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CHISPA’S LETTER,

(From the Ashburton Herald, November 22.) “ I am not yet so bald that you can see my brains. ” — LONGFELLOW.

The governing powers in the country have got the right measure of the bowwows, and it is evident that a census has been taken of all the stock of that description in the county, no matter whether they be of high or low degree. The County Council want some saddler, or other tradesman in the leather line, to give in a price for 1250 dog collars for next year. I can’t make out how they got so close to it ; because I sometimes see some of the dog fanciers with one animal “following,” and a day or so afterwards they have a flock of all sorts and conditions ; and I have been looking out for an advertisement in your columns for shearers for the animals, as this is about the season when the fleece should be taken off. Anyhow, I suppose that when the County Council sell the 1256 collars next year I will be perfectly safe in speculating in a dog of some sort, as in these hard times it would be very convenient to have one who knew how to go to Digby’s shop and negotiate the loan of a leg of mutton. I mean to patent this.

I was a good deal taken up at the races with the number of applications I received for a ‘ ‘ pipe of ’bacca ” and I shelled out as far as my pocketful would go. A shilline's worth of u cut up ” and a stick and a half of nailroad were converted into smoke at a most alarming rate ; and on reaching home the wife of my bosom saluted me with, “ Chispa, you’ll have to give up that smoking j tobacco is a shilling a pound dearer, and you get through a pound a week, and whiskey is two shillings a gallon more, so go to Worthy Chief St. Hill, and join the Good Templars, for your model, .Johnny Hall, has raised the duties. ” And then the mystery of the rush on my tobacco was made clear, and I silently wiped a tear from my eye, and vowed that I would for the future stick to sheepwash, and gingerbeer.

Bill-sticking is an easy sort of a job, and I should think it didn’t require a great deal of learning, nor avast amount of talent to sling a white-wash brush oyer a hoarding. But some artists in this line of business in Ashburton are evidently troubled with an obliquity of vision, as some of their bill-sticking attempts show an amount of crookedness only to be accounted for by that cause. There is another thing in bill-sticking, too, which the artist ought to watch, and that is not to stick his bills so that the new ones and the old ones will get mixed in the reading. I noticed a case to-day where, in reading straight across the page, or hoarding, a statement to the following effect was made :—MR. JOSEPH JVESS will addres the TWO BARMAIDS and the BRIDE OF ABYDOS at the Town Hall on Tuesday. Admission —front seats 35., back seats 25.” I don’t consider it a correct thing, you know, for our future Mayor to go in for this kind of thing. I could forgive an interview, and a drink on the quiet with one barmaid, but when he goes for two, and Byron's hei’oine into the bargain, he is monoplising the fair sex rather too much, you know.

My friends the carriers were got at on the course the other day. After the the racing was over they went for a shy round the track, for a five shilling sweep, on their own hook, and persuaded a good natured official to stop to see fair play. Five of them went for the event, and the stakes, 255., were handed to the official, who acted as stakeholder, judge, and so forth. The race was won by a horse which, accompanied by his rider, is in the habit of making early journeys in the morning with a view of preventing other horses and cattle getting lost, and of putting them in a place where their owners can find them for a Price. After the event was over, the twenty-five shillings were demanded ; but the stakeholder informed the winner that as there was a pound to be deducted for the use of the course, he could only pay over five shillings, which the youth naturally didn’t see ; and the matter was made right at the “ settling,” when the treasurer was authorised to cash up the sweep, but to caution carriers that the Racecourse was not to be used by all and sundry, without permission of and payment to the duly constituted authorities.

Your paragraph about “judging butter” has “ fetched ” me. I never was a butter judge, but it has been my misfortune on one or two occasions to “ do ” a cattle show—speaking as a newspaper reporter would. I did a show of this kind once too often. It was in Scotland. I had gone all round the sheep pens, and the cattle stalls, and half a dozen times through the butter pavilion. Igushed like a fountain of poetry over every item in my departments of the Show that met my approbation, and specially did I praise the prize-takers in the blitter list. Had I foreseen the consequences of that ill-advised piece of flattery I should have “shut up’’long before I did. But I have no gift of second sight. The paper appeared, and the flattered ones were doubtless pleased with th 'ir flattery. But three months afterwards I had occasion to journey through the district, of which the show was the annual event. Passing a farmhouse, a great big, heartylooking wench called out “ Hi, chappie.” I hied to her. She asked—- “ Could you come in a minute?” I came in. “Sit doom” I sat “doom” Opening a drawer, she drew forth a well worn copy of the “ buster.” It was a copy with my Show report in it. “ Did you write that?” “Aye.” “Do you think Janet Grant can mak’ better butter than me ?” I saw that Janet Grant had second prize, while the “ Duke’s ” dairy maid had first. I expressed my belief that both prize specimens were superior. If you ask me why I do not enter as I used to in my young days for the annual sports, you will find sufficient reason if you examine the calves of my legs—for that sturdy wench’s broom handle , but why dwell on a painful scene ? I shall never again report on butter, unless the show happens the day before my previously arranged emigration to the other side of | the world. Chispa.

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CHISPA’S LETTER, Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 26, 25 November 1879

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