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OHISPA’S LETTER., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 98, 11 May 1880
“I am not yet so bald that you can see my brains. ” —Longfellow.
(From Ashburton Herald, May 8.)
It is a very wrong thing for you, sir, to put stories in your paper like that about the bachelors and the stray cow that roused them out of bed
“ At the noon of night on an Autumn eve.” I have had my windpipe jeopardised a hundred times since the yarn appeared. First one representative and then another of the various colonies of bachelors in town have been down upon me, breathing threatening and slaughter for the yarn. It was in vain I told them I was responsible only for my own column, and not for every yarn, good, bad, and indifferent, that appeared in the paper. It was no go. They would have it that the yarn was mine, and so I have had to bear the brunt of their wrath. I don’t mind that, since my friend, Sergeant Felton, has gone into uniform again, and has a good substitute for the departed Maroney in the new man. But the queerest affair js that most'of the bachelors seem to think
it was no business of mine that they milked a stray cow. Am I justified in coming to the conclusion that she idea is not a new one, and that the incident you related is not singular in Ashburton ? Bravo, milk away, my boys. I look upon you as public benefactors, for if you keep emptying the lacteals of every stray cow that comes about you, you will have no need of a pound.
Merchants of Ashburton, wipe this out if you can :—“ Another battle ! In consequence of the encroachments made by the enemy (credit) on my pens, ink, paper, postage stamps, bank interest, &c., &c., there is bound to be another engagement in the course of a few days ; the scene' of action will probably be somewhere between my own shanty and the ‘ Criterion.’ Scouts will be tin-own out at once, headed by Brother Jink, and the indemnity will be considerably increased should the contest be carried into the interior. No quarter will be given till the whole is ‘ shelled out ;’ so keep your powder dry, and ‘ look to your priming,’ as the big guns L A W and R. M. will take some licking. Oats are cheap, and the war horse is in prime condition ; therefore, ‘ take time by the forelock’ is the parting cry of H. Billf.ns. —[Advt.]” I get the foregoing from the Akaroa Mail, a paper that was planted by my old friend, Joe Ivess, and his experience in municipal affairs in Akaroa he was never tired of repeating. I never expected very great or very good things from Akaroa, even if Joe’s resplendent wisdom did consider it good enough for him to put in one of his eighteen-monthly periods in. But this scream from the local Josh Billings is good. May he find LAW and the R.M. a good investment. Here we find them a very unprofitable spec altogether.
There was a huge commotion |at the Police Station one day last week. [ got a straight tip about the trouble, and went down to see. There were the Sergeant and Constable Rouse, and .Constable Clark, and Constable Beaumont, and the others, all in a terrible state of agitation. I asked what was up that they should show faces blanched with terror, and creep about
“ Whispering with white lips.” After they had had time to settle a hit, I was able to get out of the agitated Rouse the one word “ murder.” It came from between his jaws about as unwillingly and accompanied by as painful an expression of countenance as came the last tooth I had pulled by my friend Cambridge from my own upper gum. “ Murder ! ” I felt queer indeed, but then I am a good citizen, and I told the Sergeant that i fl ny aid of mine would be useful in tracking the assassin he could command me. He expressed his joy, and led me to the evidence he had obtained. Carefully opening a drawer in his own private office, he pointed with great awe to an open matchbox, and in it there lay an ordinary bone button. I looked up to his face inquiringly. “That button,” said he, “was brought to the station to-day. It is evidently the means of suspension that the dead man used when in life for his trousers, for you see it is palpably a trousers button.” I took in the possibility at once of the button having been used for fastening suspenders to, “ but,” I asked, “ where is the dead man 1” “ That’s just what I want to know,” he said. “ The button was found right in the centre of a pork pie, and it stands to reason that wherever that pie was baked there was a man murdered—else how could his buttons get about like this ?” I could not deny the logic, and went off to investigate. So did the Sergeant. We went to every bakehouse in the town, but not a baker would own to that button, or to any knowledge of it. Each had his full staff of men upon his establishment, and as the button was an article of male apparel, the dead man couldn’t be a woman. We made every inquiry, but we only succeeded in enraging one baker, getting chaffed by a second amusing a third, and getting kicked out by a fourth. (Note —It was I who was kicked out ; and if I was sure of getting a summons served, I would proceed for damages against that kickist. His name, however, rhymes well with kicks, and I may yet sing a song in his honor). But we could find no trace of the dead man’s body, though there were many suspicious thoughts ran through our minds, and the awful rage of the first-mentioned baker makes those thoughts still more suspicious. But notwithstanding our failure to find the dead man, I feel sure there has been murder done—else how could a braces button get into a pork pie 1
THINGS IN GENERAL, xv. 1 O, shade of Pope ! inspire heroic story ! I sing the glories of a lawyer’s wig. - An Arab steed did yield his tail - his glory—r To crown the sable gown —the ancient rig - Of learned men who follow legal lore ; be 1 Sure few of them catch it, as the cunning : . P'g. j. With well-greased tail, escaped capture s endeavor, ’ Our lawyers grasp it never—hardly ever. • ' XVI. I But suitors pay the piper for !h’ intention— All cannot win, and someone, sure, must ’ lose. Our law's are natural foes of comprehension ; ' And our Supreme Court is the very deuce. Olympian Judges give tluir whole attention I To subtle points, and quarterly amuse Themselves at Wellington hearing appeals, i Demurrers, rules nisi —cards the Devil deals. I XVII. [ The wig I sing did once on Afric’s plain Woo the soft breezes from the Middle Sea, t And spicy gales from India’s sunny main Did fan the tail of Arab, bounding free. Heir to a hundred steeds ; but, still, in vain The gallant Arab before Time did flee ; Rude Time was swifter than sirocco wind— The Arab died, and left his tail behind. XVII I. In early times this tail to wig had grown— I cannot be exact about the date, As ’(is not stratified ; nor is it known If Iron age or Bronze saw it in state ; But to a Christchurch artist—Brice—’twas shown. And, not all vantageless on P ’s pate, It met the artist’s critical regard, Who said, “ It cannot go befoie Judge Ward.” |XIX. T’was all rumfoozled, and it lacked a tail, Poor Hamlet’s ghost was better furnished there, He could unfold one, but this wdg did fail. To show a stump ; and so with anxious care, And various implements, Brice did assail The tangled scheme. Belinda’s lock so rare Was not more big with fate; and as Pope’s measure Immortalised her lock, so I this treasure. XX Outside the statute, it was by parole Agreement mended, and at three pounds ten, Securely packed, it was sent to its goal, The railway station hard by where I pen These flowing lines, but on the legal roll, The most particular of legal men Is he whose name was on the band-box placed. This ancient wig was not quite to his taste. XXI. Goods bargained and sold, the declaration stated, With work and labor as the cause of action, While the Professor to be compensated For all his toil under this legal paction, Brought ’gainst defendant so t’was fated This wig should grace the Courts, a great ; attraction ; But not expected to look quite so well As when it graced they noble brow P—. XXIX | The case is pending before Mr. Mellish, • Lawyers and barbers will be there to see Plow legal wits will suitably embellish ‘ A brainless wig amieus curies ! <■ O, Duces Tecum ! you’ll look rather swellish, When this famed wig will thy exhibit be. ( Not Eldon’s wig, of which Tom Moore once
wrote, Reached greater fame than when it found a Poet.
OHISPA’S LETTER., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 98, 11 May 1880
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