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New Zealand at Present.

(Special Correspondent of the " Irish Times.")

. When staying at Orari, a big sheep-run m South Canterbury, I had the chance of attending the selling of household goods and chattels of an owner who had sold " The Warren " and gone back to England. Some of us rode, some drove—a sort of picnic arrangement. The day, clear and bright and frosty, the sun shone out and did his best to take the nip out of the air. A four miles trot brought us to the scene of action. A busy throng ;at first no one cared; a jot about the sale : it was simply a big social meeting of the country for miles around. They flocked from every direction and m divers kind* of vehicles. It was cheerful m the extreme to watch the greetings on all sides. There was talk about the recent sale of "runs," how some were driven up enormously, others changed hands, and then there was the usual opinion passed npon some person, who, through sheer spite, bid up one of these runs beyond its value, and the owner, like a wise man, put his feelings and regrets m his po«ket and let it rip. All this, and a great deal more was chatted. Girls m the pink of health and robust womanhood were there; young men, m various garbs peculiar to colonial youth, frank and open-hearted, with no pretension to side and snobbery, come to see the fun and have a delicate sort of mild flirtation with the girls, at least as much as their shy and bashfnl natures would admit. I rather opine that the young women have a good deal of the running to do on their account. If an auctioneer could only be found who would open a first-class properly conducted matrimonial market, the fees'to be pretty high, but payment by result, according to the suitability of th« parties [ engaged, as well as by future accomplished prospects, I am decidedly of opinion that there would be no end of good business j done, and a rapid fortune for the man i enterprising enough to boldly carry out | his aims and objects. The '"better or" lookout .is rafcher gloomy at present, and. to quote figures m support of this statement, I will only put m as f evidence a paragraph from the "Wangfinui Chronicle," which states among the vital statistics for the month of July forthe town of Wanganui, the centre of an immense grazing and stock-producing district—" The marriages Avere only two m number—one before the registrar, Mr I Woon, and the other by the Rev Mr Dewsbury." It would appear, that there are many m New Zealand amongst the | present generation, who lay the flattering j unction to their souls that marriage is a failure. But go.xl times, a risfs m prices, and average .harvests and returns for produce,; will soon alter this, and the merry bells will once more be set a-jing-ling. \ — ■■•..;...-■■. No apologies offered for this 'side-wajk, but now to the auction m hand. A free lunch was,the order of the day. the/only requisites wanting being knives and forks. Junks of meat and cheese, hunks of bread and butter, lashings of beer, and ' tay for the ladies,' -Society brought its wellpacked hampers filled with dainties. After refreshing, the auctioneer did his work well and made the people buy. There was a piano, almost new * cottage' ml appearance, but very much out of tune. A curious old fish bought this, a man whom you would not give half-a-crown for all his wardrobe. He said it was all right as he had tried it • clear,' this consisted of running down the key board with the back of his thumb, and then comparing notes, striking first the,lower bass and then the top treble ivories* Jle was perfectly satisfied, and paid twentyeight notes for his purchase. iA pair of breeches stretchers were pulled out of. a leather bag and offered for sale ; they wera not bid for, as the surrounding people thought they were scythe handles broken m two and joined by hinges ; however, a friend of mine bought them for 3s. 6d. There was keen competition for four jars of cranberries, 14a 6d they brought; they were m glass jars for three years. All the things to be sold were ranged round; the lawn, and gave the place something the appearance of a circus ring; a capital good, way of showing things off to advantage m a country where the climate can always be counted upon. As a social gathering it was simply perfection.

When speaking of the advances" made by various land pawn-broking establishments, I must also inblude the banks, ac they have been mainly responsible for a number of mortgages and liens "upon estates. When the value of land fell, then these banks put pressure on, and brought many a good man down. The great fault of every-one of these, institutions lay m the fact that they had at that time too much money, and were only too eager to lend it upon, anything like a security, land being preferred. Man was weak, and tempted to buy too much land when the money was almost being thrown at his head. Prices took a decidedly downward turn for everything m the;w^y of produce.. Then came the crash. Thii happened nob so very long ago, and there are even at this present moment num bers of estates where the money advanced considerably exceeds the present value, and where the original mortgagee is left m possession as manager, and it would hardly pay the lenders to take up the farms themselves. In the land boom, some years ago now, prices were fictitious, but the fever was on, and people never looked for or dreamt of a collapse. Well, this did happen, and, although it seems hard to say, a very good thing it occurred then, aa now people have become wiser, and learnt the true and actual value of every acre of ground. Many suffered, but New Zealand as a whole reaped the benefit, and can look with pity upon the folly of those crazed creatures m " Marvellous" Melbourne and Victoria who came such a cropper last year. In a number of the county'towns there is generally a sale of stock every week, held m the yards of the different auctioneers m their turn m their 1 respective premises. These as a rule are of a purely local character, and m nowise affect the general ruling prices of stock. ■' The charges at this class of sale ftre generally fixed by custom, no stock unsold being

taxed. No very special qualifications seem to be necessary to fill the position, save a good gift of the gab, good credit, good presence, and an air, assumed or otherwise, of good manners.

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New Zealand at Present., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2481, 2 August 1890

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New Zealand at Present. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2481, 2 August 1890

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