Digby’s Bridge. — The County Council, ut its sitting yesterday, remitted LIOOO irom the Upper Ashburton Board’s shave of the cost of this bridge. Scholarships. — l The Secretary of the Education Board for the North Canterbury district announces that the list of candidates for the June examination closes on May 10.
The Methven Pound. —The County Council, at its meeting yesterday, accepted the tender of Messrs Nelson and Coutts for the erection of a pound at Methven at a cost of L 199 10s.
The Domain.— The County Council have voted LIOO to the Domain Board, to aid in beautifying the Domain—more especially the part in the neighborhood of the Hospital.
The Valuator. Unfortunate Mr. Leach made an appeal yesterday to the County Council, and told the tale of Ids difficulties, but the stony-hearted Councillors only shunted him off by referring hin to the Judge of the Assessment Court.
The County Seal. —The County seal has now arrived, and has been sot up in the Chambers. It is a very chaste design, and has been very well cut. It bears a representation of the Ashburton bridge, over which is placed a shield with the Canterbury arms. The Mail via Brindisi.—Correspondence for the United Kingdom via Brindisi (specially addressed) may be posted at the Ashburton Post-office up to 10.15 this (Thursday) morning. Late fee letters may be posted in the express mail van up to the time of its departure for south. Entertainment.— The promoters of the entertainment recently given in the Primitive Methodist Church are so well satisfied with the patronage received on that occasion, that they have decided to give a similar entertainment at an early date, notice of which will be duly advertised in these columns. Sale at Methven.— Messrs. W. J. E. Bluett and Co., in conjunction with Messrs. R. Davies and Co., held a clearing sale of Mr. G. Oleland’s stock and implements at Belmont, Methven, on Monday. There was a very fair attendance from all parts of the district, and all the lots were quitted at satisfactory prices.
Informal Tenders. —We would impress upon tenderers for public works the advisableness of observing the conditions of tender, especially as regards deposits, and where marked cheques are required. In conseqenco of informality, from not attending to matters of this kind, several tenders were rejected by the Comity Council yesterday.
The Borough Drainage.—Consideration of the Borough’s application to the County Council for a grant for drainage was deferred yesterday, but, in reply to Mr. Bullock, the Chairman stated that the fund for water supply could be legitimately devoted to the laying down of coin erete channelling to carry olf the surplus water, and other works which were necessitated by the introduction of a water scheme. • •
The County Chambers. —The.ground around the County Chambers is to be planted with trees, and otherwise done up nicely. But the unshinglcd state of the street in front is a source of considerable annoyance to those who have to do business at the Chambers, and the neat and tidy offices on a wet day have their internal beauty considerably marred by the great gouts of mud and clay that are carried in from the slough opposite by the feet of visitors.
Fire Brigade.— The monthly meeting of the Fire Brigade was held on Tuesday, It was resolved that Captain Wilkie and Lieut. Dolman bo a deputation to wait upon the Borough Council to endeavor to obtain a further grant to assist the brigade funds. The action of the Committee in ordering extras from Shand, Mason, and Co. was fully endorsed. The Secretary reported that none of the honorary members had as yet paid their subscriptions.
The Library. —An application was made to the Secretary of the Library, for the Committee, to the County Council yesterday for a grant in aid of the Library’s funds. We are happy to notice that the claims of this institution and others of the same kind in the district will be considered shortly by the Council, when a general distribution of aid is to be made. Meanwhile, information as to the state of the libraries’ affairs is to be collected, as a guide to the apportionment of money. The Say Francisco Mail —The Wellington correspondent of the Press telegraphs as follows on Tuesday night : There is the usual muddle in bringing down the San Francisco mail this month. The Taiaroa, which brings it fpopi Manukau, was to have come direct from Taranaki to Wellington, and now, as the mail steamer is a day late at Auckland, the Taiaroa docs not leave Manukau for sixteen hours after ihft mail readied Auckland, and is to go all round by I'inlspn and Picton, losing fully another day. She is not expected to reach Wellington before midnight on Thursday, and will not proceed South until noon on Friday, thus the mail will not bo delivered in Christchurch until Saturday morning, instead of two days earlier, as could easily have boon done. All this time the Hinemoa is lying idle at the Railway Wharf. This needless delay is the subject of great complaint here.
Stray Cattle. —Loud complaints are just now being made in Ashburton of the depredations of stray cattle. Two or three wily old milchers seem to have been allowed a roving commission by their owners, and they have made happy hunting grounds of several gardens. A certain bacheloro’ hall in the township was visited one night recently by one of these wandering cows, and arte? she had devoured every edible thing in the vicinity of the celibates’ cottage, she commenced to amuse herself by rubbing her horns up and down the weather-boarding. It was “ the hour when churchyards yawn,” and the whole troop of bachelors at opce left their chaste couches and rushed to i lie rlgnj*. when they heard the unearthly scraping of the cow’s horns upon the jagged weatherboards. Ignorant pf whether a second Dunedin tragedy was about to be enacted, or a volcano had burst upon them, or a case for the Fire Brigrdo had occurred, or the last day liad arrived, there were heating hearts in that shanty, that beat so violently as to interfere with their owners’ regard for the little attentions to toilet that go so far to put an appearance of respectability, upon a man —and when the troop of bachelors appeared at the door in the soft moonlight there were extremities to be seen innocent of all tailoring, and the scanty garment that apparelled Tam o’ Shanter’s heroine was the prevailing costume. But when the cause of disturbance was discovered ono angry bachelor rushed out, regardless in his wrath of his personal appearance, and expelled the intruder. The others made a stampede to bed. But the end was not yet. The irate one forgot to fasten tho gate, and soon the milker returned. The disturbance had effected the nervous system of one at least of the unmarried colony, and when he, possessed of a waking conscience, got up in tho very early morn he found his bovine enemy of the night harvesting what was eatable about the place. We will not tell tales upon him, but there was plenty of milk in bachelors’ hall all next day. We fancy the owner of the cow, when he came to milk her, would bo able to give a reason why. If all stray cows went home milked, perhaps they would be more effectively prevented from wandering round strangers’ back doors.
County Council. —Tlie usual monthly mooting of the Council was held yesterday, but it was only after a delay had occurred of an hour an half that the meeting commenced, as a quorum of members was not obtained until half past twelve. Pleuro-pnbumonia. —Wo are glad to notice that action has been taken by the County Council in the matter of pleuropneumonia, and that they are to urge Government to advise His Excellency to prohibit, by Ordcr-in-Oouncil, the importation into the South Island of cattle from Australia and the North Island. As remarked by the Chairman, the matter is oiie of undoubted gravity, and the Council, wo tool assured, have not acted with more promptness than the case requires, seeing that the reports from the North do not in any way assure us that pleuro is dying out. I.O.G.T.—The usual weekly meeting of the Dawn of Peace Lodge was held at the Templar Hall on Monday night last, Bro. Poyntz presiding. One male and one female were initiated. A deal of routine business was gone through, after which Bro. A. J. Andrews, acting for the G.W.C.T., and assisted by Bro. Davis as G. W.M. and Bro. Jessop as G.W.S., -installed the officers for the ensuing quarter. The returns for the last quarter showed that the lodge was steadily progressing in the number of its members, and the amount of good disseminated by it in the cause of temperance. Votes of thanks having been accorded the retiring officers the lodge was closed in due form.—On Saturday evening the newly-elected officers for the nest quarter of the Star of the East Lodge were installed by the Lodge Deputy, Bro. I. Scott, with assistants. We understand that on an early date the E-ev. Mr. Hands', of the Episcopal Church, will deliver a lecture on temperance in Ashburton.
Commission on Local Industries.— The Commission bn Local Industries have visited and inspected the coal mines at Russell.
A Hoax.— The Wellington police have strong suspicions that the reported case of drowning from tho Queen’s Wharf, in that city, is a fabrication.
A Maori Complaint.— The Government schools at 801 l Block have had to be closed owing to the Maori itch having made its appearance among the children. Fatal Accident.—The youngest child of Mr. Charles Innes, a brewer, at Te Awarautu, was accidentally drowned on Tuesday in a tub of water.
Sudden Death. —A child of Mr. John Elliot, of Waitara, died suddenly on Monday morning. At the inquest it was shown that death was caused by the sudden failing of the heart’s action.
Adventure with a Shark.—A son of Captain Stevens, while bathing at Mechanics’ Bay, had a narrow escape from a shark, the other day. A young man named Jojuier jumped into the water and attacked the shark with a knife and drove it away. Novel Experiment.—ln the Massachusetts public schools a somewhat novel experiment had beexx tried. Jn place of the old-fashioned reading books the children aro to be tempted by such timehonored fairy tales as “Jack the Giant Killer” and “Puss in Boots.” Swimming.—Another feat of endurance is shortly contemplated by Captain Webb, the Channel swimmer. Captain Webb has undertaken to swim sixty consecutive hours, viss., for throe days and two nights. He will bo allowed to leryve the water for not more than thirty minutes in each twenty-four hours. The attempt will be made under the most favorable circumstances possible, yiz., sea water of summer temperature. Strange Affair. —An extraordinary discovery has just been made or is believed to have been made, by the India Office. The sister of a Bedfordshire baronet, who being then a young girl of considerable beauty, was lost during the Indian mutiny, has been found in a harem at Mecca. The lady is now in India, and questions have been sent out to secure evidence of her identity, which it is suspected there may be a desire to conceal.
Sarcastic, — Arthur Sullivan said a clover thing the other day. They were then rehearsing the new opera, and Sullivan tried to teach Ryley a bit of business. The actor thought Sullivan had no right to interfere. Said ho with indignation : “ What do you mean, sir ? I’m an actor, and know my business. Have Ibp on ten years on the stage to get my points from you '? Ho, sir. The time is past for me to do that sort of thing. I can’t be taught anything about acting.” “So I see,” said Sullivan, drily.—Boston Daily Adcrrtiser.
Irish Repteit Fujsd, —The various relief funds, says the Graphic, continue to increase daily. The total sum from all sources now amounts to about L 150,000, which, however, is not clearly half what will ])p needed for the effectual relief of the sufferers. The astonishing statement that the Baroness Biudctt Ooutts was about to devote half a million of money to the relief of Irish distress, seems to have been the result of a clerical error. The Baroness had already distributed Ll5O, and has now engaged to contribute LSOO the fopnatiop of a harbor at Sligo. The addition of noughts converted the LSOO into half a million.
Cowardice Reproved. —At the Lancashire Assizes Lord Justice Brett, in sentencj.ijg a young farmer to two months’ imprisonment for manslaughter during a fight, was led to lam,ent the degeneracy of the times. He said ho could" remember the time when in no village in England would a man fight unfairly, for if he did every one would scout Imp > but now Englishmen fought like cowards. Although fighting was contrary to the law, lie had made up his mind that if a man fought fairly lie would not punish him should an accident result from the fight; but in this case the prisoner had struck his antagonist in the stomach, and had also kicked him when he was down.
American Railways. —During the past year the increase of mileage of new railways in America w&s greater than in any year since 1873. The new lines constructed in 1878 wore 2,916 ; but this was largely exceeded in 1879, in which 4,439 miles were built, which makes the total mileage of the Stages 86,263, nearly onehalf of the entire mileage of the world. Of the last year’s extensions, 923 miles, Ql' loss than 21 per cent., were of narrow gauge, while in the preceding year 30 per cent. wej?o h'hft !?» this gauge. The tide of railway activity is almost entirely turning west of the Mississippi. Thu Easterly States have covered their districts with networks of lines, and with the exception of short feeders and connexions between old-established systems there is no railway construction going on worth notice, and, indeed, there is scarcely room for it. In the whole of blew England the new mileage during 1879 wan ynly 42, and the same may be said of Ohio avid the adjoining States. But it was very different jp the group of States lying in the north-west and jiy the basin of the Mississippi, where great railway activity has been shown. In Kansas alone 544 miles were constructed last year, in lowa 472, in Minnesota, 451, in Nebraska 285 ; while Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Dakota ran up the total to 3,187 out of the 4,430 miles. There were 1,243 miles built in the States east of the Mississippi in 1879, against 3,187 west of that river, and the cost of railway construction advanced pearly 30 per cent, during the year, with prices still tending upwards. Among the principal linos now in progress are the Sioux City and Nebraska, making a through route between Omaha and St. Paul; the Vicksburg, Shreveport, and Pacific, in the State of Louisiana; and the Atchison (Kansas) and Nebraska line,
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