There was a hearty round of applause at this song, for, as Bunyip Bluegum remarked, “singing at breakfast should certainly be more commonly indulged in, as it greatly tends to enliven what is on most occasions a somewhat dull proceeding.”
“One of the great advantages of being a professional puddin’-owner,” said Sam Sawnoff, “is that songs at breakfast are always encouraged. None of the ordinary breakfast rules, such as scowling while eating, and saying the porridge is as stiff as glue and the eggs are as tough as leather, are observed. Instead, songs, roars of laughter, and boisterous jests are the order of the day. For example, this sort of thing,” added Sam, doing a rapid back-flap and landing with a thump on Bill’s head. As Bill was unprepared for this act of boisterous humour, his face was pushed into the Puddin’ with great violence, and the gravy as splashed in his eye.
“What d’yer mean, playin’ such bungfoodlin’ tricks on a man at breakfast?” roared Bill.
“What d’yer mean,” shouted the Puddin’, “playing such foodbungling tricks on a Puddin’ being breakfasted at?”
“Breakfast humour, Bill, merely breakfast humour,” said Sam, hastily.
“Humour’s humour,” shouted Bill, “but puddin’ in the whiskers is no joke.”
“Whiskers in the Puddin’ is worse than puddin’ in the whiskers,” shouted the Puddin’, standing up in his basin.
“Observe the rules, Bill,” said Sam hurriedly. “Boisterous humour at the breakfast table must be greeted with roars of laughter.”
“To Jeredelum with the rules,” shouted Bill. “Pushing a man’s face into his own breakfast is beyond rules or reason, and deserves a punch in the gizzard.”
Seeing matters arriving at this unpromising situation, Bunyip Bluegum interposed by saying, “Rather than allow this happy occasion to be marred by unseemly recriminations, let us, while admitting that our admirable friend, Sam, may have unwittingly disturbed the composure of our admirable friend, Bill, at the expense of our admirable Puddin’s gravy, let us, I say, by the simple act of extending the hand of friendship, dispel in an instant these gathering clouds of disruption. In the words of the poem—
`Then let the fist of Friendship
Be kept for Friendship’s foes.
Ne’er let that hand in anger land
On Friendship’s holy nose.’”
These fine sentiments at once dispelled Bill’s anger. He shook hands warmly with Sam, wiped the gravy from his face, and resumed breakfast with every appearance of hearty good humour.
The meal over, the breakfast things were put away in the bag, Sam and Bill took Puddin’ between them, and all set off along the road, enlivening the way with song and story. Bill regaled them with portions of the “Ballad of the Salt Junk Sarah,” which is one of those songs that go on for ever. Its great advantage, as Bill remarked, was that as it hadn’t got an ending it didn’t need a beginning, so you could start it anywhere.