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CHISPA’S LETTER, Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 164, 12 October 1880
(From the Ashburton Herald, Oct. 9.)
I am not yet so bald that you can see my brains.”—Longfellow.
The Agricultural and Pastoral Association have issued their annual bill, and as an effort in the printing line they have achieved a success. The credit of that success is attributable probably more to the P. D. of your establishment than to the august Association. The poster in question has some peculiar features about it, other than that connected with the printing art. The general regulations give a heap of instructions as to the manner in which a candidate for pastoral honors must act if he expects to win a prize, and are very distinct as to the amount to be parted with for entrance fees ; but a hiatus is to be found under the heading of “ Catalogue of Prizes. ” Now, Ohispa hasn’t anything to enter, but he has some acquaintances who might go in for entering a swingletree, a fat pig, or a scarifier ; and these friends are anxious to know if they get a prize, what the spondulix will amount to. As my friend Mr. Branson would remark, I, as amicus curia:, would recommend them to issue a new programme, and state what they intend giving for tip top exhibits. I. have read in your reports that silver medals, and bronze medals, will be given as prizes, and no doubt leather medals and wooden spoons, and such other honors as people do not care to win, will also he given, but the Association ought, you know, to say what amounts or rewards they will give to the best quadruped in each class.
It has become fashionable of late for purveyors of bread and beer to publish the analysis of Professor Bickerton as to the quality of their goods ; and I have no doubt but that the existence of such an officer as the Public Analyst is a great preventative to our getting poisoned either in our platters or in our cups. But I was considerably astonished to find the other day that the bread I eat is composed entirely of water and ashes. The published analysis of the bread in question says, on the authority of Prof. Bickerton,. that it consists of 43’04 per cent, of water and ’9O of ash. Flour don’t seem to be one of the constituents of this baker’s bread, and yet it seems to me to be a very palatable article. I think my friend, Mr. Thiele, must have sent his pump instead of a loaf to the professor. Perhaps some of the sellers of malt liquor will favor mo with an analysis of the quantity of pump used in the manufacture of their goods. I know from the best of all tests —the proof of the. pudding is the eating—that Mr. Thiele’s bread is very wholesome eating, and the professor bears me out when I say so ; but the said professor, when he gives an analysis, has no right to give only half the quantities, leaving ordinary men to think that there are only water and ash in the staff of .life’provided by as honest an old baker as ever stood up to a table. I should say that analysis is science run mad.
I seriously think I will alter my occupation. A newspaper hack is always considered by the business community as a bad mark, and as a contradistinction a butchers’ hack is looked upon as a “good line.” My remarks touching butchers arise from a most extraordinary anomaly, at least it appears so to my mind. At the sale yards sheep are constantly on the rise, and at the butchers’ shop the dead jumbuck seems to lose his value in direct ratio to his price when, alive under the hammer. Why this, or thusly? Fore-quar-ters seem to be sold at exceptionally small prices, and on asking for one at standard rates a day or so ago, I was handed a sheep’s head. The joke is old, the head is no doubt the fore part of our Avoolly-faced friend, but I don’t quite, see that I and the rest of the unemployed should be subjected to such a swindle. But seeing that things have arrived at this stage in the butchering line, I intend starting next week myself. Hay Smith and old Blueskin will give mo an old wether and a side of pork between them, and with a bit of luck and plenty of cheek I may yet hope to be able to do well. I think we should look out for rise in prices shortly.
As the Borough Council couldn’t give me a show at the standard six bob a day, I went up country to look for a job ; and I may as well say at once that I didn’t find one, I wont up what they call the “forks.” I found old Philip Tisch, but he had neither “ forks nor knives ” forme to operate with. However, I got round the old boy for a pint, and ho told me to go on to the next shop—only a mile or two he said—and I would get a job at the Forest. Well, Invent that “ mile or two,” which proved to be a long ten miles, and got into the sweetest country I have yet sot eyes on. This part of the land seems to be constructed of three concomitants —Birch, Boulders and Beer. Birch the inhabitants live on, that is to say they exist indirectly on the outcome of the post and rails and stakes which by their ingenuity they manufacture out of the scrub which grows on the hill. The Boulders they make their roads with, and, “ ye gods and little fishes!” Such roads. I should like to see just one chain of the best of their roads laid down in front of Councillor Ivess’ office, and then you would hear a howl of indignation which would reach from the Snares to the Three Kings. Their third comfort, Beer, is their saving point. The population in this district have a currency of their own. They do not reckon up posts or rails or stakes at so much per 100, but at so many pints ; and when a splitter or bushman, or whatever he calls himself, considers he has converted a sufficient quantity of trees into; marketable timber, he there and theh travels over the Boulders, and converts the Birch into Beer. This umbrageous community have been very modest in their demands to the County Council, they have only asked for one boon, and that has been granted. They petitioned the august body for a grant of a reserve for a most
important purpose. What think ye, my heavers ? A cemetery ! nothing less. And it was a wise request —verb sap.
Law is law. You can.shoot a man, or at all events threaten to do so, and I presume you can give him a jolly good dressing down, and nothing will be said about it, if you can only scare up a question about who owns the ground the fight takes place on. M‘Cutcheon was on his pistol powers with Hume, and nearly sc?red the life out of the poor ploughman, but the magistrate has no jurisdiction because of a dispute that was hanging over the land, and because o£ this dispute Hume has to be in continual danger of being made food for worms, and nothing can be said. I can assure you this is law. CmsPA.
CHISPA’S LETTER, Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 164, 12 October 1880
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