Have you seen it?
About Charles
Sheep farmers & engineers
Let's build a bridge
Oops, still no sheds!
Zachariah Fee
The Governor's speech
Stamp of approval
The next generation
Look at it now
The photo album
Links and acknowledgements


Governor Hodson and the cast of
"The downfall of Zachariah Fee"


Governor Hodson's speech

Here is the text of the speech (Digitized and archived by Microsoft)


To the children of the Colony of the Falkland Islands and its Dependencies in the Town Hall, Stanley.

Delivered before the performance of his Play, "The Troubles of Santa Claus"


If this had been an ordinary party I should have begun my speech by saying, "Ladies and Gentlemen" but I feel sure if I had done this you would have been annoyed, as it seems much too formal.

I will not hide from you the fact that there is Black Magic about, so I know you will be kind and lenient if the sprites and hobgoblins use their powers and make me forget all the nice things I wish to tell you, and I am also frightened of the Magic Tune!

You are all aware that we have asked a very famous person to visit our party this afternoon, namely, Santa Claus, but I cannot tell you how my eyes have been opened since I asked this gentleman to come here. I always thought that he was a kind and placid individual, but I must inform you that this is not the case. I imagine he is getting old, and having so many places to go to at this time of the year it makes him irritable. You have no idea the worry he has caused me. My hair is turning grey. As you know, Governors are not paid overtime like so many other people are. Personally, I think it is a great shame. That is why they are so punctual in closing their offices, but lately I have had to forgo this rule! Nearly every night, long after midnight, I have been telephoning to the Wireless Station in connection with our visitor. Mr. Mercer and Mr. Lanning, I am sure, will soon go on strike, as Santa Claus is quite an impossible person to deal with. I am not going to tell you all the things he has done, but I will just relate a few of them. First of all, a few days ago, we wirelessed down to the South Pole to get into communication with his staff. After trying for two or three nights in succession, we finally received a message from his private secretary to the effect that he was playing a prolonged game of croquet with the penguins and could not possibly pay any attention to us until the game was finished. They must take a long time over their games down there if it takes three days to finish a game of croquet! Then, when this game came to an end, we were informed he had gone for a picnic with the sea-elephants and no one knew when he would return.

I then got rather annoyed and said if he did not reply at once I would report him to the Superior Court of the Fairies, who would probably punish him very severely for disappointing all the little boys and girls in this Colony.

He then replied, evidently frightened at last, that he would come if proper arrangements were made to receive him. I told him we would do everything in our power to meet his wishes in this respect. He then sent a message, a rather peremptory one, I thought, demanding a salute of 100 cannons, and the services of the Chief Constable, Mr. Sullivan, to be continually night and day at his disposal to protect him from the wizard, Zachariah Fee. He went on to say he must have a plentiful supply of penguin eggs, not the ordinary gentoo or rocky penguin, but King Penguin eggs, which, as you know, are to be found only in the neighbourhood of the South Pole.

With regard to the salute, I told him it was quite impossible for us to fire off 100 cannons, as I myself only had a salute of seventeen, and that I thought he should be content with half this number, namely, eight and a half. We wrangled over this matter for several days until at last he con descended to come if I would give him four and a quarter cannons loaded up to the muzzle to make an extra large bang. I agreed to this, as I believe all our gunners are insured and if the cannons burst, as they probably will, and blow them to pieces, their widows and children will be well provided for.

I could not go on arguing with him about the penguin eggs, so I am afraid I told a tarradiddle and said we would supply them. I will let you into a little secret and tell you what I have done, but you must promise faithfully not to tell anyone. I have got a lot of gentoo penguin eggs and painted them to look like King Penguin eggs. I only hope he will not discover it!

I really thought everything was settled, but just before coming down here this afternoon, I received a cable to say that the Wizard of the South Pole, that wicked, detestable, and cunning Zachariah Fee, about whom you all know, had escaped from his ice chamber, and that Santa Claus was terrified, and went in fear of his life. I wired imploring the latter to come here quickly. I said we would send out our launch, the "Penguin," fully armed to blow Mr. Zachariah Fee to pieces the moment he appeared on the horizon. Santa Claus thanked me for this and then nearly broke my heart by saying it had been reported to him the Town Hall was warmed by central heating and that it was beneath his dignity to enter any room unless he could descend by a chimney full of smuts. So the position now is very critical as I do not know who will arrive first, Zachariah Fee or Santa Claus, and when the latter does come and sees there is no chimney, he may pass on as he is such a touchy individual, but I am tempting him, he is sure to be hungry after such a long journey, by putting a large, blown, King Penguin egg outside the front door with a stuffed King Penguin beside it. These I have borrowed from the Museum, and I really believe if he is once persuaded to alight, we shall then probably be able to catch and bring him upstairs. I am afraid the Government will have to pay a large bill for all the wireless messages, and also for the hire of the reindeer we are providing him with from South Georgia to draw his chariot, and it will probably mean a supplementary estimate which the Secretary of State may object to but still we will not grumble at this, will we, if he actually turns up?

When I look around and see so many charming young ladies present, I regret more than I can say that I have forgotten one thing, and that a very important thing, i.e. a large bunch of mistletoe!

You will notice that, although I told you the hour to come, I did not mention anything about the time you should go. I did this with a purpose, as I want you to stop as long as ever you like so that you may thoroughly enjoy yourselves. You will, however, have to be very nice to the members of the two bands in order that they do not get tired and go off too soon. I use up a lot of wind talking, but they use far more blowing down their long instruments, and you have no idea how lowering and weakening it is! Now, in conclusion, let me remind you that "Christmas comes but once a year, and when it comes it brings good cheer," and my most sincere hope is that your cup of happiness will be so full this evening that it will overflow and make other people happy, too.

Previous page Next page