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A REMINISCENCE OF THE OLDEN TIME.—THE LADIES' MEETING AND THE GERMAN BAND. TO THE EDITORS.

! Sib, —Perhlps I may be allowed fco call to remembrance au incident that occurred many years ago, whicii forms a chapter in the early j history of the Girle' High Sohool. The occa- ! sion was the first attempt (so far as I am aware) Ito bold a ladies' meeting in Dunediu, and fche I object of the messing wt-,s the establishment of j a h.chool for the higher education of girls. The question of a Girls' High School having beeu for some montbs iu'agitation, and the signing of a memorial to the Provincial Council to establish ths same, the following advertisement appeared in tho Otago Daily Times of November 21, 1565 :— Government High School for Girls. It is requested that ladies who are interested in the proposed school should attend a meeting to he held on Tuesday, November 28, at 2.30 p.m., in St. George's Hall. Eliza C. Dick. Viewinount, Dunedin. There had beeu great difficulty in getting a chairwoman, as it required a considerable amount of persuasion before any lady would cousent to preside. When the matter was being discussed iv the Church of England parsonage, the Rev. Mr Edwards assured the ladies present of hia firm conviction that it would be jmpoßsible for any body of ladies fco conduct a meeting properly unless they had the assistance of a geufclemau to preside, and as the subsequent events proved,' so far as this partioular meeting was concerned, he was quite correct. The ladies, however, decided to conduct their meeting without the assistance of the sterner sex, and they succeeded iv inducing the late Mrs Thomas Dick (wife of the theu Superintendent) to take the chair. Amongst those present wera Mrs Mathew Holmes, Mrs Edwards, Mrs Every, Mrs A. W. Smith,' Mrs John Logau, Miss Dalrymple, and perhaps about 20 others whose names I cannot; recall afc present.

I ought to explain that Sfc. George's Hall was in Stuart; street, opposite the Church of Euglaud (St. Paul's), and the building still stands, bufc now forms part of Robin and Co.'s coach factory. The hull was in the upper storey. The late Mr G- R. Wast was ay tbafc time lessee of the hall, aud he evinced a considerable amount of curiosity as fco whafc purpose a gathering ijf iadies could possibly wanfc an empty hail for in the daytime. A short time after the meetiog be^-au (which was opened with prayer by.-., Mrs Mathew ,Holmes) Mr.-West cautiously opened the door and peeped in ; and theuj having evidently satisfied himself' that nofchiug treasonable was goiog ou, he cautiously withdrew bis head again.

Letters were read from ladies in fcbe country (in answer to r:ommunic«.tioiiß from Miss Dalrymple) explaining their views of what should constitute the education for grown girls iv the proposed school. /Amongst others wero letters from Mrs Spooner (of Popotunoa), tha late Mrs Nugeut Wood (of Switzi-rs), aud Mrs Stanford (then iv Tokomairiro). While these letters were being read a masculine knocking was heard at the door. One oE the ladies, bolder than the rest, weut to see who was there, and returning said, "Oh, Miss Dalrymple! there are two men afc the door, and fchey say thay are reporters." Consternation and alarm appeared on every countenance, aud the reply was : " Oh, tell them to go away ; wo don't want any reporters." After this a conversational discussion was carried ou for some time, but no real business had been done when suddenly another interruption occurred.

A Udy who had promised to attend the meeting, but up to this' time had nofc put iv an appearance, now suddenly burst upon fche view of tho startled assembly. She was quite out of breath with the.exertion of coming up the stairs, but as soon as she could speak she addressed a •udy seated near fche chairwoman—who, I believe, waa Miss Dalrymple—ahd stated that she had not come to attend the meeting, bufc to explain tbafc her husband had told her fchat he strongly disapproved of a public school for grown girls, and thafc he would not allow her to take auy part in the proceedings, as he quite disapproved of the action already takan by fche ladies who had initiated the movement. Having delivered herself of these Benfcimenfcs, she turned fco some of tbo ladies whom she recognised as her intimate friends, and suddenly exclaimed : " Oh, there has beeu such an accident. Poor Mr Cjayton has beeu thrown from his buggy, and has broken both bis legs." From all parts of the room tho' l&diea cried in chorus, " What, both his legs ? " When their worst fearo were* confirmed by tba reply, " Yes ; both bis legs." The ladies then besieged fche speaker with questions as to where, wheu, sud how did ifc happen, &c, &c Conversation regarding the accident now became general, wheu Fata so decided thafc au itinerant German band should choose that; part of the footpath at the foot of tbe stairs ou which to assemble while they produced with all their lung power an ear-splitting air with a drum accompaniment. I believe fchey were doing their best to advertise some auotion sale, as this was the custom of the., country iv those good old times, but the result, as far as the meeting was concerned, was thafc the ladies could hardly hear themselves speak. Iv this dilemma they decided to adjourn the meeting sine die, aud after sundry handshakings they gradually dispersed, all bufc Mrs Holmes, Mrs Every, and Miss Dalrymple. The two former then took their leave, and Miss Dalrymple found herself iv sole possession of the floor, so, locking the door, nhe descended the stairs, and left the key with Mr West.

Thus ended the flrst ladies' meeting in connection with the establishment of the Ofcago Girls' High School. This fruitless result would have disheartened most people, bufc Miss Dalrymple believed in fcbe motto of the late President* Lincoln, so she determined fco " keep

pegging away." Just about a year after this meeting was held, the late Sir John Richardson (then Major Richardson) wrote a very able lotter ou the " Education of Girls," which appeared in the Otaso Daily Times of 27th November 1866, and in the same paper of date 17th December another good letter appeared—who the writer was Ido not know; and in the Otago Daily Times of 20fch Dtcamber 1866 will be fouud au article-on the "Education of • Girls," written by Miss Dalrymple, and which was to have been read by her at the meeting above described, if she had nofc beeu prevented by the untimely interruption of the German Band. — I am, kc,

September 28, 1896,

— Lord Rosebery has a marked personality ; he is undoubtedly a man of much character, and of considerable culture—of late years, at any rate, he has been a reading man. ' But his manner is not agreeable; he bas none of Mr Balfour's charm.— Saturday Review.

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Bibliographic details

A REMINISCENCE OF THE OLDEN TIME.—THE LADIES' MEETING AND THE GERMAN BAND. TO THE EDITORS., Otago Daily Times, Issue 10609, 29 September 1896

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A REMINISCENCE OF THE OLDEN TIME.—THE LADIES' MEETING AND THE GERMAN BAND. TO THE EDITORS. Otago Daily Times, Issue 10609, 29 September 1896

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