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TWENTY SHILLINGS IN THE £.

To the Editor. Mister H-editer, —I begs you will excuse this ’ore liberty in a uularned man addressing you, but I knows you do put in letters sometimes in your Guardian, and I likes that name Guardian for your paper—it seems as if you do mean to guard our interests. As I now do feel in a sort of moral mood (holidays being over), I shall begin, parson-like, with a werse o’ Scripture, I knows it’s somewhere at the end o’ the Bible—a werse I wish might go with more than a forty-parson power to many a leathery conscience in Ashburton —it is this, “ Whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just.” If there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Now, Mr. Heditcr, 1 very well knows people don’t like Scripture talk in newspapers. Some on um do like a very little on a Sunday evening, provided that little is not too strong or personal. Now I prides myself on being a kind of filosopher —knowing a thing or two of things in general and business matters particular—that is, what I picks up by general observation and a reading the newspapers. Since I’se been in these ’ere parts, one thing I notises, and that is what a wery common thing it do seem to go through, or to file, or to shovel, as they do call it — and they does not think it no disgrace neither. They says they was summonsed, or they was pushed, and they was obligated to call a meeting ; and they says to theirselves, there’s Robinson, Brown, Jones, Smith, and Snooks, w r ery respectable men, church and chapel-goers, too ; some in wery prominent positions, and ’as done largely in good works, too, and they’ve been an’ gone on again as big as ever, and seem as jolly as if nothink had happened, cutting such a dash at the races, balls and parties, and them places, with their wives and childers as swellish as ever, while the poor coves who supplied uni with the luxuries works hard to pay a honest twenty shillings in the pound, while they got Is. 6d., 2s. Gd., 3s. 4d., or some’ut of that kind in thepound,andsome of their ’states was what them lawyers calls nil, and I’s told that do mean nothink. Say T, to myself, when I reflects on these ’ere things. —lf there be any shame, if there be any disgrace ; if there be any cowardly meanness, if there be anythink contemptable, think on these things, in course there may be some poor fellows whose been misfortunate, and smashed up but afterwards by hard work and stintin’ o’ theirselves, fetch up agin, and shewed they was better than the heathen Chinee, and paid their just debts, a honest 20s; in the pound. My stars ! how it would astonish some of our shopkeepers if Jones, Smith, Robinson, Brown, and a few score

more of those gentlemen whose names have graced or disgraced the papers within. the last twelve months were to turn up and put down ten shillings in the pound beyond their first and final dividend as they generally ’as it, but they says no, we isn’t such fools, why Jones, Smith, Robinson, and Brown would say wo was only fit to go to Suimyside Asylum, and that sharp—l do see, Mr. Heditor,. that they be wakin’ up in some places, making it very ’ot for some on um, having protecting societies just a finding out who’s who—a precious hard job in this ere place to do that. And I see in the paper, one fellow got three months for a telling of lies about a having nothing, and he had drawed £IOO out of the bank a day afore he filed. Scamps and rogues, says I ! Don’t a good many of the respectable gents about deserve just the same ! And another think I’s observed, that when these slippery, smooth-tongued adventurers ’as done the job once as they think well, it’s much easier to go through the second, and easier still the third time.

T’other clay, I heard of a fellow being refused tick, who says—“ I’s all right, I’s got my discharge.” I often says to myself, what fools them marchants and shopkeepers be for trusting the likes of them, but so they does ; and often refuses a poor, honest, hardworking fellow, the like of me, who ’as always tried and always succeeded in paying twenty shillings in the pound, and ’as got an easy conscience. For I does think there is some virtue and some praise in keeping out of the Bankruptcy Court; in other words, proving you are equal to manage your affairs, or proving you are honest.—Yours, &c.-, Obsarver.

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TWENTY SHILLINGS IN THE £. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 197, 20 November 1880

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