Tales of Old Newton Races


Never shall I forget it as he sang: “Whats the reason, daddy, that I cant see like you? I often wonder what youre like, I know youre kind and true. Mother says, Gods will be done, and every night I pray, That he will give me back my sight, to see the light of day.” “For the first time in my life it was then I saw my dad cry, but Nellie it was who saw it first, blind though she was. “Dont cry, Daddy, said Nellie. The man doesnt know, or he wouldnt sing that, would he, Felix? “He would not, Nellie, I said. Nobody would hurt dad if they, could avoid it. “It certainly had hurt dad, as he went in the house and left Nellie with me. Not only had the kiddies heard Nellie asking dad not to cry, but the singer had also noticed it, as he at once stopped and came to me for an explanation. I soon enlightened him, and he asked could he have a word with dad, so I went and asked dad. “Lets hear what hes got to say, Felix, answered dad. He cant make things harder for me to bear. “I invited the two street artistes in, while Nellie went playing with the other children in the street; mother, dad and I listened to what the singer had to tell us. He commenced by telling us that in England they would be looked upon as a couple of buskers,” and no doubt, he said, we are buskers, but with a difference.

From a monetary point we have no need to do busking, it is so that I might Jive we have taken it up. I was in the first stage of consumption when my doctor ordered me away, and where I went everything possible was done for me. I wanted for nothing, yet I seemed to be going gradually worse. Medicine was no use, and specialists said all that was possible was being done for me. It was evident money was not going to save me. One day my best pal here (he pointed to his mate) came to see me at the sanatorium and explained a way that he thought would save me. What you want, Jim, is an interest in life, but a different interest altogether from what you have been brought up to. Reverse things completely. No use being a director of a company or a manager of some department in the many works you could get into, these positions would be of no interest to you after about a fortnight. Let us take up an interest that will take you out of yourself for a twelvemonth or so. Im willing to try anything, Joe, I said. Now what do you suggest? “Busking, Joe replied. “Busking? I said. Joe, our people would never listen to it. You know, Joe, I thank you for doing your best for me, but is there nothing else besides busking? What would be thought of me singing in the streets after all the money that has been spent on my singing lessons. It was then that Joe took the bull by the horns, so to speak, as he replied: If you dont go singing on the streets, Jim, you will be singing in heaven long before Ill be there to accompany you on the harp. We shall go out to Australia ; Ill bring my banjo, you the bones, and you must sing to live. Every day will be different, and the mode of living will be the reverse of what you are used to. Above all, I firmly believe you will return a cured man. “I thought Joes scheme over and decided to give it a trial, and I also got my parents to agree that Joe and I should have an extended holiday in Australia. “Of course, we told no one about us going to do busking, as it was Joes secret remedy, and we intended to keep it secret. “Our twelve months is almost up, but we have decided to spend this next winter here, and I feel confident I will be completely cured.” After telling you that little bit about ourselves, I think you will understand why I sing that song, The Light of Day. “Some people, in fact, nearly everyone, would think that I sing it merely to touch them or get on the soft side of them before we make our collection. Believe me, it is nothing of the sort; money is no object to either of us. I sing the song with the full conviction that as God has given back my health to me He can give to others their sight back to see the light of day. “0 YE OF LITTLE FAITH.” “ut you see, mister, my mother said, Nellie was born blind. “My good woman, replied the singer, one of the lines runs Mother says Gods Will be done. “Please dont let it be said of mother, 0 ye of little faith. Without faith very little can be accomplished, and although I cannot suggest to you any ways or means to get back her sight, I honestly believe that by prayer and faith God will reveal one of his wondrous ways in performing another of His every-day miracles and she will see the light of day. “What I am going to tell you now, continued the singer, I dont suppose many people would agree with me, and that is I dont believe it is Gods fault that any child is born blind, deformed, or deficient in any shape or form. His work is perfect. Did you ever hear of a cow or a horse being born blind? True enough, such things as kittens, puppies, rabbits, etc., and birds are all born blind in a sense, but God sees to it to give them their sight to see the light of day. ” You dont see born-blind dogs running about the streets or blind birds flying in the air, and from these alone I arrive at my own conclusion?that it is not Gods fault anyone is born blind. Faith will move mountains. “After dad and mother had expressed their gratitude to the. singer for his encouraging words, the two buskers went on their way rejoicing. “That very night,” continued Felix (who was still telling us three lads this story in his tent, dont forget), ” I went to our doctor and told him almost word for word what the street singer had told us. ” The only thing I can suggest, Felix, is to have her examined by a specialist, said the doctor, and I can arrange for her to go to one in Sydney if you like, but I think it is throwing money away. The fee would, of course, have to be paid beforehand, so you might think about it and then let me know. “Ill let you know, doctor, in the course of a few days. “At that I left him, and as I was coming home I saw a bill on the hoardings announcing that Frank Slavin, one of the worlds champion prize-fighters, would give anyone ?5 whom he failed to knock out in three rounds.

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