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ALL SORTS OF PEOPLE, New Zealand Free Lance, Volume I, Issue 3, 21 July 1900
ALL SORTS OF PEOPLE
A FASHIONABLE youth, who does his best to fill in time at the Buildings, fell in the other day with a bine-eyed beauty who. like himself, was bicycling. The fair being spun a pretty little story, the result of which was that he called for some music, and was received in a prettily-decked out front room containing the usual instal-ment-plan piano. Song and story passed a very pleasant evening, and he was asked to call again, as a sort of encore, probably. Next night after he had got through "My love was fair," an irate husband emerged from an adjoining room, remarked that he had enjoyed the song immensely, and proceeded to ask some very awkward questions. It was the old story — a case of blackmail carefully planned, and the dashing civil servant looked as "blue as the Pacific Ocean. Threatened with exposure, he stated the case to a friendly policeman, and thus saved his money. But it isn't everyone ithat escapes so easily. • * * Mr Pilch er, who is in charge of the Capetown branch of the South British Insurance Company, has proved himself an invaluable friend to New Zealanders invalided down from the front. A lot of -work must have entailed upon him in making enquiries for, friends and relatives of our boys, and he seems to be acting as a sort of agent for the New Zealand Government at Capetown. It is to be hoped that he will be properly recompensed. He has hosts of friends in Wellington who are loud in praise of his attitude towards his fellow countrymen. * * • Agent-General Keeves' eldest boy is christened Fabian, and W.P. intends to educate him on strict Socialistic principles. By the way, "W.P. has such strong objections to Court dress that he was absent from Joe Chambeilain's birthday dinner party simply because that dress was cle ngueur. Perhaps, after all, W.P., who is canny in money matters, mainly objects to the expense, or is it that he knows his legs are two thin. * # • Mr W. L. Rees, of Gisborne, was in town last week, and as usual, busy about the lobbies. W. L. is getting on in years nowadays, but wears wondei fully well considering how much work he has crammed into his life. As a Congregationalist minister, a lawyer, a politician, an author, and last, not least, in his day, an ardent cricketer and athlete. And talking about cricket, the love of the game is in his family, for his cousins are the Graces, and his sons are all good cricketers. Mr Rees is more sanguine than ever about the future of Poverty Bay, and contends that hundreds of thousands of acres of native land are now being thrown open through legislation suggested by him. In Grey's day W.L. was the one faithful supporter of the Pro-Consul whose fidelity never wavered, and much ns has been written of Grey's life and work it is still to Rees " Life," patchy and scrappy as it is, that one has to go to get full information as to the G.O.M. of New Zealand.
Frank Lawry's little Bill to .dock the honorarium of the Wellington members will surely not please his friend, George Fisher. If Frank takes it into his head to make any rude allusions to the other two Wellingtonians, the probability is that he will get a little more than he bargained for. *• * • Mi- William Kneeshaw, who has just been appointed manager of the Sydney tramways, is another of the capable men the New Zealand Railway Department has trained and then let slip through its fingers to carry his abilities into the service of a sister colony. m # » The " Phenomenon " was the name by which Mr J. H. Hempton was known throughout the sitting of the Conciliation Board during the recent hearing of the butchers' dispute. Mr Hempton was, until quite recently, linotype engineer on the Evening Post, but was offered, and accepted, a nice little ready-made butchering business. So he became a master butcher. During the early stages of the hearing of the dispute, he made a statement against the claim of the Unionists that the trade was a skilled one, and quoted his own experience, saying that he had learned to run his shop " on his own " within six weeks. Later on, when giving evidence, he amended his previous statement by declaring that he had mastered the intricacies of " breaking down " oarcases in three weeks ! Grey-haired carvers of meat looked upon " The Phenomenon " with awe. # * • " Our John" on the Chinese crisis. " What I thlink ? Pekling Chinaman welly blad man ; wantum stlong man, allee samee Scddon or Li Hung Chang, sling them all up, samee blad man shngee up at Terrace jail. What for I no go Chinee fightee Eulopeean man ? No fear, me Canton man ; no fightee ; much bletter stop heLe. I go to Pekling, blad Chinaman takee allee my money ; New Zealand blest place me. You say two cabbagee or one cabbagee ?" # * # Poet Arthur Adams made only a short stay in New Zealand after all. He came back from Sydney with the intention of spending some months in his native land to become personally acquainted with many of its beauty spots, and in particular to saturate himself with Maori folk-lore before going on to England to pursue there his career as a litterateur and a playwright, taking some finished dramas and operas with him. But, after he had been here a few weeks, and had made two or three bicycle tours, he received a communication from Australia which made it worth his while to go back and see for himself about some business that may keep him there for some months. In any ease, London is still the goal of his ambition, and sooner or later he will get there. Adelaide Critic comes out with the astonishing news that William Lane, of "New Australia," has reformed the New Zealand Herald. They say it is a long lane that has no turning, but whether this Lane is long or not, the Lance is glad that he has given a turning to the Neiu Zealand Herald. We weie afraid that it was beyond reformation, being so piously Wesleyan, but one can never tell, you see. # # # There seems to be some mystery as to the whereabouts of Trooper Peddie, a Napier boy, who went to South Africa and joined Brabant's Hoise. He was a prisoner at Waterval, and was released when " Bobs " got to Pretoria. Since then his father, " good old Tom Peddie," as Napierites call him, has had no news.
H. G. Ell, one of the new M.H.R.'s for Christchurch City, is a staunch Prohibitionist, but had savee enough to refrain from cramming his views about cold watei down the throats of everybody and on every possible occasion. « # * v John Plimiuer persists in signing himself, and his friends in dubbiug him, " Father of Wellington," which is very galling to the older settlers, who know that he came long after the first flight, and is almost a recent importation by comparison with many yet living. By common consent the early arrivals took as their doyen the genial Thomas MeKen/ie, who was one of the first party to sleep ashore on the present site of "Wellington, and who passed bib boyhood, manhood, and business career in the city, and is now spending the evening of his days in well -earned leisure, enjoying the respect of all who know him, and especially looked up to by the Freemasons and Oddfellows of the community, who own him as their "father" at any rate. * # * Some tuna ago Mr Pliininer explained through the Pi ess that he didn't claim the paternal title on any ground of seniority, but that it was given him because he was considered to have saved the community by suggesting the reclamation work-, at a time when employment was \ cry scarce hereabouts. But, with all due respect to Mr Plimmer and the public spirit so characteristic of him, his reclamation works suggestion does not make him the father of Wellington. Lord Hopetoun, who has been lucky enough to secure the much-coveted billet of Governor-General of Australia, under the coming Commonwealth system, was very popular when Governor of Victoria. Just forty years old, he is a good-looking fellow, \ cry wealthy, and has a charming wife. He startled Melbourne, when he first came out, with his four-in-hand and outriders in scarlet and gold liveries. Although he had never had any experience in public affairs, he managed to get on very well with his Ministers, and pulled thiough some rather ticklish times very successfully. Many people thought that the Duke of Agyll (the Marquis of Lome that was) would be the chosen one, but the* Princess Louise (a quiet, studentlike woman) hates the fuss and bother of officialdom, and refused, it is said, point blank to go out to Australia. Her Canadian experience was enough for her. * # * The latest " possible " for the Patea seat is Dr Gore Gillon, of Patea, whom the Libeuils of that place wish to stand for the < > caused by Bun-Tuck Hutcheson's retirement. The doctor is a younger brother of the late E. T. Gillon, for many years controller ot the editorial thunder at Evening Post office. He practised at one time in Wellington, but afterwards went to Sydney. The doctor's matrimonial affairs were at one time town talk, but the divorce suit resulted in " as you were." * * * George Main, the venerable father of Auckland's press, has evidently the entree to the other world when on official business. At a meeting the other day at an institute of which he is the treasurer, he bemoaned the " tightness " of members in not paying their subscriptions, none having been paid for years. " Why," he said, " even the president — yes, there's the president — I can't get the subscription out of him, and I have tried again and again." And he threw down the old ratknawed minute book and sighed. They turned up the minute book to see who was president, and found that he had been dead for over two years !
" Wet Wragge " may be a very clever man in his own line of weather prophet, but as a lecturer is a strange combination. At one minute he is dealing, not very lucidly, with a heap oi scientific statistics ; the next he is cracking a joke so venerable that it might have livened the occupant 9 of the Ark. And his singing I Well, on that point it is" most charitable to be silent. • * * The late Rev. Father Clery, for many years parish priest of Onehunga, died the olher day at Home. He was an elder brother of General Sir William Clery, V.C., who has been prominent in the South African war. " Dandy Clery," the Tommies called him, was in Natal when the war broke out. # * # A very sport - loving community is Wanganui, and the latest fad, barring golf, is hunting. There was a great meet of the local club on a recent Saturday, the result being a " kill," some of those in at the finish saying it was a hare, while those at the tail aver it was nothing more or less than a prodigious bubonic plague rat. At any rate there was some sport, especially at the discomfiture of a dapper " vet," mounted on a light and strong horse, who refused to ]ump when required, and thereby deposited the mount in a field where a group of lady admirers were watching his prowess, and also of the plucky manner in which a lady huntress, notwithstanding several reverses, came home with blushing honours. * » • Be the Patea vacancy, that is to be within a few weeks from now, who is to succeed the great George ? Remington, who ran him fairly close on a couple of occasions, is a chemist at Hunterville, a little man with a big head, brainy and progressive, and not a little pugnacious. But he doesn't understand the art of canvassing, has little sympathy with sport, and is more than suspected of ultra " cold tea " principles. That he has polled so well at two elections only proves what a falling off there was in Hutcheson's one time influence. At the northern, Patea end, the Government party are greatly against Remington's candidature. Up that way, the favourite Government candidate would be James Wilkie, of Waitotara, one of the two Wilkies who made such a stupendous pile out of their Coolgardie railway contract. Hutcheson and Wilkie don't exactly play in the same yard nowadays, and yet time was when Wilkie was George's chairman of committee at Waitotara. If Remington were out of the way, Wilkie would beat any Opposition man that could stand. As it is, a strong Oppositionist might keep the seat. But he must be a strong man. # # * Wanganui is now considered the fifth city in New Zealand, as instanced by its steady progress and prosperity. Not only is this the case with the commercial and busiuess interests of the town but the enterprise evinced by these at the head of local affairs in contradistinction to the apathy and conservatism pervading public matteis in years past. Mayor Hatrick is largely responsible for this go-ahead state ot affairs, and there is every probability that in the near future he will be the representative in the House for this nourishing district. * * # The Bulletin is anxious about J. G. Ward's health. " Ward is not a man of 'Digger Dick's' stamina," it says, "but he is full of feverish activity, and he will burn out much faster than Seddon did.'* Not much need for WarJ, or Seddon either, to " burn out with feverish anxiety " if two more Ministers are to be appointed.
Judge Martin, of the Arbitration Court, will soon become a persona ingrata with the labour kings if he continues to make such decidedly warm comments upon the Unionist methods as he did on Monday last on the Parker case. A little straight speaking won't do the Unionists any harm, anyhow. * * *
The Right Hon. R. J. Seddon was a ■conspicuous figure amongst the crowd of people thronging Lambton Quay on Saturntght, while the Hon. Mr Ward took his pleasures more comfortably in a front seat at Dixs Gaiety. By the way, the Parliamentary correspondent of the New Zealand Herald ventured the statement that if Mr Seddon gets excited in an important debate he may break down altogether. Other newspapers are equally gloomy in their opinions about his health, though the comments in some cases are almost suggestive that the wish is father to the thought. There is much speculation about what he may or may not do after the session. The Otago Daily Times says he is going on a trip to California. In this connection, an Anglo-Colonial paper, published in London, says that " if Mr Seddon really wishes to give up, and "bend his steps Homewards, the way in which he has taken the lead in New Zealand in organising the war forces and funds would make him a persona gratis•sirna in this quarter of the world." Now, is fhis the Hon. W. P. speaking ? And, if so, how would a return to New Zealand politics suit him ? Mr Ferguson, of the Harbour Board, writes out that he and Mrs F. have been greatly enjoying the summer weather in London. The clever " Pooh Bah "of the Harbour Board ought to come back perfectly stuffed with useful wrinkles. If he can find out a really good and cheap electric tram system for the city, we •shall rejoice. Meanwhile, acting-secretary Smith, who proved such a hard nut for the unionist officials to crack recently, is " ruuning the show '' very well. # * * A familiar figure about Christchurch streets is " Old Bird," as he is generally known locally. He is the manager of the ■Christchurch branch of a popular insurance company, and is a very ancient identity. Although over 80 years of age — a good bit over, in fact — he still con. tinnes to put in n,n appearance pretty constantly at his office in the A.M. P. Buildings, and what lie doesn't know about Christchurch is hardly worth knowing. • # » " I contradict that table flat !" was the excited utterance of Mr Tom Carmichael at the Conciliation Board, in reply to a statement made by Harry Warner. • * • Mr H. McArtney, who conducted the Master Butcheis' case recently before the Board of Conciliation, has retired from the butchering business and, we hear, is likely to go into the public-house business — to cater for the public tastes in beer instead of beef. If he devotes his energies to his business as entirely as he threw himself into his recent case before the Board of ■Conciliation he will deserve success. * » # The unhappy remittance man, Harold George Brocklehnrst, who suicided at Coker's Hotel, Christchurch, the other day, appears to have shuffled oft his mortal coil in as comfortable a manner as he could contrive. He retired to his private room at 2.15 p.m., had a good fire xu.ade up, then told the waiter to bring xip a scuttleful of coals, a small bottle of fizz and some biscuits. When fouud, hours afterwards, deceased was seated before his fire, the revolver still in his grip. He was as dead as a door-nail. Worry over the non-arrival to time of a draft he was expecting is supposed to have caused Brocklehurst to shoot himself. The draft turned up alright, after all. Moral : When you are thinking of suiciding don't be in too great a hurry. # # * Mr Bust, who conducted the case for the Journeymen Butchers recently, compared the evidence on the other side to an over-ripe banana, adding that when you strip the outside skin off it it falls, it is soft, has no substance, and will not stand. Seeing that the case is likely to come hefore the Arbitration Court, we shall see how the metaphor works out. * # * McPhail was chief engineer on the Flag of Persia. His boast was that he belonged to a deductive nation, and he delighted in an original mode of explaining the nature of a syllogism to his subengineers. " Thompson," said he to a new hand, " the major premiss is A chief engineer that can lick you, and will if it's needed. The second is A second engineer, mustn't talk back, unless it's to the third engineer, and so on. The third is, Take that, you impudent devil 1 " and with that he slammed poor Thompson into the coal bunker, and broke his spirit for the voyage.
1 Percy Freeth, the Special Commissioner sent up the route ot the North Island Trunk line by the newly founed Railway League, is an old Masteiton boy. He started his journalistic caieer under A. W. Hogg, M.H.R., on Masterton Star, and was affcerwaids on the Hawhcs Day Herald and Napier News. His letters are good stuff from a, newspaper point of view, but it remains to be seen whether they will have any effect upon the House, as far as the railway vote is concerned. * * * It was only a Shire Council affair, still it had its amusing side. Both disputants were also of a larger legislative body. One happened to be unelucated. The educated one was chairman of the larger body, and the other only a member. The man devoid of culture entered the chamber, wherein meetings usually were held, in a state of excitement after having a warm controversy outside. So soon as the experienced councillor could get his breath, the chairman stopped his precipitate propulsion into the chamber of meeting with " Why this excitement ? What is the cause of it?" M., whose English was of the original order, replied, " Well, me and Mister X r ave bin 'avin a haltercation hover the pernounciation of the word ' heelectorial,' 'c conterdicted me on it, an' I called him as how he was no gentleman, of which no more he wasn't. Now 'c wants satisfaction an' I'm agoin' to give it 'im." The declamatory one was up last session lobbing for some local want that his opponent had spent two sessions in opposing. Such is the effect of two slavers for their local weal being anxious for public favour or something. * * * An old salt who plies the trade of waterman from the Queen's wharf is a bit of a humourist in his own way. One day this week he had a party of ladies out in a boat, making frantic efforts to propel themselves, but getting in nearly as many " crabs " as effective strokes. The old fellow stood it as long as he could, but at last was moved to put the inquiry, " Excuse me, mum, but is it rowin' or dredgin' ye're doin' ?" And with a glance of withering disdain, she resigned the oar.
In-Clement L. Wragge, the greatest of colonial weather-ologists, and a rival of our Captain Headwind, is in Wellington, en loute for Paris to take part in the International Meterological Conference in September next. Asked if he had ever previously been in Paris, the weather prophet replied, "Well, about eighteen times !" His first visit was made just after the Commune, and has twice already been there as a representative Australian savant, and also represented Australia at the Munich Conference in 1891. The man of inclement matters is much travelled, having been in different countries, not including the colonies. * # # Dear Lance, — Your paragraph re the huia feather and the " big brack feller " was greatly en]oyed here (Carterton), but a sad catastrophe has happened the native emblem, of which I hasten to inform you. Mr J. T. P. F. M. H. attended a football " rep." practice on the Carterton Beserve on Saturday, and when retiring with his usual grace it was noticed that the feather was coining loose, and before he had proceeded many paces it fluttered to the ground. Though many noticed what had happened, no one took it upon themselves to inform the great man of his loss. Just then a son of toil happened along, with his pipe in his hand, looking for a straw or something to clean out his " clay," when he espied the "big brack feller's " huia feather. " Ah ! just the very thing ! " and in a moment the feather passed through the nicotine-saturated pipe. — Yours, etc., Bucolic. • • # Tommy Atkins is as brave as a lion, but his notions of meurn and tuum are a trifle vague. Sergeant-Major Gillespie, a member of the Kimberley Light Horse, and a New Zealander, was giving a Dunedin crowd some war reminiscences the other day. He said Tommy was a trifle rough, but in other ways a good fellow — a very good fellow. He would share with you his last drop of water. If lie had only one biscuit he would halve it with you (applause). The next minute he would go into your tent, if he had lost his spuis, and steal yours (laughter). Only lie wouldn't call it stealing, but " commandeering."
King Richard took his regalia with him down to the Islands, and, what's more, he put it on. Imagine the portly, perspiring form of the great imperialist stalking about amongst the dusky Tongans in the silk stockings and tight- fitting jacket of the Windsor uniform I On one occasion his daughter appeared as a. support, in khaki uniform. No wonder they wanted the King to stay in Fiji. One of Wellington's insurance office officials can't a-bear talk about ghosts. It isn't that he is superstitious himself. But it recalls an incident the memory of which is not altogether pleasant. Some ten years ago the city was aflame with excitement over a ghost-walking scene. Uncanny figures made their appearance at Newtown one night and at Thorndon the next, till half the women and children were afraid to venture out of doors after dusk. In the height of the sensation our friend attended a fancy dress ball in the light and airy costume of a clown. After the festivity he had seen his best girl home, and was strolling towards his own lodgings in the small hours of the morning, when his ruminations were interrupted by a night rambler. * * # This worthy caught sight of the white garments half-concealed under a covert coat, and was satisfied that he had found his ghostship red-handed. "Ah 1 so you're the blanketty blank that scared me out of my wits last nig'it," was his greeting; and he proceeded to threaten the youth with a thrashing. And he would probably have got it only that some others of the ball folk happened along, and satisfied the assailant that his suspicions were groundless. Next day the injured man took legal advice with a view to proceedings for assault, but was wisely advised that such a course of action would only bring greater ridicule on himself. So the matter dropped. And now that he has become a staid citizen, and has been a borough father to boot, he naturally doesn't like to be reminded of the adventure. * * * " Smiler " Hales, the smart Australian journalist who has been making a name for himself as a war correspondent for London Daily News, says the Kaffir girl has a mouth as boundless as a mother's blessing, and as limitless as the imagination of a spring poet in love. Furthermore, when she is vexed, she purses her mouth up into a bunch until it looks like a crumpled saddle-flap hanging on - a hedge. *' Smiler " is nothing if not picturesque. When kissing the* Kaffir maiden, so he says, and of course an exBulletin man couldn't lie if he tried " sucks her lips in with a sharp hissing breath, then pushes them out suddenly, ready for the osculatory seance, the lips moving as if they were pushed from the inside by a pole." Get your best girl to give you a Kaffir kiss, and see how you like it. * * # Ex-Priest Slattery and his female confidante are " battling " along. They had a warm time at Ballarat. The crowd charged the hall and broke things, and some nominal fines were inflicted. At Adelaide it was worse. The doors were smashed in and the building taken possession of long before the time for starting, the table and platfor.ni were overturned, the water-bottle and glasses were broken, chairs were dashed to pieces, and the air was charged with patriotic airs and aromatic eggs. There were also many windows broken. Amid the uproar the agent advanced and announced that the lecture was " off." * * « McQueen, chief engineer of the Union Go's Waihora, who died the other day, was better known as " Coo-ec " McQueen, from his habit of using the well-known bush signal when he wanted a man. m he yarn goes that on one occasion a fireman, looking for a job, addressed him as Mr McQueen. " Ay, ay, nion," said Mac, " it's work yell be wantin' wi yir Maister McQueen, but if I gie it I'll just be that doinmed auld Coo-ec to ye." * • # Members must have been in a very funny mood at a recent Sam Weller Swarry at Christchurch Working Men's Club, as one jovial gentleman entrusted with a talk, alluded in humourous language to the President, an old-time neighbour of his. He declared, amid laughter, that one of his peach trees hung over the fence into the president's yard, and seeing the tree shake one morning, he decided, seeing that the erratic motion was not caused by a gentle zephyr, to investigate. He then discovered that the president was sampling the fruit. This sally caused roars. The mayor of Christchurch remarked that he didn't altogether believe the peach story; if there was anything in it, the occurrence was doubtless owing to the scientific turn of the chairman, who was probably trying to ascertain if the fruit was of a new species that might require naming in latin.
ALL SORTS OF PEOPLE, New Zealand Free Lance, Volume I, Issue 3, 21 July 1900
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