A snake, two parrots and two blokes on the job

This story, which has a sad ending for the parrots, begs the question – how long does it take to get a neighbour’s assistance on the matter of a snake in your rooms?  Did Mr Jones take that long to talk the blacksmith into helping?  Or were they both seeking courage in a rum flask as they contemplated the problem on a hot night?

Sydney Gazette – 15 Dec 1805

Between the hours of 11 and 12 on Tuesday night, J. Jones of South Street was suddenly disturbed by a rustling across the floor of his apartment, wherein a cage containing two parrots hung 5 feet from the ground. Happening to look towards the cage, he saw a snake bound upwards, and enter the bars, which were not half an inch asunder, which facility, altho’  his fears at the moment magnified the reptile it felt to the size of a prodigious crocodile. By the light of a candle he soon perceived that one of  his little favourites was unperched; the snake had twined himself round the roosting bars and part of his tail was still outside. Having no implement, he could not venture to attack it singlehanded ; so calling upon the neighbourly aid of T. Storer, smith, returned after an hour’s absence, and found the the reptile in the cage, both the birds dead, and one of them nearly swallowed. A pair of tongs applied to the tail induced him to disgorge the parrot; and darting forth his head at Storer, so entangled himself, that he fell a much easier sacrifice to his temerity than could possibly have been hoped. His skin is at this time to be seen at Storer’s; the cage at the Red Lion; and whether his early admittance was owing to the elasticity of the bars, or to a peculiar quality in the viper of compressing itself at pleasure we cannot say, but can nevertheless affirm its circumference to exceed five inches its length 6 feet.

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