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CHISPA’S LETTER.

{From the Aekbufhm lleiald , November I.)

“lam not yet so bald that you can see my brains. ” —Longfellow.

Under the heading of ‘ Missing Friends,’ the following advertisement appears in a Sydney paper of recent date : “I give notice to my husband, James Hobson Jackson, late of Blayney, that if he does not return in two months, I intend to get married awain.— Mary Jane Jackson.” Mary Jane don’t mean to be trifled with, there are no half and half measures in the above manifesto ; and the utter contempt sho seems to have for the law of bigamy is an evidence that she is a lady with a mind of her own ; the two months notice would lead one to the conclusion that she has a successor to her late erring partner, but it will be rather ticklish for No. 2if James Hobson Jacks.m happened to turn up say nine weeks after the notice, which by the way, the lady has forgotten to put a date to.

The Ashburton volunteers are progressing in their drill. The goose step was tolerably well got through, and I am proud to notice that the defenders of our hearths and homes have so far progressed in the “mark time” period of their training as to obviate the necessity of the drill instructor using the formula so familiar to us in the days when a hay band was entwined on the right, and a straw band on the left leg of the recruit. When the individual intended as 1 ‘food for powder ” had so far progressed in the art of war as to be able to march, the order was given—“ Left foot forward, now, byuright, quamo,” intended to mean “ quick march,” and then to see the sergeant, with his eyes on each and every one, his feet marking the time the recruit ought to, but did not keep, and at the same time with a blatant roar repeating the following rhythmical poem, his aforesaid feet being the time keeper : Right, left, right, left, Hay, straw, hay, straw, Hay, straw, hay, straw, Now you’ve gotit, try to keep it, Hay, straw, hay, straw, Ac., Ac. And so on, till the drill instructor’s throat, and the recruit’s legs were all worn out. This is the first process; in the soldier manufacturing industry. “May its shadow never grow less. ”

The Ashburton Rifle Corps want a captain, and I hope they may soon get one _ o ne that will be a credit to himself and to them, while at the same time likely to become at no distant date efficient in his drill. I learned to shoulder arms in a company up North. The company on its formation agreed that no commissioned officers should be elected until after six months drill, and we did drill there ; no candle light business—but three times at 6 a.m., winter and summer, frost or snow, and then the men who knew their drill beat were picked out for officers, and a most efficient company was got together. Or on the other hand, if you wish for a captain whoso only qualification is potentiality of parting, 1 can give an illustration of that style of officer. At the time of the Maori war in, I think, 1801, the militia were called out all through the colony. That body was looked upon as a cut below the volunteers, principally from the fact that their officers were nominated and had oldfashioned uniforms supplied to them, whilst volunteers could elect their own commanders and go in to he howling swells as far as clothes were concerned. Volunteering thus became very popular, and a number of companies were sworn in, muskets bearing a date contemporaneous with the reign of the lamented Queen Anne were served out and, as the local journal of the period recorded, they presented a very military appearance (which was a lie). Well, they elected a Captain who was well off in worldly matters, if he didn't know his drill, but to give him credit he attended parades regularly, and after two months regular training he considered himself capable of marcliing his company from the drill ground through the town, and he got along well enough as long as it was only marching, with a good band in front—except for the sword getting occasionally mixed up with his legs, which, by the way, were, and are to this day, the handiest in the colony. However, he safely reached a corner pub. at which he occasionally called, and here he halted his men and tried an evolution. The way that sergeants and Queen Ann muskets, and admiring larrikins, and all the company got mixed up with drays and horses was so inextricable that the valiant captain at once saw that he had blundered, and wisely gave the order “ Bread and beer”—and they beered devotedly for the next two hours at the officer’s expense, who never marched the men down that road again. Chispa.

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18791106.2.15

Bibliographic details

CHISPA’S LETTER., Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 18, 6 November 1879

Word Count
829

CHISPA’S LETTER. Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 18, 6 November 1879

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