A LEER IN WAIT.
(Fro?n The Ashburton Herald.}
A few days ago, in an article in these columns, we referred to a class who are exceedingly dangerous being of any community where and at the same time we advocated severe measures for the removal of such pests from respectable society. The remarks made in that article had special reference to cases which had occurred in other parts of the colony, and which had come to light in the courts of justice—cases in which the purity and chastity of young unprotected girls were not safe whilst liable to the insults of the social vermin referred to. We had no idea, however, that the representatives of such a class were to be found within the radius of this township ; and it is with deep regret that we are compelled to admit that, in this respect, the. young people of Ashburton are in no way safer than those of other townships of the colony. A case has come under our notice which we are reluctantly forced to publish, in the interests of the general well-being of our fellow-citizens. The facts are simply these A girl, about twelve years old, the daughter of a respected townsman, attends one of our local schools daily, the distance from her home to the school being rather lengthy. Up to very recently, nothing has transpired to lead the parents of the girl to imagine but that their daughter would be perfectly safe in her journey to and from school. However, some little time back this girl was frequently overtaken- by a man, who claims for himself, and is generally understood to be, a most respectable citizen. This individual :on several occasions made small presents to the child, and the parents not being able to understand such conduct from one with whom they were not intimately acquainted, and under such peculiar circumstances, strictly enjoined on their daughter to refuse any presents whatever from anyone without their knowledge. A day or two back, however, the conduct of the man in question was such that the parents are now in a state of concern how to act. There are no grounds for a criminal action, seeing no offence in the eye of the law has been committed, and yet they feel the child is not safe in going to school alone. In his remarks at the Supreme Court at Christchurch, his Honor Jedge Johnston drew attention to the way in which parents allowed their children to go about the streets without some attendance from persons able to take care of them. It seems to us a little strange that a gentleman of such standing as Judge Johnston should look at the matter in this light. We contend that every citizen should be, as far as possible, the guardian of his neighbor's rights ■ and property ; and where children are oh their way to school, or in the streets from any other cause, their safety and protection should be guaranteed by the faith which man puts iu his fellow man with respect to his manliness and honor. It will be a strange period in the history of the colony when parents will have to provide a page to escort their .children in the streets, and we hope the day will never arrive when such a state of things will come to pass. We have referred to this matter, as stated above, solely in the interests of our fellow-citizens ; and as the individual referred to will see that he is a marked man and that there are those who are perfectly cognisant of his actions, we trust to hear that his disagreeable and unEleasant attentions to the young girl have ecu discontinued.
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