way in from Th’ Canary to the hospital on his back. Dinny was very bad–the man was dying of the dysentery or something. The Flour laid him down on a spare bunk in the reception-room, and hailed the staff.

‘”Inside there–come out!”

‘The doctor and some of the hospital people came to see what was the matter. The doctor was a heavy swell, with a big cigar, held up in front of him between two fat, soft, yellow-white fingers, and a dandy little pair of gold-rimmed eye-glasses nipped onto his nose with a spring.

‘”There’s me lovely mate lying there dying of the dysentry,” says the Flour, “and you’ve got to fix him up and bring him round.”

‘Then he shook his fist in the doctor’s face and said–

‘”If you let that lovely man die–look out!”

‘The doctor was startled. He backed off at first; then he took a puff at his cigar, stepped forward, had a careless look at Dinny, and gave some order to the attendants. The Flour went to the door, turned half round as he went out, and shook his fist at them again, and said–

‘”If you let that lovely man die–mind!”

‘In about twenty minutes he came back, wheeling a case of whisky in a barrow. He carried the case inside, and dumped it down on the floor.

‘”There,” he said, “pour that into the lovely man.”

‘Then he shook his fist at such members of the staff as were visible, and said–

‘”If you let that lovely man die–look out!”

‘They were used to hard-cases, and didn’t take much notice of him, but he had the hospital in an awful mess; he was there all hours of the day and night; he would go down town, have a few drinks and a fight maybe, and then he’d say, “Ah, well, I’ll have to go up and see how me lovely mate’s getting on.”

‘And every time he’d go up he’d shake his fist at the hospital in general and threaten to murder ’em all if they let Dinny Murphy die.

‘Well, Dinny Murphy died one night. The next morning the Flour met the doctor in the street, and hauled off and hit him between the eyes, and knocked him down before he had time to see who it was.

‘”Stay there, ye little whipper-snapper,” said the Flour of Wheat; “you let that lovely man die!”

‘The police happened to be out of town that day, and while they were waiting for them the Flour got a coffin and carried it up to the hospital, and stood it on end by the doorway.

‘”I’ve come for me lovely mate!” he said to the scared staff–or as much of it as he baled up and couldn’t escape him. “Hand him over. He’s going back to be buried with his friends at Th’ Canary. Now, don’t be sneaking round and sidling off, you there; you needn’t be frightened; I’ve settled with the doctor.”

‘But they called in a man who had some influence with the Flour, and between them–and with the assistance of the prettiest nurse on the premises–they persuaded him to wait. Dinny wasn’t ready yet; there were papers to sign; it wouldn’t be decent to the dead; he had to be prayed over; he had to be washed and shaved, and fixed up decent and comfortable. Anyway, they’d have him ready in an hour, or take the consequences.