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No Business. —There was no business at the local Court this morning. South Rakaia Road Board.—The annual general meeting of ratepayers will be held on Dec. 28. Cable Interruptions.— The cable between Trinidad and Demerara is inter ropted. The cable between Shanghai and Amoy, and also the cable between Flon" Kong and Amoy are broken.

Town Hall. —The Amateur Dramatic Club announce a grand performance on Boxing night, when will be produced Buxton’s comic drama of “ Nan, the Good-for-Nothing,” and the screaming farce of “ Betsy Baker. ” We hope the company will draw a full house.

Singular Case of Fish Poisoning.— A very singular case of fish poisoning is communicated by a correspondent of the Press. The writer tells of a little girl, 13 years of age, who some time ago, when in the act of suspending a fish of the baracoota species, it slipped through the fingers of the girl, one or two of the fish’s bones embedding themselves in the fleshy part of the base of the index finger of the right hand. A well-known doctor was called in, but did no good. The fish bones can now be felt just underneath the skin, the poor girl’s finger being bent and powerless at the middle joint. But the most singular thing about this case remains to be told. The girl cannot, for instance, partake of any kind of fish, no matter how small thequantity, without immediately exhibiting very alarming symptoms of poisoning, such asafluahedfaceand violent vomiting, the last being one of the most prominent characteristics; and even ordinary salt is sometimes attended with nauseating effects. On© ,would like to know who that “ well-known doctor ” was.

Christmas Cake. — lf you want a good substantial Christmas cake,, give “ Free Trade ” (otherwise called ’’A turn. — [Advt.] i Muzzled Laborers. —lt sieems, according to a Milanese journal,-that the Prefect of one of the first cities in Italy, who is a rich landowner, has, in this civilised age, resorted to a feudal custom, obliging his field laborers to wear an iron muzzle during the grape harvest, to prevent them tasting a few bunches of grapes. School Treat. —We are glad to hear the Borough school children had a thoroughly “ good time ” at Windermere yesterday, where their kind host and hostess, Mr and Mrs E. G. Wright, endeavored to make their small guests as happy as possible. A return home was made about 5.30, and the train arrived a little after 7 o’clock, the children hurraying in right good style as it 'dreht, lipijat the platform.

An Enthusiastic Audience. —At a concert at Temora on October 12, in aid of the new Catholic Church, Miss Slattery, the principal vocalist, evoked such enthusiasm by her singing that several members of the audience wrapped up nuggets and threw them to her on the stage. The Volunteers. —The Volunteers mustered at the drill shed last night and, under the command of Lieut. Douglas, marched through the town to the music of their band. Having reached the Ashburton Hotel, the men proceeded to Quill’s Hotel, where those who went to the front were paid by Colonel Packe, after which they marched back to the drill-shed and were dismissed. We understand that it is the intention of the men on Monday next to proceed to the island near the Old Men’s Home and fix up the rifle butts. A start is to be made at 7 o’clock in the morning. We must take this opportunity of remarking on the great improvement noticeable in the playing of the Volunteer Band, which, under the conductorship of Mr George Hoskins, is becoming first rate. Fire Brigade Conference.— The following fire brigades have intimated their intention of sending delegates to the Association Conference to be held at Timaru in February ; —Ashburton, two ; Christchurch, three; Invercargill, two; Kaiapoi, one; Lyttelton, one ; Napier, one ; Naseby, one ; Rangiora, one ; Spit (Napier), two ; Waimate, one.

Direct Steam Communication. —An important communication is expected by the Government from the Agent-General by next mail, in reference to a direct steam service between New Zealand and Great Britain. Since the session instructions have been sent to Sir F. Bell to make all possible enquiries as to the practicability of such service at a moderate cost, and the best terms on which this could be obtained. Sir F. Bell is directed to transmit a full detailed report at the earliest opportunity, and this is understood to be now on its way out. Poisonous Sweetmeats. —At the Coroner’s Court, Clerkenwell, recently, Dr Danford Thomas held an enquiry respecting the death of Kate Austin, aged three years, whose death was caused by swallowing a coin in some sweetmeats. From the evidence adduced, it appears that in the neighborhood of Clerkenwell packets of sweets are sold in which coins are placed, being baked in the centre. The deceased child on Sunday, September 25th, got a farthing in the centre of the sweet she purchased, and she swallowed it. On the following Wednesday morning she was taken with severe vomiting and diarrhoea, and on D r Smyth attending he found her in a state of exhaustion, from which she never recovered. On making a post mortem examination he found death was caused by inflammation of the intestines and peritonitis, following the swallowing of the coin. In answer to the Coroner the doctor said he had attended quite a dozen cases of the same description, most, of the children having swallowed the coin.

A Dissolute Negress. —At the Wellington R.M. Court the other day a negress, aged 15, was sent to gaol for a month as a vagrant. Though charged with having no visible means of support, she was arrayed in “ swell ” attire. She had been in the habit of frequenting houses of ill-fame, in which she sometimes passed the night; at other times she slept in the open air. When arrested she was surrounded by a crowd of larrikins of her own age.

Maori Feast. —A great feast was given last week at Taiporohenui, to the natives just returned from Parihaka. The following list.of purchases for the feed (says the Hawera Star ) will give an idea of the expenditure incurred on account of these entertainments :—Eighteen head of young cattle, 1,000 loaves of bread, 7 hhds beer, 50 gals spirits, 10 bags sugar, 5 boxes tea, 20 pigs ; also about L 25 worth of tobacco and matches. The total cost would probably be about L 250, to raise which a number of tenants of the natives in the neighborhood of Hawera have been dunned to give “orders” on account of rents coming due.

A Black Sheep in the Fold.—One black sheep in the Salvation Army, Frederick Spencer by name, has been sentenced to eighteen months’ hard labor for embezzling various small sums of money belonging to his employer. Prisoner had besides induced a young woman to go and live with him, pretending he had good wages, and was ‘ ‘ coming in for a lot of money.” She had been in the way of attending the Army services, and prisoner introduced himself by enquiring specially as to the state of her soul. To the father of the young woman he represented that he was married to her, and that “ it was the Lord’s wish.” A Rat Story.—Our (Daily News) Naples correspondent writes ‘ ‘ Many, many years ago a German soldier sold a kitten to the municipality of Agnone, and in course of time this kitten became a cat, all black with the exception of a perfectly white tail, from which it took its name of ‘ Coda-bianca; it was kept in the theatre of the town, which, like all such places, abounded with rats. Instead of persecuting these rats, the cat seems to have concluded a pacific alliance with them, and to have, as it wore, a authority over them. The custodian of the theatre often observed them participating in the food of the cat, who, when they fought among themselves for some dainty morsel, restored order by a cuff of its paw. The custodian even had to explain to the Communal Council that the food he had to provide cost more than the sum allowed for the purpose, but the Council decided to continue the liberal rations, for as long as the rats shared the cat’s food they did not gnaw the scenes of the theatre. Time passed on,thecatbecame old and toothless, no weapon remaining to him but very long claws, which, however, were proportionately weak. Of late years the theatre has been always closed, and the rats had increased enormously. Last week a revolution took place among them, and when poor Coda-bianca tried as usual to restore order, the rats turned upon him in a fury, and bit him to death. At dawn the next day Coda-bianca was found dead in the middle of the stage like some tragic hero. The youth of Agnone made a solemn funeral, carrying Coda-binaca through the streets on a bier covered with black velvet, and leading in strings the numerous progeny of the celebrated cat, all black with white tails like himself, and of the sane gentle and intelligent disposition. Coda-bianca at the time of his death weighed ten kilogrammes, and the number of his children was a hundred. A speech was made in the Town Hall of Agnone, and it was decided to take revenge on the rats by scattering poison all over the theatre.”

A Merry for the Old Men. —The maWec ■ of the Ashburton Home desires td with many thanks, the receipt of LI, and some verses from “ A farm laborer.” eighteen gallons ale from Mr Digby, brewer, and a roast of beef from Messrs Wilkin and Carter, Grove Farm.

Local Industry. —The question (we hear as we are going to press) as to the advisableness of starting a woollen factory in Ashburton has not yet been dispensed with, as we hear that it is the intention to call a public meeting of those desirous of forwarding the movement during the first week in the new year. The object is to farther consider the matter as laid before the last meeting of the Industrial Association.

Christmas Cheer. —Those who require Xmas cheer are invited to take a tour through Mr Thomas Taylor’s premises, in East street.— Advt.

A Judge of Poultry, —Poulterers, like a good many other persons, are taken in sometimes. The other day a schoolmaster stepped into a poulterer’s shop and observed : “ You have some fine turkeys this morning?” “Yes, sir,” said the poulterer, “ all fresh from Norfolk to-day.” “ What is the price ? ” “ You can take your choice, sir ; I have them at all prices. ” “Well, I have to give ray boys a treat, but I do not want them to be too tender. There are a dozen here, pick out four of the toughest.” The poulterer obeyed. “ Here, sir, you have four of the toughest birds in my shop.” “ Thank you,” said the schoolmaster; “ I’ll take the other eight.” “ Clover old pedagogue, that,” remarked the poulterer.

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Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 516, 23 December 1881

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Ashburton Guardian Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 516, 23 December 1881

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