“ I am not yet so bald that you can see my brains.” —Longfellow.
I find the press of the colony who love not the Hall Ministry, and who have no affection for old Alfred Saunders, going for the old man hotly, because he dared speak his mind regarding the Ministers of to-day and the Ministers of the days immediately preceding the one on which they came into office. I don’t suppose the old man cares a rap what the Greyite press think of him. He oughtn’t to ; he’s known them long enough and intimately enough to be fully posted up in how much of both “R” and : ‘F” is to be found amongst them as well as amongst the men who made Sir George’s Cabinet. But it appears to me the bitterest pill the old gentleman administered—which, by the way, he didn’t, as it happens—was to hint at the possibility of repudiation. Now, just let us “ think out this thing together,” as Sir George Grey would say. ‘‘ I want you to follow me closely in this thing.” There are hundreds of men in this colony who have “ repudiated,” and it seems to me it isn’t a bad line. Nobody thinks any less of them because they have clone so, for the simple reason that they have only “joined the majority”—that is, complied with the general and inexorable rule' in this colony, which, it seems every man must observe before he rises to fame and fortune. More that 50 per cent, of the New Zealand population in business, have contributed to the lawyers in bankruptcy, and don’t seem any worse for it. Why shouldn’t the colony as a whole do tae same if it is in difficulties, and every public man and every newspaper in New Zealand has, any time these last two years, told us how far we had gone to leeward, and what an up-hill job it was to make both ends meet. I reckon we won’t be able to borrow any more”millions for a long time—a very long time. Possibly not till you and I, sir, have turned our toes up to the daisies, and the statues of Sir George Grey and Mr. Alfred Saunders, cut in New Zealand marble or Mount Somers stone by an Ashburton sculptor, can be seen in respectful attitudes towards each other, shaking hands with each other, and wearing on their countenances smiles that, though fixed in the immoveable stone, yet tell of all past memories of unpleasantness buried, and a loving preparation made for the happy hunting grounds. As a continued appearance of solvency then won’t aid the borrowing power, apcl insolvency has got to be no discredit in this colony of ours, why should we not be as true as a body to the principles we profess as individuals, and file at once.
Drinking is a science, and, like all sciences, the more you study it, the more you get befogged with its intricacies. It has its joys and its sorrow’s, its cares and anxieties, and troubles and difficulties, just like any of the other multitudinous ramifications of human research. Burns said, if I remember correctly— I ha’e been joyful gathering gear, I ha’e been happy thinking, I ha’c been blylhc wi’ comrades dear, I ha’e been merry drinking.
But everybody isn’t merry in their cups, as was Burns—nor was he always poor beggar. In a pub. bar this week I overheard a conversation between two Drunks. Drunk No. 1 said to Drunk. No. 2, “I say, old man, have a drink ; I am trying to get sober,” D. No. 2 replied, with a dazed sort of look, in which, however, a transient gleam of a bastard sort of intelligence struggled out, “ Oh, I’ve been trying to got sober for six months, and it has cost me L 120.” Fancy that ! I should say that man had studied the science of drinking down to its deepest depths, and it had beaten him.
The Mail this morning is quite waspish over Mr. F. P. O’Reilly’s action in trying to get Proctor up to lecture in the future hub of the world, and sets the man of law, and memory, and poetic mind down as a person who lends a hand to a travelling showman to do the newspapers out of an advertisement. You are a bad man, O’Reilly. Don’t you know that nothing can come before the public for the public’s good without paying toll to a free and enlightened press, just as nothing can come before the administrators of the law without paying toll to the profession of which you, Mr. O’Reilly, are a brilliant and shining light. But even the worst story has a redeeming feature, and the redeeming feature in this one of the Mail's (only the Mail has left it out) is that Mr. O’Reilly is not to blame in the matter, nor is Mr. Smythc, the much travelled agent. No conditions whatever are attached to Proctor’s coming to Ashburton. In fact, but for the fact that Smythe wants to see a friend in Ashburton, there would not be even the remotest possibility of the great Ashburton hearing the music of the spheres telephoned down to them through the lips of the great Proctor. Why should he trouble about Ashburton when the cities of the world are open to him ? and when, even at the least, his lecturing in Ashburton will be a loss of time to himself, and a consequent loss of money. Mr. O’Reilly, I think, deserves even the Mail’s thanks for endeavoring to bring Proctor here, and as for advertisements —well, Smythe knows the value of advertising just as well as any man born, and how to use it, and he never ran a show of any kind yet without making an advertising outcry in the papers. Chispa.
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