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CHISPA’S LETTER., Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 11, 21 October 1879
(From the Aehbw ton Herald of October iS.)
“I am not yet so Iraki that you can see my brains.”—Lo n c vE i , 1.0 w .
I read Mr Bryce’s Financial Statement to-day, and the conclusion I have arrived at is, that next to being a bloated squatocrat, the best thing out in Now Zealand is to be a North Island Maori. They have such a childlike and modest way of getting round the Native Minister for a few thousands, that I feel anxious to depart to the Waikato, and don a suit of tattoo, and wed a princess of good pedigree, as being the easiest way of dropping in for a share of the coming five millions. All that seems to be necessary is to telegraph to Sheehan—“Friend, salutations to yon.' I seek relief at your hands, do, please, send a couple of thousands,” and there you are. The native mind is improving in the matter of financing. When I was a small boy a keg of shoepwash tobacco, a dozen flint-lock muskets, and drinks all round for the tribe -would exterminate the native title to a whole territory, and what was more to the purpose, assist in exterminating the lords of the soil with it. But we have changed all that, and the coming man in the civil service is the Maori, and what with the depression at home, and the culture of our native population, Macaulay’s New Zealander on London Bridge is not so much of an improbability after all.
I notice that your sporting reporter does not pick up all the items in his own line. It may be that he considers a dog tight as beneath his notice, but I would remind him that it is a sport patronised by the aristocracy of the old country, and very popular in the fashionable retreats in the neighborhood of Whitechapel and the New Cut. Some sportsmen in Ashburton, not having sufficient to satisfy their cravings for pastime in the occasional race meetings, hunts, cricket matches, &c., have gone into the dog-fight business, and so far as I can learn, with considerable success. One of the combatants borrowed, without permissiou of the owner, was, after a sanguinary struggle damaged considerably. 1 expect to hear of some of the legal talent being engaged to test the merits of the “dawgs. ” In fact, the harder times get, the more entertainments seem to be got up ; perhaps it might be accounted for by the theory that
Satan finds some mischief still For idle hands to do.
I heard it rumored that the next club to bo started was one for the promotion and encouragement of duelling. One of our townsmen, who distinguished himself in that line a few weeks ago, is reading up Ivanhoe with a view of being well up in the laws of chivalry. And another promoter of affairs of honor, when the heat of argument oversteps the bounds of parliamentary language, gives vent to his feelings as follows: —“ This is an insult, S i r — F; and must be be wiped out in bel-lood. ” (Attitude) I hope all this bloodthirstiness is not the outcome of our volunteering hobby. I may be lowminded and vulgar, but I would prefer a black eye any day to a half-ounce bullet in my digestive organs.
But about that dog tight. I have a dog. He is a disreputable dog, will) a black patch over Ids eye. Men who claim to be knowing in dogs say ho is a fox-terrier. “ Knowledge ’’ of dogs seems to mo to be as hazy information as knowledge of horses, ami diuse who pretend to be up in breeds are usually as successful in threading out from ‘ i points ” a correct pedigree as some poor snobbish scrub, with a solitary “ tupuenco ” in his pocket, is in unravelling the mixed foliage of his genealogical tree sufficiently to show his descent from some aristocratic family still flourishing. My dog is a fox-terrier —the knowing men swear it. Just so. Another doggist has a similarly disreputable cur. That doggish comes to my shanty when I am out —puts the fear of a broken head on my boy—-shuts my door, and locks it upon himself, his two fellow rips who came with him, ray dog, his dog, and my boy. Then his cur is set upon my cur, and when I come hack I find poor Rasper with his fox-terrier person all tom and bloody 7 . I fume and rage—but its no good. Punishment is lost upon men of so refined feelings as these are, and they are not worth tackling. And I am told, too, the Cruelty to Animals Act docs not apply— Phuph !
I suppose since Ashburton took its first start on the way to become great, fully nine-tenths of the business done has been by means of bills, and people doing a trade ought by this time to know as well how to draw, or endorse, or hypothecate, or accept, or do anything else with a bill as how to pull oft their boots. And although my transactions are of so limited a nature that the luxury of dealing in promissory notes and acceptances is out of my reach, I don t think there is anything in them requiring a great amount of learning to know how to fill up a form, and do all other things required hy the laws and customs of the country, except it may be the finding of the needful when the document matures, which circumstance is a good deal more certain to eventuate than the advice by mail of an expected remittance. Yet somehow, simple as it is to give or endorse a promise to pay, it seems to be equally simple to do it wrongly, and then we hear a lot about “ equity and good conscience,” and the outpouring of eloquence and law to establish the duty or otherwise of the K.M. compelling a man to stick to his written promise given previously. The case heard yesterday, where the learned gentleman conducting the defence found no less than five reasons why a promissory
note should not bo paid, shows how easily men well up in business may make some trifling error or omission by which the value of the note is questioned. In country districts it is no doubt difficult to procure the necessary acceptance forma, and where a bill is drawn adlaesivo stamps have occasionally to be used instead of the impressed ones, and it is a very simple matter to obliterate them properly, which is by the endorser writing his name across the stamps. But perhaps the best plan, if it is somewhat out of date, is to work on a cash basis where you can, and you will find yourself a happier, if not a wiser, man than if you knew as much about bills and discounts as Vogel himself.
The “ esprit de corps” in Ashburton has always been looked upon as an established fact so far as outsiders are concerned. We can scandalise one another to any extent so long as wo are Ashburtonites, but don’t let any one start a growl who is not within the four charmed corners of the belt. All mutual recriminations are for the moment forgotten, and people who would not walk on the same footpath together yesterday feel a brotherly love towards each other when business which could bo done by local enterprise is handed over to swell the Ideated pockets of foreign firms. I, in common witli others in the ink-slinging business, would like to know just for curiosity, you know', how it comes about that the Agricultural and Pastoral Association had to send to the great City of the Plains to have their printing done. Both the local offices can turn out job work just as well as the Christchurch establishments, and the reason why the work lias not been let locally is perhaps because the support theAssociation wdll gain will bo larger from abroad than at home, but 1 don’t think it will. Cnisi’A.
CHISPA’S LETTER., Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 11, 21 October 1879
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