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NOTES., Issue 8030, 5 October 1889
The weather is so fine that it deserved to take precedence of allother subfile Weather. i ect . s - Nothing like it is stored up in the memory of the oldest of Old Identities. It is too fine. Such a winter, followed by such a spring, is really too much for us dwellers in Otago. What is called fine weather, pleasant though it be, is not always good or seasonable weather. It is a mistake for winter to be too gentle. This is a truth town people are apt to forget. They would have the days all serene and bright, whereas dropping clouds and howling winds are as necessary as quiet sdushine. But too much of either makes a mess of things. Last year our frieUda on the other Side lest a great part of their Wheat crop, and not a feW sheep and cattle, through too much sunshine f and a short whileago Great Britainlost, in three successive seasons, about Jh2DO;000,000 through too little. So at least said the lamented John Bright, who would not wittingly have told a fib ; having, indeed, all the Quaker horror of exaggeration, except, perhaps, when he was pitching into the Lords, or the “ stupid ” party. Hero in New Zealand—in this part of it, at least—rain and sunshine are pretty well mixed; particularly the former, as Paddy would say. As a rule we have more than enough wet, but such is the quality of our sunshine that a comparatively small quantity of it will serve the purpose. It is really astonishing how things sometimes grow and ripen in bleak, cloudy weather in this “ Italian ” clime, the occasional gleams quickening or maturing vegetation, as it were, by magic. Of late, however, there has been no lack of sunbeams, We forget when the fine weather set in, it is so long ago; but we fancy it mtftft have been some time last year. The constant brightness grows monotonous. Mother Earth, besides, is thirsting for rain, and the water tanks on tho suburban heights are empty. There are, indeed, signs in the sky of a change, and there has been an occasional attempt at a shower during the last week or so ; but no sooner is the springing grass and halfopened leaves of tree and hedgerow freshened with what we think a preliminary drizzle, than out pops the sun again as warm and bright as at midsummer, and our hopes of a fertilising tank - filling downpour are dried up with the moisture on bud and flower. Some weather prophets are predicting a hot, dry summer; Absitomm! This would never do. Two more years of drought are said to be in store for Australia, but a fig for the weather wise! We have no pretensions to the second sight; but we shall be much mistaken if we have not abundance of rain, and perhaps snow, before October is out, In this district the full blown rhododendron flowers seldom miss a wintry visitation.
The world progresses in these latter days at
a great rate. There are men The Ago living who remember when the Electricity. only noise steam made in the world was with the lid of the tea kettle—when there were no railways, no steamboats, and no steam-made biscuits. But the age of steam itself—the most wonderful age, fn many respects, the world has yet seen—seems to be destined, like the stone and bronze ages of an earlier time, to pass away. As iron is being superseded by steel, and men’s rule by women’s (we shall soon, according to Sir Julius Vogel and Sir John Hall, have female Parliaments and lady Premiers), so is steam being superseded by electricity. And as steam did what horses and bullocks could not do, we may be quite sure that electricity will, in its turn, take the puffing conceit out of steam. It is doing so already. Whoever heard of the agency invented, at least broken in to harness, by the ingenious Scotsman, for smoothing away wrinkles from women’s faces and making them beautiful for ever? This is a touch beyond the reach of steam. Madame Rachel pretended to do it, but that illustrious woman cither deceived herself or her patients (sufferers from the disease of advancing years), or both. The poor creature got into quod, while her dupes remained as unbeautiful as ever. But electricity is not likely to prove a deceiver, By a certain process called electrolysis the little furrows are filled up under the skin, with healthy natural tissue, and youth, with its concomitant beauty, restored. This is surely the very triumph of human ingenuity—to make old women young again, or prevent (electrolysisis equal to both miracles) young women from ever becoming old. Will the young bucks of the electric era fall in love with the rejuvenated old maids and widows ? Incalculable are the possible developments of modern science. What with this electrolysis and Mi Brown-Sequard’snew elixir vital, the antediluvian age itself mightbe.restored, with its Mahalaleel's and Jareds and Methusalehs, who lived their eight or nine hundred years, and “ begat sons and daughters.” Such a restoration might, however, be awkward, if Malthus’s theory is even approximately true. The overflow of mankind is alarming enough as it is, though we could still do with a slight addition to our How Zealand population,
The balance of our immigration account is, it seems, Bt'iU on the wrong side. ThcExoilus. The i: e ar ° m ° r f, n°* n ß than coming. “Lot them go, said the Premier, when the stampede was at its height; “ every New Zealander who seeks employment in Victoria or New South Wales will become an immigration agent, and sooner or later return with a crowd of new chums in his train.” This optimistic view of the matter excited the indignation of some of our sentimental politicians. It was only natural that it should do so; not to say that most of us regretted the necessity for so many of our fellow-colonists leaving, even temporarily, for other lands. Sir Harry is a plain, blunt man. He does not study his phrases. Hence the seeming harshness which sometimes marks his utterances, when no harshness is meant. He even went the length of saying that he was glad to see this emigration to the other colonics. But his gladness was not thatof the cynic, thonghsuch itwasof courserepresented by his political adversaries. He was only glad that honest, industrious men who were piniug here in compulsory, idleness could get profitable employment so near their homes. For, after all, Australia is but a step from our own door. Better surely in such a case to go than stay, however painful the separation from all that was'dear to them, or the breaking up of their homes, might be. Better to go and earn honest wages than stay and do the reduced Government stroke on relief works. There is degradation in such employment, and degradation in idleness ; but there is the exhilaration of hope, and a sustaining joy in going forth, even out of the colony, to exert one’s full powers for the sake of those who are left behind. There was a reason for the Premier’s gladness after all, and there is also something in his immigration view of the emigration. Many an Australian will yet come to New Zealand because of the report of this goodly land spread abroad by the exiles. They were not driven forth by the poverty of the soil or the severity of the climate—for a goodly land it is, and beautiful, how different from arid and bare Australia —but by the mismanagement of the politicians, encouraged, alas ! in their folly by the bulk of the people. However, if adversity Reaches us wisdom, we shall soon see the exiles returning, followed or accompanied by the troops of immigrants whom Sir Harry Atkinson, in an inspired moment, beheld in vision, There) is [still room in New Zealand for a considerable overflow of mankind.
The “Jubilee Plunger” has published his book. Whether this autoMr biography of a good-natured Benson, fool will retrieve his fortunes remains to be seen. We should say not. It is a dull narrative, as all such narratives are and must be. There is
nothing novel in his advent ares' or achievements. He is not by any means the first' opulent youth that has been ffeeoed by? rogues and money lenders. It is just the old l wearisome story of sickening stupidity owthe’ one hand, and not less sickening wickedmsson the other. Vice and folly are the moat repulsive things in the world. They vulgarise the character, and the very sight of them tends to repress that kindly interest which we naturally have in one another. This is especially the case when they are flaunted in our face, and more especially when they are exhibited to the public for money. We suspect, then, that Mr Benzon’s book will prove a failure as apecuniary venture ;i and a failure it is, of course, destined to be in every other sense.. Had the author been born to a title as well aS a fortune this record of his follies might have had a little more interest for the sifter part of the community. But even if the young dukes and marquises who have distinguished themselves in thesamelineof business within the last half century bad published their sporting memoirs it is doubtful if their works would have gained mneb popularity. For it cannot be too often repeated that such fools, no matter how highly titled they may be, are in themselves the most uninteresting; specimens of mankind, while their doings, repel and disgust all right minded people. The sight of a young moral idiot throwing; bis money to the winds is not calculated to> sustain the interest even oi the foolisbtah kind of persons for any length of time. Mr BenZon, now that his money is gone, wilF sink out of notice. We do not suppose the poor soul wrote for fame, or that such at* idea ever entered his head ; and we should say that he is better without the quarter of a million of money he inherited. How much happier he would have been had he been born to a spade and mattock I And yet such human crudities probably serve some purpose or other in the economy of the universe.
The weather, we have said, is too fine for - agricultumte and housewives. The Angling and the angler has also reason Season. to complain. The streams are low and clear. We saw an ardent youth whipping the Leith with all diligence the other afternoon, but its spotted beauties only laughed at him. No matter how deftly he whipped, they would not be beguiled. This is rather a pity. We ate no great anglers ourselves, but we love the sport for old Izaak Walton’s sake. It is the contemplative man’s recreation. If we mistake not, it was also Izaak’s opinion that all anglers were good men. This was probably an amiable delusion; at least, we imagine wo have known some votaries of the rod whom it would have been » stretch of charity to cal! good. The preposition should, doubtless, have been that most anglers are good men. Angling; is a gentle sport; it is only sentimentalists like Byron who 1 call it cruel. Even of the live frog used as bait, old Izaak said that you were to use hhn as if you loved him. This was, perhaps, carrying the joke a little too far. But Izaak had his own notions of sentimentalism, and he has, for all time, associated angling with poetry. The ‘Complete Angler’ is nolonger of much use as an angler’ll instructor, but it will live as long as there is any relish for old English modes of thought and expression. Some Londoner wrote an articlethe other day on the ‘ Pitilei-sness ef Angling,’ taking of course the sentimental view of the matter. This objection will always crop up, but it is not a very serious one. What a self-contradictory thing human nature is said the writer we have just mentioned; and he went on to illustrate his exclamation by saying that John Bright, who bad a horror of field sports, was yet a most enthusiastic angler. Human nature is, an odd thing, we admit; but we should rather be disposed to conclude from the example of John Bright that angling was at least a much less cruel sport than shooting or hunting. Bo this as it mar, we sincerely hope, now that the angling season has opened, that Jupiter Pluvius will make haste to flood our streams. In the meantime we wish the angling fraternity a good season, and just venture to remind them that a big basket is not the sole end and aim of the gentle craft.
NOTES., Issue 8030, 5 October 1889
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