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CHISPA’S LETTER

“I am not yet so bald that you can see my brains. ” —Longfellow. (From Ashburton Herald, July 10.) I was quite overcome last week with the intensity of the situation. I had seen my respected friend Mr Purnell trotted off to the place from the limited room of which he has in his day so ably saved such a large number of evil doers, and I was quite upset. I tried to write but 1 couldn’t go it—it was too much. So I went to the Oddfellows’ ball, and swung my elegant form about there for a while. , I may say just here that I came to grief at that ball. I aiu something like Richard the Third—not suited to amble in a' lady’s chamber — and so, after clumsily ruining several yards of drapery, and getting one or two looks that were affectionate on the surface but anything but loving, I am sure, if the surface could have been lifted, I cleared. But it was in the clearing I came to grief. Dr. Stewart was about, being surgeon to the Oddies, and 1 thought I would adjourn upstairs with him. I only got half way up when I met with an accident. Thanks to the Dr. and a slice of raw beef that George Eagle found for me, I can look the whole world in the face again. The magistrate has much to answer for. If he hadn’t sent Mr. Purnell to: quod I shouldn’t have gone to that bad, and shouldn’t have got that black eye. There, now, that’ll do on the subject of myself. Mr. St. Hill is the best Councillor we have. I have always said so. He is so thorough, you know, and goes to the root of things. He went to the root of that immigrants’ cottage that was to have been given to the Fire Brigade to practice on, and he had made, what he thought to be, very effective arrangements for tearing it up, root and branch. He sold it for Ls— whom, think you ? Why, to Brown, the gentleman who was for some considerable time, “ The cook, and the captain bold, And the mate, and the purser big, And the bosun, tight, and the midshipmile, And the crew of the captain’s gig ” in fact, in his own proper person, the complete labor gang of the Borough Council. While Mr, Brown occupied that solitary but exalted position—a sort of concentrated essence of labor gang —I have often looked over his person to see if he hadn’t branded himself with the letters A. 8.0., the same as the spades are—for he was so essentially the property of the Council, and looked after everything and everybody connected with it, or doing anything for it, that I fancied ho ought to bear the alphabetical brand somewhere on his person, just as the Freemasons brand theii new members. If you are a Mason 1 know you will feel an uneasiness about the left pocket of your surtout, when 1 mention this brani, and unpleasant recollections of the fiery ordeal will come to your memory. But I was never able tc discover the mystical letters anywhere upon his person. When the Council rise to the dignity of haying a man under Mr. Brown, 1 can always find the letters about the working gang, because “ he” has to use a spade, and the spade is stamped. Well, Mr. St. Hill sold the dilapidated- cottage to the essence of labor gang, and smiled benignly to himself, thinking that the eyesore was to be removed, for the cottage was sold with that understanding. But Mr. St. Hill is not the “boss” of the essence of labor gang, and he found that out. The essence of labor gang sold the cottage again, and turned the nimble penny on the sale. The shanty has now become a stable—patched up, and made habitable for a horse, if not for a man and Mr. St. Hill, the most practical man in the Council, the leader of the great Liberal party in the local parliament, has been had by the head and middle and tail fall in one) of a whole department of the parochial civil service. Somegeniusor otherhasgoneinto figures over the Borough Council’s expenditure on salaries &c., as against their income. I admire that chap’s way of putting things. He seems to allow rates only for revenue, and leaves out the license fees, and every little source of revenue that exists. Avast heaving, young man ! What about the money fromtheßoadßoards and the County Council. Is that outfall drain paid for out of rates, or the water scheme, or the concrete channelling 1 Don’t you believe it. Do you think my friend Mr. Fooks draws his salary for simply saying to the concentrated essence of labor gang “do this,” and he doeth it—if he please—and draws it out of rates only ? Not he. The County Council stands in the gap for that work, for the same fund that supplies the concrete channelling supplies also the engineer’s cost. We get through a lot o’ money, I dare say. But don’t paint us any blacker than we are. Boniface Quill and Auctioneer Harrison are to beputupin two lots. They are about a size, and this fact is causing some fun. Tom Brown, hurriedly passing me offered two to one on the “ little man.” I took Kim. Who loses it Alfred knocks Tom down all in one lot, and who if Tom gives Alfred a consolation blow out after Tom has got to the head of the poll 1 They are both litlle ones—both game. I don’t know how to vote. I like Harrison. He’s a decent little fellow ; and so is Tom. I like him, too. Oh—l know, I have two votes. I’ll give one to each. “ Give up smoking.” At the Library show, at the Sunday-school tea fight, and in every good or goody-goody periodical published, we have been told to give upsmoking and we will be able to do great things. We’ll be able to join the Library, we’ll be able to subscribe to the Christian Record, to a Building Society, to a missionary society, to a church, to a thousand and one benevolent institutions, and put money in the bank. I went into figures on this subject, and I find that if I give up smoking I will be able to save about a hundred pounds a-year if I put all the “ threepence a-weeks” together that I have heard mentioned. But then, as tobacco only costs an average man about 7£d. a week, and I am an average man, I fail to see how I am going to save from being spent what never was in danger. Chispa.

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CHISPA’S LETTER Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 125, 13 July 1880

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