WISE AND OTHERWISE.
(By "OLD SALT.")
Several references have appeared in the local papers recently, to * the difficult arithmetic papers submitted to candidates in State school examinations and I must confess to an inclination to smile superior, prompted by the memory of old-time tussles with Todhunter, Colenso et hoc genus onmes. Verily, pride goeth before a fall, and let my readers judge if the fall is avoidable or not. Here is the problem set before mc by an innocent school girl, to my mortification and undoing: —
"Five ladies, accompanied each by her daughter, purchased cloth at the same shop. Each of the ten bought as many feet of cloth as she paid farthings per foot. Each mother spent 8/5J more than her daughter. Mrs Robinson spent 6/ more than Mrs Evans, wlio only spent about a quarter of what Mrs Jones did, while Mrs Smith spent most of all. Mrs Brown bought 21 yards more than did Bessie, one of the girls; while of the other girls Annie bought l<) yards more than Mnrv and spent £3 0/8 more than Emily. The other gill's Christian name was Ada. What wns her surname?" As for as I am concerned Ada may remain a nameless orphan until the end of time, and choke herself with her silly old cloth. Many a girl has caused mc a heart-ache, but Ada hns given mc a most confounded headache.
Talking of sums. 1 am reminded of a scholar in the back-blocks of Australia who had propounded in his home work the query: "How many pint bottles can be filled from a demi-john containing three gallons of beer?" In response he carried to his teacher a note from an indulgent fa.th.pr. which ran something like this:—"dear sir,—i helped Johnnie with his division sum, the quotient is eight vinegar bottles, six Brunswick black bottles and a tin cup full; there was a remainder but it got spilt on the floor.
"F.S. pleasp make Johnnies next sum in water, because wp are three miles from a public house."
The inquiry. "What's in a name?" has. been made so often as to have become tiresome, yet one ejaculates it involuntarily when reading of the cave-dweller of Orakei. Imapini , Milton Alexander Cropnvell being committed upon a. charge of vagrancy! The world-famous poet, tihe world's greatest general, and the saviour of England all represented in one miserable specimen of humanity, and he, a derelict! It is quite a relief to turn to another picture. That of a lady resplendent in silk.? and furs. who. alighting from her carriage at the gate of the school plny-ground, inquires nf one of the
"liappv boys who came bounding out of school":" Can you tell mc where Cliude Augustus Montmorency is?" "Who?" is the response, and the fine founding name is repeated. "Oh!" as intelligence dawns upon the youth; then, with his hand to hi-, mouth: " D'y'enr. "Stinker, , yer old woman wants ver!"
With the first tastp of mid weather the summer girl departs, and picnic resorts are deserted; tailor-made costumes and bridge parties are already in evidence, and it is strange that the dear creatures who can still
"Conrey a libel in a frown. And wink a reputation down." while so sensitive to changes of times and manners, are curiously conservative in their methods. With a very little adaptation, the lines written by Dean Swift nearly two hundred years ago, could bs brought quite up-to-date. JOURNAL OF A MODERN LADY. 1725. -Non- loitering o'er her ten and cream. She enters on her usual theme. Her last night's ill-success repeats, (nils Lady Spades a hundred cheats. "She slipt spadilio In her breast. Then thought to turn It to a jest. There's Mrs Cut and she combine. And to each other give ihc sign"-" One might add: — Whether at bridge or at qundrllle. The charming creatures think no ill. And as they "fudge" their score at whist They only slander whom they've kissed. "A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country and in his own house," which fact possibly accounts for the appearance of a letter in the "Lyttelton Times," in which a resident of Remuera assures New Zealand at large that Sir Joseph Ward's action in re the Dreadnought is deeply and bitterly resented by many people; that the Auckland papers refused to publish a letter from the came writer, and although return postage was prepaid, failed to! return it, "because," says the ingenuous lady—it surely must be a Jady!—"they are too frightened to make public the facts it contained." The letter from this modern Cassandra closes with thp rather alarming statement that the Premier has, by his action, signed his own political ! death warrant. The southern editor, however, is not sympathetic, for he adds a footnote that reads something like a snub—'"We can assure our correspondent ■that fear is not the feeling which compels editors to consign a large proportion of letters received to the w.p.b.— Ed." hi connection -with the same matter, it seems that 3lr. Tommy Taylor must believe that the three tailors of Tooleystreet, who addressed a petition to the House of Commons commencing with the words "We, the people of England,' , set a standard for pro rata representation, since he makes himself the Dominion's megaphone; but things ha.ye changed since Canning's day, and although it atill takes nine tailors to make a man,
In connection -with the same matter, it seems that 3lr. Tommy Taylor must believe that the three tailors of Tooleystreet, who addressed a petition to the House of Commons commencing with the words "We, the people of England," set a standard for pro rata representation, since he makes himself the Dominion's megaphone; but things ha.ye changed since Canning's day, and although it atill takes nine tailors to make a man, this portion of the Empire is not prepared to allow one "Taylor," no matter how good, to make its man-dates.
"Baso envy withers at another's joy. And hates that, excellence it cannot reach."
So one reads in Thompson's "Seasons,"' yet in the winter of my discontent I cannot help admiring and envying the v«rhatile librettist of "ilanuella" fame. Where all is so good, it is difficult to discriminate, but for neat versification and well balanced lines, I think I envy most the refrain t.o "The Bull-fight," sung by Arthur East: — ■•To cUecii the bull's hostility I (My sword with great ability i plreeted to the heart of him) ! I made a valiant swoop. With marvellous agility, I And Bwordemanlike facHitj-. I cut away that part of him They use for oxtail soup!" The consignment of salmon ova lately arrived in charge of Mr. Ayson came j naturally from one element, but from various sources. England, h-cotland, and Ireland each contributed her quota, and seme- eggs were also obtained from Germany, concerning which latter a newspaper man writes:—"A somewiint unnecessary proceeding." Oh! those news-! paper men! Sterne wrote years ago;—
"Of all the cants th.a.t are canted in this canting world, though the cant of hypocrites may be the 'worst, the can.' of criticism is the most tormenting," but journalists will not believe it. A reflective mind may perceive in this ap parently unimportant news item a deep and very weighty meaning—a proffering of the olive branch of peace and the establishment of a good feeling between Germany and the Empire. I am sorry 1 don't know the German for "entente cordiale"—
Xo false alarms of calls to arms Disturb the stay at home or rover: From war we're spared, the threats that scared Are hushed, for Germany gives "ova"!
Two riddles in one column is perhaps too much of a good thing, but really I am in want of more light. In a leading article in a contemporary appears this weird conclusion:—"We naturally justify them" (Sir Joseph Ward and his colleagues) "in their incursion upon the debatable ground between constitutionalism and uncoKstitutionalism, which is tilt average feeling throughout the province of Auckland." Who will read mc the riddle V "Incomprehensibility" is a fine large word, but "unconstitutionalism" beats it easily—and illustrates it as well.
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