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CHISPA’S LETTER., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 214, 11 December 1880
“ I am not yet so bald that you can see my brains.” —Longfellow. There is to bo a torchlight procession, with fireworks os a finish up, on the evening of Boxing Day. That day will have been filled up by the Caledonian Society’s sports, and great fun and grand sights may bo expected. On the same night the Dramatic Society jy:ll hold the mirror up to nature. Coming nearer to the present date in this month’s history, the 17th supplies us with Cole’s sublime circus, and coming nearer still the benefit night of Mrs. Thompson (Lizzie Lezette) happens on Tuesday. (Long may she wave.) But all these sights and scenes pale in their grandeur before the entertainment Chispa is to give to his friends one night, this incoming weelc. I’ll toll you when on Monday, if it cost my last shilling. You know my old friend and crony Charlie Hayes, the ancient gentleman who sells Guardians and other luminaries of literature at the railway station. The Borough Council have pronounced an edict of doom to the old man, and he must remove his specimen of rninaturc architecture from the site it now occupies on Western Baring Square. He is too old now to take up his bed and walk, and in these piping times of prosperity sections run at too high a figure for him to buy one all to himself. Then the building bye-laws interfere with him as to the style of architecture he must adopt if he were to rear his superb mansion in sublime East street. To avoid all humbug I have gone into partnership with him in this trouble, and have opened negotiations with an ex-Town Councillor, who has leased us a section not far from Baring Square. The terms are a draft on the Bank of Humanity, and another draught of the milk of human Kindness, the Vholc deeds to be registered in heaven. Having secured a section I proceed to engage hands to aid in removal of the house, furniture, and effects of the said Charles Hayes. The following carriers have been specially retained for the occasion :
G. F. Scott, with man, horse, and marc ; MacFarlane— pereet fits— with equimty ; Andy Wood, his dray and ho-se ; Ben, Smith and all his plant and stock-in-trade ; B<*b. Cullen, with his complete nun-out;
John Hcfford, and his establishment toto\ A contribution of cabs, &c. from Jamie M’Rac and his chumship. All these gentlemen, men and horses, will attend on the night I specify. Flowers for decoration will be plentiful, and there will be a good time. A procession of my very dear friends in Ashburton will march from the Post Office to the site of the present mansion, and fifty men will aid in its removal. A gentleman of the bar has promised to contribute twelve pints of Quill’s best to slake the thirst that must follow the exertion of pulling down and rebuilding the house, and similar contributions will be thankfully received. If any member of the great brotherhood of humanity to which old Charlie and I belong, has not been personally invited, let him come, and welcome, when I issue the summons, and let him bring with him such flowers as he can to strew on the deserted site of the mans'on, in memory of, and in tribute to, the stern sense of humanity, consistency, economy, and justice, that forced the Borough Council to remove my old friend and partner from his home in the hollow. Ido not know about the- band, but if Piper Elder is about he jyill head: the procession.
Cliispa went to Wakanui on Thursday. He didn’t; regret going, for he was disabused thereby of a notion that has been in his head some time —-viz., that farmers don’t bother a great deal about public matters, whether they concern themselves or not. After my visit to Wakanui, I have only to say to such as have hitherto held the same opinion as I have—-Don’t you believe it. There were sixty men rolled up to that meeting, and I’ll go bail you wouldn’t get more in the Town Hall for a similar object, unless there was some hope of hearing a wordy set-to between tljc oratorical gladiators of the Borough. Bravo Wakanui!
Scene—A schooLhouse (vulf. Fancy’s map of the County for the particular locality). School under repairs, and master having a holiday betakes himself to the the school pump and drip tub for a bath. Enter to the master, (who is bare to the buff and blind with soap), the Inspector. Inspector —Oh! Are you the master? Master (blind with soap)—Nothing today, baker, thank you. Inspector —But, why is the school closed -—this is not a holiday ? Master (still blind, and ears full also) — No, nothing to-day. Inspector —l said this was no holiday. Why is the school closed !
Made)' —l’ll go in and see (rushes off to house, still blind). Old woman, any bread to-day 1 Voice of “ old woman ” —None to-day, James.
Master (again in tub)—None to-day. Inspector (impatient, and dignity offended)—But I’m the INSPECTOR ! ! ! Master (wakened up at last) —Oh, you are. Then the school is under repairs, and I’m in soap. Now then. Exit Inspector in a passion. Next report, anything but complimentary, but master popular in the district notwithstanding, and Committee say the Inspector.”
Our sporting proclivities have now taken a start towards trotting, and from balmy morn till dewy eve, the owners of quadrupeds, which in most cases are only fit for cat’s meat, can be seen careering along East street, smashing up boylders and pasterns alike. The demolition of the boulders does good to the community at large, and the complete breaking up of a-\ old crock is Perhaps an end to a career of misery and illtreatment to the animal itsself, and the two ruins together are in effect a direct gain to the public .at large. I am led to these remarks because one of these sporting characters called upon, mo tp Ipplt at-a Ijprsg ; he ’ had' hj ’training.
He evidently took me for a judge of this kind of tiling, but as yours truly is a mere infant in arms so far as 1 ‘ training ” goes, the trottist got hold of the wrong kind of a reporter for once. However, Chispa went. to the training stables, which consisted of a dilapidated shanty, and therein found the highmettled steed. Ea passant, I may say that'most of the mettle, he was possessed of was in connection with his shoes. He was a poverty-stricken looking animal of a ding}' red breed, and he had what appeared to bo a good-?ized table-cloth .wound round each log, and a peculiar sort of an edifice —something like a clothes-basket—-hung on his countenance. Mr. Fill-up, his trainer, explained to me that the table-cloths'were ba'ndages" to* reduce the swelling consequent on the hard training the animal had undergone, and that the clothes-basket was a muzzle to keep him from eating : his bedding. Fill-up had just deliverod hiinself of this information. when Bucephalus got his tongue* through a hole in the clothes-basket and picked up a straw. His trainer promptly kicked him in the ribs and lovingly said, “ Got out, you sod !” and further explained that the great ait of training was kindly treatment. He then said that he was ’ only anxious to meet Tito Kowaru, or some other good animal, at the trotting match, and then he would show them the way round, and then ho went to work and gave an extra twist to the table-cloths, so as to reduce the'circulation of the blood in the. crock’s legs, and I said “ Good afternoon,” and left with an impression that I had learnt something about training horses. Oiiisfa.
CHISPA’S LETTER., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 214, 11 December 1880
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