THE alarmist, like the poor, we shall ha\e always with us, ready to beat the belligerent drum. Mr Fleming expatiated before an interested audience last week on the new education, and said that its advantages were to be measured by its possible dangers. He proceeded to state that cookery w as one of the features of the new system, though, to do him justice, that was not his point. Mr. Fleming's fear is that in the oveiwhelming haste for technical knowledge the primary subjects of a good English education may be overlooked, and history and the mother tongue not sufficiently acquired. There is no danger, Mr. Fleming. It's all right. Our people are too well grounded in their nation's history for that. The subject is warm on the tips of their tongues. The Lance attended the championship debate last week, and vyas regaled with English history (revised edition, several volumes). In discussing the Channel tunnel scheme, one of the ablest speakers again and again referred to Sir Garnet "Wolsey" as Lord Roberts' successor and blamed him for ' 'blocking the tunnel bormg." One grows rusty on his old school and college course, but our impression was that it was the aeroplane direct service between London and Paris that Sir Garnet "Wolsey" and Lord Nelson got their backs up over, but the debater has been to school since the Lance, and, in the words of Omar Khayyam, "He knows about it all, he knows, he knows." • • • A ratepayer has been complaining, in the "Post," that his rates are not being demanded. Tommy-rot ! A penny stamp will take his cheque to the City Treasurer's office. But, the class of ratepayer who is eager to pay his rates is rather a rara avis. Is he a ratepayer at all, or has he some ulterior object to serve? • • • The Chnstchurch Ministers' Association has brusquely declined a confeience with the Trades and Labour Council on the attitude of the Church to the labour problem. This is rathei a pity. The Labour party, having put the employers in their place, might easily have evolved from its inner consciousness a theological policy that would have boomed church attendance. Then, again, there is another important consideration involved. The clergy is notoriously under-paid. Perhaps the Trades and Labour Council intended to extend the advantages of the Arbitration Court to the Christchurch ministers, with a view to higher wages. The difficulty, of cour&e, would be to discover whom to cite. Even if an Arbitration Court decree against the orthodox threepenny were feasible, the conference would be a profitable one to the clergy.
Opunake has vindicated its moral reputation. Suspecting a recent ainval of having "desecrated the home" of a local resident, it ducked the alleged too-amorous individual in a creek, tarred and feathered him, and then, while the local constable maiched him out of town, seienaded him with the "Dead March." Needless to say, Opunake will hold the palm for strict morality in the future But it is a thousand pities that the tiuculent social lefoimeis of that town should be located in such a limited sphere of action. Why not transport them, m the inteiests of morality, to Wellington, 01 Auckland, or Chi istchurch. Theie is woik to do m all these places. Indeed, from some of the stories that occasionally reach us, they would be able to exhaust all the tai and feathers that the local Gasworks and the State Poultiy Department produces • • • The Opunake episode lecalls the fact that Wellington once enjoyed a tar-and-feathermg episode of its \eiy own. The scene of operations was laid at the Hutt, and the paiticipants in the pleasantry were chiefly individuals with a high position in society, which by no means deti acted from the populai ' appreciation of the diversion. But, returning to the Opunake episode, it may be right enough from a moral point of view. But, how about the legal aspect of the matter? What was the police officer, who subsequently conducted the victim out of town, doing while the untried and unconvicted object of popular scorn was being rough-handled? • • • It is whispered that the Public Trustee has serious thoughts of arranging an occasional lace meeting in the neighbourhood to encourage the bricklayers to complete the Seatoun tunnel." The last delay was caused because the men preferred the races. Happy thought. Why not engage half-a-dozen bookmakers as pace-mak-ers? Their stirring cries of "I lay, I lav, I lay," might encourage the bricklayers also to lay— those bricks. . • • They say that "good wine needs no bush." Mrs. Weiss, after hei lecent conviction, is strongly of opinion that it does not need any piobationaiy constables eithei • • * The unbounded nerve of some people is amazing. A member told the House last week of the ndiculous complaint of a lady in charge of a country telephone bureau and mailbag in his district. She received a salaiy of £5 per annum for her work, and when the authorities stopped six shillings foi her three weeks' holiday, she waited on the member and made a fuss about it. That lady is too avaricious altogether Surely, with a queenly salary of £5 a year, six shillings was no consideration whatever. The hon. member has earned the colony's giatitude in exposing the incident. Extravagance on the part of public servants must be stopped • • • If country post-mistresses cannot live on £-4 14s per year, and a holiday at their own expense, this is not God's ow n country at all ! But, surely the Government was indiscreet in allowing a female civil servant to travel with so much wealth in her possession. Why, with the drapery sales in progiess, and £5 m her kit, theie was a dangei of her buying up the city and letinng wholly from the service
It is given to few to be gieat. it isn't given to many to be fascinating, and a ceitain Christchurch magistrate evidently fails to fill either of these bills. On Saturday week last a young lady, w ho had given evidence of an important nature in a forgery case, and had passed through the crucible of cross-examination, absolutely refused to sign hei written evidence, "because the man on the Bench had not been nice to her." It is not for the Lance to suggest the hundred and one little niceties that this magistrate might have extended to the fair witness, but which he failed to offer. • • • Afteinoon tea at Broadways, or a view of the city from the Cathedral tower — the Exhibition is over, or that might have been an irresistible inducement to secure the signature. The report states that one of the detectives persuaded hei at length to sign hei statement, but the report ends theie— and why J The detective must ha\e been "nice," and! we ask why the presiding magistrate should not have the benefit of the detective's prescription • • • Hawkestone-stieet lodger writes — • I awoke suddenly in a cold sweat the othei night Someone was pounding mv door and shouting "Hey, wake up' Hev 1 There's (alliteratne) burglars in the house'" 1 shiveied and sweated in turns— at the language. Theie were ladies in the house. I groped down-stairs, and so did othei boaiders. One carried a bat another a water-jug, and another a razor. The owner was calling tor a crimson light to see the burglar with A robust young fellow, in pviamas w r hich needed mending in various vital places held his shoulder to the door of the room wherein was the burglar. • • * Se\en boarders were mustered in pyjamas. Some had shoes on. One, a footballer, only half-awake, was mechanically tucking his flannelettes up round his knees, getting ready for the kick-off. Then, a pink-toed female figure, in clinging white, appeared with a lighted candle, but bolted, with an eerie shriek, on catching sight of the undressed seven Ultimately, the candle materialised the robust youth m the tatteied pyjamas removed his shoulder from the door, and we seven got a forward move on. Seven, however, were too many in one night for the burglar, who'd opened a side-dooi that had the key on the inside, got out, and had then beaten the whistle. Wondering the sort of back view we presented, we crept upstairs to bed.
How we do rub our superior morality into the unfortunate Chinese. Last week, two Otaki Chows were fined for woiking m their gardens on Sundlays, which is no sin in their eyes, while we irreproachable whites play golf, or tennis, on the Sabbath, or go fishing, or do otherwise as we please, so long as our work comes under the heading of sport. So also with gambling. Jin Shing and Joe Hee have been fined £100 each for playing pak-a-poo. * • • Is pak-a-poo very much more sinful than bridge? The latter game is played in many Wellington mansions, even on Sunday nights, for pretty high stakes, but we have not heard of any well-known citizens or their wivea or daughters being fined £100 m consequence. Why this furious desire to dragoon the wretched Chinaman into our superior morality, seeing that w& make no attempt ourselves to be moral m the matter of gambling. Is. pak-a-poo any worse than the "tote"? But, so long as the State gets its per centage of profit, the Ohmaman maygamble on the "tote" without restraint. Indeed, the State smiles approval on this gambling when it is done on the racecourse. No wonder that the perplexed Chow, with a bew lldered eye on the contradiction of the law, says "Me no savee." * • • The "New Zealand Times," dealing. with the employment of young girls in Sydney dressmaking establishments, heads its article "Nothing a Week — Shocking Conditions." But, it is a \ery short period indeed since precisely the same conditions prevailed in many New Zealand dressmaking establishments, and the press of this colony said little or nothing about the scandal Then, the late Mr. Seddon took a hand in the situation, and, by passing a law compelling payment of wages to every employee, put an end to the system of nothing-per-week so far as we were concerned. Of all the labour laws on the statute book, that one was probably the most just and humane. * * • The Education Department^ being. about to include "the observation and forecasting of the weather" in our public schools curriculum, the Lance wishes to know whether this innovation is not a contravention of the ariti-gamhhng laws of the Dominion? Captain Edwin regards the task of picking the winning horse in Tattersail's a mere bagatelle to sorting out the right label for the weather in any part of God's own country on a given date. He is an expert. With the school-children, the duty will become a perplexing game of chance.
The increasing peril of the Dominion is undoubtedly sport. And yet, like othei national afflictions, it hath its uses. Everyone knows that in the good old days it decided the map of Europe, and in oui own time it is teaching the youth of our countiy then language and the grower of seltrestramt (and lack of it). The other day, a case was being tried befoie a magistrate who had ?ust contracted that form of "slow" fever known as golf. A diminutive youngster was put into the witness-box, and the magistrate, looking over his glasses at the top of the juvenile's head, remaiked "You look veiv young to give evidence, my lad. Are you sure you know the nature of an * oath-" "You bet I do, sir I'm youi caddie'"
"The meanest man on earth" is discovered on an average seven times a. week, but we don't often hear what becomes of him. A certain newspaper came out with a shriek of disgust last week at a man (name unknown at thetime) who had gained admission for himself and partner to an assembly dance on a ticket for June, 1906. Said paper ran through a dictionary of adjectives, had the miscreant drawn, quartered, hanged in chains over thecity gates, and marched his restlesssoul on to Dante's inferno. The gentleman waited on the secretarynext morning with his ticket of due date. He had taken the old one by mistake from his drawer. Moral Be careful how you use your gun. Some 1 lfles kick '
Was the late Mr. Seddon a wealthy man? A propos of the question, which has been frequently asked during the last two months, a remarkable story is in circulation in Wellington. It is asserted, on what ought to be excellent authority, that Mr. Seddon's estate m England, which is apart altogethei from his pioperty in New Zealand, has been sworn for the purposes of probate duty at £175,000. lhis stoiy may 01 may not be true, but it is finding general credence. If it is true, it furnishes interesting food for reflection. • • • A party of Wellington soft-goods men recently went to one of the West Coast towns for a change of air They got it Some feet of ram came dow n during tbe three weeks' visit, and there was a running obhgato of wind to the general music. One morning there was — to them — an unprecedented hailstorm, and they met in the commercial 100 m and discussed the return journey. An old-fashioned barometer, which hung in this room, had persistently pointed to "set fair," no matter how the wind howled or the rain poured, and it became an annoyance to them. The landlord chanced into the room, and one of the party said "Now, don't you think, Mr. Smith, that there's something the matter with this glass?" The old chap retorted that the glass was a good glass, and a powerful glass It had been his father's and his grandfather's, but it was not moved bv trifles. They went that afternoon. The old chap advised them to go And while he humped their luggage down the front steps, he still declaimed on the perfections of that glass. But it still rained. • • * "Flying in the face of Providence" may become more than a mere expression of mind, as one of the champion debaters clearly showed at the Town Hall last week. With fervid eloquence he declared that Providence had undoubtedly intended England and France to be linked together, and the proofs were two-fold First He (Providence) had conveniently left only twenty-six miles to be cut through underneath the Channel. And, m the second place, the stuff to be cut was only chalk, and thus there were no difficulties The audience quite appreciated the forethought of Providence Then an opponent got up and said exultmgly that Providence had intended them to be separated, and had expressly rolled a few miles of blue ocean in between. • • ♦ Of course, the crowd laughed. It was such a ridiculous idea, and the absolutely brainless argument was applauded for its ingenuity. However, the point opens up the very grave question as to whether the authorities are not openly flouting Providence by neglecting to cut through the Andersons Bay peninsula, at Dunedin, and the inconsiderable nine miles between the Manukau and Waitemata, m the North. The further idea presents itself that Piovidence may have intended Cook's Strait to be an incentive to subtenanean tunnelling. From the point of physical geography, at any rate, there is no reason why there should be a question of North Island versus South. We are grateful for this indication of the plain purposes of Providence • • * Telegraphed from Napier that there is no difficulty w hatever about the proposed railway to Gisborne. It will only cost £1,200,000. What' Only a million-and-a-quarter? Seeing that the cost is such a mere bagatelle, we take it that Sir Joseph Ward will send Mr Dillon back to Napier at once with instructions to stait that railway and have it completed before the end of the year. Napier must not stand still for the sake of a million-and-a-quarter. • • • Sydney "Newsletter" remarks- — "The only maritime news from New Zealand — Wrecks and! drowning. They want better compasses or better grog!" Of course, there are no wrecks and drow nings on the coast of Australia * • • It is an established mle in newspapei offices that whoie a man is brought before the Couit for the first time chaiged with drunkenness his name is not published in the papei In every other lapse, howevei, it is blazoned forth, and, as a result, the "sub" or reporter often me^ts an angry inebriate of the yesterday when he reaches his office in the morning. In one paper, which writer had! the honour to serve upon, an old lady interviewed him, and, in answer to an enquiry as to what he could do for her, she said to this Ananias- "I've come to pay the five shillings." "What five shillings 9" "For to keep mv son's name, who was drunk yesterday, out of the paper l " muttered the lady. When writer recovered, he showed the old girl the door.
The meals on the Manawatu refreshment cars have been served more than usually hot o± late. The officials in chaige have discoveied certain new waim spices which tend to enliven the dishes and the whole outset. Amongst then new depaitures is an excellent preparation known as "supervisor salad." The salad is seived hot, with a cold collation. During the preparation of the dish the waiteis wait and the supervisor supervises. Report states that the said super\ isor has a penchant for hot water m his preparations, and, like the boy with the soap, is never happy till he gets it. • • « This official had disposed of an alleged "sauce" by the chief waiter, Edwards The sauce m question was one greatly appieciated by the travelling public, and was known as "discipline" brand. The preparation is already being missed, since it enhanced the pleasure of the refreshment service. The staff of the refreshment car aie lepoited to be of an athletic turn, and a favourite amusement of late has been a few willing rounds — round the kitchen, of course. • » * A propos of that curse, the defeiredpaj ment system, the follow ing incident is no\ el : A gentleman has received by post a lettei containing £2, with an accompanying note to the effect that some time ago the sender "took him (the recipient) down" for about six times that amount. "I h&\ c been sick, and remorse lias been gnawing at my heait," wiote the sender "When lemorse gnaws me again, I will send you some more." The good w ishes of the writer are with the lemorse May it gnaw speedily. » * ♦ On a railway station up the line a farmer and his family arrived one morning last week, looking like a camping-out party. A neighbouring tiller of the soil, surprised at their movements, approached the farmer anxiously "TJlloa, William-, where be ye goin'P" "Oh, we be goin' down to Wellington to see this yere comet they've got there!"
The new duties, although affecting the boot trade in general, have not been the means of increasing R. Hannah and Oo.'s prices, judging by the advertisement contained in this issue. It is pleasing to note the success which is attending the enterprise of Messrs. Elliott and Duncan, the promoters of the new Laundty Company, which is to carry on its business m the heart of Wellington on anti-Ghin-ese lines. The company is to be floated as from Ist September, 1907, and the issue of 15,000 shares at £1 each — making a paid up capital of £15,000 — has resulted in a response quite beyond the most sanguine expectations of the promoters. From as far north as Napier and New Plymouth applications for shares are being daily received, and indications point to the entire disposal of the 15,000 before the date fixed for the floating of the company.
One of the galleiy attendants at Parliament House has a suhlime reverence for members' wives, which at times is made a source of great anxiety to him. By some rule, written 01 understood, the front low of seats in the Ladies' Gallery are reserved for the wives of membeis, so that no gesture or inflexion may be lost to tnem when then knights are giving "an outburst of wisdom and a How of soul." By another rule — equally understood — so soon as Mr. Speaker declares the House open, these chaiis may be, and are, rushed by the ladies who are not members' wives (but possibly hope to be) At times, the Speaker has barely delivered his pronouncement when the ladies make an unseemly rush, like the break up of a scium pack, and then the afoieasid messenger grows angiy and "talks to the Gallery.'' • ♦ ♦ Know ing his w eakness in this direction, a couple of young ladies, a few evenings ago, made their way to the Gallery, showed "their tickets, passed Cerberus at the portal, and established themseh es in the f 1 out row of seats Then, they awaited the messenger's approach. That digmtaiy stood ruminating foi a while, running thiough the list of members' wives whom he knew, and then looked down into the House Mi Poole looked up to the gallery, and smiled. However,
Mr. Poole is a bachelor, is he not? The Minister for Lands entered, and he looked up to the gallery and recognised one of the ladies. The messenger felt faint, and clutched at the bannister. • • • Presently, howe\ ci , the messenger gathered courage, and boldly approached the ladies. "Are you honorable members' wives?" The ladies smiled knowingly, and replied that at piesent they were not. He of the uniform was thrown back upon his doubts by the answer, which might have meant anything, so he retired in good order. His face was a study of conflict. Should he appeal to Mr. Speakei for a ruling on the point of front seats for members' prospective wives? Probably, better not. • • • But, he returned to the charge, and insisted that if the ladles were unmarned, or married to gentlemen other than hon. members', they must retire to back seats. The argument was becoming interesting when Mr. Speaker declared the House open, and the ladies seated themselves again. The messenger is seeking assistance to bring in a bill defining the position of ladies of a mamageable age in whom hon. bachelor members feel an especial interest.