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CHISPA’S LETTER., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 104, 25 May 1880
“lam not yet so bald that you can see my brains. ” —Longfellow.
(From Ashburton Herald , May 22.)
What has happened to the Ashburton nuns 1 I begin to think the Colorado beetle that so recently' ate into the very vitals of our financial arrangements is doing his work also in the arms and ammunition of our local shots. 1 attribute the mischief to the financial squeeze, because I am of opinion that the weapons have been neglected while more pressing business claims had to be attended to, and as rust destroys more than labor wears, the fowling pieces have suffered, while the exchequer is not sufficiently healthy to bear the strain the purchase of new guns would lay upon it. Why I write in this strain is because of a little incident that came to my knowledge a few day's ago. You will remember a little yarn I told y'ou recently of a very unsuccessful battue that took place. One of the heroes of that battue is the hero of this incident of mine, and it is because T know him to be a shot that I am tempted to think his gun has given out, for I cannot believe either that his ever youthful and lusty figure could become old, his nerves weak, or his eye untrue. So it must be his gun, and the sooner he visits John Orr’s armoury the better. My friend of the battue accepted an invitation to my other friend’s place at Tawklichen. That’s the name it’s known by at the fireside ; it has another name in the land records of the colony. After a huge amount of preparatien—my friend does his business properly when ho sets about it, —the buggy got loaded with the arms, ammunition, accoutrements, and accessories of the chase that al way's accompany Sure-Eye when he goes shooting. Out he rattled to Tawklichen, and after the merest trifle of a refection he went bang at the ducks. His shot bag was plethoric, and his powder horn full. They could stand a shot or two, and they did, for over fifty times that famous old piece emptied itself into the air. But only one solitary feather suffered, and the bird got away. Tired of such an unlucky district, my friend shifted camp, and away up to Coolbrook. But luck was not any more kindly, and said luck swallowed a lot of powder and lead without yielding a single bird. My sure-eyed and steadynerved friend felt his reputation at stake, and he began to think something must bo done. He had never returned from shooting before with an empty game bag, and he couldn’t now so tracing his way back to his host, he asked liberty to shoot something for the sake of seeing if he really had forgot the way. Kind host consented and in three minutes a fine goose had seen the last of the sun. Away went our hero with his goose-laden buggy. As he went he flattered himself that he had some spoil at least to offer to his good lady, and he was somewhat consoled for the disappointment of shooting for two days and not bagging a single wild wing. Drawing up at the door of his own home, he joyously hailed his good lady, and invited her out to see what had fallen to his gun. She came and when she got round to the back of the buggy she found that the fixing had come undone, the backboard had been hanging loose for miles, and the goose was gone—moral, always secure your game when you have killed it, even if it is only a bam-yard goose. Asking for a situation is no uncommon thing in these days, and some people get struck up all of aheap,;when they come to write an application for a vacancy. Some don’t know how much to say of themselves, some can’t find enough, others don’t know what to say—some are modest, some egotistic ; some patronising, and their letters sound as if their penning were an honor to those to whom they are addressed ; others are fearful lest they be considered... impertinent, and write in a humble and quiet strain. But most of them are more or less got up with 'a certain degree of conventionality in-.their tone, so that when you have read three lines or thereby you know pretty well the rest. A new departure in applying for a sit., therefore, is something fresh, and in the belief that the freshness of the following will take with your readers, I gife it, just as I surreptitiously obtained ft. I may add that the applicant didn’t get the school: — L A , Feb. 14th, 1880. The Chairman School Committee, E . Sir, —I have the Honor to apply to you for appointment to the school. I have been teaching in C for four years, my first appointment was to the new school at C——, and I find that my system of teaching is acquired more easily by pupils that have never been under any other system or have been taught without system. My pupils were much more advanced in two years than districts I know where schools have been established Twenty years, and perhaps have had Ten or a dozen teachers. It appointed my wife is capable of teaching sewing, and if her acquaintance with the good people of E is only as satisfactory to all as our C— experience I shall be quite satisfied. I have the honor to be, Ac., —= . N. B. —The name of your district is very attractive to me, as I fancy it is called after as Brave a British Admiral as ever walked a quarter-deck—a man whose name was for years a tower of strength to our countrymen on the West Coast of America and of whom many a stirring tale is still told there.” We are told by some classical celebrity that “ revenge is sweet.” Whether it was Homer or Spokeshave, or Moses, I can’t recall to mind ; all I know is that it is classical. Well, an incident happened the other day which shows what queer forms the ideas of a just revenge takes in some folks’ imaginations. A certain young man of very unassuming manners, and unmilitary legs, had a debt owing to him by another superior individual of important appearance, and particularly military legs and general bearing. This debt, being in fact for services as a “ bum,” were payable forthwith ; but there was no appearance of a disposition to “ part ” on the superior individual’s side. The “Bum,” in a mild way expressed his ambition to become an angel, after he had “shuffled off this mortal coil ” on this mundane sphere, and his object in becoming one of the Seraphim was original to my notion. It was, as he expressed it, to have the pleasure of flapping out the eyes of his debtor with his wings, if they happened to meet in the “ Sweet bye and bye.” For my own part, I shouldn’t mind being referee in this projected “Celestial cock fight.” I would, if admitted to the area of the cherubic ring, back the “ Captain ” at 2 to 1; but I am informed that neither Chispa nor bookmakers stand the least chance of paying gate money in that coming event. “ Dunning ” is a favorite occupation in these hard times ; not that the duns get any particular debts paid, but the occupation gives them an air of business importance, and it is something for a debt collector to say to “ Chispa ” when he meets him in street, “ Look here, Mr. Chispa, if you don’t pay that eighteen shillings, you can look for a summons on Tuesday.” You see, a threat like this, made in the presence of a few other tradesmen, gives the “ dun ” an appearance of importance, besides making it appear to the “ dunnee ” that his credit is bad with other tradesmen. But a professional “ dun ” was had a week or so ago. He waylaid a certain gentleman for a 15s. account with the usual threat, and the only reply made by the debtor was the production of a note book and pencil, and the remark, “Look here, if you ask me for money again I’ll
sketch your darned legs.” It is needless to observe that the possessor of the “ legs ” was an absentee oil the notice to quit. ° Sometimes I envy the lot of other people when I feel my own hard, but I didn t envy the position of genial Alfred Harrison, the auctioneer, last Wednesday at Tinwald. He held a sale at the yards there on that day, and he was interrupted throughout the whole duration of it by a well know citizen of whom I expected better things. The said citizen, let me charitably suppose, was intoxicated, for he was most shamefully abusive, and all because Mr. Harrison did not feel himself justified in taking the foolish bid of a drunk man. At one time he had his coat off to fight the auctioneer, and at another threatened Mr. Harrison with his own riding whip. Fortunately for the abusive one there was no policeman near, and Mr. Harrison has the patience of Job, or an apprehension that would have been followed by a stinging punishment would have resulted. This hint may be useful to the police, who might occasionally look over at the yards on sale days, Chispa.
CHISPA’S LETTER., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 104, 25 May 1880
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