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Left at Ashburton.

THE NOVELIST'S ACCOUNT OF THE MISHAP. Mr D. Christie Murray and Mr St Maur arrived «ifc Dunedin by the express on Tuesday night. In the course of a conversation with a representative of the " Otago Daily Times," Mr Murray gave the following account of the way in which he and his companion came to be left at Ashburton :— "I know all about the charms of early rising-—in theory—and I know something of its discomforts as a matter of food. yfe tested them yesterday,' Mr St Maur and I, turning out at 6 in the morning to esteto the early train for Ashburton, where St Maur had business. We breakfasted at Henry's hotel and awaited the arrival of the express for Duntdin. In due time it came, and in due time it went away— without us. When lam travelling I trust myself unreservedly to men who know what time it is, and who can find their way through the time-table, which, is: always a no-thoroughfare for me—a sort of impenetrable jungle. I relied upon St Maur :' for lI had heard him say that in the' course of three and twenty years of travel he had never missed a' train. St Maur in turn relied upon a local gentleman who gave Ipm a time eight minutes too late. ""As we approacehd the station with our imagined five minutes in liaM,' the express started. At first we laughed at our own disappointment. The St. Maur Company was advertised to appear on Tuesday evening, say 180 miles away. That I suppose is about the distance from Ashburton to Dunedin. Surely, said I,; we can do that distance somehow in nine and twenty hours. How about the trains 1 No train until the morraw, and that arriving a full hour after the advertised <time of opening. A sympathetic bystander suggested a buggy to Timaru, and the boat from Timaru to Dunedin. We grasped at that promise of relief. The sympathetic bystander went away to bargain for a buggy, and a wire was sent to Timaru to discover the hour of the boat's departure. Reply, after some delay, informed us that w& had three hours in which to make fifty miles by road. General consensus of opinion that distance could not be covered in less than eight. That hope was abandoned. Then the sympathetic bystander, who was just as interested ancl just as eager to be of service as if he had had a little fortune hanging on the enterprise, hinted at a special train. There we stood saved ! A special train by all means. We consulted the stationmaster, who figured the thing out for us. Seventy-one pounds ten was all the department asked for, but it was decided to do without the special train. Then, was it possible to drive the whole distance, changing the horses from time to time 1 We tried to figure that proposition out, and came to the conclusion that in the dead of night we should get nobody to turn out for us to make changes, and we gave it up. Saint Maur groaned, and said the delay would spoil his season. I consoled him, and promised to write the funniest account of. the mishap which had ever been penned about anything. Everybody has noticed how excessively droll a mishap seems at the time of its occurrence. The spirits rise to meet it, and one laughs consumedly. But in the dayiight of next day the humorous aspect of the thing somewhat vanishes, and there seems less fun in it than one fancied. The episode fairly bubbled yesterday, and to-day it is as flat as stale soda water. "Again the sympathetic bystander came in. He formed himself into a deputation, and on behalf of the citizens of Ashburton requested us to lecture. At this proposal the palled spirits of the actor-manager revived, and he undertook to work the show. He was ready to go round with a bell if. need were, and advertise an event of such transcendent moments The deputation of one became clamorous. He found a fellow citizen and doubled the deputation's forces. Before a representation so influential &nd numerous I felt compelled to yield, as I have known bashful politicians forced to do. I, by way of preparation for the night's work, went to bed and made up arrears of sleep, whilst the industrious entrepreneur bailed up the town, arresting men on horseback, drivers in buggies, and pedestrians with impartial vigor, and spreading the glorious news abroad. The deputation of two took power to add to their number and became an Executive Advertising Committee, and the efforts of the three hours left to them produced as good an audience, in point of quality, as I have ever had the pleasure of addressing, and remarkable, all things considered, even for numbers. Of course, our luggage had all gone on by the last express, and I had to appear in lounging tweeds upon the platform. You may laugh if you will, but my public talks are so identified with my own appearance in evening dress that I was in doubt if I could- remember my lecture in another suit of clothes. That feeling lasted until I said ' ladies and gentlemen,' and then faded aAvay entirely. The lecture wais quite a success, and so you see, for once in a way, we "gathered grapes from thorns, and figs from thistles.' " ,

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Bibliographic details

Left at Ashburton., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2463, 10 July 1890

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Left at Ashburton. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2463, 10 July 1890