(From the Ashburton Herald, January 31.) “lam not yet so bald that you can see my brains.”—Longfellow. If it weren’t for the R M. Court, Chispa would have to shut up. The court is the only cheap entertainment provided for “wo, us, and Co.” in these hard times ; and until harvest and half-a crown an hour set in, and plenty good cheer provided at that, Chispa and his mates find the court the best place in which to spend an idle hour. Chispa has a groat, in fact an overwhelming respect for constituted authority ; and there can’t be much doubt about the sitting R M. - with all the dignity by her Majesty, or Disraeli, or Sir Hercules, or Professor Wallenburg, or whoever does that kind of thing. But it seems to me a queer sort of a thing that any poor swagger, or even Chispa himself, who is as poor as any swagger, should find a fine inevitable if he has been guilty of doing a bit of neighborly fighting, while a legal individual requires to have three trials wasted on him, and afterwards dismissed on a charge of assaulting a bailiff. Chispa has no sympathy or affection for bailiffs. As a matter of fact he abhors them, and the reason why is, he has had a lot to do with them in his time. But when a “ bum ”, drops on a lawyer and that lawyer is up in the nonsuits, Chispa’s experience in the RM. Court is decidedly of a kind that would lead him to back the nonsuit to win. It don’t matter about the . money being owing, or the debt being a fair and just one. That is not the question in point at all! Chispa is amazed at the front some men will put on, standing up in Court doing their best to get out of a debt—not on any ground of non-liability, not denying the justness of the claim, or that the money is legally owing, but simply on the plea of some legal quibble. One can admire the mode but scarcely the motive. Every man has his fancy, and when he gets sick his fancy runs in the direction of a doctor. The old rhyme about the adversary ought to be applicable here. If I recollect, it is as follows ; “ When the devil was sick, the devil a monk would be! “ When the devil got well, the devil a monk was he. ” Chispa has seen a lot of sick men and a whole army of doctors in his time,-and among his experiences can mention a case or two. There was a well known medico on one of the West Coast townships, who was equally renowned for the brusque manner in which he treated his clients, as for the efficient manner in which he cured them, if a cure were possible. One case brought to him was a man with a severe cold. The patient entered the surgery, and was promptly ordered to strip, and then the usual athletic sports ensued which attend an application , for a life insurance policy. The patient objected to the method of treatment, and then medico asked him if he could undertake to walk a couple of miles. The patient thought he could, whereupon the doctor requested his customer to take a constitutional for a couple of miles to the cemetery, and there and then peg out a site for his final residence, as in his (the • doctor’s) opinion he would be buried in a fortnight. The joke was a cruel one, as the unfortunate patient was set up by the doctor in less than a month, and both the patient and the adviser are on the best of terms. I hear there is a new grievance against the Burnett street drain stink. It is as a rule tolerably well ventilated. Nor’westers spread it around the district when they blow, and when they don’t the “Mail” circulates the effluvium. Another Joseph has, however, arisen in the Egypt of Burnett street. A showman who claims to have caught the mantle of the immortal Artemus Ward, and who has a let of “ wax figgers ” to exhibit, says these “ figgers ’’ feel dreadfully ill over the evaporations from Burnett street. The man who fixes up the “figgers” confided to me the information that, if he had to stay another day there, Queen Elizabeth would lose her front ringlets, and he would hawe to ™b Kelly the bushranger’s back har to 7 ake the deficiency good. But it cuan’t ..after much, as he could easily tunf old Bess into the Sydney female impersonator: or he could, with the assistance - of a bit of wax'and a few horse hairs, turn George Washington into Sir Geprge Grey, and make him the most popular “ figgef ” in the show. The Artemus Ward of the a present day had a sleeping beauty, but she wasn’t very tempting, and 1 don t a think the girls of the poriqd vyill feel
jealous of-the abortion exhibited as the summum bonum of human excellence. Chispa gets shaved sometimes : not that he gets metaphorically skinned —he knows too much for that—but lie occasionally goes to get the bristles peeled off his lovely countenance, and it is not every barber can perform the operation. On one occasion, whilst Chispa was resident in a township a few hundred miles from here, ho was in the habit of being harberised by an ancient darkie of large proportions, who was a dab at his profession. The darkie prospered, and a Frenchman, who assumed the title of professor, came, saw, and tried to conquer on the darkie s harvest field. There was in that township a very tough customer to shave, and he was a regular Saturday nighter for the darkie. On one busy night the tough one was despatched up the' street to the Frenchman to test his abilities as a “shaver.” Frenchy tried his utmost, but couldn’t get the hair off, and after an hour’s struggle, the victim left the chair, razor, and barber, and fled to his old friend the darkie to have the operation completed. As he fled the good people were amazed at the sight, in the open street, of a man clad in the usual print garment that adorns the subject of a shaving operation, and with his face lathered from collar bone to eyes. This yarn is brought to my recollection by the fact that I drank a soda with the Frenchy at Quill’s booth on Wednesday at the reaper trial. Chispa.
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CHISPA’S LETTER., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 56, 3 February 1880
CHISPA’S LETTER. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 56, 3 February 1880
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