TOWN HALL MONOPOLY.
To the Editor.
Sir, —Your correspondent writing under the nom-de-plume of “ Only a Fireman ” assuredly considers himself and those he wishes to be thought to represent, a very hardly-used and basely-injured lot, but since he “ wants to know, you know,” I’ll endeavor to “let him see, you see,” though not, I hope, through a jaundiced vision. Well, sir, the sum and substance of-bis complaint is evidently against the Amateur Dramatic Club, for, as he calls it, monopolising the Town Hall on the local race nights. Now, sir, for a fair statement. The Amateur Dramatic Club have been endeavoring during the last twelve months to provide amusement periodically for the public (in which they flatter themselves they have, so far, succeeded). That, and the amalgamating themselves with the old Christy Club, have made the expenses they have been put to, to sustain a legitimate representation of the drama, large. Therace nights seeming to afford an opportuity for strengthening the finances of the Club, the hall was in due time applied for, and in answer to a request from the Fire Brigade to forego one of these nights in their favor it was decided, in justice to those who held an apparently better opinion of the Club than “Fireman” does, to adopt the old maxim of “Be just before you are generous,” and instead of making the Brigade a present of ten pounds, which, in plain English, giving up the hall to them for one of those special nights meant, they decided to decline their request, expressing their willingness at any other time to assist the Brigade to the utmost of their power. As to the monopoly enjoyed by. the Amateur Dramatic Club, that exists only in “ Fireman’s ” fertile imagination, inasmuch (and he allows this in his letter) that it is quite competent for any company, either professional or local, to engage the hall as long in advance as they please (which I know is often done by travelling troupes). The monoply the Amuteur Dramatic Club enjoys is that if on any night they have applied for the use of the hall, another troupe or body of any sort wanting it, the Dramatic Club must either give it up or pay double for the right of retaining it. Now, sir, had “ Fireman” been content to expend his spleen and venom on the Ashburton Dramatic Club alone, I should have passed it by as unworthy of notice, leaving him to awake to his error on calmer reflection ; but when he descends to attack church, charitable, and other purposes for which the hall is used, under the
designations of “ parsons, raffles, exhibitions, tea fights, &c., on tick,” out on him ! I say, for a mean, senseless dolt—a fit subject to wallow in the quagmire of sneering abuse, and, consequently, utterly incapable of understanding matters in either a straightforward, business-like, or charitable manner. However, I flatter myself that “ Fireman” represents bet a very small portion, in fact, an infinitesimally small portion of that noble body, “The Fire Brigade,” who, I feel sure, when acquainted with the true state of affairs, combined with the lateness of their request, and the fact that the Club had put in rehearsal special pieces for these occasions, will acquit the A.D.C. of any desire to run antagonistic to them. In conclusion, before “ Fireman” again essays the task of champion of the Fire Brigade, and exponent of public opinion, he should work off his superabundant bile, when he might be able to indite a letter free from those contemptible sneers he evinces in his last production.—l am, sir, Hon. Sec. , A. D. C.
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