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CHISPA’S LETTER., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 68, 2 March 1880
(From the Ashburton Herald, February 25.) “I am not vet so bald that you can see my brains.”— Longfellow.
The past week has been a very dull one for gathering items for my usual letter, as all the floating population have vanished into the country to assist in gathering the harvest, and the regular inhabitants of our village have had to devote themselves to comparing notes on the heat of the weather, and their future prospects. And an opinion seems to prevail that money is easier. That, lam told, is a trade term, but if it means that money is easier to get I have as yet failed to experience the improvement so far as my financial operations arc concerned ; but it is something to hang on for, to see and hear other people hopeful, even if it is only in the direction of making a rise out of a libel case.
And that reminds mo that there has been the promise of a very prolific crop of libels lately. Even that “ obscure ” publication the “Herald” has been deemed worthy of a prosecution, or to be more correct, a threat of one, and the wounded feelings of the “scarifier” Mosley could only be soothed by the intervention of the law ; Mosley is a nice man but he wasn’t quite good enough for his legal adviser to undertake the case on spec., the said adviser in the meantime being expected to shell out the necessary five bob with which to lay the information. The fiasco of the great Montague Mosley reminds mo of the general conduct of a mongrel pup. So long as you are within kicking distance the pup is very subdued, or he gives you best, and if he can, rapidly puts a safe stone’s throw between you and himself. He becomes very brave then, and very barky ; but take up a stone, and he’s oft' precipitately, turning corners with vehemence, and dashing himself against the opposite wall in his hurry. Mosley, my hoy, I’ll lend you ten bub if you’re hard up, to start the legal game. Your P. D. tells me ho overheard the talk and witnessed the scene in your sanctum when Mosley brought his lawyer to “ know, you know,” about that Wesleyan. The P. D. was quite excited with delight as he described the look of the great Montague after the fighting editor, with a significant glance at the open window, suggested a handier way of having the matter out than leaving it ‘ 1 in the hands of Mr. H . ”
f have to compliment the lads and lasses 'W'lip tripe} my sun). There were eight competitors altogether, but only two of them were rigidly correct, yet all showed that they had taken great pains in the working and writing out of the sum. Philip O’Reilly, is a smart little chap, who owns allegiance to Mr. David Davidson, the master of the Boys’ Seminary on the Belt, while Miss Eva Henderson is a junior pupil teacher under Mr. Stott, of the Borough school. I dare say we shall hear of those two again, long before the last hair that lies between me and heaven has been removed. Next week I shall again jfing the bell for competitors.
We haven’t heard a great deal about the unemployed for a week or two in tips district, seeing that work is plentiful enough, but I heard a yarn the other day from a large employer of labor as to the nature of some of the “bone and sinew” of the country which is illusti’ative of the sort of men who make much cry but give little wool with it. Four men took a job ditching. One, Pat, was a good workman, an Italian from Tipperary, and the other three were a very ordinary lot. After about a fortnight’s work, Pat visited the homestead with a view to getting squared
up, but the station holder objected to do anything of the sort till the contract was finished, and enqired of Pal his reason for wanting to leave. After considerable hesitation and beating about the bush ho at last blurted out that his mates were a lot of “ confadjativos.” This word was not quite intelligible to the boss, and he asked the meaning of the expression, and Pat said it meant men who “couldn t either earn their tucker nor cat it.” While on grammatical subjects I recollect another word invented by a waspish and illtempered lady of my acquaintance up North. She was in £ ict my next door neighbor, and I had for a mate a pure thoroughbred cockney, and these two never allowed a day to pass without having a passage at anus. ‘‘Lit not the sun go down on your wrath ” was an injunction they religiously didn't follow. One evening a row took place between the pair, and luckily <a paling fence intervened so that the weapons employed in the combat were only the tongues of the virago .and the cockney. After a preliminary exchange of courtisios respecting the ownership of some chickens, cockney remarked, ‘"you’re a little whipper-snapper.” Virago replied, “yah ! get out, wlierc did you learn your well-bjought-up-todness.” This was a squelcher, and the cockney retired humiliated and crestfallen.
I was at Roseby’s lecture of course, and sat quietly during its delivery. You have recapitulated his sayings, so I needn’t. But you did not tell the effect the Rev. Mr. Beat-tie's speech bad on one or two friends of mine who believed ho delivered the most sensible speech of the evening, and forthwith made numerous demands on Shearman's “ whisky and soddy,” in which they drank the Rev. gentleman’s healthfully “down to the peg.” But what with Roseby’s fiery denunciations against whisky inside, and S lurulora’ appeal for water outside, it seems to me that it is absolutely necessary for the municipal authorities to got in a supply of water at once, otherwise there will not bo sufficient of the aqueous fluid from the wells to keep us going. The hydropathic craze has set in in some quarters very severely. I know one man whose horse is suffering from the want of oats and too much work, and he asked my advice on the matter, as to whether a wet pack, or a warm bath would be the most likely to make a convalescent of the animal. I strongly recommended a grass paddock and a three months’ spell His worship the Mayor, however, has come to the front in a most noble and disinterested way in this matter. He has developed a full blown scheme for bringing in clean, sparkling, and pure water for the Ashburtonites, and he proposes to obtain his supply by means of four windmill pumps. Patriotic Mayor ! He is agent for the Althouse windmill. Councillor Saunders has also an idea by which to supply the township with a stream, and is going to put up a dam, and a batch to regulate the quantity necessary for the requirements of this flourishing city. As something of a sticky nature is required to make his dam watertight, he intends to recommend a few tons of superfine silk dressed flour from the Alfred mill as a suitable material for the purpose. Chispa.
CHISPA’S LETTER., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 68, 2 March 1880
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