Christmas Holiday.—The Guardian will not be published to-morrow, being Christmas Day.
Telegraphic.— Sunday hours will be observed at all telegraph stations tomorrow (Christmas day) and on Monday next (Boxing day).
The San Francisco Mails. Mails for the United Kingdom, Continent, of Europe, and America, West Indies, Sandwich Islands, &c., will close at Ashbu: ton on Friday, the 31st instant, as follows: Money orders at 10 a.m.; correspondence at 5 p.m. Late fee letters may be po. ted in the mail van up to the time of its departure for Christchurch.
Kauri Gum. —The Auckland Y'-iste Lands Boards propose the imposition of a duty of LI on kauri gum, and have forwarded a recommendation to that ( feet to the Government.
The Old Men’s Dinner. —The ma ster of the Old Men’s Home desires coacknowledge with many thanks the receipt -f a saddle of mutton from Mr. Laucash v, a fore-quarter of veal from Mr. Digba roast of beef from Messrs. Wilkin and Garter, of Gore Farm, for Chris nas dinner for the inmates. “The Bio Gooseberry,”--Mr. St. Hill’s big berries arc not the only mos raised in Ashburton. Eleven others -were shown us yesterday that scaled altogv ’.her 7£ ounces. They measured 3i- inc! in diameter each, and were a little ovt, • 14 inch in length. The gooseberries vm-e large, hearty-looking fruit, and rere grown in Dr. Trevor’s garden on bi dies supplied by Messrs. Sealy Brothers two years ago.
The School Prizes.—We gave the examiners’ prize-list in our issue yestei lay, but we have to add that though, as the examiners’ list, it was exactly what it purported to be, it would have been impossible with the number of books at the Committee’s disposal to give prizes to each of the children named in that list, ami the subjects for which awards were made were therefore grouped, and prizes were given accordingly. We may add, while on the subject of prizes, that the dux silver modal was presented by Dr. Stewart.
A Strange Case. —An Auckland telegram of last night’s date says : —Mrs. Brooks, of Picton, is at present liex - e searching for her husband and two sons, who went missing in a yacht three years ago on a voyage from Picton to Wellington. She had been informed that persons answering to their descriptian were working at Kaipara timber mills, under an assumed name. The police are making inquiries. She is in a destitute condition, her effects having been sent by the Htvwea to Nelson by mistake. An appeal has been made on behalf of her and her children to send them to Picton.
I. O. O.F. ,M.U. —The half-yearly meeting of the Loyal Ashburton Lodge was held in the Templar Hall last evening, and was attended by a large number of members. Tiie election to the various offices resulted as follows : —G. M., Bro. G. F. Scott ; N.G., Bro. J. Tucker ; Y.G., Bro. J. Tait ; E.S., Bro. J. ’Maynard ; Warden, Bro. Gibson ; J.G., Bro. Hopkins ; 8.5., Bro. Anderson ; L.S. to N. G., Bro. Macfarlano ; R. S., Bro. Stevens ; L.S. to V.G., Bro. T. Maynard. Medical Officer, Dr. Stewart. The proceeds of the evening amounted to over L 45. The business having been proceeded with, the Lodge closed in a harmonious way.
Otago Grain Export.—Reporting to the Dunediii Chamber of Commerce, the secretary showed that during the past eleven months the export from Dunedin of oats and barley was 52,064 bushels, valued at L 4,844; from Oamarn 16,318 bushels, L 2,348; and the value of exports from Southland to Victoria was L 2.790. During the same period the imports from and via Victoria amounted to L 382,649 It was shown that notwithstanding the large trade between the two colonies the Victorian Government had doubled the duty on imported oats, which is now 2s. per 100 lbs., instead of Is., one plea being that the Victorian market was swamped with New Zealand produce.
The Caledonian Sports.—The Committee are hard at work making arrangements for the Sports on Monday. Already the course lias been laid off for the races, and the ground for the other events is being rapidly got into ship-shape. Some half-dozen pipers are expected from various parts of the colony, and there will be no want of cither Irish or Highland dancers. The runners will form the fullest field that lias over started in Ashburton, and for all the running events there are a crowd of acceptors, many of them men of good fame, as well as a strong contingent of local talent. Stone-putters and caber-tossers are already rolling up, while many good leapers and vaulters are also on the lists. The horizontal bar will be a fresh’ feature in the contests, and not a few competitors will enter. The programme has been so arranged that seventeen events will come off the first day and a like number the second. It may be mentioned, also, that Mr. Ferryman has offered a prize of LI to be run for by boys under 16, and the Society has added 10s., the distance to be 440 yards. The sports will commence each day at twelve noon, and the piper will parade the town every morning. Altogether there is every prospect of the gathering being the most successful sports meeting yet held in the district.
Elgin School. —The Committee held a meeting in the schoolhouse last night. Present—Messrs. J. Stanley Bruce (chairman), J. Keir, P. Innes, S. Scott, J. Cochrane, and T. Greenaway. The following resolutions were passed :—Proposed by Mr. P. Innes, and seconded by Mr. J. Cochrane, “That, relative to a letter from the schoolmaster, he be requested to furnish the Committee with an account showing the dates when the school books have been sold, to whom, and at what price, and further to hand the Committee all sums which he has received to this date from the sale of books. Also that his account for books will be considered with the others when liquidating the same. Further, that the schoolmaster hand the Committee all receipts which he has received for accounts paid by him for books.” Proposed by Mr. S. Scott, and seconded by Mr. J. Cochrane, “ That in reply to the schoolmaster’s letter relative to the appointment of his wife as mistress, the Chairman inform him that the Committee have not received any intimation from the Board of f Education sanctioning her appointment.” Proposed by Mr. X 3. Innes, and seconded by Mr, J. Cochrane, “ That the consideration of the schoolmaster’s letter relative to garden be a matter for the new Committee.” The Committee then adjourned. After the school meeting, the subject of giving the children a treat was considered. The subscription lists opened for the purpose were handed in, and were considered satisfactory. It was decided to hold the treat on New Year’s Day in a paddock adjoining the school, kindly lent for the occasion by Mr. Xeir.
Wesleyan Quarterly Meeting.—On Thursday evening last the usual quarterly meeting of office-bearers of the Wesleyan cause in the Ashburton district, was held in the Cameron street Church. The Rev. W. Keall presided, and there was a good attendance of Church officials. ■ The balance sheet showed receipts to the amount of Ll2O 14s. lOd, including a grant of L 45 from the Home Mission Fund, and an expenditure of L 73 19s. Id. with a grant of L 25 to the Trust Fund. Messrs John Orr and H. M. Jones were re-elected Circuit Stewards for the coming year. A vote of thanks was accorded to the Tinwald School Committee for the use of the school on Sabbath evenings, and it was decided ,in. future to obtain the new Temperance Hall in that township for future services. The. Roy 14, Keall gave an interesting account ■ of spiritual work accomplished recently in England,and after an edifying conversation, the meeting decided that arrangements should be made for holding special religious services at an early date for the advancement of the work of God in the neighbor? hood.
The School Concert. —Last night, the school children gave their concert in the Town Hall, to a large attendance, both of young people and adults, there being an especially full dress circle Dr. Stewart acted as chairman, while Mr. Stott conducted the children’s choruses. On the platform were ranged some sixty or seventy boys and girls, who, in their holiday dresses, presented quite a gay spectacle. The leaning feature - of the concert was the choruses sung by the children, and we must say of these, that they were-very well sung indeed. The chorus singing of the children bore evidence of great pains having been taken with them by their teachers, and close attention displayed by the children themselves. The choruses sung were “The reapers,” “The snowdrop,” “Men of Harlech,” “The bugle horn,” “My own New Zealand Home,” “ Our volunteers,” “ The skaters,” “ Who is a brave man I ’ “ The star spangled banner,” “The red, white and blue,” “ Rule Britannia,” and the National Anthem. Appropriate flags were displayed by one >f the girls during the singing of “The star-spangled banner” and “ The red, white, and blue.” Regarding the solos, some of ihem were decently sung," but of the others, perhaps the less said the better, and so with some duets. A mite oi a girl—bliss Emily Cotton—was very amusing in her song, “ The little brown jug and Miss T. Butler, whose splendid voice is well known, sang her favorite song “ The shamrock” exceedingly well. Having noticed the piano s6lo by Master Herbert Books, and the fact that Miss Nelly Shiny played the accompaniment# where these were given, we have done with the musical portion of the evening. Those of our readers who were present at the distribution of prizes, will remember that the Rev. Mr. Hands was particularly funny over what he called “ The Third Standard song.” He was ridiculing the idea mostly all the children had of elocution. Several recitations were given last night in all of which it was painfully evident that the reciters had not been able to unlearn the “ Third Standard Song.” The concert over, the “ art union ” of the big doll commenced. The “ dice box ” was a big revolving one, and so fitted with glass that every motion of the dice was visible. Each child turned the wheel of luck for herself. The first turn threw eighteen, and it was not until sixty had had a try at the wheel that another eighteen turned up. The tics weic then thrown off, and it was found that the winner was Miss Betsy Lambie, the first lucky thrower of eighteen. In her tie throw she made thirty-seven against the thirty-five of her opponent —Miss Ada Muscharnp. The proceedings closed at about a quarter to eleven, with the usual compliments.
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