The San Francisco Mail. —The English mail, via San Francisco, was delivered in town this morning.
New Proprietor. — Mr. Spencer Compton, of Ashburton, comes into possession of the Railway Hotel, Rakaia, in a day or two, succeeding Mr. MacNamara, who removes to the Gladstone Hotel, Christchurch. We have no doubt that Mr. Compton will make a good boniface, and under his care the “ Railway” will become a highly popular hostelry. Fire Brigade.—Last night a very satisfactory practice was held by the Fire Brigade, who tested with the hose the new controlling nozzles of which we spoke yesterday. The test was even more pleasing in its results than the members expected, for it was abundantly shown that the branchman could approach to the very walls of a burning building protecting himself from the heat by a perfect shower bath of spray thrown 'back over himself by the nozzle, while the jet continued on the building. The fire sump at the Post Office was found to be quite satisfactory, and sumps put down at convenient places in the town will afford as complete a “ fire plug ” system as any that can be devised. A large number of firemen are volunteers and the inspection interfered with the muster, but sufficient men werepresentto doall that was wanted. The “Argus” Exhibition Number.— A correspondent of the Southland News, who evidently has a calculating turn of mind, points out that the exhibition number of the Argus contained 140 columns of closely printed matter —the largest daily publication ever issued in the colonies. The number of lottei’sor separate pieces of typo amount to 1,250,000, which is considerably more letters than are usually to be found in three octavo volumes,each containing 400 pages. If the types were laid end to end they would form a line more than 143 miles in length. If a person were compelled to count these types one by one, and devoted ten hours a day to the work, and counted at a moderately rapid rate, it would take him six weeks to complete his task. If one compositor had to do the “ setting up ” of these types, and worked ton hours a day at the usual rate, he would bo nearly five months before his work was done. Rifle Parade. —Some forty men of all ranks attended the inspection parade of the Ashburton Rifles last night, at which Colonel Packe was present as inspecting officer, along with SergeantMajor Morgan. _ The Corps paraded at
the usual drill ground at seven o’clock, and shortly after that hour the Colonel came upon the ground and was received with the customary general salute. The men were then marched up to Friedlander Bros.’ grain store, by the light of the lamp adjoining which the Colonel was able to inspect the company, put in open order for the purpose. After the manual exercise had been gone through to the word [of command of Lieut. Douglas, the Colonel addressed the men, complimenting them on their appearance and the progress they had made, and promising that belts would be supplied to them almost immediately. He also told them that free passes would be issued to every member desiring to join
the corps at the Tcmuka review on the Prince of Wales Birthday, and that fur that occasion they would also be supplied with blank cartridge, but not until a rifle range had been provided could any ball practice take place. He was greatly pleased with the enthusiasm displayed by both officers and men, and the evident desire of both to profit by the able instructions of Sergeant Dolman, the corps' drill instructor. After several other movements, such as fours deep, forming line and company, and skirmishing from right, left, and centre, the company headed by the band, (with whose playing the Colonel was greatly pleased) marched through the town and were dismissed at Quill’s Hotel, where the captain’s health was drunk hy all bauds.
Vaccination in England. From elaborate returns on vaccination, prepared for the House of Commons it appears that since vaccination was made compulsory only 87 persons have been sent to prison, and no fewer than 4,000 have been fined. The Act was passed forty years ago, and only one hundred offenders per annum have needed to be punished. Only fourteen out of the whole number have been sent to prison more than once ; nobody has been sent to prison more than, three times.
lii Berkshire an obstinate antivaccinationist was fined twenty-five times ; in Cheshire another was fined thirteen times ; in Lancashire a third was fined twenty-one times. Only about fivehundred persons, however, have altogether been brought under the second penalty, and in the overwhelming majority of cases they have only been fined twice. The highest sum in which a conscientious father was mulcted for the luxury of letting Ids child escape from “ Jennorism ” was L 25. This was a Lancashire case. Asa rule, the coat of a persistent breach of the law seems to vary between a shilling and Lu 10s. In a word, the returns shew that though the law has produced one or two veritable martyrs, as a rule it is observed, and when it is not observed the hardship inflicted is not worth a special law to remove it.
• Wanted, a Barber. —There is no professional barber in the Rakaia township, and the people are much in want of a hair and beard reaper.
Flooded Out. The awfully wet weather wo arc now experiencing keeps people by the fireside of a night. In view of a probably empty house, "the Dramatic Company have chosen the better part, and have postponed their performance of “Josephine” and “The Railway Belle,” advertised for this evening, till fairer weather, which we hope they will enjoy on Tuesday evening next, the date fixed for the entertainment.
Agricultural and Pastoral Association.—A meeting of the Committee of the Agricultural and Pastoral Association was held in Shearman’s Hotel this afternoon at 3 o’clock. Mr. C. P. Cox was in the chair, and there were in all seven members present. The Secretary reported that the lowest tender for printing being the Guardian office, that had been accepted, but owing to the change in the proprietorship, the office desired to he relieved of the work of printing the catalogue, and other arrangements had been made for having the catalogue printed. He also reported having arranged for a band of 12 men to play at the forthcoming Show, and the Mayorhad proclaimed the Show day a holiday. The Railway Department had agreed to run trains at single fares, and to move the present trucking yards to a position opposite the Show ground, but could not entertain the proposition of erecting a platform at present. The resolution re prizes passed at last meeting Was rescinded, and in lieu thereof it was recommended that the prizes for sheep, cattle, horses, agricultural implements, dairy produce and New Zealand manufactures, be two guineas foxfirst prize and one guinea for second ; for pigs, poultry, pigeons, and dogs one guinea first and 10s. Gd. second, and for the leaping match two guineas. A letter was read from the County Council, offering the cattle yards to the Association at an annual rental of Lloo—scale of fees to be determined by the County Council, and to be subject to revision. The Council’s offer was accepted conditionally on certain alterations being made on the yards, to the satisfaction of the Yard Committee. The matter of a caretaksr was left to the Yard Committee, who will advertise for applications to be submitted to the next meeting of the Society’s Committee, at which time the Yard Committee would also submit a repoi-t of the probable annual income and expenditux-e of the new yards. A plan of a new site for the trucking yards on the Ashburton side of the cross roads on the west side of the railway nearly opposite the Show ground gate, was submitted by the County Council and approved of by the Committee. Various accounts were passed for paymeixt, and the Committee adjourned.
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