THE GREAT NITRATE BOOM.
TITTLE-TATTLE ABOUT COLONEL NORTH.
[From Our Own Correspondent,]
London, August 10.
With the end of the season, and having nothing else in particular to do, people are beginning to wonder whether “nitrates” will last. And as the personification of “nitrates” just now is Colonel North, the air is filled with speculations as to the probable duration of his boom. It is suggested by some that the collapse of Baron Grant was not more sudden and complete than will be that of the Nitrate King if it comes. Most mines, of course, are inexhaustible—when they are young. Even in the second and third generations they may still have a future before them. This, however, is scarcely the case with a superficial or semi-superficial deposit such as a nitrate caliche. This is a layer of loaded earth, deposited in seme past geological age, and occasionally slightly covered by later deposits, These latter have to be broken through in order to get at the caliche , and from first to last the mining—if such it can be called—is full of uncertainties. The cost of working and the value of the stuff when worked are both incapable of being calculated beforehand. Colonel North, as becomes a king, has an army. It is an army that wields the pen much more mightily than the sword. His special correspondents are not, as a rule, masters of diction, nor have they either an unduly keen appreciation of the value of the facta concerning which they testify. However, by reading between the lines, one may gather from the special commissioners sufficient to see that the process of depletion in the nitrate ojfficind cannot be carried on at a paying rate for ever. Of course it should be remembered that a caliche yielding less than 25 per cent, is not worth working. The gallant colonel, however, may, I suppose be trusted to get out in good time. By the way, he is not getting on so well in Clubland as at the Woolpack, He has not yet been “ selected ” for the Carlton Club, and there is some talk of dropping him off the “ selected ” list. After the handsome way in which he sent in his cheque for LIO,OOO, the Colonel does not quite understand why there should be any delay. It is satirically suggested that the Committee think they let him off too easily in taking LlO,ffOO, when they might just as easily have got L 20.000. Anyhow the Colonel is angry, and has more than once lately dropped hints about running for Leeds on his own account, and winning the election off his own bat. The clerks at the Woolpack, too, are suffering somewhat. AH the barmaids have decided that diamonds are the only presents fit for a lady—“as is a laidy’’—and whilp the Colonel is about there is no chance for the man who bitterly regrets the day when an occasional escort to the “Pav.” made a barmaid a friend for life, The gallant colonel is said to have gained experience, but nothing more, to the tune of L2o,ooo—the cost of the trip—by his recent visit to Chili, So far as practical result goes, the expedition is admitted to have been a rank failure, for the Chilians responded but coldly to the amiable North’s dining and wining. Captain Garrick, his horse-trainer and dog-keeper, is not quite as popular as he used to be. Whether it is because he is making too much money for himself and too little for his friends, or vice versa, is a point that yet requires to be explained. “ Eltham Palace” is what they oall the Colonel’s new house, There is one immense room in it, the use of whioh has not yet been de. oided upon, It may be either a chapel or a ball room, or Turkish baths; or it might be turned into a nitrate store in case of need ; or is it to be the Colonel’s blue room ? —the Bluebeard one, I mean.
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THE GREAT NITRATE BOOM., Evening Star, Issue 8024, 28 September 1889, Supplement
THE GREAT NITRATE BOOM. Evening Star, Issue 8024, 28 September 1889, Supplement
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