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[By Sinecure.]

My friend Smoothbore was certainly very unkind to a new chum who went out shooting with a small but select party the other day. N.O. could “talk” a bit about shooting in the old country ; but he certainly was disgusted with the grim remark of Smoothbore, who admonished him thusly : “Don’t shoot that tall gentleman, for he is my banker ; nor that spare, slight one, for he is my lawyer ; but if you must pepper somebody, let it be yonder fat old insolvent, who is unable to offer hi? creditors anything but his life policy.”

What peculiar ideas some people must have regarding N.Z. Government employment ? One of the representatives of a neighboring town in the General Assembly was the other day interviewed hy a needy politician, in order to obtain some Government employment. The member at once proceeded to write a letter of introduction to the head of a certain department, where a vacancy was shortly to occur, as follows :—“ This will introduce Mr Fitzbarron, who desires employment ” “Wait! hold on a bit,” said F— ;“ it isn’t the employment I want ; it’s a Government billet.” How refreshing it is to find that some can appreciate a Government billet even now !

Moat divines are pretty good hands at extracting the cash from the pockets of their parishioners, but the method adopted by a new arrival in Canterbury surpasses anything of the kind this guileless child of nature ever heard of in this line. The rev. gentleman, after preaching a most eloquent sermon, descended from his pulpit and proceeded to lock the church door ; and thus having secured his congregation—of whom I, as bad luck would have it, happened to he one—he coolly drew from his pocket a sheet of foolscap, and, pencil in hand, proceeded to Jo some “jottings,” in the shape of taking the names of all and sundry, and placing opposite each of them good round sums in aid of the building fund for a new church. My turn came at last, and I mentioned the sum of sixpence as my modest contribution to the new edifice ; but the rev. collector assured me that he thought I was able to afford much more than that, and down went the name of Sinecure for half-a-crown. If he did the same thing with all whom he had locked in, I should say his ten minutes’ subscription getting yielded a handsome return. lam not going to that church any more—not for Sinecure.

Of course I went to the races. Who didn’t ? And came back a sadder and.. I hope, a wiser man. The first day I devoted to backing sporting “tips,” and losing money, and the second day was spent in searching for either or all of the men who the day before the race were so obliging as to tell an indebted public what was to bo the one for the Great Autumn. I put the cheque which I had received for my last week’s “jottings” upon the one that the tipsters said was to be the real Simon Pure, but, alas for the vanity of human prophecy, when that prophecy relates to the “ noble British sport ! ” I think that’s the correct term, although for the life of me I could see very little nobility about it on Monday afternoon, at 2 o’clock, when I saw the quadruped that carried my dollars first at the wrong end.

Talking of the races, that is a pretty good joke that notion of two Christchurch bookmakers laying an information under the Vagrant Act against Messrs Hobbs and Goodwin, for using a totalisator or pari mutuel on the course, it being an instrument for the purpose of gambling 1 Anyone who was present at the races would not wonder at the bitter hostility evinced towards the totalisator by the “ metallicians.” To see the crowds of eager people anxious to get their pounds “ on ” their particular fancy—while the leatherlunged inside and outside the paddock could scax-cely lay a wager with all their eloquence, was a sufficient explanation of the action of Messrs Drake and Snider in summoning the provisions of the Vagrant Act to their assistance.

There has lately been travelling through this “ Britain of the South ” a gentleman of great experience in railway matters in the Old Country and elsewhere, and after an inspection of our lines here, he has asserted that they are the most expensively managed of any that have come under his notice. But there is one item of economy for which I don’t think the railway expert has given our paternal Government credit. 1 allude to the matter of lighting the carriages after dark. To judge by the quality of the light suplied on the last train from Christchurch five nights out of six, I should say the lighting was done by contract, and that at a pretty low figure. In fact, the only possible utility of the lighting (?) once or twice this week was to enable people to see the darkness around them. Studious travellers wishing to read on their journeys will soon find that a candle is an absolute necessity in their travelling bags.

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Bibliographic details

JOTTINGS., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 326, 23 April 1881

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JOTTINGS. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 326, 23 April 1881

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