0 “ I am not yet so bald that you can see my brains. ” —LONGFELLOW. (From Ashburton Herald, August 7.) So far as the County Council is concerned, the libraries may go “clam.” Every little district in the County has suddenly taken a literary fit, and the word is “Library.” Whether the hope of nibbling a L2O-note or so of County money has set them all singing, reciting, fiddling, and dancing, or the high jin Its nave been indulged in simply for love of a longneglected cause—and the libraries have been so—l cannot tell, but, if the County cash is aimed at a mistake has been made. W. O. Walker, Esq., with his coadjutors on the committee, don’t see it. I don’t wonder either at the fit of blindness that has come over them so suddenly; it was quite time to take alarm. So long as Ashburton, Bakaia, and Watertoa, with (peradventure Mr. Cameron were successful in raising it) Methven in the future, were the only claimants ofglibrary aid the thing was not B > formidable. But no sooner had Ashburton made that conceited claim to be made the great centre and heart of the librarian’s lore in the county, than up rose a host of claims from places some people in this township knew only by name, and if asked where they were could not even point out the direction. It was this crop of young libraries that frightened the Councillors, and, as you say, it is just as well. I hear the Ashburton Library Committee are to institute a mild form of dissipation in order to get rid of the old piano that belongs to the inststution. and to give its tones a more metallic if even less melodious jingle. They are not going to raffle it—that is the vulgar name—they are going to dispose of it by “ art union,” for Lso—los. a share. One down, who makes two 1 Are you on ? JSTo dice, you know ! Councillor Williamson’s soundness of judgment I have always respected, and I never believed him capable of doing a swindle—in fact, I don’t’ think he is the real swindler in the concern I am about to speak of. Some Borough Father or other struck the idea that a kerosene lamp at the corner of West street and Havelock street, would serve as well as gas, to make darkness visible, especially as no gas main had yet carried the illuminating vapor to that quarter. It was Councillor Williamson who suggested that the kerosene lamp should be tried, with a view to light the dark corner, and at the same time show the difference in cost between gas and oil. Now, I am not a gas shareholder, but 1 won’t have the company swindled. I won’t have Councillor Parkin coming telling us that it is cheaper to use kerosene than gas, and adducing this lamp as an instance. Councillor Parkin well knew that the only member of the local Parliament who was likely to be in the vicinity of that lamp of a night was Councillor Orr, and that only of a Sunday. Sunday last was the one solitary instance in which the lamp shone out — ever since its light has remained in embryo in the lamp lighter’s match box. I hold that lamp is a mockery and a snare. It may serve to show the Presbyterian people the path to evening duty of a Sunday—but there are other equally good citizens who want to be shown the dry places on a week night. You want more than twopenworth of oil a night for that, when there is no moon. But I expect when the old lady begins to shine again well get the lamp lit.
I thought those shanties on the west Bariri" Square reserve were to be removed —that their “ avaricious ” owners were to be told to “shunt.” Whether they have been so told or not, they still enjoy their otium cum dignitata in the old gully. I don’t know that Councillor St. Hill was guilty of his usual far-sightedness in this matter; or in that other matter of Mr. Jameson’s plough and such, that he would have removed off the unrented reserve. Why didn’t he get those “avaricious ” people to pay rent, instead of hounding them off the municipal estate. Even if he got ss. a week it would have been better than nothing in these times, and would have helped to defray the great cost he is now trying so hard to reduce.
Permit me to compliment Ashburton on becoming an electoral district, and to remind her that she need never be in any difficulty as to a representative, as I am always at her service. When ink-slinging gives out it is usual to take to the law for a living ; but even that last refuge of the distressed may fail, and then, of course, there is only the extreme resource of politics left. The water supply scheme is crawling slowly along—a good deal faster since the men began to throw clay into the holes. The water is down in town already, for that matter. My well has risen five feet since the stream reached the back of the cricket ground. Ohxspa.
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Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 137, 10 August 1880
CHISPA’S LETTER. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 137, 10 August 1880
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