(From the Ashburton Herald, January 24.) “I am not yet so bald that you can see my brains. ” —LONGFEU.OW. The collective wjsdom of the County, which, I take it, is caiboclied in the County Council, is no more infallible than our RM. Court is said to be, and, in fact, it has fallen into the common error of considering that letting all kinds of work by public tender, and to the lowest tenderer, is the essence of legislation. But it don't always turn up trumps. Previous to last year the valuation lists for the various ridings of the county were made up by the Road Boards, and it was admitted by a}l who professed to be judges of the matter that they were very bad rolls indeed, as they possessed all the faults which were necessary to ensure their being condemned providing the ratepayers would take the trouble to go through all the necessary red tape to make the legal objections. But AL when the County Council assumed reins over this and other matters, it was felt that a new era had dawned, and that business transacted by the superior body would be unassailable. lam sorry to observe the valuation lj§t§ fqjndghed to the Road Boards by the Council’s contractor do not bear out the ideas of perfection anticipated. In fact the Boards who have as yet made any reference to the rolls supplied to them, have used tolerably strong language as to their incompleteness and uselessness for the purpose intended—i.e., enabling them to strike a rate. Probably your farming friends will not feel excruciatingly
grieved at that fact. But now that the clays of subsidies are past and gone, and rates are the only funds from which revenue is derivable for the maintenance of roads, perhaps it might have been as well if the County Council had appointed a man competent to do the work, even if ho was not the lowest tenderer. AiA in the Family. —The “ South Can-terlnPr-Ttraes,” says:—“The Ashburton Jockey Cf h, which, like the Ashburton Borough Council, is chiefly in the hands of a family clique, held its annual meeting on Saturday last. The balance sheet is described as highly satisfactory. This, if we mistake not, is the first statement of accounts, satisfactory or unsatisfactory., that the Club lias exhibited for some years. ” I cut this from tire “Ashburton Mail.” The editor of the “South Canterbury Times” is the same Hogg who edited the “Evening News,” and in the dearth of news he seems to be feeling just now, be returns to his wallowing in the mire. Everybody knows why the par. should appear in the “ Mail,” the proprietor of which claims to be a man fond of speaking his mind. It is not a virtue to speak one’s “ mind ” when we know that “ mind” to be false, and a man who aims at being Mayor ' of the town, and sporting enough to bet on his chances of being so, ought to be conversant enough with the township’s history to know that every year since he came to it balance sheets have been published by both the Steeplechase Committee and the Racing Club. The General Government, though, have their eyes more widely open than the County Council. They don’t intend to let the chance of turning an honest penny slide. The latest notion is quite unique. Hitherto it has been the custom of farmers to put four bushels of grain in each sack, and, for the purpose of doing so exactly, a weighing machine invariably accompanies the threshing engine, and the bag man’s duty is to put in four bushels and no more. A movement was made last year in Christchurch on the part of the grain merchants to persuade the railway authorities to weigh all _ grain on its receipt at the station. This was not conceded to, on account of the amount of traffic during the season. Now, however, they seem to have altered their minds ; as ■ I notice they advertise the fact that they intend charging extra for all sacks containing over four bushels. So, bagmen, you will have to be careful and not give too good weight this season. An unfortunate drunk yesterday couldn’t raise 10s. to save, not his life, but 48 hours’ of his liberty. I admired the innocence of his answer, and it reminded me of a similar case up north a good many years ago. The then stipendiary Magistrate, now long gone to where drunks are un- . known, was a huge portly man, the very embodiment of Sir John Falstaff, with his fat rubicund visage, portly appearance, and gruff voice. Old John, as he was familarly known, never wasted many words on a drunk —his convictions were very summary—hut he sometimes was had. One of his most frequent visitors at Court was an eccentric old gardener who religiously tried all the taps in town when he did his marketing, and very often got run in. On one occasion when brought up he was duly fined 10s. or 24 hours, and he replied in answer to the question if he was going to par 7, “ Well, my lovely old boy, you can fine me if you like, but you’ll have to take it out in apples ” and the bargain was struck. Chispa.
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