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To the Editor.—Sir, —When we see the above heading in your otherwise valuable paper we sigh, and, metaphorically speaking, take off our shoes and stockings and wade through it. I did this last night on opening your issue of the 21st, and found the composition thinner and even more vapid than usual. I have long thought that your “ own correspondent ” must be an old woman, and now I feel certain that this is the case, in spite of her assurance at the end of her letter that she is a man of plucla. There has no doubt been a certain amount of jealousy and ill-feeling between the Al ford Forest and Mount Somers people for some tine past, but it has chiefly been stirred up by such mischief - making people as “your own old woman.” Why should she warn the Alford Forest people against us ? If she had taken the trouble to come over when the committees appointed by the County Council to inquire into the matter of the Tinwald line extension visited Mount Somers, she would have found out that the Mount Somers people, who were questioned by the committee as to what direction they wished the line to be extended in, all agreed in saying that Bowyer’s stream should be the terminus, and that so long as that point was reached we should be satisfied, as in that case the line must pass within a reasonable distance of Mount Somers. We also did our best to convince the committee that the traffic from Alford Forest would very materially assist in making the line a paying one, if carried to Bowyer’a stream. We all know that the better a line pays the better it is worked, so that from the lowest point of view, even supposing we are as black as the old woman paints us, we shall continue our efforts to have the line extended to b’owyer’s stream, even after it has crossed the South Ashburton, in order that we may get a daily service of trains instead of only two days a week as at present. I had the honor to drive the Minister for Public to within a mile of Bowyer’s stream, on the occasion of his late visit to Mount Somers. I pointed out to him the large extent of bush, the numerous homesteads and generally cultivated appearance of the land below the Forest, and did my best to convince him that the line should be extended to Bowyer’s stream before it would be a paying one. No petition, or other expression oB public opinion has ever been in favor of bringing the line to the present township ’of Mount Somers, although “your own old woman” has done her best to make the people of Alford Forest, believe that that is our only object. We should have about as much reason as she has if we objected to the Methven line being extended by Gough’s crossing (which is, I suppose, the place she means by Goss’s crossing), because it would pass Alford Forest on its way to Mount Somers. I hope “ your own old woman ” will not flatter herself that I think she represents the general feeling of the Alford Forest people in her voluminous and ''washy contributions to your paper. I know that there are plenty of sensible men, and sensible old women too, for that matter, round the Bash, but I think it as well, from her semi-official position as “your own correspondent,” not to let her letters go altogether unchallenged. Allow me to recommend the following verses by A. J. Symington for her serious consideration before she inflicts another letter on the suffering public :

Whatever you have to say, my friend. Whether witty, or grave, or gay, Condense as much as ever you can, And speak in the readiest way. And whether you write on rural affairs Or particular things in town, Just a word of friendly advice— Boil it down. For if you go spluttering over a page, When a couple of lines would do, Your butter is spread so much, you see, That the bread shows plainly through. So when you have a story to tell, And would like a little renown— To make quite sure of your wish, my friend— Boil it down. When wiitingan article for the Press, Whether prose or verse, just try To butter your thoughts in the fewest words, And let them be crisp and dry. And when all is finished, and you suppose] It is done exactly brown, Just look it and then Boil it down. For editors do not like to print An article lazily long, And the general reader docs not care For a couple of yards of song. So gather your wits in the smallest space If you’d win the author’s crown, And every time you write, my frond, Boil it down.

The old woman kindly offers to drive her quill for the assistance of Mount Somers in case of need—Ye gods forbid.— I am, etc., A. Edward Peache. Mount Somers, Dec. 23.

P. S.—As I suppose we may expect a profuse splutter from her pen in answer to this, allow me to assure her, as sune apology for my ungallant conduct in attacking an old woman, that she shall have a woman’s privilege of saying the last word.

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Bibliographic details

“ALFORD FOREST.—FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT.”, Ashburton Guardian, Volume IV, Issue 828, 28 December 1882

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“ALFORD FOREST.—FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT.” Ashburton Guardian, Volume IV, Issue 828, 28 December 1882