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CHISPA’S LETTER., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 249, 22 January 1881
** I am not yet €0 bald that you can see my brains.’* —Longfellow. I reckon that before next week has passed away we shall have witnessed —or lost a chance to witness, as the case may be—the play of the Australian cricketers in Christchurch. In every other New Zealand town A ustralia will have to play the best twenty-two that can be got together in the neighborhood, but Christchurch—oh, dear no ! Christchurch is good enough to the best eleven in creation with fifteen, and why should the cricketers , of the great city care to put up more than fifteen wickets for the “ demon ” bowler to pound away at? He may reap down the Invercargill wickets like a barleyfield ; he may do the same w r ith those of Dunedin ; but when becomes here he has stiffer stuff to deal with. Wo shall see ; but yours very obediently has a bit of a notion that the petty conceit of the Christchurch players will end in a terrible beating, and the laugh of the whole colony turned against them.
I had a parcel sent to me last night, per favor of a great big lump of .an Irishman, who came banging at my room door as if he meant to bowl it down. When he was admitted I thought from his ap T pearanoe that the end of old Chispa was near, and I began to see visions of all the Guardian staff at work with weeping eyes on a long obituary notice detailing the many good qualities that I never pos sessed, and paying the usual tributes to my memory that a dead man always receives, but which tributes he,could never raise even the ghost of while alive. Pat,
however, lit his pipe very quietly, and, after diving first into one pocket and then another, pulled, out ( a roll 6f dirty paper. Inside that roll were a few sticky of nailrod tobacco, and Pat handed the whole over to me with a request that I would be .kind enough to accept the nailrod for myself, and get what was written on the roll printed. I accepted the tobacco, and read the roll while Pat stood by. As I perused the document he explained that the man was no fool, but the smartest chap amongst his mates. The tobacco had been subscribed for by a crowd of unemployed as a present to me, and if I wouldn’t mind, he (Pat) would be glad of a stick. All right, I gave him all but one, as I was stumped myself. I promised to print the roll, and I ask your, liberty to do so. This is it: — TO “SQUARESEAT,” Mate, —As one of the unfortunate ones who at present—for lack of something better to do, and a more comfortable seat —are in the habit of finding a temporary resting place on the sharp-edged seat that protects the somewhat stunted trees in Baring square, let me, per favor of “ Chispa,” of the Guaidian, say a fevy words in reply to your effusion which appeared in the town edition of that journal yesterday, i Ypu begin by saying that you have lived ■ for ■thirty years—“ and some of them weary onqs—in this wicked world ”—sorry, by the 'way, Mr. “ Stjuarespat -that you have not a better opinion' of the world in which we live. Perhaps it’s the most cool and comfortable, one. yoa will ever inhabit. You could never “understand the philosophy, l and from whence comes the comfort and consolation, of sifting on a rail.” With regard to philosophy, I do not know much, but I have : heard a, man in the play say that there,are more things in Heaven and earth than are dreamt pf in our philosophy, so perhaps, sitting on a ; rail , there, may bp philosophy undreamt of by you. As to the comlort and consolation, I would refer you to
some of our leading New Zealand s a solutfih of the difficulty, which seems likely, to adcLthis year to the number of Meaty ones ydifhave passed in this world. Then, as to yoprT opinion , tljat. me and my mates, spent sis-comfortable arid happy as if we in^aradise— I can ‘ tell you, “Squareseat,” that nine-tenths of us would be far more ppm fort able if we had a good hard day's work to go to—a task, by the way; I fear you have never had put to you yet. I would tell you, sir, that many of us who so offend you by occupying that sharpedged rail have tramped many a weary mile in search of work, and now, to all appeal ance, compclled by dire necessity, we,- shall have to again take up,our swags and “move on,” without the intervention of “our worthy sergeant of police.” As to the tobacco fumes and bad-language which so offend your high and mightiness, all I have to say is, that a man with a liver in the condition in which, from your letter, I should judge yours to be, the tobacco —not “ Vanity Fair,” I admit—may he a source of annoyance. As to the had language, J think, “ Squareseat, ” you have drawn upon your imagination for that. Perhaps'our ‘diction is not quite so polished as one might expect to find at Windsor Castle, nor our style so milk and watery as one would meet with at a “ greasy demonstration of Christianity”; but it is not our rude gaze, or coarse and vulgar expressions, that drive the fair ones to the middle.of the road. No, “Squareseat,” it is the quality of the footpath that causes the ladies to .give the rad a wide berth. But, mate, if you had not assured us at the outset of your epistle That you had lived “ thirty years,” I should have imagined that you had not yet done “sticking your thumbs,”or that you were in yoiir second dotage, llowever, I expect this is about as lengthy a reply as I dare ask the newspaper to print; and so, in conclusion, I would advise you to be a little more charitable in future to those less fortunately circumstanced than yourself.- - - r T One on the Rail.
The Rev. Fym is rather an uncommon sort of Anglican parson—uncommon in these parts, anyhow. At his meeting on Thursday evening there was a crowd of all sorts of persuasions present—from the Catholic, who has renounced all private judgment, to the Freethinker, who yields not an iota. The Presbyterian was there with his Methodist brethren, both Wesleyan and Primitive, and the Congre-gational-Independent, who makes a home with sonic other body for the time being, was there too. In fact, there were more of what the Church calls Dissenters than there were of anything else. It was am using to hear the remarks passed by the representatives of the non-Episcopalian bodies. One “hardshell” was prepared to lie down with Episcopacy if all its pulpits held men of the Pym stamp. A Presbyterian was willing to be content with a prayer-book and a surplice in the service if the wearer of the latter were always a man like Pym. A Wesleyan thanked God for 1 Pym, and especially that the Church had at least one parson after John Wesley’s own heart ; and a Primitive believed that if the rev; gentleman were to remain in New Zealand and make a mission to every church very soon the milleniura would dawhjj “and the lion would eat straw with' the bullock, and the wolf lie down with the lamb.” Altogether, I should say—bar none-r-the Rev., Pym is the most popular preacher with the nonEpiscopalian Christians of Ashburton that has ever been sent out by the Episcopalian Church. - •i ■ J
The New Zealand Bank has taken a fit of economy. It don’t like the idea of building a brick house within which to transact its borrowing and lending, it wants a special Act of Ashburton Parliament passed to permit it to build a wooden lean-to to the, old shanty—that has done duty as ihe bank since the days of prehistoric Ashburton. Since its early infancy this building has seen many changes, and has been hacked about and-altered 1 so much that the original architect and first would jaavo difficulty in recognis;ing their work. First, there wasn’t room ; enough—a re-arrangement of rooms supnliod meuvj Thon tl>o strong nOr’-WOstcrS were a trouble—the front Up, and an entrance was cut in the side. Other alterations w r ere made, all more or leas ingenious ; but the latest is the removal from the Totm: Hall of two old stage wings, cut and fitted to the outside of the bank windows, and secured with very primitive buttons. Those wings are intended to dam out the free light of the glorious sun from the hard-working clerks, and at the same time to conceal from the outward gaze the various acts of comedy and tragedy that go on inside. Ido hope the Council will permit the bank to build in wood, and so enable it to withdraw the signals of distress those stage wings are doing duty for. Chlspa.
CHISPA’S LETTER., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 249, 22 January 1881
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